Concerns that anabolic steroids might be being used in the Danish sport horse industry to speed up muscle development in young stallions have proved unfounded, according to the society for the Danish Warmblood, Dansk Varmblod.

Eight of the most physically developed of the 71 stallions taking part in the Dansk Varmblod National Stallion Grading in Herning earlier this month were tested for the forbidden substance in unannounced tests undertaken by the Danish Food and Agricultural Ministry. All were clear.

According to an EU directive, it is forbidden to administer hormones to any type of animal, including horses. Any animal found to have been administered hormones must be put down to prevent any chance of the animal entering the human food chain.

Jan Pedersen, chairman of Dansk Varmblod and president of World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses, says: “I was very pleased with the results of the unannounced inspection of the veterinary drug flying squad in Herning.

“Considering today’s easy access to anabolic steroids, it is definitely relevant to make random checks, because it is quite possible that somebody might follow the line of least resistance to obtain a short-term advantage.

“The discovery of anabolics in any of the stallions would have led to an immediate withdrawal of the stallion’s grading status, but as it is, I am pleased with the exoneration of the sport horse breed.”

Minister of food and agriculture in Denmark, Mariann Fisher Boel, says: “This was the best test result one could hope for. I’m very happy that the Danish horse industry has a clear conscience”.