The United States Equestrian Federation Hearing Committee has granted a request for a rehearing in the case against Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke for the presence of GABA in the horse Unexpected during competition. In November, a hearing was held in accordance with Federation rules and the Hearing Committee found these parties violated the Federation Equine Drugs & Medications rules. As a result, the Hearing Committee utilized the newly Board-approved penalty guidelines and assessed a penalty of 12-months suspension and fine of $12,000 against Kelley Farmer and a penalty of 24-months suspension and a fine of $24,000 against Larry Glefke. (Editor's note: For more on that ruling visit https://www.usef.org/media/press-releases/usef-upholds-horse-welfare-fair-play-with-stiff-penalties-for-doping.)
Farmer and Glefke petitioned USEF for a rehearing claiming they had not been properly notified of the violation and subsequent hearing.
The Federation strongly believes that the initial hearing was conducted in accordance with Federation rules and supports the penalties imposed by the Hearing Committee during that first hearing. 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.” Kessler continued, “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 that any arguments about the scientific basis or analytical methodology underlying the Federation’s testing for GABA positives has already 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 & Decisions to be issued prior to July 1, 2017. Any suspensions levied as a result of the rehearing decision shall commence on July 1, 2017, which is the commencement date of the suspensions under the original Hearing Committee decision.
Editor's note: A 2013 article on Bloodhorse.com gave this summary of GABA: "The drug, called GABA, which is gamma-aminobutyric acid, was banned by the United States Equestrian Federation in 2012. The substance, present in the supplement known as 'Carolina Gold,' was found by USEF research to have had "many adverse reactions" in horses."