Monday, October 07, 2013

FEI clamps down on unauthorised medicating of horses during competition - Full Article

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is clamping down on unauthorised medicating of horses during competition as the crisis over doping and horse injuries in endurance racing deepens.

By Pippa Cuckson
04 Oct 2013

Just three days after revealing the FEI is rolling out a new injuries surveillance system (ISS), Telegraph Sport has learnt the FEI is banning ammonium chloride – a substance primarily associated with controversial analgesic technique of “nerve-blocking” – and proposing to limit crew numbers so that horses cannot be concealed from officiating vets.

The Swiss, Belgian and French equestrian federations were lobbying the FEI about “inequities” in Middle Eastern endurance before the drugs raids in May and August on properties owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the reigning endurance world champion and the most powerful owner in thoroughbred horseracing.

The source of the illegal drugs is now being investigated on Sheikh Mohammed’s behalf by his wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, president of the FEI, and Lord Stevens’ intelligence company Quest.

Endurance, which involves races up to 160km, is the only equestrian sport applying vet checks on the field of play during the event. Critics have cited the large size of “crews” – grooms and physios – employed by teams, sometimes as many as 12 per horse, for effectively obscuring it from view.

FEI judge Juliette Mallison told the leading German equestrianism magazine Reiten St Georg that when she was officiating in Dubai in February, two members of her veterinary team saw “a horse surrounded by numerous grooms, the neck covered with a towel, and a further groom inserted the catheter into the [jugular] vein for the infusion disguised in his jacket sleeve.” The horse was disqualified, the officials receiving “ the trainer’s angry abuse”...

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