Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise — New Zaland's leading eventing combination
Clifton Promise tests clear after Burghley Horse Trials

Thursday, 9 October 2014

We are delighted to announce that the FEI EADCMP Doping Controlled Medication negative results list from Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2014 has just been released.

Clifton Promise was tested and is included in this negative results list. There are six horses on the list out of the 65 starters and Clifton Promise is the only one included who finished in the top five places.

Paget and McNab cleared of doping their horses at Burghley

FEI Tribunal vindicates both riders with "No Fault or Negligence" decisions

Thursday, 7 August 2014

With regard to the positive tests for a banned substance found in our two horses Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September 2013, we are delighted to announce that the FEI Tribunal has ruled that there was "No Fault or Negligence" by anyone associated with either horse (see FEI Equine Anti-Doping Decisions). As a result, the provisional suspension that had been imposed by the FEI on both riders, Jock Paget and Kevin McNab, has now been permanently lifted.

This outcome confirms what we have consistently said since this news broke on 16th October last year – that both Jock and Kevin are two exceptional individuals who are not only very talented and hardworking, but also operate at all times in an ethical and honest way and for whom the welfare of their horses is absolutely paramount.

It is also great news for the sport of eventing, as it confirms it remains clean of any drug abuse of horses.

To help clarify the situation for everyone, below is a summary of the key facts, as we understand them, of the FEI Tribunal's decisions regarding Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot, which extend to 36 and 33 pages respectively:

  1. The system the FEI employ once a prohibited substance has been found in the system of a competition horse is the presumption of guilt by the rider unless they themselves prove their innocence.
  2. The "No Fault or Negligence" ruling by the FEI Tribunal means they are convinced neither rider, or anyone associated with either horse, intentionally or knowingly administered any prohibited substance at any time – either in the lead up to Burghley or at the competition itself. They effectively are saying all associated parties are blameless of any wrong doing.
  3. The standard set for a "No Fault or Negligence" ruling by an FEI Tribunal is extremely high – so much so that there has only been one previous time when a 'no fault' ruling has been given for all associated parties, i.e., no-one received a ban or penalty. As perspective, there has been an average of 18 cases a year over the last seven years in Europe alone where the FEI has identified a positive drug test for a horse. This confirms how exceptional it is for us to have achieved this 'no fault' ruling.
  4. Once the positive B sample tests for the prohibited substance 'Reserpine' were received for both horses, neither rider has ever disputed the validity of this finding. It was accepted that this had somehow unknowingly entered the horses' systems.
  5. Reserpine is a long-acting sedative or tranquilliser used by vets in some countries with horses, and also historically with humans in certain circumstances. It is recognised as being a product that stays in the body and continues to act for many days if not weeks. Its recorded side effects in humans include drowsiness, blurred vision and shortness of breath.
  6. Whilst it might be argued that the presence of Reserpine in an excitable horse's system could aid performance in the dressage phase, it would seem very clear that it would be a distinct hindrance for cross country the next day and indeed for then trying to get a tired horse to show jump clear on the final day.

    The Burghley cross country course is one of the most physically demanding on a horse in the world, with enormous fences and hilly terrain. Even with a fully alert and talented horse, history shows riders can get seriously injured, even killed during this phase. It therefore seems absurd to think any rider would set off cross country at Burghley knowing their horse had ingested a long-acting sedative or tranquilliser such as Reserpine in the days prior! This would seem absolute madness for a rider and, whilst both Jock and Kevin are extremely brave, they are not mad!

  7. Scientists commissioned by the riders and ourselves found contamination with Reserpine of a supplement called LesstressE used by both riders for their horses.
  8. The supplement was produced by a long-established and reputable company called Trinity Consultants, whose client list includes many of the world's top event riders, particularly those UK based. The company was set up in 1996 by Roger Hatch, following his extensive experience as a horse nutritionist for many leading companies. Trinity Consultants has never before suffered any positive test for any banned substance by riders using its products and indeed made a categorical statement on its website and other materials that LesstressE was free of any substances prohibited by the FEI.
  9. The scientists showed Trinity Consultants the analytical results confirming Reserpine contamination in bottles of LesstressE used by Jock and Kevin, but also Reserpine contamination in bottles obtained from other riders who they knew used the supplement. Trinity Consultants then agreed to make a product recall of LesstressE.
  10. Those bottles that were returned were then independently tested by the scientists and they found that nearly all bottles of LesstressE so available to them, which were produced over the period leading up to Burghley 2013, were also contaminated with Reserpine.

    Roger Hatch of Trinity Consultants then acknowledged that the contamination of the supplement with Reserpine must have occurred before the product left his manufacturing facility and not as a result of anything the riders themselves had done.

  11. The supplement LesstressE has been used by both Jock Paget and Kevin McNab for several years for their horses who stress whilst away from home or in a competition environment. They have been using it with Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot respectively at all major FEI competitions since they each arrived in the UK.
  12. Clifton Promise has been tested by the FEI whilst being given LesstressE on four previous occasions, including at Badminton 2013. Clifton Pinot has similarly been FEI tested once before whilst using the supplement. In all cases the test results were negative.
  13. The FEI have been testing for Reserpine for over 10 years now and showing positives for it as far back as 2004. There has been no recent change to the testing for Reserpine.
  14. When the FEI laboratories test a blood or urine sample they test for over 1,000 prohibited or restricted substances each time, including Reserpine. Hence, if either Clifton Promise or Clifton Pinot had previously been given LesstressE contaminated with Reserpine, or indeed been given Reserpine by any other means, it would have shown up as a positive result at that time.

In summary, this situation of a positive FEI test for the prohibited substance Reserpine for both Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot at Burghley 2013:

  • Arose from the contamination of a supplement given to both horses.
  • The contamination occurred before the supplement left the manufacturer and was totally unknown to the riders. This is accepted by the supplement manufacturer, who is established and reputable with an extensive client base.
  • Both horses had used the supplement many times previously and been tested by the FEI whilst doing so at previous 4-star competitions, with negative results.
  • The contaminant itself, Reserpine, is a long-acting sedative or tranquilliser and is likely to be a distinct disadvantage to a horse's performance in the cross country and show jumping phases of a 4-star 3DE.
  • A rider would know they were increasing their chances of injury and possibly death by intentionally giving Reserpine to their horse in the days before they set off on the Burghley cross country.
  • The FEI have been testing for Reserpine for over a decade and it is included each time they test a sample. A previous negative result means there was no Reserpine present at that time.

This rare "No Fault or Negligence" ruling by the FEI Tribunal totally vindicates Jock Paget and Kevin McNab, along with Clifton Eventers and anyone else involved with these horses, from any wrong doing. The great cloud that has been over everyone's heads for almost a year now has finally been lifted.

Jock Paget and Clifton Promise were the first rider/horse combination for 24 years to win both Badminton and Burghley in the same year in 2013. It is extremely sad that, as a result of this matter and how long it has taken to be resolved, they could not go on to try and be the first horse/ rider combination to ever win the 'Grand Slam' at Kentucky in 2014. (The only rider to previously win the Grand Slam, Pippa Funnell, did so using more than one horse).

In addition, the length of time this has taken has meant Kevin McNab could not prepare Clifton Pinot properly to try and meet Australia's selection criteria for WEG 2014 and has missed the opportunity of representing his country for the first time at a major championships.

However, now at least we can all focus on the future. Kevin and Clifton Pinot are aiming to shine at Burghley. Before that, however, Jock and Clifton Promise will try and show the world what a great combination they are by aiming to win Gold at WEG 2014 in three weeks' time.

Please support Jock and Kevin and wish them well, as after all that they have been through over the past year, there are certainly none more deserving of success than these two exceptional individuals.

Frances Stead
Link: Equestrian Sport New Zealand – Paget Cleared

Supporting New Zealand eventing for over 15 years

For over 15 years Clifton Eventers has worked to build the reputation of the Clifton name, in the process supporting over a dozen young up-and-coming riders with quality horses and selling over 120 eventers with the Clifton prefix to riders around the world, including Olympic gold medallist David O'Connor.

Clifton horses have represented New Zealand on the world stage since 2001 – including Clifton Promise at the 2010 World Equestrian Games at Kentucky where he finished seventh out of 80 starters and again at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where he was part of New Zealand's Bronze medal winning team.

Indeed, Clifton Promise was the third-ranked eventing horse in the world in 2012, amassing 296 FEI points from just three FEI competitions.


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Latest news

06 June, 2014

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has just issued the following statement, reproduced in full below.

New Zealand eventer Jock Paget is temporarily clear to return to the competitive arena after the FEI Tribunal this morning lifted his provisional suspension pending the release of their full ruling.

27 November, 2013

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has just issued the following statement, reproduced in full below. As stated previously, Clifton Eventers will not be making any separate statement other than to emphasise once again that all the relevant parties state categorically that none of them have taken any actions with the intent of administering any prohibited substance. We would also reiterate that Clifton Eventers are firm supporters of all policies that prevent the use of any substances that enhance the performance of any horse. We all want a clean sport and a level playing field for competition. It is the only fair way for the best combination to become the winners on the day.

27 October, 2013

Last week we started the first of what we thought would be a series of weekly updates on the matter of the positive 'A' sample findings for Clifton Promise and Clifton Pinot from the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, and the indefinite suspension of their respective riders, Jock Paget and Kevin McNab.

Given the likelihood that these findings will lead to an FEI Tribunal hearing where they intend to prove their innocence, both riders have now engaged lawyers experienced in FEI cases.

The lawyers have advised, given the preparation for such cases is a long complex process, we should cease making such informative updates to the public. This is contrary to our own normal policy of open and frank communication on all topics, but we do fully accept we have no prior experience at all of such FEI cases. Therefore, we will no longer be posting weekly updates from Clifton Eventers. We apologise for any disappointment, but I am sure everyone can understand that this is a very trying time when we all want to follow the advice of those who have been in this situation before.

More news headlines

Jonathan Paget

Monday 6 May 2013 — 2013 Title Winner: Mitsubishi Motors Badminton International Horse Trials CCI4*: Jonathan 'Jock' Paget on Frances Stead's 16.3hh Bay NZTB Gelding Clifton Promise 2013. Credit: Libby Law – Copyright: Libby Law Photography – NZL

Flair Nasel Strips

Clifton Promise at Badminton Horse Trials 2013

Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
4 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
5 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
5 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
5 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
6 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
6 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
6 May, 2013


Clifton Promise and Jonathan 'Jock' Paget
6 May, 2013


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