Scrolling through social media this week I saw on the horse and hound facebook page that 2 British riders have been stripped of titles after positive dope tests. Dope testing always seems to b a pretty hot topic of conversation across all disciplines. The FEI and other governing bodies such as BSJA, BE, BD do dope testing to help ensure the welfare of horses competing.
So what is a dope test?
The FEI or governing body of the sport can take blood and/or urine samples from any horse competing at any competition. If your horse is chosen for a dope test you will be accompanied by an official to a designated stable with your horse, they will take either a urine or blood sample (sometimes both), not all horses will urinate so if this is the case then a blood sample will be taken. All samples remain anonymous and are identified on a code basis. The samples are then sent off to the lab for testing of any prohibited substances.
What can we do to help prevent positive tests?
Even if you only have 1 horse, its just as important to have good yard biosecurity as a yard of 100 horses. Listed below are som ways in which we can try and ensure this.
• Use separate feed and water buckets for each horse.
• If a horse is receiving medication use a separate feed bucket to normal (if its going in feed), wear disposable gloves when preparing and wash hands after. Wash and store this bucket separately to others.
• Your vet should be familiar with all prohibited substances and know the withdrawal periods.
• Only use feed and supplements form reputable companies companies and that are certified free from any prohibited substances. It’s also a good idea to keep a note of batch numbers.
• Note down in a yard diary or medicines log book if and when any horse has medication.
• Make sure you are familiar with an up to date list of all prohibited substances. The FEI also has an app you can download ‘FEI clean sport’. Using this app you can search any product or ingredient to check its safe to use.
• Be careful if you yourself are taking or prescribed any medicines or cream as cross contamination could easily occur this way.
• If you are a groom or member of the british grooms association make sure you complete the groom clean certificate.
There is lots of information available on the internet and from the FEI and other governing bodies about dope testing so if you are ever unsure there is plenty of information readily available to you.