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2 Parties File Suit Against USEF Over Drugs and Medications Policy

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    2 Parties File Suit Against USEF Over Drugs and Medications Policy

    I believe in following the rules of the governing association wherever and in whatever you compete. The rules are the rules, whether or not you like them, think they are fair, or think they are based on science. Here is the basis for one of the suits:

    "When the USEF takes on the role of establishing thresholds then they take on the responsibility to set reasonable thresholds based upon real science establishing some correlation to pharmacological effect in the horse," he continued. "Otherwise it's not fair to the membership. Mr. Ingram is adamant that he did nothing wrong, and the most likely explanation is contamination. There's no reliable science that would support the notion that the amount detected in Mr. Ingram's mare could in any way have affected her performance in the show ring."

    I don't believe that the USEF is liable for making this determination. They've decided to try to rein in the behavior of trainers who can't get a horse to the show ring without a needle, so they've established rules to assist with the situation. If the trainer does not think the rule is fair, or scientific, go show somewhere else.

    #2
    In the minds of some "zero tolerance" equals "zero thought." For anything.

    But drugs are like any other tool. They can be very powerful aids in healing injury and permitting an equine career to continue. They can be very powerful aids in allowing overly aggressive trainers (and owners) demand from the horse that which cannot be given in its base nature. How do you separate the "wheat" from the "chaff"?

    Frankly, the question asked is valid. At least if you don't like the "zero tolerance" approach. The position that complete bans are the only practical way to prevent abuse is equally valid. So which way does this frog jump?

    G.
    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
      I believe in following the rules of the governing association wherever and in whatever you compete. The rules are the rules, whether or not you like them, think they are fair, or think they are based on science. Here is the basis for one of the suits:

      "When the USEF takes on the role of establishing thresholds then they take on the responsibility to set reasonable thresholds based upon real science establishing some correlation to pharmacological effect in the horse," he continued. "Otherwise it's not fair to the membership. Mr. Ingram is adamant that he did nothing wrong, and the most likely explanation is contamination. There's no reliable science that would support the notion that the amount detected in Mr. Ingram's mare could in any way have affected her performance in the show ring."

      I don't believe that the USEF is liable for making this determination. They've decided to try to rein in the behavior of trainers who can't get a horse to the show ring without a needle, so they've established rules to assist with the situation. If the trainer does not think the rule is fair, or scientific, go show somewhere else.
      I think we have been around this block before.... mixed up feed buckets, cocaine found in trace amounts on currency being responsible for that drug found in the blood of hunters.... yeah.

      So look, there are a few problems with reasoning in the above.

      On the lawyer's side in the excerpt quoted:

      1. Just how the testable amount of the drug got into the horse's blood (or pee) or the HO's intention are both irrelevant.

      I don't know about the scientific question about the threshold at which a drug affects performance for a horse. FWIW, I don't think that's a question the USEF per se has tried to answer. Perhaps researchers have. Rather, the USEF has only weighed in on the more narrow question about what level of the chemical found in the blood counts as "too much." I see how one could elide those questions-- how much drug vs. how much drug influences performance-- but they are properly distinct.

      2. With respect to the OP's commentary: I think the USEF de facto has to be interested deciding the answers to "How much drug in the blood/pee is acceptable" and perhaps also "how much drug has an affect on performance"? But the fact that these are scientific questions doesn't mean the USEF is off the hook. After all, it's unfair (as the plaintiff argues) to make a rule that's unenforcible.

      And also, the fact that the science isn't sorted out has no logical relationship to the USEF's inspiration for establishing these thresholds ("USEF wants to stop trainers drugging horses to get to the ring"). Just because you want something really bad, or even because your motive was noble doesn't excuse you from getting the job done the right way. And if you pursue a noble cause unfairly.... you still deserve criticism. So the USEF is, in fact, liable for getting some 1) relevant and 2) useful science on its side as it figures out it's thresholds for various substances.

      But look, this has been true (and an ongoing problem) for as long as the D&M rules have been in effect. Today, it's just different drugs and different tests than it was in the 1970s.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

      Comment


        #4
        Be better just to adopt fei rules. Horses would possibly have shorter careers, and some horses would no longer be show hunters at the usef level. Oh well. Yes there are still obviously some problems with drugging and or contamination but way way less of this "acceptable levels of prohibited substances" nonsense.
        Last edited by ladyj79; Jan. 9, 2016, 10:20 AM.
        Let me apologize in advance.

        Comment


          #5
          I find the frequent attempts at weaseling out of a drug rule violation have contributed to my declining interest in the h/j ring.

          I doubt I'm alone.
          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
            Be better just to adopt fei rules. Horses would possibly have shorter careers, and some horses would no longer be show hunters at the usef level. Oh well. Yes there are still obviously some problems with drugging and or contamination but way way less of this "acceptable levels of prohibited substances" nonsense.
            On your bolded sentiment.

            That entails an enormous economic impact. And it puts many, many horses out of a job.

            That fact alone doesn't mean we ought to be liberal with drugs-- calming or pain-killing. But it does mean that the issue warrants a bit more consideration than "Oh well."
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
              I find the frequent attempts at weaseling out of a drug rule violation have contributed to my declining interest in the h/j ring.

              I doubt I'm alone.
              You are not.

              I bought a dressage horse instead of a hunter as my next project because I don't think I can compete with the "Western Pleasure Lope plus a Huge Jump" that's required today. At least I can't afford to buy the extraordinary horse that has *that* combination of mind and body that lets him do it all drug-free and uber-sound. And I won't buy a horse that I have to drug in order to be competitive.

              Instead, I'm having a great time with my hot, opinionated but good-humored green dressage mare.... because her mind will take time but it will *help her* at the top of the sport, not make her a candidate for cheating.

              I used to like the hunters because I loved the training process of making up a horse who was lovely to ride because he understood his job. Now that the competition standards have changed (or increased to the point of being unrealistic for most horses), I picked a new discipline that still has a training project at the heart of it.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                On your bolded sentiment.

                That entails an enormous economic impact. And it puts many, many horses out of a job.

                That fact alone doesn't mean we ought to be liberal with drugs-- calming or pain-killing. But it does mean that the issue warrants a bit more consideration than "Oh well."

                Disagree. Not on the economic impact, but on the idea that that should necessarily be a consideration. Canadian and English show hunters are very very different from American show hunters. Care to guess why? But they do still have them. So the style and type of horse shifts. I find that infinitely preferable to doping horses. And I think those with a lot of money in this game will adapt. They will just train and sell a different kind of horse. And old ot crippled or crazy horses can go be doped up for non rated circuits.
                Let me apologize in advance.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
                  Disagree. Not on the economic impact, but on the idea that that should necessarily be a consideration. Canadian and English show hunters are very very different from American show hunters. Care to guess why? But they do still have them. So the style and type of horse shifts. I find that infinitely preferable to doping horses. And I think those with a lot of money in this game will adapt. They will just train and sell a different kind of horse. And old ot crippled or crazy horses can go be doped up for non rated circuits.
                  But retooling the American Hunter Industry to match that in the UK or Canada is no small feat. So even if that were a suggestion, it takes more consideration than "Oh, well."

                  The USEF (and it's prior incarnation, the AHSA) spent a long, long time digging this hole for themselves/us. We lowered expectations for riders, raised them for horses and made horse showing into Big Business. That has many causes and it took about 30 years or so to create. Nothing about undoing it will be quick or easy.

                  In addition, I think many local trainers and folks who would like to show at the grass roots level would be happy if the ideal hunter became a "realistic horse" again. But the money at the top will not. And those guys-- particularly the BNTs on committees-- are a forced to be reckoned with.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'm a big fan of action over finding reasons for continued inaction. Your reasoning is not incorrect, but it's also just an excuse. And yep it took us, eh, 20-30 years to get where we are, but honestly a simple fei style drug rule would turn it around within ten years. You are correct that board and members would have to agree to enact such a rule but it is certainly not an impossibility.


                    Action, not excuses to maintain the status quo. Really drugged horses puttering around winning tricolors hasn't been the norm for that long.
                    Let me apologize in advance.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                      I find the frequent attempts at weaseling out of a drug rule violation have contributed to my declining interest in the h/j ring.

                      I doubt I'm alone.
                      I'm with you 100%. Pathetic is the perfect word.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        For the amount of money these AA circuit trainers charge in at home board and day care on the road? Pleading untrained staff, lack of supervision, careless handling of meds, dirty buckets and overall really inept barn management doesn't strike me as an excuse that should be taken seriously. Oh, we are sorry but it's just incompetent management? Really?

                        Maybe that's just me...
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The best way to clean of the drug and doping problem in the H/J industry is to tell trainers that they can give their horses whatever they want, whenever they want...as long as the trainer takes the same stuff by the same method.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            This thread also discusses the cases:
                            http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...r-USEF-hearing

                            There you'll find not only more discussion but also links to the hearing transcripts that are well worth a read if you're interested in how the USEF approaches testing for a new drug problem.

                            OP discusses the concern about a threshold and whether that amount has an effect on the horse. However, that's not the only way to look at it and I'll argue it's not the right standard. What this glosses over is that the question isn't just what the sample shows at the instant it was taken, but that we use it as a proxy for the horse's condition when it was performing. Horses are usually identified and the process started right after a class, but that's not necessarily the horse's first class of the day. Their assertion that you should only be penalized for levels that at that time are affecting the horse is in my mind somewhat at odds with the practical realities of drug testing, not to mention how the situation varies from drug to drug.

                            In some cases, we have drugs with no therapeutic benefit - and possibly harmful to the horse. "Only" is only an only if that's as much as was ever in the horse. In reality, you know that the drug concentration has degraded since it was administered unless you are testing immediately after administration.

                            There are drugs where the effect you were going for was after the drug leaves the system.

                            We also have drugs that are known to hide the signature of other drugs.

                            The case of Fonteyn and ace is being defended as an accidental administration, so some of the normal protections you might have for ace like the testimony of when and how much was dosed by a veterinarian or a drug declaration weren't in play.

                            I found the transcripts highly educational. It seems clear to me that the D&M group really wants to protect the horses but also that they're not out to get people by accident. It's interesting to note they sent out warnings before they started their new GABA test, because they wanted to stop the administration of this drug. A perfect world for them would be 100% clean tests and 100% clean horses.
                            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

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I have had to put the novel I had written about the h/j world on hold due to all the issues going on about drugging in the show world. I'm finding it very hard to want to promote an industry that seems to have sunk so low.

                              Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                              I find the frequent attempts at weaseling out of a drug rule violation have contributed to my declining interest in the h/j ring.

                              I doubt I'm alone.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                "The Monday Horses" is copyright 1978.
                                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

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
                                  I'm a big fan of action over finding reasons for continued inaction. Your reasoning is not incorrect, but it's also just an excuse. And yep it took us, eh, 20-30 years to get where we are, but honestly a simple fei style drug rule would turn it around within ten years. You are correct that board and members would have to agree to enact such a rule but it is certainly not an impossibility.


                                  Action, not excuses to maintain the status quo. Really drugged horses puttering around winning tricolors hasn't been the norm for that long.
                                  Again! I wasn't asking anyone to endorse the status quo. In fact, I wasn't suggesting the USEF "do anything" about the hunters or not. Seriously. Read what I wrote.

                                  What I did say in my discussion of the cavalier "Oh well.....who cares if lots of older horses suddenly find themselves without a job because they can't show without NSAIDs?" is that this attitude was not without consequences, large and some of them ugly.

                                  In my area, which as a low-end auction, the place was flooded with horses in the post-2008 recession. Barns are more likely to be empty than they were pre-2008. You can see that horses were a line-item people were willing to cut from their budget when necessary.

                                  Now imagine that all the horses showing in those 2' Long Stirrup sections at AA shows need to be FEI sound--- no bute whatsoever. And the aging horse who had been there, done that animal who can now safely pack around his scared-but-wants-to-show-with-the-barn ammy can't stay sound. He had been well-cared for as a useful show horse. He got the Legend series and the special shoeing and the rest because he had a job. But now he can't be shown, so no one wants to lease him. He could live on bute and be a schoolie. But most lesson programs I have seen can't invest so much in keeping their horses sound. So he goes around a bit sore, or he gets sold.

                                  Really. The "Oh well.... some horses will have shorter careers." Just think about what that means for those aging animals.

                                  Again, to be clear: I'm not pointing this out in order to recommend leaving the hunter ring drugging problems as they are. Rather, I'm making the point that the world is a complicated place and consequences are worthy of consideration.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Well said

                                    ", the AHSA) spent a long, long time digging this hole for themselves/us. We lowered expectations for riders, raised them for horses and made horse showing into Big Business. That has many causes and it took about 30 years or so to create. Nothing about undoing it will be quick or easy."

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
                                      Be better just to adopt fei rules. Horses would possibly have shorter careers, and some horses would no longer be show hunters at the usef level. Oh well. Yes there are still obviously some problems with drugging and or contamination but way way less of this "acceptable levels of prohibited substances" nonsense.
                                      And / or they can change the way national champions are chosen rather than having point chasing being the determiner
                                      _\\]
                                      -- * > hoopoe
                                      Procrastinate NOW
                                      Introverted Since 1957

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                                        I find the frequent attempts at weaseling out of a drug rule violation have contributed to my declining interest in the h/j ring.

                                        I doubt I'm alone.
                                        almost everything I have learned about drugs, performance and showing I have learned on the H/J forum and the USEF penalties pages. Back in the 80s it seems you see a mix in the penalty pages, now it is dominated by H/j shows

                                        the industry needs a shake-up and perhaps moving to zero tolerance and a new awards scheme is a start.

                                        Judges need to start judging athletic animals rather than robots
                                        _\\]
                                        -- * > hoopoe
                                        Procrastinate NOW
                                        Introverted Since 1957

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