Last month we learned that Julia Krajewski’s horse Samourai du Thot tested positive for the controlled medication Firocoxib during the 2017 FEI European Championships at Strzegom, Poland, in August. When the B sample was also confirmed positive, Julia was disqualified from the European Championships resulting in Germany losing its team silver medal.
At the time Julia was unable to determine how Samourai du Thot had ingested the Firocoxib and maintained that neither herself nor her team was at fault.
Julia had 21 days (until November 30) to decide if she would pay a sanction to the FEI or appear before the FEI Tribunal to explain her case and has spent that time conducting an extensive internal investigation. Ultimately, she decided to accept the sanction due to insufficient evidence to prove her innocence.
“I am grateful to have been offered support and advice by two experienced experts from UK, one a specialist solicitor, and the other a toxicologist. We have reconstructed the complete routine around Sam from August, 3rd to August, 20th, to get a total review of training, feed and nutritional additions, his whereabouts and the persons present or in charge of him at any time,” Julia said in a statement on November 30.
“We had all feed in question tested for Firocoxib, with negative results. The course of events in my team and in the stable during the Championship have been investigated, the blood samples we could get hold of further analyzed, without revealing any helpful insights. I questioned our hosts at the training camp and the FEI steward in charge of the stables at Strzegom.
“To rule out mistakes of our team, the vet bills of all my horses during previous years have been checked. Equioxx or Previcox, the only medicaments which contain Firocoxib, have never been prescribed or obtained. A contamination through urine (of man or dog) can meanwhile be out ruled.”
Based on their investigation, Julia and her team determined that the controlled substance could “only have been absorbed through the pharmaceuticals Previcox or Equioxx at any one time between the dressage and cross country test at the European Championships.
“The results of these extensive investigations allow me to rule out with certainty a mistake in my own stable management. Neither me nor any person from my team or surroundings have, knowingly or unintentionally, administered one of these medicaments to Sam.”
However, because Julia was unable to explain the exact circumstances surrounding the ingestion of the controlled substance, she has accepted the FEI sanction and subsequent fine.
“According to FEI regulations, I had two options: I could accept an ‘administrative sanction’, which means paying a substantial fine and ending up with a ‘record’ in the FEI register. Or I could demand a hearing before the FEI Tribunal, which would either acquit me, or convict me to a competition ban of maximum six months (which not only applies to starts as rider, but also as a coach).
“The rider is the person who is considered responsible for the horse in every way, thus the verdict will be ‘guilty’, unless I can prove how exactly the substance Firocoxib has gotten into my horse. Being innocent myself, is not sufficient to avoid a verdict including a ban.
“I must regrettably admit that the goal ‘acquittal’ is not attainable. The evidences which we were able to collect are not sufficient to advocate an application to the FEI Tribunal. Consequently, I will accept the administrative sanction.”
Julia lamented that while the case is closed in the eyes of the FEI, she remains unsatisfied.
“I will have to ponder the consequences this incident implicates for my future. Not to know what really happened to Sam will remain a constant worry to me. The wellbeing of my horses is always my first priority, and I will take every possible measure to make sure that something like that can never happen again. I will make use of the next months to design the best possible security for my horses both at home and at competitions.”
Read Julia’s full statement here.