Cox Fights USEF Drug ChargeBy Staff Report December 22, 2015
Trainer Archie Cox is taking on the United States Equestrian Federation over a 2014 allegation that a rider in his program was in violation of USEF rules by presenting a horse with a higher than acceptable amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in its system.
The charge stems from the August Blenheim Summer Classic II Horse Show in August 2014, when Temecula, CA-rider Meredith Mateo and her mount Cartaire tested positive for GABA after 1st Year Green Working Hunters Under Saddle class. Cox, whose Brookway Stables is based in Lakeview Terrace, CA, has along with Mateo challenged the USEF with a suit filed in a New York court.
GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid. The basis of the challenge is that the the testing protocol to determine “excess of normal physiologic levels” is unreliable and unscientific. In August a USEF Hearing Committee upheld the Federation’s original bloodwork. As a result, Cox was fined $5,000 and suspended for five months while Mateo was ordered to return her prize money and pay a $300 fine.
In 2012, the USEF classified GABA an “inhibitory neurotransmitter,” or calming agent, and banned it — along with California Gold, equine supplement, and any other formula in which it is an ingredient — from use in competition. In 2014, the USEF reduced the amount of GABA allowable in a horse’s system by almost half.
Reporting on the controversy, Ratemyhorsepro presents further detail as studies to determine inappropriate GABA levels in horses. Likewise, PhelpsSports had an attorney explore the particulars of GABA testing.
Mateo is currently No. 32 in the USHJA World Champion Hunter Rider standings for Adult/Amateurs.
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