Tasked with protecting the welfare of equine athletes and ensuring the balance of competition, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equine Drugs and Medications Program consistently monitors new products and product claims. From time to time, new products appear on the equine supplement market claiming to enhance a horse’s performance. Over the last several years, cannabinoids have gained increased attention and have become nearly mainstream.
In 2018 Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the “Farm Bill”, which defines “hemp” as both the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any derivatives of cannabis with less than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). With the enactment of this bill, “hemp” is no longer considered a controlled substance under federal law, but THC remains a Schedule I drug with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The passage of the Farm Bill has created some potential confusion with respect to the use of these substances with competition horses.
USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Rules prohibit cannabidiols (CBD) and their metabolites. While hemp does not contain more than 0.3% THC, it does contain CBD. CBD, both natural and synthetic forms, are likely to effect the performance of a horse due to its reported anxiolytic effects. This substance is no different than legitimate therapeutics that effect mentation and behavior in horses. It is for these reasons that USEF prohibits CBD and all related cannabinoids. Horses competing under USEF rules who test positive for natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and other cannabimimetics will be considered in violation of GR4 beginning September 1, 2019.
It is important to note that analytical methods are being implemented to detect CBD and similar cannabinoids. Both USEF and FEI list natural cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and other cannabimimetics as prohibited substances. Caution is important when using these products as their composition widely varies and may not be representative of their label claims as there is no regulatory oversight from the FDA, nor guarantee of their safety in horses.
As published literature does not exist noting detection times of these substances in the horse, and because products can widely vary in their compositions and concentrations, detections prior to September 1 will receive warnings. They will be considered to be in “Prior” violation if there are additional detections of cannabinoids following September 1. GR411 Conditions For Therapeutic Administrations of Prohibited Substances does not apply for cannabinoids and medication report forms do not apply.
With regards to human use, any athlete who is subject to testing under the World Anti-Doping Code can refer to the regulations for human use of cannabinoids here.
US Equestrian has announced a horse substitution for the U.S. Eventing Olympic Team ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Luke Syndicate's Luke 140, the selected mount for Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.), will be replaced by Martin’s first direct reserve, Tsetserleg, a 14-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, and Tommie Turner. Luke 140 sustained a minor injury during his training preparation and has been withdrawn from consideration for the team but is expected to make a full recovery.
If we go along with the edict that preparation is everything, then getting the warm-up right for each phase at a competition is crucial and should be treated as though it is as important as what happens inside the arena or on the course. CCI5* rider Jennie Brannigan gives us her top tips for a good warm-up for the jumping phases.
World-class equestrian competition is back with full spectator attendance and opportunities for giving back
After a one-year hiatus for spectators due to Covid-19, The Event at Rebecca Farm will be running at full strength for competitors and spectators, July 21-25. The Event draws more than 600 riders and 8,000 spectators each year to the picturesque Flathead Valley in northwest Montana.
Max Corcoran, President of the USEA & 5* event groom, joins host Nicole Brown. Talking all things from preparations & time management tips to specific top-level grooming insights. Max shares her wealth of experience with us, highlighting that knowing your horse is the most important factor when considering all elements of equine management.