Hunter professionals Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke have filed a complaint with the U.S. Olympic Committee regarding their suspension by the U.S. Equestrian Federation following a positive drug test that resulted in suspensions for both.
In their complaint with the USOC, which oversees national governing bodies for sports, Glefke and Farmer are stating that they were not given due process in their hearing and that USEF’s test laboratory mishandled their blood samples, making the positive tests invalid.
A horse in Glefke and Farmer’s care, Unexpected, tested positive for GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, in July of 2016. Glefke was listed as the horse’s trainer and Farmer as the owner and rider. The USEF initially imposed a $24,000 fine and 24-month suspension and $12,000 fine and 12-month suspension to Glefke and Farmer, respectively, with the suspensions starting July 1 of this year.
Glefke and Farmer requested a rehearing with the USEF, alleging they were not properly informed about the first hearing and therefore were unable to attend and defend themselves.
In response to Glefke and Farmer’s complaint, USEF granted a rehearing, slated to take place June 6.
Glefke and Farmer allege that when Unexpected’s B sample was tested, it was tested using a different method than the A sample. They also state that it showed GABA levels six times higher than the initial sample after improper storage.
“We believe they tested plasma from some other horse, or the person that ran the test was not competent to run the test, or their machines were malfunctioning,” said John Pappas, one of Glefke and Farmer’s attorneys.
Pappas argued that any substance in the sample should degrade over time and not increase, so the B sample containing six times the GABA of the A sample is indication the test was faulty. He also argues USEF’s method for determining a threshold for the maximum amount of GABA a horse is permitted to have in its blood without violation is not scientific, as GABA is a naturally occurring substance, and levels vary depending on the individual animal.
Glefke and Farmer’s counsel also stated they do not believe USEF is granting them a fair rehearing.
“I would like to see the hearing provide my clients with due process. However the USEF has not given us due process to this point, and I don’t expect it,” Pappas said. “There are documents that they should turn over. They’re bringing in experts, and contrary to law all over the United States they won’t disclose in advance what documents and materials their experts have reviewed and will rely upon.”
Glefke and Farmer’s attorneys are seeking for the USOC to put the USEF on probation until the organization complies with its bylaws for a fair hearing.
Julian McPeak, USEF marketing and communications director, stated the organization “does not comment on active cases.”