Horse Sport Ireland cracks down on doping

  • Ireland’s national riders are to be licensed and will be asked to fill out a log book of medication given to their horses, in a bid to counter a “lax culture to prohibited substances”.

    Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) today (6 March) announced the results of a report into the use of prohibited substances by Irish riders, undertaken after show jumper Dennis Lynch broke doping rules at the Beijing Olympics last August.

    Other plans include a complete overhaul of the HSI medication and anti-doping testing programme, a request that all prohibited practices (like the use of spiked boots) are outlawed under animal welfare legislation and a new penalty and disciplinary structure.

    Dr Gordon Holmes, who chaired the investigation said in the course of the committee’s work concerns were expressed about “a lax culture in the sector in relation to prohibited substances and practices”.

    “We believe that the recommendations in the report are straightforward and can be readily implemented. It is clear that there is a real sense within the sector that action is needed,” he said.

    HSI chairman Joe Walsh said he would implement the report’s findings without delay.

    He said: “Later today this report will be forwarded to our rules committee and they will begin the process of enshrining the recommendations into our rule book.

    “I would expect all of these recommendations, including the new anti-doping and medication testing programme, to be fully operational by the end of the year,” he added.

    The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said it “applauded” the steps taken by Horse Sport Ireland in furthering the debate on medication control and anti-doping policy.

    The FEI Anti-Doping and Medication Commission also met today to collate the recommendations from its key working groups to shape international anti-doping regulation.

    FEI secretary-general Alex McLin said: “Today’s meeting in Lausanne has proved invaluable in focusing the recommendations of the key working groups towards a clear and unified stance on clean sport.

    “We look forward to sharing and discussing our recommendations in coming weeks.”

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