Cross-posted from the New Jersey Star-Ledger
WRITTEN BY NANCY JAFFER
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A determined initiative to curtail “permissive and excessive” use of medication in managing competition horses took shape at a productive U.S. Equestrian Federation annual meeting, with plans for a variety of ways to handle the situation.
The hottest topic at the convention, which ended yesterday, was the abuse of drugs and supplements. Although the USEF has a sophisticated testing program for prohibited drugs, some people still aren’t discouraged from trying an end run around it.
One strategy involves using substances that will “calm” horses, particularly in the hunter ring, where a quiet demeanor is valued. Gaba, a neurotransmitter that inhibits the sense of fear and anxiety (often marketed as Carolina Gold), was among the chief offenders until a test was developed for it last year. Four cases were adjudicated, two are still in the pipeline.
A hunter task force was scheduled to meet last fall on the situation, but Superstorm Sandy intervened. The task force has been rescheduled for mid-February. Continue reading >>