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Yellow warning cards were handed to 3 senior team officials at the young riders World Endurance Championships in Tarbes, south-west France.

But the FEI has declined to comment on why the cards were issued — or if any were connected with the alleged discovery of prohibited substances in the stables.

Tarbes (27 July) accounts for half of the yellow cards awarded in endurance in the past 8 months. Recipients were Emmett Ross (USA), Zied Abdelkefi (Tunisia) and Pilar Basombrio (Argentina), as well as 2 riders from Malaysia and the Czech Republic.

Yellow warning cards are valid for all FEI disciplines and are usually issued for a 1st offence, or when it is not deemed appropriate to bring the rider before the FEI Tribunal. But there are inconsistencies in the information that is made available about offences.

Eventing publishes a description of the alleged offence, with details such as “niggling with spurs”. But endurance merely cites “non-compliance with the rules”.

Anyone receiving 2 yellow cards in 12 months is given an automatic 2-month ban.

A FEI spokesman said: “With regard to the suggested anomaly in endurance, FEI officials act independently and in a manner they see fit.

“The FEI cannot provide additional information, apart from what is posted on the website.”

This story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (26 September 2013)