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Drugs & our Equines

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  • Original Poster

    Just discovered:

    Art. 409 of the AHSA Rules is identical to the FEI's no foreign substance rule.

    HOWEVER - Every breed and discipline of the AHSA has the opportunity to choose to compete under this rule if it desires.

    HMMMM food for thought!
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!


    • #22
      Weatherford, your post gave me the chills.

      In the sale barn where I am, a horse is what he is. No drugs, no witholding of water or grain, no lunging -- except maybe to get the bucks out of a young one before we climb on. Occasionally customers request that bloodwork be done as part of the vetcheck to verify that no drugs are present in the system. My trainer rarely even gives bute, because he likes to know when the horse STOPS feeling ouchy.

      Our greenies are all older. The farm I ride at raises WB/TB crosses and they can get VERY LARGE, not to mention dumb and strong. Out of self-preservation, we break them usually at 3, then turn them out again for another year or so, then we breing them into the barn and do some refresher work until they are ready to go to kindergarten.

      Watching other people's 2 or 3 year olds go around a 2'6" course at a local show sometimes makes me feel that we put ourselves at a competitive advantage. How many people want a six or seven year old greenie? So many want a four or five-year old who has been proven in the show ring. Hello????

      But reading this thread it occurs to me that part of the reason some of the horses are so hyper is simply because they are so young? Even a 5-year old is still just a baby with a baby brain! And the WB/TB crosses raised at my barn frequently hit a growth spot at 6 or 7.

      I'll get off my soapbox now!! Thanks, Weatherford, for starting the thread. It's pretty sick. But it's NOT everywhere!
      \"If you feel you had a bad ride, how do you think your horse feels?\"


      • #23
        Over the past three years of competing at recognized Combined Training events and A rated horse shows ( 50+ competitions) I have only had my horses drug tested ONE time!! In a conversation with the organizers of some very large CT events they told me they had paid over $80,000 in fees to the AHSA for drug testing and had never had one horse tested at thier competitions!
        As far as the A shows - the smallest show we went to was the one where the testers showed up.
        I think that the abuse(and over use) of drugs would be greatly reduced if the trainers knew that all horses would be tested at some point during the competition, or at the least the winners!! I know that the racetrack is not squeaky clean - but we know that if we win a race our horse will be tested!


        • #24
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Callie:
          The drug problem is almost nonexistant in dressage as far as I know. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          I'm not sure about that. I have heard of competitive dressage barns that do routine hock injections and use anabolic steroids to create that muscular "dressage horse" look. Granted these are allowed within the rules but just because it's allowed it doesn't mean there isn't potential for abuse. In fact, I am surprised at the rather cavalier attitude many horse people and vets have toward the use of prophylactic joint injections.

          It isn't a stretch for me to believe that there are dressage barns that use dex to "take the spook" out of their horses. The use of Azium and ACTH is common on more circuits than just the hunter one.


          • #25
            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Fence Hopper:

            I think that the abuse(and over use) of drugs would be greatly reduced if the trainers knew that all horses would be tested at some point during the competition, or at the least the winners!! I know that the racetrack is not squeaky clean - but we know that if we win a race our horse will be tested![/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


            That is what myself and DMK were discussing on another "drug" thread. It just seems to make so much sense!

            ( I added the bold type...)

            [This message has been edited by showpony (edited 09-05-2000).]
            ~*Adult Pony Rider Clique*~


            • #26
              Most of the dressage riders I know let the horses spook then complain that it must be the fault of the small child, dog, umbrella or whatever at the side of the ring! Speaking as a dressage rider, few of us would survive 5 minutes in a H/J warmup arena.


              • #27
                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:
                Just discovered:

                Art. 409 of the AHSA Rules is identical to the FEI's no foreign substance rule.

                HOWEVER - Every breed and discipline of the AHSA has the opportunity to choose to compete under this rule if it desires.

                HMMMM food for thought!

                Ok, so in a nutshell... "Here's the rule, but follow it only if you want to."

                Wow, that is SCARY! And they wonder why we don't believe in them half the time! They don't even WANT to enforce their own rules! They are spineless and let the pros do whatever they want!

                Unfortunantly yes, there is drug abuse in Dressage, however, I don't think it is quite as prevelant as in the hunter world. WHen compatition gets high, people get greedy and the ugly people cheat to win. That is what is so discouraging about the horse show world in every discipline.

                I agree with the poster who raises wb/tb crosses, that yo should give the horse time to grow up rather than having them activly competing and 2'6 as babies! Let them grow up physically and mentally before asking them to be perfect (or 'making' them perfect)
                Is minic a rinne bromach gioblach capall cumasach
                An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse .


                • #28
                  Many years ago, I was at a large, multi-breed show. TWH class -- and this was long before the keg-shod/lite-shod, etc. - they were all "big lick" horses back then -- and one was outstanding! No question who the winner was. Lined up, judge's card in - they call for the steward to check boots. This guy turned around, walked to the gate and left the ring.

                  That year, they started testing at the Celebration.

                  It doesn't take more than once or twice - even the holiest of the holy get the picture and get with it or get out. And those who can't stand the heat are no loss to the industry - no matter how many ribbons they've won.
                  Equine Photography in the Northeast


                  • #29
                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:
                    Just discovered:
                    Art. 409 of the AHSA Rules is identical to the FEI's no foreign substance rule.
                    HOWEVER - Every breed and discipline of the AHSA has the opportunity to choose to compete under this rule if it desires.

                    Sure, and some of them just bow out of AHSA completely..... check out Aps/QH (I think).. not sure of any others.....
                    If we were REALLY concerned about our horses and the future of the industry (whatever aspect of it we're in), we'd work together and have a NGB (that DOES stand for "National Governing Board" rather than "no good ...", doesn't it??) that all breeds and disciplines not only were REQUIRED to adhere to, but WANTED to adhere to, because of the clout it would provide in all areas.
                    Equine Photography in the Northeast


                    • #30
                      Before anyone thinks that the h/j disciplines are violating AHSA rules, I understad that the intent is that the "sub-disciplines" (for lack of a better term) can choose to adopt (or not adopt) this provision for their section of the rules. The arabian and CT divisions choose to do so, hunters choose not to. Both are acting within the rules.

                      I agree with showpony and fence hopper - at least some threat of guaranteed testing of winners would go a long way, I would think, especially now that the AHSA is using the ELISA test.

                      I was really disappointed when the rule prohibiting 2 NSAIDs was not passed, I didn't think that was one of the more noble moments in our sport. I also have to say that all the reports of how many sore horses show up in the jog is even less heartening... I mean these horses can still have that 2nd NSAID six hours before competition, right? I think it is pretty sad that a show horse can't be sound with a 6 hour old painkiller in his system.

                      That being said, I do support the limited use of NSAIDs 12 hours before showing. I think there is something to be said for the unfriendly conditions at many horse shows. My personal favorite was one where we were stabled on concrete and the schooling ring was almost as hard as concrete. Even sound horses are sore after a week of that...

                      Also (and this may be controversial), eliminating the use of all drugs might lead to some abuses with untestable substances. As I understand it, there is not a shortage of abuse in FEI sanctioned shows, there are just more creative masking substances used. At least there is a known safety level with the approved NSAIDS and robaxin. Perhaps a good first step would be to limit to only those drugs, and a D&M report required for all others, including dex...

                      Another idea could possibly be a series of articles on the detrimental side effects of certain drugs, such as dex, in the AHSA magazine, Show Horse.
                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                      • #31
                        I didn't do any AHSA rated shows this year and I did not miss it one bit.

                        The only reasonable way to enforce the drug and medication rule is to test the champion and reserve at every rated show.

                        And I kind of like the 5 year ban in France. We do too much wrist slapping here.

                        And without the meds, maybe our riders will get better since they will have to be able to deal with the less than perfectly mannered horse.
                        Man plans. God laughs.


                        • #32
                          Years ago I made a suggestion, that was of course when many many shows were required to have a veterinarian.

                          The idea was that the AHSA send a box of test tubes or whatever to the show veterinarian just as they send Comments sheets to the Steward. The veterinarian would then test all the blue ribbons and 2nd place winners at every show. Put the tubes back in the box and return to the AHSA with the corresponding entry numbers. The AHSA would still have the option to process whatever percentage of the tubes they budget for but, no one would ever know for sure. And, the AHSA would not know whose test it was until it showed up positive.

                          I can't speak for other show managers, but I would not object to paying the veterinarian if this was the reason they were there. I do object to paying them to sit around and do their office bookkeeping and maybe measure a couple of ponies or horses. The AHSA could also have a list of testers available that the show could employ for this job.

                          I do whole heartedly agree that we should not become more liberal but that there should be a zero tolerance for any process which alters the quality of a horse's performance. In hunters they are judged for "soundness and performance". This is obviously then something that should not be tampered with medically.

                          The only way that we can be heard is if there is a huge noise from the participants. Right now, all that the Drugs and Medications Committee hears from are those who do use medical short cuts.

                          I do agree that it is as silly to provide "cocktails" for the horses which are an attitude adjuster or to hide little defects such as being "a little" lame. What would the Olympics be if they permitted the same alterations for all the Olympic contestants?

                          But, even more important is the process of endangering the life and well being of our horses. A person can make a personal choice to take steroids to be bigger, faster or stronger, our horses are not making the choice.

                          Can you imagine how frightening it must for the poor horse who is coming down from the drugs during a rest period? Can you imagine how terrifying it must be for them to suffer the pains of "witdrawal"?

                          I cannot comprehend how anyone can justify the damages to the horses that they cause just to win at a horse show.

                          We ran an interesting experiment a few years ago. We spread the rumor that the drug testers were coming to a show in the morning. It was a most interesting day. The pleasure horse put the owner in the hospital, the state champion junior hunter scratched, and the leading junior jumper was awful. It was remarkable how they all improved in the afternoon when they found out that it was just a rumor.

                          [This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 09-05-2000).]
                          http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                          • #33
                            This is interesting that this topic came up today after I read something in PH that caught my eye. PH's last issue listed all the short listed riders for the US olympics disciplines, with a little blurb from each rider about how they felt etc. I was horrifed that the only comment Francie Steinwidell Carivn had was along the lines that she had found showing in Europe a good prep because she had to deal with the NO DRUG rules of the FEI (she made it sound like it was an annoyance to have to show without medication) and that she had suddenly learned that taking your horse for a walk or riding it in the morning before a class was a good thing to keep its circulation up!

                            My god! What the h!@!#l was she doing with her horse before?!?!? I can't believe that someone at that level didn't know how to maintain her grand prix horse while at a show!

                            Anyone else horrified at how she sounded? Or was I just touchy when I read that?

                            [This message has been edited by Jair (edited 09-05-2000).]
                            You Strike Me Still


                            • #34
                              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Palisades:
                              I haven't heard of people giving Azium up here...most drugs are banned by the CEF (I think).

                              The alternative? Let's lunge and/or ride our horses for 6 or 7 hours before their class at the Royal, not give them any feed or water the night before, and then they can perform great "naturally"! There has been at least one horse up here who colicked before their class at the Royal (he showed anyway, 3 hours after it happened) and I'm willing to bet it was because he wasn't watered the night before. What happened to training riders and horses to compete their best?!? Oh, I forgot...people with too much money, not enough knowledge, and no way of handling the expensive hunter they have bought. (Sorry, I know this is off the topic of drugs, but the problem has the same reasoning behind it as the drug issue...anything to win).

                              I am not saying that everyone on "A" circuit is rich, or can't ride, or that everyone with money treats their horses like this, but the number of those who do is horrifying!

                              We give azium once a week at shows. 10cc 36 hours prior to when you show. Its a great steroidal anti inflamitory. I really dont think it doest much by way of tranquilizing the horse. I guess if people are giving their horses 2cc every day of a 5 week long show or whatever thats bad. Its not tracible so thats why there are no rules on it as of yet.


                              • #35
                                Unbelievable, Jair. I read it that way, too. And sadly, I find, DarkHorse, that your comment about routinely giving azium instead of MANAGING your horses different so they don't need anti-inflamatories to be right up the same alley as FSC's eye-opener in Europe.

                                But it will NEVER end. It's just human nature to be greedy and always take the easier way out. The simple solution is to show less often and do non-jumping homework more often.

                                Those who are so upset about this situation need to stop complaining and do something about it. There's no way in Cain that under the current system ANY real restrictions will be placed on the use of drugs. Every apparent step forward results in two steps back. Why? Because, as Snowbird stated, THE USERS RUN THE SYSTEM.

                                The show managers don't care about the overuse of drugs. They only want more entries.

                                The trainers WANT the leeway to drug instead of train and manage.

                                The wealthier owners WANT the drugs to win without working for it (and I say "wealthier" on purpose: the stuff is EXPENSIVE after all. The average trainer doing the middle rank stuff doesn't have many owners who can afford to be billed show after show, week after week for that stuff).

                                So unless we get more of the 98% on the committees and more of the incestuously powerful 2% off of the committees, plus the right for all members to vote on significant referenda, NOTHING WILL CHANGE, except maybe to get worse.

                                And get real when it comes to "publishing articles" to "educate." What a bunch of bunk. Doesn't anyone remember how "they" got the $10K a few years ago, supposedly to "study and educate"? Does anyone remember who the names were on that full-page COTH ad? They were the biggest names in the industry, that's who.

                                Look, folks, many of the big time trainers who abuse the drugs make a comfortable livelihood for themselves off of being able to show, show, show. That's the bottom line: that's what the drugs enable: show, show, show. Those trainers (and the show managers who need them) are going to fight tooth and nail to protect their livelihood. They will ALWAYS find a reason to ignore what the rest of the world and what other sports do.

                                So it IS simple: take the decisionmaking power in the industry OUT OF THE HANDS OF THOSE WHO PROFIT SIGNIFICANTLY FROM THE DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE!!!!! Return the power to those who love the horse and the sport FIRST and thus are willing to recognize, accept and lead everyone else in making sacrifices on behalf of the horse and the sport. Those are the people who are best able to make healthy, objective decisions.
                                Sportponies Unlimited
                                Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


                                • #36
                                  I'm baaaaccckkk! Heh, heh, heh, can you tell this pushed my button!

                                  First of all, Snowbird, what a great idea! Too bad it didn't pass. The only change I would make was to have a tech and some stalls available to collect urine samples. You can usually get more metabolites in the urine than in the blood so that's where you find the stuff that was administered earlier but is still banned.

                                  If you really want to have fun just have someone walk around the showgrounds and announce that the testers have arrived. Wait until you see how fast those ramps go up and the trailers leave. Then again, that can be a little tough on the show's bottom line [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img].

                                  My horse was tested at Devon this year after I won the amateur handler class. I'm such a naive dope that I didn't even realize that the nice lady talking to me was a drug tester. Then she told me that I had won a drug test. She was shocked when I laughed and said, "Wow, nice to see my testing dollars at work" and then cooperated fully. She told me she wasn't used to such treatment which is a sad indictment of my fellow exhibitors.

                                  I'm with DMK on the zero tolerance. Even though it looks like a good way to go the FEI rules have spawned some of the more creative practices. These things have a way of filtering over here as trainers make another desperate attempt to get ahead of the drug testers.

                                  Jair, I wasn't particularly surprised by that article. It is an adjustment for people that are used to giving a gram of bute to help with minor aches and pains. I had a vet that helped keep a marginally sound Olympic level showjumper sound for FEI competition. It takes a lot of joint injections, neutriceuticals and other hocus pocus to keep a marginally sound horse sound enough for the jog. That's another reason that FOR THE MOST PART I prefer the AHSA's medication rules to the FEI rules. I'd rather flip the horse a gram of Bute after a particularly taxing show than repeatedly invade the joint capsule with corticosteroids, Hyaluronic Acid, etc. The AHSA drug rule was developed with the idea that the permitted dose would be therapeutic not analgesic.

                                  DarkerHorse, Azium (dexamethasone) can be detected in the horse's urine. The AHSA hasn't developed permissable levels for it yet so that's why they don't test for it.

                                  As I said before I'm for education. You have to realize that some of these cocktails and practices are obtained word of mouth from other trainers. They're not malicious or abusive just ignorant about physiology. There's no shame in that. I finished four years of pre-vet and worked at a vet hospital for 10 years and I have consulted my books before I posted anything on any of these drug threads.

                                  Then again, ignorance can breed the worst abuses.

                                  Nina (stepping off her favorite soapbox)


                                  • Original Poster

                                    ACtually, the D&M Committee submitted a rule change last year to require a Vet's certificate before using Azium (Dex), and that was shot down by the powers-that-be.

                                    I agree with you, Pwynn, we must change those powers.
                                    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!


                                    • #38
                                      Well for many years Snowbird was the favorite ssite for drug testers. I don't think they missed being here at least twice a year and sometimes more. I finally asked the testers Why? Did they think all the drugged horses were at my shows? She said no, they don't get paid mileage and I was the closest to home base at New Bolton.

                                      They also loved to test my poor old school horses. We'd have a division with my students riding my horses something like "Suitable Hunter", unrecognized and unrated. Fortunately, I don't believe in drugging my horses so I never had to have a trauma of fear. We don't use anything that needs a steady diet of even bute. I figure I don't function as well on aspirin, and I do straight so even if I believed that bute is no more than aspirin, I wouldn't ask anyone to ride anything I wouldn't put one of my kids on.

                                      They tested horses that weren't entered and horses in the unrated divisions. Being me I said look why don't you test #xxx in the Pony Division I know it's drugged, or at least the rated divisions. No luck, they didn't care. and they haven't been back since.
                                      http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                                      • #39
                                        Drug testing is a rather bigger mess than we often realize. To test for all possible drugs and metabolites is impossible. So the labs are stuck with checking for the most common and from the rumour mill the fashionable.
                                        Dex is tested for in Canada and if the level is any where close to the therapeutic level you are in trouble. The drug testing lab for Canada Food & Inspection agency has a book of medications and with drawal times for racetracks and horseshows.
                                        In Europe the no medication rule is as often broken as NA drug rules. There is more use of designer or obscure drugs. A show jumper was +ve for Imitrex a migraine treatment!
                                        A fundemental change in philosophy is really needed. How that could be done I don't know


                                        • #40
                                          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DarkerHorse:
                                          We give azium once a week at shows. 10cc 36 hours prior to when you show. Its a great steroidal anti inflamitory. I really dont think it doest much by way of tranquilizing the horse. I guess if people are giving their horses 2cc every day of a 5 week long show or whatever thats bad. Its not tracible so thats why there are no rules on it as of yet.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                          DarkerHorse go back and read the first posting. Look at the possible side effects from Azium useage. Are you doing yearly tests to make sure that your horse isn't suffering from overmedication if you're showing frequently? 10cc given once a week (if you show frequently is overmedication)