Equestrians should know the anti-doping rules for riders, says eventing body

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Competitive riders are being urged to familiarize themselves with the FEI’s anti-doping rules that apply to human athletes.

The Eventing Riders Association of North America issued a statement this week after the FEI announced at Christmas that three US-registered Eventing riders who competed during a Florida event in November had returned positive drug tests.

The three athletes were all tested at the Ocala-Reddick CCI, held from November 16-20. One tested positive for amphetamine and canrenone, another for amphetamine, and a third for amphetamine, methylphenidate and ritalinic acid.

The positive tests arose under a testing regime run for riders, as opposed to the FEI’s higher profile program for horses. The FEI’s program for human athletes is based on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances.

The riders have each been handed provisional suspensions pending the outcome of their respective cases before the FEI Tribunal.

The Eventing riders group urged all equestrian athletes (and their support personnel) competing in any FEI competition, regardless of level, to acquaint themselves with WADA rules and policies, about which more information can be found here.

“It is imperative that all equestrian athletes understand these rules and how to prepare for FEI events by knowing what is a prohibited substance, how to notify the FEI for approval of the medication, and how long the process is to be approved to compete or not compete on that substance,” the statement said.

“All riders competing under FEI rules are subject to random, in-competition and out of competition drug testing,” the US Eventing Federation’s team physician, Dr Mark Hart, said.

“It is your responsibility to know if you are taking any medications on the FEI Prohibited Substance List.”

He urged riders to visit the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) website, which has a range of information on testing, regulations, and athlete rights.

“You should also regularly check the USADA web page that covers all changes to the anti-doping rules.

He said that another easy way to find out more information about any medication, and if it contained prohibited substances, was to go to the Global Drug Reference Online website.

“In some situations, a rider may have an illnesses or condition that requires the use of medication listed on the WADA Prohibited List,” he said.

“A Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) from the FEI provides permission for an athlete to have a prohibited substance in their body at the time of a drug test.

“Without a TUE, a medication violation can result in an FEI and USEF suspension of up to four years.

“A valid prescription from your healthcare provider for one of these prohibited medications does not assure that a TUE will be approved.

“It is important that you inform your healthcare provider that you are an athlete that completes Clean Sport testing under WADA anti-doping rules, and discuss all prescribed medications and potential alternatives.”

A TUE application can be found online here, or athletes should contact their national federation or national Olympic committee.

“TUE applications need to be fully completed and submitted to the FEI 30 days prior to participating at an FEI event.”

Hart said many questions had been raised recently because marijuana, and related synthetic derivatives, were now legal in several US states.

“Regardless of these laws, marijuana is definitely still a banned substance under WADA/USADA anti-doping rules,” he said.

“Additionally, urine clearance times for testing purposes after last use of drugs are quite variable (from days to weeks), so it is strongly advised that all athletes avoid recreational drugs at all times.

“The use of supplements also carries some risks because some dietary/nutritional supplements can contain prohibited substances.”

People can learn more by going to US Anti-Doping agency’s supplements page.

A quick reference pocket guide is here.

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