The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Tribunal has lifted the provisional suspensions of 11 athletes—two jumping, two dressage, and seven endurance riders—and three endurance trainers.
Under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs) athletes have the opportunity to request a lifting of the provisional suspension in front of the FEI Tribunal.
Two international jumping athletes—Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (Sirene de la Motte) and Great Britain’s Henry Turrell (Blaze of Glory II—whose horses tested positive for the banned substance sparteine after competing at separate events in Vilamoura, Portugal, last month, have both had their provisional suspensions lifted. Sparteine, an antiarrhythmic used to treat cardiac arrhythmia, is found in the lupin flower, which grows in many parts of Portugal.
The FEI Tribunal’s decision to lift the provisional suspensions was mainly based on scientific evidence presented by the two athletes which suggests the likelihood of food contamination. Additionally, the FEI List Group, which reviews the FEI Equine Prohibited Substance List annually, has recommended to the FEI Bureau that sparteine should be reclassified as a controlled medication and specified substance beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
The FEI says specified substances aren’t any less important or less dangerous than other prohibited substances, but are substances which horses are more likely to ingest for a purpose other than performance enhancement, for example, through a contaminated food substance.
Similarly, the provisional suspensions imposed on seven endurance athletes and three trainers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were lifted due to reclassification of a prohibited substance. Samples taken from seven horses that competed at four different events in Al Wathba, UAE, between the end of November 2016 and mid-January 2017 tested positive for caffeine and a number of metabolites, including paraxanthine.
Caffeine is already listed as a specified substance, and the FEI List Group has recommended that paraxanthine should be reclassified as a controlled medication and specified substance from Jan. 1, 2018.
Separately, two U.S. dressage athletes—Adrienne Lyle (Horizon) and Kaitlin Blythe (Don Principe)—had been provisionally suspended since April 5, the date they were notified that their horses had tested positive for the banned substance ractopamine at competitions in Wellington, Florida, in February 2017.
Their provisional suspensions were lifted following evidence provided by the athletes that the horses had consumed a contaminated feed supplement.
The FEI Tribunal maintained the provisional suspensions of the two horses on horse welfare grounds and in order to ensure a level playing field, however both athletes applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, for provisional measures to request the lifting of the suspensions of both horses so they could compete at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions (May 18-21). The CAS granted the provisional measures this week (May 8), but still have to rule on the merits of the case.