New Drug Rules Start December 1

If you show in USEF or FEI competitions, listen up.

A new category of rules referred to as Prohibited Practices has been introduced to the USEF Rule Book and will take effect December 1. The first rule to be adopted is the GR 414 Prohibited Practices aka the “12 Hour Rule”:

1. No injectable substances may be administered to any horse or pony within 12 hours prior to competing, with the following three exceptions subject to paragraph 2 below: 

a. Therapeutic fluids, which amount must consist of a minimum of 10L of polyionic fluids; and which must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines. The fluids must not be supplemented with concentrated electrolytes, such as magnesium. 

b. Antibiotics. Procaine penicillin G is prohibited under this exception. 

c. Dexamethasone. This is permitted only for the treatment of acute urticaria(hives). The dose must not exceed 0.5 mg per 100lb (5.0 mg for 1000lb horse) if administered more than 6 hours and less than 12 hours prior to entering the competition ring, and must not exceed 1.0 mg per 100lb (10.0 mg for 1000lb horse) within any 24-hour period. 

2. The above exceptions are permitted only when (i) the substance is administered by a licensed veterinarian and no less than six hours prior to competing; and (ii) the “Trainer” as defined under General Rule 404 properly files, or causes to be properly filed, an Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form with the Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative within one hour after the administration of the substance or one hour after the Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative returns to duty if the administration occurs at a time outside competition hours. The Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative shall sign and record the time of receipt on the Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form.

In summary, there are a few bullet points to remember about this rule change.

  • No horses or ponies maybe injected within 12 hours of competing.
  • There are only three exceptions to this rule: therapeutic fluids, antibiotics, and Dexamethasone (for the treatment of hives).
  • All excepted substances must be administered by a veterinarian and cannot be administered to a horse or pony within six hours of competing.

There are three restricted medications that are affected by this change:

  • Dexamethasone (Azium) – maximum 24 hour dose has been decreased from 20mg/1000lb horse to 10mg/1000lb horse and must be administered in accordance with the new “12 Hour Rule” GR414.
  • Ketoprofen (Ketofen) – maximum 24 hour dose 1.0 gram/1000lb horse remains the same, however it must be administered no later than 12 hours prior to competition.
  • Methocarbamol (Robaxin) – maximum 24 hour dose 5.0grams/1000lb horse remains the same, however must be administered no later than 12 hours prior to competition.

In addition, the FEI Bureau has approved changes to the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List. The new list is effective January 1, 2014. The USEF has announced this information:

Two new controlled substances have been added to the List for 2014, which are: 

  • Metformin – a potent but legitimate oral anti-diabetic drug with a potential welfare risk;
  • Levothyroxine – an exogenous thyroid hormone replacement that could enhance performance.

Adrenocortico-trophic hormone (ACTH) is currently classified as a Banned Substance and will be moved to the Controlled Medication section of the 2014 List due to its therapeutic value in equine medicine.

Three previously unlisted substances will be added to the Banned Substances section of the 2014 list, as they are considered to have a potential for abuse, or to improve athletic performance:

  • Ammonium Chloride injectable
  • Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL)
  • Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)

The changes to the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List are also accessible on the FEI Clean Sport webpage. The FEI Equine Prohibited Substances Database will be amended and the complete 2014 Equine Prohibited Substances List will be made available on the Clean Sport website prior to January 1, 2014.

These changes have been noticed in accordance with FEI Rules requiring all changes to the List to be published 90 days in advance in order to allow National Federations, athletes and veterinarians sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the revised List prior to implementation.

The new competition year begins December 1, 2013. The USEF encourages every exhibitor, trainer, coach, and owner to take time, prior to competing, to carefully review the “Guidelines for How Long Drugs Remain Detectable” which is included in the 2014 USEF Drugs & Medications Guidelines and can be accessed by clicking here or by contacting the USEF Drugs & Medication Program at You may also call the USEF Drugs & Medications office at 800-633-2472 to request a copy.

What did you think of this article?

Thank you for your feedback!