The French eventing team faces the prospect of being thrown out of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after Qalao de Mers, ridden by Maxime Livio, tested positive for a banned medical substance at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has confirmed the horse, part of the French team that finished fourth in the team eventing competition ensuring qualification for Rio 2016, tested positive for the controlled medication substance acepromazine, banned during competition.
The sedative was found after a sample was taken from Qalao de Mers last Friday (August 29), who also partnered Livio to fifth in the individual competition.
The case is now set to go before an FEI Tribunal - on a date yet to be announced - but if found guilty then the French team and Maxime Livio will be disqualified from the World Equestrian Games and will also be banned from competing at Rio 2016.
The FEI also revealed a second horse tested positive for a prohibited medical substance on August 28.
Tra Flama, ridden by South African Giliese de Villiers in the endurance competition, returned a positive reading for phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone.
Phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used for the treatment of pain.
Tra Flama was vetted at the second Vet Gate on the endurance course, revealed the FEI.
Both cases will be examined at the upcoming hearing.
"It is the first duty of a regulator to ensure clean sport and a level playing field and we do this by conducting an ongoing and very comprehensive testing programme," said FEI secretary general Ingmar De Vos.
"We had clean World Equestrian Games in 2010 in Kentucky and at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
"Our system works and sends out a strong message to our athletes and their entourage that clean sport is our absolute top priority.
"We carried out an intensive awareness campaign prior to the Games and also offered pre-arrival testing to all participants, so it is very disappointing that we have two positives for controlled medication substances at the Games, especially when it is well known and well accepted that both these substances are not permitted in competition.
"Although these are controlled medication not doping substances, we take this very seriously."
A total of 137 horses were tested in the first week of the Games in Normandy under the FEI's Clean Sport campaign.
Forty-nine of these were in endurance, 24 in eventing, 22 in dressage, 21 in reining and 21 in Para-equestrian dressage.
In addition, the FEI says it conducts compulsory testing of all individual medal winners in Normandy and at least one horse from each of the medal-winning teams.
All equine samples taken prior to and during the Games are tested at the FEI Approved Laboratory in Paris.
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