Fact. A horse was tested after the FEI jog in Tampa last year. That horse showed up with .06 nanogram of Bute. Note: that amount of Bute, according to several veterinarians, could not possibly alter a horse's performance. Long story short...owner and trainer suspended for thirty days, forfeited prize money and fined.
Do you think the USET, if it was the NGB would react in the manner of the AHSA with regards to the Temprelax issue or the FEI in the above mentioned case? Me thinks the USET would follow more closely in line with the FEI for obvious reasons.
I'm not saying the AHSA did not punish those involved. The $45,000.00 that Alveretto won at the Invitational must be returned and that isn't chump change. For those of you who think the punishment should have been more harsh, maybe you ought to rethink your alligence concerning the NGB issue.
Apparently the defendents did employ the same lawyer Mr. Gonda used in his sucessful argument last year. (Or at least one with as much savvy.)
I DO know that Temprelax was tested, in this country, through several different veterinarians. Apparently some of the bottles tested negative and some positive.
IMO there will ALWAYS be some product, be it "herbal" or otherwise, manufactured to aide in the calming of horses. Personally, I would prefer to hear about trainers using tryptophan or valarian as opposed to massive doses of Azium or watching some groom lunge some poor horse at a dead gallop all the while chasing it with a whip with a plastic bag attached to the end.
For those of you who think all of this is necessitated because of a lack of training in this day and age, there must have been a reason, back in the early Seventies, to inititate drug testing.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Do you think the USET, if it was the NGB would react in the manner of the AHSA with regards to the Temprelax issue or the FEI in the above mentioned case? Me thinks the USET would follow more closely in line with the FEI for obvious reasons. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I don't think it's obvious. What if Hidden Creek was one of the 7 big donors?
I am disappointed that the AHSA didn't set them down for even a month - which IMHO is still a slap on the wrist. Actually, I read the Notices of Penalty every issue, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone suspended for more than 3 months - little and big fish alike.
BTW- this punishment IS exactly analogous to the Romainian gymnast's -- she had to forfeit the prize but was not otherwise sanctioned.
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket
I think Laurie asked why would thye turn their backs NOW and sit on Rodney, Katie etc twenty thirty years ago...the answer is SIMPLE...MONEY..In the "old days" there wasnt the extreme amounts of money both in sales and in showing horses..now there is...they were intimidated by the power of the almighty dollar!!! The more I read the more disgusting it becomes. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img]
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
The AHSA is not a beneficiary of any of the obscene amounts of money spent on horses; they get entry fees, membership fees, etc., as they always have. Rodney took a barn of 30 - 40 horses to FL that year. Do you not think his being set down hit the AHSA in the pocketbook? Yes, the amounts are all up 20 years later, what isn't? But relatively speaking, setting someone of Rodney's stature down back then was truly cutting their nose off...
The AHSA isn't going to back off because of $$. they have plenty. I maintain that they thought these trainers made their case while not condoning what they did.
And yes, the gymnast had to relinquish her medal, but she did not suffer a suspension. I made that comparison to show that mistakes, intentional or un, are made in all sports, not just ours. And the steroid issue in others is much more prevalent then drugging horses.
Emmett, I am in total agreement with you about the pounding on the lunge line.
No one has spoken to the issue of the "acceptable" injecting of joints and nerving...
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>KK: And the tolerance levels are what they are told they should be.
SS: And the thing that everybody should realize about the testing program of the AHSA the amount of positives of people that go and
get caught is minute and that is something that they should be very proud of. I think they feel they have to justify the program because
they spent so much money on it. I think they should be proud of their record! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Doesn't that explain why the hearing committee felt compelled to consider the mitigating circumstances?
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>KK: This all comes from and was in association with the Nicole Shanian issue, right? Where she won in an arbitration hearing,after they said her horse tested, with less of a level of cocaine, that is actually allowed for an airline pilot in this day and age. I also read Dr. Lengel say that horses take far less cocaine to be affected than an airline pilot would, and that is not a valid argument.
SS: I think that what they are saying is, because they are allowing pilots to fly on a level of cocaine, it doesn't make it right in
this industry. I think more importantly there is contamination in so many aspects of our showing world - that has to be cleaned up. I feel that the testing procedure has done a lot better - I think that we have a great program in place. I think Cornell has done a great job and it is one of the best in the world but let us go forward and
make it better. Now they are able to pick up banamine three weeks prior to the horse show. So if you give a horse a little banamine for colic 3 weeks before the horse show and then you switch over to Bute and Ketophine your horse then tests positive with three substances with levels for one of those substances that is so low it could not possibly affect a horses performance. The tests have become so sensitive that I think we have to start to begin to have some leeway in the levels to be able to have a fairer testing program.
We are not competing in FEI- that is one or two classes a week. We need to teach people to maintain their horses safely and correctly.
KK: Aren't you saying because of the sophisticated testing that if you medicate prior to the horse show because the test is
so sensitive that the residuals of that medication you did before the show can show up in the test?
SS: The testing is so sophisticated that people are being caught with levels that are so low they would not affect the horses performance. We need to come up with levels that are acceptable.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
So why blame the AHSA? Why blame Drugs and Medication the loud voices have been heard and our voice is too soft! Ms Schoelkoff is the Chairman of Drugs and Medication for the NHJC, and they expect to be the Hunter/Jumper wing of the NGB if the USET is so designated.
Ms.Schoelkoff is also the Chairman for the International Horsemens Advisory Committee that threatened the AHSA with a mass exodus of the most elite.
Ms. Schoelkoff wants us all to learn how to medicate our horses for competition.
Don't delude yourself that the USET will do a better job!
Dr. Lowe from Cornell in an article in the Chronicle pointed out that this outside contamination only happens at hunter/jumper shows, not even the Arabians have had a single case of outside contamination.
[This message was edited by Snowbird on Mar. 15, 2001 at 11:07 PM.]
Respectfully Laurie, the numbers of those suspended plus the dollar amount contributed to the circuit are VASTLY different today than "yesterday"...No the AHSA isnt the DIRECT beneficiary but don't kid yourself, money talks and those with it are in a more "bargainable" postition than those without...I still say the whole thing REEKS and I fail to see how they had ANY intent EXCEPT to alter their horses performance..after all there were at LEAST two forbidden substances listed on the LABEL and they used it anyway! A rare combination of arrogance and "ignorance"..I don't buy it.
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
That little Romanian gymnast who was given cough syrup by her team coach was stripped of her all around gold at the Olympics. The horse owners should return the prizes and the trainers should be suspended for a long time. They know better than to just take someone's word that a substance is legal. A glance at the label should have at least aroused suspicions. Geez, maybe I'll sell them that piece of the Brooklyn Bridge I have in my safe.
I have not yet had the chance to read it in it's entirety, but there is a new "Statement" regarding this issue over on Towerheads.
\"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.\" -- Ralph Waldo E
They jumped through all manner of hoops before using the supplement and ALL PASSED LIE DETECTOR TESTS REGARDING THIS MATTER. I have known the Maddens and Bert Mutch for many years. They are respected people who have never had trouble of this nature before. So why all of a sudden now? And I am told that Margie is also an extremely honest and straitforward individual.
Jumphigh, I hope that nothing of this nature ever happens to you, or any of the rigid people who post here. You all are so quick to pass judgement on these people, without even the SLIGHTEST acknowledgement that there could be some merit to the decision the AHSA made. When you are going to suspend someone, taking away their livlihood, and potentially ruining their reputation, you had better be absolutely certain of your case. The AHSA did not think that they had that level of certainty.
And I repeat, the AHSA is not afraid of these people, or of losing revenue if they were suspended. These trainers are not even the big guns on the circuit! Their barns are not the biggest barns!
And there is ABSOLUTELY no mention of any other illegal drugs in the samples other than reserpine. So apparently, that was not an issue.
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
STATEMENT OF JOHN MADDEN, FRANK MADDEN and MARGIE GOLDSTEIN-ENGLE
As we are receiving numerous inquiries from the press and others, and as the reappears to be a great deal of interest in our hearings, we three trainers, with the full support of our owners, have determined to provide this written
statement with respect to the findings and decision of the Hearing Committee dated February 23, 2001 and the more than two year process that led to that decision.
The first thing we need to do is to thank the members of the Hearing Committee for the time they give up without compensation to sit on these matters. It is a difficult and thankless task and, although we disagree with aspects of the outcome, we sincerely appreciate the care and attention devoted to the hearing and deliberations. They understood that they had people's livelihood and reputations in their hands and gave us a fair hearing. We could not ask for more. Similarly, we would be remiss if we did not note the candour of Dr. George Maylin in his testimony which in effect began to turn the atmosphere at the hearing from an adversary proceeding to a joint search for the explanation as to how the drug came to be in the horses' blood.
The most important finding of the Hearing Committee for us is where the Panel said "under the particular circumstances of these cases it appeared [we]had not intentionally violated the rules".
All three of us knew that. Each of the five trainers acting as a group submitted to polygraph tests in advance of the hearing knowing that if one flunked, the others would use their clear tests and the spotlight would shine mercilessly on the person who failed. Each of us had statements from our veterinarians and from everyone in our respective barns that they had not administered reserpine nor had reserpine ever been in the barn. Each of us knew little about reserpine except that it was a harsh and unpleasant drug for the horses and that there had been a wave of reserpine cases some 20 years ago, so that there was a test for it. We hoped and preferred that the Hearing Committee would believe (as they did) that we were principled but if they didn't believe that, that at least they would believe we weren't so dumb as to administer a drug with a known test. From the outset two years ago, we knew we had not administered reserpine. We also knew that that is what everyone says in this situation.
In the period from the Notice of Charge to the hearing, we attempted to find out, if the drug was actually in the blood, how it got there. It is no exaggeration to describe this period as a nightmare for all of us as the charges were out there, the rumours and whispers were heard and the uncertainty of the situation caused numerous sleepless nights. We are very grateful for the support and character letters received from senior and respected people in the industry. Their support and willingness to stand with us was crucial.
In these last two years, we have learned more about testing sensitivities than we ever wanted to and what we learned scares us. It is very, very complicated but the essence is captured for us laypersons in the notion that the tests that the AHSA are now using can detect the presence of a substance down to a trillionth of a gram. It appears that in the not too distant future the tests may be able to detect a single molecule of a substance. We were fortunate to be able to enlist the assistance of a brilliant person with a PhD as a chemist and also trained as a lawyer. He showed us a number of "bugs" in the present system and the way that subjectivity can enter into even scientific testing. We realize that the AHSA is not a court but where people's livings and reputations are on the line, and as the AHSA apparently pays $5,000 per test, it does not seem to us too much to ask to have this scientific evidence meet the tests of admissibility for such evidence in a court of law with respect to protocols, testing procedures and such. In our view, it is simply unfair to suspend or punish the trainer in these types of situations where the "evidence" is not highly reliable and demonstrates a level of the drug in the system that would both show an intention to cheat and affect the performance of the horse. We realize that opinions can differ and reasonable arguments can be made to support the principle of zero tolerance, but again in our view any system that punishes someone when they have done nothing wrong is not supportable.
The problem this level of testing sensitivity causes for horsemen is that many drugs are plant based or can otherwise get into the horse's bloodstream with no input from the trainer, nor is there any means to prevent it. The FEI recently acknowledged this in part when they warned in August 2000 that "a plant which can be frequently found bordering fields in the South of France called "Canne de Provence" (Arindo donax) contains Bifotenine and ... if a horse ingests this plant it could cause a positive result ..." Should a trainer be suspended because the horse is grazed? There are obviously other recent highly publicized examples of entirely blameless trainers forced to go to hearings or agreeing to suspensions in these types of circumstances.
In our case, the common link for our horses appeared to be a herbal feed supplement that all six horses had ingested. Early on, we submitted samples of the product to the AHSA for testing and were informed that the tests were clean. This caused us to look elsewhere for the explanation. Then shortly before our hearing, we were informed, by the AHSA counsel acting very fairly, that further more sensitive tests (electrospray LCMSMS) of only some of the product had come back positive while other samples still tested clean through LCMSMS. (The original tests in question done on our horses' blood did not quantify the amount, and as noted above, one trillionth of a gram can trigger a "positive".)
The panel concluded "that it was possible these positives resulted from [the herbal supplement] and that at the times of the competitions in question it had not yet been established that some batches of [the herbal supplement] have tested positive for reserpine".
In the portion of the Panel's reasons with which we take substantial issue, they refer to Rule 410.2 which is the caution against use of tonics, pastes or products where "THE INGREDIENTS AND QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF WHICHARE NOT SPECIFICALLY KNOWN, AS MANY OF THEM CONTAIN FORBIDDENSUBSTANCES" in finding a violation and imposing a penalty. It is important to note that one of our number had actually had the product tested in a usage program designed with a vet and had the blood analyzed at Cornell well prior to the positive test in issue. It had come back clean for all forbidden substances, let alone reserpine. All of us had done some research on the product prior to using it and the label says approved for FEI use. As the evidence before the Panel demonstrated, we had done substantial due diligence on this product including consultation with the manufacturer, veterinarians, having the product tested at the same laboratory the AHSA uses and qualifying the product by discussions with fellow competitors in Europe where it has been used for sometime. It is difficult to know what else could have been done. Every horseman should ask him or herself whether they would have done the same or as much. Moreover, it appears that there is no problem whatsoever with some of the product and as Dr. Maylin testified, "there could well be a variation in the product as it is distributed". It seems to us unfair for there to be any punishment for using the product in the circumstances. All of us tried and try to do the very best for the welfare of our horses within the Rules. Using supplements is part of that care that in our view, ought to be encouraged.
We understand from a review of the testimony of the AHSA's Hearing Committee lawyer in another matter that it is the AHSA's position in keeping with its zero tolerance policy that the presence of the drug in the blood stream indicates a violation and that the evidence we adduced goes to penalty. If this is indeed the advice given to the Hearing Committee in our case, then we understand that they believed they were doing the best they could for us. However, we consider that Article 4.04 is properly interpreted to absolve from a finding of violation a trainer where, as here, there is "substantial evidence" that the drug came to be in the horse's blood through no fault whatsoever of the trainer and the likely explanation is something that could not reasonably have been predicated or prevented. It may seem to some to smack of ingratitude or sour grapes for us to complain about this, but the penalty levied on Margie Goldstein-Engle and her owner through return of the prize money in this case is substantial. The other two of us consider Margie to exemplify the best the industry has to offer. She is a person of absolute honesty and integrity. For her accomplishments to be stained by this result is not right. For her reputation to suffer in any way would be a tragedy for the sport that ought to hold her up as a role model of everything the sport should be. For us and everyone involved with the case, we believe in Margie and trust that this explanation of what occurred will mean that others will too.
For all of us, this experience has pointed out the need to address the possibility of accidental positives in our Drugs & Medication Rules. We understand and accept that trainers should face an onus when there is a positive test. It is not enough to say simply "I didn't do it". But we are at the stage where the "reach" of the science exceeds the "grasp" of the meaningful enforcement of the rules. As noted above, it is an exceptionally complicated subject but it is in our view clear that under the present system it will continue to happen that people who are entirely innocent of any intention to cheat will get substantial suspensions and have their reputations wrongly harmed. We were, in a sense, lucky in that the likely explanation as to what occurred emerged at 11:59 of the eleventh hour and that the Hearing Committee took it into account. With the sensitivity of the tests employed and the present system, there is no guarantee that others will be so fortunate. It is our suggestion that the AHSA and the NHJC need to work together with the professionals to establish:
(i) a formal channel or system of due diligence whereby manufacturers or trainers can submit a product for testing or testing results to the AHSA so that products are "cleared" for usage and trainers and owners are not thereafter responsible if it appears there are some batches that are contaminated;
(ii) an expanded trace level or accidental positive threshold for drugs that occur naturally or environmentally;
(iii) a discretion in either the AHSA counsel or head of the D&M Committee to take positive tests out of the prosecution mode where it appears objectively improbable in the circumstances that there was an intention to obtain an improper advantage or cheat;
(iv) a clarification or amendment, if necessary, of the Rules to make it express that if there is substantial evidence as to how the drug came to be in the bloodstream there is no violation by either the owner or trainer; and
(v) to be admissible, testing evidence using electrospray LCMSMS technology and testing of similar sensitivity must meet the test of admissibility of the New York state and federal courts.
This has been a long, costly, unpleasant experience for us. We agreed early on that as Ben Franklin said on signing the Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately". We stuck together. We have noted with some bemusement and no little chagrin the number of people who have and are prepared to express an opinion on the hearing result without the encumbrance of ascertaining the facts. We are providing this statement as our only response to all inquiries and to put the matter behind us, however if there are other questions that people wish to provide in writing, we will certainly consider a response.
Statement on behalf of
It won't happen to me because I don't give my horses forbidden substances. The ingredients were LISTED on the label and they were on the FORBIDDEN substance list (leaving the reserpine totally out of it!!). How to you convolute that? I don't want their livlihoods taken away from them, I want them to acknowledge wrong doing and stop hiding behind the "we really thought it was OK"..They have NOT done this. They repeatedly said they dissagreed with the hearing comittee's decision but they "respected them and thanked them" for taking the time to hear the case. (blowing sunshine up thier rear ends) I don't understand why it is so hard for them to say "We were WRONG" That is the arrogance of which I speak. I don't want to draw and quarter them, I simpley want them to take responsibility for what they have done. Lie detector tests are not admissable for very good reasons, they are not foolproof. I stand by my original statement, they knew what they were doing and the only thing they are sorry for is getting caught.
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We realize that the AHSA is not a court but where people's livings and reputations are on the line, and as the AHSA apparently pays $5,000 per test, it does not seem to us too much to ask to have this scientific evidence meet the tests of admissibility for such evidence in a court of law with respect to protocols, testing procedures and such. In our view, it is simply unfair to suspend or punish the trainer in these types of situations where the "evidence" is not highly reliable and demonstrates a level of the drug in the system that would both show an intention to cheat and affect the performance of the horse. We realize that opinions can differ and reasonable arguments can be made to support the principle of zero tolerance, but again in our view any system that punishes someone when they have done nothing wrong is not supportable. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Personally, I believe this to be a reasonable and fair statement, and I thought both the AHSA's and these riders statements to be completely straightforward and fairly representative of the situation. As I respect the AHSA's decision in this regard, I also respect the parties involved willingness to accept their decision. Equally, I respect their desire to want to change a system they believe might be responsible for some inequitable results.
As for those people who asked if the "little" people would have "gotten off with a 'slap' on the wrist", the answer is probably not! I suspect the little person would have been fined and suspended, tarred and feathered and sent down the pike with your name forever footnoted with this incident. The reason why? Read the press release, understand the enormous amount of money and resources that the individual involved spent to prove what they believed was their innocence. Do you think the average person would have these resources, or would they just take up another discipline?
If you believe that giving an herbal feed supplement is a crime, and it some how ranks higher than giving a B1 supp or playing the LTD game, or braiding the horse at 10PM so stands up all night long, then fine, I do respect your opinion... But please do not pillory these individuals for giving reserpine when that was so clearly not the case. And please understand that but for their efforts, if it had been YOU, you would stand accused (and probably convicted) of giving a horse reserpine.
I have certainly questioned whether our testing technology is getting ahead of our ability to govern with that technology, and I think that this case seems to highlight this issue. When multiple labs come back with multiple results, there might be a problem...
1. It is an unforgiveable sin to administer ANY drug to enhance a horse's performance, and anyone who is caught knowingly or unknowingly with these substances in their horses' systems should be drawn and quartered, publicly, but it is OK to inject their joints, perhaps many times a year, or nerve them.
2. NO MENTION was made by the AHSA of the other illegal drugs alledgedly in the Temprelax. Why? If they had needed a reason to set these people down, wouldn't the presence of these drugs have provided it? BTW, has anyone actually SEEN the label on this supplement listing the valerian and triptophan?
These people are not admitting wrongdoing because they do not believe they did anything wrong. Nor would I. Again, not one of us here was in those barns and knows the circumstances or reasons that the supplement was being used. Until someone who was comes forward and enlightens us, I am not going to presume to pass judgement on them. No one has died and left me GOD, or AHSA.
The USET does not have, and never has had, any kind of drug testing or enforcement program. Neither does it have, nor has it ever had, any kind of complaint, hearing, and discipline process. All of that is something the USET would have to create and set up if it became the NGB.
The people involved in this infraction are USET stalwarts, backed by the big money people upon whom the USET depends so heavily. Do you honestly think that a group that depends entirely upon the "elite" athletes, and so greatly upon the support of the big money donors who buy horses for those elite athletes, would be likely to have imposed harsher penalties upon those athletes and donors than the AHSA hearings panel did in this case?
Do you honestly believe the USET would be likely to set down the riders who it thinks are likely to win in international competition, thereby gaining the USET prestige and money?
If the USET were in charge of this and if one of the Leone brothers had been involved in this mess, do you honestly think that Armand Leone Jr., the Vice-Chairman of the USET, would ever let it see the light of day?
If you do, you have far more faith in the USET management than I have. But that's just my opinion.
"I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry
I did read the post with the ingredients. My question was has anybody actually seen the label? Just because the information is on a website doesn't mean it is on the label.
These are not stupid people; if there were other illegal drugs listed on the label, they would not have used it.
So, has anyone seen the label?
And Portia, your post makes my point for the fact that if the AHSA believes they had a case, they wouldn't have hesitated for a second to set these folks down, just as they didn't hesitate to set Rodney and Katie down, surely against USET pressure in 1978. They do not fear the trainers/owners/riders or USET. They believe they are the supreme being to our sport.
[This message was edited by lauriep on Mar. 16, 2001 at 11:56 AM.]