Changes to the World Anti-Doping Code for 2015 came into effect on 1 January 2015. It is critical that all athletes (competing at both a national and international level) and their support personnel and partners appreciate that the anti-doping system applies to them and ensure that they are fully aware of the changes made in the 2015 Code.
You are solely responsible for banned substances for any banned substance you use or attempt to sue or is found in your system regardless of how it got there and whether there was an intention to cheat or not.
The minimum sanction for deliberate cheating is now 4 years and there is less leniency for carelessness – you are more likely to receive a 2 year ban for inadvertent doping.
UKAD have pulled together a useful Frequently Asked Questions document, which highlights key changes and the implementation timeline, the FAQs can be found at: http://www.ukad.org.uk/2015-code-faq
The Code is frequently revised to better protect clean athletes around the world; it is the internationally agreed set of anti-doping rules that apply to all athletes, in all countries that are Signatories to the Code.
Endurance GB is committed (see EGB Handbook) to the principles and practises of Clean Sport. It requires it’s Members (including Associate and temporary day members), and all persons assisting them, participating in the sport of endurance riding, anywhere in the World, to comply with clean sport Rules and Regulations. These are the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules (BEFAR), and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs), Veterinary Regulations (VRs) and Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADHRA). Additionally, BEF and FEI rules and regulations for human athletes are guided by requirements of UK Anti-Doping Ltd (UKAD) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Sadly, the legacy of all sport is severely damaged, and the integrity of athletes and trainers has been undermined, by the use of performance-enhancing drugs, doping and evasions. The purpose of EGB, BEF and FEI clean sport Rules and Regulations is to ensure that the normal performance of horse and human athlete participating in endurance riding is not affected, deliberately or unintentionally, by the influence of drugs, medications or veterinary or medical procedures; that is, to ensure that all spectators and participants are confident that the competition is fair and that the results reflect the integrity of all the athletes who compete. These principles apply to all levels of horse and rider ability and participation in endurance riding, as for other sports, and are typified by the UKAD’s pure sport, true talent 100%me initiative: See: 100% me
The legal rules and regulations of clean sport are technical and can be quite confusing for the lay-person participating in endurance riding, and are made more difficult because there are rules applying to both horse and rider. The guidance provided here to EGB members attempts to avoid legal jargon or confusing concepts, as far as possible. It explains what you really need to know, but, the health-warning is, that is not all there is to know. Links to source information are provided, for further detailed and specific reference. UKAD’s website has a helpful human athlete anti-doping glossary: see: UKAD
The rider, the human athlete in our sport, has a responsibility to know, understand, and follow the relevant rules and regulations – BEFAR, EADCMRs, VRs and ADHRA. As the rider, you are the Person Responsible (PR) for yourself AND the horse and will be held accountable for any regulation violation of that combination that occurs when you are competing together. This is true even if you are riding a borrowed, or hired, horse, or if your horse is trained and cared for by a third party (e.g. a trainer). Therefore, you need to be very careful about who you trust to care for your horses and who you trust to treat your horses. In the case of a borrowed, or hired, horse, you should make sure you are comfortable with the horse’s treating history before competing with it. In the case of a horse trained and cared for by a third party, the third party may be held responsible, with you but not instead of you. In the case of a rider who is under 18, their parent or legal guardian will be the Person Responsible on their behalf, however the young person will still be eliminated from the relevant competition in the event of a breached rule or regulation. (Note. The principle of the rider having primary responsibility was upheld by the FEI’s Endurance Strategic Planning Group in February 2014.)
Prohibited Substances & Methods
The equine and human anti-doping rules and regulations, cited above, refer to Prohibited Substances (and Methods) Lists. These are substances and procedures that are not allowed in or for a competing rider or horse. The Lists are reviewed and updated on an annual basis, and new substances and methods may be added at any time, with a compliance lag period of 90 days. Substances and methods may be removed as well as added to Lists, and in the case of human anti-doping some prohibitions are sport-specific (e.g. alcohol) for which named sports may be added and removed.
The human anti-doping Prohibited List is maintained by WADA and adopted/cited by national and international governing bodies in their own regulations. Members may access the most up-to-date version:
See: WADA prohibited list
The List is split into 3 sections, substances prohibited in and out of competition, substances prohibited in competition only, and substances prohibited in particular sports only.
The equine anti-doping Prohibited Substances List is maintained by FEI and adopted/cited by national governing bodies in their regulations. Members may access the most up-to-date version:
See: FEI clean sport
Again, the List is split into 2 groups, banned substances which are prohibited in and out of competition, and controlled substances which are medications prohibited in competition only. The list is not comprehensive in respect of banned or controlled methods (for example, administration of certain substances or gases by nebulisation or inhalation) during competition. These are detailed in the FEI Veterinary Regulations (Chapters V and VI), which members may access:
See: FEI regulations
Both Lists of prohibited substances detailed above include the following wording:
“Including any other substance with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s).”
These are substances not specifically named on the Lists. The purpose is to prevent administration of substances that are practically identical to existing named prohibited substances, particularly in their effect(s). However, members are advised that the chemical constituents and structure of many natural (plant) preparations is not identified, and caution should be exercised when administering them. Valerian, or a preparation from it, is an example, as one of its chemical constituents is Valerenic Acid which is a controlled substance, as a tranquiliser. The Lists mostly identify substances by their chemical name which may not be identified specifically on all products, but even this is complicated because some substances have more than one chemical name.
If members have any doubts about the standing of a substance within the Lists, online enquiries may be made. For substances that may be included in the WADA List, the first point of reference is Global Drug Reference Online:
See: Global DRO
And, for substances that may be included in the FEI List, the point of reference is:
See: FEI Clean sport
These difficulties do present some problems because all anti-doping regulations put the Person Responsible, i.e. the rider, as strictly liable for any breach. This means that is a violation whether or not they intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly, used a prohibited substance or were negligent or otherwise at fault. There have been well-publicised cases in the equestrian world, where a horse has tested positive for a prohibited substance as a result of contaminated feed. One of which many members will be aware involved an EGB member; although the disciplinary suspension was dismissed, the liability was not.
To reduce the risk of an unintentional or unknowing breach of equine anti-doping regulations, the BEF and veterinarians (including EGB members) advise riders, owners and trainers to:
v Keep a medical record for all horses for whom you have responsibility. BEF recommends that you keep a Medication Logbook to record all Controlled Medications given (see section below on Controlled Medications). Ask the treating veterinarian and those caring for the horse(s) to document in writing all treatments administered to the horse stating date, time, substance(s) administered, dose, route (e.g. intravenous) as well as the name and qualifications of the veterinarian. An example/template of a Medication Log Book can be downloaded:
See: National anti doping
v Bear in mind the possible contamination of feed by prohibited substances and discuss this with your feed supplier. Avoid buying products in retail outlets for which specifications are unclear or from retailers you do not know very well. This warning also applies to herbal products and feed additives. Keep a record (and, to be completely secure, a sample) of all feed and additives provided to your horse(s), including date ranges, supplier, producer, product name and reference code, and batch number/date of manufacture.
v Ensure that your horse has clean bedding and that the bedding could not have been contaminated by another horse. There is evidence that some drugs excreted in a horse’s urine can be re-ingested if the horse eats its bedding (particularly straw), and this may also apply to pastures grazed by treated horses.
v If a horse receives medication make sure that the medicines administered cannot spread to competition horses in adjacent stables/paddocks. Isoxsuprine (a treatment sometimes used for navicular disease and laminitis) is one example of a well-known contaminating substance. If a horse is treated, do not subsequently stable a competition horse in the same box without thoroughly cleaning it. Do not feed or water a horse from a bucket used for giving medications to another horse. Remove all feed and water, which may be contaminated, from common competition areas, e.g. vet-gate and venue hold areas.
Testing & Sanctions
In principle, the BEF’s BEFAR and FEI’s EADCMRs and ADHRA rules enable all horses and riders registered with the FEI, or BEF and EGB to be dope-tested In-Competition and Out-of-Competition. Testing will usually require provision of both blood and urine samples. The In-Competition provisions include all horses and riders that are entered and present, whether competing or not, at an International Event, National Event or Competition. Horses and riders may be tested at any time In-Competition from arrival at the Event venue to half an hour after the announcement of the final results of the last competition at the Event/Competition. Out-of-Competition testing is always intelligence-led, and may be requested at any time.
All members should note that the BEFAR regulations state the following
"The system provides for an increasing number of anti-doping tests across the disciplines and all affiliated members should expect their horse to be tested, whether they are competing at grassroots level or at a National Championship. The Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules for international competitors remain unchanged”
The BEFAR focus is aimed at athletes and horses within a competitive environment, however it should be noted that it is an implicit responsibility of all BEF disciplines to uphold the highest standards of equine and human welfare in relation to the use of prohibited substances.
Riders are expected to comply promptly with any request for testing under anti-doping rules for themselves or their horse, and failure to do so or provide the required sample(s) may be recorded as a violation. If your horse is selected for testing, it is important that you, the rider, accompany and observe the horse throughout the testing procedure. (Minors must be accompanied by a nominated representative over the age of 18.) Riders and/or their representatives who witness the testing are the only persons who can testify later about the procedures and whether they were conducted according to the rules. Similar principles apply if the rider is to be tested, and the rider should nominate a representative to witness sample collection, where appropriate. You have the right to request that the test material be replaced, during the sampling procedures, if you have any doubts about the sampling or the integrity of the samples taken.
Full details of the sampling and testing protocols are provided in the FEI’s EADCMRs and ADHRA rules. But, members are advised that these are subject to regular revision, so please keep up-to-date.
By far the majority of samples collected - equine and human – do test negative for prohibited substances, because the majority of equine and human participants in the sport of endurance riding are “clean”. And, that is the intention of these anti-doping rules and regulations, so the penalties and sanctions for violations are severe.
The table below provides a guide (not exhaustive) of sanctions, which will be in force from 2015.
SANCTION FOR RIDER*
Presence of Prohibited Substance;
Use/Attempted Use of Prohibited Substance/Method;
Possession of Prohibited Substance/Method
For positive rider test, 4 years IF not a specified substance and rider can show it was not intentional**, or IF a specified substance and FEI/BEF proves it was intentional
For positive equine test, 4 years + fine up to £10k + legal costs
Evading/Refusing Sample Collection
4 years; 2 years IF no intent; + fine up to £10k
4 years; 2 years IF no intent; + fine up to £10k
4 years to life; + fine up to £17k
4 years to life; + fine up to £10k
2 to 4 years; + fine up to £10k
1 to 2 years
* Subject to reduction where No Fault/Negligence or No Significant Fault/Negligence.
** “intentional” means that the Athlete or other Person engaged in conduct which he or she knew constituted an anti-doping rule violation or knew that there was a significant risk that the conduct might constitute an anti-doping rule violation and manifestly disregarded that risk.
Members are advised that sanctions due to personal violations of equine and human anti-doping regulations may have even greater consequences to Teams, in which they are a rider:
v At an FEI World Equestrian Games, entire Team Disqualification.
v At all other International Team Competitions, the rider’s individual result will be subtracted from the Team result, and should that result in the number of riders being less than the required number, the Team shall be eliminated from the ranking.
Controlled Medications & Exempted Therapeutic Uses
Controlled Medications are substances included in both human and equine anti-doping Prohibited Lists, but identified as those which are permitted for administration out-of-competition. Their use/detection in-competition is a violation, as for all other Prohibited Substance, but sanctions for the rider in the case of a positive equine test are reduced to 1 year plus a fine of up to £10,000. Members are advised to consult their veterinarian if their horse is being administered a Controlled Medication prior to an event/competition, and to carefully record the veterinarian advice and cessation of administration in their Medication Log Book. Withdrawal times must be managed to ensure that any residual substance is not present at the event/competition. Guidelines on the detection times for certain Controlled Medications are available: See: Detection times
There are exceptions permitting Prohibited Substances for riders or Controlled Medications for horses to be administered in-competition; these are called Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs).
For athletes (riders), WADA’s International Standard for TUEs (ISTUE) states:
“Athletes with documented medical conditions requiring the Use of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method may request a therapeutic use exemption.”
The strict criteria for the grant of a TUE are:
v The Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method in question is needed to treat an acute or chronic medical condition, such that the Athlete would experience a significant impairment to health if the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method were to be withheld.
v The Therapeutic Use of the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method is highly unlikely to produce any additional enhancement of performance beyond what might be anticipated by a return to the Athlete’s normal state of health following the treatment of the acute or chronic medical condition.
Although there may be some enhancement of individual performance as a result of the efficacy of the treatment, nevertheless, such enhancement must not exceed the level of performance of the Athlete prior to the onset of his/her medical condition.
v There is no reasonable Therapeutic alternative to the Use of the otherwise Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method.
Members who believe they meet these criteria AND are competing in International Rides should apply for a TUE through EGB/BEF in advance of competition. Members who are competing at a National level only are not required to apply for a TUE in advance of competition, (and, as detailed above, unless the current anti-doping test practices change for riders will not need to apply for a retroactive TUE). However, members competing at National level only, who meet the TUE criteria, are strongly advised to have a medical file prepared and ready to demonstrate their satisfaction of the TUE conditions, should application for a retroactive TUE becomes necessary.
For horses, the FEI’s EADCMRs states:
“An Equine Therapeutic Use Exemption (ETUE) provides authorisation to compete when a Controlled Medication Substance and/or a Controlled Medication Method has been administered or used for legitimate therapeutic purposes in a Horse, as provided for in the FEI Veterinary Regulations.”
There are, currently, only 2 circumstances in International Competition for such authorisations:
v Emergency Treatment with a Controlled Medication. In this case, the rider (or Person Responsible) must complete a form, have it signed by the treating veterinarian, and submit it to the Veterinary Delegate/Commission for authorisation. With the exception of a genuine medical emergency, a Controlled Medication may only be administered with prior authorisation of the Ground Jury or Veterinary Commission/Veterinary Delegate.
v Declaration for administration of altrenogest to mares. The use of altrenogest (Regumate) is allowed only in mares with oestrus-related behavioural problems, and the dose and duration of treatment must be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The rider (or Person Responsible) or treating veterinarian administering the altrenogest must complete a form and submit it to the Veterinary Commission/Veterinary Delegate for completion and signing on arrival at the Event.
For horses competing at National Events, where there is no equivalent of the Veterinary Delegate, the decision as to whether or not to compete with a horse that has been treated with a Controlled Medication must be made by the rider (or Person Responsible). BUT, the rider must endeavour to avoid breaching the BEF’s Equine Anti-Doping Regulations. Members are advised to discuss with their veterinarian regimes of treatment with Controlled Medications that will no longer be present in the horse’s system at the time of competition. If such regimes are not possible, they should complete with their veterinarian a National ETUE Medication Form which may be handed to the Testing Veterinarian, should testing occur. A retroactive National ETUE should be applied for within 10days. Members should note:
v Use of Banned Substances and Methods is not permitted under any circumstances.
v NETUEs will not be granted for long term treatments of chronic conditions.
v The BEFAR Technical Committee will look favourably on a finding of certain Controlled Medication used for minor treatments, e.g. to treat a mild colic, or for anaesthetising a small wound for suturing (but, note, any invasive treatment, such as puncturing the skin, in-competition is subject to restriction).
UKAD maintains a report doping initiative to enable it to constantly build a picture of doping in UK sport, and any information is welcomed. Any doping concerns, however small they seem, may be shared in confidence with highly-trained personnel, and they will worry about the evidence.
You can call anonymously 24/7 on 08000 32 23 32, or submit information, securely, online:
see report online