Positive steps towards unified approach to dope testing in showing circles *H&H Plus*

  • Discussions to bring showing’s dope testing rules in line with other equestrian disciplines in Britain are on going. H&H finds out more...

    PLANS for a “unified” approach to dope testing in showing are being discussed with the hope of bringing the sport in line with other equestrian disciplines.

    Preliminary talks have taken place between the Showing Council and British Equestrian (BEF) around some showing organisations using BEF’s equine anti-doping and controlled medication rules (BEFAR).

    Under these rules, if a horse or person receives a period of ineligibility for a failed dope test in one discipline, they are not allowed to participate in any event or competition organised by another BEF member body.

    If it is agreed by BEF and the Showing Council that showing organisations adopt BEFAR, this would mean a sanction imposed in another discipline would apply to those competing in showing and vice versa.

    Sacha Shaw, National Pony Society (NPS) office manager and chair of the Showing Council’s working group, told H&H dope testing had been discussed by the council for a number of years and it was decided to approach BEF about adopting BEFAR.

    “Three years ago we had a difficult time with failed dope tests at the NPS championship show and it became clear any action we took as a society couldn’t be reciprocated by other showing bodies, which meant any penalties imposed were pretty meaningless because there are so many societies a person could go to to carry on competing,” she said.

    “It is so important sanctions apply equestrian-wide – it’s crucial for our industry. We’ve had two positive meetings with BEF and the next stage is the Showing Council members will have discussions with their boards.”

    Showing Council chairman David Ingle told H&H the discussions had been a “positive step”, adding it is up to individual organisations whether they choose to adopt new policies. The British Show Horse Association launched its own anti-doping policy this month (news, 1 October).

    “We are not a governing body – we’re an overarching umbrella body to help unify things wherever possible so the members opt in if they want this,” he said.

    “Should this be successful, I am very keen on education alongside it – organisations must make people aware of what the changes are and provide education on clean sport.”

    Sandra Lawrence, company secretary of the British Skewbald and Piebald Association, told H&H she believes adopting BEFAR rules would be “excellent” for showing.

    “It would bring a consistent approach across a large sector of the equine community. We’re trying to be robust, fair and open about trying to achieve clean sport and I don’t think anyone will be unhappy about that because it’s in the interest of competitors and horse owners,” she said.

    BEF interim CEO Iain Graham told H&H the organisation had been having “positive discussions” with the Showing Council about how to provide an equine dope testing programme going forwards.

    H&H 22 October 2020


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