Rules On The Road to Victory

The USA Equestrian Drug Testing Program
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The USA Equestrian Drug Testing Program

In the early 1970s, there was uproar in the country’s show arenas. Competitors wanted a level playing field–one competitor shouldn’t have a “chemical” advantage over another. The uproar resulted in the first big move toward establishing drugs and medications rule enforcement in equestrian competition.

“Riders were tired of being beaten in the ring by horses that were drugged,” explained John G. Lengel, DVM, administrator of the Drugs and Medications (D&M) Program for USA Equestrian (formerly American Horse Shows Association, or the AHSA until mid-2001). Lengel walked The Horse through USA Equestrian’s drug testing program, from the steps of collecting blood and urine samples to the penalties incurred for breaking the rules

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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