The British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association has issued a stern reminder to the showing world that it will not tolerate the doping of horses and is “determined to stamp out this abuse”.

The Association stated that dope testing will be carried out on a random basis in the near future, at a number of shows.

The committee expressed a concern that although in some cases the doping may be intentional, often a member may unwittingly be showing an animal that has banned substances in its system, simply because they are either unaware of, or have not paid attention to the period of time it takes for a drug to withdraw from the horse’s system.

Tracy Monaghan, of the BSHC&RHA, explains: “This reminder hasn’t come as a result of any specific incidents, we just need to remind members that even sedatives used for trimming and clipping have a withdrawal period, and if owners and producers don’t heed the recommended withdrawal times, they risk landing themselves in hot water.”

The owner and the producer are deemed to be responsible if a horse tests positive for banned substances, not least because so many animals are home produced. The rules on banned substances are those of the Jockey Club, with similar withdrawal times, and, stresses the association, “ignorance of the withdrawal times will not be accepted as a mitigating factor”.

In its statement, the BSHC&RHA advises members to “discuss the use of any form of prohibited substance with their veterinary surgeons and seek advice from them as to the recommended withdrawal times.”