As an affiliate body of Equestrian Australia, AERA is bound to support the concept of a “clean sport” by implementing Equine Anti Doping and Controlled Medication Rules . This also supports our horse welfare ethos that horses should compete to the level of their fitness and any fitness or health concern for a horse should not be masked by the use of any substances. A full list of prohibited substances is available here.
Who is responsible?
AERA is responsible for the overall administration of the sport and has established a target number of swabs to be done each year in each Division as a guideline. Division Associations are responsible to conduct swabbing at a number of rides each year, with swabbing mandated at Championship events. Apart from Championship events, the scheduling of swabbing is determined by the Division Association Management Committee member who holds this portfolio and this is not publicized. However persons responsible (owners, trainers and riders) should be aware that swabbing can occur at any event. Swabbing Stewards are accredited by Equestrian Australia. Samples are tested by the National Racing Laboratories. The entry forms persons responsible ‘sign’ when nominating (online or otherwise) state that they are responsible for any substance found in their horse and that they will participate in this process.
Selection of horses to be swabbed
This is determined before the ride commences by the Chief Steward and Head Vet. For State Championships and Tom Quilty Gold Cup events it is mandated that first-place winners in each weight division be swabbed and other horses as determined by a random selection, which may be a placing across the line, a placing in each division, horses presenting for best conditioned assessment or other means. The Head Vet may also ask that any horse be swabbed as a “targeted swab”.
The person responsible is given a copy of paperwork by the swabbing steward and this will include the sample number. All negative samples are posted on the EA website here and you can check that the results of your sample have been posted – there is no identification of horse or rider. Negative results can take 4 – 8 weeks to be posted. AERA is advised of a positive swab immediately. If the sample taken from your horse is positive, you will in the first instance be contacted by AERA. Your DA Management Committee is responsible for investigation of this matter and for the administration of any penalties. The outcome of positive swabs is published on the AERA website.
Protecting yourself and your horse
Forms 6 and 7 on the AERA Website should be submitted to the Head Vet at pre-ride vetting to advise on any medication that has been given to your horse in the last 28 days. This may be taken into consideration in the event of a positive return on your sample.
More detailed information is available in the AERA Rulebook as above.