Moments later, with Ms. Williams and her daughter watching, Humble collapsed and died. The death of a supposedly fit pony about to carry a young rider over hurdles was worrisome by itself, but circumstances surrounding the death made it even more so.
In the three days before Humble died, he had been scheduled to receive 15 separate drug treatments, including anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids and muscle relaxants, according to his medication chart.
Since 2010, random drug tests at various equestrian events, including the Olympic trials, have uncovered dozens of violations for substances like cocaine, antipsychotics, tranquilizers and pain medication — even ginger placed in a horse’s anus to make its tail stick out.
At racetracks, only veterinarians are allowed to administer intravenous drugs, but on show grounds anyone can stick a needle into a horse before it performs. A year ago, the sport’s top veterinary group recommended that no horse receive drugs within 12 hours of competition. The Equestrian Federation has yet to adopt that rule. Humble was injected roughly two hours before competition, records show.