Drug Report Table of Contents IAHA NSAIDS Drug Report
Our Charge: "Conduct an impartial study to determine which AHSA category best serves the Arabian Horse Breed -- No Foreign Substance or Therapeutic Substance Group"

Table of Contents

Cause & Effect


Therapeutic substances, such as those listed in the table located in the Appendix of this report, should be used for the specific purpose for which they were developed. We are concerned only with substances that are used in our show rings today. Substances used for any other reason should not be considered.


Horses sometimes have injuries that require temporary relief. The question regarding our show horses seems to demand scrutiny since a very large percentage are said to need therapeutic substance help at our shows.

This Committee has concluded that, in addition to general "accident-type" injuries such as being kicked, banging into a trailer while traveling, falling, etc., (the normal scrapes and bruises that seem inevitable) and lameness and discomfort caused by conformation defects, there are man-made causes for some of these "discomforts" that require therapeutic substances be administered by veterinarians at our shows.

Among some of the contributing factors to this last category are the following:

1) The manner in which our Arabians are presented and/or ridden in the various divisions; i.e., they are being "forced" into frames that are not natural to their conformation. Holding this "unnatural" position while being required to show/perform athletically causes sore backs, "touchy" loin area, leg lameness, etc. for which our horses are medicated

2) The condition of the footing in our stabling areas and show ground arenas. Stabling should definitely not be on concrete and/or asphalt. Arenas should not have hard and rocky footing nor should they be too deep and soft. Being housed and worked in this type of footing leads to the medication of the horses.

3) The manner in which the horse is trimmed and shod. Incorrect hoof length and angle will cause lameness of varying degrees which, in turn, requires medication to be able to perform in the show ring.

Expanding on 1) above, the necessity for administering therapeutic substances will be greatly diminished if the presentation of our horses is kept within the parameters of their conformation and natural physical ability. This committee has also determined that our young horses 3 years old and under are at the beginning of their careers and there should be no reason to medicate them in order to enable them to show. However, this committee is also recommending that horses 3 and under be allowed to have antibiotics administered for health purposes as long as these antibiotics do not mask or cover up the use of illegal substances.

2) and 3) above are interrelated. The complaints that many of our showgrounds have improper or very poor footing which leads to lameness are certainly justified. This committee is recommending that show committees correct this problem as a way to diminish the necessity for the use of therapeutic medication.

In addition, considering that our rules state that hoof length is not to exceed 4 ½", there becomes two schools of thought. First, for the most part, our show horses are kept with hoofs right at that 4 1/2" length. Many of these horses with hooves this length do, indeed, have lameness problems because of the imperfect footing and must have medication to perform--a man-made problem.

In contrast with the longer show-ring hoof, most horses that are used for such athletic challenges as endurance, 3-day eventing, stock and reining, dressage, horses working on ranches, etc., do NOT have a long hoof. These horses do stay much more sound than the horses with longer hoofs, regardless of the footing. Observations of horses in the wild will show that wild horses maintain very short hoofs. Dr. Rooney of Kentucky University and Dr. Auer of Texas A&M have both stated (to Lorry Wagner, firsthand) that the longer hoof predisposes the horse to lameness.

The positions of our Arabian trainers/exhibitors/breeders becomes quite divided here. Should our show horses be shod with a longer hoof which makes the horse more susceptible to lameness problems, thereby necessitating the use of medication? Or do we keep a shorter foot on the horse and allow the horse to be able to tolerate less than perfect footing at our show grounds greatly diminishing susceptibility to lameness problems, which results in diminished need for medication?

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