Just a few weeks ago, Germany's equestrian federation sent seismic shock waves through the horse showing world by disbanding its national teams after show-jumping riders began to tell shocking tales of medication and manipulation of their horses to bring home gold medals. Germany promised heads would roll.
So this morning's news was more shocking than ever, read through that lens.
According to the Associated Press and confirmed by Horse and Hound and English-language newspapers in Germany, double Olympic gold medalist Isabel Werth has been suspended from competition and will attend a hearing later this week to answer charges that her horse Whisper tested positive for an anti-psychotic medication at the competition at Wiesbaden on May 30, 2009.
"This is a catastrophy for equestrian sports," said Breido Graf zu Rantzau, president of the equestrian federation, in the Associated Press report.
All sources confirm that Isabel has been suspended; however the system includes a backup: the "B" sample may still be tested and prove her innocent of illegal doping. While the investigation continues, she will not be able to compete at Aachen, the biggest competition for German riders in the run-up to this summer's European Dressage Championships.
Should the "B" sample test positive, Werth would face punishment by both the FEI and German authorities.
Up to this time, most emphasis on doping has centered on show jumping.