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Thank you COTH for...drugging horses article & helping keep exposed - ugly, dark side

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  • Thank you COTH for...drugging horses article & helping keep exposed - ugly, dark side

    publishing the article "Intravenous Injection Of Magnesium Sulfate Isn't Just Illegal - It's Dangerous" in the July 4th issue.

    For far too long practices like this have been allowed to continue. Unfortunately, the "fish (USEF) stinks from the head down" as the saying goes. Penalties enforced by the USEF are woefully inadequate and amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist. This attitude by our governing body is both mystifying and negligent.

    The more all of us do to expose the "dark side(s)" of our sport and educate owners, riders, parents, etc. the better off we will all be. Especially the horses.
    Last edited by pds; Jul. 12, 2011, 09:37 AM.

  • #2
    Nice of COTH to publish the article, but probably won't make a difference to some people.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      That is certainly true. Some are going to cheat no matter what.

      Publishing artilces like this helps to bring the topic to the surface, especially to those new or unsuspecting participants.

      We have to talk about these issues regardless and USEF must get serious with MUCH stronger penalties for offenders.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great article, important issue and very well handled in the piece. Thanks COTH!

        Comment


        • #5
          Glad they printed the article. The problem is that there is no test for injectible Mag

          Comment


          • #6
            Average Joe COTH readers aside, I think the USEF and its Powers That Be need to see a publication like COTH speak out.

            As I see it, an industry can quietly, "in house" clean itself up..... or wait until the wider public does. The first way is easier and more pleasant. To me, a COTH article represents a building problem. Had the USEF handled all this better, COTH would have nothing to write about. If the USEF blows off COTH, there's always PETA.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

            Comment


            • #7
              Flame suit on and zipped.....

              I think Molly Sorge did NOT do a very good piece of journalism in this article. Ironically she made mention of a "memo" Juan Gamboa sent to his clients about magnesium IV use but failed to say "when" that memo was sent. I do not believe the memo was sent for the right reasons.

              Had Ms. Sorge bothered to look at the website of Juan Gamboa she would see that he contributes to the problem of horses getting calming medications. He is the sole owner and manufacturer of the product called Easy Hunter. You can buy from him for $100.00 for 100ml. He even notes that it is for calming and says "legal to use under FEI and USEF."

              WHAT THE HELL....DIDN'T HE JUST SAY IN HIS MEMO TO HIS CLIENTS THAT ANY MEDICATION USED TO QUIET A HORSE VIOLATES THE SPIRIT AND INTENT OF USEF RULES? Isn't that now in the July 4, 2011 article of the Chronicle for everyone to see.

              So he is providing statements directly contrary to his business practices. If you look at his site, he will sell you magnesium IV (that by the way he doesn't like to administer per the COTH article) for $16.00 for 100ml. He was making a mint from selling Easy Hunter and when magnesium hit the streets that business when to the gutter.

              I didn't fall off a truck yesterday. When a trainer trying a horse for purchase said "ah don't worry, we use Easy Hunter to quiet the horses" I questioned what it was. He said, "come on, every one uses it." He said Gamboa sells it to everyone. I never heard of Gamboa nor that medication.

              When I questioned Gamboa's office about what was in Easy Hunter, he personally called me and said it was proprietary and he could not say what was in it. So I asked what if my horse is allergic to tryptophan and he said well yes there is tryptophan in it and other stuff I won't say. So I called USEF and asked what they knew about the product and they said "never heard of it". I asked them to check with Gamboa and they refused to look into "his" product. (I think there is an old thread on COTH about the product)

              So, in addition, he sells calming paste with tryptophan, magnesium and easy hunter in it and advertises you can follow it up with an injection of tryptophan.

              Seriously, Ms. Sorge missed the boat on the journalistic opportunity to point out how vets are contributing to the problem by selling it to their customers. Why didn't she look closer at Gamboa before touting him in a national magazine?

              I am sure if the vet association wanted to do independant research they would find that in the last 3-5 years, the purchase by vets and sale to customers of magnesium injectable is OFF the charts.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Well that certainly puts the article in a different light.

                When I read it I was happy to see that COTH was taking on an industry issue (drugging) that needs to be addressed.
                It appears now that COTH certainly should have "vetted" (no pun intended) the editorial content to a much higher level.
                Since I think this is new editorial direction for COTH I will give them some slack but certainly will expect better in the future.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is my understanding USEF will not specify whether a certain product is legal or not, but they will ask you for the ingredient list. If you cannot obtain the ingredient list (which many vendors or a variety of products), they will tell you it would be under your best interests to not show the horse while using the product and to check with your vet to make sure adequate time has been given for the product to be released from the horses system. I have checked multiple products with USEF -- they will not let you know by product name, but require a list of ingredients.

                  Yes, anything given to alter a horses behavior or looks is not suppose to be used. But one could argue a horse goes better while on a hoof supplement -- should that be allowed? Or they have a low iron count -- can they not show on an iron supplement even though they show better on it? Many different angles here. Really comes down to you as a horse person and trying to work with USEF.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by H/J Anonymous View Post
                    It is my understanding USEF will not specify whether a certain product is legal or not, but they will ask you for the ingredient list.
                    Except in this case you are completely mistaken. Injectable Mg can only be distributed by a licensed practitioner and is a controlled drug. It is illegal by any definition. Your post attempts to deflect the topic, or you really are unfamiliar with the use of Mg and other "calming" supplements as intended.

                    As stated in the article and as I have stated here before, there is NO condition injectable (and even for most oral) Mg is valid. Given Gamboa's background, it shows that it is as much a vet problem as it is an owner/trainer problem as happens when large amounts of money come into the picture.

                    Reed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sorry Rayers -- I was just following the follow-up posts about USEF, not just strictly addressing the original post.

                      Apparently you are no happy thinking I side with the USEF on their drugging policies or lack there of. You are majorly off-base on that conclusion. Actually, my track record is the exact opposite. However, I do not agree with passing guidelines, limitations, restrictions, fines, penalties, etc., on something that cannot be policed. I am tired of the rhetoric of what is acceptable and no one enforcing, because how can you?

                      Where is social responsibility? If there is one person that continually abuses what a large part of the equine community feels is a drug, do something about it! Sounds like these are local vets and horse professionals. How do they make their money??? Hmmmm....hurt them where their pocket book is. I do not spend money where I do not think money is deserved.

                      Sitting on a blind forum tooting your horn probably isn't doing much either.

                      Oh and yeah, I have only had remote experiences with the Mg because I am not unethical...that kind of crap doesn't even exist to me. And when they finally deal with Mg, then it will be something else. Take your stand and I encourage others to support.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        H/J I do agree with you that the USEF cannot police the very rules they promulgate and implement, however, if you recall back in the day there were tests created for some drugs and when USEF went out and tested they found violations galore because people didn't expect it. I can't recall the drug but when it comes to mind I will update the post. That said, they can test for abnormally high levels of magnesium.

                        Maybe they should start testing for those abnormal levels at the adult hunter/children's hunter level.

                        But like the drug pill mills, if USEF or a regulatory body like the Deptartment of Ag could subpoena manufacture lists for the product it might ring some prevalence.

                        But truth is, once mag is figured out it will be on to the next drug.

                        I understand people use some medication that induces mares to pass a placenta and it has some effect on quieting horses. I have also been told people use a level of the pink stuff they use in euthanizing horses. The entire concept frightens me to think non-vets are at the other end of the needle and drug, including minors.

                        How would you feel if you trusted your trainer only to find out their 17 year old working student was hitting veins (or trying to)?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          THIS >> "How would you feel if you trusted your trainer only to find out their 17 year old working student was hitting veins (or trying to)?"

                          This is precisely where I state social responsibility needs to come in. You are responsible for your horse. The above statement would never happen to me. I learned at an early age that the horses I spend so much money on are truly my responsibility. I think the USEF has made this clear by assessing owners and trainers. You cannot just say, "But, I trusted my trainer...".

                          I am sure if you have reasonable proof that a horse would test positive for abnormal levels of Mg that you could pay the amount and have the horse(s) tested through the USEF. If you don't want to stir that pot, then you are no better than the USEF.

                          Again, people need to take a stand. Talking about it is great, but put your pocket books and your daily actions to work and only support the type of behavior that you condone. Waiting for a National Organization to act is a little like waiting for the President to hear you out about the World's problems.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by H/J Anonymous View Post
                            THIS >> "...Again, people need to take a stand. Talking about it is great, but put your pocket books and your daily actions to work and only support the type of behavior that you condone. Waiting for a National Organization to act is a little like waiting for the President to hear you out about the World's problems.
                            I believe that many do take responsibility for their horse quite seriously and do put their pocket book and daily actions to work and only support the type fo behavoir that they condone.
                            Being socially responsible isn't just about you and your horse, it is also about educating others as well as working to effect change with the USEF.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              PDS - you are so correct that unless it is talked about owners and ancillary staff won't know what is actually happening. Maybe you should change the title of your thread to add regarding the drugging of horses. Then maybe more people will stop in to this thread and offer insight.

                              H/J you can preach social responsibility all you want. It sounds like you are very knowledgeable in the horse industry but you can't for a moment think parents of short stirrup kids riding leased horses; or people who have been brought along to believe the trainer is god, really know about the inner workings of the back of the barn. I think you would agree with me that many clients "drink the kool-aid" of the trainers and it takes reading articles in magazines and people talking about it before they know to ask questions.

                              Many trainers charge "full care and training" and X dollars and don't itemize nor tell their clients that they are drugging (or quieting) their horses. I guess if clients got a drug bill they might think to inquire some more.

                              The stand I take is not showing at those shows where I know only a snowed horse will get a ribbon. I blame the judges for penalizing horses that might get a tad excited or shake their head in a corner. I blame the trainers for the deceit in administering drugs or lying about why certain stuff is given. I blame the employees who follow orders to drug horses and look the other way because they need their job.

                              I do make my trainers sign a document confirming no medications will be given without my consent and if needed, by a vet unless an emergency like a colic. I then go around and tell the grooms that the horse(s) are not to get anything without my knowledge and I will hold them personally responsible. After that it's all trust and honesty. Frustrating I know. They probably flip me the finger behind my back.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                As long as judges continue to reward the dull, lifeless horse in the ring - trainers will find whatever cocktail they can to make the horse "show ring appropriate"

                                But sadly, there is no incentive for the USEF to *do* anything. The same judges that use the snowed horse in the ring and the same trainers that send that horse into the ring are on many of the committees at USEF and USHJA, so why would they do anything to change the way they do business?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Southernbell

                                  WELL SAID.....YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by sunshinestate View Post
                                    PDS - you are so correct that unless it is talked about owners and ancillary staff won't know what is actually happening. Maybe you should change the title of your thread to add regarding the drugging of horses. Then maybe more people will stop in to this thread and offer insight.

                                    H/J you can preach social responsibility all you want. It sounds like you are very knowledgeable in the horse industry but you can't for a moment think parents of short stirrup kids riding leased horses; or people who have been brought along to believe the trainer is god, really know about the inner workings of the back of the barn. I think you would agree with me that many clients "drink the kool-aid" of the trainers and it takes reading articles in magazines and people talking about it before they know to ask questions.
                                    This is why I think the Chronicle and Molly Sorge have provided such a good public service to the horse show world by publishing this article. I think there are a lot of owners who may vaguely know there horse is getting Mg or getting some sort of "legal" "vitamin" to make them quiet, but they may not know about the dangers of this particular cocktail. I think a lot of owners of high value show horses--even those who are comfortable with the dex and other ethically questionable quieting agents out there--may not be comfortable with quieting a drug that could kill their horse.

                                    ETA: Though I will say that the conflict-of-interest angle on a certain source is an interesting observation. Here's hoping he said the right thing for the right reason, not just because it helps him sell product.
                                    Last edited by touchstone-; Jul. 8, 2011, 05:40 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yes, sunshine's comments about COTH missing the boat on journalistic opportunity may or may not have merit, but put me in the group that is far happier that someone finally wrote an article about how dangerous the IV drug is and took the opportunity to educate (where USEF and USHJA have not). Sure you could get people all defensive and taking sides by a more explosive piece and that might be appropriate in some situations, but usually the larger message gets lost in that sort of occasion. Here's betting the horse ends up suffering more when that happens.
                                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        "H/J I do agree with you that the USEF cannot police the very rules they promulgate and implement, however, if you recall back in the day there were tests created for some drugs and when USEF went out and tested they found violations galore because people didn't expect it. I can't recall the drug but when it comes to mind I will update the post."

                                        That happened with Reserpine. USEF (then AHSA) knew its abuse was rampant, but didn't have a test for it. This was widely known by the cheaters, so any horse that needed a little calming was given the drug. Once the test was developed, it wasn't announced, and there were a rash of positives. A lot of top hunters were never seen in the ring again.

                                        Comment

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