Tasked with protecting the welfare of equine athletes and ensuring the balance of competition, the U.S. Equestrian Federation Equine Drugs and Medications Program constantly monitors products and product claims.
The author, an equine law practioner, thinks that the USEF's drugs and medication policies need to be updated to reflect the exponential advances in modern day drug detection technology.
Speed limits: They reduce our risk of injury or death. But different streets, roads, highways and freeways each require different speed limits because these each present different risks. The degree of risk presented in each situation—whether a school crossing zone, neighborhood or highway—determines the speed limit.
If you read through the most recent U.S. Equestrian Federation Hearing Committee rulings, a few familiar names may jump out at you. Some of the most successful trainers in the hunter/jumper industry, such as Andre Dignelli, Bibby Farmer Hill and Scott Stewart, made the list.
Dignelli, of Heritage Farm in Katonah, N.Y., was found in violation of improperly executing entry blanks. He agreed to a plea agreement, which the Hearing Committee accepted, incurring a $7,500 fine.
Concerns are growing about the intended purpose—and who was going to administer them—of illegally imported equine drugs seized from Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai government airplane at Stansted airport in the United Kingdom on May 3.
A. Kent Allen, DVM, announced to the U.S. Equestrian Federation Drugs and Medication Committee, which he chairs, that he’d done an informal poll of his clients to learn who’d read the recent article in The New York Times about drugging in the horse show industry. While he joked that it certainly wasn’t a Gallup poll, 60-70 percent of his clients had read the article, and even more had heard about it.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation rules are very clear about banning any medication given to enhance performance. Use of Carolina Gold [which contains the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA] is in clear violation of the rules. The bottom line is that it’s cheating.
This trainer believes people will always be trying to outsmart the system—so maybe the system needs to change.
Having returned to training in 2009 after a 15-year absence, I find everything has changed, and everything has stayed the same. When I “retired,” hunters still were primarily Thoroughbreds, and the conversations I had with other professionals were often about how to get them to be quiet enough in the show ring.
Effective immediately, the U.S. Equestrian Federation has banned the use of “Carolina Gold” or any other product containing gamma aminobutyric acid. The drug, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, is thought to calm horses but currently has no scientific data to support the claim.