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.
The amount of times I have heard the excuse for using certain tack, drugs, and abusive training methods is, "Because it is easier." I am so sick of people just doing unethical things because it is easier. We see it in every horse world. Dressage, Eventing, Reining, and Driving. No we do not need god awful bits that are wire, we don't need standing martingales just to put a horses head down instead of training them, we don't need to lunge them for hours to make them exhausted, we don't need to make them zombies. Its just wrong. It's almost like we keep getting dumbed down. I went to a dressage show this last summer and so many people lunged there horse for 1 1/2 hours with side reins at 7am. Then rode at 8am for 1 hour. Then lunged at noon again for 1 1/2 hours and then rode again at 3pm. Its just insane and wrong.
Not to change the subject -- but wouldn't it be wonderful for riders AND trainers to get valuable feedback and learning. Having been a scribe for a dressage judge - its not that hard and the riders and trainers truly appreciate the value of the comments.
Yes, it would be! For how much people pay to go to shows, it would be well worth it to get a score sheet. Then you would know why you didn't do well or why you did and then work on things you need to do. Plain and simple. Then you have something to work towards. No confusion or wondering about it.
All good ideas -- BUT - and I raised this before - what difference does testing make if the substances that are being used by many are not testable OR are allowed for purposes other than calming. We ARE TRULY KIDDING ourselves if e think that testing is the SOLE solution as opposed to changing judging, incentives etc. And -- I am not sure why no one commenting here has addressed this issue.
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
Exactly! The dead pony was "tested" (post mortem). Nothing illegal there!
Since magnesium is a naturally occurring nutrient, it would be hard to quantify, after the fact, that it was a cause of death...hey, your heart works on electricity (electrolytes) and when you "short it out" (with a mega dose of mag) they drop like a rock. Who is kidding whom here?
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
Well, yeah, but let's take an informal poll here: hands up, how many of you have ever actually SEEN a USEF drug tester alive and in person, let alone had a horse tested? How many have had a horse tested more than once?
I have only ever SEEN a USEF drug tester ONE time at ONE show. I'm 54, been riding/showing since age 6. (And remember, I'm multi-disciplinary, so I "get around" a LOT: breed shows, carriage driving shows, etc. as well as H/J.) So if you do the math, that's pretty close to 50 YEARS of USEF shows at which I never saw a tester and could, if so inclined, have cranked whatever I wanted into horsie.
With the multi-day shows, if the USEF testers are on the show grounds on Day 1 you can bet the word gets out within a couple of hours, and those testers are going to be VERY hard pressed to find a positive for the remaining 10 days of the show.
I'm in agreement that the fines and suspensions should HURT (and that the entry blank loophole needs to somehow get closed, stat). I also wonder about making the *shows* pay to have USEF drug testers on the grounds at all times. If USEF passed that AND simultaneously passed a rule that required all USEF show managers to freeze their fees (ALL fees not just drug testing) for a period of x years, and just made the presence of USEF drug testers part of the show manager's cost of doing business I wonder if that would help?
Ok, I have been showing for the last seven years and have been drug tested twice, and I have seen the drug testers at many, many shows, they are kinda obvious. They are dressed in casual clothes and are carrying a over the shoulder black bag and clip boards and are two people together. They are usually walking back and forth from the ring to the barns.
As I mentioned in my post on page 2 of this thread, it appears that, because of lack of protocol, neither the USEF nor the Devon Horse Show sought to recover the syringe (or its contents) . Even without accusations of Magnesium (which is known by most to be a pervasive issue), the picture that the "pony mom" took with her cell phone of the meds list (reported in The NYT story) is harrowing and appalling. The poor pony was a pin cushion! It is certainly possible that the person who administered/supervised the fatal injection to poor Humble nicked an artery--amazing that she hasn't done this more often given the over-the-top meds and her direct administration/supervision of them. In any scenario, the pony, or the hunter, or the eq horse, or the rider, is the victim. Is this a business? Most definitely. A sport? Not so much. Therein lies the rub!
I am all for making change, but we need to be realistic with regard to our national level shows. One of the reasons our drug rules are different from other countries is that we have acknowledged the benefits of certain drugs. Many of those other drugs are banned in other countries.
As someone who primarily competes in lower level eventing at this point in time, I can honestly say that I am fairly ignorant to the specifics of the drug rules, because I have no real reason to learn them inside and out ... My horses show on hay, grain, and water. I also don't know specifically which drugs are and aren't allowed in other countries.
However, I have to wonder ... Are the "benefits" of our more liberal drug policies a temporary improvement in performance, or an increase in long term health and soundness of the horse? Do horses in the USA have longer competitive careers becauses of better living through chemistry?
With a few exceptions, it seems to me that the majority of drugs given to competition horses are intended to (and may be be effective to) enhance the horses performance at the present time ... Many have long term detrimental effects on soundness, NOT benefits. I believe that any horse competing, especially at the upper levels of its discipline, should be able to do its job without drugs.
How do you know? Did the vet release the full report directly to you?
Of course not. I'll look for the quote (I believe from USEF,or perhaps the vet) when I have a lot of time to go through the previous threads, though some were poofed due to ongoing lawsuit. Really, not something I would pull out of my backside..
ETA Not USEF. There was a report noting the veteranary opinion at the necropsy that the pony died from complications of a lung disorder that may have been worsened by the "joint" medication. Perhaps I understood that to be the full report when it may have been the "partial" report allowed to be given to USEF.
I am surprised that any vet would want any part of releasing "partial" information, however, perhaps that was up to Ms. Mandarino.
Re: IV injections from vets only: HELL NO. Imagine the strain that would put on vets time-wise. What about the sick/colicky horse who needs an IV shot 10 minutes ago and now has to wait for the vet rather than be administered said shot from a fully capable trainer?
But then cant you go back to the argument that horses should not be drugged within 12 hours of showing? If my horse is showing signs of colic to the point that I feel he cannot wait for a vet to do and IV injection, then I sure as heck not going to show him the next day. Yeah, I will give him what he needs, but then, as a responsible owner, I would scratch from any upcoming classes for probably the next 2-3 days.
So a rule could be made that any injection within a 12 hour period of showing needs to be administered by a vet, which is "easily" verified by drug testing. That would prevent mega-dosing the day of, but not restrict owners about giving potentially life saving IVs.
Generally speaking, the client who pays for vet work is the person who gets the full report. The vet does not release it to anyone else without the client's permission.
Yes... But as a condition to being allowed to show, USEF could require that owners and trainers agree to provide permission in the case of drug testing or USEF inquiries. In other words, if you want to show, these are the conditions.... Not at all difficult to draft...