Good news from the 2012 Olympic equestrian games! Reuters London correspondent Sarah Edmonds, in a July 30 article, “Tougher Doping Rules in Force,” tells us that Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) officials have put into effect new laws governing the drugging of horses. (Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, the international FEI governs horse sports competition, including the Olympics.) The new rules are summarized as follows:
- A two-year ban as of 2010 for positive drugging tests. Since horses have no say as to what is done to them, the FEI bans a lot more substances for horses than for the human equivalent..
- Stricter rules for medication. The approach to violations is a sensible one. There are differences in the length of time it takes medications to leave the horse’s bloodstream. Any consideration of a possible drugging will have a “more lenient and calibrated approach to violations.” A first time offense will often be minimal unless evidence or proof is present that the individual intended to cheat or change the horse’s performance.
- Increased random testing.
- A stepped-up educational movement which is global. For instance, there will be a database of banned substances widely available by electronic devices. FEI and its national bodies now begin their testing policies with young riders, being sure to thoroughly explain the reasons for that testing.
- Anonymous tip line. Competitors can report violations but these must be carefully checked to make sure the tips are valid.