Herbal sedative prompts investigation

  • The British Equestrian Federation is investigating an incident in which a British horse tested positive for a herbal sedative, now on the banned list

    A British horse has tested positive for valerian (pictured), a herbal sedative and one of the newest substances on the banned list.

    The incident is still under investigation, so the BEF’s spokesman was unable to confirm details of the competition and rider involved, but the issue is causing concern in the wider industry.

    The British Equestrian Trade Association is writing to the FEI to request clarification of which ingredients in complementary healthcare products, neutraceuticals and herbal supplements are likely to be considered prohibited substances.

    Chief executive Claire Williams explained: “Valerinic acid is known to have an effect on the central nervous system, and because of this valerian constitutes a prohibited substance.

    “We are concerned because some FEI vets are advising riders not to use complementary healthcare products. Taken to the extreme we could end up having to feed just straights.

    We simply want to know where riders stand on this so that we can advise the feed industry.”

    The BEF is also in discussion with its director of sports science and medicine, John McEwen, to establish how the incident in question may have occurred.

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