Glefke/Farmer Doping Fiasco

If you are at all interested in the H/J world and haven’t been hiding under a rock- you probably have heard at least a little bit about the Glefke/Farmer USEF suspension & fine for a GABA infraction for the horse Unexpected. There are many COTH articles detailing the issues (here, here, and Glefke’s statement here).


The short and dirty version:

January 11th 2017 a press release was published detailing the ruling. It all started with Unexpected testing positive for GABA at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show in a pre-green hunter 3’3″ class on July 28, 2016. Farmer as the owner/rider, and Glefke the trainer. The USEF slapped Glefke with a $24,000 fine and an 24 month suspension and Farmer initially received a 12 month suspension and a $12,000 fine as a “person responsible” and thus sharing the responsibility according to General rule 404.

Skip ahead to the next day- Glefke/Farmer said “NO WAY!” and denied ever even knowing about the charges or the uncontested November 29th hearing. SHOCK AND AWE. You can read their statement here.


After what I can imagine were many boo-hoos (kidding…) USEF granted G&F a rehearing.

An then, Oh Shit, not only did the USEF uphold the doping suspensions, they actually increased Farmer’s suspension to 18 months, and her fine to $18,000 (Ouch! Me thinks the committee was none too impressed with her testimony/defense).

Then Glefke came out with a public statement claiming it was a “witch hunt” and that the USEF was out to get him.

Ok, that’s the gist out it.

Snarky comments aside, I do agree that there are 2 sides to every story. There is certainly a LOT to this one. The entire transcript from the hearing is public. Part of why the penalties were so harsh was due to both defendants prior infractions, including with reserpine (a long term tranq) and Gelfke’s more recent ace infraction. Glefke’s reply, IMO, was disheartening. It seems to me that he is trying to paint the USEF as villains and the lab as incompetent (even though their were two expert witnesses from UC Davis and Cornell that both agreed, separately, that there was nothing amiss in the labs including the testing and handling of the specimens). Ummm HELLO! It’s not like you have a crystal clean record Mr. Glefke. It’s not like this is your first positive test. The worst part in my eyes? He never even denies doping the horse. Not once.

There has been a lot of concerned twittering on the COTH forums wondering if they would be held as a ‘person responsible’ if their trainer was doping their horse behind their back (as the owner/rider). I can’t really sympathize with this concern. If you have any inkling your trainer would do that- move barns now. Shouldn’t you trust your trainer implicitly to care for such precious cargo? What say you?

Also, G/F, guilty in your eyes? Or could their be some other explanation?



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  1. Maybe there should be a three strikes and banned for life rule, or ban the horse from competition for a year or longer, not just the people … I think in this case GABA was the issue, and that is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter, so I wonder how much is administered to get the desired effects, and how they administer it. Is it along the sames lines as magnesium, where the substance itself is kind of benign, until given in high does via IV?

    No question about the guilt of Glefke and Farmer–they were looking for a quick fix to keep competitive horses quiet.

    1. Agreed, and I think that’s right about the GABA. It’s only effective if give within 3-4 hrs of competing, and is given IV I believe. I agree the horse should get suspended too- that’s what FEI does. Otherwise they just transfer the horse’s ownership to someone else and keep competing it.

  2. I’m glad they set them down and during a time when they would be showing a lot. We need harsher sentencing and punishments otherwise people will keep doping these horses. If you ever want to read a shit show of a transcript though, pick up the USEF Hearing for Victoria Colvin and her mom. Aye Aye Aye.

    1. The Colvins…heavy sigh. So sad that the ‘top names’ in the sport have such long drug records as well. But yes, I think Murray Kessler is leading the USEF in the right direction with harsher drug punishments. It is the only think that will get people’s opinions and maybe make some changes!

  3. ugh this subject is so demoralizing tho. i’m not in the hunter world enough to know much about it, or like, be educated about the specifics of the case. but it’s kinda mind blowing that these tactics keep showing up among the ‘elite’ and winning professionals. and their attitude in the face of the allegations…. leaves something to be desired.

  4. No sympathy for owners/responsible persons. I’ve worked with a lot of trainers and I quickly figured out who was willing to do what to win. I’ve chosen to show with less competitive trainers because I wasn’t willing to win at the expense of my horse or my integrity. I’m glad to see such harsh penalties and I hope other organizations like AQHA will follow suit.

  5. I pretty much felt exactly the same as you until I listened to the special episode of the Plaidcast where they interview the attorney for Farmer/Glefke. I still think they drugged this horse and many other horses they show, but the process/procedure utilized by the USEF lab is highly questionable. Piper Klemm has her PhD in a science field and she pointed out that the drastic increase of the test of sample B (like 600% higher GABA level) points all fingers to the test being tampered with. For the test B to be reliable it would have to be very very close to the same number as the first sample (300something). If USEF is going to throw the book at people who drug their horses they HAVE to do a better job of building a case. I absolutely think this was a big name win for the USEF and they got overly exuberant to make an example of them, but they are losing credibility by not being transparent having a reliable lab. It will be VERY interesting to see where this goes both with the case with IOC as well as the lawsuit they are bringing against the lab. I think we will start to see quite a lot more transparency from both sides, whether they like it or not.

    1. So I thought that was fishy too- but I’ve read a lot about the 2nd sample and supposedly there could be many explinations. I don’t claim to understand it all- but I do think that a lawyer would do everything possible to cast doubt however possible. Reardless- a positive test is positive whether it’s over 100, whether it be 300 or 3000. I definitely count this as a win for the horses though!

  6. I don’t have experience at the AA hunter/jumper shows, but I did work at Quarter Horse Congress for a number of years. The number of used syringes in manure piles BLEW my mind. I guess I’m just naive, but man, until I started paying attention, I had no idea drugging was so, so prevalent across so many disciplines. I’m glad USEF isn’t backing down just because big names are involved, and I’m glad they’re handing out bigger fines and suspensions.

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