Interesting article....and just before the winter circuit. Wonder if this will change her show plans in Ocala?
I've been tested and horse was clean. The tester vet, and accompanying vet tech watched our class, and we got a good ribbon. He introduced himself as I was exiting the ring and accompanied us back to the barn. No drama and he was very nice.
Several people at my barn have been tested more than once. Always clean.
I always say hi to the vet when I see him at shows. He's very nice.
Thank you for sharing this article ~
I also think the random nature of the testing program is important to protect ALL the horses at the show. Otherwise, you could have trainers who know their less-than-stellar riders are unlikely to get ribbons, and they might feel free to use anything they wanted to on those poor horses, secure in the knowledge the non-winning horses will not be tested.
I have not read the whole thread, so this may be duplicative -- but this is the USEF's letter in response to the NY Times article.
It really upsets me that the USEF is making it out to sound like they will get right on this horrible drugging thing -- Like no one has brought it to their attention before now. They are boasting that a task force WILL be meeting in Feb. of 2013.
Nothing about their feeble and ineffective attempts to put a band aid on a huge, festering wound that is splitting the horse world into 2 camps: "druggies" and "not a druggie"
and one memorably moronic tester. If I had to estimate I personally probably had a horse tested twice a year. But to count the number of times something from the barn or in the aisle was tested in the 25 years or so I remember? Impossible. And I'd have to digress into stories about the tester who tried to test the wrong horse, the one that regaled us with her policy of testing the "fast" ones, and the one we could only assume had a crush on the trainer, given that she tested five in one week (to be fair, we had a lot of hack winners, and they always love to test them since they're usually done showing and they're the first out the cleared ingate and easy to nab). I guess it does depend though. You won't find many testers picking from divisions that don't jog, so if you weren't watching the ingate during the jog or hack or looking closely at the people heading for the barn with the horses you might not notice. I seriously can't imagine you went to that many shows where they weren't there.
I've had my horse personally tested twice, once after after winning a big Junior Jumper classic. Was never a problem for our barn as we properly trained our horses instead of using a needle.
I love how when the mention of drugging at the trials came up, they actually showed footage of Urico. Am I correct in remembering that he was the horse who tested positive for cocaine?
I had one randomly tested a few years ago. We had a mediocre day and he was a fairly plain horse - plain bay, not that fancy, and not hot or dull. Just very average and indiscriminate. He was SMART though and made the tester wait over two hours for him to pee...all for a negative drug test.
I am glad this article came out because it has finally shed some light on this situation.
1. I think that unless 100% of the horses at the shows are drug tested, we will never know how many are testing positive for something. I do think that we should be be testing more horses.
2. I do think that there should be rules that are actually enforced. Why on earth do we have rules if we never use them? It makes showing meaningless if you don't feel like you know your competing against fair people.
3. I think that it is very honorable that Ms. Williams would stick up for the Pony and the girl. A lot of people in the horse industry are AFRAID of reporting people because you never know what they might do to get revenge. I know for a fact in my area, if you reported someone for drugging or abuse your horse would be hurt or neglected. I have heard anything from giving your horse cocaine to basically hitting them with a baseball bat. I think a lot of us are forgetting how hard it is to penalize these people without them retaliating against us.
For example -- dex is used to calm horses -- everyone knows - so why not regulate dex. Its impractical to require that vets administer every shot but much less impractical to require that substances such as dex and magnesium and the like be administered only by vets
This whole mess makes me very grateful that I gave up showing a while ago - mostly because the time and money required to do it at the level I would want to are just not realistic for a young single professional without making a lot of other sacrifices, which I opted not to do. The USEF's handling of this situation, as well as their absolutely pathetic response, really make us all look like a bunch of morons, in my opinion. My first thought when I read that article was the questions I was going to get from my non-horsey friends - many of whom still remember the whole insurance scam mess. While I am glad that this problem is finally getting the attention it deserves, I'm embarrassed that it is as a result of media attention from outside our industry.
And in regards to vets being required to give IV injections at shows - I don't know what the right answer is, but I will say that being able to hit a vein does not mean you are properly skilled in administering IV injections, or that you would know how to handle an injection gone wrong. I used to give IV injections, I could in an emergency, and I've had many trainers that gave them without a second thought - but I choose not to give them anymore because I don't think I do it often enough to stay in practice, and because I am more comfortable trusting my vet with my beloved horse's veins. Incidentally, he is only getting polyglycan shots and the like - he is one of those that is too exuberant for the hunter ring without the drugs and excessive lunging I suspect his former owners gave him (he has the arthritis to show for it). I am known at my barn for bursting into giggles when he is having a particularly good day and puts his head down or throws in a little hop - I hate that so many kids on automaton ponies are being denied the same experience.
I think that we need to change this judging standard but how do you throw out the bad without the good? Some of these people have agendas and its very hard to pick them all out. Its just like saying, "Someone shouldn't be penalized in the hunters for not using a standing martingale." Some judges believe that it is a traditional piece of tack so they score you lower. Well, its not fair because you shouldn't have to use one but the judges can do whatever they want. Maybe a judge should be required to have a score sheet like in dressage and describe at every jump what is going on and why they got that score? I do think that would help.
You can penalize to the hilt, but the larger issue no one has brought up, is the appalling lack of horsemanship skills by the so called trainers themselves. Hardly any of these horses are started with any real knowledge and horse handling skills. They have no idea how to really get a horse well adjusted and controllable. Most don't even really know how a horse thinks. How can we expect them to teach young people good horse handling skills, when the trainers themselves have none. Take away the drugs, and these people are lost, and haven't a clue. The entire environment,living conditions, and the hot house potted plant method of housing and stabling contributes to the problem also. I see it in the Dressage world as well. It is an artificial world created by artificial trainers. Unfortunately, the horses are very real. In my opinion.