Dressage rider Isabell Werth’s suspension for breaching medication rules is causing a rift between the German equestrian federation (FN) and the sponsor of the German equestrian teams, agricultural machinery firm AGCO/Fendt.
In November, the 5-times Olympic gold medallist was suspended for 6 months after her horse El Santo NRW tested for the banned substance cimetidine in July 2012.
The drug is on the forbidden substances and prohibited medication in competition list for the German Equestrian Federation, but is not considered a doping substance. Cimetidine (to treat stomach ulcers) is not banned by the FEI and is allowed in competition, providing certain procedures are followed.
Isabell is now suing her federation, arguing that her watering system was contaminated via stablemate Warum Nicht, who was on the medication.
On 30 January, AGCO/Fendt issued a statement calling for the case to be dismissed.
FN press officer Susanne Hennig confirmed to H&H that Fendt had “demanded that the ongoing case of Isabell Werth be brought to an end”, but denied any conflict.
“We cannot understand [Fendt], because it is unusual that a sponsor tries to influence our judicial committee,” she said. “But there has been no fight. On 6 February, the president of the federation decided to seek a peaceful solution [agree to disagree], to which Fendt’s CEO Mr Richenhagen agreed.
“Both sides have their own opinion, but the €1million [£830,000] per year sponsorship will continue.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (20 February 2014)