Can They Do That? Questions Surrounding the USOC Complaint from Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke

Professional hunter riders and trainers Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke have filed a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Section 10 Complaint against the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) regarding their suspension by USEF following a positive drug test.

The complainants seek to have the USOC put the USEF’s National Governing Body (NGB) status on a six-month probation based on allegations that the USEF Hearing Process was unfair and did not provide due process to them as required under the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act and the USOC Bylaws. They want the USOC to intervene and find that the USEF Hearing Committee has not been compliant with its requirements to provide a fair hearing. More details can be found here and here.

But do Farmer and Glefke really have a legitimate claim with the USOC? Armand Leone weighs in briefly on this interesting new development in the Farmer and Glefke suspension case:

Q: I thought the USOC only oversees athletes that compete in the Olympic Games and championships. Is this really something that they would be involved with?    

A: While the role of an NGB under the USOC includes the regulation of national competition, its primary focus is on the international equestrian disciplines and their pipelines. Given that the Farmer Glefke suspension case does not affect participation in international sport, this is not something I see the USOC getting involved with. As hunter riders and trainers, Farmer and Glefke are participating in a non-FEI discipline and the charges against them have nothing to do with the selection for either an Olympic Games or a World Equestrian Games. The USOC is currently getting ready for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, and my guess is that there will be more pressing matters for it to deal with in the upcoming 6 months.

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When to Call An Equine Lawyer

Armand Leone is an attorney by trade and no stranger to the court room, but when he leased a horse in 2012 that became injured, he was involved in a lengthy and expensive arbitration for which he hired a lawyer. After giving endless “horses 101” lessons to his counsel before any progress could be made on his case, Leone realized there was an opportunity for him to help his fellow horsemen. As a result, Leone Equestrian Law was born in 2014.

Leone operates his business on a simple principle: horses are unique. According to him, the way horses are bought, sold, and leased is a process unlike any other seen in contemporary society. “Paying to educate an attorney about the horse business is not a cost effective way to resolve legal matters,” he says.

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Simple Steps to Avoid Unnecessary Doping Charges: Avoiding the Foreseeable – Competitive Equestrian

Today’s competition horses are under constant scrutiny to avoid even perception of doping and training abuses by competition officials and the public. The inability of a horse to protect itself from unscrupulous practices makes strict oversight of training and competition mandatory. This can create and adversarial atmosphere between riders, trainers, stewards, and equestrian regulatory bodies. Positive tests for forbidden substances degrade the athlete, the horse, and our sport’s reputation. Some violations involve doping with drugs that have no role in horse care: use of these drugs is intentional and dangerous for horses. These violators deserve the full force of sanctions and fines imposed.

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