How can you tell if a horse is doped? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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How can you tell if a horse is doped?

I am pretty sure that a horse that I bought had been doped. When I rode it in the seller's arena, it was calm and cool. I have had that horse for four years and he has not had another day when he behaved anything like that. Since there are so many drugs on the market, can a blood sample find a doped horse? I am going to start looking for a new horse and I don't want to repeat my mistake.
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 03:39 PM
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f course a simple blood test could let you know if the horse is doped up . Although you can look for these signs

Ears don't move, even when there is a lot of noise. They mostly stay in a tilted back position.
Dropped heart rate- a horse's natural pulse should be between 40-60 Beats per minute. If you are suspicious that a horse may be drugged walk up and take the pulse right along the girth line.
Extra salavation from the mouth, even when not worked. A horse will naturally salavate with a bit in their mouth, however, if you notice the St Bernard or Mastiff effect on a horse, steer clear.
Glazed eyes with hardly any blinking.
Dehydration of the skin- a horse normally doped up will not drink or eat properly. Pinch a fatty part of the skin, if it doesn't fold back to normal...you know something is wrong.

And lastly, your gut instinct. A person who normally dopes their horse will not leave the horse's side. This is because people are curious and may wonder why the horse is unreactive or unresponsive to noise, other horses, and people. An owner standing right by their side- to calm worries by saying, "Oh, this guy is such a baby." or "He's always been like this with large crowds."
Don't believe that...

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post #3 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterParty View Post
And lastly, your gut instinct. A person who normally dopes their horse will not leave the horse's side. This is because people are curious and may wonder why the horse is unreactive or unresponsive to noise, other horses, and people. An owner standing right by their side- to calm worries by saying, "Oh, this guy is such a baby." or "He's always been like this with large crowds."
Don't believe that...
^Totally agree with her on this one. My mare was drugged when we bought her. I noticed she wasn't the same as the previous time I looked at her, she rode like a dream even though they said she had just been backed. It was negative 10 outside without wind(it was a extremely windy day), snowmobiles in the field, horses running in next to the arena, she didn't even flinch. She was three when I bought her when I got her home became extremely heard bound. She also had a small shaved patch at the top of her neck under her mane, I noticed it after she sent me to the hospital. I was a ignorant buyer at the time and it put me in the hospital a week and a half later when she flipped on me. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't trade this horse for the world but be careful PLEASE. Have a trainer work with him or use extra caution while riding. It's the worst feeling knowing you allowed yourself to let your guard down and not see the warning signs of a drugged horse.


Just please be safe when working with the horse!
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 06:22 PM
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Also, depending on which drug they use, the horse's pupils will sometimes be dilated and they might sweat profusely. If you are unsure, you might find a very knowledgeable horse person who has been around enough drugged horses to be able to spot one go with you or have the vet do the PPE with blood test the same day that you test ride them. That way, any drugs that are in the system when you ride will show up in the test.

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post #5 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 06:27 PM
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Which is why I advocate showing up an hour early when going to look at a new horse.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #6 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 08:01 PM
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This is why I really prefer to not purchase from a sale barn...not to say that every seller will do things like doping a horse, or masking pain with medications, but with the 'faster pace' a buyer might be sucked in and forget to do something as simple as blood testing prior to a buy.

That said, when ever you do a purchase, make sure to get the blood tests and health check prior to sealing the deal. Make sure the horse has a negative coggins, as well as a current proof of vaccination and worming history. Now, if it is a rescue horse you are going after, obviously some of those may not be current, but still always get a thorough vet check and run a blood test asap.

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post #7 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 09:00 PM
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Here are some ways :

1. If their ears don't seem to moving at all (as if they are not attentive) even when there is lots of noise around, that is a sign of drugging. If they aren't moving, poke your finger in there. An un drugged horse will obviously flick it's ear or head around

2. A dropped heart rate. I always check their pulse right under their girth.

3. If there is extra salvation from the mouth when they are not being worked or rode.

4. Glazed over, stoned look in their eyes.

5. If the horse is not in its home barn, then obviously there should be some curiosity and excitement coming from the horse because he should be interested in his new surroundings.

6. Lift up their tail. If they show little to no resistance, possible drugging.

7. If a gelding, sometimes their "junk" will hang out for a long time. And in mares, a very droopy lip (but that doesn't always mean drugging. Lots of horses have a naturally droopy lip)

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post #8 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 09:30 PM
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I once saw a drugged horse. I knew it was drugged because it was a stallion in a 3x3 auction yard with 3' fences, and he had absolutely no interest in the two mares either side of him, and his eyes were glazed over. Steered clear of that one!

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post #9 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Ears don't move, even when there is a lot of noise. They mostly stay in a tilted back position.
Dropped heart rate- a horse's natural pulse should be between 40-60 Beats per minute. If you are suspicious that a horse may be drugged walk up and take the pulse right along the girth line.
Extra salavation from the mouth, even when not worked. A horse will naturally salavate with a bit in their mouth, however, if you notice the St Bernard or Mastiff effect on a horse, steer clear.
Glazed eyes with hardly any blinking.
Dehydration of the skin- a horse normally doped up will not drink or eat properly. Pinch a fatty part of the skin, if it doesn't fold back to normal...you know something is wrong.
Just want to add in, some horses act like some of this normally... I have on out here who, if I was to go by some of these, would be positive for being drugged daily. Lol.

Just be very careful, and, if at all possible, take someone who is able to tell a drugged horse from a naturally relaxed one.

At the sales, we (my friends and I) can almost always pick out the horses that have been drugged from the normal ones, even when some of the 'normal' ones act the way some of the drugged ones are.

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post #10 of 27 Old 06-08-2010, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much guys. I will really be on the lookout next time.
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