The United States Equestrian Federation issued a statement this morning reiterating their commitment to a clean sport and announced the findings of a case concerning hunter horse, Unexpected. The horse, owned and ridden by Kelley Farmer and trained by Larry Glefke, tested positive for the substance GABA. Also known as gama aminobutyric acid – an inhibitory neurotransmitter – the substance is used to calm a horse and make them less reactive.
Because GABA is a category IV drug (among the most serious prohibited substances) and because of the additional pending cases against both Kelley and Larry, fines and suspensions have been issued for both parties.
Kelley Farmer has been suspended for 12 months and will pay a $12,000 fine. Larry Glefke has been suspended for 24 months, and received a $24,000 fine.
The additional cases involving substance issues for both parties was a factor in the fines and suspensions. According to the USEF release, “In support of the penalty against Glefke, the Hearing Committee referenced his prior reserpine violation, also a Category IV substance, a recent violation involving the sedative acepromazine, and a violation for filing false Medication Report Forms. These are factors considered under the Penalty Guidelines for enhancement of penalties. Likewise, the Hearing Committee noted Farmer’s prior reserpine violation as a factor that attributed to the penalty awarded against her.”
‘Unexpected’ tested positive for the substance following a Pre-Green Hunter 3’3″ class at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show on July 28th, 2016. Neither Farmer nor Glefke attended the scheduled hearing with the USEF Hearing Committee or submitted witnesses, evidence, or rebuttals to the charges.
Bill Moroney, USEF Chief Executive Officer, said, “We applaud the Hearing Committee’s decision in this matter. We are focused on ensuring safety and fairness in equestrian sport. The use of GABA in horses competing in USEF competitions compromises these priorities. Our Equine Drugs & Medications program is designed to protect our horses, as well as the participants who compete clean horses. It’s clear from the penalties issued in this decision that the Hearing Committee takes the purposes of the program very seriously.”
Kelley Farmer is one of the winningest riders and owners in the hunter jumper sport. As an owner, she is ranked #44 in leading hunter owners, and has won numerous national and international hunter titles in her career.
Coincidentally, Unexpected was sold just last week to junior hunter rider Katherine Dash, who won the 3’6″ Junior Hunter Championships aboard the horse at the ESP Holiday Festival in Palm Beach at the end of December.
Below is footage of the class at Kentucky Horse Park where Unexpected finished first of 17 on the date of his drug testing: