From Endurance to Dressage
Izzy is once again on Prednisolone for his reaction to gnats and other biting insects. We finished last year on a positive note; all of the corticosteroids helped control his reaction to the bites. Wanting to get a head start on the season, I started with the Prednisolone two weeks ago (with my vet's approval).
Last year, we only did two shows while Izzy was on the drug, so I didn't do a lot of research. Based on USEF's Drugs and Medications guidelines, the detectable time is seven days, so I followed that protocol for both shows. Since we're doing more than two shows this year, I decided to find out exactly what the rule is for administering Predisolone. I emailed US Equestrian over the weekend, and by Monday morning I had a response.
If you've ever needed to consult the USEF Guidelines for Drugs and Medications pamphlet, you'll know that it's pretty comprehensive, but not necessarily easy to find what you're looking for. Just because a drug is prohibited doesn't mean you can't use it. The biggest issue is when you can use it. For that, you need to determine how long the drug is detectable. For some drugs, that might mean merely hours, but for others, it may mean days, weeks, or even months.
There are other drugs like Pergolide/Prascend, that are prohibited, but riders can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption which permits the rider to administer the drug as prescribed. Speedy was the beneficiary of a TUE. Equally confusing are the Medication Report Forms. For some drugs and medications, riders can still give certain banned substances up to 24 hours before a show as long as they fill out an MRF.
To my surprise - we all know I don't think too much of US Equestrian, I received a reply to my email from an actual person. Not only was there a reply, but it was actually useful. Sarah, who I assume is a member of the Equine Drugs and Medication Program, clarified the rule for me by quoting the actual language from page 16 under the Guidelines for the Therapeutic Use of Dexamethasone and Other Corticosteroids. Alternative Number 3 spells it out pretty clearly, and the good news is that I can continue giving the Prednisolone up to 24 hours prior to competing as long as I complete an MRP. Izzy's skin will appreciate that.
What makes US Equestrian's Drugs and Medications rules so confusing is that there are prohibited substances that can still be given as long as:
To further gunk up the works, there is an entirely separate page dedicated to FEI prohibited substances. Things like, wait for it ... Pergolide. That's right, Pergolide is fine for Fourth Level horses but not for Prix St. Georges. I don't tend to give drugs or medications with any frequency, at least not until this past year or so, so navigating the minutiae of the guidelines has been time consuming.
Speedy's Prascend was the first drug I've ever needed to give daily. Now with Izzy's ulcery tummy and sensitive skin, it looks like the USEF Guidelines for Drugs and Medications pamphlet will be moved to the front of my pile of show materials.
It's just one more thing ...
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: