USEF "12-Hour Rule" Begins Dec. 1

Nov 26, 2013 - 9:14 AM
The USEF "12-Hour Rule" goes into effect Dec. 1, 2013. Photo courtesy of

A new category of rules referred to as Prohibited Practices has been introduced to the U.S. Equestrian Federation Rule Book, which will take effect Dec. 1. The first rule to be adopted in this category is commonly referred to as the “12-Hour Rule.”

It was introduced in March of 2013 by the USEF Veterinary Committee, and following extensive feedback from USEF Technical Committees, Working Groups, and from attendees at USEF Town Hall Meetings held in Florida in March and via interactive webcast in June, the USEF Board of Directors approved the proposal at their mid-year meeting. It’s printed in its entirety here:

GR 414 Prohibited Practices

1. No injectable substances may be administered to any horse or pony within 12 hours prior to competing, with the following three exceptions subject to paragraph 2 below: 

a. Therapeutic fluids, which amount must consist of a minimum of 10L of polyionic fluids; and which must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines. The fluids must not be supplemented with concentrated electrolytes, such as magnesium. 

b. Antibiotics. Procaine penicillin G is prohibited under this exception. 

c. Dexamethasone. This is permitted only for the treatment of acute urticaria (hives). The dose must not exceed 0.5 mg per 100lb (5.0 mg for 1000-pound horse) if administered more than six hours and less than 12 hours prior to entering the competition ring, and must not exceed 1.0 mg per 100 pounds (10.0 mg for 1000-pound horse) within any 24-hour period.  

2. The above exceptions are permitted only when (i) the substance is administered by a licensed veterinarian and no less than six hours prior to competing; and (ii) the “trainer” as defined under General Rule 404 properly files, or causes to be properly filed, an Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form with the steward/technical delegate or competition office representative within one hour after the administration of the substance or one hour after the steward/technical delegate or competition office representative returns to duty if the administration occurs at a time outside competition hours. The steward/technical delegate or competition office representative shall sign and record the time of receipt on the Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form.

In summary, there are a few bullet points to remember about this rule change.

  • No horses or ponies maybe injected within twelve hours of competing.
  • There are only three exceptions to this rule: therapeutic fluids, antibiotics and dexamethasone (for the treatment of hives).
  • All excepted substances must be administered by a veterinarian and cannot be administered to a horse or pony within six hours of competing. 

There are three restricted medications that are affected by this change:

  • Dexamethasone (Azium)—maximum 24-hour dose has been decreased from 20mg/1000-pound horse to 10mg/1000-pound horse and must be administered in accordance with the new “12-Hour Rule” GR414.
  • Ketoprofen (Ketofen)—maximum 24-hour dose 1.0 gram/1000-pound horse remains the same, however it must be administered no later than 12 hours prior to competition.
  • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)—maximum 24-hour dose 5.0 grams/1000-pound horse remains the same, however must be administered no later than 12 hours prior to competition.


The FEI Bureau has approved changes to the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List proposed by the FEI List Group. The new list will become effective Jan. 1, 2014. The changes are summarized here and below:

Two new controlled medication substances have been added to the list for 2014.

  • Metformin – a potent but legitimate oral anti-diabetic drug with a potential welfare risk;
  • Levothyroxine – an exogenous thyroid hormone replacement that could enhance performance;

Adrenocortico-trophic hormone (ACTH) is currently classified as a banned substance and will be moved to the controlled medication section of the 2014 list due to its therapeutic value in equine medicine. 

Three previously unlisted substances will be added to the banned substances section of the 2014 list, as they are considered to have a potential for abuse, or to improve athletic performance:

  • Ammonium Chloride injectable
  • Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL)
  • Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

The changes to the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List are also accessible on the FEI Clean Sport webpage. The FEI Equine Prohibited Substances Database will be amended and the complete 2014 Equine Prohibited Substances List will be made available on the Clean Sport website prior to Jan. 1, 2014.

These changes have been noticed in accordance with FEI Rules requiring all changes to the list to be published 90 days in advance in order to allow National Federations, athletes and veterinarians sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the revised List prior to implementation.

The new competition year begins Dec. 1. The USEF encourages every exhibitor, trainer, coach and owner to take time, prior to competing, to carefully review the “Guidelines for How Long Drugs Remain Detectable” which is included in the 2014 USEF Drugs & Medications Guidelines and can be accessed by clicking online or by contacting the USEF Drugs & Medication Program at You may also call the USEF Drugs & Medications office at 800-633-2472 to request a copy.  

Categories: News, Veterinary

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