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USEF Upholds Horse Welfare and Fair Play with Stiff Penalties for Doping

by USEF Communications Department | Jan 10, 2017, 3:59 PM EST

Lexington, Ky. - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Hearing Committee has issued its first decision imposing penalties pursuant to the Equine Drugs & Medications Penalty Guidelines that went into effect January 1, 2016. The Penalty Guidelines recommend ranges of penalties for violations of the Drugs & Medications rules with regard to particular categories of forbidden substances. Substances in Category IV, which include GABA, contain the most serious penalties. The Penalty Guidelines also take into account whether it is the respondent's first, second, or third offense.

Larry Glefke received a 24-month suspension and a $24,000 fine after Kelley Farmer's horse, Unexpected, tested positive for GABA at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show in a Pre-Green Hunter 3'3" class on July 28, 2016. Glefke was identified on Unexpected's entry blank as the trainer. Farmer was identified as Unexpected's owner and rider.

The Hearing Committee also found sufficient evidence to support imposing a 12-month suspension and a $12,000 fine against Farmer in her capacity as a "Person Responsible," and thus accountable for the condition of the horse under General Rule 404 of the Drugs & Medications rules.

In support of the penalty against Glefke, the Hearing Committee referenced his prior reserpine violation, also a Category IV substance, a recent violation involving the sedative acepromazine, and a violation for filing false Medication Report Forms. These are factors considered under the Penalty Guidelines for enhancement of penalties. Likewise, the Hearing Committee noted Farmer's prior reserpine violation as a factor that attributed to the penalty awarded against her.

The Hearing Committee expressed concern that despite their awareness of the charges against them and of the scheduled hearing, neither Glefke nor Farmer attended the hearing or submitted any witnesses or evidence to rebut the charges against them.

Bill Moroney, USEF Chief Executive Officer, said, "We applaud the Hearing Committee's decision in this matter. We are focused on ensuring safety and fairness in equestrian sport. The use of GABA in horses competing in USEF competitions compromises these priorities. Our Equine Drugs & Medications program is designed to protect our horses, as well as the participants who compete clean horses. It's clear from the penalties issued in this decision that the Hearing Committee takes the purposes of the program very seriously."