Peter Jones, of the Menai Stud near Llandysul, West Wales, is appealing against a ban imposed by the National Pony Society (NPS) after one of his horses failed a routine dope test.
In only the second case of its type under NPS rules during the past five years, Peter’s cob, Lord Charles, tested positive for phenylbutazone in a random drugs test at the NPS Summer Championships at Malvern in August last year.
According to NPS rules, the automatic penalties in the case of a positive test include the disqualification of the horse from the competition and the forfeiture of any placing or prize money. The animal may not be entered or shown in affiliated classes until after the final outcome of the disciplinary hearing. The owner of the horse also has their NPS membership suspended and must reimburse the NPS the cost of the sample analysis.
The NPS has said that because Lord Charles has changed hands since the incident, it would probably waive the pony’s suspension from the show ring. The society also explained that while Mr Jones cannot show as a member of the NPS, and is currently ineligible for member-only classes, he is still able to show.
The disciplinary committee initially met in September 2003, but the NPS has refused to comment further on the case until the appeals stage had been completed and the final penalties imposed.
Peter Jones claims that while he accepts that the cob failed the dope test, the society did not know the full details of the circumstances surrounding the case.
“The horse had been given anti-inflammatory sachets because he was lame, and had the last dose 10 days before the show,” explains Peter. “I was told by the vet that the drugs would be out of the horses system within eight days.”
Peter also expressed his anger at having to foot the bill for the sample analysis.
A spokesperson for the society explained its zero-tolerance approach to doping cases by saying: “It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure a horse doesn’t come in contact with any banned substances before going into the show ring”.
The Menai stud, founded by Peter Jones’ great grandfather John Jones, is one of the most well known and prolific studs in Welsh pony and cob circles.