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Guilt By Association? – Questions About Drug Testing Policies

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured |     
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120 – Aug/Sept, 2018

BY DELORES KUHLWEIN

THE TABOO TOPIC OF POSITIVE DRUG TESTS: PUBLIC QUESTIONS ARISE ABOUT CURRENT DRUG POLICIES

When horses test positive for prohibited substances at a World Show, the headlines rock the industry. What follows is a tidal wave of speculation and reflection, compounded by the rapid spread of information through social media platforms. Not only does the public want to know if enough is being done to protect our horses but also if any rules need to be changed, and what repercussions are being administered.

It’s easy to get on a bandwagon of condemnation, but the reality of standing in an association’s shoes isn’t quite as simple as standing on the sidelines, and it’s an issue that plagues most associations. Nonetheless, we want the best for our horses, along with a fair and level playing field for competitors. A few more recent examples in the industry prompt questions about whether we’re doing enough (and if we’re doing it fairly) with drug testing in the horse show world.

Case #1: In 2012, APHA received seven positive drug tests from the APHA Open/Amateur World Championship Show. During a follow-up investigation, APHA discovered that the specimen collector was taking over-the-counter cold/allergy medication and that contamination had been possible. As a result, no action was taken against exhibitors, trainers, or owners of the seven horses, and APHA pledged to implement more rigorous drug-testing standards. However, conversations about drug testing in the APHA community were rekindled.

Case #2: The most recent splash in the headlines involved four horses from one well-known trainer’s barn testing positive for a forbidden substance, Guanabenz, at the 2017 AQHA World Show. AQHA took disciplinary action as well as adjusting titles as soon as the information was confirmed in early 2018.

In the most recent situation, what followed was an avalanche of questions jamming social media threads, along with some indignation, both on the part of the public and the suspended individuals.

Click here to read the complete article
120 – Aug/Sept, 2018