Adrienne Lyle & Horizon, Kaitlin Blythe & Don Principe Get Partial Victory to Keep USA Championships, FEI’s Right to Impose Provisional 2-Month Suspension for Drugs Upheld

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Horizon ridden by Adrienne Lyle earlier this month in the mare’s first Grand Prix competition, at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Mar. 21, 2018

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The Court of Arbitration for Sports has upheld the United States national dressage championships won last year by Horizon and Don Principe that competed when a two-month suspension was temporarily lifted, but affirmed the right of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to impose provisional bans for the presence of a banned substance.

Horizon, ridden by Adrienne Lyle to the U.S. Festival of Champions Intermediate 1 title, and Don Principe ridden by Kaitlin Blythe to the Under-25 title, get to keep the championships, the first for both riders, under the ruling by CAS, the international court that handles sports issues.

“We are pleased that, with its ruling of March 19, 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has brought to an end any uncertainty about our participation in, and the results of, last summer’s Festival of Champions at Gladstone (New Jersey),” the two riders and Horizon’s owner Elizabeth Juliano and Don Principe’s owner Maryanna Haymon said in a joint statement.

“Our chief goal in pursuing the CAS appeal was to ensure that the titles that we worked so hard to achieve at Gladstone could not be stripped away from us. We are gratified that CAS agreed with our position.”

The case now goes back to the FEI, the governing body of international horse sports based in Lausanne, Switzerland, to decide whether to pursue lengthier suspensions of the riders and horses that was 17 days shorter than the provisional two months because of the successful appeal to CAS.

The biggest impact of a longer suspension would be on Adrienne Lyle, 33 years old of Ketchum, Idaho who competed for the United States at the 2012 Olympics and was the rider of Horizon, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare that this month began its international Grand Prix career.

Adrienne is the rider of Salvino, also owned by “Betsy” Juliano, and the combination is on the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Elite squad and a prime prospect to go to Europe this summer to compete for a place on the American team of four horses and riders for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September.

Don Principe is a Hanoverian stallion now 19 years old that is no longer competed by Kaitlin of Rougemont, North Carolina and was last shown in a national competition by another rider five months ago.

Kaitlin Blythe and Don Principe after winning USA Brentina Cup Under-25 Championship. © 2017 SusanJSrickle.com

“We remain involved in proceedings before the FEI,” the owners and riders said in their statement.

“It is distressing and upsetting to us that, as a result of trace contamination for which the seller long ago took complete responsibility (and removed its product from the market), we still face potential sanction.

“We are four individuals who are committed to the principles of fair play and integrity in sport. We fully support the anti-doping cause and fair measures to achieve the goal of clean and safe equestrian disciplines. Yet because the FEI proceedings are not concluded, we feel that it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time, beyond expressing our continued gratitude to all who have supported us throughout this ordeal, most particularly the United States Equestrian Federation.”

Horizon and Don Principe underwent routine testing for drugs on different days at an Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI in Wellington, Florida more than 13 months ago. The tests found trace amounts of the banned substance ractopamine in both horses.

The manufacturer of a supplement admitted that the substance inadvertently contaminated one of its products, which it has since removed from the market.

The CAS panel of a British lawyer as president and arbitrators from Italy and the United States issued its findings in a 21-page award that provided extensive details of the case.

“Until the incidents which gave rise to the provisional suspensions neither the owner nor rider has ever been charged with violating the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping rules or any other rule of the equestrian sport, nor have either of the horses ever been involved in any such violation,” the award said.

The ruling stated: “The appeal filed by Elizabeth B. Juliano, owner of Horizon; Maryanna Haymon, owner of Don Principe; Adrienne Lyle and Kaitlin Blythe against the Fédération Equestre Internationale concerning the decision issued on 2nd May 2017 by the FEI Tribunal confirming the provisional suspension of the horses Horizon and Don Principe is partially upheld.

“The provisional suspensions of the horses Horizon and Don Principe imposed by the FEI Tribunal on the horses Horizon and Don Principe are terminated and the Fédération Equestre Internationale two-month policy on provisional suspension of horses is declared valid.”