Owner’s ‘devastation’ as RIHS champion disqualified for failed dope test

  • The owner of a Royal International Horse Show supreme champion said he is “devastated” after the horse lost his title, and his place at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), following a failed drug test.

    A sample taken as a random test from Golden Tasset at Hickstead showed the presence of flunixin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

    At a meeting of the British Show Pony Society’s (BSPS) disciplinary committee on Tuesday (27 September), owner Leo Bowen was suspended for a year from “all or any of the rights and privileges of membership of the BSPS” and fined £1,000.

    Golden Tasset, who won the supreme ridden pony and supreme intermediate championships at the Royal International with Mr Bowen’s daughter Olivia, has been disqualified from his placings there, and suspended from all BSPS-affiliated shows for three months.

    Mr Bowen is also required to pay the dope-testing fee of £1,128.

    Mr Bowen said the presence of the drug was accidental, and must have been due to cross-contamination. He intends to appeal.

    He explained that another of his ponies had a bout of colic shortly before the Royal International.

    “We had to have the vet twice as it was that bad, and he gave us the stuff to give the pony in the feed,” he told H&H.

    “It must have been cross-contamination – we just can’t believe this has happened, and they won’t allow him to go to HOYS.

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    “My daughter is in bits.”

    Mr Bowen has 14 days in which to appeal the decision, and he intends to do so.

    “I don’t know what to say,” he said. “We’re absolutely devastated.”

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