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    Thanks for your input.
    Last edited by Pommederue; Sep. 16, 2007, 10:59 PM.

    I'm in the mind your own business camp. If you were to say something, what would you say? I can't possibly think of something that could come out politely! If the mom doesn't want to discuss it, it's her right not to, don't you think?

    I've had anxiety issues before and I know several other posters here have too. Sometimes you need that extra little kick to loosen you up and say "You can do this!" Until you've been there, I don't think you can have an accurate handle on what it's like or whether or not self-medicating is appropo.


      You are the trainer of this child?

      I don't know much about Xanax, so I'd do a little research first if I were you. Ask your doctor, do some reading on the drug. I doubt that one pill would be a problem, but if it alters perceptions or reaction times, well, then...

      If it "only" takes off the edge and settles the child, that's OK. But something like alcohol, that "can" slow reaction times -- that's bad!


        I also have some anxiety issues. I have been known to take a dose of Benadryl or Dramamine on a show morning to help keep me settled before I get on. My horse is quite sensitive and reacts badly to nerves. I know that it's not the ideal situation, but it has actually worked quite well. In about three years I have progressed from needing something to show at all, to only needing something when we jump, to now, where I only need something if we're moving up a level or have had a very bad week, etc. I needed to get those positive shows under my belt before I could function on my own. My anxiety was so bad that I would be shaky, crying, and vomiting from the moment I arrived on the show grounds until I left. It is even more frustrating when you want something so badly you can taste it, but you can't get your body and mind on the same track.

        I would hope that those students of yours who are taking Xanax are doing so under the supervision of a doctor. That isn't really the type of drug you want to mess around with. I agree with the previous poster, though, that this isn't really something you should take a stand on. Your students need you to reassure them and support them while they're dealing with a very difficult situation.
        Last edited by Montanas_Girl; Sep. 15, 2007, 05:40 PM. Reason: typos


          Boy, that's really tough.

          The real problem in my mind is: Are these meds prescribed to the child or not? Because Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine and is a controlled substance. AND, from the XANAX website:

          Is XANAX safe for younger people?
          Safety and effectiveness of XANAX in individuals below 18 years of age have not been established.
          Giving non-prescribed prescription drugs to a minor is not only illegal, but considered abuse.

          While I realize that trainers are not "mandatory reporters", in my mind, any adult aware of such a situation has a moral obligation to take action.


          XANAX is sometimes prescribed to teens. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often onsets after puberty and can be a very difficult disorder to control without medication. Persons prone to anxiety/panic attacks are often quite embarrassed as it's not generally well understood or accepted. So I can understand why a parent might not want to discuss this--feeling of shame, etc.

          But I think that if it were me, depending on your gut instinct on this one, I would just pull the mother aside and ask some questions. Just let her know that if her child has an anxiety issue, you'd like to know how to help. Play dumb. Ask if there are any medications that she's on and if there are things you need to watch for during lessons, shows, etc as you've heard that some of these meds can cause poor motor function (hello!! XANAX!!!), seizures, low blood pressure, etc--and you want to make sure she's safe.

          I can't imagine dosing up on Xanax before a class. It's a rapid onset drug that really slows down your thinking and reaction time. They do not recommend that you drive after taking it. (it's half life is very short too--out of the system in typically 4 hours for the reg. xanax) Anyway, I can't imagine popping one and then doing a course.

          As far as what adults do? Well, you can agree or disagree...but if they're not breaking the law, I don't think there's much you can do. But kids are a different story. If the mom was giving the kid a swig of whiskey before a class, would you feel the same concern? I would. But that's just me.

          That's a tough spot. I probably haven't helped's just that if there's one thing that's near and dear to my heart it's that adults are responsible for the children around them as children cannot always help themselves.

 know, one other could always call her school. They would have records of whether or not this is a scripted med. They couldn't tell you one way or another...but they could look into it if you're really concerned.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


            How old is the daughter? How does she act after she's been given it? Does it help her or is it hindering her performance? I have long suffered from anxiety. I've been prescribed anti-anxiety medication, off and on, since I was in my twenties. I could have used it in my teen years for certain anxiety producing situations. But if this is a child, under sixteen, and not a teenager, I definitely would be concerned.


              Original Poster

              Thank you for your replies.
              Last edited by Pommederue; Sep. 17, 2007, 03:27 AM.


                Good GAWD people, it's not that difficult!

                OP is the trainer of daughter who's knowingly riding impaired! DROP THE CLIENT. Can you say "Liability"? I don't give a rats' @ss if the mom is the one giving the Xanax...



                  So if I'm prescibed an anti-anxiety medication and show, I'm "riding impaired"? You must not know much about anti-anxiety medication. You can live your life and do everyday things while taking them.

                  I'm still curious as to how old the daughter is. But if you want a physician's note and she refuses to give it to you, by all means, drop her. If you are that concerned about the child or teen, you can also contact her school as another poster suggested. That would trigger a Child Protective Services investigation.


                    Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                    Good GAWD people, it's not that difficult!

                    OP is the trainer of daughter who's knowingly riding impaired! DROP THE CLIENT. Can you say "Liability"? I don't give a rats' @ss if the mom is the one giving the Xanax...

                    Doctors note or drop the client - simple as that.
                    Euthanasia is taking their pain away and making it your own. ~ Laurierace


                      If the RX is not for the child (for instance, the Mom is giving HER Xanax to the kid), then I agree with the above poster who said this is abusive. If it's the child's RX, given under a doctor's supervision, that's all right. Not much you can to about that.

                      I would be concerned since it appears this drug DOES affect thinking and reaction times. It would be equivalent to driving while impaired. The kid is jumping? Your reaction times had better be spot-on! Maybe not a problem if she's doing WP.

                      If a student of mine showed up for a lesson obviously drunk, I'd postpone the lesson until another day. Not that this has happened, but if I had a student who consistently showed up "impaired", I'd sit down and talk to them about it. I am unwilling to teach a student who engages in dangerous behaviors. It doesn't help her, and it doesn's help me, either. Riding is not something to be done impaired.

                      Perhaps this woman and her child should become someone else's liability, if she's not willing to discuss this issue.

                      One other thing: a good friend of mine who's done some serious WS time with some BNT's, suggested taking a Midol the morning of a show as a mild muscle relaxant. It works, doesn't impair my reaction time, and is over-the-counter!

                      Maybe even a "placebo" would help this kid. Like Dumbo's "Magic Feather"!
                      Last edited by ThreeFigs; Sep. 15, 2007, 12:22 PM. Reason: typo


                        I have requested from mom a "doctor's note" which she never produced so one can only assume she is medicating her herself but I don't like to make assumptions.
                        Yes, while assuming is sure doesn't bode well, does it? Throws up some red flags for me.

                        I did tell mom that if daughter ever shows at an FEI sanctioned event, that daughter could be drug tested as well as the horse.
                        What was her reaction?

                        Not only am I concerned morally, I am concerned that this young girl will never learn coping skills and she may be impaired while riding.
                        You're right to be concerned IMHO. I don't see how she could NOT be impaired while riding.

                        Again, perhaps none of my business.
                        IMHO, children ARE our business. I think it would be better to be wrong and KNOW it than to do nothing. As long as you're doing what you think is right at the time with the information you have, I don't see how anyone could fault you. Worst case, you lose a client. Best case, you help a little kid. If more people would stop averting their eyes and start asking questions, less kids would be in bad situations. AGAIN, not saying this woman has done anything wrong--but if she's not, she should be impressed that you have that much concern for her child--not offended that you'd ask.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                          Originally posted by FancyFree View Post
                          So if I'm prescibed an anti-anxiety medication and show, I'm "riding impaired"? You must not know much about anti-anxiety medication. You can live your life and do everyday things while taking them..
                          I'm very familiar with anti anxiety meds and Xanax specifically as I take them myself for a very specific condition. I know what I feel like and would NEVER imagine being around horses after having taken one, much less riding. It's like hitting a wall 15 minutes afterward.. everything goes into slow-mo and (as DH would say) My "give-a-sh!tter" doesn't work anymore.

                          So, in view of that, AND mom not providing the dr.'s note, I stand by my original sentiment.


                            This is a bad idea. Everyone responds differently, and THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN RESPONDS VERY DIFFERENTLY THAN THE ADULT.

                            She is setting her daughter up for possibly a whole slew of issues down the road, to say nothing of problems bnow.
                            a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                              ^^It sounds like your dosage is way too high or Xanax is not the right med for you. I take 5 milligrams of Valium on occassion. It does nothing more than take the edge off. It doesn't make me slowed or drugged out in any way. And I've done very well showing.

                              That said, in the OP's situation, if the mother won't produce a physician's note, she should drop the client. It's illegal for her to medicate her child without a physician's prescription, more importantly potentially dangerous.


                                [QUOTE=FancyFree;2684414]So if I'm prescibed an anti-anxiety medication and show, I'm "riding impaired"? You must not know much about anti-anxiety medication. You can live your life and do everyday things while taking them.

                                Firstly, the makers of the drug "Xanax" disagree with you. It clearly states that until you know how this medication will affect you, that you should NOT drive, etc.

                                If you've been on a consistent dose of a medication, it's likely that your body has adapted. But short acting benzos most certainly do affect reaction times. Even if you don't "feel" it. Xanax is typically a PRN drug as well due to it's potential for dependency. Most people are on something "regularly" and the Xanax is only for flare ups.

                                Another issue with benzos is tremor. Which can also impede motor function.

                                Again, if the meds are prescribed for the kid, fine--although I'd still be a little concerned about the whole reaction time thing. The issue is more one of legality and child endangerment.
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                  Firstly, the makers of the drug "Xanax" disagree with you. It clearly states that until you know how this medication will affect you, that you should NOT drive, etc.
                                  I don't take Xanax now. But thanks for the info!

                                  like I said, if you think it's abuse, report the mom. Simple as that.


                                    I would have some serious liability concerns. You don't mention your student's age, but Xanax, as a benzo, is not one of those meds that is generally recognized as safe for children, and my guess is that mom hasn't given you a doctor's note because she's giving the kid pills from her (mom's) script.

                                    Sadly, you can't do anything about the child's mother drugging her coping skills away, but you should really consider your risks here. You might want to talk to a lawyer in your state on the topic of increased liability when you know mom is giving your student a med that can impair gross motor coordination.

                                    For me, the life's too short rule would come into play. First, I do not approve of randomly medicating anxious children (it's a competition and nerves are part of it) - and while it might be none of my business were I the child's trainer, I still wouldn't participate in it. Second, there's the liability: The child is performing a complex task involving a horse, after mom gives her a CNS depressant. That's a wreck in the making. When you put that together, I'd fire the client. Period, the end.

                                    Good luck to you.


                                      Originally posted by Beasmom View Post

                                      One other thing: a good friend of mine who's done some serious WS time with some BNT's, suggested taking a Midol the morning of a show as a mild muscle relaxant. It works, doesn't impair my reaction time, and is over-the-counter!

                                      Maybe even a "placebo" would help this kid. Like Dumbo's "Magic Feather"!
                                      I suspect the placebo effect to be operating in your case, as well, as Midol does not contain any muscle relaxants
                                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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


                                        I don't know how old the child is, but this is just wrong on soooo many levels. What's the point of putting your child in a sport if she is not going to learn any of the really valuable lessons of that sport -- such as learning how to face your fears, ride through them and come out on the other side without chemical assistance???? This mom is training her daughter to become a drug addict or alcoholic. And it sickens me to see so many people say they don't see anything wrong with it!!!! WHEN did we start drugging our children???? Parents have lost their minds, or maybe they never even had any to begin with!!!

                                        If I were the trainer, I would have just that talk with the mother. I would say that one of the best things your daughter can learn from horses is not how to ride, but how to live. They can teach her about courage and patience and learning to be calm under pressure. You are preventing that from happening. I am completely opposed to drugging a child, and under no circumstances will I allow it without a doctor's note and I want to see the bottle with the child's name on it. IF she has anxiety issues, then as her trainer, I need to know this. I also need to know if she is taking any impairing drug ANY time she rides or works around horses -- not just at shows.

                                        And if this mother gets in a huff, then I would tell her that 1. you cannot work with her child and 2. you will be reporting the situation to the proper authorities. Kids are our responsiblity -- all of us. They are our future. And we sure as heck do not need one MORE drug addict ... which is precisely what this mother is grooming her daughter to become.

                                        Stage fright is natural. The best thing you can do with it is learn to channel it into positive energy. We all have emotions, that's a good thing. Teaching children to deaden them is wacked-out.