View Full Version : AHSA Hearing Committee Results (Reserpine)

Mar. 15, 2001, 10:23 AM
The AHSA has posted the Hearing Committee decisions on all of the supplement/reserpine cases. Here's the link:


Mar. 15, 2001, 10:23 AM
The AHSA has posted the Hearing Committee decisions on all of the supplement/reserpine cases. Here's the link:


Mar. 15, 2001, 10:45 AM
that should end the speculation.

I think the AHSA made the appropriate decision under the circumstances. I do not know the supplement they were using, but it is possible it was being administered for reasons other than tranquilizing, and the trainers evidently made their case for having been mislead about the ingredients.

We have heard of this happening in other sports many times, when an athlete takes a (for example) cold medication after being told it is OK, and then testing positive for an illegal substance. Yes, they should be more careful, but poor decisions aren't grounds for punishment, IMHO.

Also, if the accused hadn't been concerned with using illegal drugs, they wouldn't have gone to the trouble of contacting the manufacturer to ask these questions. It seems they were trying to do the right thing.


Mar. 15, 2001, 10:50 AM
I disagree 110%..IF you are responsible for your horses welfare would that include feeding a "supplement" which you have NO IDEA what is contained therein?? They fed the "supplement" to "relax" their horses...So if I relax my horse with reserpine called at ease or calm me down or whatever, I am not culpable becasue I am not aware of the content, but I am aware of the resulting sedative affect? This is a cheap shot at the rest of us who play by the rules and ignorance of the law has never been a solid defense ever that I know of....

Mar. 15, 2001, 10:57 AM
Agree wwith you Jump high. I was watching figure skating on a sports channel: one of the skaters was introduced by the commentator as the person who had been stripped of her World Championship when she tested positive for a substance that was in a cold medicine. Ignorance is not an excuse in other sports, nor should it be in ours.

Mar. 15, 2001, 10:59 AM
Not to be cynical, but I bet they contacted the manufacturer to find out if they were going to be busted or not, not was the stuff illegal. Also as the name of the supplement was Temprelax, not Temp-stop-coughing, its a safe assumption that they were trying to get the feisty beasts to RELAX. The AHSA is setting a bit of a precedent here regarding the intent of individuals to use calming agents the way I see it. This ruling says its okay to try, just get your stuff tested in America before you whip it out at a show. (My interpretation anyway). By the way, two of the offending horses are chestnuts and we all know NOTHING calms those buggers down.

Dementia 13
Mar. 15, 2001, 11:03 AM
I agree with you, Laurie, though I doubt this will end the speculation.

Mar. 15, 2001, 11:04 AM
According to the AHSA report the supplement involved was Tempralax
When I looked up Tempralax I got the following

"Advanced nutritional technology maintaining a calm approach to training and competitions

Constant travelling, changes of stabling and the environment of competitions, ensure that performance horses are subjected to repetitive competition stress

All horses, especially those destined for competitions, are exposed to stressful situations when in training or competing. Within limits, these situations ensure an adaptive response, which means that the next time the same situation arises, the horse will not find the situation so stressful.

However, some horses, especially those which have temperamental characters, experience great difficulty adapting to various stages of training, new surroundings, transport, or being in groups of horses, without becoming excitable and difficult to control.

It is essential that the horse's approach to work is calm and concentrated in order that training work and competition results progress satisfactorily.

Constant travelling, changes of environment, nocturnal competitions and so on ensure that performance horses are subjected to repetitive competition stress. Those which react adversely cannot, because of lack of concentration and stress-induced fatigue, give the results required of them.

N.A.F. has responded to this problem by developing a new generation magnesium-based compound in liquid form, easy to use and very effective.

Simply administer the required dosage (the dosage can be tailored to the individual horse) 4.5 to 5 hours before effort, orally, by syringe.

N.A.F. Tempralax is currently considered by many leading riders to be the ideal solution when stress-induced situations are likely to affect the per-formance of a particular horse during training or competition.

N.A.F. Tempralax contains no substances considered by the F.E.I. or the Jockey Club as doping, and does in no way diminish the mental or physical capacity of the horse.

Containing extracts of Hops, Valerian, Hypericum, Passiflora, Papaver,

Magnesium Sulphate, Tryptophan.

Hops, Valerian, Hypericum, Passiflora, Papaver, Magnesium,

Ascorbic Acid, Tryptophan."

Now- first of all - that list shows Valerian - listed on the Drugs & Meds sheet as verboten.

Second - if this is intended to "calm" a horse then doesn't that violate rule 410.1.a
"For purposes of this rule, a forbidden substance is: Any stimulant, depressant, tranquilizer, local anesthetic, psychotropic (mood and/or behavior altering) substance, or drug which might affect the performance of a horse and/or pony (stimulants and/or depressants are defined as substances which stimulate or depress the cardiovascular, respiratory or central nervous systems), or any metabolite and/or analogue of any such substance or drug, except as expressly permitted by this rule."?

In the product literature the instructions for use say in part "starting with 25 ml 1 to 3 hours before competition and changing to more or less as necessary. " - so it is expressly aimed for competing.

Am I missing something here?

Cinco de Mayo
Mar. 15, 2001, 11:04 AM
How long does it take to have reserpine completely out of the horse's system, if given?

Of course in this case it was a quieting supplement, but I was under the impression that it takes a while... does anyone know??

Mar. 15, 2001, 11:06 AM
Just let one of us "nobodies" try this trick and see how long we are set down for and fined god knows how many dollars...This boarders on shamelessly protecting the 3% that clearly not only run the industry but control the policing of it as well.

Mar. 15, 2001, 11:06 AM
I think they were simply looking for the competetive edge. If not all of them, one, I know for certain.

I also know a horse in that trainer's barn who wound up dead at a very big vet clinic after it had for "unknown reasons foundered and had a totally depressed immune system". That is fact, not speculation.

Also fact, the owner hasn't a CLUE why it happened.

If you have been reading these drug threads, you may remember a long post from Chrissy documenting (fact - from vet books and other real sources) the long term effects of Azium abuse - currently in vogue as it supposedly calms down horses. The side effected she The quote above is EXACTLY what she found to be the side effect of azium.

And they say they didn't know? Yeah, sure.

And I am 10 years old....

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Lord Helpus
Mar. 15, 2001, 11:39 AM
Valerian -- Illegal

Giving anything to a horse for the purpose of affecting his performance --- Ilegal.

So how do these biggies skate by using a drug designed to sedate a horse?

I especially liked that part about the one horse which was sharing a stall with the drugged horse. GEEZE -- can't these trainers even get each horse its own stall???????

Also, NO mention was made about the amount of reserpine in this "herbal supplement" compared to the amount found in these horse's systems..... Years ago in California, a horse was found to have caffeine in its system. Owner said she let her horse drink a little Coke from her can that morning. Drug levels determined that she would have had to let her horse drink 3 cases of Coke that morning to get the same level of caffeine in its system.....

Sad part is: The trainers drug the horses and it is the owners (who probably had NO IDEA what their trainers were doing) who have to give back the money/prizes. Now THAT really punishes the trainers........ NOT. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Mar. 15, 2001, 12:09 PM
SGray -

I found it interesting that the list of ingredients in Tempralax not only included Valerian, an illegal substance as per the AHSA, but also trpytophan. Hum...

In humans, tryptophan is metabolized to a substance with significant sedative effects on our central nervous system - i.e. brain. In fact, those of us who eat a hearty traditional Thanksgiving dinner experience this effect. Turkey has a very high content of tryptophan. As such, the sleepiness that we experience after the big Thanksgiving dinner is not only due to having very full bellies, but also is due to the direct sedative effect of tryptophan on our brain.

Two things to track down on tryptophan as it pertains to this Temperelax issue are as follows:

1) Do horse metabolize tryptophan to a compound with similar sedative effects? Many mammalian species do experience a sedative effect from tryptophan, so I suspect horses would as well, but I do not know this for a fact.

2) Is tryptophan banned by the AHSA? Due to a computer clitch today I cannot get on to the AHSA website to check.

It is also noteworthy that "hops" are listed as an ingredient in Tempralax. While not as well-established as the case for tryptophan, hops are now being studied as possible sedative agents in human medicine.


This list of ingredients, and their known or possible central nervous system effects, makes the case for ignorance less defensible.

[This message was edited by Whistlejacket on Mar. 15, 2001 at 02:15 PM.]

Mar. 15, 2001, 12:21 PM

well, yeah, I noted the tryptophan but when I went to the list of stated illegal susbstances I did not see it listed (kind of strange - I expected to see it there)

Mar. 15, 2001, 12:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> N.A.F. Tempralax contains no substances considered by the F.E.I. (emphasis added) or the Jockey Club as doping, and does in no way diminish the mental or physical capacity of the horse. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I find this statement VERY intriguing, if correct... I mean the FEI does have a zero tolerance policy, right? So if that is the case, how exactly do you resolve this issue? What exactly is allowed under what I previously considered to be a ZERO tolerance policy? And if the zero tolerance is not exactly zero tolerance, then is it considered a level playing field?

Mar. 15, 2001, 01:15 PM
25 years ago, when the REAL reserpine hearings were going on, the AHSA didn't hesitate a nanosecond to set down both Rodney and Katie (among others); both of these riders were also to have gone on the USET tour that summer (1978) but because of these developments, couldn't go.

If these top professionals could be set down back then, with the added pressure from the USET and the owners regarding the European tour, why would the AHSA back down now, if they didn't feel there was some merit to their arguments? They also didn't exhonerate them. They censured the trainers. If they wanted to let them skate, they wouldn't have done that either. And what of McClain's problems last year? He is another big name that wasn't allowed off just because of stature, and there were some serious questions as to what happened.

These trainers were told that the drug was legal under FEI rules, and that information was substantiated by European trainers who used it, and the manufacturer. I don't know their reasons for administering it, and neither does anyone else here, which is why I THEORIZED that there might be other reasons.

I do not think the AHSA is intimidated at all by WHO they are catching - if anything, they consider themselves omnipotent. So I just don't buy the argument that it was because these trainers were big shots as opposed to the "little guy."


Mar. 15, 2001, 02:36 PM
Sorry. I do not buy one single word. Having read their dfense paper, which is being passed around the horse show, I am very upset.
Temperlex is used to change horses performance. Temperlex was sold in gigantic quantities by one of those poor, honest trainers. He made large amounts of money by selling it and guarenteeing it was untestable.
Temperlex contains Valarian which is not permitted.
I do not know who was on the hearing committee but they should be ashamed. Dr Lengel and Ned Bonny should be ashamed. Alan Balch should be ashamed.
Every person who ever served their time looks like a fool.The Drug committee is a joke.
No wonder te International Olympic Committee looks at us like idiots, and maybe the should be the NGB if this is what goes on.

Mar. 15, 2001, 02:46 PM
would the AHSA cave on this one?

With the exception of Margie, the others are players, but maybe not the most major ones. I don't see any reason for this to be a political thing. Again, the AHSA is not afraid of these people. They know they are the only game in town and that these people will be back to pay their big bucks to show at AHSA shows again if they were set down, so it just doesn't make sense to me.

By the way, I'm NOT advocating tranquilizing horses. I DO believe in therapeutic amounts of certain drugs for horses that pound away week after week, or for older horses with a few aches and pains. I think that is FAR preferable to injecting joints and nerving, procedures that seem to be A-OK with the drug purists that post here. If these procedures aren't performance enhancing, and more dangerous, I don't know what is. And I don't include Azium in the drugs I believe in. We were very lucky when we used to use it, before the horrible consequences were known.


Mar. 15, 2001, 03:13 PM
lauriep - I must respectfully disagree with a comment in one of your previous posts:

<We have heard of this happening in other sports many times, when an athlete takes a [for example) cold medication after being told it is OK, and then testing positive for an illegal substance. Yes, they should be more careful, but poor decisions aren't grounds for punishment, IMHO.>

Humm...I disagree with this comment. Let me see if I can explain my thoughts...

If I recall correctly, in this past summer's Olympic Games wasn't a Romanian female gymnast stripped of her gold medal in the "all-around" competition because of inadvertently taking a banned substance in a cold medication authorized by the team physician? I believe that she had to relinquish her medal was even though her intent, by all reports, was innocent, and the medication had been approved by the Romanian team physician.

What I take from this episode, is that as far as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is concerned, there is a zero-tolerence policy regarding banned substance. NO EXCUSES. PERIOD.

So should equine sports be any difference...i.e. held to a lesser standard of accountability with a more permissive environment for accepting the excuse of "I just did not know"?

I find this possibility particularly thought-provoking in the context of the recent discussions of the AHSA vs the USET in goverance of international equestrian events. Whichever body ultimately ends up "in charge" of international competitions, I hope that their standard of accountability is no less than that of the IOC, and does not become more "permissive" at the "lesser" competitions.

Since I don't know all the details/people involved, I cannot comment on whether or not the AHSA's ruling in the case was influenced by the "Big Names" whose actions were being evaluated. I simply don't know, and as such, choose not to speculate.

I am very concerned however that this ruling by the AHSA to some extent condones a lack of accountability for those individuals responsible for the welfare of the equine athletes. IMHO this is a worrisome precedent.

If trainers and equestrian athletes want the privilege and respect in our society of being considered true professionals (such as lawyers, doctors, etc.), than they must accept and abide by the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with this elevated position. Specifically...if something "happens on your watch", you are responsible. No excuses. Period.

(As you can tell from the above, I have...err...a strong opinion on this topic, but this is in no way meant as a personal attack on you or your opinions /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)

Mar. 15, 2001, 03:30 PM
Whistlejacket, I'm confused... it sounds like you think that if the trainers in question relinquished their awards (like the Romanian gymnast in Sydney) that this would be suitable punishment.

But by my reading, that is exactly what the AHSA did. All prizes, monies and awards must be returned. To me that is the same as giving back the medal... The only difference here is that RIDERS/TRAINERS do not win the money or awards - the horses do. So those that own the horses must return the prizes/monies/awards.

Because our sport is different, and there are multiple partners involved, the trainers have also been censured.

But if you think that an acceptable punishment would be the same as what was handed out in the Olympics, what additional punishment would you hand out to the trainers that would create parity with the Sydney decision?

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 15, 2001, 04:29 PM
And you want the AHSA to be the NGB?

Fact. A horse was tested after the FEI jog in Tampa last year. That horse showed up with .06 nanogram of Bute. Note: that amount of Bute, according to several veterinarians, could not possibly alter a horse's performance. Long story short...owner and trainer suspended for thirty days, forfeited prize money and fined.

Do you think the USET, if it was the NGB would react in the manner of the AHSA with regards to the Temprelax issue or the FEI in the above mentioned case? Me thinks the USET would follow more closely in line with the FEI for obvious reasons.

I'm not saying the AHSA did not punish those involved. The $45,000.00 that Alveretto won at the Invitational must be returned and that isn't chump change. For those of you who think the punishment should have been more harsh, maybe you ought to rethink your alligence concerning the NGB issue.

Apparently the defendents did employ the same lawyer Mr. Gonda used in his sucessful argument last year. (Or at least one with as much savvy.)

I DO know that Temprelax was tested, in this country, through several different veterinarians. Apparently some of the bottles tested negative and some positive.

IMO there will ALWAYS be some product, be it "herbal" or otherwise, manufactured to aide in the calming of horses. Personally, I would prefer to hear about trainers using tryptophan or valarian as opposed to massive doses of Azium or watching some groom lunge some poor horse at a dead gallop all the while chasing it with a whip with a plastic bag attached to the end.

For those of you who think all of this is necessitated because of a lack of training in this day and age, there must have been a reason, back in the early Seventies, to inititate drug testing.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 15, 2001, 04:45 PM
What exactly is that? Will these trainers be deprived of ANYTHING because of their choice to use a performance enhancing drug?

To me, "censure" sounds like the AHSA shaking a finger in their faces and saying "Bad boy, Bad Boy. You shouldn't do that."

I certainly would [not] be shaking in my shoes at such a punishment.

Mar. 15, 2001, 05:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Do you think the USET, if it was the NGB would react in the manner of the AHSA with regards to the Temprelax issue or the FEI in the above mentioned case? Me thinks the USET would follow more closely in line with the FEI for obvious reasons. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't think it's obvious. What if Hidden Creek was one of the 7 big donors?

I am disappointed that the AHSA didn't set them down for even a month - which IMHO is still a slap on the wrist. Actually, I read the Notices of Penalty every issue, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone suspended for more than 3 months - little and big fish alike.

BTW- this punishment IS exactly analogous to the Romainian gymnast's -- she had to forfeit the prize but was not otherwise sanctioned.

Mar. 15, 2001, 07:02 PM
I too find this interesting valerian and triptophan are both on the banned list( iwas told by a member of the D&m committee)

Mar. 15, 2001, 07:34 PM
I think Laurie asked why would thye turn their backs NOW and sit on Rodney, Katie etc twenty thirty years ago...the answer is SIMPLE...MONEY..In the "old days" there wasnt the extreme amounts of money both in sales and in showing horses..now there is...they were intimidated by the power of the almighty dollar!!! The more I read the more disgusting it becomes. /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

Mar. 15, 2001, 08:25 PM
The AHSA is not a beneficiary of any of the obscene amounts of money spent on horses; they get entry fees, membership fees, etc., as they always have. Rodney took a barn of 30 - 40 horses to FL that year. Do you not think his being set down hit the AHSA in the pocketbook? Yes, the amounts are all up 20 years later, what isn't? But relatively speaking, setting someone of Rodney's stature down back then was truly cutting their nose off...

The AHSA isn't going to back off because of $$. they have plenty. I maintain that they thought these trainers made their case while not condoning what they did.

And yes, the gymnast had to relinquish her medal, but she did not suffer a suspension. I made that comparison to show that mistakes, intentional or un, are made in all sports, not just ours. And the steroid issue in others is much more prevalent then drugging horses.

Emmett, I am in total agreement with you about the pounding on the lunge line.

No one has spoken to the issue of the "acceptable" injecting of joints and nerving...


Mar. 15, 2001, 08:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>KK: And the tolerance levels are what they are told they should be.

SS: And the thing that everybody should realize about the testing program of the AHSA the amount of positives of people that go and
get caught is minute and that is something that they should be very proud of. I think they feel they have to justify the program because
they spent so much money on it. I think they should be proud of their record! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Doesn't that explain why the hearing committee felt compelled to consider the mitigating circumstances?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>KK: This all comes from and was in association with the Nicole Shanian issue, right? Where she won in an arbitration hearing,after they said her horse tested, with less of a level of cocaine, that is actually allowed for an airline pilot in this day and age. I also read Dr. Lengel say that horses take far less cocaine to be affected than an airline pilot would, and that is not a valid argument.

SS: I think that what they are saying is, because they are allowing pilots to fly on a level of cocaine, it doesn't make it right in
this industry. I think more importantly there is contamination in so many aspects of our showing world - that has to be cleaned up. I feel that the testing procedure has done a lot better - I think that we have a great program in place. I think Cornell has done a great job and it is one of the best in the world but let us go forward and
make it better. Now they are able to pick up banamine three weeks prior to the horse show. So if you give a horse a little banamine for colic 3 weeks before the horse show and then you switch over to Bute and Ketophine your horse then tests positive with three substances with levels for one of those substances that is so low it could not possibly affect a horses performance. The tests have become so sensitive that I think we have to start to begin to have some leeway in the levels to be able to have a fairer testing program.
We are not competing in FEI- that is one or two classes a week. We need to teach people to maintain their horses safely and correctly.

KK: Aren't you saying because of the sophisticated testing that if you medicate prior to the horse show because the test is
so sensitive that the residuals of that medication you did before the show can show up in the test?

SS: The testing is so sophisticated that people are being caught with levels that are so low they would not affect the horses performance. We need to come up with levels that are acceptable.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So why blame the AHSA? Why blame Drugs and Medication the loud voices have been heard and our voice is too soft! Ms Schoelkoff is the Chairman of Drugs and Medication for the NHJC, and they expect to be the Hunter/Jumper wing of the NGB if the USET is so designated.

Ms.Schoelkoff is also the Chairman for the International Horsemens Advisory Committee that threatened the AHSA with a mass exodus of the most elite.

Ms. Schoelkoff wants us all to learn how to medicate our horses for competition.

Don't delude yourself that the USET will do a better job!

Dr. Lowe from Cornell in an article in the Chronicle pointed out that this outside contamination only happens at hunter/jumper shows, not even the Arabians have had a single case of outside contamination.

[This message was edited by Snowbird on Mar. 15, 2001 at 11:07 PM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 06:32 AM
Respectfully Laurie, the numbers of those suspended plus the dollar amount contributed to the circuit are VASTLY different today than "yesterday"...No the AHSA isnt the DIRECT beneficiary but don't kid yourself, money talks and those with it are in a more "bargainable" postition than those without...I still say the whole thing REEKS and I fail to see how they had ANY intent EXCEPT to alter their horses performance..after all there were at LEAST two forbidden substances listed on the LABEL and they used it anyway! A rare combination of arrogance and "ignorance"..I don't buy it.

Mar. 16, 2001, 07:40 AM
They cheated and should pay the consequenses.

That little Romanian gymnast who was given cough syrup by her team coach was stripped of her all around gold at the Olympics. The horse owners should return the prizes and the trainers should be suspended for a long time. They know better than to just take someone's word that a substance is legal. A glance at the label should have at least aroused suspicions. Geez, maybe I'll sell them that piece of the Brooklyn Bridge I have in my safe.

Mar. 16, 2001, 07:49 AM
I have not yet had the chance to read it in it's entirety, but there is a new "Statement" regarding this issue over on Towerheads.

Mar. 16, 2001, 07:59 AM
They jumped through all manner of hoops before using the supplement and ALL PASSED LIE DETECTOR TESTS REGARDING THIS MATTER. I have known the Maddens and Bert Mutch for many years. They are respected people who have never had trouble of this nature before. So why all of a sudden now? And I am told that Margie is also an extremely honest and straitforward individual.

Jumphigh, I hope that nothing of this nature ever happens to you, or any of the rigid people who post here. You all are so quick to pass judgement on these people, without even the SLIGHTEST acknowledgement that there could be some merit to the decision the AHSA made. When you are going to suspend someone, taking away their livlihood, and potentially ruining their reputation, you had better be absolutely certain of your case. The AHSA did not think that they had that level of certainty.

And I repeat, the AHSA is not afraid of these people, or of losing revenue if they were suspended. These trainers are not even the big guns on the circuit! Their barns are not the biggest barns!

And there is ABSOLUTELY no mention of any other illegal drugs in the samples other than reserpine. So apparently, that was not an issue.


Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 16, 2001, 08:07 AM
Yeah, what she said. Laurie that is.

And as I mentioned before...Temprelax WAS tested before it was used.

Mar. 16, 2001, 08:48 AM

As we are receiving numerous inquiries from the press and others, and as the reappears to be a great deal of interest in our hearings, we three trainers, with the full support of our owners, have determined to provide this written

statement with respect to the findings and decision of the Hearing Committee dated February 23, 2001 and the more than two year process that led to that decision.

The first thing we need to do is to thank the members of the Hearing Committee for the time they give up without compensation to sit on these matters. It is a difficult and thankless task and, although we disagree with aspects of the outcome, we sincerely appreciate the care and attention devoted to the hearing and deliberations. They understood that they had people's livelihood and reputations in their hands and gave us a fair hearing. We could not ask for more. Similarly, we would be remiss if we did not note the candour of Dr. George Maylin in his testimony which in effect began to turn the atmosphere at the hearing from an adversary proceeding to a joint search for the explanation as to how the drug came to be in the horses' blood.

The most important finding of the Hearing Committee for us is where the Panel said "under the particular circumstances of these cases it appeared [we]had not intentionally violated the rules".

All three of us knew that. Each of the five trainers acting as a group submitted to polygraph tests in advance of the hearing knowing that if one flunked, the others would use their clear tests and the spotlight would shine mercilessly on the person who failed. Each of us had statements from our veterinarians and from everyone in our respective barns that they had not administered reserpine nor had reserpine ever been in the barn. Each of us knew little about reserpine except that it was a harsh and unpleasant drug for the horses and that there had been a wave of reserpine cases some 20 years ago, so that there was a test for it. We hoped and preferred that the Hearing Committee would believe (as they did) that we were principled but if they didn't believe that, that at least they would believe we weren't so dumb as to administer a drug with a known test. From the outset two years ago, we knew we had not administered reserpine. We also knew that that is what everyone says in this situation.
In the period from the Notice of Charge to the hearing, we attempted to find out, if the drug was actually in the blood, how it got there. It is no exaggeration to describe this period as a nightmare for all of us as the charges were out there, the rumours and whispers were heard and the uncertainty of the situation caused numerous sleepless nights. We are very grateful for the support and character letters received from senior and respected people in the industry. Their support and willingness to stand with us was crucial.

In these last two years, we have learned more about testing sensitivities than we ever wanted to and what we learned scares us. It is very, very complicated but the essence is captured for us laypersons in the notion that the tests that the AHSA are now using can detect the presence of a substance down to a trillionth of a gram. It appears that in the not too distant future the tests may be able to detect a single molecule of a substance. We were fortunate to be able to enlist the assistance of a brilliant person with a PhD as a chemist and also trained as a lawyer. He showed us a number of "bugs" in the present system and the way that subjectivity can enter into even scientific testing. We realize that the AHSA is not a court but where people's livings and reputations are on the line, and as the AHSA apparently pays $5,000 per test, it does not seem to us too much to ask to have this scientific evidence meet the tests of admissibility for such evidence in a court of law with respect to protocols, testing procedures and such. In our view, it is simply unfair to suspend or punish the trainer in these types of situations where the "evidence" is not highly reliable and demonstrates a level of the drug in the system that would both show an intention to cheat and affect the performance of the horse. We realize that opinions can differ and reasonable arguments can be made to support the principle of zero tolerance, but again in our view any system that punishes someone when they have done nothing wrong is not supportable.

The problem this level of testing sensitivity causes for horsemen is that many drugs are plant based or can otherwise get into the horse's bloodstream with no input from the trainer, nor is there any means to prevent it. The FEI recently acknowledged this in part when they warned in August 2000 that "a plant which can be frequently found bordering fields in the South of France called "Canne de Provence" (Arindo donax) contains Bifotenine and ... if a horse ingests this plant it could cause a positive result ..." Should a trainer be suspended because the horse is grazed? There are obviously other recent highly publicized examples of entirely blameless trainers forced to go to hearings or agreeing to suspensions in these types of circumstances.

In our case, the common link for our horses appeared to be a herbal feed supplement that all six horses had ingested. Early on, we submitted samples of the product to the AHSA for testing and were informed that the tests were clean. This caused us to look elsewhere for the explanation. Then shortly before our hearing, we were informed, by the AHSA counsel acting very fairly, that further more sensitive tests (electrospray LCMSMS) of only some of the product had come back positive while other samples still tested clean through LCMSMS. (The original tests in question done on our horses' blood did not quantify the amount, and as noted above, one trillionth of a gram can trigger a "positive".)

The panel concluded "that it was possible these positives resulted from [the herbal supplement] and that at the times of the competitions in question it had not yet been established that some batches of [the herbal supplement] have tested positive for reserpine".

In the portion of the Panel's reasons with which we take substantial issue, they refer to Rule 410.2 which is the caution against use of tonics, pastes or products where "THE INGREDIENTS AND QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF WHICHARE NOT SPECIFICALLY KNOWN, AS MANY OF THEM CONTAIN FORBIDDENSUBSTANCES" in finding a violation and imposing a penalty. It is important to note that one of our number had actually had the product tested in a usage program designed with a vet and had the blood analyzed at Cornell well prior to the positive test in issue. It had come back clean for all forbidden substances, let alone reserpine. All of us had done some research on the product prior to using it and the label says approved for FEI use. As the evidence before the Panel demonstrated, we had done substantial due diligence on this product including consultation with the manufacturer, veterinarians, having the product tested at the same laboratory the AHSA uses and qualifying the product by discussions with fellow competitors in Europe where it has been used for sometime. It is difficult to know what else could have been done. Every horseman should ask him or herself whether they would have done the same or as much. Moreover, it appears that there is no problem whatsoever with some of the product and as Dr. Maylin testified, "there could well be a variation in the product as it is distributed". It seems to us unfair for there to be any punishment for using the product in the circumstances. All of us tried and try to do the very best for the welfare of our horses within the Rules. Using supplements is part of that care that in our view, ought to be encouraged.

We understand from a review of the testimony of the AHSA's Hearing Committee lawyer in another matter that it is the AHSA's position in keeping with its zero tolerance policy that the presence of the drug in the blood stream indicates a violation and that the evidence we adduced goes to penalty. If this is indeed the advice given to the Hearing Committee in our case, then we understand that they believed they were doing the best they could for us. However, we consider that Article 4.04 is properly interpreted to absolve from a finding of violation a trainer where, as here, there is "substantial evidence" that the drug came to be in the horse's blood through no fault whatsoever of the trainer and the likely explanation is something that could not reasonably have been predicated or prevented. It may seem to some to smack of ingratitude or sour grapes for us to complain about this, but the penalty levied on Margie Goldstein-Engle and her owner through return of the prize money in this case is substantial. The other two of us consider Margie to exemplify the best the industry has to offer. She is a person of absolute honesty and integrity. For her accomplishments to be stained by this result is not right. For her reputation to suffer in any way would be a tragedy for the sport that ought to hold her up as a role model of everything the sport should be. For us and everyone involved with the case, we believe in Margie and trust that this explanation of what occurred will mean that others will too.

For all of us, this experience has pointed out the need to address the possibility of accidental positives in our Drugs & Medication Rules. We understand and accept that trainers should face an onus when there is a positive test. It is not enough to say simply "I didn't do it". But we are at the stage where the "reach" of the science exceeds the "grasp" of the meaningful enforcement of the rules. As noted above, it is an exceptionally complicated subject but it is in our view clear that under the present system it will continue to happen that people who are entirely innocent of any intention to cheat will get substantial suspensions and have their reputations wrongly harmed. We were, in a sense, lucky in that the likely explanation as to what occurred emerged at 11:59 of the eleventh hour and that the Hearing Committee took it into account. With the sensitivity of the tests employed and the present system, there is no guarantee that others will be so fortunate. It is our suggestion that the AHSA and the NHJC need to work together with the professionals to establish:

(i) a formal channel or system of due diligence whereby manufacturers or trainers can submit a product for testing or testing results to the AHSA so that products are "cleared" for usage and trainers and owners are not thereafter responsible if it appears there are some batches that are contaminated;
(ii) an expanded trace level or accidental positive threshold for drugs that occur naturally or environmentally;
(iii) a discretion in either the AHSA counsel or head of the D&M Committee to take positive tests out of the prosecution mode where it appears objectively improbable in the circumstances that there was an intention to obtain an improper advantage or cheat;
(iv) a clarification or amendment, if necessary, of the Rules to make it express that if there is substantial evidence as to how the drug came to be in the bloodstream there is no violation by either the owner or trainer; and
(v) to be admissible, testing evidence using electrospray LCMSMS technology and testing of similar sensitivity must meet the test of admissibility of the New York state and federal courts.

This has been a long, costly, unpleasant experience for us. We agreed early on that as Ben Franklin said on signing the Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately". We stuck together. We have noted with some bemusement and no little chagrin the number of people who have and are prepared to express an opinion on the hearing result without the encumbrance of ascertaining the facts. We are providing this statement as our only response to all inquiries and to put the matter behind us, however if there are other questions that people wish to provide in writing, we will certainly consider a response.

Statement on behalf of
John Madden
Frank Madden
Margie Goldstein-Engle

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:06 AM
It won't happen to me because I don't give my horses forbidden substances. The ingredients were LISTED on the label and they were on the FORBIDDEN substance list (leaving the reserpine totally out of it!!). How to you convolute that? I don't want their livlihoods taken away from them, I want them to acknowledge wrong doing and stop hiding behind the "we really thought it was OK"..They have NOT done this. They repeatedly said they dissagreed with the hearing comittee's decision but they "respected them and thanked them" for taking the time to hear the case. (blowing sunshine up thier rear ends) I don't understand why it is so hard for them to say "We were WRONG" That is the arrogance of which I speak. I don't want to draw and quarter them, I simpley want them to take responsibility for what they have done. Lie detector tests are not admissable for very good reasons, they are not foolproof. I stand by my original statement, they knew what they were doing and the only thing they are sorry for is getting caught.

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:07 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We realize that the AHSA is not a court but where people's livings and reputations are on the line, and as the AHSA apparently pays $5,000 per test, it does not seem to us too much to ask to have this scientific evidence meet the tests of admissibility for such evidence in a court of law with respect to protocols, testing procedures and such. In our view, it is simply unfair to suspend or punish the trainer in these types of situations where the "evidence" is not highly reliable and demonstrates a level of the drug in the system that would both show an intention to cheat and affect the performance of the horse. We realize that opinions can differ and reasonable arguments can be made to support the principle of zero tolerance, but again in our view any system that punishes someone when they have done nothing wrong is not supportable. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Personally, I believe this to be a reasonable and fair statement, and I thought both the AHSA's and these riders statements to be completely straightforward and fairly representative of the situation. As I respect the AHSA's decision in this regard, I also respect the parties involved willingness to accept their decision. Equally, I respect their desire to want to change a system they believe might be responsible for some inequitable results.

As for those people who asked if the "little" people would have "gotten off with a 'slap' on the wrist", the answer is probably not! I suspect the little person would have been fined and suspended, tarred and feathered and sent down the pike with your name forever footnoted with this incident. The reason why? Read the press release, understand the enormous amount of money and resources that the individual involved spent to prove what they believed was their innocence. Do you think the average person would have these resources, or would they just take up another discipline?

If you believe that giving an herbal feed supplement is a crime, and it some how ranks higher than giving a B1 supp or playing the LTD game, or braiding the horse at 10PM so stands up all night long, then fine, I do respect your opinion... But please do not pillory these individuals for giving reserpine when that was so clearly not the case. And please understand that but for their efforts, if it had been YOU, you would stand accused (and probably convicted) of giving a horse reserpine.

I have certainly questioned whether our testing technology is getting ahead of our ability to govern with that technology, and I think that this case seems to highlight this issue. When multiple labs come back with multiple results, there might be a problem...

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:34 AM
Still no one addresses these issues:

1. It is an unforgiveable sin to administer ANY drug to enhance a horse's performance, and anyone who is caught knowingly or unknowingly with these substances in their horses' systems should be drawn and quartered, publicly, but it is OK to inject their joints, perhaps many times a year, or nerve them.

2. NO MENTION was made by the AHSA of the other illegal drugs alledgedly in the Temprelax. Why? If they had needed a reason to set these people down, wouldn't the presence of these drugs have provided it? BTW, has anyone actually SEEN the label on this supplement listing the valerian and triptophan?

These people are not admitting wrongdoing because they do not believe they did anything wrong. Nor would I. Again, not one of us here was in those barns and knows the circumstances or reasons that the supplement was being used. Until someone who was comes forward and enlightens us, I am not going to presume to pass judgement on them. No one has died and left me GOD, or AHSA.


Van Teal
Mar. 16, 2001, 09:38 AM
through this thread the ingredients were listed, and facts taken right from the companies literature.

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:40 AM
The USET does not have, and never has had, any kind of drug testing or enforcement program. Neither does it have, nor has it ever had, any kind of complaint, hearing, and discipline process. All of that is something the USET would have to create and set up if it became the NGB.

The people involved in this infraction are USET stalwarts, backed by the big money people upon whom the USET depends so heavily. Do you honestly think that a group that depends entirely upon the "elite" athletes, and so greatly upon the support of the big money donors who buy horses for those elite athletes, would be likely to have imposed harsher penalties upon those athletes and donors than the AHSA hearings panel did in this case?

Do you honestly believe the USET would be likely to set down the riders who it thinks are likely to win in international competition, thereby gaining the USET prestige and money?

If the USET were in charge of this and if one of the Leone brothers had been involved in this mess, do you honestly think that Armand Leone Jr., the Vice-Chairman of the USET, would ever let it see the light of day?

If you do, you have far more faith in the USET management than I have. But that's just my opinion.

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:47 AM
I did read the post with the ingredients. My question was has anybody actually seen the label? Just because the information is on a website doesn't mean it is on the label.

These are not stupid people; if there were other illegal drugs listed on the label, they would not have used it.

So, has anyone seen the label?

And Portia, your post makes my point for the fact that if the AHSA believes they had a case, they wouldn't have hesitated for a second to set these folks down, just as they didn't hesitate to set Rodney and Katie down, surely against USET pressure in 1978. They do not fear the trainers/owners/riders or USET. They believe they are the supreme being to our sport.


[This message was edited by lauriep on Mar. 16, 2001 at 11:56 AM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:52 AM
www.naf-feeds.com/products/prod_65.html (http://www.naf-feeds.com/products/prod_65.html)
www.nutri.org/cgi-bin/us/products.pl?dp=h&prod=65 (http://www.nutri.org/cgi-bin/us/products.pl?dp=h&prod=65)

and http://www.ahsa.org/press/2001/mar15.html

You are correct in that I do not know if this is one and the same product or if it is the same formulation in use two years ago.

Van Teal
Mar. 16, 2001, 09:53 AM
and it is exactly as reported in the thread.

Mar. 16, 2001, 09:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>2. NO MENTION was made by the AHSA of the other illegal drugs alledgedly in the Temprelax. Why? If they had needed a reason to set these people down, wouldn't the presence of these drugs have provided it? BTW, has anyone actually SEEN the label on this supplement listing the valerian and triptophan?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Very good point, Laurie... unless of course, "Conspiracy Theory" was your favorite movie, and you choose to look right past logic for deeper, darker things. Personally, I just can't do that without imagining that I am on the road to being some wild haired whacko living in a cellar in some run down part of the city... And since I already have pretty wild hair, I don't want to take that next step...

As for the ingredients listed on the website, yes it does include valerian. Today. Who's to say what it included over 2 years ago. Who's to say they don't make a valerian free version? To assume it had valerian is to assume facts not in evidence, I think.

Also, when did the AHSA add valerian to the list? Maybe it was in 2000? Tough to retroactively convict someone if that was the case, regardless of your opinion on the stuff (my opinion is that it smells and doesn't work well on horses or people). I honestly don't have a clue when it was added to the list, but I can tell you that the letter and notices cautioning against the use of herbal substances were issued after this issue came to light...

Mar. 16, 2001, 10:04 AM
And how many tests do they do per year? Hmmm!

Sleepy is mumbling under her breath as she goes off to formulate a business plan for opening her own drug lab.

Mar. 16, 2001, 10:05 AM
I find this thread very sad. Isn't it all about what has happened to our horse shows, our judging, our expectations. 40 years ago I showed a large pony jumper. We raced around courses and then I switched her to hunters and we raced over great outside courses and had a grand time. Stop her - hardly - I was 8. Drug her? Unheard of. could I win and have fun - sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't.
I left riding for 30 years and came back 9 years ago. What the heck happened???? Judges now pin the big gallump, also comatose, horses in the hunters, the horses that often go so slowly in the corners it gets scary; trainers drug, tie, lunge, whatever to get that dead look. Whatever happened to a real hunter gallop?

I read a judge's interview on Towerheads and the question was about Strapless losing two working hunter classes because the judge thought she looked "too fresh"....Woopee, the horse was a real horse: fresh! If horses came out as nature made them, sometimes fresh, sometimes quiet, sometimes....and no drugs had been pumped in, or their heads hadn't been tied up in the stall all night (one trainer's method), then guess what: judges might have to pin on a whole new level. Best horse: might have to go with one that plays in the corners.
I am demoralized....

Van Teal
Mar. 16, 2001, 10:13 AM
they took away most of the outside courses, and created distances usually off of a 11' stride, and most of the bigger horses, can't do the number if they are "fresh". No one want's to take the time to teach a horse how to come back to the rider nicely after it jumps in with any pace, I think there is entirely to much emphasis put on the whole number in the line thing. And most horse shows don't take the time to change the distances properly from the 3' to the 3'6" height, etc. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Mar. 16, 2001, 10:17 AM
we do need to remember that this was two years ago, and I don't know what may or may not have changed. But HAS ANYONE SEEN THE ACTUAL LABEL???
Labeling is an inexact science if not audited by the FDA, and if this came from Europe, who knows what standards were followed. Were these substances actually LISTED ON THE LABEL, were they not there at all, or were they parts of other ingredients? This is what I am curious about. I have read all that has been written and mentioned here. But I want to know what was on the label that these people read. The AHSA didn't make a case of it, so there must be more to it.

2dogs, it is indeed a shame that hunters must be nearly comatose to win. No tail swishing (so we nerve block tails, another perfectly acceptable procedure), lunge them til they drop (how many of you have seen the "new generation" grooms who have no clue about proper lunging out there chasing these horses by the hour because they were told to), starve them, tie them up all night so there is no playing in the corners, NOTHING! But they aren't drugged!! So, brilliance,spirit, call it what you will, is gone. And people who don't want to lunge their horses to their graves look for other means to satisfy the judges. Our judges need to lighten up in their expectations of these ANIMALS, and allow a little leniency for being a healthy, well-conditioned, horse!


Mar. 16, 2001, 10:20 AM
2dogs - I agree with you 100% in that the standard we expect for our hunters is unrealistic and has led us to this place. God forbid an athletic horse should be allowed to be a horse without endangering his chances...

But I don't entirely subscribe to the theory that using drugs to alter something is a "new" evil. For some reason the AHSA felt compelled to introduce drug testing procedures in the 70's. I wan't showing in AHSA recognized shows back then and can't speak to the politics, but my many years of being around rule making procedures and politics tells me they just didn't wake up one day and say "Gee, trainer X uses a lot of bute to get their horses to the ring! Let's implement a test as soon as possible"... No, more likely, the problem was known and widespread for many years before it was effectively regulated.

And from all accounts this was when hunters were grand and galloping, but yet abuses were obviously out there, and as I said, extensive enough to warrant rule making. So while I think that changing the standard is critical, it isn't going to be the magic bullet.

Laurie - you are SO right about that new generation of grooms...

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 16, 2001, 10:42 AM
Yes, Portia I know that right now the USET does not do the drug testing, etc. but YES I do believe they would be more in line with the FEI in their approach to penalties regardless of who is who or how much money they have.

I suppose the defendents spent quite a large sum with their attorney(s) to prove they DID NOT give their horses Resurpine. Isn't that what the American system of justice is based on? And aren't you a lawyer?

Case in point. As Laurie mentioned in a previous post Rodney was suspended in 1978. He was meant to go to the World Championships that year with the great horse Idle Dice. Don't you think the USET would have stepped in then, so that Rodney (who obviously had a better than average shot of winning the whole shootin' match)if they could have?

I think this whole Temprelax issue speaks to what SS was trying to say in her interview. Today's ultra sophisticated drug tests obviously go beyond our current rules and regulations.

And for those of you who believe that show horses should compete on nothing but hay and oats, I hope I don't come back in my next life as an equine in your barn.

Mar. 16, 2001, 10:59 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As the evidence before the Panel demonstrated, we had done substantial due diligence on this product including consultation with the manufacturer, veterinarians, having the product tested at the same laboratory the AHSA uses and qualifying the product by discussions with fellow competitors in Europe where it has been used for sometime. (emphasis added) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is another interesting statement, especially given that the product label states "FEI approved"... Assuming that it IS being used in Europe (I do think that it is, but I have no evidence to back it up), why is this problem only occurring here? Or is it banned under the FEI too? Since the FEI has a zero tolerance policy, theoretically this stuff should show up in their tests too, right?

I really wonder how this disparity has come about, especially since the Europeans do look down a bit at us and our "liberal" drug policy, and yet an American rider is penalized for using a European calmative agent. Very interesting. Years ago someone a bit more in the "know" than me told me the "Germans had better drugs". I honestly believed that was not true, but this does make me think twice about that statement...

Mar. 16, 2001, 11:05 AM
I am going to be very honest here, no flames please. I am going to tell you that in the 70s we ALL used alot of bute and ace. They really were the 2 drugs of choice. There were others, but these were VERY COMMON. The worst thing was many sale horses were aced when you tried them across the country. And you know what else?
I give my daughters pony ace at home when we ride out in the field, or if she hasn't ridden a few days. I don't care what anyone thinks either. I
have no problem doing it at all. I start every horse off the track on a cc the first time on them, and every baby I have. Life is too short to waste falling off and dying with head trauma.
I do however get things in order before showing, and do not break any rules, and do not medicate.
I do use drugs and medications and I am not ashamed of it. They serve a purpose.

Mar. 16, 2001, 11:08 AM
Thank you, Jane, for admitting you live in the real world!

And DMK, the Europeans are no different than the riders here, believe me. They will use any advantage to win. Our tests are just more sophisticated.


Mar. 16, 2001, 11:08 AM
I do not knowingly break any rules for horseshowing. Isox is legal now, I use that.
2 grams of bute AFTER a hard horse show. Banamine when they colic, maybe we show 10 days later.
This is a difficult subject and we should all realize that.

Mar. 16, 2001, 11:53 AM
"Your Honor, I didn't administer cocaine... it just so happens that I had turned the horse out to graze in a field of coca plants..."

If the formulation changed on them, I assume then that they will be suing the manufacturer of Temprelax?

[This message was edited by poltroon on Mar. 16, 2001 at 01:59 PM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 12:45 PM
I have expressed my dissatisfaction with the outcome of this fiasco, HOWEVER, I think we all (including me) need to look at the system, and, if we think it is broke, FIX IT!

First, the ASHA is not to blame here; it has a SYSTEM in place and the system did its job, like it or not.

The hearing committee consists of volunteers. YUP, volunteers who act according to the way the regulations are written, and are independent of the AHSA bureaucracy.

That is, NO ONE in the AHSA can tell the hearings panel how they MUST or SHOULD vote. Rather like a JURY decision, it may or may not be right, you might not like it, but it STANDS. Now, you may also have a dissenting vote on that jury, and no one will ever know. The vote may have been very very close, and no one will ever know, and that is, if you think about it, a good thing.

In this case, the perception may be there that big shots walk, but I doubt if Margie thinks she walked, because she (or her owners) has to GIVE BACK $45,000. PLUS they all had tremendous legal defense costs.

A rule violation WAS found. But the rule specifically requires that the Hearing Committee give weight to evidence which permits a mitigating penalty, and that is what they relied on.

We can continue to discuss it here, the drugs and the system. However, our voices should be heard elsewhere: write the panel members directly. Not the AHSA, not people who were NOT on the panel, but those who were. It might not make a difference now, but might in the future.

Despite thinking long and hard about this, I still believe the panel made a mistake in judgment. That is MY opinion. I do believe they were swayed by the legal forces and the names involved. Think about it, how many of us (on our non-cynical days) would really believe people such as Margie and the Maddens would be using this stuff, especially if the label reads (as posted above) valerian root? That definitely strikes to the heart of credibility.

And having said that, I agree with the poster(s) who state that this is still clearly a violation, as they were attempting to change their horses' behaviour. which is a clear violation of the spirit, if not the letter of the rules.

Sorry this is so long, but I think it is important that we all recognize the INDEPENDENCE of the hearing panel and the structure of the system.

[This message was edited by Weatherford on Mar. 16, 2001 at 02:52 PM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 12:52 PM
if all of you are so dead set against ANY performance altering drug, then how can you justify the performance altering PROCEDURES, which happen to use DRUGS, like joint injections and nerving? I cannot understand the double standard, or why no one will answer my numerous requests for responses.

And we did NOT ascertain that the LABEL listed these illegal substances, nor that they were illegal at the time of the administration. Let's not be creating facts where there are none. No one who actually read a label at the time has posted here.


Mar. 16, 2001, 12:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> if all of you are so dead set against ANY performance altering drug, then how can you justify the performance altering PROCEDURES, which happen to use DRUGS, like joint injections and nerving? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good Point Laurie! - I never thought of it that way /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Mar. 16, 2001, 01:05 PM
I hope no one got the idea that I oppose the use (judicious)of drugs..As Jane mentioned there is a time and a place. What I am so angry about is the fact that those who were "caught" have YET to take responsibility for their actions. They have a hundred and one excuses but never have they acknowledged that they used bad judgement and/or used the preparation to alter their horses' performance. Accountablity..something that is missing alot not only in the horse world but in the world in general. I also don't fancy myself morally superior to ANYONE, BUT, I would like to think that if I make a mistake or do something wrong, that I am "man" enough to take the consequenses. "I didn't know" is such a cop out! How about "I did a dumb thing and I shouldn't have given my horses something that I wasn't sure was permissible"??? Why is it so hard to assume the burden of truth for your actions???

Mar. 16, 2001, 01:15 PM
If we all write letters to the committe and send them to the AHSA office, then they will make SURE EVERY committee member and member of the committee "pool" (like a jury) gets them!

It is critical that these member know how all of us feel on this subject - so get e-mailing!

(I mean BOTH sides, too, not just those who agree with me!)

[This message was edited by Weatherford on Mar. 16, 2001 at 03:34 PM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 01:23 PM
I do agree that the Panel is not to blame, and the AHSA is not to blame.

I posted the quotes from Ms.Schoelkoff so that you would be able to judge the general environment in which that Panel has to function. It was a very weak line and there were mitigating circumstances.

I regret that a "Jury" had to be placed in such a position. I have served on such boards and know exactly how difficult it is to be totally objective and not let your personal opinions affect your capacity for "justice" under the rules.

And, I agree with Weatherford, the voices of those who agree that there was a violation of the intent of the rules have not been heard. The voices of those who believe in chemical and medical means to enhance a performance have been heard.

And, Laurie I believe in medical relief to prevent discomfort and pain to any animal at any time that it is required, that does not mean that once the pain is relieved they should be in competition.

Certainly, those horses with navicular and other ailments should never be permitted to suffer, but is it fair to the horse, the rider or the other competitors if even those horses are permitted to compete? Is that the only reason for having a horse? I think if so people take better care of the motor carts.

My understanding of competition is that the horse is judged for soundness and performance. If the horse has had surgery that enhances it's ability to compete, that to me is equally indefensible as bending the rules to permit attitude adjusters, and other medication to alter performance.

Either we have horse shows to measure the skills of the horses, and to establish the value of their blood lines for breeding or we have a phony circus to gratify the egos of otherwise incompetent people.

The letter of the law, and the intention of the law are many times quite different. But, those of you who believe as I do that competition should be level and that the animal should be performing on his merit, then email Dr. Lengel. If several hundred people all notified the AHSA that they don't believe the solution is to raise the minimum standards allowing increased medication the Veterinary Committee might not be over-ruled next time.

We don't have the right to expect that Dr.Lengel and the AHSA will protect us and the horses to the best of their ability unless we are willing to be heard.

If there had been even 10 people with me at the Convention, perhaps all our ideas and concerns would not have been ignored. I have written Dr. Lengel and my emails were published for the world to see because I do believe that we are avoiding the intention of the law.

I agree with suggestions by Linda Allan and George Morris that our horses might have performed better if they were more accustomed to showing under the FEI Drug Rules.

I cannot comprehend why it is alright to medicate a horse on it's way up to elite, and make it go cold turkey.

Just think about it, if the contestants in a beauty contest have been altered by surgery, then the beauty contest is just determining which has the most artistic and creative plastic surgeon.

Mar. 16, 2001, 01:33 PM
I've hesitated to say anything about the substance of this mostly because I don't know the facts and didn't see the evidence.

However, I did want to echo what Weatherford said about the way the process works. The people on who sit on the hearings panels are volunteers who are members of the Hearings Committee, and the process is set up to ensure, as much as possible, that their decisions are independent and unbiased. I believe the decisions of the hearing panel are also by a majority vote, so there may be up to just less than 1/2 the people on the panel who disagree with the final outcome, one way or the other.

As I understand it, no matter how much anyone may disagree with those final decisions, even if that included every member of the AHSA Board, the AHSA cannot interfere with the decisions of the hearing panel. There's no provision in the rules for the Board or officers to interfere or change a decision. The only way those decisions can be altered is if the charged parties challenge the decision in arbitration or the courts and wins.

Also, according to the AHSA Constitution, at least 20% of the members of the Hearing Committee have to be members of the Board of Trustees of the USET (including athlete members), and 20% of the members of the Hearing Committee have to be Eligible Athletes (as defined in the USOC Constitution for athletes eligible to sit on committees of the NGB).

[This message was edited by Portia on Mar. 16, 2001 at 04:09 PM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 01:51 PM
JaneErvin- I am with you 100%!!!!

Mar. 16, 2001, 01:58 PM
they do not think they did anything wrong, and they were "sure", as sure as they could be, of what was in the Temprelax.

WE do not know why they gave this supplement. Some may think they do, but they were not in the barn, discussing administering this drug, so they do not, they just surmise. I do not know, so I refuse to incriminate them.

These trainers laid out all the steps they took to be sure that there were no illegal substances in the supplement. The bottles were tested by several labs, the manufacturer contacted, European trainers using it contacted (what??!! European trainers use DRUGS?), and a label that said FEI approved (that we do know).

I would not say I did wrong if I went to all these measures either! And evidently the Hearing Committee agreed there was merit to their arguments.


Mar. 16, 2001, 02:50 PM
Thanks Weatherford, Snowbird, and Portia for the clarification of the procedural aspects of the Hearing Committee.

A question...

In the letter issued by the Madden's and Goldstein-Engle and posted by DMK earlier on this board the question was raised of the realiability, specificity, and meaning of current-day drug testing. They describe that they utilized the expertise in this area of a person who I believe they characterized as a brilliant PhD chemist as well as an attorney. It sounds as though this individual may have served in part as an expert witness in the area of drug testing.

So my question...Does the Hearing Committee have accesss to expert witnesses other than those testifying on behalf of the defendants?

In raising this question I am not implying dishonesty or an attempt to mislead on the part of defendants. I raise this question simply based on my experience as a medical expert witness in medicolegal cases.

When dealing with highly technical scientific information and technology, especially when it is "cutting edge", such as some of these current day drug testing issues, equally competent and honest expert witnesses may have completely opposite interpretations of the same facts. In this senario, obviously the defense attorneys will present on the stand the expert witnesses whose opinion favors that of their client, while the plaintiff attorneys will present on the stand the expert witnesses whose opinion favors that of their client. The jury then has the often times daunting task of sorting out all these "expert opinions".

In reading the letter by the Madden's and Goldstein-Engle as well as AHSA's release on this hearing, I cannot determine 1) whether the before-mentioned brilliant PhD chemist testified in the capacity of an expert witness on the behalf of the defendants, and 2) whether as a procedural policy the Hearings Committee has access to experts other than those testifying on behalf of the defendants.

Again, without casting doubt on the intent of the defendants in this current case or any future cases, the opinions of different expert witness testifying about new and highly techincal scientific information can differ radically. For the Hearing Committee to get a complete picture, they would need to hear from experts testifying on behalf of the defendants as well as those testifying independent of the defendants.

Does the Hearing Committee have access to an "independent" group of expert witnesses?


[This message was edited by Whistlejacket on Mar. 16, 2001 at 04:56 PM.]

Mar. 16, 2001, 03:08 PM
For anyone who is interested, valerian has been on the list of banned substances since 1997. If you read the list carefully, you will find all kinds of new drugs listed each year. You can download a copy from the AHSA website.
Personally I have always used drugs when needed, but have always been terrified to show on them. So many times a good horse would have performed phenominally with a 1/2 cc of ace but never would I dare being a "little person" and only occasionally out there on the scene.
The fact that the trainers who were involved in this infraction list one trainer in their midst in particular who is notorious for giving "suspicious substances" that compromise an immune system, thus causing the horse to have a resulting fever (which by the way makes them quiet) to the point of founder (which by the way happens if they run a fever for several days) seems pretty sketchy to me. Remember when we were young and our parents said "you are judged by the company you keep."
Again it is the principle. My kids would like to look up to people like these in competition. Any over-the-counter product, even one like "Calm and Cool" enhances or changes performance and by the letter of the AHSA rule is illegal.
How can we, as AHSA members, continue to support the drug testing procedure when notables slide through the crack?
Would I like to think that this is a heads-up for everyone to keep their house clean?
You bet!
But most of the big show goers even know the drug testers and are tipped off when they are around or are not around. This I have witnessed first hand watching a trainer give multiple shots to their horses when they found out that no AHSA drug tester showed up at a show.
On a personal level, I would much rather for the well-being of the horse, give him a cc of ace, rather than lunging him for an hour.
Many people who hunt, myself included, give ace before going out just to take the edge off. Sometimes even a calm horse worries a little about things and just like a little cocktail helps me mingle when I get to a strange place, I see it the same for a horse.
So I am just a Kentucky hillbilly and I'm going back to my moonshine and off my bandwagon.

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 16, 2001, 03:20 PM
2Dog, I completely agree with your assessment of hunter judging in 2001. However, I don't want to dishearten you or anyone else who thinks as you do, but your obeservations are EXACTLY the same ones of thirty years ago. We ranted and raved about forgiving horses who showed a little enthusiasm. But instead of bending in the direction of leniency, now the poor horse can't even swap off a lead without incurring a major penalty. The standards are stricter today! And the methods of achieving these standards today are far more detrimental to the horse than the methods used in the late Sixties.

So I say, good luck to changing the standards by which hunters are judged.

Jane, hurrah to you. The judicious use of drugs IS part of good horsemanship.

As it is with drug testing and poling, it is the abusers, who create a need for more rules and regulations, not the majority.

There is no Garden of Eden, no ideal world, inside or outside of the horse business. Therefore we must strive to reach workable compromises in the best interest of the horse and the industry.

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 16, 2001, 03:28 PM
One more thing...I'll bet if the FEI could go back to their "allowable level of Bute" rule they would. A little bit of Bute is far better than some of the methods used to get horses by the jog and to the ring in today's world. Laurie mentioned joint injections and neurectomies. They are the tip of the iceberg.

Mar. 16, 2001, 04:35 PM
In any quasi-judicial hearing I have participated the panel are strickly there to judge based on what is front of them. The experts are presented by the opposing sides, thye have to each pay their own bills and there is nothing in the budget for the board to call any other witnesses. Because of that they usually cannot even hear from a neutral third party expert who volunteers their services.

The Panel is not free to hypothesize or guess at motivations or experiences, past errors or character. Granted the system is not perfect but it is the best one that society has come up with to settle any dispute.

When a hole develops then society needs to make the changes. The problem is that most horsemen sit on the hands and they don't want to get involved until it is their horse or their barn. That leaves those willing to put the effort forward in charge. Wrong or right they are the voices heard.

My old mentor a fabulous trial attorney always said that a case is well settled if neither side is happy, since you can't ever have both sides equally happy.

This is what I've been trying to point out to all of you. You can complain and you can make accusations and you can criticize, but in the final analysis"WE ARE the ONES RESPONSIBLE. We signaled approval with our silence.

They want higher limits because the tests can find such low limits! But, how does that make sense if it is a drug that alters the performance and it's banned. It's like you can't be a little bit pregnant.

If there are surgical alterations that we find offensive, you shouldn't use those and excuse to approve it's opposite, you have to also disapprove the surgical corrections. If we have a Veterinary Committee then their opinion should be the final word and not that of a mob which threatens to have their way.

I don't understand this escape system. The Testers have been to my shows mucho times. They have tested my lowly school horses lots of times. We use all the necessary medicinal treatments for our horses, we make sure they are comfortable and not in pain. The horses are swapped between each others stalls, we have lots of people with $20.00 bills all the elements are here. The only difference is the "MONEY". I certainly don't want to believe that only at the AA Shows are grooms running around with towels loaded with cocaine, or spectators with drug contaminated hands are petting the horses. That could give me a good reason never to attend one.

Mar. 16, 2001, 05:27 PM
thanks for all the comments. This is clearly a very complicated subject and I jumped in becvause it is so close to home for anyone coming back into showing. I get tempted to "medicate" my high strung horses....but it gets so dicey. should a horse get an anti-inflammatory after a big day in the ring. You bet. I take my aspirin after a big workout. But do I take a valium? Never. Shades of grey maybe, but my comments are really directed more to the bigger issue: how can we bring back some rational judging that allows for talent to show through, and get judged well, even if the pace wasn't exactly the same, or as lopey, or the horse played a little in the corner? What if while a rider entered the ring, the announcer stated: well, now, trainer x is riding a _______, who he had tied up, head to the rafters (witnessed at Indio) for the whole night before this class. My feeling is that humiliation is a great tool. Embarrass the heck out of these guys.....We love our horses? then lets make it shameful to drug them for all the wrong reasons - I know too many trainers who just load up to keep their horses looking sound.....heck, I know foxhunters who ace their horses before every hunt. How safe is that?? You want your horse to be relaxed, then get up early and ride. Luckily there are some I know who do just that. I used to see them at 5 am at Indio riding riding riding.

This is all about how to love and care for our wonderful creatures without jeopordizing their health for a "win".

Mar. 16, 2001, 06:31 PM
Laurie...EXACTLY...they do not take responsibility for their actions..that is EXACTLY the point I was trying to make...The contents of the product were in fact not completely known, the parts that were known had forbidden substances contained therein AND they STILL will not accept responsibility. Exactly my point. Arrogance. At what point are we responsible for our OWN behavior??? Must it always be "the devil" that "made me do it"?? They did it..say so..take it like a "man" and go forward...I would like them to know that denile is not river in Eqypt.

Mar. 16, 2001, 06:38 PM
lets not confuse the 2. Please don't group tying a horses head to the rafters with giving 2 bute the day after a show. Also, lets not put riding riding riding at 5 a.m. into the keeping a horse healthy category. It has been said before and it will be said again. You get what you pay for. You just do. Buy it young and train it right, or dont' complain if it aint sound, if it needs LTD or meds up the ying yang. Don't confuse people honestly trying to relieve stress with trying to make one quiet. I use a vitamin E and selenium mixture to make my babies quiet, works for me.
This is a complex issue. It is not cut and dry.

Mar. 17, 2001, 08:07 AM
is the point I have been trying to make for 4 pages of posts. It is not a black and white issue, the shades of gray are many, and I just don't think that anyone here, including me, knows enough about the case, evidence, what have you, to be able to pass judgement. I don't think it is fair to hang these people out to dry if there is the slightest chance that the mitigating circumstances were valid.

And since the Hearing Committee, which we have established has no connection with, or directions from, the AHSA, saw fit to mention these circumstances, then who are we to second guess? It is time to move on.


Mar. 17, 2001, 11:48 AM
Technically, neurectomies are illegal for the FEI, Emmett. With the jog, vets do test to see if any have been preformed. But I do agree, if they could take back the ban, well it certainly would be interesting /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Going to the FEI web site will give insite to the current rules. http://www.horsesport.org

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 17, 2001, 02:07 PM
Although "desensitizing" is illegal under FEI regulations, they readily admit "there is no satisfactory method to confirm"...

In my experience, the vet at the jog has never approached that subject.

There are also other FEI rules and regulations which are loosely, at best, followed at most US horse shows, specifically shows with World Cup classes.

It is also noteworthy that the FEI has "allowable" levels of specific medications. It would only make sense for the AHSA to adopt a similar policy.

Mar. 17, 2001, 04:35 PM
I beg to differ Emmett, or maybe I have been just lucky. Every World Cup Qualifying class has strict rules concerning the jog and desensitizing of horses. The vets I have worked with all take their job very seriously and do not want a horse, who possibly may not be legal, to walk into the ring. They also know how to test for said desensitizing. Yes, someone may slip thru, that can always happen. These veterinarians are willing to step up to the plate, when it comes to ascertaining lameness. Please don't label all vets with some who could care less.

Schooling is a major concern. This is where the FEI Stewards play an important role. Making sure horses are on the grounds 24 hr prior to the class. All entries carry their number when out of their stalls. Designated schooling areas for WC Class horses only, etc..Guess some of the shows do go by the rules, which is the way it should be.

[This message was edited by wtywmn4 on Mar. 17, 2001 at 06:41 PM.]

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 18, 2001, 08:26 AM
PW, I readily admit most US shows follow the rules which are relatively easy to enforce.

At the shows I have attended the 24 hr. rule is enforced, as is the designated schooling area, back numbers and schooling stewards. I have even seen boot checks at some shows. But I rarely see "secured stabling". Yes, someone comes around to make sure the horse is on the grounds but rarely is there a specific stabling area only for FEI horses.

Mar. 18, 2001, 09:34 AM
I have read most of the threads and debate and as many on this board have VERY strong feelings on the chemical and herbal "assistance" that seems to be in vogue these days on the show circuit.

I feel there has to be a zero tolerance with a little common sense mixed in-that's right common sense. Perhaps if there was a bit more of that around then these debates would be limited.

For example, the horse that tested for a drug where the amount wouldn't be sufficient to affect a mouse-perhaps this really is a matter of using a bucket with something left in it?

The oops I gave my horse a coke-and enough drug is tested to affect a herd of elephants...hmmmm.

Now let's get to the "users" at hand-WHY did they give the named herbal supplement. Surely some of our most respected owners and riders would have enough care and concern to wonder WHY a supplement was being given.

Next, would you not have to agree that an Olympic rider, for goodness sake would look at the ingredients of a supplement being given rather than accept the ingredients at face value?? I am a mere A/A rider and I can assure you nothing goes in my horse without my udnerstanding of WHAT and WHY?? I, a mere A/A rider knows Valerian is an illegal substance-how could they not??

I am talking about accountability here.

Next-they had it tested-why in the world-perhaps to see if it was possible to NOT be tested...hmmmm. Let's think about ACTH again for a moment. Doesn't test-or more accurately, can't be proven to have been injected.

It is NOT legal to use ANY substance to adjust the tempermant of your horse for competition. Period.Now WHY would someone want to give a substance that wouldn't test-think about it!!!

Like I said, I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed but I do know if I am looking for a coat enhancer-and I pick up Calm and Cool, then I am probably in the wrong section of the tack shop.

Life is too short to dance with ugly men

Mar. 18, 2001, 11:10 AM
"It is NOT legal to use ANY substance to adjust the tempermant of your horse for competition. Period."(quote from TheResonator)

Does that mean I can't show my mare on Regumate??

Does that mean no accupuncture (ours injects vitamins or steroids, I think) before a show???

Does that mean no joint injections??

All the above can significanly change a horses temperment!!

Should it be illegal to lunge horses at a show over a certain amount of time? or at all?

May be stupid/rediculous questions but food for thought all the same.

Mar. 18, 2001, 11:20 AM
Again I am talking common sense, if I recall. Without picking to pieces the words-everyone here knows exactly what I am talking about.I am refering to those trying to get around the rules to...cheat, to be very honest.

Now that you have brought it up-yes I DO think there should be regulations on how long a horse is longed (and before you jump again I have NO idea how that would work), if you want to know the truth. I think the LTD (longe til death) is a disgrace-if you need that to get a horse to behave/perform then perhaps it is time to take a break from showing and do little homework.

Perhaps if folks spent a little more time at home instead of campaigning 30 weeks out the year, there would be less need for hock injections and drugs to alter temperament. Amazing what a little pasture will do for a horse's body and mind.

Life is too short to dance with ugly men

Mar. 18, 2001, 04:43 PM
Showpony, if your horse has a hormonal imbalance, REgumate is legal. If you are giving regumate for the sole purpose of changing her behavior, it is illegal to show with that substance in her system. If you horse has a vitamin imbalance and you are giving it B vitamins to correct that, you are OK. If you are giving it B vitamins just to quiet it down, you are breaking the rules. If you are giving an herbal supplement for nutritional reasons, you are OK. If you are giving an herbal supplement to relax your horse, you cannot compete on that substance even if it is not detectable.

It is the intent that makes administering a nondetectable substance OK or against the rules.

Lunging and riding a horse around in a sensible manner to get the edge off is fine. Use common sense.

NinaL aka Chrissy
Mar. 18, 2001, 06:24 PM
but I'll spare you /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

I'm weighing in on this thread a little late but I have spent the past two days catching up on my life after a week at a Windows 2000 network infrastructure course. Let's say that this thread is only slightly more entertaining /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

I will admit I was slightly surprised at the leniancy of the AHSA's hearing committee's decision but not totally shocked. The AHSA does have a history of dealing lightly with first time offenders and, as I recall, the AHSA's statement did allude to the fact that none of the defendents had been previously found in violation of the AHSA's drugs and medications rules.

Although Valarian and Tryptophan may have been listed on the label Reserpine certainly was not. It is possible that the label was amended after the supplement was tested. However, it is also possible that those substances were always listed but the FEI approved and non-doping statements led the defendents to believe that the supplement did not contain any forbidden substances. And, yeah, I agree that ignorance is no excuse but the perception in this country is that if it passes the FEI tests it will pass our tests. Of course, I don't know if the FEI actually tests for Valarian and Tryptophan. It seems to me that those drugs are primarily administered to show hunters in the good ol' USA. Also, I question whether the FEI actually tests for Reserpine, either. Anybody out there know?

As far as I can tell none of the samples tested positive for Valarian or Tryptophan. So even if a substance is listed as an active ingrediant you can't convict a person if it doesn't show up in the test.

BTW, this is why administering "natural subtances" can be fraught with pitfalls. Because the onus of purity or contents lies strictly with the manufacturer you have no way of telling exactly what you are giving yourself or your horse. It is possible that none of the animals who were tested received ANY Valarian or Tryptophane.

Much has been made of the problems associated with using sensitive tests. I confess that I really don't understand this. The science (or art!) of drug regulation lies in making meaningful determination of allowable trace levels in light of the therapeutic use of the drug. As far as I can tell the AHSA's (not FEI's) allowable trace level is fairly reasonable although I believe they should revisit some of their anti-stacking rules (see Banamine discussion in SS interview thread).

The sensitivity of the tests would come into play on banned substances such as cocaine and Reserpine. For the most part I have no problems with the AHSA' banned substance list. When making the case for creating an allowable threshhold for a substance such as cocaine please take into account that you cannot determine where this level would be cross-species. There is a huge difference between the metabolism of humans and equines. For the most part, dosages tend to decrease as the species size increases. For example, the tranquilizing dose of Acepromazine for a 100 lb. dog is about the same as that for a 1000 lb. horse. So the AHSA probably feels that it cannot (yet) determine a permissable of cocaine level for a horse due to environmental contamination.

I have always to a certain extent believed that the AHSA should revisit their Bute rule. As far as I'm concerned Bute, when given as directed, is therapeutic NOT analgesic. NSAIDs combat inflammation and corresponding joint degeneration. I believe that Bute should be allowed any time (no 8 or 12 hour rule here) with penalties imposed only if tests show that the therapeutic dose was exceeded. BTW, the therapeutic (not analgesic) dose of Bute for a 1000 lb. horse is 4 grams daily for 5 days.

The idea of a no-medication rule scares me. IMO, it will be the death of the local and "B" rated AHSA show. The cost of a sound animal will skyrocket even if it is not especially talented or fancy.

lauriep, I am in total agreement with you regarding joint injections and neurectomies. I have been banging that drum for years. That is one of the reasons I feel that the Bute rule could use to be tweaked a little bit. You can justify joint injections as therapeutic albeit a very invasive form of therapy. However, there is nothing therapeutic about a neurectomy. However, the horse that in these days undergoes a neurectomy may often times be comfortable and sound on Bute due to its therapeutic (not analgesic) properties. Indeed, the judicious use of Bute can maintain a horse's soundness and lengthen its career.

I don't know how you could ever prove a horse had been nerved unless you obtained the veterinarian's records. A well-done PDN will eliminate the pain to the navicular joint while maintaining some skin sensation. And you don't need to be a vet to do an alcohol block (which will also effectively kill the nerve at a considerably higher pain cost to the horse).

BTW, I am still waiting to hear when (if) the AHSA is going to readdress the Azium issue. I am fairly certain the the NHJC will not.


Mar. 18, 2001, 06:47 PM
"The idea of a no-medication rule scares me. IMO, it will be the death of the local and "B" rated AHSA show. The cost of a sound animal will skyrocket even if it is not especially talented or fancy. "

Um, maybe people will learn to manage their horses properly instead of doing so much with them that they need so many meds.

A basic requirement for a hunter is soundness. You want him to do his job well. Talent and fanciness are icing and separate the men from the boys. A talented and fancy horse that does not stay sound is inferior and should not win.

If you have someone build you (or sell you) a house, you want one that has a strong, sturdy foundation that will last for many years without having to do constant expensive and labor intensive maintenance and repair. I know so many people that have moved into new or nearly new absolutely gorgeous expensive homes that have never ending plumbing, wet basement, leaky, poor performing heating/ac, foundation shifting houses. I may not live in the biggest, fanciest most eye catching house, but it is structurally sound and will keep me warm and dry for many years to come. (having said this, I'm sure I will have to call someone to come fix something this week!)

When buying a horse, you look for one that is sound. People complain so much about trying so many expensive and accomplished horses that they love which fail the vet. Heeellllllloooooo!

The only way to truly level the playing field and let the naturally good horses and horsemen rise to the top is to ban drugs. At this time, the people who are playing fair and truly have the horse's best interest at heart are at an extreme disadvantage. Maybe we won't have those totally calm dead eyed lopey hunter rounds, but I'm sure we'll see some great riding!

Mar. 19, 2001, 07:10 AM
Loved your analogy Flash. This is so true.

Mar. 19, 2001, 07:25 AM
Flash..I agree with most of what you wrote HOWEVER not all horses "flunk the vet"because of over use or abuse..One of the more common reason is OCD or DJD which has little to do with used (abuse) and alot to do with nutrition from birth onward! Horses can be literally "born" with bad xrays! People put WAY to much stock into the vetting proceedure..These people are educated guesser NOT seers! They can only guess what the future holds for any horse and they can tell you what is right now, this minute that the horse was vetted. The horse could be dead ten minutes from now! But that of course is a whole 'nuther thread!

Mar. 19, 2001, 08:31 AM
and if people were more cognisant (sp?)when breeding they would know which lines carry it.
My mares were all x-rayed before ever being broodmares. Navicular, OCD, and DJD are known to be hereditary, and if you can get the information on the stallion and you know your mare, you are in a better position not to foal unsound horses.
Nutrition is important, that can not be understated, but more attention must be paid to mare and stallion selection when breeding.
Overuse lends itself toward arthritis, that is a known fact, so does jumping 5 times a week without proper warm-up, so does bad shoeing, etc etc etc, so does standing ina stall, these are multi variable issues.

Mar. 19, 2001, 01:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The only way to truly level the playing field and let the naturally good horses and horsemen rise to the top is to ban drugs. At this time, the people who are playing fair and truly have the horse's best interest at heart are at an extreme disadvantage. Maybe we won't have those totally calm dead eyed lopey hunter rounds, but I'm sure we'll see some great riding!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Therein lies the whole purpose and logic for our competitions.

I will say that in my 30 years running the "lesser" shows with many...many visits from the drug testers we have only had one case where a positive was found. And, that was at an A Show a long time ago. I guess my exhibitors can't afford those grooms running around with cocaine on their towels or those contaminated $20 bills.

I can also tell you that after a C/B Show we don't find the parking area littered with discarded needles and syringes. My guess is that since these shows don't have big Prize Money, or the opportunity for people to qualify for the prestigious shows the motivation is not the same.


NinaL aka Chrissy
Mar. 19, 2001, 02:33 PM
Maybe I'm missing the point but, frankly, I fail to see why anyone would object to the judicious use of medications while competing an animal. Note that the operative word here is judicious which is NOT stacking and NOT overdosing.

I don't buy the concept that administering 1 gram of Bute will buy any exhibitor a competitive advantage. Not every horse showing in the "A" divisions requires the LTD routine. In fact, a good friend of mine shows the "A" divisions (very successfully I might add) and his horses require 15 minutes on the tape at the most.

Wear and tear is a competitive fact of life. Loss of elasticity and strength is a natural byproduct of aging. Good conformation and management help to extend competitive life but it doesn't extend the life of your cartilage.

My point on the skyrocketing prices is not a "dis" on the local show horse. But if people are forced to discard or drop down their present mounts they will be looking for a replacement and, regardless of the product, supply and demand dictate the price. And I don't know about you guys but I can't compete with the big guys financially.

You can make a lame horse sound via a neurectomy but that isn't doing the horse any favors. And it definitely isn't the right thing to do by any stretch of the imagination.

If I offered everyone on this list a magic elixir that when administered post exercise would improve joint fluid and help maintain cartilage health would you be interested? Would you still be interested if I told you it was Bute? The fact is that the use of NSAIDs such Bute will help improve joint fluid viscosity by decreasing inflammation (a primary culprit in the thinning of joint fluid). NSAIDs are unique in that they specifically target areas of inflammation. And I don't care how well you manage your horse a day of jumping or even riding on the trailer will contribute to inflammation of the joints.

What about other pharmaceuticals that can help a horse with a condition such as cyproheptadine as a treatment for photic headshaking? Is my friend's nice, sound, young horse actually unsound because she needs cyproheptadine in the summer to help with photic headshaking symptoms? And don't tell me that she has a genetic fault - research pretty much shows that photoc headshaking is NOT genetic.

Didn't anybody else see the irony last summer when Laura Kraut's Liberty could not be treated for a simple infection because use of systemic antibiotics would cause a violation of the FEI's no medication rule? How is this "helping the horse"?

As I have stated before, all of the vets I have spoken to hate the no-medication rule. It ties their hands when treating the animal. Not all injuries require a long layup period. But if you institute a no-medication rule you are going to force people to withdraw an animal that is healthy and healed because his urine levels won't be clear for a period of time even though the pharmocological benefit has long since worn off.

Snowbird, I daresay you don't see the discarded syringes and needles at your local shows because the people either administer the drugs at home or take the syringes home for use another day. I have seen more than one person "shooting up" their horse at a local show.

I do agree with the AHSA's position on banned substances that serve no therapeutic purpose such as cocaine and Reserpine. Like Snowbird, I don't buy the $20 bill excuse.


Nina (stepping down)

Mar. 19, 2001, 02:48 PM
Very well stated Chrissy!

As I have said before, I find it a shame that I could show my hunter who has inhalent allergies on AZIUM, but not cyproheptadine /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

I also think people really need to consider exactly what the fine line is between oral/injectable joint supp and NSAIDs really is... because from the body's perspective, there ain't a whole lot of difference...

As for all/most/majority of the A horses needing to be LTD... given that there are 6 spots available for lunging at WEF and a good LTD takes at least 30 minutes, and there are way more than 1000 horses showing on any given day... do the math... Yup, assuming maximum efficiency, there is only space for 120 horses to LTD in 10 hour period.

Not everyone who agrees with the current rule believes in a) stacking b) true performance altering drugs such as reserpine or c) stuffing $20 bills down your horse's throat.

Mar. 19, 2001, 03:06 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If I offered everyone on this list a magic elixir that when administered post exercise would improve joint fluid and help maintain cartilage health would you be interested? Would you still be interested if I told you it was Bute? The fact is that the use of NSAIDs such Bute will help improve joint fluid viscosity by decreasing inflammation (a primary culprit in the thinning of joint fluid). NSAIDs are unique in that they specifically target areas of inflammation. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Could you please give a citation for this, as I have heard the opposite, that NSAIDs relieve inflamation, but actually contribute to cartilage damage.

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 19, 2001, 03:11 PM
Congratulations. You have said it EXACTLY right.
Too bad (for the horses in this world) there are so few with such a grasp on reality.
Reads like DMK is there to.

Mar. 19, 2001, 03:54 PM
Sorry folks, (flame suit on) it is either black or white. Those wonderful little grey areas we all love to fall back on, ain't cutting it. You either do or you don't. Just because you think your grey area is lighter, won't make it right. The horse can't tell you, "geeeez that stuff you just gave me is making me all crazy iside". We have to rely on vets and pharmacology reports. Many love to use the reference of our over paid sports figures. Well, at least they can speak, well sort of. Our horses can't. Yes, many do need help. But maybe, it is time not to make them show anymore. Using drugs for our own gratification and ego is not what it should be about. Once again, we have every excuse in the book to justify our reason as to do it.

And please, I am not ranting, as chrissy put it, for the heck of it. I learned this lesson the hard way. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Mar. 19, 2001, 04:30 PM
While I agree fundamentally with Chrissy,et.al. I think you all now realize why anything other than a no tolerance rule is virtually impossible to administer. I think it is a shame if older guys would have to be retired-but how do you draw the line. If you could word a rule that would protect those who really are using bute or whatever with the horses interest in mind vs. those using chemicals attempting to beat the system then you would be a genius. So far I have yet to see one that holds...

Life is too short to dance with ugly men

Mar. 19, 2001, 05:00 PM
I give my horse Regumate in the spring/summer for the sole purpose of eliminating her monthly crabby, unpredictable mood. Period! If I were showing her I would NOT take her off of it. No one I know has their mare on hormones (Regumate, implants, Depo) because of a hormone imbalance (they probably don't even know if the horse has an imbalance or not). They do it to change the horses temperment.

I see nothing wrong, immoral, or unfair about that. I do not consider myself or the others to be abusing drugs or breaking rules. I think that would be too exstreme.

I guess everyone draws the line in a different place. I can sleep at night with a clear concience(sp) that I am causing my horses no harm or being unfair to others. Maybe I am off topic or missing the point here but I think we need to be realistic about it.

Mar. 19, 2001, 08:49 PM
I personally do not even consider Regumate in the same league as Reserpine, ACTH, or overdosing on NSAIDS to fix a horse to show.

I wouldn't think twice about what you are doing. I don't think that is what is really in debate here.

Life is too short to dance with ugly men

Mar. 20, 2001, 08:09 AM
If the horse needs antibiotics or anything else to correct a medical problem, it should be withdrawn from competition until the drug clears the system. Every drug has side effects and you can't ask the horse how it feels. See any drug ads on TV lately? Can those guys talk any faster when listing the multitude of side effects?

I would guestimate that the vast majority of people posting here compete in the amateur and jr divisions. Is a horse really truly suitable for an amateur or jr rider if it needs LTD or meds that change it's behavior? Are the horses being managed well if they need regular NSAIDs? More pasture time and less road time would probably do the job just as well. But oh, I forgot, it's the points that count!

Mar. 20, 2001, 09:30 AM
Thank you very much-I couldn't agree more that a little pasture and time off would cure most problems. Oh-and how about training??? Could that help a little-and exposure so that the horse doens't need LYD or meds because it had to be pounded so it was quiet enough for the Jr/Am rider??

Oh that's right-you can't waste time training or resting when the points are at stake.

Life is too short to dance with ugly men

Mar. 20, 2001, 09:39 AM
Around p. 2 or so...! And this is nowhere as well thought out, but the gist was:

The merits of whether or not it is a good idea to administer NSAID's, among other substances, have little to do with the debate as to whether they should/should not be allowed. The medicine chest has become such an integral part of so many management systems that those who would argue for more traditional methods of keeping horses sound (such as rest, limited showing not to mention sound breeding practices) are for the most part outgunned by those who would argue that those with the vials/packets/tabs of (insert drug of the month here) are really the ones who hold the horse's best interests above all others. If it weren't also that their pocketbooks benefit because (client's name)'s hor$$$e can go to the show ring after all instead of out to the paddock to rest (or retire!), the latter would be far easier to accept as an unbiased (and therefore more valid?) point of view. To argue for zero tolerance has come to be equated with arguing against the interests of "the idustry." So many times the defense of using medication is prefaced with "in our unique circumstances," or "in today's world..." It's turned into a classic conflict between big business vs. the small potatos. The vets are hardly disinterested parties, as evidenced by the effects of pharmecutical sales on thier bank accounts. A "neutral" debate that weighs the pros and cons without bias is absolutely impossible anymore. But the FEI's stance on medications being perfectly clear, perhaps one solution is that we should just give up on policing meds for the "subterranian" divisions (as VHV terms them!) and adopt zero tolerance for all the "regular" divisions--thereby "protecting" all the kind old horses that are needed to care for their novice/limited budget and/or even recreational riders, but at our upper levels adhere to the same zero tolerance standard that competitors in the rest of the world do.

[This message was edited by JustJump on Mar. 20, 2001 at 07:10 PM.]

Mar. 20, 2001, 12:32 PM
Excellent point-you said exactly what i was thinking but couldn't organize it properly. I was thinking something in the terms of different rules for the "Senior tour"-so those good ole troopers could spend a few years teaching the less experienced riders.

Again though the problem is the abuse-the poor horse that should retire but the trainer wants to squeeze one more year out of him-or the owner does if he brings in a lease fee.

If only a few more people had a conscience then the policing wouldn't be so necessary-unfortuantely there is no way I can think of to have "grey" rules without the effect of the slippery slope in that everything will eventually be tolerated

Life is too short to dance with ugly men

Mar. 23, 2001, 08:20 AM
Regu-mate, Valerian Root, Azium, Tryptophan, Reserpine, B1, Thiamine, Haliperidol and a large number of other drugs are known to be performance enhancing "medications".

Someone said that they do not consider Regu-mate to be in the same league as Reserpine. If it enhances performance either mentally or physically, why should we separate one from the other?

DON'T FLAME OUT ON ME! I'm only being the Devil's Advocate here.

I hate Bute. I think it makes a horse "dull" to your leg and hand. But I will give my horses the "legal and acceptable dosage" of Banamine during a horse show. Why shouldn't I? I take Advil. I drink coffee.

Regu-mate? Have you ever tried to show a mare while she is in raging heat? I have. It works on stallions too. Believe me Regu-mate "IS" a performance enhancing drug! If it were to become illegal, I would not use it.

I think some of you are contradicting yourselves. Just because a drug/medication is currently legal does not mean it is not a performance enhancing drug.

I also have not noticed anyone saying anything about the "legal and acceptable" levels of any medications. Is it wrong to "medicate" as long as you are within the currently acceptable and legal parameters concerning that specific "medication"?

As for the Madden, Madden, Goldstein issue.

If you took an over the counter drug to help alleviate your allergy symptoms and then were required to take a drug test for work. And your test came back positive, for say ephedrine, should your employment be terminated? By most of your arguments, it would appear that you should. The fact that it is an over the counter drug, not withstanding.

I see alot of you dogging Susie Schoelkopf(sp) about the need to learn how to properly medicate our equine partners. People, get a grip!

I personally would love to see more people educated about the proper and wise use of NSAIDS. It would mean that our horses can have a better quality of competitive life. Of course this goes hand in hand with good horsemanship. (But that needs to be another thread.)

I challenge each and every one of you, to run 10 miles a day for four days AND NOT INGEST ANY FORM OF DRUG/MEDICATION! This includes caffiene, nicotiene and/or NSAIDS!!!!! (ie, Advil, Aspirin, Tylenol, etc..)

Mar. 23, 2001, 11:33 AM
here is a simple question - Pretend that you have an older sweet teacher type that is very sound as far as limping goes ,but you know its old and are very careful not to jump too much show too much etc .Let say that you find out that this wonderful creature needs (I cant spell it) cyptohedradine? for cushings or that it needs some sort of medicine for its breathing .You have to take animal off the drug that helps them right??If these tests are so sharp so accurate why can't these animals stay on their meds which help them.I carefully use some Nasaids and appropriately take them off before showing, but I ask you if these tests are really so accurate why can't these tests be used to help our good old guys ?In other words when a test is taken why can't the test tell you its whatever drug and you have filled out a drug form ?I seem to be having a very hard time being clear here but it seems to me that reserpine cannot be justified for any reason but the types of situations I am describing could justify certain uses of certain drugs.

Mar. 23, 2001, 12:02 PM
Leaping off the NSAID wagon and back onto the hearings committees decision re those testing positive..I just read the article in the Chronicle and I have to say the D&M committe should be outraged that the hearing committee didnt really stand behind them...they went with the LEAST possible punishment because some of those involved were "the best the business has to offer"...OMG! So if you are good at training and riding then you are automatically morally above reproach?? Get out of town with that reasoning!!!I suggest that those high up on the rung actually have MORE to lose by falling a bit in their production of champions and so their motivation is GREATER than the average "Joe on the street" to PRODUCE! This is an embarrassing black eye to the AHSA once again showing the other 97% of us that it's not what you know, it's WHO you know. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Mar. 23, 2001, 01:48 PM
It seemed to me that there was a plausible possibility of tampering- The "sealed" containers of the herbal supplement did not contain reserpine, but the "open" containers did, implying that someone had added it after the container was opened.

That could be the trainers in question, but it could also be malicious, either to delibrately HARM the performance of the horses (especially since they were jumpers, not hunters) or to frame the trainers for some private reason.

I do remember, back in the 70's, hearing about a case where a rival trainer gave someone els's jumper reserpine to mess them up.

Mar. 23, 2001, 03:12 PM
It's very scary to think that someone would sabotage a horse.

Also, remember, these horses are being judged on SUITABILITY TO PERFORM A JOB. Allergies can prevent a horse from doing it's job, and the medications used to treat allergies also have side efffects such as inducing drowsiness, hyperactivity, etc all which also can make a horse unsuitable to perform a job, or can unfairly enhance the horse's performance.

Mar. 23, 2001, 06:08 PM
I think its funny.... people bad mouth the use of ace and other tranquilizers EVEN when riding a horse that was on stall rest for a year. They say its cruel because the animal didn't have a "choice" in the matter.... yet.... they feed their horses calm and cool everyday... In otherwords tranquilizing their horses everyday.

Mar. 23, 2001, 06:45 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Also, remember, these horses are being judged on SUITABILITY TO PERFORM A JOB. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But by that standard, does that mean we should not use bar shoes, rim pads, sorbathene pads, isoxoprine, adequan, legend, glucosamine, throat surgery, tendon splitting, arthroscopic surgery, palosein, wedge pads, blood tonics, acupuncture, chiropracter, massage therapy, chondroitins, magnetic blankets, laser treatments, Vitamin E/Selenium, gut resection, heart bar shoes, hell, shoes in general, patellar surgery, MSM, electrolytes, uveitis time release implants and the 8000 other "legal" things I couldn't think of that are designed to improve a horse's chance of winning and otherwise improve the quality of his life?

Or should the standard just be if we would have had to throw the horse away 50 years ago because of his status/condition/whatever, we must do so today, no matter what medical advances are out there?

To the one example referenced, although cyproheptadine may have typical antihistamine effect in people (although I don't think it does - I did read the PDR on it a few years back, and I don't recall that it was a major side effect), it just does not effect the horse's tempermant. I have had my horse on doses up to a 7X factor and seen no effect. I have never heard of an instance where somebody thought it had that effect on their horse. It does depress the headshaking impulse though.

Mar. 24, 2001, 05:09 AM
now that has to be the best post you have ever written. Thank You for stating things so clearly.
You may have left out a few things /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif <G>!

Mar. 24, 2001, 07:38 AM
DMK, if you really want to split hairs, everything you do with a show horse is intended to improve his well being so that you can win, right down to choosing a brand of feed and cleaning his stall. It is a very gray area, and it is unfortunate that some people have excessively abuse the medication rules to the point that hearings and more rules are necessary.

Mar. 24, 2001, 08:06 AM
Just a nod to DMK, Laurieep, Jane and others who have expressed many of my thoughts...but so much more eloquently and succinctly than I would have.

It seems to come down to a question of developing regulations designed only for/against the cheaters (i.e. no tolerance), or developing regulations that serve as guidelines for the majority who are responsible, caring horseowners trying to do the best for their animals while still participating in, and contributing to, the sport of horseshowing. This is the conundrum faced by all regulators.

The problem as I see it (in my very humble opinion) is that those who deliberately cheat generally can find a way to continue doing so....to catch them you constantly have to ammend and add new regulations as the willful cheaters find new ways to get around existing ones.

In the process you often end up punishing the majority of participants who do not cheat, either by denying the use of beneficial medications to all show horses, or by constantly running the risk of punishing someone who does not deliberately 'drug' their horses to excess, but perhaps made an honest mistake (ie...horse has mild colic two weeks before show and banamine administered during the episode is still in bloodstream in trace amounts when tested).

In contrast, I believe that sensible guidelines allow for judicious use of medications and dietary supplements by good horsemen and women, while also helping curb over-use of a substance through ignorance.

My fear is that by developing rules and regs aimed only at the cheaters, we simply punish the majority of riders and horses, while having little effect on those who would deliberately abuse the system.

[This message was edited by cbv on Mar. 24, 2001 at 10:11 AM.]

[This message was edited by cbv on Mar. 24, 2001 at 10:13 AM.]

[This message was edited by cbv on Mar. 24, 2001 at 10:15 AM.]

Mar. 24, 2001, 08:21 AM
Flash, I do absolutely agree with you - everything we do is geared with that end, and as a result it is a very grey area. But I also believe (and not just in horses, but in all things!) that as cbv stated, you cannot regulate to the lowest common denominator, you must regulate to common sense (and cbv, you managed to be pretty eloquent yourself).

Unfortunately, I believe the rule was derived (albeit since then tweaked) many years ago when the technology and the problem were much more straightforward. The problem I see now is a similar one that we have in many areas of life - technology has outpaced the rule, which leaves those of us who are honestly trying to do the right thing forced to guess at what is the right choice, or to limit the career of an otherwise happy and healthy horse.

Mar. 24, 2001, 08:22 AM
WTG cbv! Eloquently said.

Mar. 25, 2001, 05:47 PM
That's why the only thing enforceable is Zero tolerance. People will always make excuses, find excuses and find ways to elude conviction.

So what we need to evaluate is do we for the sake of a few horses that might be legitimate and need some light assistance vrs. the abuse of the system.

I have thought and thought, and I just see no logic in uping the amount permitted as a way to stop cheaters. I think the legitimate horses with reasons, could fill our rhe drug report before the show and give it to the Steward. Perhaps in that case if tested the bottom limits could be considered.

But, it is afterall, a horse show and not a people show. A legitimate use that can be explained before the fact is better than a questionable one after the fact. Perhaps, we all need to be sophisticated enough to file a report if we know the horse followed in the stall of a horse with banamine. But, surely we don't want to excuse every horse which might have been petted by a spectator.

Mar. 26, 2001, 08:14 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I have thought and thought, and I just see no logic in uping the amount permitted as a way to stop cheaters. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good heavens - putting words in my mouth? Where exactly was I (or anyone else) talking about upping the amounts???? /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

In case it was a matter of confusion (or perhaps not even a topic of discussion?), I am not at all in favor of stacking or otherwise increasing the amount of NSAIDs currently permitted.

And I agree that upping the amounts (note: stressing again, due what have must have been a staggering lack of clarity on my part, that this is not a position I favor) is not a way to stop the cheaters. Of course, one might be forced to argue both sides of that argument... reducing the amounts isn't going to stop the cheaters either...

Mar. 26, 2001, 09:00 AM
Are you really saying that we should have a NO Tolerance for ANY level of ANY drug no matter it's effect or when it was administered because of a MINORITY who will always look for an edge?

I call that throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Mar. 26, 2001, 09:01 AM
It was the Drug and Medication spokesperson who suggested that the solution was to up the bottom level because the tests are so good now they can find just a schmidge from outside contamination.

My feeling is in agreement with the FEI. Zero tolerance, no excuses and no alibis. I think it is the responsibility of the trainer/owner to make sure of the conditions of the horse, re: switched stalls, grooms with dirty towels, strangers petting the horse with contaminated $20 bills etc.

Maybe they'll need two pockets, one for clean money and one for dirty money. Maybe, they'll need to have someone watching the horse to make sure it doesn't get petted by a stranger.

In any case no excuses, unless they file a report with the Steward in advance indicating what contact the horse has had with whatever, for whatever reason or pathology.

Full disclosure and an end to secrecy is the only thing that will work. /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

Mar. 26, 2001, 09:27 AM
If anyone thinks that the Europeans don't use medications, for good or bad reasons, because of the FEI rules, are deluding themselves. Those people are no different than the competitors here; everyone wants to win and SOME will try to get around the rules. They also want to manage their horses the best way they can. And we have seen that the tests aren't as sophisticated as ours.

As Emmet posted awhile back, the FEI would probably love to take back their zero tolerance stance at this point.

DMK, cbv, excellent points made, and eloquently.


havaklu's second post has disappeared...

Mar. 26, 2001, 09:38 AM
because it was written in "rant" mode.

The basic message was FEI standards with FEI testing in some ways is more "lenient" than the currect AHSA rules with AHSA testing.

IOW - our testing is far superior and capable of detecting many substances that would not be picked up with FEI tests.

This whole "reserpine" issue is the case in point. An FEI approved "herbal" substance was used by many well intentioned , respected trainers in the United States and surprise the tests showed this substance might not be so "natural"...

Mar. 26, 2001, 02:02 PM
If the FEI has the standard and you say that there are drugs being used that don't get caught on their tests, how does it make sense to up the anti on the drugs we use instead of getting them to improve their tests?

And, are you complaining because our testing is too good? Isn't that encouraging cheating if you accept a higher tolerance level?

Or? Are you asking the Veterinarians to tell us how much to use that is not going to alter performance?


Mar. 26, 2001, 02:27 PM
just pointing out a poor assumption on the part of those who hold up the FEI "no tolerance" as the solution.

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 26, 2001, 04:25 PM
If those of you on the zero tolerance bandwagon think the FEI doesn't have an allowable level policy, you are mistaken.
As I previously posted, I have first hand experience with an FEI postitive. (.06 nanograms of Bute.) There was a "trace" of Naproxen found in the blood sample of the same horse. In fact, the horse had been treated by a veterinarian with Naproxen previously. However, the Naproxen was with held a FULL TWO WEEKS prior to the FEI event. The FEI recognized this mininscule amount was exactly that, a TRACE.
The point, which seems to be overlooked by some zealots, is within the current AHSA rules we have acceptable and allowable levels of permitted medications. But we must also determine what constitutes a "trace" level.
Do you know there are some therapies, one in particular for treating anemia, that must be with held for six weeks prior to a potential FEI drug test?
Zero tolerance IS NOT acceptable until EVERY show provides ABSOLUTELY PERFECT FOOTING in the show rings, the schooling areas and every where else the horses must travel. Until then, zero tolerance is not the solution at National, Regional or Local shows.

[This message was edited by Emmet on Mar. 26, 2001 at 06:36 PM.]

Mar. 26, 2001, 08:09 PM
OK. Given our current technology, we can detect drugs in blood and urine in concentrations similar to spit in a swimming pool.

However, there are thresholds for drug effects, and these nanogram amounts that can be detected are in many cases far below the threshold of pharmacological effects of the drug.

Simply because a trace amount is there does not mean anyone is trying to cheat.

That's where the idea of increasing the allowable levels comes in--not because anyone wants to *raise* the levels, but because we can now find them at levels far lowerr than was previously possible.

Mar. 26, 2001, 09:53 PM
But I can't imagine how one of my horses would get hold of even a touch of cocaine or reserpine.

Lots of of our school horses have been tested over the years. Don't you think that might just be an excuse?

I'm really sorry but I find it difficult to understand how the fact that there is a residual in the horse's system indicates good intentions, or at least not the attempt to cheat.

But then, I wouldn't compete at anything because I need motrin for my aches and pains. I'm afraid I think horses that need that much help probably feel like I do! I wouldn't want my kids to push me just because I might still be able to do the physical things I used to do.

Mar. 27, 2001, 06:41 AM
I agree, but have been afraid to view this thread in a week or so.

Redundancy and tunnel vision irritate me. Ooops, forgot hypocracy--I though of that while out doing some menial job (shoveling poopie).

See ya somewhere else!


[This message was edited by Silly Mommy on Mar. 27, 2001 at 09:47 AM.]

Mar. 27, 2001, 09:02 AM
Sorry I didn't spell it out--I'm not talking about trace amounts of things like cocaine.

But what if you had a horse which needed tranquilization for a minor medical procedure--say the vet wanted to scope the horse--two weeks before a show.

Horse gets tested, and nanogram amounts of a drug are found.

Does it make sense to nail the people involved with this to the wall?

Mar. 27, 2001, 09:35 AM
Wading in with flame suit on....

I do not agree with stacking NSAIDS. I do not agree with the argument that there are a reems of old packers out there who need high levels of 3 NSAIDS to be able to work. Any horse who needs that much medication on a regular basis is lame and needs rest and other care.

But I also do not agree with the idea that giving a sore horse a tab of bute is equivalent to some kind of abuse. Saying it's OK to give your horse some bute is not equivalent to saying "let's up the drug levels and stack NSAIDs so we can hide serious problems and make lame horses keep going regardless of their well being."

Yes, we should not work our horses so hard, lunge to death, jump every day, etc. Proper long term care and daily management are paramount. But if my horse works very hard on lateral work one day and comes out a bit ouchy in his or her back the next, I'm going to give him or her a gram or two of bute the same way I would take one or two ibuprofen the day after I've upped my weights at the gym.

And when my horses are older and they get sore more easily but still have a lot to offer and still want to work, I'm going to continue to give them the best basic management and care I can, and also give them something for the soreness so they can keep working and be comfortable about it.

The AHSA drugs and medications rules are not perfect. (I saw the rule making process in action this year and I'm surprised the D&M rules are in as good a shape as they are, with all the conflicting voices involved.) There are problems in balancing the need to make sure drugs are not being used to abuse horses with allowing appropriate medications to be used for proper therapeutic purposes. The people who make the D&M rules and the people who try to enforce them run into the same conundrums revealed in this thread.

For example, if you are competing in a No Foreign Substances Group, you're not supposed to give your horse any substance "other than a normal nutrient" that acts on the nervous system, the digestive system, the musculoskeletal system, the reproductive system, the endocrine system, etc.

How does that fit in with feeding joint supplements like Cosequin or Grand Flex? They act on the musculoskeletal system. Is it OK for a mare to be on Regumate or some natural hormone supplement? They act on the endocrine system and the reproductive system. What about feeding electrolyte supplements? They act on a whole bunch of different systems.

From what I've read here, the people who believe in zero tolerance would say it's OK to give a horse these kind of supplements. But can you see how fuzzy the line is between a dose of Cosequin to relieve arthritis symptoms for the long term and a dose of bute to do the same thing on a particular day?

Can we agree there are no easy answers?

Mar. 27, 2001, 12:08 PM
I think so. It's a shame that the determined few who have to win at all costs "dictate" (through the forced establishment of rules) how the honest manage their horses.

Mar. 27, 2001, 12:10 PM
GREAT post Portia! It's kinda like gun control...(about to wade into some seriously deep PC waters here..) do the guns kill the people or do the people kill the people?? More drug rules probably won't stop those bent on cheating from cheating. There are no easy answers..If there were, we wouldn't be tossing this back and forth so much...

Mar. 27, 2001, 05:49 PM
Wow a lot of statements. "Only one positive in 30 years" "I guess my customers can't afford grooms with cocaine in their towels etc" I can"t imagine how my horses could get cocaine or reserpine?"All politically correct statements.PPoor me and my littlle cllean living horse show clients-Want to tell the folks who was the ONE POSITIVE tested exhibitor? This subject is VERY emotional among many individuals. There is no simple or even complicated answer.Too many egos,but zero is not the answer.

Mar. 27, 2001, 08:46 PM
I didn't say that horses at home can't be on a maintenance program. I fully believe in that, I believe in giving the horse every comfort that we can provide. I take my vitamins and supplements.

But, I don't believe that even though I might win a marathon I should do so because my leg pains have been numbed, my breathing as been amplified or I should be on a regiem of NSAIDS, anphedomines and whatever else that make me not remember that I can't do the job any more.

The purpose of a horse show is to measure the performance of a sound horse. How do we do that?

Mar. 28, 2001, 06:00 AM
WAY too dramatic Snowbird..an ache is not a broken leg. A bute isn't going to cover a real issue. Neither will a nutracuetical (sp?)..there is a HUGE difference between your horse testing positive for a nanogram of bute and banamine and you horse testing positive for a nanogram of COCAINE!!!!! By prematurely ending the careers of the "been there, done that" horses we are not only depriving the next generation of a GREAT learning tool, but we are denying our horses their job..what they have done their whole lives and what they LIKE to do...An oldster that STILL wants to play probably really liked (s) his job or he would have given up a LONG time before that! They "tell you" when they are past their prime...if you listen.

Mar. 28, 2001, 06:25 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> They "tell you" when they are past their prime...if you listen. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

i think this lies at the root of the problem.

Some trainers/owners/riders DO listen to the horse and act accordingly.

But others don't listen.

And some listen, but don't act accordigly because of financial, competitive, ego perogatives.

And that is something that NO RULE can address.

Mar. 28, 2001, 06:28 AM
Touche janet...that is the root of the drug rule problems!

Mar. 28, 2001, 06:35 AM
You are soooo right!!! People asked me why Mandarin was still showing at the ripe ol' age of 26, and I said, "watch him, he's smiling!". Last spring after he blew out a suspensary, he declined rapidly. I truly believe that if he was able to still be ridden, and go to an occaisional show, he'd still be with me.

He, however didn't show on anything but a little MSM. After a show with hard ground, he got 2bute in his dinner, and one the next day in his breakfast. He deserved it.

Mar. 28, 2001, 06:41 AM
My horse (18) throws a FIT when I leave with the trailer without her..she digs and beats her head up and down and rolls and literally throws herself if she isn't going to the "party" with me..she loves to go..how else do you interpret that???

Mar. 28, 2001, 06:46 AM
cbv, you succintly hit the nail on the head! Exactly right!

Mar. 28, 2001, 07:07 AM
If a horse is "past his prime," and is just being used as a "great learning tool," then why does he have to do rated shows? Can't he do unrated shows where you can give him what he needs to be comfy and then go unjudged?

Mar. 28, 2001, 07:16 AM
Because most unrated shows are of questionalble quality. The rated ones protect the interests of not only the horse but the exhibitor too. It is a more quality controlled situation. I don't want my old campainers jumping skanky jumps with bad distances and awful footing being judged by someone with possibly NO credentials at all except they once owned a horse or rode or something...why is it a sin to want to contine to provide the best environment and best the industry has to offer your older horse? I won't do the "local" shows because there are no ways to protect myself and my horses from bad situations and unqualified management. That's why.

Mar. 28, 2001, 09:02 AM
and, as usual, Emmet, the voice of reason and reality who has been in the trenches with the best and is still there today. She goes to the shows today, she has to deal with FEi and AHSA rules today, and she is one of the best managers of competition horses in the business.

Snowbird, I see absolutely no harm in discerning levels of ANY substance that affects, or has the potential to affect, performance, and the minute levels that are just "there" and couldn't possibly affect anything. The reasons for a "trace" amount of a substance showing up are probably as numerous as the stars in the sky, but if it doesn't alter a horse's performance, who cares what the reason is? And if these minute quantities are all there is, should someone be crucified for it? I do not believe so.


Mar. 29, 2001, 04:55 AM
Would you like to tell us who the positive was? I also see "it's ok for Snowbird to give lesson horses who are not 100% medication so the little kids can ride and you can charge for lessons,but the A show people have to go with zero tolerance/no excuses program----Sounds a little self serving to me...............

Mar. 29, 2001, 09:57 AM
Is there a difference between reading a book and running track?

Yes! the old teachers do have a lot to offer for lessons. Yes! Lesson horses may have medical problems and need to be kept comfortable. Yes! when they get to us their show career is over.

No! I won't say who it was, and if you really care you can search it out in Horse Show.

There's a difference between using these horses for lessons and competing for the status of "Best Horse of the Year". Now, if you want to compete for the "Best Teacher Horse of the Year". Then I'm on your side.

To be realistic a teaching barn has at most 3 hours a day to teach except weekends. On the weekend the horse would earn us much more income from going to a show than for a lesson. Shipping, coaching, lease fee for the day!

So it's not self-serving at all, but using these old horses where they serve the best purpose. Teaching, and confidence building, and where they can have any day off if they're feeling ouchy, and green pastures to play in when they're not working.

Does that sound like a horse show?

Mar. 29, 2001, 10:03 AM
there is another interesting thread that has just popped up that raises some issues about the decision as it relates to last year's winners of the Invitional.

Mar. 29, 2001, 10:13 AM
It must be me, but all the local shows I have been to are held at nice venues, the distances are set correct and the jumps are the same as the ones at rated shows, but with fewer flowers. The footing is fine, and no one gets mad if a novice horse/rider takes a while to get around a course. It's the perfect place for an older horse helping a novice learn to show!!!

And there is a big difference in SHOWING a horse on meds to keep him comfy and using him for lessons. When you enter your horse in a show, you are declaring him to be suitable for the division, and the judge picks the best. The judge have no way of knowing that horse 1 is only jogging sound because he is on medications A and B, and horse number 2 is only under control becuase he is on medication C. They can only judge what they see.

At least a lesson horse is being honestly presented.

Mar. 29, 2001, 10:26 AM
another thread has just popped up raising some interesting questions as far as the Invitaional results from last year are concerned...seems like ramifications of the halfhearted "not guilty/not innocent" verdict gets a little messier when examined more closely....

Mar. 29, 2001, 11:15 AM
there are a lot of questions, but no answers. One post, in particular, is trying to stir up trouble without any facts.

I have e-mailed someone who will know how the return of the money was done, to whom and if the second place horse was declared the winner, etc. When I get the answer, I'll post it on that thread.


Mar. 29, 2001, 11:27 AM
I may be wrong but I would think that a medicated lesson horse would be a HUGE liability. You KNOW the horse has a "problem" and you put a kid on it anyway..horse stumbles, kid flops...enough said. And there is a big difference in my mind in using a horse for 2 rounds / day at a horse show and working it 2/3 HOURS a day with an unbalanced rank learning rider on it. If I were the horse, I would want to be the show horse..lesson horses have an awful life (compared to the show horse)

Mar. 29, 2001, 12:24 PM
Yes, I wouldn't put anyone on a horse that is medicated. I have never had to be a nervouse wreck worrying when my school horses that compete have been tested by the AHSA for that reason.

I agree totally that although aspiren is harmless it does dull my brain and reflexes. I would guess it does the same to the horse and I wouldn't want my child jumping fences with a horse that wasn't bright enough to know if they got into trouble.

But, we can have them on a maintence schedule, and yes we do have to have a lot of horses because they're all not functional all the time. Yes! it increases the cost of operation and I'd probably make a lot more money with half the horses going on meds.

I don't know that it increases liability however, since it isn't an issue of negligence. I like you just wouldn't want it on my conscience if somebody's pride and joy was injured because I made the decision to use meds to keep the horses going 7 days a week instead of 3. But, that's personal issue each has to make.

I do however, feel very strongly that a horse which jogs sound because it is medicated and wins over one that is clean is unfair competition at a horse show where the criteria is soundness and performance. Otherwise, why not just leave soundness out?

I remember a conversation I had with a judge, who told me about a show where he was dubious about the blue ribbon winner and in those days the Vet decided. Well, while they waited for the vet, both his 1st and 2nd place horses were three legged.

When one of my daughters who then was a teen-ager was asked to show a horse for another trainer, she was thrilled. Later, I was shocked that he would ask her to ride his horse and teach her how to give a vein shot, because the horse required bute immediately before it competed. Needless, to say when I found out "thrilled" did not describe my attitude.

At least that was jumpers where soundness is not a criteria.

I think your analogy fails because you forgot that at least another 3 classes get used up in the schooling area before each class. They even school for the schooling! And there is no reason to use the same horse for 4-5 lessons in a row. We also rotate our horses between the beginner types and the experienced so they do have lots of pleasurable experience. And, they're not standing in a trailer either getting stiff from the cold or sweating from being in the trailer.

So let's not compare which horses are more abused. If we do get to come back, I hope I come back as a school horse in some very nice kind barn where I can teach new riders.

[This message was edited by Snowbird on Mar. 29, 2001 at 02:32 PM.]

Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 29, 2001, 02:45 PM
Any trainer who gives Bute "immediately" before a horse competes doesn't know much about how it works. Banamine would be a different story, that's why it works so well for colic. Wonder if it was something else that DID have an immediate effect?

Mar. 29, 2001, 03:04 PM
I'm not condoning drugging lame horses to make them sound so you can make money off them giving lessons to unsuspecting riders. I'm talking about the level of bute necessary to make an older, slightly arthritic horse "comfy" (you know, the same amount that makes it fair for the horse to show!).

School horses are necessary - none of us started riding at the advanced level. They should be well taken care of for their kindness and patience. What about the ears of poor beginner music teachers?

Mar. 29, 2001, 07:44 PM

Mar. 29, 2001, 09:32 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> you forgot that at least another 3 classes get used up in the schooling area before each class. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not everyone schools like the above statement. I would go as far to say at the AA level anyone who is competitive does not jump anywhere near 20+ practice jumps.

I've gone in the ring many a time after two jumps that are 3" LOWER than the jumps in the ring.

I don't think I jump more than 6-8 jumps warming up for my classes.

It's known as leaving your best jumps in the schooling ring.

This thread has crossed into the land of absurdity.

Mar. 29, 2001, 09:50 PM
I can't vouch for the outside summer shows, but I can tell you for sure that just about every horse jumps in the schooling break and at least 5 times around the course in the indoor with me watching.

Try to limit it to one trip and you are abused as a show manager. If you really want to save the horses it's in the schooling ring. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Mar. 30, 2001, 05:16 AM
<<Not everyone schools like the above statement. I would go as far to say at the AA level anyone who is competitive does not jump anywhere near 20+ practice jumps.

I've gone in the ring many a time after two jumps that are 3" LOWER than the jumps in the ring.

I don't think I jump more than 6-8 jumps warming up for my classes.>>

havaklu--maybe you haven't remained in the schooling area long enough to notice the extensive schooling sessions that huge numbers of horses go through--oftentimes just schooling for the "warm-up" class that preceeds the actual classes in the division


Mar. 30, 2001, 05:28 AM
You are correct Vicki, and that does happen at least in NJ, I too have witnessed, how could you not when you judge and are waiting. I do not always have the WINNING customer every show. But, I am not a proponent of JTD (Jump til you drop). I don't always put the jumps up higher either. Remember though, our shows offer a schooling break 10 horse 10 minutes, 10 dollars.
Every one utilizes it. I work each line 2x in a course. I have greenies (horses and riders). I use 16 jumps, not 40. But, I also do not jump but 1x a week at home in a lesson. 2 if we do a small gymnastic 4-5 times. I also can say, when I was at WPB, I did not see JUMP JUMP JUMP going on.
It was refreshing.

Mar. 30, 2001, 07:48 AM
ok....maybe it just comes down to individual experience and world view. I believe, based largely on the great majority of folks I know that participate with horses...from part-timers to professionals...that they try to make educated, thoughtful decisions every day, and that these decisions are made with the best interest of their horses foremost.

Thus, based on that experience, and the thought that often goes into their posts, I also assume that Snowbird takes care with her schoolies and should be allowed to make reasonable day to day decisions about their health and maintenance. JUST (I would put that in bold if I knew how) as I assume that DMK, Silly Mommy, Jane, Emmet, Jumphigh, Portia and may others here can be trusted to do the same for their show horses, wherever and at whatever level they choose to participate. Thus, I believe that the rules should be formulated to allow them to continue to do just that.

Sometimes, we horse owners simply lack information and experience....In my experience, education is a better tool in isolating and exposing abusive practices than the most intolerant rules. (Please note that does not mean I condone, or want anyone to ignore, someone snorting a couple of lines of coke with their equine partner!)

[This message was edited by cbv on Mar. 30, 2001 at 10:01 AM.]

[This message was edited by cbv on Mar. 30, 2001 at 10:08 AM.]

Mar. 30, 2001, 08:36 AM

Mar. 30, 2001, 08:54 AM
and others...It takes a world of nerve for me to jump into the fray on these boards...as evidenced by all my editing!

Mar. 30, 2001, 09:10 AM
Yep! if that were true for everyone there would not be a problem. I was shocked at a convention when Dr.Langel gave his report regarding the "cocktails" being used several years ago.

Perhaps, there is justification for the minimums but then it will be determined by the speed with which a horse metabolizes that determines how much is left in the system. This is such a gray area that I'm not sure it can be determined how much of a drug is not altering a performance on every horse.

It seems to me that we are at a point where some sacrifice is going to have to be made in one direction or the other. /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Mar. 30, 2001, 11:00 AM
Sounds good,but facts are that the tougher the drug testing gets in the name of a "level playing field" the more it tips away from what is best for the horse.When you sacrifice,it is always at the expense of the horse. You say people school too much at your shows, well then as the show mgr; don't allow them to do it .No schooling or once around unless that cuts into the schooling fee-often for cash only-like tempralax in wellington-99. So we see the almighty$ running everything. I have trouble with your concept that the A and `AA hunters are being abused by rich people and greedy trainers and should not be medicated and yet under the guise that the old campaigners"like" to be school horses ,with people bouncing on their backs and balancing on their mouths. on a maintanence program for your lesson program is a best a self serving position. Old campaigners need to be retired and lesson givers need to buy younger sound horses for the boring chore of teaching people to ride.Donated horses who are used well past their prime and are
leased out for the weekend like some hack stable is greed at the highest level. Many AA owners and trainers retire horses.I don't see that in riding schools and camps,most of those horses are retired to france in a frozen package.

Mar. 30, 2001, 12:37 PM
Amen Upperco..we have a barn in this area that makes no bones about sending the well used (abused??), unsound, old schoolies to Unadilla..no matter how much money that horse made for that barn..It is SO SAD that a horse that spends its "golden years" as a slave in a lesson factory has to have insult added to injury by being sent to a killer auction! I would rather put a bullet in my horses head than let that happen to them....There is NO WAY to "level the playing field"...Lenin and Stalin tried it too and they were just as unsuccessful...Do what is BEST for the HORSE. Without medications I could lay in bed and vegetate...for want of a modicum of medication, I live a productive life..why can't my horses do the same???

Mar. 30, 2001, 04:04 PM
well there are two of us.The theme of what is best for the horse is one that all true horsewomen and horsemen live by.There is no other alternative that is realistic.

Mar. 30, 2001, 04:07 PM
three of us.

Mar. 30, 2001, 08:12 PM
Maybe you're talking about "hack strings". I don't know much about them. I really resent this defamation of the Riding School and the Riding School student.

Fortunately horses are not so prejudiced. If you lived with them you would know how much they love and care for the inexperienced rider. They will protect the new rider and rarely become resentful until someone who thinks they already know how to ride tries to boss them around.

Sadly, I hope you can comprehend the difference between a horse, which like a person might be medicated so that they can enjoy a life walking and trotting and delivering riders safely. And, one which is medicated so that it can compete against young strong horses for "soundness" and "performance" over multiple fences, standing for hours in a trailer getting stiffer.

I don't understand why you can not understand the difference, a horse show is not for the glorification or gratification of the rider...it is a "horse show" and not a "people" show. It judges the soundness and performance of the horse and the rider is technically irrelevant. The rider can be lame, the rider can be disabled, the rider can be totally incompetent because it is the horse that is being judged.

On the other hand, in equitation the horse is irrelevant, it is the rider being judged. Essentially here might be a place for the medicated lame horse in these classes.

I would agree that if there was a way to establish the lowest limit at which a horse is not affected by the medication, if that can be consistent with the rate that the horse has metabolized the chemical, and it in no way can affect performance or soundness perhaps the Veterinarian Committee could establish those limits.

But, please do not insult my intelligence by comparing an hour in the ring of a school with a whole day of stress at a horse show.

And, please do not fail to recognize the difference between comfort and competition.

If you really believe it is less stressful for a horse to go to a strange place feeling the presence of hundreds of strange animals not in his herd, having been moved in an enclosed "tin can" bumping along the highway where he cannot understand the reason for the bumps and feeling the danger. Then facing innumerable obstacles and challenges and unknown factors you have no compassion for the natural instincts of a horse and the mechanics by which he functions.

Surely, you have heard stablemates whinney to each other across a show grounds looking for comfort from a friend.

Mar. 30, 2001, 08:24 PM
Oh come on Snowbird..Going to a show is a terrorizing experience???What planet are you on? The first time or two on a trailer could be unnerving but they soon LEARN that it isn't a threat..the same can't be said of the flopping, heavey seated, plumber handed LESSON sitting on their backs. You are using circular reasoning to justify YOUR use of horses while dissing our use (ie showing) I would NEVER want to be a lesson horse no matter how you sugar coat it. Medications are good and justified and their abuse depends on the hands administering the same...In fact, the SAME thing can be said of lesson horses...they are only as "safe" and "comfortable" as the person managing them cares to make it for them..Either way, it isn't the gun that kills the person, it is the HAND that holds the gun (drug..lesson horse..) You CAN NOT legislate morality and it takes a MORAL conscience to be a good horseman...not everyone is in possession of the same.


Mar. 31, 2001, 08:18 AM
You can't paint the picture of a lesson horse in just one color. I know enough of them that are fat, happy and sound. They just aren't fancy enough to be show horses. I also know plenty of show horse that are fat, happy and sound. Some people are good to their horses, some are not. Some people choose to compete fairly, some do not.

Mar. 31, 2001, 08:38 AM
Flash...CORRECT!!! And some people that use medications are not trying to squeeze yet another round out of a hapless cripple..you have just proven my point. It isn't all balck and white..there are shades of grey and no amount of rules will stop people from abuse..that has to come from their heart and conscience, if they have one.


Ruby G. Weber
Mar. 31, 2001, 08:47 AM
First let me point out that not all show horses ship in "tin cans". At most of the shows I attend those tin cans you refer to are usually used to transport equipment.
Next, most of the show horses I am familiar with are quite accustomed to (or quickly become that way) the life of a show horse. They look pretty darn comfortable bedded up to their bellies in straw or shavings.
Most of the show horses I am familiar with are too valuable to turn out in a herd. No doubt that is what mother nature intended for them, but they DO adjust to individual turn out. And besides, what fool would turn horses with hind shoes out together?
Finally, horses, no matter what their job, schoolmaster to Grand Prix will always go better, in the end, for the better rider. The reason the schoolmaster is so valuable is simply it's measure of tolerance.
I realize you are in a different part of the horse world than I am, but please do not generalize as I go to great lengths for the care and comfort of the horses in my charge.

Mar. 31, 2001, 08:24 PM
Truce..like all things in life not every show horse is abused and not every school horse is abused. AND, not every horseman is compelled to win at all costs, nor is every show manager a vicious thief picking peoples pockets.

Extremist analogies work on both sides of any argument. So please accept my analogies in the same venue as those accusing us of making our school horses unhappy with beginners flapping on their backs and banging their mouths.

I think there is a valid case for which situation is closer to the basic needs of the horse versus those which are taught and accepted. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Apr. 1, 2001, 07:49 AM
Although I am not a regular on the AA circuit-occasionaly attending Vt.and Saratoga out of my area(Ma.),but I do enjoy watching the top hunter and jumpers perform.I also read all that I can about the best in our sport even though I am not one of them. I am not jealous of those with more money-almost everyone at the AA shows- than I have,butI make do,with a wonderful trainer and I have now a young horse-I retired my old one who is turned out with some other old campaigners-hay grain and trimming.I don't hate winners.I think that snowbird with over 4000 posts has some interesting posts,but now I am not so sure that I understand where she is comming from and where she has been.Speaking about how we should accept the AHSA hearing committee on the reserpine hearings-few agree-zero tolerance for the AA shows,AA show horses being driven around in tin cans and suffering stress.I don't see stress-except pony mothers and horses that are being chases around on a rope(because of the AHSA drug program) at the shows I attend.Ithink a hunter and jumper at the shows has a pretty darn good life-especially compared to the current"darling" of the AHSA-combined training. And yet her school horses who LOVE carrying around lower level riders bouncing on their backs and balancing on their mouths,should be able to be medicated-maybe that is why they LOVE to go around in a circle for hours and hours. The almighty $ drives many things and horse sports are no exception.Snowbird admits that she has seen horses jumping too much at the shows she manages,but does nothing about it-possibly as it occurs during paid(cash-like temperalax)schooling sessions.Medicating her shcool horses to let them continue to provide funds for her business and then leases them out on the weekends for shows is fine,then under the guise that they love being in a herd atmosphere she turns them out-Possibly saving $ on hay grain and bedding ,not to mention labor to muck out.I do not think she is abusing her horses,but I would not do it that way.Maybe Snowbird should try to contact Walt Disney about a film of her school horses standing by the fence talking to each other about the next bus load or beginners who they can't wait to carry around because they LOVE being a school horse-Wow how scary,because I think that she may possibly really BELIEVE this bizarre scenario. We should maybe take what she says about the top people with a grain of salt as apparently she has a problem with winners at the major events.Is this also possibly why she constantly complains about her zone personel and the fact that she is not on the elected zone committee? I think we all love,like appreciate horses in one form or another,but they do have a function and we need to care for them in a realistic manner including treating them when they need some help.Snowbird-no truce yet because you still haven't fessed up about the positive test at your A show

Apr. 1, 2001, 07:54 AM
upperco -- please keep your discussion on the actual problem you perceive. Do not focus on individuals. Snowbird is not required to "fess up" to anything on this forum. Remember the rules please -- "issues, not individuals."


Apr. 1, 2001, 10:59 AM
sorry didn't mean to