Police probe 'pony doping' claims Tuesday September 12, 06:44 AM
Police have confirmed they are investigating allegations that ponies at a children's showjumping contest were doped.
Officers were called to a qualifying round of the British Showjumping Association's junior championships in St Lawrence in Jersey on Saturday after competitors complained their mounts had been unusually lethargic.
It is alleged a parent fed a fast-acting sedative to rivals' horses after being seen giving 'mints' to a number of ponies. More than 30 ponies were due to take part in the event, which was cancelled immediately for the safety of the animals and their young riders. Inspector Richard Bree of Jersey Police confirmed the force had attended the competition and was investigating allegations animals were doped.
He said: "We did attend the competition, someone believed their pony had been doped in some way, shape or form. The event was cancelled because they were concerned about the animals. The chief vet for the island has taken samples of blood from the ponies and enquires are ongoing. We are still awaiting the results of the blood tests."
The owner of two of the animals claims to have seen something fall from one horse's mouth and found an acetylpromazine sedative tablet on the ground. ACP is used by vets to calm nervous horses for purposes such as clipping.
Penny Crutwell, the local BSJA branch chairman, said: "We had a few ponies that were not acting in their normal manner.
"We had earlier been informed that there were suspicions someone fed ponies something. If horses are jumping under sedation of any description it can hinder their performance and there could be an accident. It was the final of the Under 16 Show Jumper of the Year and they were competing at quite a high level," she added.
It was reported that one pony was so unsteady it needed assistance to be loaded into a trailer so it could be taken home.
Senior classes in the championship have gone ahead as planned and the junior competition has been rescheduled for later this year.