Recent incidents indicate that Britain’s international show jumping riders are so ignorant of current drug laws that they are in danger of being banned.
Corinne Bracken, the British Show Jumping Association’s (BSJA) international and junior trainer, expressed the fears of many when Guy Williams was found using an asthma inhaler at Royal Windsor that hadn’t been declared.
Mr Williams was unaware that he needed to fill in a therapeutic use exemption form in order not to contravene the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations.
Mr Williams filled in the form, but told H&H: “I didn’t know anything about it. I gave a urine sample to UK Sport but I haven’t heard anything yet. If Ventalin shows in my system, I could be banned for two years. I’ve used it since I was six but didn’t know it was classified as an enhancing drug.”
As well as a two-year ban, riders failing to disclose medication can be banned for life from the Olympics.
Janice Shardlow of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) said it does advise riders, but the final responsibility rests with competitors.
She said: “We and all the disciplines inform riders. The BSJA’s latest newsletters have contained information in large red letters about the therapeutic use exemption form.”
Both British Dressage and British Eventing regularly remind riders about the rules but said it was their responsibility.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 May, ’08)