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.
Thanks Weatherford, Snowbird, and Portia for the clarification of the procedural aspects of the Hearing Committee.
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.]
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
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.
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.
\"in the wind, and rain, looking for the sun..................\"
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 [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
\"in the wind, and rain, looking for the sun..................\"
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
but I'll spare you [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img].
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 [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img].
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.