The Coloured Horse and Pony Society — CHAPS (UK) — has fined a member and banned her from competition for six months after her pony tested positive for a prohibited substance.

Dianne Shepherd’s Murphy XVI won the Nuttal family ridden plaited pony championship on 31 August at the CHAPS championship.

But the pony was chosen for random dope testing and the sample proved positive for the sedative acepromazine (ACP).

Nigel Hollings, doping and disciplinary officer for CHAPS, said: “We have employed random testing for two years and this is the first positive result.

“Mrs Shepherd admitted straight away that she had given the pony a sedative for trimming prior to the show, but it was still a positive dope test.”

Mrs Shepherd and the pony were banned from CHAPS (UK) membership until 1 May 2009 by its disciplinary tribunal on 27 October. She was also fined £250, with £1,034 costs.

Fines of up to £5,000 can be issued by the CHAPS board and it has unlimited powers concerning bans.

Mrs Shepherd told H&H: “The pony needed clipping, so a week before the show, we gave Murphy a sedative and clipped him.

“I had no idea it would still be in his system. My 12-year-old daughter was riding him. It’s very upsetting as we have had to sell the pony to pay the fine.”

Mr Hollings added: “We would like to warn members to make absolutely sure that the withdrawal period for any drug is observed before competition. Ignorance is no excuse.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (4 December, ’08)