An Ounce of Prevention

An Ounce of Prevention by Ellen DiBella

We all want the best for our wonderful horses when it comes to nutrition, supplements, and veterinary care. When you have older horses who may be on a second or even a third career, we turn to supplements and medication to keep our equine partners sound, safe, and comfortable.

Have you been to a doctor’s office lately? One of the first questions that you will asked is what prescription medications you are currently taking and also over-the-counter vitamins, supplements, etc. you take. The doctor asks these questions so that he is better prepared to treat you. Some supplements, vitamins, and other over-the-counter products can influence any treatment that you might have.  The situation with our horses is much the same.

Our WDAA World Championship Show is a USEF show this year. USEF is a wonderful and proactive partner for WDAA in terms of horse welfare.  USEF has Equine Drugs and Medications Rules that apply to our horses.  It is really important that each of us understands these rules and that we fully comply with them.  The drug rules have been created in response to studies about the effect of medications on our horses and are intended to protect our horses and to ensure a fair and level playing field for competition.

I sat in the back of the room during the Drug and Medication meeting at the USEF meeting this year.  This committee is chaired by Dr. Kent Allen and the staff liaison is Dr. Steve Schumacher, a wonderful veterinarian and an advocate for our horses.  Much of the discussion focused on positive drug tests resulting from the use of supplements.  Some of these supplements contained illegal substances that may or may not have been listed on the product label. What is troubling is that supplements are not agency regulated and there are no specific requirements to ensure efficacy or safety when using these supplements.

USEF does not want to create problems for horses or their owners and is very proactive in providing support for us when we have questions about medications and supplements.  There are several links attached to this article for you to read and for you to ask USEF questions.  Please go to these links, read the information, and contact USEF with any questions you may have.

Some years ago, I had a wonderful horse in training who developed a cough; the local veterinarian prescribed a medication which was very effective.  I emailed USEF to ask about this medication and learned that my horse had to be off the medication for a period of time before the competition.  The trainer took the horse off the medication and the horse was fine.  We won a World Championship and the horse was tested by USEF.  No problems arose because we asked USEF and followed their recommendations.

We hope that you are bringing an equine partner to our World Championship show and we want you to have a wonderful time.  Go to the USEF website and read the rules about medications now.  If you have questions about any medication or supplement, email USEF and ask them about the medication and any supplement.

Our goal is for you and your horse to have a wonderful time at our World Championship show.  Make sure that you are both prepared.  Read those rules and ask your questions.  Was it Ben Franklin who said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?


For any questions:

To report medication:

USEF Rules:

Drugs & Medications booklet:

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