Broad definition of horse trainer
A New York appeals court affirmed a lower court’s ruling upholding the United States Equestrian Federation’s GABA suspension of Brigid Colvin.
Four justices presided for the First Department of the Appellate Division in New York State and issued the ruling on November 17. In addition to denying the motion, the interim relief granted in September staying Colvin’s USEF suspension temporarily has been vacated.
Colvin was one of two “horse trainers” suspended after Tori Colvin’s mount Inclusive tested positive for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in excess of normal physiological levels at the 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships.
Trainer and judge Steve Rivetts was listed as the trainer on Inclusive’s entry form. Colvin’s name was listed on the drug tester’s paperwork, in addition to Rivetts. After the positive GABA finding, both were suspended for seven months and fined. Colvin sought relief through the court system in late August stating USEF’s decision to classify her as a trainer was “arbitrary and capricious”, among other arguments.
Betsee Parker, Inclusive’s owner, was fined $300 and had to return the horse’s winnings.
The court’s ruling dispels the notion that there cannot be multiple “trainers” and that disciplinary action by USEF is limited to the person who signed the entry blank as the trainer.
Colvin’s seven-month suspension commences immediately, according to USEF.