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Doping Takes Center Stage At USEF Convention

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  • Maybe some of our chem-savvy types can chime in here.

    Magnesium is naturally occurring in the body, hence it does not test (right?) Would it be possible to test blood levels of magnesium?
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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    • Originally posted by amberhill View Post
      Ok so some anonymous user that hides behind a computer who used the phrase in a malicious fashion that did not have all the facts gets credit. Really?
      MALICIOUS????????????? Starting a thread asking if it's time ALL, as in EVERYBODY from USEF to each and every one of us, examine what we are doing as a group when our primary concern should be the welfare of the horse-without which we have no sport-is MALICIOUS.?

      Great, I shall proudly change my user name to Maleficent and continue to be "malicious".

      Speaking of reading for comprehension...I did not make that thread personal at all. Tried to stick to things we could accomplish. And IIRC, Rug Bug used the Humble Initiative on COTH before I did anyway.

      IIRC Rug Bug used Humble initiative on COTH before I did.
      Last edited by findeight; Jan. 18, 2013, 11:33 AM. Reason: iPad won't let me edit...
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by EAY View Post
        This. It seems most people who are calling for larger fines and lifetimes suspensions, etc. are missing the bigger point. The most dangerous drugs for the horses are untestable at this point in time, while most trainers are careful about how they administer NSAIDs, knowing that there is a fair chance their horses can be tested (I only do a limited number of shows per year and I see the testers lots).

        We need a cultural change in the hunters and I'm not sure that can happen given the amount of money involved at the top end of the discipline, especially given the facts that trainers make most of their money buying and selling ammie-friendly mounts and most judges are also trainers.
        You do have a point that the most dangerous drugs are untestable. However hoping for a cultural change is unrealistic. Larger fines and longer suspensions would at least make USEF members feel like the USEF is serious about enforcing the rules already in it's D&M program. Right now it's a joke.

        And then they keep working on a way to create a test for detecting what's currently untestable. So members know that at any point a test could be developed and those using that drug could get caught and have a huge fine and suspension. If the possibility of getting caught is there, less people are likely to chance it if the punishment is severe enough.
        ******
        "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
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        • Given the recent developements with Lance Armstrong admitting to the world that not only he, but every cyclist on the podium for his 7 Tour de France wins was doping and that you could not win with out it, do we really wonder why we can't live without drugging our horses? Lance Armstrongs team mates have stated that without the help of the Governing bodies Armstrong and others would not have gotten away with this and for a 10 year period at least , putting a needle in your arm was the same as pumping up the air in your tires..it was normal.
          So my question is: Is it the same in Horse showing .. are the governing bodies ( USEF, USHJA), to blame, do they promote a culture of drugs in our sport by looking the other way or worse, help in some way, or due to the fact that many officials are also active in the ring to some degree or another how clean are they? Is it possible to win in the Hunter and Eq rings without the use of drugs .. any drugs .. until the judges start rewarding expression and forward moving horses and penalizing deadness and lack of expression from the smallest schooling shows on up through the AAA shows, we will always have a culture of acceptance.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
            Maybe some of our chem-savvy types can chime in here.

            Magnesium is naturally occurring in the body, hence it does not test (right?) Would it be possible to test blood levels of magnesium?
            It's a bit like testing for other naturally occurring substances like testosterone or EPO - the organization can establish reasonable thresholds and test for variances from that standard. But I don't think developing those tests is easy or quick. See cycling for Exhibit A - people have known for decades that EPO is an issue, proving it is different. And right now I'm pretty certain that many athletes are fine tuning withdrawal times for anabolic steroids/testosterone levels to gain strength and then pass a test. I think h/j just borrows from other sports in latest ways to dope and beat the test: targeted use of what the body already produces to create a desired effect.
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
              One big issue that I see with combating the drugging is that some of the most dangerous drugs and injections are being given because they do not test.

              I am not sure how to get around the fact that we can tell if a horse has stacked nsaids but not if he is being injected with mag. Neither of these is in the best interest of the horses.
              They did not have a test for EPO when Lance Armstrong won each of his Tour de France victories. His second samples were frozen, and they were retroactively tested. That was when he was caught along with the sworn testimony of others. Because of the rules of USADA and WADA, even his Olympic medal is being taken away, even though he did not fail the drug test in Sydney. Eventually there will be a test for magnesium and other non-detectable drugs. Should there be retroactive testing of top horses years later? Cycling is only a minor sport here in the USA. It is huge in Europe. Lance won his races on foreign soil, but because he is a member of USA Cycling and UCI, USADA could go after him.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by MIKES MCS View Post
                Given the recent developements with Lance Armstrong admitting to the world that not only he, but every cyclist on the podium for his 7 Tour de France wins was doping and that you could not win with out it, do we really wonder why we can't live without drugging our horses? Lance Armstrongs team mates have stated that without the help of the Governing bodies Armstrong and others would not have gotten away with this and for a 10 year period at least , putting a needle in your arm was the same as pumping up the air in your tires..it was normal.
                So my question is: Is it the same in Horse showing .. are the governing bodies ( USEF, USHJA), to blame, do they promote a culture of drugs in our sport by looking the other way or worse, help in some way, or due to the fact that many officials are also active in the ring to some degree or another how clean are they? Is it possible to win in the Hunter and Eq rings without the use of drugs .. any drugs .. until the judges start rewarding expression and forward moving horses and penalizing deadness and lack of expression from the smallest schooling shows on up through the AAA shows, we will always have a culture of acceptance.
                I agree with everything you have posted.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by skydy View Post
                  Using FEI rules would put a stop to much of this behavior, however it won't happen.
                  USEF doesn't have the balls to enforce the rules it already has.
                  Go to their website and look at the penalties given to rule breakers.

                  Are you suspended?

                  Going to show anyway?

                  Get caught?

                  You could be "censured" and fined. Ooh, that'll teach you!

                  JER, The bar is set incredibly low and you described it well.
                  Where is James Cameron when he is needed? (Thank you South Park)

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by DMK View Post
                    It's a bit like testing for other naturally occurring substances like testosterone or EPO - the organization can establish reasonable thresholds and test for variances from that standard. But I don't think developing those tests is easy or quick. See cycling for Exhibit A - people have known for decades that EPO is an issue, proving it is different. And right now I'm pretty certain that many athletes are fine tuning withdrawal times for anabolic steroids/testosterone levels to gain strength and then pass a test. I think h/j just borrows from other sports in latest ways to dope and beat the test: targeted use of what the body already produces to create a desired effect.
                    Could you do a skin test for magnesium? Obviously, there is no reason for there to be traces of injectable magnesium on a pony's neck.....

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
                      Maybe some of our chem-savvy types can chime in here.

                      Magnesium is naturally occurring in the body, hence it does not test (right?) Would it be possible to test blood levels of magnesium?
                      Shouldn't be such a big deal.
                      We get magnesium levels on patients in the hospital all the time, especially on those with cardiac issues. Very dangerous to have low magnesium levels if you have a prolonged QTC time.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by S A McKee View Post
                        As has been demonstrated several times a lifetime suspension has not cost trainers to lose business. They can still buy, sell and train just off show grounds. It does make things a little inconvenient for them though. A punitive fine is a great idea,
                        That might possibly be the poorest rational for not having a lifetime suspension I have ever seen put to print.

                        "It didn't work for some people therefore it will not work for all people."

                        First, I would suspect those two individuals didn't have it as easy or as profitable as they might have if they had finished their career inside the showgrounds; second, they are not the only two people with a lifetime suspension, an n=2 does not a trend make.

                        But most importantly, at some point you have to say enough is enough. Even if you can make a million bucks at the farm next door, at some point you have shown so much disrespect for the sport and the rules that govern it ... and that the vast majority of us strive to play by, that you simply should not be allowed on our playground.

                        Quite frankly, a fine - even a significant fine - sends the message that if you are exceptionally successful, in part due to cheating, you can afford the privilige of cheating and just pay your penalty to continue to do so. Again, that is a real slap in the face to people who play by the rules.
                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                        Comment


                        • To answer one question, the FEI has stored blood samples and tested them years later. IIRC, they recently tested blood from the 2004 Athens Olympics

                          At the moment the FEI is crowing about the 2012 Olympics not having any failed drug tests by their Clean Sport Rules.
                          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                          Thread killer Extraordinaire

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                          • With respect to the Lance Armstrong interview, a couple things really reminded me of the show world (paraphrasing):

                            1) "I didn't think of it as cheating - everyone was doing it, so I'm leveling the playing field."

                            Not sure if there is a rule in cycling similar to USEF's rule about the intent of drugs altering performance, but it appears Armstrong misses the point entirely. I recently spoke with a trainer who said "All we use is Perfect Prep at shows, so I know I'm safe". No, actually you are not - the intent of your use is the problem.

                            2) "I never failed a test. There wasn't a test for EPO in (whatever year it was)."

                            Again, TOTALLY missing the point and so very very similar to the mindset we deal with.

                            I decided a while ago to enjoy my horses outside of recognized competitions, but I thought about getting a Steward's license to continue to be involved. I believe in being part of positive change, but the choices and actions (or lack thereof) from USEF leadership leave me with little desire to be part of this "sport".

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by leyla25 View Post
                              JustJump, I watched and hearing him confess to the drugs and having watch how he denied it before, his arrogance, and his excuses for doping, and not thinking there was anything wrong with it, is very similar to the behavior of many trainers at the AA horseshows. He also started lawsuits against most of his friends and fellow teammates that were telling the truth about his behavior. But he was thought of as a "winner" so he got away with it. Very similar, very similar to what goes on in the USEF. All those young people wearing the bracelets LIVESTRONG, etc. It is like reading those articles about certain personalities in the horseshow world talk about horsemanship and getting rewarded for it. But he got caught, so there is hope.
                              I'm not a cycling/Armstrong afficionado, but the part that's horrifying to me is that he lied as often and as hard as he could until it wouldn't work any more.

                              It's a bad precedent to set for "how to deal with suspected/known cheating." I hope the USEF Big Wigs don't go in the same direction. But I would not be surprised if they did. It seems to me that it's now ethically acceptable to keep fooling most of the people most of the time with just a short period of mea culpa later.

                              After all, guilty Armstrong is getting interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. If your goal is to live as well as you can for as long as you can, why not accept a short period of shame in the press? You got a lot of great things before that and still get to keep the money, so.... where's the incentive to *not* do things that you'll have to apologize for later?
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                It's a bit like testing for other naturally occurring substances like testosterone or EPO - the organization can establish reasonable thresholds and test for variances from that standard. But I don't think developing those tests is easy or quick. See cycling for Exhibit A - people have known for decades that EPO is an issue, proving it is different. And right now I'm pretty certain that many athletes are fine tuning withdrawal times for anabolic steroids/testosterone levels to gain strength and then pass a test. I think h/j just borrows from other sports in latest ways to dope and beat the test: targeted use of what the body already produces to create a desired effect.
                                Originally posted by west5
                                Shouldn't be such a big deal.
                                We get magnesium levels on patients in the hospital all the time, especially on those with cardiac issues. Very dangerous to have low magnesium levels if you have a prolonged QTC time.
                                I'm trying to bring these points together and summarize what may be the problem, because I really don't understand why it should be so hard.

                                Is the current issue that we don't have a solid "normal range" for Mg in the horse's body? (It seems that we do have an idea for what this is, otherwise wouldn't be able to test a horse for magnesium deficiency. See: Horse Care forum and supplementation of Mg. Let's pretend everyone supplementing Mg is doing it for clinical reasons.)

                                Is the current issue that we don't have a method to test blood samples for current levels of Mg? (We can do this on humans; we can do it for horses if we're testing for deficiency.)

                                What exactly is the problem with testing equine blood levels for a "normal range" of magnesium?

                                Is it that the fluctuations can be unpredictable and vary due to environmental factors, i.e. where the show hay came from colliding with what's in the horse's SmartPak and now we have a horse with an abnormally high blood concentration of Mg? Does it have something to do with the way it's metabolized? Or how it gets from muscle (where it's injected) into the bloodstream? Timing between injection and test?

                                These are all honest questions- I don't feel I understand the issue. Obviously Mg is not the only "untestable" substance out there, but it seems to me that the "untestable" stuff is largely thought to be so because it occurs naturally in the body, so to me (an absolute non-chemist) testing for "normal range of..." seems like a no-brainer.
                                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                  It's a bit like testing for other naturally occurring substances like testosterone or EPO - the organization can establish reasonable thresholds and test for variances from that standard. But I don't think developing those tests is easy or quick. See cycling for Exhibit A - people have known for decades that EPO is an issue, proving it is different. And right now I'm pretty certain that many athletes are fine tuning withdrawal times for anabolic steroids/testosterone levels to gain strength and then pass a test. I think h/j just borrows from other sports in latest ways to dope and beat the test: targeted use of what the body already produces to create a desired effect.
                                  Also, cycling came up with what they call "the genetic passport", where they come and test you multiple times to learn what each individual's natural levels are so that they can tell when your levels of naturally occuring hormones etc are outrageously high for who you are--that's how they came to test for EPO etc. So in order to carry the lessons from cycling over to horse sport, they'd have to come draw blood on every horse competing multiple times at random (so the levels couldn't be manipulated for that day) and then test to see if natrually found things like magnesium were abnormally high for THAT horse, since levels from horse to horse may differ.
                                  Last edited by REH; Jan. 18, 2013, 01:48 PM. Reason: typo
                                  www.quiethavenfarm.com

                                  Comment


                                  • How to change a culture?

                                    As I'm working on a commentary re: drug use in horse shows, the Lance Armstrong interview is quite timely. Although I haven't yet heard everything he has said, there have been many comments that indicate shared issues in equine competition....the most notably being "...I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture."

                                    While education, accountability, improved testing, meaningful punishment, etc. are all necessary, a root issue is the culture of competition and winning be so important. How do we go about changing a culture and putting the best interest of the horses before "the win"?

                                    Beth

                                    Comment


                                    • "What exactly is the problem with testing equine blood levels for a "normal range" of magnesium?"

                                      My understanding is there is currently an effort to develop a threshold level for magnesium. But, this can take some time, especially to make sure the test will stand up in court.

                                      Beth

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by phanilah View Post
                                        As I'm working on a commentary re: drug use in horse shows, the Lance Armstrong interview is quite timely. Although I haven't yet heard everything he has said, there have been many comments that indicate shared issues in equine competition....the most notably being "...I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture."

                                        While education, accountability, improved testing, meaningful punishment, etc. are all necessary, a root issue is the culture of competition and winning be so important. How do we go about changing a culture and putting the best interest of the horses before "the win"?

                                        Beth
                                        Make the law that horses can't sell for more than $5,000 and winner has to pay the entry fees of the losers.
                                        www.quiethavenfarm.com

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by REH View Post
                                          Make the law that horses can't sell for more than $5,000 and winner has to pay the entry fees of the losers.
                                          Oh, lordy, please don't cap the price on horses. Let me be clear: I am priced out of the really competitive A/O hunter market, so my wallet would like that.

                                          But! It screws especially the folks who get to a winning horse by putting in the training it takes. That cost way, way more than 5 Grand.
                                          The armchair saddler
                                          Politically Pro-Cat

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