A Western performance horse trainer and his wife who were suspended and fined by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) for violating its drug policy at the Lucas Oil World Championship Show say they did not give illegal drugs to their horses.
The AQHA issued a statement this month saying it had sanctioned Mozaun and Sarah McKibben after four horses tested positive for guanabenz, a depressant of the cardiovascular system.
The association said the drug, forbidden per AQHA Rule VIO401.2, was found in four horses: His Royal Cat (by Boon A Little), Wimpy Tejano (by Wimpys Little Step), Wimpys Shining Jac (by Wimpys Little Step) and Chex Are Cashin (by Nu Chex To Cash).
In a statement given to Quarter Horse News, the McKibbens denied giving the horses illegal drugs or using guanabenz, a known illegal drug. Additionally, having won a combined 21 AQHA World Championships, they said they are well aware of the association’s testing policies and rules.
“We know the rules and policies and would never administer any forbidden substance to any of our horses to win and to know in the future it would be taken away,” their statement said, in part. “We love our American Quarter Horses and value AQHA’s ruling on this matter. We are deeply saddened and apologize to anyone that this has impacted. I do believe sabotage, jealousy and vindictiveness is more common than what we know.”
The AQHA alleges His Royal Cat and Wimpy Tejano tested positive in samples taken Nov. 4, 2017, immediately after the Junior Ranching Riding preliminaries. Wimpys Shining Jac’s positive came from a Nov. 6, 2017, sample taken after the Senior Ranch Riding finals. The final violation, Chex Are Cashin, allegedly was found in a sample taken Nov. 7, 2017, after the Amateur Ranch Riding finals.
At AQHA world shows, each world champion is drug tested and additional horses are tested based on random drawings that are selected months before each event.
As trainer of all four horses, Mozaun was fined $10,000, his AQHA membership was suspended for 18 months and ordered to serve five years of probation at the conclusion of his suspension. Mozaun, who exhibited three of the four horses, also saw his AQHA Professional Horseman status revoked as a result of the incident.
Sarah, who owned two of the horses – His Royal Cat and Wimpys Shining Jac – and was owner and exhibitor of a third, Chex Are Cashin, was suspended from AQHA for a year and fined $3,000. She also will serve five years of probation after her suspension.
All four horses were disqualified as a result of the tests. Officials with AQHA have moved up other exhibitors as a result of the disqualification of the McKibben horses.
Officials say questions have arisen regarding whether other horses owned by violators of AQHA drug rules are subject to disqualification if they were shown at the same show. The AQHA is in the process of reviewing its disciplinary rules/penalties through the Administrative Penalty Task Force.
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