McLain Ward defends British youth rider after controlled substances disqualification

Harry Charles and Vivaldi du Dom at Fontainebleau
Credit : Scoopdyga

Friday 01 February - 16h00 | Lucas Tracol and files

McLain Ward defends British youth rider after controlled substances disqualification

Earlier this week, after the announcement of the post-event disqualification of Great Britain’s Harry Charles for a controlled substances violation for his horse Vivaldi du Dom at last summer’s Longines FEI European Youth Championships in Fontainebleau, France, elite show jumper McLain Ward of the United States took to his keyboard to support the young British rider. The former World No.1 also used the occasion to criticize the current rules.

 - McLain Ward defends British youth rider after controlled substances disqualification

Credit : Scoopdyga

Harry Charles' father Peter Charles MBE explained in a statement that, “The result is an accidental medical positive one for Lidocaine. The horse was contaminated by an innocent third party who uses the cream for an advanced cancer related skin condition while she was patting and stroking the horse.” Charles relayed expert testimony stating that the innocent transfer would not have been enough to have any pharmacological effect, but said his family fully supports the FEI’s efforts in favour of clean sport. While he said the incident has been “stressful and upsetting”, he added that no one was to blame in this situation. 
 
“I’m very sorry to read this news about a great young man, caring and responsible horseman and a top rider Harry Charles,” Ward wrote in response. “I am proud to call him a personal friend and have been and will continue to be excited to watch his development.” 

A controlled medication is one that can be legitimately be used to treat a horse but which MUST clear its system before it competes. A controlled substance is NOT necessarily a threshold substance. Harry Charles was disqualified  because the FEI  have zero tolerance for  positive tests on controlled medications.“While I’m 100% behind the protection of our horses and fair play, this is one more clear example of why we must have thresholds for substances that can come into contact with our horses and present no pharmacological effects or enhance their performance," the American concluded. "It is impossible to protect our horses from every interaction and though we must put our horses health and well-being first and diligently strive for fair-play we must also realize the consequences for innocent “persons responsible” in some of these situations are devastating personally and professionally.”

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