By: Edited Press Release

The United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) said it appreciates the efforts made by Cargill to determine how two horses ridden in a Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) competition by US Equestrian members Adrienne Lyle and Kaitlin Blythe were exposed to ractopamine, a substance banned by the FEI.

While ractopamine is legal in the United States for use in swine, turkey, and cattle for building muscle and size, the medication is included on the FEI Prohibited Substances. It has been outlawed altogether in 160 nations, including the European Union, Russia, and China due to its controversial and adverse effects in cattle and swine.

The horses had consumed a Cargill-manufactured product, Progressive Nutrition Soothing Pink, a gastric nutritional supplement that was found to contain ractopamine. The substance was not disclosed on the ingredient list due to trace amounts of the substance being present in one of the ingredients. Cargill had samples from the same batch as the horses consumed tested, and those samples tested positive as well.

The FEI imposed a provisional suspension on the riders and the horses as required under the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Medication regulations. The riders and owners sought relief from the suspension, which the FEI Tribunal granted by lifting the riders’ suspensions. The Court Arbitration of Sport also ruled that the horses’ provisional suspension should be lifted, effective May 8.

The FEI’s policy to provisionally suspend horses for an initial period of two months regardless of the source or cause of the positive sample and cites horse welfare, and a fair and level playing field for the purposes of the policy.

Since the positive tests have come to light, Cargill issued a statement regarding the incident, including an admission of responsibility for the contaminated supplement. The statement reads, in part:

“Through our investigation, we identified that Progressive Nutrition Soothing Pink, a nutritional supplement used to prevent gastric upset, contained an ingredient that included trace amounts of ractopamine. Upon learning of this trace finding, we immediately withdrew our Progressive Nutrition Soothing Pink product from the market. At this time, we have identified and isolated the ingredient that was the source of the contamination and we have completely stopped use of the ingredient in all products.”

US Equestrian and the FEI warn all persons horse care—including riders, athletes, and support staff—to be diligent about confirming ingredients that are ingested by their competition horses. It is recommended that caretakers keep a logbook listing all supplements administered to competing horses including all details such as date of administration, who administered the supplement, dose, place of administration (location), official product name, and relevant batch number. Logbooks can be obtained from the FEI Veterinary Department. This information was critical in identifying the source of the positive test results in these cases.