The U.S. Polo Association Announces the 2010 USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Program
Consistent with the mission of the United States Polo Association (USPA) to protect the welfare of players and our equine partners during polo tournaments, competitions and games, as well as the role of the USPA to provide rules and conditions to ensure the safety and welfare of all participants and mounts – the USPA has developed an Equine Drugs and Medications Program (EDMP).
It is the goal of the USPA – that by developing and enacting the EDMP Rules regarding permitted, restricted and prohibited drugs, medications and substances, as well as rules regarding enforcement and sanctions for EDMP Rules violations – participants in the sport of polo will have a heightened awareness concerning the welfare and safety of the horses used in polo competition as well as ensuring the fairness of USPA competition.
USPA Players, horse owners and veterinarians – and all others responsible for the care of our equine partners – should be aware that polo horses will be subject to testing pursuant to USPA By-Law 4.d., which provides: “As a condition of membership each Individual Member of the Association will be considered to have given consent to submit to random blood and/or urine testing of any mount owned by, played by, or under the control of that Individual Member.” Therefore, commencing in 2010, the USPA has established a pilot Equine Drugs and Medications Program, under new USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Rules (“Rules”). In 2011, enforcement and adjudication of those Rules will also be in place, and at that date, the entire USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Program (“Program”) will become fully effective.
Testing of blood samples taken from horses will be conducted at the existing testing facilities of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Testing Laboratory. The USPA has selected this laboratory because the USEF has an established, ongoing program and protocol for veterinarians and technicians to sample and test equine competitors for prohibited and restricted drugs, medications and substances used in competition.
The USPA has published its USPA Equine Drugs and Medication Rules that describe permitted, restricted and prohibited drugs and medications. All drugs and medications not specifically permitted by the USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Rules are prohibited. Within those Rules, the USPA has provided Comments and Guidelines to assist in the interpretation and with the application of the new Rules. The Rules, Comments and Guidelines may be revised during and after the conclusion of the 2010 pilot program.
After the official publication date of the new Rules – February 25, 2010 – all USPA Members will have a 30-day “Notification Period” to inform and educate themselves of the Rules. As of March 28, 2010 – all USPA mounts used in any USPA competition or event shall be subject to random drugs and medications testing at randomly selected USPA eventsLive. In 2010, there will be no adjudication or sanction if a horse is tested positive for prohibited drugs or medications. The owner of tested horses will be notified by the USPA of test results if the test results are positive for prohibited drugs or medications. Beginning in 2011, the USPA Rules will provide an adjudication process that will include specific USPA sanctions for horse owners of horses that test positive.
Complete information about the USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Program can be found on the USPA Website: www.uspolo.org on the home page and under the Equine Welfare section of the site. In addition, there will be a USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Program seminar scheduled at the Polo Museum, located in Lake Worth, Florida; and, there will be a USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Program teleconference scheduled within the first two weeks of March. Should anyone have questions or require additional information concerning the USPA Equine Drugs and Medications Rules or the Program, please contact your veterinarian or USPA Executive Director Peter Rizzo at: 859-608-4766 or email: email@example.com. For more information about the USEF, please contact USEF at: 800-633-2472 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org