Sedivet use in reining horses

So someone one one of my discussion boards posted a draft guidance on drugs for the NRHA,

Microsoft Word - DRAFT SO EDITS Tab 13-2 Animal Welfare and Medications Policy cms LK[1].docx (cavallomagazine.it)

Apparently, they will allow the use of Sedivet (romifidine)

"Romifidine (Sedivet®) is permitted to be administered at 0.5 cc, 30 minutes prior to competition but
must be submitted on the medications report form. Failure to do so will be considered a violation. "

This is problematic in many ways, for one, it’s not longer available in the US, so does that mean people will use compounded versions? If so, why no actual dose listed (0.5 ml could be different depending on compounding).

Yes, it is a low dose, but why is any sedative allowed? They state in the rules

“A prohibited “banned” substance is defined as the following:
• Any stimulant, depressant, tranquilizer, local anesthetic, psychotropic (mood and/or behavior altering)
substance, or drug which might affect the performance of a horse (stimulants and/or depressants are defined
as substances which stimulate or depress the cardiovascular, respiratory or central nervous systems)” which is exactly what Sedivet does. It’s in the name!

Of course reading through the rules, they also allow dexamethasone and all kinds of NSAIDS. Ugh…

I can’t speak to the use of Sedivet, but plenty of other horse sports allow dex and NSAIDs.

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No wonder they parted ways with the FEI.

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True, and would could argue the merits of each. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many people use Dex inappropriately in performance horses, so I do have an issue with it.

But to the purpose of the post, I can’t think of any good reason to allow Sedivet 30 minutes before a performance.

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Totally agree, seems quite dangerous.

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0.5ml is not a trivial dose of Sedivet. I have found it to have a similar potency to dormosedan, albeit with better retention of muscle control for the horse (so less wobbling/stumbling). The only thing I can think of would be to preemptively treat a tie up in a horse with a muscle disorder, like HYPP or PSSM, but even that seems sketchy. I would be interested to hear more about this.

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I wonder if it helps with the anxiety you see in experienced reining horses. The patterns are quite repetitive, and I imagine a horse starts to anticipate/get anxious during the hesitation, it could really mess up the next movement.

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I’d be curious to see the answers if this was in the western forum.

That was my thought. I’ve heard of barrel racing people using guanabenz to “lower blood pressure.” Obviously, that’s not what Sedivet does, but the desired outcome seems the same.

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There are horses who cannot function without dexamethasone because of allergies. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone using it for nefarious reasons (mostly because there are better options out there).

I know it’s slightly off topic, but I’m very against banning medications that improve quality of life in horses. Dex is one of those that can literally make the difference between a happy healthy horse and a horse suffering needlessly from allergies.

I’d also be interested to know what the reason behind the sedivet allowance is. It appears to not be useful in any capacity but sedation.

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You’d get more or less the same reaction there.

I focus on Ranch Horse, not NRHA shows, but I have a lot of “straight” reiner and crossover friends. They have all been incensed by this rule change. The legendary Carol Rose came out strongly against it yesterday.

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@Montanas_Girl, what is the purpose in the use of Sedivet in reiners?

Honestly, I don’t know for certain. But I’m going to guess that it’s much the same reason various calming supplements are used in hunters. Those horses are expected to go around like robots, yet still have enough power for dramatic stops. And a lot of the nonpros are way overhorsed.

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I cannot imagine riding a horse that is on a sedative of any type.

What the hell happened to horsemanship and what are we doing to these horses?

In the years I showed cutters, we loped out horses. Some we loped for a relatively short period of time, say less than an hour. Some much longer.

If you were a decent rider and horseman, you could feel when the horse was ready to get down to business and go show.

I loped one for what seemed like days at a show. The trainer got on him, took him into the pen to show, and he bucked and farted all the way across the pen on the first cow. She came out after the run and said, “Nope, not loped down enough”, and back out we went to lope some more.

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was very common for a while in AQHA and Hunters. Was used to calm horses (I’m not saying it works, but that is why it was used). IV injection prior to showing. I have personally witnessed horses getting injected. In that use I oppose it. Yes, for a horse with allergies, it should be allowed. And how do you differentiate? You can’t really, so I’m willing to let that one go.

Edited to add article mentioning the calming use

Side Effects of Performance-Suppressing Drugs: Medicating Dangers (horsesport.com)

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Glad to hear there is resistance. I hope it goes away!

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Are you sure it was dex? There’s other meds that can be used that work better than dex and don’t test. Not saying it never happens, but IME people who are breaking the rules to sedate a horse are going to the big guns, not piddling around with dex which doesn’t have much or any sedative effect and the horses develop a tolerance to.

USEF/FEI are in the predicament that banning medications is like whack a mole, you ban one thing and three others pop up, and you can’t test for them. It’s not an enviable position to be in, and there’s a lot more nefarious activity happening that they either can’t or won’t go after.

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I have conflicting feelings on this, though, in that I don’t think loping a horse down (or, for a hunter, lunging for hours) is ideal either. At least a sedative isn’t unnecessary wear and tear on a horse’s bones and joints.

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Do you think the responses would be much different? I’ve just dabbled in Reining, never made it to an NRHA show, but I’m plenty disgusted. As has been mentioned Carol Rose has come out with her disgust quite openly on her facebook.

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Cutting horses are conditioned to be worked. Loping them down is not necessarily stressful or harsh, depending on the level of conditioning and the trainer. My home pen was set up with the same type of footing we showed in, and my horses were always ridden outside the pen as well, as in long trail rides that not only condition them physically, but provide much needed relief from ring work.

Part of the loping process with cutters is not only physical, but mental as well. Is the horse responding the way it should when I ask for something specific? Is the horse focused on me? Is the horse supple and loose and relaxed, or tense and stiff? All those things go into making a good or great run.

My horses were never lunged, not even as a warm up or coming back into work after time off. You get on and ride. You warm them up properly. You condition them properly. You cool them out properly.

Even now, the only lunge line I own is in my LQ trailer, for use in the event a horse won’t load, and I can guarantee you it is buried under all the other things that are stored because I cannot tell you the last time I used it!

I put my last cutter down 2 years ago at the age of 24. Had he not been foundered twice by my ex-husband, he would have still been in great shape. A lot of care went into keeping him that way. Just this past July, I put down my 24 year old turn back horse. He had been a cutting futurity horse, and was most likely worked hard as a 2-3 year old. I bought him at 4, and kept him going until his retirement at 22 with very little maintenance required.

BUT, I was always ultimately responsible for my horse’s care, conditioning and whether or not they were shown. While I used a trainer for lessons, help in the show pen and advice, the end decision always fell to me, and that was non-negotiable. My horses have also always had turnout access, which goes a long way with aging horses.

Do you think any horse on a sedative is safe for humans or other horses to be around in a warm up ring or around a show ground?

The questions I have are the following:

  1. Why are these horses requiring a sedative in order to be shown?

  2. What is being asked of them physically and mentally?

  3. If these owners are so over faced by these horses, why are they even attempting to show them?

  4. What professional trainers think it is appropriate to put anyone on a horse that has been sedated?

  5. Is this a money issue or ego issue? Either way, it is wrong!

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