NRHA Moves Ahead with Medications Rule

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Board of Directors recently voted to approve an Animal Welfare and Medications rule, including a multi-phase testing and research policy.

The new rule indicates that horses entered in NRHA shows are subject to veterinary examination (a physical examination and/or any other test deemed necessary by the attending veterinarian) and drug testing (by either blood or urine sample) to be carried out by a licensed veterinarian or technician.

The ruling also includes a description of a forbidden substance as defined by the NRHA and the acceptable limits for approved medications. Those responsible for horses that test positive for a forbidden substance or are over the legal limit for approved medications will be penalized, the rule states.

Additional verbiage will be added at a later date regarding state and international medication laws, the NRHA noted.

The full rule can be viewed on the NRHA website in the "Members Only" section and will also be included in the 2012 NRHA Handbook.

Due to the overwhelming response from the NRHA membership, the Board agreed this course of action is in the best interest of the reining horse and the organization as a whole. The information gathered in the multi-phase research process will provide a solid foundation for the future. "We had many discussions with the membership and received a tremendous amount of feedback," said NRHA Vice-President Beth Himes. "I believe this rule change and phase-in research program will meet the needs of a wide and diverse membership base. We addressed many domestic and internationals concerns and found a workable solution."

NRHA President Allen Mitchels stated, "Making this decision is a big step forward in protecting the welfare of our horses. This process gives us a great opportunity to collect data specific to our sport and implement a program that is suitable for our industry. This policy, along with our Stewards Program, demonstrates our commitment to the well-being of our equine athletes."

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