Contaminated stalls to blame for recent positive equine dope test

In a move that could set an interesting precedent, the FEI have announced that in the case of Chaman Ginn, ridden by Juan Benitez Gallardo to success at the CCI4*-S in Quillota, who tested positive for O-Desmethylvenlafaxine, that there were other causes at play and Gallardo was not negligent in his handling of the horse.

It transpires that the banned substance entered the horse’s system by eating contaminated hay after a member of staff urinated in his stall while on medication. While the rider will not incur fines or a period of ineligibility, his score at the event will remain disqualified.

In a similar contest against a dope ruling, Rebekah Italiano’s ride Kenlock Cadillac tested positive for banned substance warfarin, commonly found in rat poison, at the Ballarat Horse Trials in Australia in May 2023. Italiano put a comprehensive case to FEI officials suggesting how the banned substance could have entered the horse’s system, which FEI officials agreed showed no significant fault or negligence. Italiano will receive a two month ban, rather than two years, which was backdated.

The FEI website states that:

“the FEI Prohibited Substances List is divided into two sections: Controlled Medication and *Banned Substances. Controlled Medication substances are those that are regularly used to treat horses, but which must have been cleared from the horse’s system by the time of competition. Banned (doping) Substances should never be found in the body of the horse and are prohibited at all times.

“In the case of an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for a Banned Substance, the Person Responsible (PR) is automatically provisionally suspended from the date of notification (with the exception of certain cases involving a Prohibited Substance which is also a Specified Substance). The horse is provisionally suspended for two months.

Think Outside The Box is a campaign created to raise awareness around the risk of contamination in and around the stables, and the potential consequences from a rule’s violation perspective as well as general health and safety for horses.

“The campaign is centred around four core themes – Behave, Organise, Maintain and Secure – with each theme broken down into specific actionable points and the risks should they not be addressed. The risk for contamination and consequences for EADCMR violations such as disqualification and suspension, being the core driver of the campaign, feature prominently as does safety messaging in relation to intoxication, injury and potential fire hazards.”

Katie Gilmour is the host of Poles, Piaffe & Prosecco: the podcast for riders that love to train, laugh and drink prosecco! The podcast is free to listen to on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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