How many times have you seen a person scouring the label of a horsecare product and anxiously asking, “Does this test?”
Equine Canada (EC) regulates national competitions in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, general performance, hunter, jumper, para-equestrian, reining, vaulting and breed sports. When you pay your show fees at an EC-sanctioned show, you’re also paying for an Equine Medication Control Technician to work the show. This professional randomly selects horses and tests their urine and/or blood for banned substance. The technician can also perform “target tests,” where a horse is singled out for testing. EC doesn’t need to provide a reason for target testing a specific horse.
EC takes anti-doping laws seriously. If your horse is selected for testing, even a trace amount of a banned substance can be enough to strip you of your winnings, hit you with a fine or ban you from competition.
Here’s a list of common prohibited drugs:
Keep withdrawal periods in mind too – that’s the length of time between giving the drug and when the horse can compete with little risk of “testing” and incurring a medication violation. A drug like Xylazine (aka Rompun®) won’t test after 24 hours, where Penicillin G (which contains procaine) needs 45 days to clear the horse’s system.
Remember, many allowed substances, such as nutritional supplements, are made in the same facilities as controlled substances. If the feed mill isn’t extra careful, residues of acepromazine could end up in your glucosamine. That’s why many trainers avoid putting anything special in or on their horses at competition time.
For more information on EC’s anti-doping laws, check out their website. Download the 2015 Equine Medication Control Guide for a list of allowed and prohibited drugs. If you compete with another organization, ask the show secretary for a list of banned substances.