This just in from the FEI...drug testing at a new level!
Mary 64, one of the horses with which Michael Freund won the 2004 FEI World Driving Championship in Kecskemet (HUN), had tested positive to the prohibited substance Valerenic Acid.
In June 2005, the Judicial Committee held a first hearing in this case and accepted the evidence that the horse Mary 64 had been allowed to graze in a field next to the event, which contained Centranthus ruber plants. The Committee recommended that the parties conduct controlled tests in order to determine whether Valerenic Acid may be found in a horse’s systems as a result of the consumption of certain plants from the Centranthus ruber family.
The Judicial Committee resumed the hearing on 23 January 2006 in Frankfurt. The Committee found this to be an extremely difficult case to assess in the light of the varying technical advice it had been provided with and regretted that the tests conducted during the summer of 2005 had not been subject to full cooperation and coordination between the Person Responsible and the FEI.
After having heard the opinion of the different experts, the Judicial Committee considered that there were indications that results could vary due to the stage in the plant life cycle at which it is consumed by the horse, and various other factors.
The Judicial Committee also considered the exhaustive research engaged in by Michael Freund and his advisors to answer the question as to how the substance was present in the horse’s systems.
In a split decision, the Judicial Committee decided by a majority of its members present to terminate the proceedings by applying the provision in Article 146.2 of the General Regulations at no costs to the parties.
The full text of the Judicial Committee’s decision in this matter will be published shortly on the FEI website.