Fines and suspensions have been imposed by the FEI Tribunal in respect of drug infractions involving five horses in endurance contests in the Gulf region.
Decisions in the cases have been released in the last month.
Argentina-registered rider Daiana Chopita received a fine and suspension in respect of two horses, JC Cahuel and HLP Gadafi, who competed in rides in Abu Dhabi.
JC Cahuel competed in a CEI1* 100km contest on December 9 last year and HLP Gadafi competed in a CEI2* 120km ride on December 23 last year.
The horses, ridden by Chopita, finished third in both events.
Samples taken from the horses tested positive for the prohibited substance trometamol.
It emerged that a product called Endurance, which contained trometamol as an unlisted ingredient, was given by Sohail Saeed, who is the assistant to Dr Alejandro Echezarreta, a veterinarian employed by Al Wathba Stables.
The administration of Endurance took place under the supervision of Dr Echezaretta during the veterinary check prior to the horses being transported to the events.
Ray Vaughan Thomas, who owns the manufacturer of Endurance, confirmed that trometamol has historically been included in Endurance to act as a “buffer” and that it was not included on the ingredients label because it was an inactive ingredient (being merely a buffer).
There was no way that Chopita, Sohail Saeed, or Dr Echezaretta could have known that trometamol was an ingredient in Endurance.
Accordingly, Chopita did not intend to administer trometamol and bore a minimal level of fault, if any, for the anti-doping rule.
It was agreed that only a six-month suspension would be imposed, which has already been served, especially given that plans to downgrade trometamol to a controlled medication from January 1 next year meant a positive test would no longer be considered an anti-doping rule violation, but a controlled medication breach.
She was also fined 3000 Swiss francs and ordered to contribute 1000 Swiss francs toward the cost of the judicial procedure.
In another case, Lebanese-born UAE-registered rider Waad Nadim Bou Moghlbay was fined 3000 Swiss francs and ordered to pay 1000 francs towards the cost of the procedure over an infraction involving the same substance.
Bou Moghlbay had competed in the CEI2* 120km ride in Abu Dhabi on December 23 last year on the horse JLB Noche.
The horse had also received the product Endurance during a veterinary check before being taken to the event.
Bou Moghlbay received a six-month suspension, which has already been served.
The next case centred on a CEI3* 160km ride in Dubai on January 7 this year.
The horse Araco’s Roman, ridden by Manohar Singh Mod Singh, tested positive for tiludronic acid.
The horse suffered an open fracture of the right hind leg in the first phase of the competition, resulting in its euthanasia.
Blood samples taken from the horse on the day of the ride revealed the presence of the controlled medication tiludronic acid, a bone metabolism agent used to treat navicular disease and bone spavin.
The tribunal imposed a six-month suspension on the rider from the date of the decision, which means he will not be able to compete until March 25 next year. He was fined 1500 Swiss francs and ordered to contribute 1500 francs towards the legal costs of the procedure.
The next case centred on a CEI1* 100km rider at Doha, Qatar, on March 17 this year.
Abdulla Mahmood Abdulla Darban rode Asiatica Des Pins in the contest. The horse tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide, which is classified as a controlled medicine.
The drug is a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effects.
The connections of the horse said the drug had been given to the horse about three weeks before the ride by a veterinarian after diagnosing a bilateral carpitis and distral tarsitis.
The owner said that the rider had nothing to do with the administration of the drug and it was his responsibility as owner and trainer.
He said they had implemented steps to avoid a similar breach occurring again.
The tribunal said it was Darban’s personal duty to ensure that the horse was drug-free for the event and he cannot be discharged from this duty, even if he had not been in charge of preparing the horse for the ride.
The tribunal imposed a one-year suspension from the date of the decision, fined him 2000 Swiss francs and ordered him to contribute 1500 francs toward the cost of the judicial procedure.