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improved, modernised, adapted or
their lifespan has been extended.
With what? Well, take a look at the
marmalade on the breakfast table
and try reading the label. Do you
understand the meaning of what it
is made up of ? Additives, emulsions,
aromas and the rest."
"Obviously the Prince is a horseman
acquainted with daily practice and
besides, a descendant of the Sleeswijk
royal house. Up in the north, over
there, they are on the level, practical,
grown up among horses. And so the
principle of the threshold values we
wanted was worked out by the FEI
veterinary committee and accepted
by the presidium."
"But things developed, both in the
science and every day practice. Old
threshold values had to be adapted
and determined anew because of the
growing amount of new medicines
and new doping appeared on the
market. And there is no doping
that the lab does not catch up with.
Because, unfortunately, the line
between a remedy, a painkiller and a
stimulant, is not always clear. As soon
as a remedy acquired the reputation of
(also) being a stimulant or a painkiller,
it gets popular. That is human nature."
"And, in no time at all, science will
have found a way to trace the new
doping in blood or urine samples.
That is human intellect. And because
in the race between nature and
intellect, there can be no winner, the
FEI created the zero option. That is
human society. And the finer the sieve
the higher the price tag. When it gets
too expensive and/or complicated,
the organization can no longer cope
and resorts to an absolute ban on all
"Just imagine you are a professional
tennis player. You are playing at
Roland Garros and it is going to be all
or nothing. The night before the big
match you get a screaming headache.
So you take an aspirin and eight days
later your name is struck off the Grand
Slam list, simply because they found
an alien substance in your urine.
That is not the way it works in the
human sports; there it is meticulously
laid down which pharmaceutics are
remedies and which are doping."
"In the world of our loyal
quadrupeds, everything is doping.
Many a horse cannot even be clipped
without a sedative. Eight days later:
'Positive A-sample in the drug
inspection'. At this moment Athens is
a much-debated highlight, or rather an
all-time low. Not only for Germany but
for the whole horse world. The zero
option does not make any difference
between doping and medicine. Read:
between a fraud and a skilled groom.
That is not justice, it is injustice."
"It is a complicated affair. That is
why determining a list with threshold
values is a time consuming and costly
matter. But my question to the FEI is:
are our horses and riders not worth
it? If you think that they are, then
please put an end to this zero option
as soon as possible. If you feel that
they are not, then that is a vote of non-
confidence for the entire horse sport."
Athens was a worry but Hong Kong
was to get even murkier...
At Hong Kong, seven out of fifty
horses tested, proved positive, 14%
an astonishing figure. Four human
athletes were busted for positives
out 2,057 competitors... imagine the
uproar if 14% of the human athletes
came up positive, that would have
been 288 violators. There are times
when the media's indifference to
equestrian sport is a positive.
Four showjumping horses tested
positive for the banned substance
capsaicin, and were disqualified from
the individual show jumping final.
Apparently the Hong Kong Jockey Club
developed a blood test for capsaicin as
a favor to the Olympic organizers, and
riders were lured (entrapped) into
a false feeling of security when they
were told that the heat sensor testers
would not be used. The offenders
were: Ireland's Denis Lynch, riding
Lantinus, Norway's Tony Andre
Hansen on Camiro, Brazil's Bernardo
Alves on Chupa Chup and Germany's
Christian Ahlmann on Coster.
The American dressage rider,
Courtney King-Dye also returned a
positive at Athens. Her horose Mythilus
tested positive for the non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drug Felbinac,
classified as a Medication A Prohibited
Substances under the FEI Equine
Prohibited List - as a result the rider
and the US team, were disqualified.
The London Games were in terms
of positives, clean... why do I have this
sneaking feeling that maybe the vets
and the scientists are a jump ahead of
While Rio was also declared clean,
some of the stars of Rio have also
been in trouble in the past. In 2009,
Rio silver medallist, Isabell Werth,
was suspended for six months
following a positive doping test for
the psychotropic drug Flupheazine,
in her small tour horse, Whisper. In
2014, Isabell was again banned for
six months following a positive test
for cimetidine in El Santo. Is she a
'drug cheat', or just a passionate
competitor who sometimes will push
There were other riders who
featured in the medals at Rio who
have had troubles with the rules.
American showjumper, McLain Ward
was suspended by FEI and the AHSA,
after it was reported that, during a
bandage/boot control inspection
at Aachen, two small, pointy pieces
of plastic had been seen to fall from
Beneton's right front boot... and Ward
has been suspended at least once
for a drug violation, a positive for
isoxsuprine with Quick Star II Z, back
in January 2006.
Another of the showjumping stars at
Rio, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, has
also had her brush with the law. Her
horse, Shutterfly returned a positive
swab for Acepromazine at the World
Who are the cheats?
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