Capsaicin Is “Dope”

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has formed a commission to bring its anti-doping policies in line with the policies of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The committee, headed by Dr. Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, includes riders, vets, testing labs and FEI representatives. The commission will seek clarify for riders acceptable practices and to remove any unclear areas involved with medication and doping.

The FEI announced last month at its general assembly in Argentina that capsaicin will now be treated as doping rather than medication because it can be used to make the legs of a jumper over-sensitive, even though it also can have legitimate applications.

The FEI has a zero-tolerance policy with any drugs or medications found in a horse’s blood or urine. Capsaicin was found in the five cases of jumpers disqualified at last summer’s Olympic Games. Courtney King-Dye’s Mythlilus, the U.S. dressage horse that was disqualified, was found with a minute level of felbinac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation has a pamphlet available by mail or online at that clearly lists banned substances at U.S. shows and also includes useful guidelines on restricted medication doses and how long certain medications will remain in a horse’s system after veterinary treatment.

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