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JustJump
Mar. 13, 2012, 07:07 AM
The digital COTH hit my inbox two days ago. I don't know if I'm shocked, disappointed, or relieved at the comments made by Robin Greenwood in the Horseman's Forum about drugs and the hunter division.

JustJump
Mar. 13, 2012, 07:08 AM
Or is it just more blah blah blah drugs blah drugs blah?

S A McKee
Mar. 13, 2012, 07:34 AM
More excuses.
Everyone does it so it should be allowed excuse

Now if the hunter rules didn't score any show of expression as a major fault none of this would even be a topic..
fix the rules so that horses in a coma are not rewarded and the problem goes away.

Personal Champ
Mar. 13, 2012, 08:16 AM
Well said S A McKee... was going to comment, but I couldn't have said it better!

MoonLadyIsis
Mar. 13, 2012, 09:45 AM
More excuses.
Everyone does it so it should be allowed excuse

Now if the hunter rules didn't score any show of expression as a major fault none of this would even be a topic..
fix the rules so that horses in a coma are not rewarded and the problem goes away.

where is the like button when you need it!?

Dinah-do
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:51 AM
I'm relieved. Instead of constant fighting and trying to do a good job I can retire and not feel guilty. It will never change in my lifetime. Reserpine came out in say - mid seventies? - down the drain ever since. Just so done with the trainer BS. How people who claim to be horsemen and love horses can accept winning under the present conditions is just not computing.

HackPrize
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:59 AM
I believe Robin makes a very good and realistic point.

Yes, in a perfect world, an enthusiastic hunter would take top call and the dopey, near-dead, quiet hunter would no longer be the winner. However, i dont see that change coming about anytime soon and Robin's argument does have merit. We DO need to find a reasonable way to deal with it as the amount of scary and dangerous "un-testable" drugs being given to so many horses and ponies is rampant and horrific.

M. O'Connor
Mar. 13, 2012, 01:03 PM
So is the suggestion here that we just cede over the hunter ring to pharmacists because that is what has happened anyway?

Dinah-do
Mar. 13, 2012, 01:10 PM
You have a better solution???? Only slightly joking.

M. O'Connor
Mar. 13, 2012, 01:34 PM
I'm asking! If that's the case, I'm not sure I want to be in the judge's booth. What am I looking at? Who am I rewarding, and why?

Everybody likes to hit the sweet spot, but if everybody could do it all the time, guaranteed, then where is the sport in it?

mvp
Mar. 13, 2012, 02:37 PM
I believe Robin makes a very good and realistic point.

Yes, in a perfect world, an enthusiastic hunter would take top call and the dopey, near-dead, quiet hunter would no longer be the winner. However, i dont see that change coming about anytime soon and Robin's argument does have merit. We DO need to find a reasonable way to deal with it as the amount of scary and dangerous "un-testable" drugs being given to so many horses and ponies is rampant and horrific.

What do you mean "in a perfect world"? It's a sport/hobby. It's an aesthetic ideal. The whole Hunter Division is a made up world. Ergo, we can make it any way we want.

ponybreeder
Mar. 13, 2012, 02:43 PM
The point of my article was NOT that we cede the hunter ring to pharmaceuticals in any way. The point was that the drugs people are sticking into other people's horses are or can kill them. The drug rules as of now cannot be enforced as some things, like magnesium, cannot be tested for as they metabolize quickly and are naturally occurring in the horse. I am all for a rule that can be enforced, but the rule as written is going to make the drug users give more dangerous concoctions to the horses.

For those that think allowing exuberance in the ring will make it all go away are way off base. A large percentage of those who support the industry and high horse prices are Juniors and Amateurs. Many of this group cannot ride a horse that is the least bit exuberant and will find a trainer who does a "better job" training their horses if that is the way it goes in the ring. And yes, that would be the best answer.

I wrote that article to make people give a lot of thought to what was happening to our horses and to constructively discuss what could make it better. I knew that I would be shredded on the BBs, but I am not afraid to put my name on my opinions. The article had nothing to do with making excuses to give drugs. Any one of you can come to a venue where I am showing and bring a reputable vet and test my ponies for whatever you want. Most of the animals we show, I have bred or raised from foals and it changes one's whole outlook when you raise your own. To say that we just need to allow the horses to be fresher or crack down harder is totally unrealistic. Horses are dying because of what people are willing to do to them. something needs to change.

M. O'Connor
Mar. 13, 2012, 04:03 PM
I hope that honest and frank discussion will result from your column, ponybreeder. I sometimes wonder how much clients know vs what they are kept in the dark on as far as what their horses 'go on.'

One stat I heard at the open meeting of the USEF D&M that I attended during the USEF's convention this year related to medication forms handed in to horse shows (for reportable but permissible NSAIDs):

"A total of 1,022 individual trainers filed at least one medication form. 84 (8.4%) of these filed 61.2% of the forms. This portion of trainers filed 11- 200+ forms, indicating use of NSAID’s as a ‘regimen’ applicable to several horses, rather than for treatment in response to a specific diagnosis."

These stats raise more questions in my mind...do these forms represent horses who were "the winners?" Were other horses similarly medicated, but it went unreported? Are only 8.4% of trainers honest enough to report the meds they use in horses, or does only that % medicate?

More questions than answers...(and that was NSAID's, not tranqs).

mvp
Mar. 13, 2012, 04:35 PM
The point of my article was NOT that we cede the hunter ring to pharmaceuticals in any way. The point was that the drugs people are sticking into other people's horses are or can kill them. The drug rules as of now cannot be enforced as some things, like magnesium, cannot be tested for as they metabolize quickly and are naturally occurring in the horse. I am all for a rule that can be enforced, but the rule as written is going to make the drug users give more dangerous concoctions to the horses.

For those that think allowing exuberance in the ring will make it all go away are way off base. A large percentage of those who support the industry and high horse prices are Juniors and Amateurs. Many of this group cannot ride a horse that is the least bit exuberant and will find a trainer who does a "better job" training their horses if that is the way it goes in the ring. And yes, that would be the best answer.

I wrote that article to make people give a lot of thought to what was happening to our horses and to constructively discuss what could make it better. I knew that I would be shredded on the BBs, but I am not afraid to put my name on my opinions. The article had nothing to do with making excuses to give drugs. Any one of you can come to a venue where I am showing and bring a reputable vet and test my ponies for whatever you want. Most of the animals we show, I have bred or raised from foals and it changes one's whole outlook when you raise your own. To say that we just need to allow the horses to be fresher or crack down harder is totally unrealistic. Horses are dying because of what people are willing to do to them. something needs to change.

I really appreciate your taking the time to post here. The promptness of your arrival in the COTH crucible shows a great deal of character. Good on ya! I hope you stay for the discussion, insofar as it can stay civilized and be worthy of the way you stuck your neck out there and offered an opinion.

But I don't agree that we need to keep going toward that Western Pleasure With Jumps In The Way picture. I know you pros involved in the financial side of things won't like it, but surely the solution cannot be "Let's create a competitive sport that involves drugging animals so that rich women and children can have some fun."

It's a position that is hard to defend. IMO, it will sooner or later become politically impossible to defend to the world outside ours. Therefore, I don't think anyone who has any real power or access to publicity in this sport should try to do that. To wit: Would you, Robin, really want your post above quoted back to you embedded in some PETA expose of the USEF Hunter world?

I bred my (now retired) show hunter and I agree that it changes things. I'm still funding him because I feel responsible for the first life I created. I also bred him and raised him in a way that placed a premium on "a good mind." That's why this horse could cruise around in the ammy divisions, made up and "prepped" by an amateur, not a needle or a lunge line.

Now this horse won't deliver the powerful, expressive jump that a hotter-and-drugged one will. That was the devil's bargain I accepted in producing this horse. I'd do it again for both ethical and pragmatic reasons. But it means I won't win with our current Hunter Ideal in place. And that means that, sooner or later, I'll get tired of paying to lose and I'll find another place to spend my money.

So I find it hard to be sympathetic to the pro who heaps blame on the wealthy, let's-get-to-the-ring-fastest, ignorant owner who, you claim, compels the pro to cheat in so many ways. The clients who aren't forced to learn to ride are getting cheated, too.

I wasn't around in the 1960s when hunter divisions started at 3'6". Yes, I am aware that much lunging and Ace-ing went on. But at least your Average Joe had to learn to ride a little bit better and we weren't forced to drug even nice-minded horses into their current stupor.

I really think we have painted ourselves into corner. I think we should be looking for a graceful way to back out of it.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 13, 2012, 04:59 PM
Many of this group cannot ride a horse that is the least bit exuberant and will find a trainer who does a "better job" training their horses if that is the way it goes in the ring.

I find so much wrong with this statement that I just...it's just too far.

Perhaps said trainer's time might be better spent training said riders to ride an exuberant horsie. It might take longer to get said clients into the ring...but that's pretty darned important for our sport.

I'm an adult ammie with a green horse. Said horse leaps into the air, occasionally bucks when he's cranky or if I'm not right and can spook. I'm not a brilliant rider, in fact I'm rather old and out of shape...but somewhere along the line I was taught really really good basics and can sit in the middle of him. I'm not spectacular. I'm not particularly athletic or talented.

Stop chasing money, and start thinking about the RIGHT thing. THEN the sport will change. Right now you're in a Mexican standoff with everyone afraid to buck the trend. Trust me...if you stick to your ideals and teach well, you'll have clients...

ponybreeder
Mar. 13, 2012, 06:29 PM
I don't disagree, One Gray Pony. I don't think its always all about chasing money, though. There are a lot of adults out there who are nervous or scared. A lot of them have money to burn on an expensive horse and want to do WEF and the AA Circuit. They are weekend riders. And yes, there are a lot of trainers who want to make a quick buck on horse and won't spend the time training the horse properly. These things are not likely to change and they motivate people to do the wrong thing.

You can be angry about the way things are, but there is a lot of brain power out there that would be better used trying to find a solution that would actually work.

The new drug rules give a two year vacation to those who are caught using illegal drugs. That is a good thing. The people out there who don't want to get caught will give horrible things to the horses. That is a bad thing. What is a reasonable solution.

I absolutely agree that the hunters are beginning to look like they are half dead, and it is not an appealing look. I fear, rightly or wrongly, that it is because of the dreadful things going into them. California Gold was not even on my radar, and my vet told me when I asked him to read my article that he thought I was referencing it because it is so awful. he said it had ingredients that affected neurological function. Magnesium slows the heart and can kill a horse when given too quickly or too much.

I believe that something has to change or it will be disastrous for the horses. So yes, I would like to see a small door opened for say, a product like Perfect Prep that seems (and I may be wrong) to work well with no side effects. Then increase the penalties every year for people who are caught cheating. Of course I may be completely wrong, but I fear for the direction things are going.

alterhorse
Mar. 13, 2012, 06:36 PM
Maybe there should just be a new division of classes for drugged horses.

magnolia73
Mar. 13, 2012, 06:44 PM
Horses are dying because of what people are willing to do to them. something needs to change.

I would think equine insurers would be a good place to start. If these drugs are killing these (very much not cheap horses that are probably insured) I would think that insurers would like to know that a magnesium injection killed a horse or overuse of dex caused founder.

There is just something shitty about all the drugging. It's getting old..... and it makes me really not like the personalities in the sport. I'm not zero tolerance- some bute- yeah, some help like that- no big deal. I guess the money made off commissions and clients is just too tempting.

One thing that always struck me about racing was OK, cruel to horses to drug and run.... but REALLY unfair to the jockey piloting a horse ready to break down. What happens when they crash, burn and die. And maybe for HJ that is where it will end. Some horse will have too much of some drug and fall or collapse and kill some kid or ammy unfortunate enough to be in the irons. Maybe they'll sue the trainer and the USEF and the horse show.

And maybe people should start suing when the $200,000 horse changes "programs" and is suddenly a $20,000 horse or perhaps a crippled horse in a new program that lacks access to ummm...veterinary wonders.

S A McKee
Mar. 13, 2012, 08:27 PM
Robin
I will give you points for very creative excuses for medicating.
however if a rider even those inept juniors and amateurs can't stay in the tack if the Horse wiggles it ears they probably shouldn't be competing.
and the current rules do penalize any expression.
If you like better living through chemistry then have at it.
But a real solution involves rule changes to not reward comatose horses.
It would also do away with Ltd.
but carry on. I can't wait to hear more justification for this mentality.

JustJump
Mar. 13, 2012, 09:33 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkOxWkz88Qc

So that's the future of show hunters?

Lucassb
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:10 PM
I have not read the article in question (can someone link it here?) but I will applaud ponybreeder for bringing up the discussion and addressing reality.

I am one of those older amateur weekend warriors these days. I'm not as brave and I don't ride as well as I did a couple of decades ago, and I like my nice, quiet, good minded amateur horse who packs me around whatever course I happen to point him at. I have had that horse since he was four years old (he's now 12) and he has never seen a needle or a longe line while in my care, and he's won his share. But he is the epitome of a suitable horse for an amateur.

Likewise the first year horse I sold to another AA about 18 months ago - who has since been a winner at WEF, great prizes at Indoors etc - was always a quiet, amateur friendly ride, even as a baby green horse. I rode him around WEF and thru GP Village on the buckle as a coming four year old. But he's got a truly spectacular jump (currently featured in the Beval calendar for May for those who are curious) and he's won quite a lot. Not all the winners out there have been "overly prepared," legally or otherwise.

alterhorse
Mar. 13, 2012, 10:24 PM
Isn't this just another "what's at the root of societal values" introspective sort of thing?

Does society reward the product, or the process? Is it the method that matters, or just the result?

Claudius
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:32 AM
I am right here in Wellington, at WEF, showing in an amature division. I see the comotose horses come to the ring. I see the riders sometimes go in the ring, start for the fence and feel that they have to circle instead of proceeding...I suspect they are feeling that their horse is "not quite there"....I have seen bad over the head falls when such a horse stops at a fence , I suspect the HORSE is feeling that he is"not quite there". I am making my own young horse and he is not comatose...but we are being pinned well I think....I admire the judges who use us because I feel that they are appreciating a non drugged appearance....I think many of them want things to change and are beginning to realize that they have the power to change.....they can determine what wins.

There is so much pressure on the horse owner to conform . The trainer wants the blues on his tack room....if only I would use "this", or if only I would use a false tail,or if only I would let the trainer show in a division before MY division....I am older, I have done this all my life. So I have the confidence to say no...this is my pleasure...I love the PROCESS of making a good horse. It TAKES LONGER to make one, they LAST LONGER when you do it this way. But most ammys and juniors do not have the confidence to resist the pressure.

The pressure is to conform to the comotose, over tailed, over shown appearance. ONLY the JUDGES can change this.....they need to reward what is REAL....and I think many of them are trying to do that. My hat is off to them....they are bucking the trend. I suspect the ones who are doing this have also done this all their lives, so they have the confidence to pin the unaltered horse. I always want to go to the judges booth after a class that I have done well in and THANK the judge!!! I want to say, "Kudos to YOU!! You forgave the tail swing with the change, the alert expression, the lack of a heavy tail ( my horse has a great full tail of his own_), you pinned my otherwise smooth, good moving , nice jumping horse. You pinned a sound, happy horse!!! THANK YOU!"

mrsbradbury
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:38 AM
I find so much wrong with this statement that I just...it's just too far.

Perhaps said trainer's time might be better spent training said riders to ride an exuberant horsie. It might take longer to get said clients into the ring...but that's pretty darned important for our sport.

I'm an adult ammie with a green horse. Said horse leaps into the air, occasionally bucks when he's cranky or if I'm not right and can spook. I'm not a brilliant rider, in fact I'm rather old and out of shape...but somewhere along the line I was taught really really good basics and can sit in the middle of him. I'm not spectacular. I'm not particularly athletic or talented.

Stop chasing money, and start thinking about the RIGHT thing. THEN the sport will change. Right now you're in a Mexican standoff with everyone afraid to buck the trend. Trust me...if you stick to your ideals and teach well, you'll have clients...

First, I am going to comment on your post. I commend your committment to your green horse, and I'm guessing your having found a trainer to fit your needs.

I train horses, and I teach riding. I do not stage "showing". I don't believe in altering a horse's demeanor to compete, but I do believe in chemical restraint in the right situation.

I recently lost a group of tightly knit clients. They were frustrated with the grueling system, the tediousness of the green horse, green rider. The hours of perfecting canter transitions, 20m trot circles, trot fences, halting in the corner, going to schooling shows as practice, and so on and son.

Now, this is their choice. It was hard to convince myself that it had little to no bearing on me, personally. I'm going to stick to my guns, and do it the slow way.
What I am getting at is; in our world of instant gratification, I believe that less people want to take the long road. They are looking for their gratification, or their return on their "investment" (of money & time).
That return is a bigger jump before a rider is strong enough to stay out of the way or control the landing, a ride where they didn't have to lunge their 5 year old on a windy day, or pay for as many training rides, or getting that horse winning in the pregreens at an AA show in 90 days when it came from a place with limited experience, or that championship ribbon.

Please look at my examples, as examples, and not as generalizations.

I agree that some of these owners may not know what these trainers are doing, because I have never had a client come up and ask me to drug their horse; but I can understand why someone might be led down that path.

I don't have a quick fix, and have stated my point on several threads on this same topic. But still stand strong, that medicating horses to the point of safety issues or accidental death is plain disgusting and ethically wrong, Drugging them to compete is cheating. I also believe that ponybreeder and I are on the same team.

JustJump
Mar. 14, 2012, 08:33 AM
I have not read the article in question (can someone link it here?) but I will applaud ponybreeder for bringing up the discussion and addressing reality.

I am one of those older amateur weekend warriors these days. I'm not as brave and I don't ride as well as I did a couple of decades ago, and I like my nice, quiet, good minded amateur horse who packs me around whatever course I happen to point him at. I have had that horse since he was four years old (he's now 12) and he has never seen a needle or a longe line while in my care, and he's won his share. But he is the epitome of a suitable horse for an amateur.

Likewise the first year horse I sold to another AA about 18 months ago - who has since been a winner at WEF, great prizes at Indoors etc - was always a quiet, amateur friendly ride, even as a baby green horse. I rode him around WEF and thru GP Village on the buckle as a coming four year old. But he's got a truly spectacular jump (currently featured in the Beval calendar for May for those who are curious) and he's won quite a lot. Not all the winners out there have been "overly prepared," legally or otherwise.

But shouldn't a horse like this one be the one commanding the big $$$, and be the winner? Why make it OK for one with a compromised temperament to compete on "equal" footing with the help of tranquilizer?

The truly good horses should be worth more, the truly good trainers should win more with their clients. Making it legal will diminish the value of good training, good horsemanship, and good horses. Making it legal would merely preserve the status quo, maybe even amplify it.


Something needs to be done, but making it OK to devalue the truly good horses by providing "insurance" for the ones that wouldn't win otherwise is not the answer, IMO. People will still cheat-they stacked NSAIDs and they will stack tranqs, too.


If we are truly concerned and want to protect the horses, lets start a full out campaign to call out the trainers that use these crutches on a regular basis. Educate owners to the fact that all those blue ribbons on just a few tack rooms is not due to natural talent, and get them to ask what's in those 'vitamin shots' their horses are getting each day.

Who is taking care of these horses? It used to be up and coming riders and trainers--no more, it's people whose job it is to shut up and look the other way or be deported...no whistleblowers in the system we are using now. It's in the show managers best interest to get as many horses in and out of the rings as quickly as possible, to crunch as many horses onto the grounds as they can and rake in the revenue. There are so many things wrong with this system of ours--the question isn't whether it needs fixing, it's where to begin?

Every horse show has a vet on call...why not draw a LOT more vials of blood, even if they aren't tested right away, or at all. Keep those samples, along with hair samples too, in order to DNA -type if necessary so these horses won't be able to magically turn into other ones (another rampant problem). There is a lot more that could be done, and would be done if the foxes weren't the ones in charge of our hen house.

magnolia73
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:11 AM
What I am getting at is; in our world of instant gratification, I believe that less people want to take the long road. They are looking for their gratification, or their return on their "investment" (of money & time).


And the downside is that the people who might value the journey just might get fed up with the sport due to cheating.

When I got my horse, my dream was to do the 3' adults at hunter shows. Now, I was willing to take the time, put in the hours. And well, it is taking time...LOL. However.... at this point, my desire to show is now officially zero. So while as a client, I might value the journey, I don't value showing enough to have a desire to pay the bills assosciated with it.

I imagine that the number of people who want to show and put in the hours are getting more and more rare. I can't imagine a trainer finding a lot of those to fill a barn, or making enough money off people like me to fill a barn.

MoonLadyIsis
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:39 AM
Just for reference, I suffer for horrid horse show nerves at times, so this is coming from a place the understands fear/nerves etc.

IF YOU CANNOT DEAL WITH YOUR HORSE BEING INTERESTED IN HIS SURROUNDINGS THEN YOU DO NOT BELONG IN THE SHOW RING. PERIOD. I understand show ring nerves are a different animal. But if your horse being looky and inquisitive makes you nervous, then you do not belong showing.I am not talking about the serious bolters/spookers that can be scary for some. I mean the horse who lifts his head to look at the crazy lady with the big hat blowing in the wind.
I don't care who you are, how much money you have. IF this is the case, then you are not ready to show and it should be the TRAINERS being HORSEMAN putting their foot down.

LulaBell
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:51 AM
Link to the article: http://chronofhorse.com/article/are-drug-rules-putting-our-horses-greater-danger

Anne FS
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:51 AM
For those that think allowing exuberance in the ring will make it all go away are way off base. A large percentage of those who support the industry and high horse prices are Juniors and Amateurs. Many of this group cannot ride a horse that is the least bit exuberant and will find a trainer who does a "better job" training their horses if that is the way it goes in the ring.


This is the truest and saddest thing ever.

Anne FS
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:55 AM
MoonLadyIsis, of course that's true, but little missie with the big checkbook...well, there's no way on God's green earth that's ever going to happen. I can't think of one BNT who would EVER turn that down. If they did they wouldn't be BNT. People with money want success and they want it NOW. They're not going to wait to learn all that riding stuff.

Lucassb
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:55 AM
But shouldn't a horse like this one be the one commanding the big $$$, and be the winner? Why make it OK for one with a compromised temperament to compete on "equal" footing with the help of tranquilizer?

The truly good horses should be worth more, the truly good trainers should win more with their clients. Making it legal will diminish the value of good training, good horsemanship, and good horses. Making it legal would merely preserve the status quo, maybe even amplify it.


Something needs to be done, but making it OK to devalue the truly good horses by providing "insurance" for the ones that wouldn't win otherwise is not the answer, IMO. People will still cheat-they stacked NSAIDs and they will stack tranqs, too.


If we are truly concerned and want to protect the horses, lets start a full out campaign to call out the trainers that use these crutches on a regular basis. Educate owners to the fact that all those blue ribbons on just a few tack rooms is not due to natural talent, and get them to ask what's in those 'vitamin shots' their horses are getting each day.

Who is taking care of these horses? It used to be up and coming riders and trainers--no more, it's people whose job it is to shut up and look the other way or be deported...no whistleblowers in the system we are using now. It's in the show managers best interest to get as many horses in and out of the rings as quickly as possible, to crunch as many horses onto the grounds as they can and rake in the revenue. There are so many things wrong with this system of ours--the question isn't whether it needs fixing, it's where to begin?

Every horse show has a vet on call...why not draw a LOT more vials of blood, even if they aren't tested right away, or at all. Keep those samples, along with hair samples too, in order to DNA -type if necessary so these horses won't be able to magically turn into other ones (another rampant problem). There is a lot more that could be done, and would be done if the foxes weren't the ones in charge of our hen house.

Well, sure. The spectacular horse that also happens to be an easy amateur ride is a valuable commodity (once they're made up, anyway - so you have a fortune into them by the time they're sold, LOL - the notion of profit is a topic for another day.)

But further to ponybreeder's point about many clients not being able to ride a horse that's not "prepared"... I would also say that fewer and fewer of our trainers are able to make up a horse that doesn't need a lot of prep to be soft and rideable in the ring, either.

Part of that is selecting a horse that already has that innate temperament, but rideability is also about training - the kind that requires both time and skill.

I don't think it's solely a lack of will or desire on either the clients' or the trainers' parts, BTW. This is a very expensive sport no matter how you cut it. I can understand the pressure on a trainer to accommodate a client's desire to show, and to be competitive when they do so. I can understand the client's concern about budgeting for lessons, training and pro rides in addition to the normal board, vet, farrier etc expenses that are incurred. At some point, the economics just don't work for either side.

I don't think we are going to ever remove the influence of $$ on the sport. I do believe that in the areas where there are good B and C level shows - with quality judges, footing, jumps etc - there is more opportunity for people of normal means to compete a horse in an attractive environment and bring along horses the old fashioned way, but not every area has those. And then of course you have the issue of which professionals will support a schedule that includes those shows.

I contend that the reason that many AA riders select "BNT" type barns is not snobbery or elitism, but because they value the facilities, care, and training expertise that often is found at that level - and which is frequently lacking in more locally oriented barns. (Not universally true, but often a reality nevertheless.) If you ride with one of those barns, you show on that trainer's AA schedule, even if you are fairly novice. You will want the quality that is necessary to compete in those venues, and with that quality often comes a bit of temperament, unless you A) get lucky and/or B) spend a truly exorbitant amount on that 3' horse.

I think that adds pressure to everyone involved (NOT that that excuses drugging) which could potentially be alleviated if there were opportunities to bring both riders and horses along in environments that would offer a good experience at a lower cost, but I confess that it is not clear to me how to create a system that offers those opportunities on a wider basis.

danceronice
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:09 AM
I don't disagree, One Gray Pony. I don't think its always all about chasing money, though. There are a lot of adults out there who are nervous or scared. A lot of them have money to burn on an expensive horse and want to do WEF and the AA Circuit. They are weekend riders. And yes, there are a lot of trainers who want to make a quick buck on horse and won't spend the time training the horse properly. These things are not likely to change and they motivate people to do the wrong thing.

So...allow doping (which is what giving them any "product" that changes behavior is), because trainers want to make money and protect the rich 'weekend warriors' who can't be bothered learning to ride anything other than a carousel horse? Nice. By that logic we should go back to allowing milkshakes in racing because it gets a faster-looking horse and hey, we want owners with money to stick around by winning so whatever it takes as long as it *probably* won't cause an accident.

I don't know any other sport that encourages "keep the ones paying the most happy even if it means cheating". Drugging a horse is cheating. If the standards have become such that the level of 'quiet' isn't achievable by the overwhelming majority of horses without pharmaceutical aid, it's not a sport, it's a contest to see who has the better drug dealer. The purpose of horse shows is not to keep trainers in business by hook or by crook, which is exactly what that argument amounts to--"I want big money clients, so if that means we have to start playing with 'quieting agents' because some of them can't learn patience, my bottom line trumps everything else."

Really, I could spend money on horse shows, but posts like this make me think it's not worth the effort. I don't have enough to compete with the very top dogs anyway, but as my horse isn't a complete deadhead and I'm not willing to shoot him up to make him one, it's apparently not even worth it to go for the experience and a shot at some lower-color ribbons.

Napoles
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:18 AM
I am mostly a lurker rather than a poster here, but over the last few weeks I have read so many posts here relating to drugging in the hunters that I am glad that we don't have such a division where I live. Yes, we have show hunter classes but they are very different.

As someone who lives in a different country and who shows horses, I find myself open mouthed at some of the things that I read on here.

Sharps containers in every show barn was one of them. Why should there be the need? :no: As I understand it these horses are injected regularly whether it be with banned or not banned substances.

My horses compete regularly in eventing and showing, yet are only ever injected by the vet, either for their vaccinations or else if one of them is sick or lame, i.e. needing VETERINARY care.

This blase attitude towards drugging just baffles and disappoints me. I don't really care if one drug is better than another. Why in God's name create a division that requires horses to be medicated in some way or another to jump round a course of fences?

I really think a lot of people need to take a step back from this situation and look at it from an outsider's point of view. I posted on one of my local forums about what I read on here and it was met with bafflement and confusion.

Dinah-do
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:24 AM
As a rider from the "3'6" or not at all" days the novice or older ammypro rider had a huge series of hack classes to show in. Elegant flat riders were very much admired. I think this worked well enough - riders not up to 3'6"" still had somewhere to show, hack classes were fairly quick, the older horses had a job but didn't need to jump. Selling horses on was not as common. Trainers did not have to babysit riders over little fences. Few gate holds. There was still some drugging but way less - just was not needed. This annoying practice of buying a green horse (affordable?)for the pro to show in the week and then prep it for it's novice rider to show on the weekend would vanish.

Some of these older ladies were role models for the younger kids. They taught us braiding and horsemanship and boy could they turn a horse well.

danceronice
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:27 AM
This blase attitude towards drugging just baffles and disappoints me. I don't really care if one drug is better than another. Why in God's name create a division that requires horses to be medicated in some way or another to jump round a course of fences?

I really think a lot of people need to take a step back from this situation and look at it from an outsider's point of view. I posted on one of my local forums about what I read on here and it was met with bafflement and confusion.

See the quote from Ponybreeder in my post above yours. Quiet WINS, nad even if it didn't learning to ride slightly reactive horses takes TIME, meaning your client can't just buy a horse Monday and pick up a blue on Saturday. God forbid a trainer lose a rich client because Susie Bigbucks can't be bothered to take a LESSON on the horse her husband paid $500,000 for. (And no, I have nothing against rich women who have money to burn on their sport, they kick my butt in dancesport all the time--BECAUSE THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY ON MORE LESSONS THAN I CAN AFFORD. Ergo they improve faster.) There's no shame in beating someone because you can afford to *train* more. There IS shame in winning because you find a teacher willing to cut corners so you don't have to work at it. Money can buy ribbons, but it apparently doesn't buy class.

BarbB
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:28 AM
But a real solution involves rule changes to not reward comatose horses.


:yes::yes::yes:

Lord Helpus
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:30 AM
I believe Robin makes a very good and realistic point.

Yes, in a perfect world, an enthusiastic hunter would take top call and the dopey, near-dead, quiet hunter would no longer be the winner. However, i dont see that change coming about anytime soon and Robin's argument does have merit. We DO need to find a reasonable way to deal with it as the amount of scary and dangerous "un-testable" drugs being given to so many horses and ponies is rampant and horrific.


The problem I see is that allowing X amount of Ace will still not keep people from using the dangerous drugs. The horses will be given both.

Plus, I do not think that a 1/4cc of Ace has much (if any) effect on a big WB. And I do not think that TPTB will ever allow a significant amount of ACE (2cc - 3cc) to be legal.

I applaud her for speaking out on this issue and saying what many people think, but are afraid to say. Whether or not we believe in exactly what she says, she is bringing the issue out of the closet and onto the pages of COTH.

I have not heard anyone else who is in a position to garner national attention come right out and say that horses are dying from Magnesium and that it has got to stop. And also write that the same people who make the rules are the ones in positions to break them.

Hopefully something good will come from her pointing out that "the emperor has no clothes on". Bravo to her for being brave enough to bring the topic to the mainstream. (And bravo to COTH for printing the article in their Horse Show Issue!)

danceronice
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:39 AM
I have not heard anyone else who is in a position to garner national attention come right out and say that horses are dying from Magnesium and that it has got to stop. And also write that the same people who make the rules are the ones in positions to break them.


So? A horse dies from magnesium (or any other illegal substance), owner, trainer, and rider (if separate from the owner) are banned for a year. Lose another one, banned for life. That or bring the USDA in to control it independently and let them join the walking-horse people getting criminal charges brought against them for animal abuse. (Which might not be a bad idea anyway, as the industry clearly has trouble with self-regulation.) So you lose an owner or maybe put a trainer out of business-by that argument Michael Gill and Richard Dutrow should be operating unfettered in racing because hey, numbers count.

If not being allowed to use chemical shortcuts for everything means that the sport dies, maybe it deserves to.

HackPrize
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:39 AM
The problem I see is that allowing X amount of Ace will still not keep people from using the dangerous drugs. The horses will be given both.

Plus, I do not think that a 1/4cc of Ace has much (if any) effect on a big WB. And I do not think that TPTB will ever allow a significant amount of ACE (2cc - 3cc) to be legal.

I applaud her for speaking out on this issue and saying what many people think, but are afraid to say. Whether or not we believe in exactly what she says, she is bringing the issue out of the closet and onto the pages of COTH.

I have not heard anyone else who is in a position to garner national attention come right out and say that horses are dying from Magnesium and that it has got to stop. And also write that the same people who make the rules are the ones in positions to break them.

Hopefully something good will come from her pointing out that "the emperor has no clothes on". Bravo to her for being brave enough to bring the topic to the mainstream. (And bravo to COTH for printing the article in their Horse Show Issue!)

Very well said. You are very right...allowing a small amount of ace/perfect prep/etc. will probably not stop trainers from also using the more dangerous drugs. However, I also applaud Robin for being brave enough to put her name on the article and onto the pages of COTH and start the discussion.

kmwines01
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:42 AM
Drug test every winner of every class... If a horse comes up positive that trainer and owner must be fined and cannot compete, be associated with horses showing for a specified amount of time. Fine the owner enough to get their attention and make them pay attention to the program their trainer is doing. May not solve the problem of administering drugs that wont come up but also won't be this luck game of not being tested. If you want to win you have to do it clean (of all testable substances).

To try and improve riders ability: Have a rating system for riders where you have to pass certain standards before you can qualify for an A show. Must ride at x number of local, C or B shows and do so well. I don't think that's a realistic idea and a little too Big Brother for me but it's a concept to think about. Kind of like Pony Club ratings. Also most people would probably freak out about it.

Napoles
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:48 AM
See the quote from Ponybreeder in my post above yours. Quiet WINS, nad even if it didn't learning to ride slightly reactive horses takes TIME, meaning your client can't just buy a horse Monday and pick up a blue on Saturday. God forbid a trainer lose a rich client because Susie Bigbucks can't be bothered to take a LESSON on the horse her husband paid $500,000 for. (And no, I have nothing against rich women who have money to burn on their sport, they kick my butt in dancesport all the time--BECAUSE THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY ON MORE LESSONS THAN I CAN AFFORD. Ergo they improve faster.) There's no shame in beating someone because you can afford to *train* more. There IS shame in winning because you find a teacher willing to cut corners so you don't have to work at it. Money can buy ribbons, but it apparently doesn't buy class.

That is depressing. :(
There are also wealthy amateurs who compete over here, but the only discipline really comparable is dressage - i.e. horse has to be perfectly schooled and it is possible for a rider to compete at (relatively) quite a high level without neccessarily being a great or fit rider and it's not dangerous. However, most people are prepared to put in the training.

Put a bad and/or unfit rider on an event or SJ horse and ask them to compete at a high level and there is a strong possibility of someone getting hurt.

JustJump
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:01 AM
See the quote from Ponybreeder in my post above yours. Quiet WINS, nad even if it didn't learning to ride slightly reactive horses takes TIME, meaning your client can't just buy a horse Monday and pick up a blue on Saturday. God forbid a trainer lose a rich client because Susie Bigbucks can't be bothered to take a LESSON on the horse her husband paid $500,000 for. (And no, I have nothing against rich women who have money to burn on their sport, they kick my butt in dancesport all the time--BECAUSE THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY ON MORE LESSONS THAN I CAN AFFORD. Ergo they improve faster.) There's no shame in beating someone because you can afford to *train* more. There IS shame in winning because you find a teacher willing to cut corners so you don't have to work at it. Money can buy ribbons, but it apparently doesn't buy class.

Ah, but is that BNT, without the aid of that needle, actually capable of TEACHING Susie Bigbucks to ride at all?

skydy
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:03 AM
The problem I see is that allowing X amount of Ace will still not keep people from using the dangerous drugs. The horses will be given both.

Plus, I do not think that a 1/4cc of Ace has much (if any) effect on a big WB. And I do not think that TPTB will ever allow a significant amount of ACE (2cc - 3cc) to be legal.

I applaud her for speaking out on this issue and saying what many people think, but are afraid to say. Whether or not we believe in exactly what she says, she is bringing the issue out of the closet and onto the pages of COTH.

I have not heard anyone else who is in a position to garner national attention come right out and say that horses are dying from Magnesium and that it has got to stop. And also write that the same people who make the rules are the ones in positions to break them.

Hopefully something good will come from her pointing out that "the emperor has no clothes on". Bravo to her for being brave enough to bring the topic to the mainstream. (And bravo to COTH for printing the article in their Horse Show Issue!)

I agree that it is a good thing to have the subject addressed publicly. However, the statement that "the strictness of the drug rules and the inability to inforce them is putting our horses in danger" just blows me away.

PEOPLE, who care only about winning (whether for financial or egotistical reasons), and put winning above the welfare of their horses, are putting "our' horses in danger.

People, trying to get around the drug rules, are putting horses in danger.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:04 AM
First, I am going to comment on your post. I commend your committment to your green horse, and I'm guessing your having found a trainer to fit your needs.

Actually sort of. I've had to look outside the industry. It's sad, but that's what I do. I go ride with others because I can't seem to find anyone who is willing to not take shortcuts.



I train horses, and I teach riding. I do not stage "showing". I don't believe in altering a horse's demeanor to compete, but I do believe in chemical restraint in the right situation.

Um...sure. I'm not a total medication nazi :) My horse occasionally gets ace when he needs a medical procedure.



I recently lost a group of tightly knit clients. They were frustrated with the grueling system, the tediousness of the green horse, green rider. The hours of perfecting canter transitions, 20m trot circles, trot fences, halting in the corner, going to schooling shows as practice, and so on and so on.

Congratulations! It's harder to get rid of bad clients than it is to find good ones. It really is. I'm not just saying this, either - I run a business and I'm very picky about who comes in my door. For many reasons.



Now, this is their choice. It was hard to convince myself that it had little to no bearing on me, personally. I'm going to stick to my guns, and do it the slow way.

Again - congrats. You sound like someone I'd like to get to know.



What I am getting at is; in our world of instant gratification, I believe that less people want to take the long road. They are looking for their gratification, or their return on their "investment" (of money & time).

I agree with that to a certain extent, but I also believe that it's because they can find trainers who will do that for them. Let them go there. Blah. Sooner or later the results WILL speak volumes.

At the risk of outing myself, I recently changed barns and was having a conversation with a few people. My horse is green, but has a fantastic ammy-friendly temperament. Really he's a lovely guy. And he's talented to boot (unfortunately due to his former life he probably won't hold up to the rigors of intense AA showing...we'll see, but I'm not horribly hopeful). Anyway, I was making the statement that I've ridden the crazies, and now I'll buy attitude over talent ANY day of the week.

And the resident young trainer disagreed with me.

My jaw dropped but I said nothing. This is a cardinal belief of all of the people that I've ridden with my whole LIFE. And somehow, in this new generation of competitors and trainers...it's changed. This isn't a good thing...not at ALL.



That return is a bigger jump before a rider is strong enough to stay out of the way or control the landing, a ride where they didn't have to lunge their 5 year old on a windy day, or pay for as many training rides, or getting that horse winning in the pregreens at an AA show in 90 days when it came from a place with limited experience, or that championship ribbon.

And burning through horses like they burn through other things. It's a short term gain, long term loss. A horse well-chosen and well trained will take them a lot farther for longer than a drugged super-fancy one. Do the math. The ROI is there for the longer slower path. You just have to point it out.



Please look at my examples, as examples, and not as generalizations.

Well, we're all generalizing here, and while I've met these women (and men) that you speak of, I've also met a considerable number of ammies that don't show BECAUSE of the stuff going on. We switch disciplines, to eventing or we foxhunt or we do something else. We're not into the current show culture and we are a VAST untapped resource. Most of us with some money and smarts and we're willing to put in the time and effort. Really, we're just about perfect for trainers....



I agree that some of these owners may not know what these trainers are doing, because I have never had a client come up and ask me to drug their horse; but I can understand why someone might be led down that path.

Nah, I think a lot of them know. I was witness to a conversation like that. I don't think they understand the long term consequences because it's pitched lightly by the trainers. Or pitched as therapeutic. Makes me gag.


I don't have a quick fix, and have stated my point on several threads on this same topic. But still stand strong, that medicating horses to the point of safety issues or accidental death is plain disgusting and ethically wrong, Drugging them to compete is cheating. I also believe that ponybreeder and I are on the same team.

I think we're ALL on the same team to a certain extent. There is no quick fix, but instead of wringing our hands and saying "there's nothing we can do" SOME brave souls are going to have to propose solutions. I do applaud ponybreeder for putting one out there, though I disagree with it. I'd love to see people tap into the group of me's that exist out there.

The only reason I'm in the hunter world at ALL any more is because I really love the origins of the sport, and it's a heavenly feeling when you are able to take a really hot horse that everyone has given up on and get a nice quiet 8 on. It really is amazingly delightful...like crack. Best part is, I'm a chicken rider too, anymore. I'm chicken and I'm old and I'm not so fit (though getting better) and STILL I want to work really hard and earn my way into the ring.

And I know I'm not alone.

Sorry - that turned into a diatribe :D But I wanted you to hear from those of us that don't normally speak out.

JustJump
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:04 AM
There IS shame in winning because you find a teacher willing to cut corners so you don't have to work at it. Money can buy ribbons, but it apparently doesn't buy class.

Before we do Suzy too much of a disservice, does she even know enough to know what corners are being cut? Is she an accessory or a victim? Many trainers would not be comfortable letting their clients know the reasons they are successful.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:06 AM
Honestly JustJump...at the beginning likely not. It's hard to find a good one...it really is.

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:18 AM
MoonLadyIsis, of course that's true, but little missie with the big checkbook...well, there's no way on God's green earth that's ever going to happen. I can't think of one BNT who would EVER turn that down. If they did they wouldn't be BNT. People with money want success and they want it NOW. They're not going to wait to learn all that riding stuff.

This hits the nail on the head and its NOT going to change. It may be sad. It may be wrong and I commend all of you who take the time to do it right. Now what do we do about the problem?

OneGrayPony
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:22 AM
Well...I do have a question...is it really that hard to tell with an educated eye when a horse has been drugged for their round? I mean...it doesn't seem to be that hard for me, but I haven't been in the ring in the last few years with the ones with the new stuff...

What about monitoring barns? Nothing lasts that long that someone could bring in one that was already problematic at that level, right?

I'm just brainstorming now, so I'm not sure that any of these ideas are solid...

It seems it has to start with judging.

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:25 AM
So...allow doping (which is what giving them any "product" that changes behavior is), because trainers want to make money and protect the rich 'weekend warriors' who can't be bothered learning to ride anything other than a carousel horse? Nice. By that logic we should go back to allowing milkshakes in racing because it gets a faster-looking horse and hey, we want owners with money to stick around by winning so whatever it takes as long as it *probably* won't cause an accident.

I don't know any other sport that encourages "keep the ones paying the most happy even if it means cheating". Drugging a horse is cheating. If the standards have become such that the level of 'quiet' isn't achievable by the overwhelming majority of horses without pharmaceutical aid, it's not a sport, it's a contest to see who has the better drug dealer. The purpose of horse shows is not to keep trainers in business by hook or by crook, which is exactly what that argument amounts to--"I want big money clients, so if that means we have to start playing with 'quieting agents' because some of them can't learn patience, my bottom line trumps everything else."

Really, I could spend money on horse shows, but posts like this make me think it's not worth the effort. I don't have enough to compete with the very top dogs anyway, but as my horse isn't a complete deadhead and I'm not willing to shoot him up to make him one, it's apparently not even worth it to go for the experience and a shot at some lower-color ribbons.

I am sorry that you miss the point. I am offering an opinion that went so far as to say maybe Perfect Prep should be legal. It is quite a mild product. My concern is for the horses. My suggestion may be way off base, but rather than say how ridiculous it is, why not try and suggest a solution. I am not trying to pass a rule to drug my ponies. Bring a vet and pull their blood. I am worried for horses that are being killed. You can pull all the vials of blood you want by the way, but the magnesium will be metabolized before the test is done.

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:28 AM
So? A horse dies from magnesium (or any other illegal substance), owner, trainer, and rider (if separate from the owner) are banned for a year. Lose another one, banned for life. That or bring the USDA in to control it independently and let them join the walking-horse people getting criminal charges brought against them for animal abuse. (Which might not be a bad idea anyway, as the industry clearly has trouble with self-regulation.) So you lose an owner or maybe put a trainer out of business-by that argument Michael Gill and Richard Dutrow should be operating unfettered in racing because hey, numbers count.

If not being allowed to use chemical shortcuts for everything means that the sport dies, maybe it deserves to.

Why will they be banned?? NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO PROVE HOW THE HORSE DIED

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:30 AM
Drug test every winner of every class... If a horse comes up positive that trainer and owner must be fined and cannot compete, be associated with horses showing for a specified amount of time. Fine the owner enough to get their attention and make them pay attention to the program their trainer is doing. May not solve the problem of administering drugs that wont come up but also won't be this luck game of not being tested. If you want to win you have to do it clean (of all testable substances).

To try and improve riders ability: Have a rating system for riders where you have to pass certain standards before you can qualify for an A show. Must ride at x number of local, C or B shows and do so well. I don't think that's a realistic idea and a little too Big Brother for me but it's a concept to think about. Kind of like Pony Club ratings. Also most people would probably freak out about it.

These trainers aren't stupid. The new rule is a two year suspension for banned substance. That Is WHY they are giving magnesium. Test awat because M has become the drug of choice.

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:33 AM
I agree that it is a good thing to have the subject addressed publicly. However, the statement that "the strictness of the drug rules and the inability to inforce them is putting our horses in danger" just blows me away.

PEOPLE, who care only about winning (whether for financial or egotistical reasons), and put winning above the welfare of their horses, are putting "our' horses in danger.

People, trying to get around the drug rules, are putting horses in danger.

Yes. I agree. But the drug rule as written cannot be enforced because there are no tests for the dangerous drugs. A strict rule needs to be able to be enforced in order to be effective. So, from my side, I see the rule, as written, a problem

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:41 AM
Well...I do have a question...is it really that hard to tell with an educated eye when a horse has been drugged for their round? I mean...it doesn't seem to be that hard for me, but I haven't been in the ring in the last few years with the ones with the new stuff...

What about monitoring barns? Nothing lasts that long that someone could bring in one that was already problematic at that level, right?

I'm just brainstorming now, so I'm not sure that any of these ideas are solid...

It seems it has to start with judging.

I think its impossible to tell from the average trip. I can tell you which ones I think have gone to the heaviest drugs, but not the ones that have "the edge off". Azium will make on spook less, but not necessarily looked or act drugged. perfect Prep is the same but less so. Many trainers use cocktails of many different things without even knowing of contradictions. the new rule will probably put a hold on that until they can regroup.

since I'm already on a thin limb with a saw in my hand, I can't figure out why every one is so convinced that Bases Loaded was drugged? He made a huge effort over every jump. He did trip and fall, and I have also heard that he was possibly not sound. But I see a video of a horse who jumped great, kicked out to the leg and tripped and went to his knees. His expression was bright and interested. He was backed off at the first jump, but how many of us miss to the first jump. Not MY idea of a drugged horse. I guess I'll start sawing.....

skydy
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:43 AM
This hits the nail on the head and its NOT going to change. It may be sad. It may be wrong and I commend all of you who take the time to do it right. Now what do we do about the problem?

I can see only one solution. The pinning of lethargic hunter rounds has to stop. Judges can make all the difference. If this discourse can help bring that fact to their attention, it will have been worth all of your effort.

As has been discussed on this BB before, the AQHA had to step in and require their judges to stop pinning bizarre WP horses.

ponymom64
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:02 PM
Robin
I will give you points for very creative excuses for medicating.
however if a rider even those inept juniors and amateurs can't stay in the tack if the Horse wiggles it ears they probably shouldn't be competing.
and the current rules do penalize any expression.
If you like better living through chemistry then have at it.
But a real solution involves rule changes to not reward comatose horses.
It would also do away with Ltd.
but carry on. I can't wait to hear more justification for this mentality.

I haven't read all of this thread but this I have to jump in here. You are completely misunderstanding what Robin is saying. She's not advocating drug use, per ce, but rather that many trainers who play on the big stage are going to medicate anyway, so wouldn't it be better for the HORSES to allow things that are easily testable and reasonably safe for the animals? What they are being stuck with now can and will kill some of them, but because it doesn't test, no one knows the extent of the problem.

You are completely off base if you are suggesting that Robin is one of the "better living through chemistry" crowd. She absolutely is not and having worked with her for many years, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she is one of the few trainers left that believe in training up an animal properly and teaching the rider to ride whatever animal they have under them that day.

ETA: I guess I should go back and read the rest of the thread now ;)

DrummerGirl
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:24 PM
More excuses.
Everyone does it so it should be allowed excuse

Now if the hunter rules didn't score any show of expression as a major fault none of this would even be a topic..
fix the rules so that horses in a coma are not rewarded and the problem goes away.

:yes::yes::yes::yes:

findeight
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:34 PM
On the flip side...anybody think we have too many delusional owners who will not listen to the term "unsuitable even with proper training"????? Not every horse has the temperment

Or who won't listen to "sorry Pookie physically cannot do the job and that is why he gets upset"???? Not every horse has the build to do the job.

Not everything is a vast conspiracy to sell people another horse and trainers get caught in the loop between telling the truth to those that won't listen and having to pay the mortgage and feed bill.

The PTB have to start going after the owners here. All they get is a wrist slap and have to write the check to an assistant or substitute for a bit. Hit them in THEIR wallets because they have to take responsibilty and demand accountability for trainer decisions.

Now, I showed clean, have enough negative tests to prove that, trainer was never disciplined for drugs/meds despite frequent tests. But I cannot tell when a horse had reserpine 60 days ago or the latest concoction available at the back entrance to the grounds 8 hours prior. And please, no references to those BDT "good old days" that have improved in memory over what what they actually were.

To whoever suggested barn monitering???? You want to pay for guards 24/7 to moniter 30 to 50+ shedrows? What about stabling off the property and hacking or hauling in???? Thats no answer.

Nope, the answer is in accountability of ALL concerned. Now, it may not be "fair" to the owner if they don't know...but it will teach them they have to learn and turn off the source of the money that funds those continually trying to get around the rules at the risk of the horse's health.

Particularly in the cases of repeat violations involving uncommon substances (not administered for normal prodcedures like ear trimming or to treat a chronic condition too close to competition time), the whole process needs an overhaul and change of emphasis. Turn off the money faucet that keeps these people in business.

Let me add I KNOW there are owners who don't care and can afford to persue winning at all and any cost. But I do think the average owner does care about paying for somebody else's mistakes, bad judgement or plain old cheating on their dime- I'd mind big time and pack up to change barns.

Linny
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:49 PM
Well...I do have a question...is it really that hard to tell with an educated eye when a horse has been drugged for their round? I mean...it doesn't seem to be that hard for me, but I haven't been in the ring in the last few years with the ones with the new stuff...

What about monitoring barns? Nothing lasts that long that someone could bring in one that was already problematic at that level, right?

I'm just brainstorming now, so I'm not sure that any of these ideas are solid...

It seems it has to start with judging.

I agree. The issue though is the circular nature of the game. As Robin mentioned in her commentary, most of the BNJ's (judges) are also BNT's. If they start pinning horses that are clearly more animated and if the trend continues, those same judges will have to start actually training their clients to RIDE and training the horses rather than just serving them a cocktail before the classes.
Over the years the hunters have been dulled down to "western pleasure over fences" (I exaggerate, put down the flame throwers!) We've reached a point where simply if we see a horse actually pick up its head and carry a little pace he looks (relatively) like a runaway train. Everyone (trainers, judges, riders) needs to adjust their eye so that a horse hand galloping to a fence doesn't look odd or dangerous. It's probably less dangerous than 1200lb horses collapsing up front as in the link on the prior page. (Notice too in that video, that despite being drunk as a skunk, he was still able to kick out. I wonder if when he did that the trainer was worried that he hadn't gotten enough?)

ponydancer
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:00 PM
ponybreeder...
"since I'm already on a thin limb with a saw in my hand"


If sawing your limb will help to bring this problem to light and produce solutions instead of talking about it behind closed doors, then kudo's to you. Keep sawing!!!

Janet
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:01 PM
So? A horse dies from magnesium (or any other illegal substance), ....

Are you proposing a mandatory necroscopy for every horse death?

2bayboys
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:07 PM
I am right here in Wellington, at WEF, showing in an amature division. I see the comotose horses come to the ring. I see the riders sometimes go in the ring, start for the fence and feel that they have to circle instead of proceeding...I suspect they are feeling that their horse is "not quite there"....I have seen bad over the head falls when such a horse stops at a fence , I suspect the HORSE is feeling that he is"not quite there". I am making my own young horse and he is not comatose...but we are being pinned well I think....I admire the judges who use us because I feel that they are appreciating a non drugged appearance....I think many of them want things to change and are beginning to realize that they have the power to change.....they can determine what wins.

There is so much pressure on the horse owner to conform . The trainer wants the blues on his tack room....if only I would use "this", or if only I would use a false tail,or if only I would let the trainer show in a division before MY division....I am older, I have done this all my life. So I have the confidence to say no...this is my pleasure...I love the PROCESS of making a good horse. It TAKES LONGER to make one, they LAST LONGER when you do it this way. But most ammys and juniors do not have the confidence to resist the pressure.

The pressure is to conform to the comotose, over tailed, over shown appearance. ONLY the JUDGES can change this.....they need to reward what is REAL....and I think many of them are trying to do that. My hat is off to them....they are bucking the trend. I suspect the ones who are doing this have also done this all their lives, so they have the confidence to pin the unaltered horse. I always want to go to the judges booth after a class that I have done well in and THANK the judge!!! I want to say, "Kudos to YOU!! You forgave the tail swing with the change, the alert expression, the lack of a heavy tail ( my horse has a great full tail of his own_), you pinned my otherwise smooth, good moving , nice jumping horse. You pinned a sound, happy horse!!! THANK YOU!"

Applause, applause!!!!

busylady
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:39 PM
Many people have commented that trainers need to teach the rich ammies and juniors to ride rather than drug the horses (I am paraphrasing here). I agree. But, drugging to make a horse rideable is only part of the problem. Many good riders show drugged horses (pros, ammies and juniors). Drugging isn't done just to make the horse quiet enough for the rich weekend warrior. Drugging is done so that a horse is quiet enough to win, not just quiet enough to ride. I point this out because in order to solve a problem, you have to actually acknowledge the problem. In this case lack of skill is only part of the problem.

cyberbay
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:41 PM
Mrs. Bradbury - Very sorry you lost a bunch of clients to another trainer b/c of your emphasis on riding properly. Can't go with the poster who said 'congratulations.' These losses are a hit in income, and it's just more riders going over to the dark side to win and not become good riders or horsemen.

I think the proliferation of inexpressive horses and non-riders comes down to money and the expense, at least, in the metro areas of riding and showing. Barns are high overhead and low margin, and finding a way to relieve that pressure is to be expected.

One way? Go horseshowing ... a lot. Because the trainer can make several hundred $ just in day fees over a weekend, and that beats a bunch of lessons.

To make showing a winning proposition for the customer means, for many trainers, using pharma. And lessons that emphasize how to get around (the course), not how to ride. And horses ready to go, not a youngster who needs a lot of attention -- time = $.

The other source of trouble is the suburbanization of our country. It's neither fish nor fowl, with people learning how to push buttons for their apps and not learning how to be calm and considerate around other living creatures. I grew up when there was open land and lots of people had horses at home and people rode the trails and knew each other. I won't say the horsemanship was so fab, but Pony Club dominated, and the horses were still robust, strong, easy-tempered animals who could handle riding through the woods to pop out on the neighbor's farm who was hosting the show that weekend and then jump around the outside course, and then we'd ride home with some ribbons and the ponies would go out in the field for the night. Vet care didn't even approach what gets done to a horse today (altho that wasn't always for the good). Can anyone say that this is their current experience for themselves, their children, or their students? Not many, I would think.

My long-winded point is that horses are now not as wide-spread, have fewer followers, and so more $ has to be drawn from the same well.

Rockfish
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:11 PM
For those that think allowing exuberance in the ring will make it all go away are way off base. A large percentage of those who support the industry and high horse prices are Juniors and Amateurs. Many of this group cannot ride a horse that is the least bit exuberant and will find a trainer who does a "better job" training their horses if that is the way it goes in the ring. And yes, that would be the best answer.


I'm sorry, but that is the biggest load of crap I have heard in a while. If the child or the ammy can't ride the exuberant horse, then don't buy or lease it, and don't let a trainer bully you into doing so, for what ever reason they concoct. If you have found yourself overfaced, there is no shame in selling the horse. As an ammy, I can more than deal with an exuberant critter, and in my life I've known hundreds juniors who could as well, even doing the schooling for those who couldn't. Don't tell me we aren't capable of it. What we don't need is a trainer who is willing to cheat, who stands in the way of really teaching (maybe they can't, hence the drugs?) and nuturing talent.

x
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:16 PM
I think Cyberbay has some valid points--people today can't ride because the entire culture has changed...I grew up riding everywhere; didn't have a car, used my horse. And the horses were used to riding everywhere and doing everything. Today, horses are specialized. They don't get the shear hours under saddle that one could put on them in the past--in part because the open land to ride on isn't there, in part because society has changed and parents aren't as likely to let their kid ride five miles through the woods and roads alone to meet their friends and ride, adults didn't grow up riding and are trying to learn at an older age--again, in a ring. Getting a horse out and foxhunting it or doing extensive trail/cross coutry riding does alot for not only the horse, but also the rider. The rider has to learn how to deal with situations as they come up.
In addition, people haven't grown up with horses or livestock, and their entire attitude toward them is different. Rather than riding for the sake of riding, or to better a partnership with the horse, it has become a social thing. Ride at shows with friends, etc. Ride the horse in order to show and compete. These attitudes tend to lend themselves to the problems we have today, where the ribbon is more important than the path to get to the ribbon. People also are more safety-conscious; which can be good, but which also can cause a tendency for a person not to want to learn to deal with the more difficult ride...the horse that plays a bit, etc. Therefore people are looking for that dead quiet ride because they feel safer because they have never learned to deal with anything more because they didn't want to move out of their comfort zone. This seems to be an adult problem more than anything, but is starting to trickle down to young riders as well.
There is a definate attitude toward winning that is out there at the big shows. This attitude, which you can just feel, isn't a nice friendly competetive feel; it is a not nice attitude that is there just under the surface--I usually do local shows because that is what the majority of my students can afford, but on occasion have had a student do the bigger shows, and I can say that the atmosphere/attitude there doesn't make me feel good at all. Why this should be the case, I don't know. Perhaps there is just too much money at stake--I really don't know. But it isn't good.
Anyhow, I don't see a solution really with society going the way it is, with all the changes taking place moving from rural to suburban etc, culture. I do, at least in my area of the country, see riders with better form now than years ago, although I also see riders that despite the beautiful form can't deal with anything outside the norm that they are used to; i.e., can't ride something not pushbutton.
Final thought: there are horses that can be as quiet as they need to be naturally; some of the stock breeds bred for the hunter ring comes to mind--and I suspect that some of the WBs bred more for the hunter ring and a quiet way of going could fulfill that expectation nicely. Perhaps the best thing is to really start looking at the breeding of the hunters temperament-wise.

Angelico
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:25 PM
I don't disagree, One Gray Pony. I don't think its always all about chasing money, though. There are a lot of adults out there who are nervous or scared. A lot of them have money to burn on an expensive horse and want to do WEF and the AA Circuit. They are weekend riders. And yes, there are a lot of trainers who want to make a quick buck on horse and won't spend the time training the horse properly. These things are not likely to change and they motivate people to do the wrong thing.

You can be angry about the way things are, but there is a lot of brain power out there that would be better used trying to find a solution that would actually work.

The new drug rules give a two year vacation to those who are caught using illegal drugs. That is a good thing. The people out there who don't want to get caught will give horrible things to the horses. That is a bad thing. What is a reasonable solution.

I absolutely agree that the hunters are beginning to look like they are half dead, and it is not an appealing look. I fear, rightly or wrongly, that it is because of the dreadful things going into them. California Gold was not even on my radar, and my vet told me when I asked him to read my article that he thought I was referencing it because it is so awful. he said it had ingredients that affected neurological function. Magnesium slows the heart and can kill a horse when given too quickly or too much.

I believe that something has to change or it will be disastrous for the horses. So yes, I would like to see a small door opened for say, a product like Perfect Prep that seems (and I may be wrong) to work well with no side effects. Then increase the penalties every year for people who are caught cheating. Of course I may be completely wrong, but I fear for the direction things are going.

I did not like your first post, or your article, but in this post, I feel we are on the same team. You are right.

Doesn't every generation feel that they have it the worst? But at what point does it all come falling down? Eventually, it will start blowing up in our faces. Heck, mag sulfate already is, but very few people know about it. I'd say most COTHers know about it, but what about the people at the bigger barns?

In no way am I suggesting that the people that are doing what I can only dream of doing at I level I can only dream of, are dumber and less of a true "rider" than me, bush track midwest trash, however, ponybreeder brings up an excellent point, how many horses have you ever ridden that put in that spot on perfect round nearly every time? How do large barns with over fifty horses seem to have nearly fifty perfect horses that put in so many perfect rounds? Maybe money can buy those horses that fill those barns, and maybe all those riders are that talented. I for one, will never know. When you add it all up though, it is very fishy.

Is awareness the issue? I can NOT see the top junior riders going in the stalls and holding a horse for their groom or trainer to administer mag sulfate, or last year, dex. I sure cannot see their parents, some of which are public figures with reputations to lose, allowing their horse to be drugged simply so daughter can go win a ribbon. How many owners/riders are kept in the dark? On what level of the sport is this happening the most? Location? East, West, middle?

Finally, when and how will this come to a screeching halt? I mean, at one point, it will have to, right?

mvp
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:27 PM
ponybreeder asked for a solution. She's right to do so.

Y'all won't like it, but here it is. It's an agreement between horse trainers and HOs (horse owners):

1. Make "the journey" feasible, valuable and desirable. HOs need to stay in the game for decades. As One Gray Pony points out, the ROI on this relationship (for pros) is pretty good. What they don't make in day fees at shows and commissions, they make in lessons. Oh, and many, many horses get to have longer careers because the "within normal limits" quiet horse doesn't need to be lunged or drugged to get to that automaton level of quiet.

2. In return, HOs need to be willing to pay higher prices for board, training and lessons. Trainers latch onto those day fees, commissions and perhaps judging gigs because we have made this physically demanding, high risk profession into a low-paying one. They can't afford to be the modest one who teaches lessons, has a lot of half-leasing students and competes on the local or one-day B/C circuit.

Really, there are a huge number of us out there who are willing to put in a lot of money over a long time. Please give us a place to spend out money that's not a game for suckers.

hntrjmprpro45
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:34 PM
I think a large part of the problem stems from the show system itself. As horse shows become more and more unnatural, so will our horses. The modern day A-circuit hunter must travel a lot, spend the majority of its time in a 10x10 stall, spend a lot of time on concrete, usually gets no turnout (as in a grassy paddock), has a demanding work schedule, has a messed up sleep schedule, and is asked to focus when there is nearly a circus going on around them.

Then throw in the fact that showing on the A-circuit is ridiculously expensive. Many people can't afford to have shows where they just let their young horse "see the sights" or can't afford to pay for classes just for a good schooling experience. They want to go into the arena and win. Considering it can easily cost $1k per week, its not hard to understand their frustration and impatience.

Now that "B" rated shows are nearly nonexistent, we have fewer options for our young and green horses. Sure you can take them to schooling shows, but at least in my area, those are nothing even remotely like the atmosphere of a big A show.

So, in my opinion, while judges/scores do drive people to drug their horses for better results, I have to wonder if that would even be necessary if we had a better show system that kept our horses welfare in mind.

findeight
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:51 PM
If you have found yourself overfaced, there is no shame in selling the horse... What we don't need is a trainer who is willing to cheat, who stands in the way of really teaching (maybe they can't, hence the drugs?) and nuturing talent.


Again, on the flip side, how many times have we heard somebody say or read on here "My trainer says my horse can't do it/I can't ride it" and advised them to change trainers? Find one that can fix horse and rider and remove income from the trainer that said they could not?

Are we, meaning the horse owning public, partly responsible for creating an environment where we want to hear and see only positives and get that sunshine blown up our rears whatever that takes???

Several have questioned why I went thru 5 lease or owned horses in 5 years. I did it trying to find a match for my goals and ability as opposed to dumping time and money into one that was not going to help me advance just so I could feel better. It was not because the trainers wanted to churn the barn inventory. On the contrary, once that match was found there was no commission income from me...for 12 years. I even asked about it once and trainer said "You will never get another you click with like that one and you are never going to go any higher then you are now with your schedual. Keep that jewel".

Unrealistic owner expectations are very much involved with this whole problem. We, meaning all owners, should be willing to be held as accoutable as the trainers financially when they cheat on our behalf because of our demands.

Rockfish
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:03 PM
Again, on the flip side, how many times have we heard somebody say or read on here "My trainer says my horse can't do it/I can't ride it" and advised them to change trainers? Find one that can fix horse and rider and remove income from the trainer that said they could not?

Are we, meaning the horse owning public, partly responsible for creating an environment where we want to hear and see only positives and get that sunshine blown up our rears whatever that takes???

Several have questioned why I went thru 5 lease or owned horses in 5 years. I did it trying to find a match for my goals and ability as opposed to dumping time and money into one that was not going to help me advance just so I could feel better. It was not because the trainers wanted to churn the barn inventory. On the contrary, once that match was found there was no commission income from me...for 12 years. I even asked about it once and trainer said "You will never get another you click with like that one and you are never going to go any higher then you are now with your schedual. Keep that jewel".

Unrealistic owner expectations are very much involved with this whole problem. We, meaning all owners, should be willing to be held as accoutable as the trainers financially when they cheat on our behalf because of our demands.

Oh there is no shame in switching trainers to bring out the best in a match, just as there is no shame, if the rider feels they have reach the end of their rope, and needs to part with their mount. That decision is up to them. What is shameful, however, is the need to drug the animal to replace time and horsemanship.

I definately agree that an owner who wants to use chemical shortcuts should be as accountable as the trainer.

What I took umbrage to, was the statement that most juniors and ammys need the drugs and multiple trainer tune up rides, because we "can't deal with exuberance" in our mounts.

OneGrayPony
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:03 PM
Mrs. Bradbury - Very sorry you lost a bunch of clients to another trainer b/c of your emphasis on riding properly. Can't go with the poster who said 'congratulations.' These losses are a hit in income, and it's just more riders going over to the dark side to win and not become good riders or horsemen.

Ooh boy, I am hopeful that my original comment was taken in the spirit that it was intended by the poster it was addressed to, because you clearly didn't get it.

It is HARD and SCARY to turn away money and do the right thing.

I've done it. I'm a business owner (not in the horse biz) and routinely have clients that ask me to take shortcuts, "just do", and to do the wrong thing. Doing the right thing takes chutzpah, and that's what the poster did. In addition, having the wrong clients is a DRAIN if they don't believe in what you believe. It really is.

But I digress.

I'm wondering if EVERYONE needs to take a leap of faith. Judges need to judge a more alert round (and I spent hours on a post that I lost...but it included what a more alert round might look like...at any rate, seems like a lot of the trips the horses weren't even seeking out the fences, which DOES seem somewhat suspicious to me).

I have a video of a rider that should NEVER be riding a horse at the height she's riding...that I won't post here because I don't want to be defamatory....but he's a green horse, and it's a damn shame. That trainer really needs to take some responsibility.

Owners need to take responsibility and to be shown the figures.

Breeders need to focus on rideability and producing horses that Ammies can ride (I know several here are doing so).

It's EVERYONE's responsibility. Which is why, as of right now, it's no ones.

I'm wondering if we could get people to drug their horses and take videos of the ride with varying substances to see if we can spot differences. I wonder if we can take a multiprong approach?

danceronice
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:15 PM
Are you proposing a mandatory necroscopy for every horse death?

If it drops dead at a show from no discernable reason (ie it wasn't euthanized for injury, didn't colic, etc) and they DON'T want to get ruled off for a year or more? Yep. If that's what it takes, that's what it takes. The owner can cough up and pay for it, too. (Heck, if it's valuable enough to be insured any smart insurance company will require a necropsy and refuse to pay out if it looks within a reasonable doubt like the horse was given a calming agent that contributed.) If paying to play is all owners and trainers care about, hit them in the wallet.

Or they could just stop penalizing horses who show any sign of life or independent thought and reduce the need to dope them. Or defining the 'perfect trip' as one almost no horse can achieve without some chemical help.

I don't actually care if the substance itself is likely to cause a horse harm. If it's a calming agent and you "need" it to show, it's cheating. It's no different than giving a racehorse cocaine like they did in the old days (Sir Barton was allegedly high as a kite in his Triple Crown) because it made them hyper and possibly faster. If your horse is too hot for you, learn to ride it or sell it and get a calmer one. If people have so much money, they can afford a few more lessons. If they're just too impatient to bother with that training stuff, let them go out on a horse they can't control and break their neck.

Winston the Corgi
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:18 PM
I thought Robin was incarcerated for securities fraud. Or was that just Paul?

findeight
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:33 PM
I definately agree that an owner who wants to use chemical shortcuts should be as accountable as the trainer.


I am also talking about the owner with unrealistic expectations and time frame ignorant of the chemical shortcuts. It IS partially their fault because they pay that trainer for decisions made to satisfy those demands.

I always have a problem with the endless COTH threads "How long does it take to get a horse to the show ring" and the 60 to 90 day answers. It may be possible but it's not the norm for those who have to ask on here. Yet that's what they take to the trainer expectation wise.

And BTW, if I could not tolerate (and stay on) an "exuberant" outburst? I would not have owned most of mine-that's why the former owners sold them. ;) All it took was time in a proper program under a better rider then the owner...and more then 60-90 days.

dags
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:41 PM
I thought Robin was incarcerated for securities fraud. Or was that just Paul?

And that has what to do with what? Regardless of the messenger, this is a legitimate problem that must be discussed.

I'm agreeing with a lot of things here and there, I wish I had time to throw in my $.02 but until then please keep the mature & productive discussion going. It's not quite right to say I'm "enjoying" it, but I have found it keenly interesting.

It's quite telling that the horses were hotter back then yet drugged more liberally today.

skydy
Mar. 14, 2012, 03:41 PM
I thought Robin was incarcerated for securities fraud. Or was that just Paul?

WTF:confused: Doesn't seem relevant to this conversation really.

belgianWBLuver
Mar. 14, 2012, 04:44 PM
I thought Robin was incarcerated for securities fraud. Or was that just Paul?

Yeah come on people - this is the most interesting post I've read in quite some time (we in lower levels of dressage are affected by this also).

Lets do keep this off the wine and popcorn train, pls?

Janet
Mar. 14, 2012, 04:58 PM
I thought Robin was incarcerated for securities fraud. Or was that just Paul?
Neither. As of last week


Greenwood, who has since moved to North Carolina, pleaded guilty to six counts of securities fraud and related charges in July 2010 and faces up to 85 years in prison. He is cooperating with prosecutors against his former business partner, Stephen Walsh, who has pleaded not guilty.

He will not be sentenced until after Walsh's trial is completed.

IIRC, any charges against Robin were dropped.

But all of that is pretty irelevant to the issue Robin is addressing here.

elizabeth1
Mar. 14, 2012, 06:09 PM
Winston, ya need to go for a walk.

Robin has stuck her neck out here to address an issue that seriously needed addressing. The horses she's talking about are simply not safe for a junior or ammy to be on. Not much will be done until the is a tradgedy, to the animal and\or the rider.

I don't know Robin but I do respect what she's breed(some lines I know upclose and personal) and more so what she's trained. Those are lovely, safe ponies which to me are the foundation for the truly great rider.

skydy
Mar. 14, 2012, 06:20 PM
Yes. I agree. But the drug rule as written cannot be enforced because there are no tests for the dangerous drugs. A strict rule needs to be able to be enforced in order to be effective. So, from my side, I see the rule, as written, a problem

I understand your frustration, but I still don't see the rules against drugging as the problem.

I see the people willing to risk killing their horses to get around the rules,as the problem.

CBoylen
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:23 PM
Loved your article, Robin. And your willingness to put it in print. It said many of the same things I've been saying on here in the many threads we've had on these subjects lately. I don't have an answer, but I completely agree with you on the problem.

mvp
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:33 PM
I understand your frustration, but I still don't see the rules against drugging as the problem.

I see the people willing to risk killing their horses to get around the rules,as the problem.

Let me explain: Making a rule that's impossible to enforce has its own set of problems. There are several here.

One is trying to test for a substance that is normally found in a horse's system. If it's short-acting, that's even harder. Now you have to establish a threshold (how much per million parts of a blood sample) that will work for all horses. Then you have to decide when you will test since normal levels can be there and illegal levels have a short duration.

The other problem is playing catch-up with compounders or creative prescribers who start using all kinds of drugs for their off-label effects.

The third problem is the one that has to do with the "any drug used to alter a horse's performance is illegal" clause. This one was the umbrella part of the D&M rules that was supposed to prevent the "chase" of the right tests. The problem here is that many argue that the drugs (Dexamethazone, Magnesium in large doses, Regulate and Depo-Provera (given to mares and geldings) and whatever else are not for performance enhancement. Are those for regular old health or "performance enhancement"?

And folks who don't like to talk about this question add, "Well, give up your Adequan and legal, maintenance levels of NSAIDS because they raise the same philosophical problem" and I'll give up my stuff. IMO, this is a strawman of an argument and everyone knows it.

magnolia73
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:38 PM
Are there actual statistics on how many horses this has killed- is it one, horseshow legend, a regular thing- 1or 2 per show? And I would think if a horse drops dead for no reason, an insurer would do some form of autopsy before paying out. And my trainer would not do this, but if my horse dropped dead because she was injecting her with magnesium without my permission, her ass would be in court pretty quickly. When these horses die, what exactly do they tell the owners and insurers?


I see the people willing to risk killing their horses to get around the rules,as the problem.

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:42 PM
I understand your frustration, but I still don't see the rules against drugging as the problem.

I see the people willing to risk killing their horses to get around the rules,as the problem.

Agreed. A dangerous combination

findeight
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:44 PM
...
It's quite telling that the horses were hotter back then yet drugged more liberally today.

How can we assume that when it was BDT? That means before drug testing and use of such was hardly rare. I think there is a valid point that maybe we created a monster with the current drug rules. In our effort to protect, we created something that is actually worse for the horses. Maybe by keeping it under the table, we create standards that are unattainable without their use as those not in the know assume the effects are from training. Judges are in a tough spot because they have to pick from what is in front of them.

Just sayin...just as a discussion point because I honestly don't know.

MrsFitzDarcy&Feliks
Mar. 14, 2012, 07:57 PM
I'm sorry to sound obtuse, but just having taken a nursing chemistry class, I'm wondering when magnesium is referenced, it must be in solution if it an IV or IM shot. However, if it in a compound, what compound is it? I would think it would be hard to get a Mg solution as Mg is highly reactive having only two electrons in its outer shell. The magnesium solution I've heard of used medically is magnesium sulfate (MgS), which, in its solid form is epsom salt. I've been under "mag sulfate," as the nurses called it, when I was hospitalized with pre-eclampsia. I don't know what was given in terms of dosage, but I feel bad for any horse given it, even in proper amounts. It made me feel tired, woozy, unstable, groggy, drunk, and even horrible "daymares." Sort of half awake nightmares. It was awful. I wouldn't want it for the horse, and god knows I wouldn't want to ride a horse on it. I understand why Ace is banned, but given the choice, I would ride a horse with a little bit of ace in it. I understand where Robin is going with her op-ed. No, she doesn't have answers, but sometimes it's more important to ask the questions.

chunky munky
Mar. 14, 2012, 08:05 PM
Mrs, usually given IV. Admittedly it appears the most benign drug mentioned in all this is acepromazine. But I assure you the clock will never be turned back on the drug regulations due to liability concerns.

MoonLadyIsis
Mar. 14, 2012, 08:23 PM
I find it really depressing that our sport has come to such a level. I don't know about anyone else, but as an avid horse lover (and ammie who is bringing along an OTTB for the hunter ring) I am truly saddened to read how we as HORSEMAN have seemingly lost all respect for the large beasts we are putting underneath us.

We have lost the one thing that the MAJOR founders of our sport had ingrained in them "The horse ALWAYS comes first."

I don't know how to change it and I wish I had a simple answer, but something has to change. Not to "level" the playing field, but for the sake of these animals who are putting their trust in us, and we (as a sport, and as their keepers and "horseman") are failing so many of them. Ending the depressing post now....

skydy
Mar. 14, 2012, 08:26 PM
Let me explain: Making a rule that's impossible to enforce has its own set of problems. There are several here.

One is trying to test for a substance that is normally found in a horse's system. If it's short-acting, that's even harder. Now you have to establish a threshold (how much per million parts of a blood sample) that will work for all horses. Then you have to decide when you will test since normal levels can be there and illegal levels have a short duration.

The other problem is playing catch-up with compounders or creative prescribers who start using all kinds of drugs for their off-label effects.

The third problem is the one that has to do with the "any drug used to alter a horse's performance is illegal" clause. This one was the umbrella part of the D&M rules that was supposed to prevent the "chase" of the right tests. The problem here is that many argue that the drugs (Dexamethazone, Magnesium in large doses, Regulate and Depo-Provera (given to mares and geldings) and whatever else are not for performance enhancement. Are those for regular old health or "performance enhancement"?

And folks who don't like to talk about this question add, "Well, give up your Adequan and legal, maintenance levels of NSAIDS because they raise the same philosophical problem" and I'll give up my stuff. IMO, this is a strawman of an argument and everyone knows it.

The FEI is all over the naturally occurring substance levels ,the hormonal ones anyway, and have established acceptable levels (within normal limits). Obviously short acting, quickly metabolized substances will get past any test.

The rules are certainly vague however the intent is clear. Perhaps some work by USEF and/or USHJA is in order to clarify things. I don't see, however, how clarification will help stop people who cheat with drugs, since I'm sure they fully understand that they are cheating.

chunky munky
Mar. 14, 2012, 08:46 PM
An interesting aside is when we were no longer allowed to use bamboo as a simple offset how many more jumps it required to get the "bump" to make them jump high and round. It was easy for any trainer to set an offset, no matter how experienced they were. It was outlawed because anybody on the street could see it, and at that time we were concerned about PETA and animal welfare protesters. (and we should still be) One of the reasons that farms next to WEF sell for so much is you can do this type of training and then just walk to the show. It holds.
That has always been a more humane trianing tool than drugs. But the public perception is negative.
The second thing that nobody will address is that in the 70's and 80's most TB's were about the same size ( 15.3-16.1) If we saw a 17.0H we were impressed. But at that time they were still some bred for sport. We do not have that any more.
Now the look is very slow because the show horses are a different breed than what we showed in the 70's and 80's. It was rare to find a big TB. It still is. Now it is difficult to find a warmblood ever under 16.1H. Just look at how many small juniors compete compared to how many large ( next to half) That is a result that our show breeds have changed. The 17.1 hand first year horse will always appear slower, and frankly need to be held off the oxer to fit in. The 16 hand tb will look hurried and flat. How do we fix that?

Molly Sorge
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:09 PM
For anyone interested in more information about magnesium, here's an article I wrote about it last year (http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/intravenous-injection-magnesium-sulfate-isn%E2%80%99t-just-illegal%E2%80%94it%E2%80%99s-dangerous)...

S A McKee
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:31 PM
Chunky
your logic would almost make sense if bamboo offsets were illegal.
in fact they are usef legal.
Please continue with excuses.

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:41 PM
Thank you for posting that, Molly. It is a great article and brings home how terribly frightening magnesium sulphate is.

Tackpud
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:48 PM
THE SPORTSMAN’S CHARTER
That sport is something done for the fun of doing it and that it ceases to be sport when it becomes a business only, something done for what there is in it;
That amateurism is something of the heart and spirit - not a matter ofexact technical qualifications;
That good manners of sport are fundamentally important;
That the code must be strictly upheld;
That the whole structure of sport is not only preserved from the absurdity of undue importance, but is justified by a kind of romance which animates it, and by the positive virtues of courage, patience, good temper, and unselfishness which are demanded by the code;
That the exploitation of sport for profit alone kills the spirit and retains only the husk and semblance of the thing;
That the qualities of frankness, courage, and sincerity which mark the good sportsman in private life shall mark the discussions of his interestes at a competition.

Taken from page 2 of the USEF rulebook. Has anyone actually read that lately?

Unfortunately society has become a selfish climate of instant gratification and horses are just one way of getting that. Anyone who says they are a horseman should put the welfare of the horse first, otherwise they are a ribbon chaser. Medicating to ease the end of the day aches are one thing - that is legal under the current rules. Medicating to change the performance of the horse is another - that is illegal. I have been in the business a long time and got out of the "AA" circuit due to the insurance killings and moved to education. It sickened me what people did and everytime I hear of the new "wonder drug" I hold my breath waiting to hear how many horses were killed trying to get the dosage right. Is it going to take a rider getting killed for us to wake up to reality?

I wish I had the answer, but I'm still working on it. Robin - think your article is great. You brought up valid points and a great topic for discussion. But I can not condone giving a horse 1/4cc Ace to ride it - what happens when a horse reacts badly to that and hurts the person on it? Then you have a lawsuit because the USEF has already banned it in the past. I won't let any of my students ride a horse with any tranquilizer in its system - that's way too unpredictable a situation for me as a trainer. Do I win as much as the BNT's? Nope. Do I know my kids know how to ride and my horses are safe? Yes. I do what I think is right for my horses and if the students don't understand that, it is up to me to educate them.

CBoylen
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:50 PM
USEF technically allows for poling and/or offsets, with restrictions, but most competitions themselves prohibit them in the rules set forth in the prizelist. And have since the mid-nineties. You won't get far with a bamboo on a show grounds on a show day, no matter what you plan to do with it.

chunky munky
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:00 PM
Chunky
your logic would almost make sense if bamboo offsets were illegal.
in fact they are usef legal.
Please continue with excuses.

So SAK, my good friend, I can walk down to the hunter ring and construct a bamboo offset today? Please enlighten me.

Winston the Corgi
Mar. 14, 2012, 10:54 PM
I apologize if my earlier question - which was genuine and sincere and not meant to be snarky, btw - has offended anyone.

Not that it matters, but Robin (since I now know you're on this thread), many moons ago I had the biggest "pony crush" on Espresso. I salivated over that small pony and was incredibly jealous!

ponybreeder
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:11 PM
I apologize if my earlier question - which was genuine and sincere and not meant to be snarky, btw - has offended anyone.

Not that it matters, but Robin (since I now know you're on this thread), many moons ago I had the biggest "pony crush" on Espresso. I salivated over that small pony and was incredibly jealous!

Espresso was one of the best of the best. No lunge line and certainly no drugs!! I leased him to various families until his retirement in 1988 0r 89. He lived out his life with me and died here in Southern Pines 5 months ago at the age of 33.

jn1193
Mar. 14, 2012, 11:56 PM
I would think equine insurers would be a good place to start. If these drugs are killing these (very much not cheap horses that are probably insured) I would think that insurers would like to know that a magnesium injection killed a horse or overuse of dex caused founder.

First, I commend hunter for her courage in writing this article and The Chronicle for publishing it.

I pulled out this quote because in the mid-1980's it was the insurance industry who started the investigation into horses being killed for the insurance money. There were a number of people then who stood up for what was right then. (Shawna Deitrich is one of my heros for her courage in this regard).

The resolution of this issue is going to come down to the clients insisting that there horses go clean. Insisting that when they get a bill from their trainer for "meds", they know what meds were given & WHY there were given. Insist that meds be given ONLY if there is a theraputic reason and refuse to pay for any meds given without your foreknowledge, approval and direct veterinarian recommendation. Too many clients just "pay the bill" and turn a blind eye to the cocktails given their horses at shows.

This issue is far, far different than giving a horse a gram of bute after a hard day. Horses are suffering and dying over this. I agree with Robin that opening the door for products like Perfect Prep is the right way to go. The drug rules can be very confusing. I had to look about most of the drugs on this year's list and haven't been able to identify the products some of these are found in.

But first, vote with your feet. Don't turn a blind eye to your trainer acing your horse every time you ride or propping them up at shows with a host of meds. Ask questions - it's your horse and your money. There are many professionals who believe that slow training, matching horse to rider and not using illegal or designer drugs. Find them.

Robin is also correct in suggesting that some of the very people creating the rules look for a way around them. You can change that bit of hypocrisy too by nominating & voting for people you know follow the rules for leadership positions in our governing bodies.

There is no "top down" solution to this issue. Ain't gonna happen - the grass roots are going to have to use strength in numbers. "Occupy USEF"?

Peggy
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:52 AM
ponybreeder - Thanks for being brave enough to write and get the article published and to continue to participate in this thread rationally

MrsFitzDarcy&Feliks - Magnesium sulfate = MgSO4 which is soluble in water. Magnesium metal is somewhat reactive because it wants to lose the two electrons and become Mg(2+), but the Mg(2+) is pretty stable. MgS is magnesium sulfide.

everyone interested - How would one distinguish between magnesium given IV as MgSO4 and magnesium ingested as MgCO3 in Perfect Prep?(ingredient list from their website: Soybean oil, magnesium carbonate, glycerine, taurine, thiamine mononitrate, coconut oil, silica gel, inositol, amino propanoic acid, mixed tocopherols, polysorbate 80, propionic acid, methylparaben, potassium sorbate, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors). I suppose you could look for abnormal levels of sulfate, but then people will go to another soluble magnesium salt, like magnesium nitrate or magnesium chloride.

There is the FEI protocol of not allowing injections on the showgrounds by anyone but a vet and requiring horses to be stabled there, but that would be a lot more labor-intensive at a huge showgrounds like WEF or Thermal as compared to a relatively small number of horses in the FEI barn at a CDI or CSI.

I came away from a day trip to Thermal somewhat dispirited about the state of the hunter "industry" based on watching a class of low AO's that someone said was not a great class and a class of older large juniors. Lots of lovely, athletic, beautiful-moving and jumping horses. But many were behind the leg, leaving the ground weak, and landing in a bit of a heap. A number were also a bit too chunky to be athletes, at least IMHO.

S A McKee
Mar. 15, 2012, 04:17 AM
Yes chunky you can use bamboo offsets.
I guess judges don't have to have knowledge of the rules...

And cboylan it's not "technically " allowed.
usef does not prohibit bamboo offsets for hunters.poling is not allowed.
if show management decides they don't wish to allow offsets the do have latitude to not allow it.
But cm argues that offsets reduce the need for medication.
if her argument was valid bnt would prevail on show management to allow it.
So the "we can't use offsets so need to medicate"argument has no basis.
more excuses, keep them coming

mrsbradbury
Mar. 15, 2012, 06:33 AM
I have an idea.

I have seen horses go that I suspect are on Mag Sulfate, or other odd medications, but have never actually touched one up close.
We can see a delayed response to the aids and surroundings while it's in the ring, I am wondering if we can't have the USEF stewards perform a "sobriety" test to questionable animals at the shows, then procure a blood/ and/ or urine sample/ I know this won't per se help with Magnesium problem but it's a start.
Maybe additioanlly, following similiar guidelines for DUI, there could be a "holding" tent, where the horses could be monitored and held for observation etc.

Additionally, I never understood why people thought Regumate and Depo made horses quieter. I have Regumate, and we use it seasoanlly on two mares, out of 7. It doesn't change their energy level, but it keeps the Welsh mare from turning to Satan's Spawn and murdering everyone in the trailer, or backing down the aisle to grunt and kick the other horse in crossties. The other mare gets "cramps", it doesn't need muscle relaxers, it needs hormone therapy, this really nice horse got passed through it first few riders for back pain. Honestly, I shouldn't have spoken for Depo, I've never used it.

Back to Magnesium, Thank you (evil chem prof) for providing the ingredients to perfect prep. It appears that the active ingredeint is again the illustruous magnesium, maybe in a more refined form, and more accurate dose.
A couple of years ago I asked my vet about the use of Magnesium to get horses quiet. She looked at me like I was an alien. This is a good vet, that has seen and works on upperlevel performance horses, as well as oodles of race horses, out of a very busy practice. She told me, there is no medical reason that she can think of to give a horse added magnesium, when I told her that people were injecting it to make them quiet, she was floored. She told me what has come to light, the practice is very very dangerous, she didn't understand the compounding, and if it was ever used in medicine it might be a last ditch effort for something. The application was news to her (at that time). So, I do disagree here, Robin, I don't feel that perfect prep is a benign product. We don't know how regular use over 40 weeks on a small pony metabolizes.

Maybe part of the issue here, is the accountability of the VETERINARIANS as well.

As trainers, we enjoy a looseness with pharmaceuticals, that I would guess no other profession has. I like being able to retain some helpful meds for barn use; i.e. bute powder, injectable banamine, a couple of packs of azium, ace, dormoseden and rompun, and a bottle of SMZ. (The entire contents of my medicine box, let's add 2 10cc doses of injectable Gentacin) That's about all you need for a good emergency response kit, or the right restraint for 5 foot me to wrestle clipping the ears of 17 hand "the clippers are going to suck my brain out!!!!!!!:eek:) horse.

I don't want to lose this luxury... If PETA, or some other organziations get involved, I bet your panties we all lose that perk.
Now, if we want to get super tough; we should start by dealing with the vets that have become drug dealers, now within our own little world. Have the NGB work with the state licensing boards where these DVMs practice and go from there. It happens in human medicine with Mds who prescribe pain killers and anti-depressants willy-nilly.

Those are my contributions and insights to the think tank.

ponyflyer
Mar. 15, 2012, 07:03 AM
In regards to magnesium, what if the testing procedures are changed to require horses to have blood drawn both before and after the class? If the results show a marked difference, the horse must be tested again under controlled circumstances (i.e. after being in a supervised holding stall for X amount of time so that the short acting magnesium will have time to wear off). I don't know if there would be health implications for the horse having blood taken before the class. I don't think so because a horse can lose a lot of blood before it becomes an issue.

I’m not sure that this is feasible but it may open the door to some more ideas.

Magnesium is horrible but Carolina Gold is heinous.

Mary Babick

mrsbradbury
Mar. 15, 2012, 07:40 AM
Mary, Just an aside.

As a horseman, and a professional I could never imagine injecting things like that into the horses under my care. A few personal notes...

1) I have a Selle Francais that sustained a palate tear at some point before I acquired her, she needs sedated to have her teeth worked on. She's a fighter and required a BIG dose. Just watching her try to climb out as the cloud pulled her down is sickening, I hate it, I have empathy for her. She knows it feels wrong.

2) I worked in animal welfare, I am Euthanasia certified in the State of Florida. I know, a complete oxymoron. Chemicals are powerful, and some of the results are not reversible. The saddest part of my life was then.

3) My husband had a freak pulmonary embolism at 35. He was in a coma on life support, given a 1% chance to live. He was given all kinds of paralytics, sedatives and other things. To this day, a few years later (Thank Heavens he recovered); he tells me about the lucid dreams, side effects and "hallucinations" he sustained. Like fire in his veins, drowning, trying to fight his way back from the darkness, and severe thirst to name a few.

Okay, thanks for my personal moment of the day... Back to the regularly scheduled programming.

SilverBalls
Mar. 15, 2012, 08:04 AM
Loved your article, Robin. And your willingness to put it in print. It said many of the same things I've been saying on here in the many threads we've had on these subjects lately. I don't have an answer, but I completely agree with you on the problem.

Ditto!

I do not have the answer, but I feel that the judges have the opportunity to help.
I have been around since much longer that I care to admit. The other day I was on FB and came across a video posted by Bernie Traurig. I was a video of Bernie riding Circuit Breaker. I remember watching that horse go and recalling how that horse took my breath away. He galloped around even jumping a small liverpool in an outside course. He did not always jump in the best form, but variables such as footing etc, probably played a part.
Robin Bacon Greenwood had some lovely horses like Grand Central, Parlor Car, 20th Centiry LTD that galloped and jumped with my fondest memory watching her on the Fairfield Hunt Club outside course.
I could go on and on... but people rode off their eye. Then came the courses that required a more technical approach with related distances etc... and then the counting of strides began.
And here we are today... :eek:

The Hunter Derby is a great start and it seems the concept is being embraced in a big way! It offers unrelated distances and options. BUT - what I like to call "robotic rounds" seem to place over a round that may be on the brilliant side.

I have made it my goal to own horses that can go from the stall to the ring. Since I am a "weekend warrior" who doesn't practice and gets on at the ingate... I just want my horses trained properly without shortcuts. It may take much longer, but as long as I can ride to the jumps that's all that matters. They can play and enjoy what they are doing as much as I am.

leyla25
Mar. 15, 2012, 08:35 AM
I find this thread fascinating. I guess Ponybreeder return to training is helping her notice what we have witnessed for so many years and when we complained about it were deemed as sore losers.
Maybe your epiphany should serve as cautionary tale to other ponybreeders that like yourself send ponies to "train" at various farms and some went on to win championships at Indoors, Devon, PF, etc.
It is very easy to bask in the glow of winning and not realize the details.

RockinHorse
Mar. 15, 2012, 09:04 AM
Additionally, I never understood why people thought Regumate and Depo made horses quieter. I have Regumate, and we use it seasoanlly on two mares, out of 7. It doesn't change their energy level, but it keeps the Welsh mare from turning to Satan's Spawn and murdering everyone in the trailer, or backing down the aisle to grunt and kick the other horse in crossties. The other mare gets "cramps", it doesn't need muscle relaxers, it needs hormone therapy, this really nice horse got passed through it first few riders for back pain. Honestly, I shouldn't have spoken for Depo, I've never used it.



So could you show these horses with out it?

Not all of the problem drugs are to make horses quiet. Some are supposed to help them focus, appear sound, etc.

2bayboys
Mar. 15, 2012, 09:23 AM
Subjective question:
There are many many horses that jog sound, but if you give them some therapeutic level of bute or banamine or Robaxin their performance improves, indicating that although "sound" the horse does have some discomfort/stiffness/inflammation somewhere that was alleviated with the use of the meds. Should the horse compete on the legally allowable limit of the medication, or is it wrong to do so?

Another one:
There are many many horses that are very talented but are simply not quiet enough to put in a good trip in the hunter ring, but if you give them a 1/4 or 1/2 cc of Ace, then their performance improves, indicating that their anxiety was alleviated by the use of the medication. Should the horse be allowed to compete on some legally permissible level of the medication, or is it wrong to do so? (I know the rules say it is.)

It appears that the question posed by Ms. Greenwood is this. Since the current rules and performance ideals seem to almost require that horses be subjected to all manner of scary and dangerous medicating to attain the performance that is desired, would it not be more humane to allow medicating with a well known and relatively safe substance to assist in attaining that performance instead?

She is quite brave to publicly suggest it. Make no mistake, her feelings on this topic are shared widely, just not stated out loud.

dags
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:03 AM
Findeight, my statement was an effort to apply this discussion to my own experience. Which includes growing up on TBs then figuring out WBs as a pro while apparently "everyone" else was drugging theirs.

My show "prep" for the TB began the week before the show, with long flat sessions everyday, two jump schools, and maybe one day off leading up to show week. He'd do a division with the pro, I'd school Thursday night, and Fri & Sat mornings you could be sure I was up early with a lunge line or a saddle. By Sunday I could just about manage to consistently keep him on a 12' stride. Sure, he got "fit", but not wind fit like they do galloping endlessly on a lunge.

(He was not your average long & lanky TB. Short backed, uphill, stunning neck that came up out of the withers, a naturally enormous stride and a flat-kneed yet suspended trot that to this day would garner attention in any company. Plus athletic as heck over fences (http://www.exchangehunterjumper.com/images/site/about_casey.jpg).)

Good grief how different things would have been if someone had just stuck a needle in that horse. Still, we won throughout the midwest & Los Angeles and were AO ribboners at Indio, and along the way I learned those amazing life lessons we all say horses are supposed to impart.

By the time I turned pro the WB invasion was in full swing. From the very large school & show barn of generic quality to the specialized import program of irish & french horses (what a bipolar combination that was) I dealt with a lot of different types and very, very few ever saw the end of a lunge. They were lazy enough already! I honestly can't imagine tranqing them... except 1, but he desperately wanted to be a dressage horse and that's what we sold him as.

They did lack focus though. It's just amazing to watch a junior completely ignore the fact that their horse is GAWKING outside the ring while they're headed to the next fence. In fact, all anyone on the rider's team notices (kid & parents) is that it all ends in a near miss with the standard and a refusal. You try to explain it started 20+ strides back and this and that and this that all lead to a perfect trip, but they see only one thing. That horse they spent $50K on just made a fool of their kid in the ring.

So what happened? I left the business. I couldn't handle the responsibilty for an entire string of show horses' success by myself and without the help of the kids (I had my own program by then). But between cheerleading, volleyball, honor society, siblings, social events, and 30+ minute treks to the barn that strand the parent in an unuseful area of town, it just wasn't going to happen.

Apparently I could have just Ritalined the horses. This never dawned on me, but it is very clear to me why it dawned on someone else. However, since I feel we're losing the very thing that makes horses & horse sports so special - the humility & determination you must learn to be successful - I just can't get on board with the quick fix. I'm with the others who feel this is symptomatic of an inherently flawed & superficial society.

I mentioned earlier I wish I had time to give my $.02. Well, I made time, so I hope you'll bear with as I am finally getting to a point :D

There is a world beyond Wellington, Devon and Indoors. There is a vast expanse of hunter jumper competitors in this country that don't take it so damn seriously and therefore aren't dreaming up new ways to thwart their competition, or make a horse into something it's not. So, while the folks on the most elite circuits in the country may get most of the press and media coverage, I do not find them representative of the entire sport.

I waited to write this until I could offer a legitimately pursuable idea that has yet to be heard, because I don't have time to be one more moaner on a bulletin board. Shockingly enough, I managed to come up with one.

I do believe owner ignorance is a key player here. Whether that ignorance is intended or not, it becomes harder to play dumb when you no longer are. An advertising campaign would get a lot of attention. "Do you know what's in your horse?" followed up by the option to get your own horse tested at the shows. This would need a coalition and funding, lots of funding, to fully expose the issue. So the ammys who say they have money and are just waiting to find the right place to spend it, how 'bouts it? :D

Janet
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:09 AM
everyone interested - How would one distinguish between magnesium given IV as MgSO4 and magnesium ingested as MgCO3 in Perfect Prep.

My understanding (from Vets and Doctors who have posted on other threads) is that the main difference is the concentration in the blood.

With an oral supplement, it is almost impossible to get the concentration of Mg, in the blood stream, up to the toxic /fatal levels.

With an IV injection, it is easy (almost too easy) to get the concentration of Mg, in the blood stream, up to the toxic /fatal levels.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:23 AM
Some random comments:

~~ Drug testers are not allowed to test horses based on another person's request/suggestion. This makes sense if you think of the potential for abuse; one BNT/exhibitor could point a tester toward a horse owned/ridden by the competition in order to get that horse removed from the show. Or request that a horse be tested just for spite; to get back at another trainer for whatever reason.

~~ The posters on this thread are preaching to the choir. We all agree that drugging is bad and mag sulfate is horrible. But we are not in a position to effect change. The BNT's and the AAA level riders are the ones in power.

However, this thread comes off as a "we" v. "they" battle. We are the white hats and the AAA people are the evil villains. -- If anything is going to change, the big circuit exhibitors and trainers must be welcomed into a discussion like this. They are on the inside and have the ears of the rule makers. We need for them to be part of the solution. Many (most?) of them are not part of the problem, but would be tarred with the same brush if they were to post here.

~~ There is one group of people who know exactly what goes on behind the scenes at shows: the braiders. They are in stalls all night and into the morning, seeing and hearing everything.

I am sure that most of them would be reluctant to come forward for fear of losing that job and because being a whistle blower is not "cool". I am not sure how to change that perception, but perhaps a reward and the promise of anonymity would help.

However, if the braider went to a Steward and told what she had seen, but was lying for whatever reason, and tests came back negative, then the promise of reward and anonymity would be rescinded.

I have no idea if this suggestion would fly, but at least it is a suggestion.

MHM
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:26 AM
Subjective question:
There are many many horses that jog sound, but if you give them some therapeutic level of bute or banamine or Robaxin their performance improves, indicating that although "sound" the horse does have some discomfort/stiffness/inflammation somewhere that was alleviated with the use of the meds. Should the horse compete on the legally allowable limit of the medication, or is it wrong to do so?

Is it wrong for their riders to compete with recommended doses of aspirin, Tylenol, or Alleve in their systems? If the humans are allowed to use such things to be more comfortable, why shouldn't the horses?

M. O'Connor
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:28 AM
In regards to magnesium, what if the testing procedures are changed to require horses to have blood drawn both before and after the class? If the results show a marked difference, the horse must be tested again under controlled circumstances (i.e. after being in a supervised holding stall for X amount of time so that the short acting magnesium will have time to wear off). I don't know if there would be health implications for the horse having blood taken before the class. I don't think so because a horse can lose a lot of blood before it becomes an issue.

I’m not sure that this is feasible but it may open the door to some more ideas.

Magnesium is horrible but Carolina Gold is heinous.

Mary Babick

Some thoughts.

I'm confused as to whether the magnesium can be detected at all, even within the time frame between it being given, and being metabolized. Would either of the samples remain stable so that a difference could be detected?

Also, the USEF D&M testing is geared to be administered across all the USEF disciplines; I'm unclear on whether the random nature of the testing results in more testing taking place at hunter/jumper shows simply because more drug fees might be collected from these than any other discipline. AFAIK, exhibitors in all the disciplines stand the same statistical chance of being selected for testing.

Assuming there is a test that could be performed in an immediate setting, perhaps the USHJA could be persuaded to consider implementation of an over-and-above program that could result in stepped up testing rates in the hunter divisions for a period of time.

frugalannie
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:37 AM
Simple thing from a simple mind:

If magnesium is thought to slow the heart rate of the horse, then a quick heart rate check before and after the class ought to show if the horse's heart rate is abnormally low. Do this with a control group to determine the average change of heart rate (as some horses will naturally have a higher or lower rate) to develop a baseline of average expected change. If a horse comes out of the ring with a below average expected change, look into it further. This non-invasive test can be done by a vet tech or volunteer under the supervision of a vet.

Fascinating discussion, BTW. And I commend you all on your thoughtfulness and civility.

Now back to the dark side (where we would be in serious, life-threatening trouble if we tried this stuff).

Jumphigh83
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:02 AM
Robin
I will give you points for very creative excuses for medicating.
however if a rider even those inept juniors and amateurs can't stay in the tack if the Horse wiggles it ears they probably shouldn't be competing.
and the current rules do penalize any expression.
If you like better living through chemistry then have at it.
But a real solution involves rule changes to not reward comatose horses.
It would also do away with Ltd.
but carry on. I can't wait to hear more justification for this mentality.

So well stated. I suggest a golden syringe award ...instead of trying to struggle through this just give and honorary Pharm D to the leading trainer and a lifetime supply of syringes...

Peggy
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:11 AM
Screening for magnesium in a blood test shouldn't be an issue. Not sure if it's something that's routinely run (evil chem prof here, not lab tech), but it's doable (http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/magnesium/tab/test). The magnesium ingested as MgCO3 (PerfectPrep) or injected as MgSO4 isn't going to get converted into another element. So maybe it would be possible to distinguish between injected and oral by blood concentration. I don't know what its half-life is and, thus, how quickly you'd have to test after the class.

The magnesium should work the same, whether it's the carbonate or the sulfate. You wouldn't have much luck injecting the carbonate since it's not soluble in water. One reason I can think of for using the carbonate is that it might neutralize a bit of stomach acid.

I really don't know whether or not legitimizing the Mg levels you'd get from PerfectPrep would keep people from reaching for additional chemicals or not. On the one hand, it's going to be enough for some and will save those horses from getting more dangerous drugs. On the other hand, it's not going to be enough for all.

If I were looking to adjust a horse in a probably undetectable manner I'd investigate endorphins. I don't know enough about the half-life/profile to know if it would be practical--you might have to inject it at the back gate.

dags
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:20 AM
I really don't know whether or not legitimizing the Mg levels you'd get from PerfectPrep would keep people from reaching for additional chemicals or not. On the one hand, it's going to be enough for some and will save those horses from getting more dangerous drugs. On the other hand, it's not going to be enough for all.


Such a valid point, this slippery slope. Your performance enhancing drugs are okay but yours are not. Where do we draw the line? What if they make a totally safe calming/focusing agent, and you remove the argument that it's dangerous to the horse? Is there any sport left to defend at that point?

findeight
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:43 AM
This is one of the better threads since I have been on here-even if there is no solution, it makes readers see more shades of grey in what is really a complicated problem. Least I hope so.

Couple of other thoughts here...one is it's easy to sit and point fingers and place blame.

What if...YOUR DD turned 18 in March and was accepted in a top college that was to be partly financed by the sale of the Big Eq/Medal horse that she would be riding at the Finals, as a favorite, in her last show as a Junior. Already an offer in place on the horse in the 6 figure range.

What if that horse had a flare up of a pre exsisting arthritic condition after a warm up class Thursday and needed more then the allowable levels of a proven to be safe at the larger dose NSAID? Horse would not cause any further damage to itself and would only need the max dose Fri AM and PM...but that would still risk being over if tested on Sat.

WWYD? You scratch? DD worked for 5 years for this chance. Sale falls thru as horse went bad when it counted the most and so does a big chunk of college money.

So, do you scratch? Pray you don't get tested or it slips by? Or go to something else or a concoction of lord knows what not proven to be safe that won't test?

I know what the ethical, moral thing to do is but the pressure here is enormous and I wonder, if push came to shove, what the answer would be. The pressure here can be enormous on both trainer and client.

One other thought...some other very, very, very popular disciplines don't test at all unless requred by the state or competition and in one case, FEI. Heck of a lot more participants there then in H/J land.

NoobieDoo
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:50 AM
This is one of the better threads since I have been on here-even if there is no solution, it makes readers see more shades of grey in what is really a complicated problem. Least I hope so.

Couple of other thoughts here...one is it's easy to sit and point fingers and place blame.

What if...YOUR DD turned 18 in March and was accepted in a top college that was to be partly financed by the sale of the Big Eq/Medal horse that she would be riding at the Finals, as a favorite, in her last show as a Junior. Already an offer in place on the horse in the 6 figure range.

What if that horse had a flare up of a pre exsisting arthritic condition after a warm up class Thursday and needed more then the allowable levels of a proven to be safe at the larger dose NSAID? Horse would not cause any further damage to itself and would only need the max dose Fri AM and PM...but that would still risk being over if tested on Sat.

WWYD? You scratch? DD worked for 5 years for this chance. Sale falls thru as horse went bad when it counted the most and so does a big chunk of college money.

So, do you scratch? Pray you don't get tested or it slips by? Or go to something else or a concoction of lord knows what not proven to be safe that won't test?

I know what the ethical, moral thing to do is but the pressure here is enormous and I wonder, if push came to shove, what the answer would be. The pressure here can be enormous on both trainer and client.

One other thought...some other very, very, very popular disciplines don't test at all unless requred by the state or competition and in one case, FEI. Heck of a lot more participants there then in H/J land.

I would think this happens with some regularity and the horse is just shown and all involved cross their fingers that it doesn't get tested

mrsbradbury
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:53 AM
So could you show these horses with out it?

Not all of the problem drugs are to make horses quiet. Some are supposed to help them focus, appear sound, etc.

Absolutely. But currently, as the rules are written; I don't have to. Both these horses have been diagnosed, and treated by DVMs with documented records for their use of the medication.

In theory by allowing a "Doctor's note", many horses may have mystery illnesses, that allow certain meds, should that be a path to take.

I can tell you, that over time seasonally, both the mares require a lower dose than when we started, and as summer goes on, I lower the dose, that by fall neither recieves any. I have yet to start either mare again this spring. Maybe this year we won't need it.

findeight
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:06 PM
I would think this happens with some regularity and the horse is just shown and all involved cross their fingers that it doesn't get tested


Honestly, that is my thinking as well. It's cheating but...not so black and white at all if you find yourself with a decision that effects others like that.

MrsFitzDarcy&Feliks
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:20 PM
3) My husband had a freak pulmonary embolism at 35. He was in a coma on life support, given a 1% chance to live. He was given all kinds of paralytics, sedatives and other things. To this day, a few years later (Thank Heavens he recovered); he tells me about the lucid dreams, side effects and "hallucinations" he sustained. Like fire in his veins, drowning, trying to fight his way back from the darkness, and severe thirst to name a few.


mrsbradbury, thank you for clarifying how I felt on mag sulfate. I couldn't exactly put my finger on it in my post, but the lucid dreams your husband describes and near hallucinations are quite similar to what I experiences. The mag. also made me feel as though I had a fever. To friends I've described it as high fever, stoned, drunk, and tripping all at the same time. (And I've never done a hallucinogen, so that part is a jump of imagination.) It's horrible. I was on it twice, once for each child. I have chunks of time when I was awake and supposedly lucid and communicating that I cannot remember. Someone will tell a story about coming to visit me in the hospital and I truly cannot remember.

I'm surprised these horses can do anything (depending on dosage, of course). I'm surprised they don't have more bad trips, pun intended.

Then I think of my non-verbal child and the number of sedatives, etc. he's received for legitimate procedures and wonder what he's experienced. After his tracheal reconstruction at 4 years, he was sedated for a week to allow for healing. Mostly he was on Fentanyl, which is a morphine-like drug, I think (evil chem?), but also used ketamine for certain bedside procedures. A GI doctor used ketamine to replace his G-tube when it had popped out during the night and the stoma tightened too much to get one back in. Poor thing. Paralyzed but knowing what was going on. Thank God he was so young.

Like children, these horses depend on us. Some people should have more empathy.

Napoles
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:24 PM
[Like children, these horses depend on us. Some people should have more empathy.

Quote of the week. :yes:
That to me is the best, most succinct way of putting it that I have read yet.

mvp
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:28 PM
But first, vote with your feet. Don't turn a blind eye to your trainer acing your horse every time you ride or propping them up at shows with a host of meds. Ask questions - it's your horse and your money. There are many professionals who believe that slow training, matching horse to rider and not using illegal or designer drugs. Find them.

Robin is also correct in suggesting that some of the very people creating the rules look for a way around them. You can change that bit of hypocrisy too by nominating & voting for people you know follow the rules for leadership positions in our governing bodies.

There is no "top down" solution to this issue. Ain't gonna happen - the grass roots are going to have to use strength in numbers. "Occupy USEF"?

The "voting with the feet" is going to happen with people getting out of USEF hunters or out of the Big Show Franchises where $30K gets you a POS that you really might be tempted to drug....so as to not have utterly wasted the $1.5K you spent that week to "compete."

To people who want to get in, the numbers and path to drugging the horse they could afford are not clear at the outset. They become clear later.

It would be better if we could give those people a place to show with their cheaper horses that they could afford to train slowly and learn to ride. I am convinced that the better a horse knows and understands his job, the more quiet and rideable he'll be. IMO, this was at the center of what was to be rewarded in the hunter ring, along side "good athlete."


Is it wrong for their riders to compete with recommended doses of aspirin, Tylenol, or Alleve in their systems? If the humans are allowed to use such things to be more comfortable, why shouldn't the horses?

The question is irrelevant to this discussion.


Such a valid point, this slippery slope. Your performance enhancing drugs are okay but yours are not. Where do we draw the line? What if they make a totally safe calming/focusing agent, and you remove the argument that it's dangerous to the horse? Is there any sport left to defend at that point?


Honestly, that is my thinking as well. It's cheating but...not so black and white at all if you find yourself with a decision that effects others like that.

Which part of the "cheating" is not black and white? I agree that they decision to stay clean or to wade into cheating gets muddy when there's a lot of money involved. But the cheating is still there in all of it's clarity.

findeight
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:38 PM
Which part of the "cheating" is not black and white? I agree that they decision to stay clean or to wade into cheating gets muddy when there's a lot of money involved. But the cheating is still there in all of it's clarity.

I guess I could have worded that better. My point was that when there is alot of money involved and it's a one time only opportunity? The temptation is easier to understand. Not that it should be automatically justified.

Have a suspicion this happens alot without any owner knowledge or input. Or owner is involved and and onboard with whatever it takes.

One only hopes they stick to the proven safe products and risk the test rather then the back gate concoctions that could be anything but safe. And that is the conundrum.

ponybreeder
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:39 PM
Is it wrong for their riders to compete with recommended doses of aspirin, Tylenol, or Alleve in their systems? If the humans are allowed to use such things to be more comfortable, why shouldn't the horses?


Robaxin is a muscle relaxant and is given frequently for the calming properties that it affords some horses. I believe more Robaxin is given for the same reasons as dex or mag. JMHO.

I have had a number of people PM me that they wish they could give their horses small amounts of a calming agent as they took Valium themselves to calm their nerves when they show. Gave me a giggle.

MHM
Mar. 15, 2012, 12:50 PM
I have had a number of people PM me that they wish they could give their horses small amounts of a calming agent as they took Valium themselves to calm their nerves when they show. Gave me a giggle.

By the same token, there are probably some riders who are showing with wildly inappropriate substances in their own systems. Does that mean that no riders should be allowed to show on any aspirin at all?

That would be the same train of thought as those who think all horses should show on no medication whatsoever since some horses are on inappropriate substances.

mvp
Mar. 15, 2012, 01:15 PM
By the same token, there are probably some riders who are showing with wildly inappropriate substances in their own systems. Does that mean that no riders should be allowed to show on any aspirin at all?

That would be the same train of thought as those who think all horses should show on no medication whatsoever since some horses are on inappropriate substances.

Again, this is a red herring line of discussion.

The ethical/economic implications of letting people drug themselves silly in order to compete on horseback are not the same as the ones involved in drugging the animals.

To argue that these are at all comparable is BS to the point of being (a tad) offensive. That's because:

1) We "use up" horses doing all of this riding/training/showing stuff. We all do that to some extent no matter how well we manage them.

2) The animals do not get to choose their fate.

3) Someone, somewhere needs to limit those who would trash horses in ways that are beyond "normal limits" for our horseman's culture.

Now the person who chooses to show and they chooses to medicate with valium to git-r-done appears to be a contradiction in terms: Why participate in a hobby that causes you anxiety or bona fide fear?

To these competent, choosing adults, I say, "To each his own."

But make the same argument for a horse: "We should ask a horse to do something that scares him and then chemically take him down a peg."

That's not same kettle of fish ethics.

Janet
Mar. 15, 2012, 01:30 PM
In theory by allowing a "Doctor's note", many horses may have mystery illnesses, that allow certain meds, should that be a path to take.

path already taken.

Some one, who gets to see ALL the D&M reports filed, said that he was always surprized at the large number or horses that have HIVES, and take Dex for it.

comingback
Mar. 15, 2012, 01:37 PM
In regards to magnesium, what if the testing procedures are changed to require horses to have blood drawn both before and after the class? If the results show a marked difference, the horse must be tested again under controlled circumstances (i.e. after being in a supervised holding stall for X amount of time so that the short acting magnesium will have time to wear off). I don't know if there would be health implications for the horse having blood taken before the class. I don't think so because a horse can lose a lot of blood before it becomes an issue.

I’m not sure that this is feasible but it may open the door to some more ideas.

Magnesium is horrible but Carolina Gold is heinous.

Mary Babick


Simple thing from a simple mind:

If magnesium is thought to slow the heart rate of the horse, then a quick heart rate check before and after the class ought to show if the horse's heart rate is abnormally low. Do this with a control group to determine the average change of heart rate (as some horses will naturally have a higher or lower rate) to develop a baseline of average expected change. If a horse comes out of the ring with a below average expected change, look into it further. This non-invasive test can be done by a vet tech or volunteer under the supervision of a vet.

Couple of thoughts on these points. Pulling blood twice will then expose the animal to two needles. If in the grand scheme of things you happen to be pulled multiple times in a row from week to week, some might call into question the welfare of the animal.

Typically when pulling blood, the animal should be allowed to cool down to prevent the possiblity of a hematoma. Given that the animal will be schooled and warmed up prior to competing, timing would be an issue. While the amount of blood taken may not be an issue, again the welfare of the animal should be considered.

In addition, the current guidelines stipulate that the testers are not to disrupt competition for the participant. Some may argue doing a pull prior to as well as after a class may in fact be disruptive. Along these lines, when a tester has selected an animal, they are to keep the animal in sight at all times. Given the above suggestions, think of the manpower needed to follow the same animal for a longer period of time.

Lastly, regarding heart rate...I think the timing points made above would be a concern as well as the range of "normal" and "abnormal". I could see that being very difficult to regulate.

Please note I am not trying to say things are right as they are and I don't know that I have any additional suggestions or answers. I just wanted to contribute this information to help keep the discussion going in a constructive way.



One other thought...some other very, very, very popular disciplines don't test at all unless requred by the state or competition and in one case, FEI. Heck of a lot more participants there then in H/J land.

Just curious which ones....can you share?

mvp
Mar. 15, 2012, 01:53 PM
path already taken.

Some one, who gets to see ALL the D&M reports filed, said that he was always surprized at the large number or horses that have HIVES, and take Dex for it.

As someone who did not see those D&M reports, but watched the DexFest, heard the "he has allergies"... and watched the horses with chronic cases of scratches get scrubbed every day on the wash racks at shows, even I knew something was wrong.

I didn't know about the foundered ones because they weren't at the shows.

Ghazzu
Mar. 15, 2012, 02:00 PM
but also used ketamine for certain bedside procedures. A GI doctor used ketamine to replace his G-tube when it had popped out during the night and the stoma tightened too much to get one back in. Poor thing. Paralyzed but knowing what was going on. Thank God he was so young.



Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, not a paralytic. If it makes you feel any better, he was probably hallucinating.
(not trying to be funny)

MHM
Mar. 15, 2012, 02:18 PM
To argue that these are at all comparable is BS to the point of being (a tad) offensive.

It may be offensive to you. That's too bad.

If I can show on aspirin to make me more comfortable, why shouldn't the horse I'm showing be on a comparable dose of Bute to make him more comfortable to do his job?

The question I originally responded to on this thread was about the legitimacy of the use of relatively mild painkillers, not substances to change the horse's attitude.

2bayboys
Mar. 15, 2012, 02:18 PM
Is it wrong for their riders to compete with recommended doses of aspirin, Tylenol, or Alleve in their systems? If the humans are allowed to use such things to be more comfortable, why shouldn't the horses?

I agree with you. I self-medicate with Advil during the day and Pinot Grigio at night. :D I do like to afford my horse a similar level of comfort, especially as he ages (because I am learning all too well how much that sucks).

But couldn't a person apply that same analogy to other substances? And should we? If a person is allowed to ride while taking an anti-anxiety medication to feel more comfortable - and many many highly productive human beings are prescribed and medicated with such substances every single day - should the horses also be allowed to be medicated for the same reason?

This is an honest question. I am not nearly so certain of my own answer on this one.

MrsFitzDarcy&Feliks
Mar. 15, 2012, 02:32 PM
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, not a paralytic. If it makes you feel any better, he was probably hallucinating.
(not trying to be funny)


Actually it does make me feel better ... am I thinking of ketophen? (sp)

(Trying to be funny) ... did anyone see the British version of Death at a Funeral? Simon, the boyfriend, takes a cocktail pill created by his girlfriend's brother, a pharmaceutical student who sells designer drugs on the side. I think ketamine is in the cocktail. I remember vast amounts of suctioning when Malcolm was on it. So to see the character doing yo-yo spit bombs from the roof of the house was pretty amusing.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 15, 2012, 03:30 PM
Back in the early 80's, when your drug of choice was as near as the next tackroom, I knew several junior riders who went in the ring completely zonked out on cocaine (those would be the ones who forgot the course 1/2 way around. :winkgrin: ) I also knew of several big name ammies who did the same (but I had no personal knowledge of them -- It was an "everybody KNOW that xxx is on coke in the ring.")

Does that mean it is OK to give your horse cocaine before you walk in the ingate?

And, as for the person who medicates herself before she rides and doesn't understand why her horse cannot have bute to ease the aches -- HUH? He can have Bute or Banamine plus Robaxin, plus Azuim, plus Regumate. The legal (and quasi legal) drugs should be enough to calm the aches of any horse. If they are not sufficient, the the horse should not be showing.

But, seriously, the issue of riders taking recreational and hard core drugs (which is absolutely forbidden in FEI classes) is a collateral issue, and really needs its own thread. This thread is about drugging horses.

MintHillFarm
Mar. 15, 2012, 03:31 PM
I had a trainer that did not use illegal drugs, however I came to find out took away my horse's water 12 hours or more before showing. There was a lot of time spent on the lunge line in the mornings as well.

Frankly, if Ace were legal, and 1/4 cc would have done the same amount of quieting back then as the above method, I would have said let's use it...easier on his legs and overall well being rather than being deprived water and all that extra pounding.

danceronice
Mar. 15, 2012, 03:58 PM
-What if...YOUR DD turned 18 in March and was accepted in a top college that was to be partly financed by the sale of the Big Eq/Medal horse that she would be riding at the Finals, as a favorite, in her last show as a Junior. Already an offer in place on the horse in the 6 figure range.

What if that horse had a flare up of a pre exsisting arthritic condition after a warm up class Thursday and needed more then the allowable levels of a proven to be safe at the larger dose NSAID? Horse would not cause any further damage to itself and would only need the max dose Fri AM and PM...but that would still risk being over if tested on Sat.

WWYD? You scratch? DD worked for 5 years for this chance. Sale falls thru as horse went bad when it counted the most and so does a big chunk of college money.

So, do you scratch? Pray you don't get tested or it slips by? Or go to something else or a concoction of lord knows what not proven to be safe that won't test?

I know what the ethical, moral thing to do is but the pressure here is enormous and I wonder, if push came to shove, what the answer would be. The pressure here can be enormous on both trainer and client.


Explain to her we were stupid to gamble college money on a horse sale and she's going to a cheaper in-state university or applying for loans. Also, question, if the horse has a preexisting condition that can flare up and require illegal doses of painkillers...isn't another issue "Do we lie to the buyer about what it takes to keep the horse sound and sell anyway because if they don't notice on the PPE, too bad for them?"

Actually if push came to shove I'd have already told my kid, you can have a six-figure horse or you can have us pay for college. (I wasn't given that option, even. However, we paid cash for two very expensive schools and I have never been in debt in my life so I can happily indulge in expensive hobbies now.) And also that we don't commit sales fraud by doping a horse to fool the buyer.

I really don't buy the 'once in a lifetime' argument. It's no more legitimate here than it is to say that hey, the Kentucky Derby's literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a horse, stack away with NSAIDs and give them a few uppers, too, in case the painkillers make them drowsy. After all, those owners invested a lot of money. We'd all string up an owner/trainer who pulled that in racing, and is there a person on here who'd defend Dutrow and his needle-happy barn or buy Michael Gill's "hey, I'm just the owner" excuses because of the time and money spent on the horses and in the case of a race like the Derby, the 'only one chance' factor? I hope not. So why is it different because little Muffy is only a junior for another year and she really needs to sell that horse to pay for college/buy the next one, so let's cross our fingers and hope we don't get tested/hope the trainer doesn't get the Mag dose wrong and kill the horse (but then, hey, insurance money...)

JustJump
Mar. 15, 2012, 04:21 PM
This is one of the better threads since I have been on here-even if there is no solution, it makes readers see more shades of grey in what is really a complicated problem. Least I hope so.

Couple of other thoughts here...one is it's easy to sit and point fingers and place blame.

What if...YOUR DD turned 18 in March and was accepted in a top college that was to be partly financed by the sale of the Big Eq/Medal horse that she would be riding at the Finals, as a favorite, in her last show as a Junior. Already an offer in place on the horse in the 6 figure range.

What if that horse had a flare up of a pre exsisting arthritic condition after a warm up class Thursday and needed more then the allowable levels of a proven to be safe at the larger dose NSAID? Horse would not cause any further damage to itself and would only need the max dose Fri AM and PM...but that would still risk being over if tested on Sat.

WWYD? You scratch? DD worked for 5 years for this chance. Sale falls thru as horse went bad when it counted the most and so does a big chunk of college money.

So, do you scratch? Pray you don't get tested or it slips by? Or go to something else or a concoction of lord knows what not proven to be safe that won't test?

I know what the ethical, moral thing to do is but the pressure here is enormous and I wonder, if push came to shove, what the answer would be. The pressure here can be enormous on both trainer and client.

One other thought...some other very, very, very popular disciplines don't test at all unless requred by the state or competition and in one case, FEI. Heck of a lot more participants there then in H/J land.

Sort of a bad example, since Eq horses are required to be merely "serviceably sound," and are not jogged. A horse of that calibre would be worth a nice house even if it were to be scratched that day. And if DD were that close to the action, she would also have access to 'spares.'

findeight
Mar. 15, 2012, 04:22 PM
...curious which ones....can you share?



Unless things have changed drastically in the last couple of years, NCHA (cutting), NRHA (Reining) NRCHA (Reined Cow Horse, folks who do the Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno).

I remember it was a big adjustment when some of the Reiners went into the FEI competitions and realized it was zero tolerence.

Far as my Medal example, just because it is not what you would have done-tie up that kind of money in a one time only opportunity (and we can agree to disagree there is such a thing)? People DO it, trainers depend upon those people for their income and it leads to that kind of temptation and that was my point.

Along with the temptation to take a risk on an unknown substance that could potentially harm the horse for fear of testing. That is a huge point in this thread as well.

Me? I would not depend on anything financially from the horse. I'd probably scratch. But if I did chose to try to compete, I'd stick to the known substances with proven safety and hope not to be tested.

mvp
Mar. 15, 2012, 05:57 PM
It may be offensive to you. That's too bad.

If I can show on aspirin to make me more comfortable, why shouldn't the horse I'm showing be on a comparable dose of Bute to make him more comfortable to do his job?

The question I originally responded to on this thread was about the legitimacy of the use of relatively mild painkillers, not substances to change the horse's attitude.

Well... it's really too bad if we see my offense at using analgesics on horses as idiosyncratic. That is for reasons I have already explained:

They don't get to say "uncle" when the pain goes from "meh, aches and pains" to joint-damaging work.

People don't know where this line is exactly. Others don't want to know and cross it boldly until the sucker is really crippled.

So you can asked "Why not give my horse the benefits of modern medicine that I get?" so long as you are sure that you aren't doing damage. I'll be you, MHM, are a good owner who doesn't abuse NSAIDS. But the limits we place on those dosages and now the no stacking rule was put into place for what appears to be the many, many people who are not as ethical as you.

IMO, it's worth keeping this issue front and center, not marginalized. As offensive as it is, I'll stick to my guns on it so that horses aren't ground down in pursuit of ribbons.

And as someone paying for a retired one, I know it would have been more fun for me and cheaper in the end to have really crippled this horse and euthanized him sooner. I see why anyone would want to take the unethical fork in the road.

ToTheNines
Mar. 15, 2012, 08:33 PM
My 2cents centers around horses with good minds. I have three. I am almost 60 and ride alone so a good mind is a priority to me. One I bought as a three year old and lucked out, one I bought as a 15 year old and took a risk on his long term soundness, and one I knew forever with his prior kids. They all know and enjoy their jobs. If I gave these horses calmers, they would not be happy and I would not be able to get them to go. BTW, they are an App, a QH and a TB, respectively. A fourth horse, my only WB, is the spookiest.

With the zillions of posts about how to tell a good mover, a good jumper, jumping chutes for youngsters, conformation critiques, etc., I NEVER have seen a post asking the simple question: how do you tell if a horse has a good mind? If we are not making that a shopping priority, no wonder we have behavior problems in the show ring.

The last yearling I bought was from a breeder. I looked at three or four. I purposefully led them various places around her farm. The one that was the least fearful about walking up to new and different things, and the one that let me crunch and swing feed bags at him, was the one I bought. He is three now and will not disappoint.

Good brains can be bred for. This same breeder has two stallions and almost all her horses have good brains. She has had a mare or two that produce difficult babies, and she does not breed those mares.

So we can solve a lot of this ourselves by breeding and buying for good brains.

cyberbay
Mar. 15, 2012, 08:35 PM
May have been posted already, but one primary reason the USEF doesn't test 'more often' is that it is costly to process a drug sample.

And there are more and more and more drugs out there to test for. Testing at different times throughout the day might yield valuable (prosecutable) info, but not likely b/c to be undertaken because of cost.

Also, many of the parents of juniors who have a string of show horses could be described as powerful, aggressive, competitive people. Those are the traits that helped them get rich. They don't turn it off when they hit the show grounds. This has repercussions should a horse of theirs test positive, and prosecution can become very complex and very expensive for the USEF.

danceronice
Mar. 15, 2012, 09:00 PM
Also, many of the parents of juniors who have a string of show horses could be described as powerful, aggressive, competitive people. Those are the traits that helped them get rich. They don't turn it off when they hit the show grounds. This has repercussions should a horse of theirs test positive, and prosecution can become very complex and very expensive for the USEF.

By this logic, insider trading and Ponzi schemes should be okay and we owe folks like Bernie Madoff an apology. Someone wanting to win and profit does not mean they're above the rules.



Far as my Medal example, just because it is not what you would have done-tie up that kind of money in a one time only opportunity (and we can agree to disagree there is such a thing)? People DO it, trainers depend upon those people for their income and it leads to that kind of temptation and that was my point.

I don't disagree there's such a thing as a one-time chance. What I apparently DO disagree on is that the fact there are no second chances means you're entitled to bend or break the rules. Little Muffy needs to learn sometimes she'll miss out on things because life is unfair and she has to learn to live with it. Just like those adult ams who get told around here "Sorry you keep losing to Susie Bigbucks, but life's just not fair." Nor is the fact that the trainers choose to make their living this way an excuse for breaking the rules--"I wanna be a horse trainer so the rules shouldn't really apply to me because they mean I might lose clients" is a BS argument. Since when does cheating and doping become all right because it means a trainer keeps a rich client? So giving a racehorse steroids now they're banned is okay if that means a wealthy client keeps his horses in that trainer's barn? Soring a Walker to win is fine, because the owners might pull their horses? It is morally the *same thing.*


Along with the temptation to take a risk on an unknown substance that could potentially harm the horse for fear of testing. That is a huge point in this thread as well.

Me? I would not depend on anything financially from the horse. I'd probably scratch. But if I did chose to try to compete, I'd stick to the known substances with proven safety and hope not to be tested.

And if you got tested, you'd deserve a long, hard ban, along with daughter, trainer, et al. Safety isn't even the real issue--if the substance is banned, it's banned. If you use it, you are cheating even if no one is physically hurt. If you cannot play by the rules, do not play at all. If daughter misses her one and only chance at the Finals because the horse is lame, tough patooties. That's called life--it's unfair. It's really hard to feel sorry for someone having to do the right thing by the horse crying about how they can't just cheat. I don't care who they are or how rich they are. I'm tempted to do bad things, too--heck, in dance it would be easy for me to lie about my age and dance up. Easier when you're the youngest in the group, and they never check IDs. But that is LYING, it's cheating, therefore it's wrong. I stay in my division and I wait until I age out. Just because you've spent lots and lots of money and this is really important and you want it a whole lot doesn't make lying and cheating all right. Understanding motives does not mean you can ever excuse the behavior.

S A McKee
Mar. 15, 2012, 09:07 PM
Cyber bay
usef doesn't 'prosecute '. They hold hearings.
If a horse tests positive I doubt that they ignore positive test because it's a high profile owner.
in fact,if you look at the hearing reports they sometimes read like a list of the rich and famous.
I really hope you don't think that positive tests are ignored regardless of who the owner is.

rustbreeches
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:10 PM
I have been avidly following this thread and would like to make a question/comment.

I have been out of hunters for years, and have only dabbled with DD in LL/WT in the last couple years. However, I was on the racetrack for years. Only a licensed vet may have injectables and needles/syringes. If the stewards or security choose to shake down your tack room and you have that stuff, there are fines and suspensions involved.

This approach doesn't stop all of the drugging, obviously, but it gives concrete limits to what you can legally have in your possession.

When you go to horse shows, there are sharps containers strategically placed in all the barns. It seems like an invitation to use whatever you want.

How economically feasible would it be to pass the same sort of rules at these multi day shows? Where any injections HAD to be administered by a licensed vet. I realize at the one day shows, odds are it would be impossible to find a vet for the day, but WEF? Thermal? What about shaking down tack rooms, trucks etc for banned substances? Just pick a handful of random barns every show and do it.

Okay, my .02 worth, flame suit zipped.

Again, not saying the race track system is perfect. There will always be cheaters in any game. It would just be nice to make it harder for them to do it. I would really like to see a fair and across the board solution, as DD will never be on a 6 figure horse, and I won't ever try and make a 10k horse 100k with a needle.

mvp
Mar. 15, 2012, 10:12 PM
^^

I don't think results change based one who the HOs are.

My impression is that drug testing is not quite random with respect to Big and Irrelevant trainers. That's all based on rumors from those Irrelevant trainers. I have no way of knowing if it is true.

And all the talk about HOs or trainers who do things they shouldn't because there are a lot of zeroes involved-- that's something we need to address.

Since some BNTs have gotten written up for D&M violations, it stands to reason that the little guys really feel compelled to get any pharmaceutical edge they can.

It's ineffectual to ask people who feel financially compelled to cheat not to so long as those who will always beat them sometimes cheat to do it.

This is why, when ponybreeder asked for a suggestion a few pages back, I said that we HOs need to pay our trainers more so that they can make a living without rushing to shows at all costs. It fell on deaf ears. Not one comment from you guys-- as much as you acknowledge that this is about money and that we need a solution rather than a bi!tch fest.

If this is a money thing at bottom, nothing will change until the financial penalties for those caught become so large that no one-- big or little pro-- wants to risk it.

The more humane thing to do is make it possible for pros to make a living other than the way that ponybreeder describes: Moving Heaven and Earth to please the wealthy client who asks for the impossible of the horse and trainer. It may be true from a BNTs perspective that this is how the world inexorably works. It may make someone feel like a sophisticated insider to say it. But it does nothing to explain how we could get a trainer to change his/her business plan. And saying it isn't a question of business at all-- that people should just "dig deep and find their ethics, money be damned" is, I agree, not helpful either.

HorseShopping
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:30 PM
I'm a dressage rider who just started attending a few local H/J shows because one mare I bred is not cut out to be a dressage horse but is a wonderful hunter mover. I have not yet attended an A show.

I am amazed at the different experience I have had at hunter shows vs. dressage shows. I see grooms longeing and then trainers riding horses and only then does the ammie/junior rider get on. That is not the norm in the dressage world (at least not in MY dressage world.)

I have also taken some group jumping lessons and notice riders are very quick to hop off and longe their horses. I don't see the behavior that warrants this. The excuse is often "he feels like he might spook." I have been the only person who hauled in (meaning the other horses live on the property) and I am jumping my dressage horse but I seem to be the only one that warms up without longeing. Now, I realize that we might put up with more shenanigans from our dressage horses because 1) we are not going to jump a fence and 2) our discipline actually rewards positive expression. So, I am used to a horse that is a little more "up" and one that may have a spook or 2 in it - doesn't bother me. I just flat until we are warmed up, attentive and ready to jump.

I also see some inappropriate horses being medicated in order to show at the schooling shows (no drug testing.) But, on the flip side, I have also seen some terrifically well-suited horses and riders. It is obvious that the horse is a "packer" and is taking care of the rider so that the rider can learn. It's too bad everyone can't find such a nice horse. They aren't always the fanciest movers nor do they necessarily have the best jump, but they are worth their weight in gold. But, I guess that goes back to wanting to win and win now - not take the time to learn on a well-suited but not uber-fancy horse.

And you certainly see plenty of inappropriate horses at dressage shows but I can honestly say that I have never seen a horse be medicated at a dressage show. I'm sure it happens but doesn't seem to be much of a problem.

I certainly am in no position to offer any suggested solution but I have found things to be very different in the hunter world.

Janet
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:42 PM
How economically feasible would it be to pass the same sort of rules at these multi day shows? Where any injections HAD to be administered by a licensed vet. .
That is how it is done at FEI copmpetitions.

CBoylen
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:44 PM
Now, I realize that we might put up with more shenanigans from our dressage horses because 1) we are not going to jump a fence and 2) our discipline actually rewards positive expression. So, I am used to a horse that is a little more "up" and one that may have a spook or 2 in it - doesn't bother me.
When the big dressage shows used to share the WEF grounds on some weeks, it was always very eye opening to see the top dressage horses. The riders would all lead them to the ring instead of riding them up there. Sometimes you would see someone trying to ride one up, with at least one handler leading (saw a few with one leader on each side). They'd get a few feet, spin, snort, eyes bulging, prancing, continue on, spin, snort, repeat. The higher the level you go, apparently the more "expression" that is needed. But the difference between disciplines was very marked.
I will say though that in my opinion, whatever discipline, the more talented and athletic the horse, the less likely it is to be dead quiet. The dead quiet that are talented and athletic, they're very expensive in this particular discipline because they are so very rare.

rustbreeches
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:48 PM
That is how it is done at FEI copmpetitions.

So the basic framework already exists, so in theory TPTB could utilize this if they chose?

Do they do searches or shakedowns at FEI competitions?

TIA

CBoylen
Mar. 15, 2012, 11:53 PM
At FEI competitions, all animals are stabled in a secure, monitored stable area. Not on grounds in open stabling where you don't need photo id to get into your tent, off grounds, shipping in, etc. With the sheer numbers of horses and the various ways of attending our competitions, a secure stable area and the financial restrictions it imposes on competitors is unfeasible. Nor does having an FEI tent prevent people from cheating, there are plenty of needles finding their way in there with as yet untestable substances as well.

mrsbradbury
Mar. 16, 2012, 05:57 AM
Well... it's really too bad if we see my offense at using analgesics on horses as idiosyncratic. That is for reasons I have already explained:

They don't get to say "uncle" when the pain goes from "meh, aches and pains" to joint-damaging work.

People don't know where this line is exactly. Others don't want to know and cross it boldly until the sucker is really crippled.



They do get to say uncle, and most of us do listen, that "uncle" comment in equine is your kick out on the way to the fence, the stop, the balking at the gate, the poor snarly behavior in the stall. We just need to listen. Safe and proper doses of therapuetic drugs, don't cover up minor aches and pains. The big dogs that mask pain are all banned.

And just a brief lesson on soundness mangement... Inflammtion is the culprit in DJD, if you control the inflammation you reduce the joint damaging properties. Additionally, inflammtion is the guilty party in pain as well, if you reduce inflammtion, you ward of regular aches and pain. This discussion is not about the legal use of therapuetic drugs, it is about addressing the rules that encourage the use of dangerous, banned substances.

I didn't add the second qoute, but you are legally permitted to euthanize that aging horse of yours, if you no longer wish to pay it's way. But, I'm thinking you had just taken your bitter pill, and since I can't read tone, I missed your true meaning.


To the race track poster with the little daughter, on the track they allow more than one vet to come in and out. At most rated shows, only the show vet is permitted on the grounds. So depending on the number of horses stabled, you may not have enough manpower, to handle it the same way. Not that I would be opposed to it.

To the dressage rider who enetered Hunterland's fantasy town. Welcome, please don't be dissuaded:no:, I got a chuckle from your discriptions.
I don't disagree with you, I would like to see that aspect changed as well. There is too much emphasis on getting the horse quiet, and less emphasis on getting it focused by riding well. If the horses are really quiet, it's a lot easier to teach someone to ride a course.
I can tell you that the horses that live at my barn are rarely lunged for energy reasons, unless he has proven he is going to be a complete and utter jackdonkey once the lesson has started, and then he only gets to buck on the line for 5 minutes, then back to work.
I tend to allow my horses to stay a bit more "up", then some other trainers in my area, I use schooling shows and local shows to develop good horses. I was approached by another trainer at a non-rated show, said trainer has a HEALTHY business, primarily ponies. She basically let me know that a couple of my horses could use some ace or dex, that ace is only illegal at A shows, and all the BNT trainers do it. She learned from the best, if I needed help, she would be happy to help me.:eek: Furthermore, according to her, it's the safest way to do it.
Seriously?, my big green TB, was not scary at all with his kid in his first hack class ever, he shook his head and swapped his lead cantering with 4 or 5 medium ponies. (He's almost 17 hands), we have 3 ponies at my farm, 3. And, the kid riding, more than capable. I teach my kids to ride, forward. I guess, though, that barn blindness works both ways. I am used to looking at a fresh, interested horse. She is not.

What I'm getting at it is, the disease is deep rooted, we currently only test and sanction at the rated shows, but there are businesses like the one I just described that are built off the needle in the name of safety. This is going to be a long road, I am supporter of any and all good change.

Once a trainer, a HO (:cool:), rider, or anyone invloved in the business stop being a horseman, the animal looses it's identity and they start wandering into the forest of no return.

RockinHorse
Mar. 16, 2012, 06:46 AM
^^

My impression is that drug testing is not quite random with respect to Big and Irrelevant trainers. That's all based on rumors from those Irrelevant trainers. I have no way of knowing if it is true.

<snip>

Since some BNTs have gotten written up for D&M violations, it stands to reason that the little guys really feel compelled to get any pharmaceutical edge they can.



The second part of the quote above does seem to contradict the rumors of the "irrelevant" trainers.


This is why, when ponybreeder asked for a suggestion a few pages back, I said that we HOs need to pay our trainers more so that they can make a living without rushing to shows at all costs. It fell on deaf ears. Not one comment from you guys-- as much as you acknowledge that this is about money and that we need a solution rather than a bi!tch fest.

If this is a money thing at bottom, nothing will change until the financial penalties for those caught become so large that no one-- big or little pro-- wants to risk it.

The more humane thing to do is make it possible for pros to make a living other than the way that ponybreeder describes: Moving Heaven and Earth to please the wealthy client who asks for the impossible of the horse and trainer. It may be true from a BNTs perspective that this is how the world inexorably works. It may make someone feel like a sophisticated insider to say it. But it does nothing to explain how we could get a trainer to change his/her business plan. And saying it isn't a question of business at all-- that people should just "dig deep and find their ethics, money be damned" is, I agree, not helpful either.

I am not sure this is an answer. When is it enough money? Why won't people want to make even more money? Not to mention it isn't all about money, although that is probably a large part. It is also about WINNING.

ponymom64
Mar. 16, 2012, 08:40 AM
With respect to the comment about needing to pay our professionals more - I really don't see this as the issue. Many professionals are doing ok. The problem as I see it is that many a customer views the horse as a vehicle for winning and aren't interested or don't care what happens behind the scenes to make that happen. Professionals get more customers by having a winning program and frequently have too many animals to train up or prep properly to show, so a needle is the most efficient way to send their horses into the ring. If they send a dog in and it shows poorly, it reflects poorly on their program, so they might not get potential customer, Muffy, her 6 horses and unlimited budget. If Binky goes into the ring and her horse is fresh and doesn't get a nice prize, Binky's daddy will move her 5 horses to a barn that will make sure the horse wins the next time. The show industry is about winning, plain and simple and doing whatever it takes to get it done.

Unfortunately, it trickles down to the lesser known trainers on local circuits as well. From what I see, customers don't care about the process. Horses are expensive and if they're going to spend that much money, they want to win. And there are simply not enough beautiful, nice moving, 10 jumping packers to go around.

ETA: and there are simply not enough hours in the day to teach many of these riders how to ride, nor do many of these riders want to spend much time learning, they want to maybe ride 1x during the week and then arrive ready to step into the ring on Saturday. Not to mention, the professional that doesn't want to lose a big customer by forcing Binky to ride better. If she hurts Binky's feelings by requiring that she work harder, bye bye Binky.....

cyberbay
Mar. 16, 2012, 09:09 AM
Danceronice: I don't think that there was anything in my post that said "look the other way." I wish posters would think twice before making such a heated response to something that was NEVER said or implied.

SAMcKee: Never said that the USEF turns a blind eye or ditches evidence. I am saying that enforcing rules is an extremely costly undertaking, and the USEF has to oversee rules enforcement for more than 20 breeds and disciplines, not just h/j. If a well-resourced owner has the inclination, he/she has the power to drag out that case for months and years, and that can threaten bankruptcy for the Federation. Re: prosecute. What do you call the gov't agency that is bringing in those charged with rules violations and subsequently presenting a case to prove that a rule has indeed been broken? That IS what goes on in a hearing. Those charged have been provided an earlier opportunity to not, for example, contest or not contest the lab report that indicates their horse was over the drug limit. If the member chooses to go ahead and contest that charge, it goes to a hearing, where the USEF presents its case that the rule in question was indeed broken... and the charged member presents his case that no rule was broken.

You remember the insurance-fraud cases of the '90s, don't you? The USEF (then AHSA) started a fund-raising campaign to help with the (very extensive) expenses. Or, does it ever seem peculiar that it took nearly 2 decades to pass a helmet rule?

Dinah-do
Mar. 16, 2012, 09:50 AM
To add to the list - I would like to see professionals make a real attempt to communicate with their clients. Find out what they really want and what really bothers them. I don' t mean the good times over a BBQ at the end of show day but what really makes them tick. I was showing for very different reasons than the mother of a teenage girl that was trying to keep her out of her boyfriends bed every weekend. In 10 years - I have been told what I should think but never asked what do I think and why. In the last few years I have lost 5 friends/relatives to various cancers. Having these people live is a win - not a piece of ribbon on a drugged horse. Hockey parents, dance moms, figure skating moms and now horse show moms. Very sad.

Linny
Mar. 16, 2012, 12:42 PM
I work in racing, an industry with its own D&M issues.:mad::mad: There, a trainer gets a suspension and his barn goes on as smooth as glass because his assistants are doing most of the work. In racing, since most horses live at the track a suspended trainer may not set footon the grounds and that works. The problem is suspensions and bans in any "show horse" environment is that trainers can go right on training, they just can't go to the show.
In racing there has been discussion about making the owners who support "questionable' trainers pay, by banning their horses or forcing them to actually move their stock to another trainer. Racing owners are in many cases similar to high level show owners. They are less likely to be day by day hands on with their horses, they typically hand off all responsibility to a high priced trainer and the trainers typically see them more as the "bill payer" that a "partner" in arranging a career path for the horse. For both, if the trainer is suspended, life goes on under the advice of an assistant. Maybe if i hits such owners harder they would be less likely to continue to patronize "big pharma" trainers. OTOH, there is the chance that they'd just take up tennis.

ccoronios
Mar. 16, 2012, 02:05 PM
So Claudius ...
"The pressure is to conform to the comotose, over tailed, over shown appearance. ONLY the JUDGES can change this.....they need to reward what is REAL....and I think many of them are trying to do that. My hat is off to them....they are bucking the trend. I suspect the ones who are doing this have also done this all their lives, so they have the confidence to pin the unaltered horse. I always want to go to the judges booth after a class that I have done well in and THANK the judge!!! I want to say, "Kudos to YOU!! You forgave the tail swing with the change, the alert expression, the lack of a heavy tail ( my horse has a great full tail of his own_), you pinned my otherwise smooth, good moving , nice jumping horse. You pinned a sound, happy horse!!! THANK YOU!""

HAVE you gone up to thank them this way? If not, why not?

Carol

Go Fish
Mar. 16, 2012, 02:06 PM
It's surprising to me on some level to see that people think drugging horses is a new problem. I've been around the horse show world for 50 plus years in one discipline or another, and it's ALWAYS been a problem. The only change I've seen is that as the testing has become more sophisticated, so has the drugs and methods that trainers/owners will use to beat the system. That will not change no matter what. It's human nature to cheat, and some people will always do it to win.

You can blame lazy, untalented, uninformed owners, lazy, greedy, unscrupulous trainers, the show system as it is today, what's pinning, etc. But cheating won't change unless the consequences are so severe, that you deter people from comitting the crime. And, it's not confined to just the H/J group. Cheating and drug use is rampant across the disciplines. Just ask the Tennessee Walking horse people or the QH people with tails, tying horses' heads up all night, or depriving horses of water. Clever trainers will think of a way.

If everyone's really serious about drug use, then perhaps it's time that ONE positive drug test gets both the owner and the trainer banned for life. It worked for the AQHA with tails. I can't remember what the penalties were for the trainer and owner, but I do remember that the papers were pulled on the horse. That woke everyone up.

I get a little miffed about people claiming that horses that go around that quiet must be drugged. No. You can breed, raise and train a horse that goes that way. I've got three. But then again, I'm a hands-on owner, been around the block a few times, and am willing to let my trainer take the time to get one to the ring properly, even if it takes several years. If the horse doesn't pan out, I find it a new career.

S A McKee
Mar. 16, 2012, 03:28 PM
Danceronice: I don't think that there was anything in my post that said "look the other way." I wish posters would think twice before making such a heated response to something that was NEVER said or implied.

SAMcKee: Never said that the USEF turns a blind eye or ditches evidence. I am saying that enforcing rules is an extremely costly undertaking, and the USEF has to oversee rules enforcement for more than 20 breeds and disciplines, not just h/j. If a well-resourced owner has the inclination, he/she has the power to drag out that case for months and years, and that can threaten bankruptcy for the Federation. Re: prosecute. What do you call the gov't agency that is bringing in those charged with rules violations and subsequently presenting a case to prove that a rule has indeed been broken? That IS what goes on in a hearing. Those charged have been provided an earlier opportunity to not, for example, contest or not contest the lab report that indicates their horse was over the drug limit. If the member chooses to go ahead and contest that charge, it goes to a hearing, where the USEF presents its case that the rule in question was indeed broken... and the charged member presents his case that no rule was broken.

You remember the insurance-fraud cases of the '90s, don't you? The USEF (then AHSA) started a fund-raising campaign to help with the (very extensive) expenses. Or, does it ever seem peculiar that it took nearly 2 decades to pass a helmet rule?

No Government agency is involved with the drug cases.
It's an internal process to USEF.

The insurance fraud cases were criminal cases.
After the criminal cases were decided NGB imposed suspensions. BW did sue to be allowed to be on show grounds and lost.

Perhaps you are confusing the extensive legal process that did involve AHSA concerning selection trials and how teams are selected. That was a civil suit and as a result the procedures were changed.
Inthat case individual board members were sued but that had a lot of larger issues involving IOC.

People do contest drug charges but they rarely win a reversal from USEF. And there have been court rulings that support the NGB's ability to decide these cases without civil court involvement.

Your post certainly did suggest that USEF looks the other way when a big name is involved. Read the hearing cases and you'll see that you are way, way wrong.

alterific02
Mar. 16, 2012, 05:41 PM
There have been a lot of posts on this subject, but I don't believe anyone has actually admitted to drugging. Well, I will. I drug my horses and I know I am not alone. In fact, given the conversations I frequently hear, such as "how much prep does it take to get him to the ring, oh just a little dex on Tuesday and Wednesday then he's good" I figure everyone does. At the A and AA shows I attend, grooms and trainers walk around at night with handfuls of syringes (which doesn't mean much because some drugs are legal). The point is, people don't try that hard to hide drugging. So why drug? For me it has always just been part of the program. My horse doesn't need to be drugged so I can stay on him, he just gets a little fresh on the first few days of a week long show. If he isn't drugged I still get my changes and the correct number of strides in the lines, but the horse is obviously tense and quick so we don't pin. So a little dex, some tryptophan and we are in the ribbons. Plus, as a bonus, my horse stays sound because we don't have to lunge his legs off. The drugs don't replace training. We train, a lot, and I get up at 6 a.m. so I can hack my horse in the ring from 7-8.

I don't drug my horse anymore, because I don't show anymore. The cost, of both the shows and the drugs, and the pressure just got to be too much for me. Showing wasn't fun anymore. The real turning point was when magnesium sulfate became a factor. Big AA show, championship points on the line and the horse is getting hotter as the show goes one (maybe because after a ten hour road trip and five days in a 10x10 he is fed up). Anyway, as I sat there crossing my fingers hoping the groom isn't giving the mag too quickly, it dawned on me, what the HELL am I doing? This is ridiculous. So that was my last show. I might show again, perhaps AQHA. For now hunters have lost any appeal to me and that is saying a lot; I have shown hunters for 15 years.

My takeaway is that there are a substantial number of people at each show that artificially produce a calm horse through the use of drugs. The drugged horse creates the standard that all the other horses are judged against. A very select few may be able to perform to the standard without drugs, but those horses are few and far between (and extremly expensive). The penalties need to be more harsh so that we can get rid of drugs altogether thus lowering the performance standard to that of a non-drugged horse. In the meantime you can find me out on the trails on my completely sober horse.

Dinah-do
Mar. 16, 2012, 05:56 PM
I am in process of giving away my last young horse. He was going to be my last hunter and I hoped he would do the derbies. He is lovely,brave, huge step, looks the part, not the best trot but a wonderful canter and enough scope. He also has an engine that would have done the long format a few years ago and will need at least a prelim course to be really impressed. There are not enough hours in the day to ever lunge him down and I am just not going to play chemist. He is going to an eventer and I can watch him gallop with his tail in the air. What will be, will be.

mvp
Mar. 16, 2012, 07:29 PM
Now, I realize that we might put up with more shenanigans from our dressage horses because 1) we are not going to jump a fence and 2) our discipline actually rewards positive expression. So, I am used to a horse that is a little more "up" and one that may have a spook or 2 in it - doesn't bother me. I just flat until we are warmed up, attentive and ready to jump.

But, I guess that goes back to wanting to win and win now - not take the time to learn on a well-suited but not uber-fancy horse.

And you certainly see plenty of inappropriate horses at dressage shows but I can honestly say that I have never seen a horse be medicated at a dressage show. I'm sure it happens but doesn't seem to be much of a problem.

I certainly am in no position to offer any suggested solution but I have found things to be very different in the hunter world.

I'm not defending Hunter World.

I'm not denying the (widely held) impression that Dressagers don't drug their horses for performance and also that Hunter-ers do. I don't know what y'all do in Dressage World.

But! The bits of Dressage World you describe don't match the modern one I have seen.

I have seen dressage horses lunged "before take off"-- but also their professional riders asking them to be very, very businesslike while they are saddled. You guys can ask for "expressive" later or "at the top," but I see pros asking for some very rigorous obedience with their horses.

Second, Dressagers also place a premium on fancy horses.

Third, it seems to me that you all like to "show quickly," too. Why else would someone invent a walk-trot division for God's sake.

Again, I really don't mean to make this a Hunters vs. Dressage as a way from distracting from a good discussion about something that really and truly is wrong in Hunter World. These things will be wrong in Hunter World regardless of what goes on elsewhere. My point, however, is that you need to compare apples to apples in the levels of these competitive disciplines.

alterhorse
Mar. 16, 2012, 08:12 PM
Again, I really don't mean to make this a Hunters vs. Dressage as a way from distracting from a good discussion about something that really and truly is wrong in Hunter World. These things will be wrong in Hunter World regardless of what goes on elsewhere. My point, however, is that you need to compare apples to apples in the levels of these competitive disciplines.

I'll suggest the hunter world as a symbolic representation of fox hunting which had its beginnings among the aristocracy during the high middle ages of europe.

The question then becomes one of, once removed from it's symbolic roots, at what point in the evolution of the sport does it loose all semblance to it's origins and become something entirely different?

Another perspective, is the concept of what motivates an individual to become an equestrian? Might showing simply be a justification for some to be around horses?

Might the incentive for some to show, in some way be a validation for the expense of horse ownership? If so who might they feel a need to provide validation to. Themselves? Someone else?

Perhaps for many riders the showing is really just secondary to the overall horse experience? Perhaps to maintain their horse experience they depend upon another for funding? Perhaps from the perspective of the individual that provides the funding, only competitive activities are worthy of funding?

Perhaps without a ribbon to validate success in being competitive, the funding might be withdrawn?

Might that create pressure for some to find some way to at least appear successful?

In other words, perhaps the sport evolves to fulfill the desires of those who will fund it?

HorseShopping
Mar. 16, 2012, 08:20 PM
Dressage is FAR from perfect. Too many riders over-horsed - got the big, fancy warmblood and can't sit the trot to save their life. And yes, they want to show and win instantly too.

I guess my point was that I was surprised at the prevalence of longeing, trainer warming up, etc. I have a VERY small sample to go on and maybe I have seen the small handful of not-very-brave riders. Perhaps my experience is not representative of reality. But, I didn't anticipate being one of the few that is comfortable getting on my horse without longeing and without trainer riding first - actually warming up under saddle.

Yes, I will longe young horses and so will other dressage people. But, once a horse is at 2nd level or so, it is pretty rare for them to be longed regularly. Your experience may be different than mine but I can only speak to my experience.

I didn't mean to come off as critical of the hunter world - I know how people hate "outsiders" attacking their discipline. I am just very surprised at what I have seen so far. What to me is just a normal spook that you ride through seems to require longeing. That is just weird to me.

I could give you a VERY long list of what is wrong in dressage - every discipline has their issues. It's just interesting to see the differences.

Certainly didn't mean to offend anyone....

alterhorse
Mar. 16, 2012, 08:28 PM
I guess my point was that I was surprised at the prevalence of longeing, trainer warming up, etc. I have a VERY small sample to go on and maybe I have seen the small handful of not-very-brave riders. Perhaps my experience is not representative of reality. But, I didn't anticipate being one of the few that is comfortable getting on my horse without longeing and without trainer riding first - actually warming up under saddle..

I see it in the western pleasure world as well, and I think from a socioeconomic perspective, western pleasure may be somewhat equivalent to the hunters as a basic beginner activity for having exposure to horses.

HorseShopping
Mar. 16, 2012, 08:28 PM
Another opinion I heard at the last horse show was that if you don't want to show, you may as well sell your horse. I found that strange. Showing, even at schooling shows, gets expensive. I didn't show at all last year and still enjoyed riding and learning and advancing. I can actually go do a dressage schooling show (they are usually one day shows) for under $100. If I choose to have my trainer help me, it will still be less than $150. I have dropped around $550 each for the 2 schooling shows my hunter mare has done this year. Big difference. The Recognized dressage shows are 3 day shows and you will probably spend $600-$800 for them. I think a week at an A show is at least double that. So, I suppose there is a lot more pressure to ribbon to make it "worth it." And since the ONLY feedback in the hunters is the ribbon, I can certainly see why it becomes such a big deal.

alterhorse
Mar. 16, 2012, 08:51 PM
Another opinion I heard at the last horse show was that if you don't want to show, you may as well sell your horse. I found that strange. Showing, even at schooling shows, gets expensive. I didn't show at all last year and still enjoyed riding and learning and advancing. I can actually go do a dressage schooling show (they are usually one day shows) for under $100. If I choose to have my trainer help me, it will still be less than $150. I have dropped around $550 each for the 2 schooling shows my hunter mare has done this year. Big difference. The Recognized dressage shows are 3 day shows and you will probably spend $600-$800 for them. I think a week at an A show is at least double that. So, I suppose there is a lot more pressure to ribbon to make it "worth it." And since the ONLY feedback in the hunters is the ribbon, I can certainly see why it becomes such a big deal.

Well said.

I think there's a multi-faceted, multi-origin, and very complex set emotional components that are underlying in much of the actual reasons for why certain aspects of the horse world exist in the states that they do.

I think people as social creatures often have feelings to want to simply become a part of what exists, rather then try to "buck a trend" and risk becoming "shunned".

There certainly is a component of parental pressure for many young people to deliver tokens of success to validate the expense of their chosen activity. I know how demanding some parents can be, because I have seen it both in the barn and at the ring side.

Dinah-do
Mar. 17, 2012, 04:28 PM
In conversation with an old friend (regarding this thread) this morning a comment was made about trainers and winning : " why would you put so much money into showing if winning wasn't the goal? Why would you have a horse that will never win? Or , your horse is not good enough - he will never win". The barns usually give the best care to the winning horses. The has been and also rans get the dregs of whatever (care bedding etc). Big barns do value the winners. Owners hope their horses do well to keep the trainers positive.

BBowen
Mar. 17, 2012, 04:43 PM
More excuses.
Everyone does it so it should be allowed excuse

Now if the hunter rules didn't score any show of expression as a major fault none of this would even be a topic..
fix the rules so that horses in a coma are not rewarded and the problem goes away.

Amen!!!