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Trainer drugged my horse... WWYD? Updated

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  • #61
    Lots of good points here, and, like nearly everyone else, I would not be pleased about my horse being drugged without my explicit consent, and certainly not to trailer to a horse show.

    But: I also think some clear communication might help here too. Instead of "I don't think he'll need it," you may want to say, "I do not want him to get any ace for this purpose. I appreciate you asking me, since I would never want my horse to be medicated without my permission."

    It would be great if you were working with someone whose default assumption is always that the owner's preference rules. But I disagree with some posters that the fact this trainer interpreted your ambivalence as permission means she rampantly drugs horses and lies about it. Maybe if she really understands your wishes, this will never happen again.


    • #62
      I think that a few different things are being conflated in this discussion. "I don't want to show a horse that would drug test, even if it's a local show" is different than "I disagree philosophically with training/handling via Ace" is different than "the trainer might have lied to me" is different than "a trainer should never give a med without explicit permission from vet and owner". All are valid - you are the owner and you get to decide what you want. You might not fit in with a particular trainer or program. In that case, best to understand that and move on if necessary.

      I'd say that the responses on this thread reflect a fairly independent-minded cohort (per usual COTH). Unless things have changed drastically since I was last involved in such things, there is a sizeable contingent of full-care customers out there who pay good money to professionals that they trust so that they *don't* have to okay training/handling/care decisions, and that includes meds. That doesn't work for everyone (clearly). But it's different than lying or drugging for shows, etc.

      Personally, I would be angry about the disregard for drugs before showing, even locally; I would be seriously concerned about the possible lying by omission by my trainer because who wants to deal with that nonsense; and I would be leaving a program that aces horses for everyday stuff. All of the above would be dealbreakers for me, and I know of several successful trainers that do those things regularly. Those are the trainers that give the business a bad name. But I agree with all of the responses so far that say that you need to speak with the trainer frankly and try to get the real story, and the real reasons, so that you can evaluate what you want to do based on reality, not hearsay.


      • #63
        Originally posted by gottagrey View Post

        First how does the "resume" client know what was given to the horse - were they up front and center? Was there a giant syringe that said ACE on it? Was it injected or given orally? you can administer ACE either way. Many assume trainer gave IV vs IM. Some say trainer should never give meds - might change your mind if you have a bit of a colicky horse or a bad choke. Maybe trainer gave a tube of ulcerguard or something since trainer says horse is a worrier.
        Pretty much every scenario you've just descried there is something that would likely fall under the veterinary practice act of most states, i.e., "diagnosis and treatment of animal disease".

        Route of administration is secondary to administration, *period*.

        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


        • #64
          It's pretty easy to identify injectable Ace in a's a distinctive color. Also highly unlikely to be confused with Ulcergard IMO.


          • #65
            Just another 2cents from the veterinary world - Ace is strictly a sedative. It has no anti-anxiety effects. Animal is still worried, just too groggy to do anything about it. There are better meds to use if anxiety is the issue.


            • #66
              I’m totally hypothesizing here...but my guess would be that this is a local trainer taking trailer full of horses/customers who don’t show often, and who likely skew towards novice/intermediate skill levels with some show nerves. Giving all the ponies a little taste means less likely he/she will need to deal with horses and customers unraveling at the show. They probably think they are being responsible and sensible...or maybe they just don’t want to work too hard. If you feel strongly about no ace, you may need to find another program. I fear this trainer prefers the short cut method.


              • #67
                I completely support better living through chemistry, but I’d be hot mad about this. Ace has a rare, but known, side effect of penile paralysis (it gets stuck dropped and eventually swells). What if your horse happened to have this reaction and had to have his weenie amputated!?! Think the trainer would have come clean then? The trainer lying (by omission) is my big problem.

                Any medication can have side effects and we weigh this risk against the benefit. I don’t care to have someone else make that decision for me and I DAMN sure won’t be lied to. What else is she not telling you? I wouldn’t leave in a huff or anything, but I would definitely be looking at my options for a new barn. And I sure as heck would never buy a horse from this lady. She’s shady.


                • #68
                  Yeah, the OP needs to confirm with the trainer, and at the end of the day, most threads about stuff like this simply need to result in an adult conversation between parties involved.

                  But honestly? When the trainer already asked about giving ace and you have an independent party (who likely has no idea that conversation happened) saying she gave ace...she probably gave the horse ace.

                  Ace is a bright yellow liquid given in a hypodermic syringe & needle (even when given orally, the needle is pulled off and it's given from the syringe used to draw the dose with).

                  Gastroguard is an oral syringe that looks very much like a wormer or electrolyte literally looks nothing like Ace, and it's only given orally.

                  Perhaps a total newbie could confuse the two, but the the prior conversation about Ace makes that highly unlikely...

                  AND, even if it was gastroguard or electrolytes, I'd still want to know. If for no other reason I'd like to be prepared for the charge on the bill.
                  Jennifer Baas
                  It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


                  • #69
                    No one gives my horses medication without my knowledge unless it is an emergency situation and they have tried to contact me without success. Period. This is something I’m pretty black and white about for several reasons. I want to know what has been given to my horse and when. What if you decided to take your horse to a rated show the next week? The Ace would still be in his system and he would test positive. I think you have the right to be quite angry. Injecting an animal that isn’t yours without explicit consent from the owner is unacceptable.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by gottagrey View Post

                      First off. I don't, never have needed to drug my horse except when medically indicated. But some of you on here are jumping to conclusions. First how does the "resume" client know what was given to the horse - were they up front and center? Was there a giant syringe that said ACE on it? Was it injected or given orally? you can administer ACE either way. Many assume trainer gave IV vs IM. Some say trainer should never give meds - might change your mind if you have a bit of a colicky horse or a bad choke. Maybe trainer gave a tube of ulcerguard or something since trainer says horse is a worrier. Why does the trainer think the horse is a worrier? Others assume horse was giving ace to load.

                      The best thing is for the OP to just have the conversation with trainer - let trainer know you were told your horse got ace, and you thought you were clear that by saying he didn't need it, means no. Next time make sure your schedule allows for you to be present at the barn to help wrap and load horse - that way you can see what's going on and pretty much take care of everything yourself.
                      The client was the one holding the horse as he was given the Ace. She remarked that he was good and “stood like a soldier” for the shot (they gave it to him IM). So yes I supposed you could say she was “front and center”.


                      • #71
                        If you think someone in a position of trust lied to you then it's already over and you need to find another person. Period.
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by appendix100 View Post
                          Just another 2cents from the veterinary world - Ace is strictly a sedative. It has no anti-anxiety effects. Animal is still worried, just too groggy to do anything about it. There are better meds to use if anxiety is the issue.
                          I'm going to second this. I only use ace in combination with other medications prior to procedures. It has no place in behavioural pharmacology, because it has no anxiolytic effect, interferes with learning, and can increase noise sensitivity and startle reflex.

                          It can also tank blood pressure, do the penis thing, jack up coordination and motor activity...I wouldn't want to ride with ace on board.


                          • #73
                            masiek Have you talked to the trainer about this yet?


                            • #74
                              So many red flags here.

                              Many years ago I had a gelding that couldn't fully retract his penis after being given Ace. Eventually we ended up performing a partial amputation. It's a well known side effect, and because of this I have never given my current two geldings Ace. That aside giving any horse a drug is not something that should be taken lightly, though I know drugs are handed out like candy in some barns. The broom thing would also bother me, but long term I suppose that's less harmful than potential side effects of Ace.


                              • #75
                                Totally agree with cattywampus about the pharmacology of Ace
                                -- * > hoopoe
                                Procrastinate NOW
                                Introverted Since 1957


                                • #76
                                  Originally posted by Arlomine View Post
                                  Welcome to the hunter world.
                                  what a BS answer.
                                  eta, i know there are a LOT of bad apple trainers out there. around here, the worst are the "trainers" that show the B, NIHJA, and other small unrecognized circuits. Bit there are a lot of us who don't resort to drugs all the time, and the assumption that all hunter trainers use drugs is like assuming all Democrats are far left or all Republicans are Trump supporters. Most of us are good, hard working knowledgeable horsemen and women who care very much for our horses, our businesses and our reputations. Are there bad apples showing the big league? Duh, yah, but they are there in the Quarter Horse world, the Arab, Saddlebred, Eventing, Dressage etc etc etc.

                                  You are right to mad, but ask what happened, and don't just assume that the person who told you this is not just trying to start s**t. After 20+ years of barn management, I can tell you first hand that some people like to stir the pot. And if the trainer did sedate your horse without your permission, confront him/her. Move if you need to , but do your due diligence when you start looking for a new barn. I have some crazy stories from people who came from little league barns, crap that should have sent the "trainer" jail

                                  Sorry about the vent, but this assumption that all hunter trainers drug horses is BS


                                  • #77
                                    Okay. Well then you need to say to trainer - hey I'm sorry I thought I told you Dobbin didn't need anything (Ace or whatever) so I was surprised to hear you injected him with something (in a tone that's questioning rather than accusatory). Ask what their reasoning was since you had previously discussed it. I don't think it's deal breaker to give an unruly horse something if they're creating a ruckus in the stall at an away show. My barn prefers to use a water-filled squirt bottle in those situations, however.

                                    I don't think either situation is necessarily a deal-breaker. The best thing is to have a frank discussion with trainer about it and their practice of using Ace or whatever meds and then decide if it's something you can live with or feel like you need to move on. I was at a barn for awhile where a couple horses and clients "needed" (read: wanted) Ace when they rode. Their use of it didn't affect me or my horse or the other 20 horses in the barn. and owner/trainer told one of them once she started showing she had to ride without ace and the other horse was asked to leave. So that was the end of that.
                                    Edited to add - good post kirbydog..


                                    • #78
                                      How is injecting a horse with Ace just for a trailer ride to a show after the owner said he wouldn’t need it and then NOT telling the owner not a deal breaker.

                                      I get sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do, but if I was never told by the trainer about it I’d leave.

                                      Also, doing what ya gotta do doesn’t remotely come close to getting a horse to a horse show. Also, OP said he shouldn’t need it and the trainer injected regardless. Ace doesn’t work if the adrenaline is already going. That tells me the trainer completely disregarded the OP and injected her horse before anything happened that would warrant such a drug.

                                      And sorry, just because it’s a schooling show that doesn’t drug test, doesn’t make it okay to drug.


                                      • #79
                                        I'm a little bit of a stickler for details. And I might be totally off base on this one, but based on OP's original post, her response does seem like it is subject to some interpretation. Saying a horse "shouldn't need" Ace and saying "Don't give the horse Ace without calling me first" are two different things in the minds of "some" people.

                                        As an employer, I have found that saying things like, "we shouldn't have to", or "please do things this way" is often interpreted as "suggestions" rather that absolute directions.

                                        Many of us who grew up in a different era were taught to say "please don't do this or that" or "I would prefer this or that". We were taught to say "please" and "I would prefer" because we didn't want to come off as being insensitive, domineering or b#tchy. But these "kinder" words/instructions don't seem to carry the same meaning they once did.

                                        If an owner says "Horsey shouldn't need a shot", some people won't interpret that to mean "Don't give horsey a shot".

                                        I realize it is semantics. But it might be best for OP to lay all her cards on the table with the trainer. OP should tell her trainer what her stance is on drugging in no uncertain terms and go from there. And have a plan B in case trainer ignores very clear instructions next time.
                                        Last edited by OneTwoMany; Nov. 13, 2019, 09:20 PM.


                                        • #80
                                          OP have you had a direct conversation yet with the trainer?