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This is a discussion on Ace within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    03-25-2010, 09:33 PM
Super Moderator

Since I show in a breed circuit drug testing is a common occurance. So I am so cautious during show season that I won't even use Bute unless checking the rule books first. I have a lot of friends that show in the hunt circuit, they use the local shows for their warm-ups and then do the A-rates a few times in the summer. I hear ALOT of people talk about how they used Ace to get through a show.

In fact, I spoke to a middle schooler over the weekend that mentioned she had given her horse a "happy drug" when he was being particularly high-strung. I got curious and looked up the rules for the local circuit and it states that they follow USEF rules. Those rules are a little bit hard to follow but as far as I could tell, it's illegal and it's a fineable offense.

It got me curious so I looked it up in AQHA and was surprised to see that it IS legal but then when I read further it said IF the horse has been diagnosed with HYPP. So I'm assuming it's used as a treatment for the disease, that I found interesting, I had no idea.

Now I used this drug on my mare when she severed her tendons and we were pulling her cast to change her bandages daily. It was REALLY painful and she got really good at kicking! The vet had told me that it was a relatively safe drug but that it effected the...hmmm... neourological system I thought, which to me, would make me think the horse could potentially be dangerous to ride when under the influence... Am I mistaken?

Also the vet had said they don't really have a good recall of what happened when they were under the influence, which to me, would mean that if you took a horse that was new to a situtation, and drugged it, then it would not recall any of it and the entire training/situation was a waste. And to me, it seems like it would be cheating in the show ring.

What are others thoughts? Have you used it to show? Do you believe it's a fairly common thing? Is it most prevailent in the hunt ring? I'm just curious....
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    03-25-2010, 09:35 PM
I know a lot of people who ace their horses for showing [hunters] & fox hunting. It really scares me ! I would never jump an aced horse [knowingly !] I have also heard that they don't remember training done while aced, im not sure if its true, but I believe it !
    03-25-2010, 11:18 PM
Are you serious? People are doping their horses to make them calm for a show, even though is messes with their memory and neurological system? And it's LEGAL?

Good freaking lord, what is this world coming too?

If it's a drug that effects the way your horse thinks, behaves, or acts, I don't see any reason why it should even be considered for use when a horse is in the show ring.

Cheating? I agree. There's no reason why someone with a doped up horse on Ace should win a Championship over another horse that someone has put a lot of time and effort into because that horse lifted his head once to look at something while the other stayed calm because the drug was too busy messing with his system for him to even notice what the other horse looked at.
If you need a drug to help your horse stay calm in the show ring, you probably shouldn't be training or showing in the first place.

I can't say how common it is in the hunt ring as I don't have any experiance there, but I can't even believe that someone could morally do that. Unfortantely, I think doping a horse is just all too common.

Personally, I wouldn't even consider riding a horse that has a drug like that running through their system. If it begins to effects the connections from brain to feet movement, I don't think it'd take much for horse and rider to end up in a pile with some serious damage done.

Unfortantely, some people don't care much about the training, rememberance or saftey of the horse so long as they get that first place ribbon, which is really too sad.
I would hope that if a horse tested positive for any sort of performance inhibiting drug that that person would be banned from the show ring. There's too many unmoral people out there already.

That's my opinion on it all.
    03-25-2010, 11:24 PM
Ace for the shows! Wow! I never heard about it before. Or may be people just hiding it too well.

Just curious... What about herb calmers like chamomile or vervain (I believe valerian is also tested, but I may be wrong)?
    03-26-2010, 12:40 AM
Magnesium is a great calming agent, it's healthy too. High potency in raspberry leaves, which is a main ingredient in Mare Magic.

The only time I've used Ace was for a horse that was severly lame from a massive bout of founder. The vet told us that it helps open the pathways in the legs and hooves, allowing for better blood circulation, helping heal the horse and relieve discomfort.

I'd never use it in the show ring.
    03-26-2010, 12:57 AM
I went to an auction once...many moons ago..and the floor was littered with ace tubes (?). You couldn't tell what was doctored and what wasn't. :(
    03-26-2010, 09:55 AM
Super Moderator
The legal part was only for horses that tested positive for HYPP so I'm assuming that it is used to treat that particular disease and that's why it's ok for those types of horses. Or an ingredient in it is used for the treatment. I have no idea though.

As for the hunt circuit, I've done local level hunt in the past and really I would pick one show series and do that. But the way they do it for the state level is as long as they are associated you can show so you can bounce around and do whatever shows you want. Is there a big prize at the end of the year? Is that why they are doing it?

It upsets me because I have a girl that is going to show my pony (he's 14.2) this year and he's a great guy but what are his chances? He'll be sober when he shows.
    03-26-2010, 10:53 AM
Originally Posted by farmpony84    
It got me curious so I looked it up in AQHA and was surprised to see that it IS legal but then when I read further it said IF the horse has been diagnosed with HYPP. So I'm assuming it's used as a treatment for the disease, that I found interesting, I had no idea.
Not a treatment. It takes the edge off to hopefully aid in the prevention of an attack.
    03-26-2010, 03:24 PM
I have seen ACE used very heavily in just about any rated or local hunter event I've ever been to. That includes, classics, HITS, local schooling shows etc. It's like candy to the big hunter riders. I know for a fact that in one 3'6" class almost all the horses were aced and I was like really? You're jumping that high on a horse that (excuse the pun) is already high? It doesn't make sense to me but that's why I don't do the big rated shows...I refuse to drug my horses to win. That being said, there are many horses out there that aren't ACE'd and they do just fine and win. So it's not the only way to win by any means, but it is a cheat for some people.

That being said I've heard that ACEing stallions and even geldings sometimes it can really mess their reproductive organs up and can cause swelling of the penis and could even kill them. I'm not sure where I heard that or what the situations were that caused it but I definitely think that side effects are something to really consider when using drugs like that and most people don't.
    03-26-2010, 03:43 PM
That has been a pretty common thing ever since Ace came out on the market. It is just another one of those things that people use to band-aid a situation instead of focusing on real training. It personally disgusts me and I personally don't think that any horse should be allowed to show if it has any kind of drug like that in it's system.

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