German Competition Horse Medication Policies Revised

Getting away with doping in equestrian events is about to become even harder for equestrians practicing in a country recognized worldwide for its horsemanship.

The German Equestrian Sports Federation (FN) has announced new regulations to control doping, both in and out of competition, with reinforced sanctions, intensified monitoring, and a specific list of 70 forbidden substances.

"Until now, the principle of zero tolerance only applied to competition, but starting in April it will be forbidden to administer these 70 products even outside the competition ring," said Soenke Lauterbach, secretary general of the FN.

Horses testing positive according to the new rules will now be suspended from competition for eight weeks, or six months if anabolic steroids were present, according to the federation's Web site. Their riders will be suspended for two years.

"Germany now has one of the strictest anti-doping laws in the world," said Dennis Peiler, spokesperson for the FN. "First and foremost, the horses' welfare is our main interest."

Now 12 pages long, the FN's revised Anti-Doping and Medication Control Rules underwent an organizational overhaul as well as supplementation with more precise details, Lauterbach explained. The document defines the detection, investigation, and kinds of violations of the use of forbidden substances, as well as possible penalties. It is the central component of a "clean sport package" of measures designed by the FN Bureau in September 2009.

"Our rules and regulations apply to all disciplines," Peiler said. "But for stable monitoring, we will be concentrating on the most important ones--the Olympic disciplines."

The FN governs 750,000 riders in 7,500 riding clubs. Its regulations apply to the 90,000 riders who participate in the roughly 3,500 competitions each year.

The new rules, adopted during a meeting in Hanover last week, will come into force April 28.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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