—Area II Year-End Awards: There is not an Area 2 annual meeting this year, so the awards will be on display at the USEA Convention. Congratulations to all our friends in Area II for a great year of horse trials.
—FEI Considers Allowing Bute and Other NSAIDs at Competitions: At the ongoing International Equestrian Federation (FEI) meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark, the FEI is in turmoil over two substance control policies; a zero-tolerance policy, and a recently proposed policy that allows low amounts of non-steroidal anti-inflamatories, such as Bute to be present in the horse’s blood at the time of competition. One delegate stated “[the low-amounts policy] is completely unacceptable for horse welfare, and changed the whole philosophy of the FEI.”
On the other hand, some people are concerned that zero-tolerance ignores the possibility of environmental contamination and other improbable but possible circumstances. When Michael Pollard’s amazing horse Icarus accidentally tested positive for Winstrol earlier this , Michael said “the testing standards are unrealistic. Zero tolerance is a very difficult thing to manage.” Michael and Icarus sat out this fall, and now sit on the B-list as one of the country’s best eventing horse and rider pairs. Update: USEF president denies that the US was involved in supporting the new low-amount proposal.
My take: I have been saying for a while that the next major issue faced by eventing (I hope I am wrong) will involve performance enhancing drugs. The general eventing public might be surprised at the number of times anti-doping policies don’t work. But, that’s a post for another day.
—Here is an excellent article by Timothy White about equine activity signs, such as “under Florida law, an equine activity professional is not responsible for paying you a single cent when you act like a moron and snap your leg in half by trying to jump your horse off the roof onto the tractor and then sue the heck out of everyone…” Cliff Notes version of White’s article: such signs do not completely cover said equine professionals.