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Behaviour-Altering Feed Supplements

There are occasions when a rider/owner/trainer might need to calm their horse in preparation for stressful situations. This could be for the farrier, during stall rest or transport, prior to veterinary care, or even riding in a new environment. However, if a compound is fed or administered to alter mood or behaviour at a competition, it is forbidden by the FEI, Equestrian Canada, and the US Equestrian Federation. The mission of all these bodies is to support fair play/clean sport and to “place equine welfare above all other considerations [and] abstain from the use of performance-enhancing substances or methods” (EC’s Code of Conduct and Ethics). This is regardless if a product “tests positive” or not. Of course, this becomes a slippery slope, particularly when we are looking at nutrients (magnesium or tryptophan, for example). It was a topic that I discussed with the chief administrator of the USEF Equine Drugs…

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