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New York Times article - USEF and Humble

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  • Consider people. Just how many routine injections are human athletes likely to receive without bringing the whole issue of drugging to the fore?

    I have no idea what UL human competitors get routinely in the way of injections and other medications related to competition. Anyone here know?

    Are there accepted versions of Legend, Adequan, Gastrogard, etc that are given to human athletes to keep them sound for competition?
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire


    • Jsalem, I hear ya, but the whole situation has gotten out of hand. I don't think any reasonable person has a problem with people giving horses things like Legend and Adequan according to the manufacturers recommendations. But seeing people give those medications in amounts well in excess of what has been tested for safety or recommended by the manufacturer kind of bothers me. Especially when it is in conjunction with five other meds in a healthy young horse. And even more when there is a whole string of healthy young horses and ponies getting similar concoctions of NSAIDs, muscle relaxers, steroids, etc. as a routine matter of course for "show prep."

      Every time a medication is given, there are risks. A medication could be mixed up and something dangerous or a wrong dose could be accidentally given, there could be an allergic or other reaction, there could be side effects to the medication itself, there could be an intra-arterial injection, there could be infection or abscess or tissue damage, or there could be a clot of the jugular vein... and so on. A simple accidental intra-arterial injection (even though that's not what this thread is about) could be lethal. So no, I'm not "meh" about medicating horses unnecessarily. As an owner, I'd definitely not be "meh" about an inexperienced or untrained person giving IV injections to my horses.

      I feel like it has gotten to be a cultural thing where people use medications on their horses a little too casually and think that using as many injectables as possible is a normal way to achieve a competitive advantage. I get it that some vets are supporting this practice by "recommending" these things, but I think that there is a lot of money at stake and there are certain vets out there who are simply trying to provide what their customers want as a business tactic, not because it is what is best for the horses.

      Viney, I completely agree with you. If all these injections are so "innocent" is it something you would ever do to yourself? Would you ever give your spouse or child five different medications including steroids and muscle relaxers before they went to a sporting competition? I get it that horses aren't people, but I think it is a helpful rule of thumb to think about what treatment YOU would want for yourself.


      • Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
        Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of EM, but I do feel the need to jump in here and have my say on some of these medications. Some of you look at Adequan and Legend and think, "OMG, all of these injections to keep a lame pony going!!" I would have to say this: Adequan and Legend are very expensive and safe medications given by caring owners to keep their animals sound! Many of the owners gladly spend money in an effort to keep their beloved animals confortable. So when I look at that overal medications list, I also say, "meh" when it comes to Adequan and Legend. Do I believe that the trainer in question gave that pony Legend in the early am that caused it to drop dead- nope. Just my opinion.
        I have used Legend and Adequan myself and I think they are beneficial when used correctly. I am very glad to have them compared to the Bad Old Days when all we had for arthritis was bute. That said, I've never given them at a show grounds and I don't think it would cause any hardship to the horses if they could not be given those injections the same day they are competing.
        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


        • My offer still stands: A Phat Check and the Nobel Prize in Medicine to the guy who cures equine osteoarthritis.

          Until then, we are going to have to limp along trying to slow it's progression and mask pain. It doesn't help when people don't learn how different drugs work in the *management* of OA and its pain.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • Originally posted by DMK View Post
            Making an issue out of adequan/legend given the day of/day before the show is to hugely miss the point, and probably doesn't help the real issue by creating a nice little diversion (seriously, pat yourselves on the backs). Also while that daily meds list was impressive... guess what? It was legal under the therapeutic rule. What point is there in trashing a single person (who has plenty of other issues and problems that need addressing) over a practice which you may not like, but is part of the legally accepted medications in the rule. The "fix" for THAT problem is to become a member and lobby for change. If you aren't doing either of those things then you are having a faulkneresque moment (Sound. Fury. Signifying nothing). Route of administration of said drugs? Really? Who cares unless that route creates a very specific condition that violates the rules (i.e., oral vs. IV Mg).

            On the other hand, the inability of the organization to address the death of an animal at one of their sanctioned shows? Problem. The breadth of the therapeutic rule and what can be given and when? Problem. Who can sign an entry blank? Problem. The scope of illegal drugs and ability to test them? Problem. [edit]

            I think that the thing the Times article did very well was pointing out that it's a problem that USEF can't test for some dangerous substances and lacks the ability to require certain tests when horse dies on the show grounds, WITHOUT establishing that anything illegal had been done to this particular pony.

            I think the issues raised by this article--and the larger ongoing discussion about doping in horses--remain valid even if Ms. Mandarino was merely the victim of bad luck and not some malevolent agent. Is it appropriate that the therapeutic substances rules allow so many medications to be administered? Do we need to develop a better test or enforcement mechanism to prevent dangerous drugs like magnesium from becoming commonplace? Does USEF need the authority to investigate suspicious horse deaths on show grounds? How do we address the fact that the use of therapeutic and nontherapeutic drugs have become so routine?

            I think the reality is that there are serious, prevalent problems that pose health risks to horses and riders. And they're not easy to solve. Demonizing one person involved in a suspicious incident does not really address those underlying problems.


            • My offer still stands: A Phat Check and the Nobel Prize in Medicine to the guy who cures equine osteoarthritis.

              Until then, we are going to have to limp along trying to slow it's progression and mask pain. It doesn't help when people don't learn how different drugs work in the *management* of OA and its pain.
              I'll send my address later for the check and the prize, although doubtful they'd give it for this reason.


              1) condition the horses instead of jumping them while "fashionably" tick fat, bloated and gelatinous. "Fat and shiny" is NOT athletic or healthy. And excess fat coming down on joints while jumping *way* too often is bad. Really really bad.
              2) condition the horses so they're not just slimmer but actually fit. Get out of the ring, give the horse time off from jumping. The more fit and less jumping prevents the problem.
              3) Stop treating valuable show animals as exercise equipment. They only have so many jumps in them. If the rider can't count strides, find spots, etc in fewer jumps...start alternating horses so none over-jump. Bonus side effect: riders improve immensely when riding multiple different horses.
              4) Supplement as actually medically needed. Not as fashionably, everyone's doing it, newest stuff out, SmartPak has a sale, I need him calmer, I want a nicer tail necessary. Test hay, test feed, draw blood and supplement from there.
              5) Give them time off. For heaven's sake they're not machines. A few weeks off annually is an enormous physical and mental benefit for the horse. Healthy horses in turnout for a few weeks lose very little condition. And FWIW if we're talking about hunters...they don't have much condition to begin with. Unless fat is a condition. (did I mention fat sucks for joints and fat + jumping = joint damage)

              And yep, I already know about there being a loss of excess income when horses jump less and get time off. So I repeat: These aren't machines. They're not sports equipment. Don't anyone whine about how much they love their animals that they can't be arsed to give time off, less drugging, a healthy weight or bother with conditioning rides.

              So my answer would be: Stop causing OA and it won't be such a problem. I have no problems with show horses being treated like show horses...but the current definition of show ready needs to be thrown out. Fat, unfit, drugged and sore is no athlete. It's overused and poorly cared for sports equipment.

              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • All the conditioning in the world isn't going to keep OA at bay if the horse has a genetic predisposition for it and/or has some sort of accident that catalyzes its start.

                Not saying that some show horses aren't fat, but that there is more to it than just that.
                The Evil Chem Prof


                • Agreed with Peggy. My 17 y/o mare has OA in several joints and she is both fit and shows maybe 6 times a year. I'm 21 and have OA in several joints too...
                  Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!