The first case involving new and stronger penalty guidelines for violating U.S. Equestrian Federation Drugs & Medications rules will be the subject of a rehearing, the organization announced today.
The USEF Hearing Committee has granted a request for the rehearing in the case against rider Kelley Farmer and her partner, trainer Larry Glefke, involving the presence of the calming agent GABA in a horse named Unexpected during competition in Kentucky last summer.
While the USEF said its November hearing was held in accordance with the rules as the hearing committee found the two in violation, Farmer and Glefke petitioned USEF for a rehearing, claiming they had not been properly notified of the violation and subsequent hearing.
Farmer had received a 12-month suspension and $12,000 fine, while Glefke got a 24-month suspension and $24,000 fine.
USEF President Murray Kessler stated, “Despite the fact that a fair hearing was conducted with proper notification to the respective parties, as noted by the hearing committee in its ruling, given that this was the first case in which the new board of directors-approved penalty guidelines were utilized, the extremely serious nature of the violations, and the substantial penalties imposed, the federation did not object to a rehearing and, therefore, supports the hearing committee’s decision.”
At the time the penalties were announced during the USEF’s annual meeting in January, attorney Bonnie Navin said her clients told her they had not been notified of the hearing and thus did not attend the session, nor were they represented there by counsel.
Word of the penalties was a hot topic when it came out, serving notice that USEF was determined to step up enforcement.
Kessler noted, “This case is too important in the USEF’s steadfast goal to enforce the Drugs & Medications rules intended to prevent cheating in our sport. There can be no remote shadow of doubt that all of our cases are handled in a transparent manner.”
The hearing committee ruled, however, that any arguments about the scientific basis or analytical methodology underlying the federation’s testing for GABA positives already has been conclusively determined in prior hearings and will not be a subject of the rehearing.
They further ruled that the rehearing shall be concluded in time for new findings and decisions to be issued prior to July 1. Any suspensions levied as a result of the rehearing decision shall begin July 1, which is the commencement date under the original hearing committee decision.