If you stable show horses with a professional trainer more than likely there has been a line item on your show bill generically labeled "show meds."
A.C.T.H. (Adrenocorticotropic hormone) is a naturally occurring adrenaline hormone produced around the kidneys. The hormone stimulates the horse’s own adrenal gland to cause a euphoric response in the brain. A.C.T.H. can be a very effective pain reliever when administered properly.
Racehorses are often injected before training sessions and races.
Why is A.C.T.H. a popular competition drug? There is not test for it. It can not be traced if blood is drawn.
Please know that I am writing from experience and research. Here is a blanket statement: National-Level professional horse trainers will take liberties with your animals all for a blue ribbon. Regardless of their level of commitment to your animal’s well being we must accept the fact they have to make a living. To stay on the top, they must win.
A whole new dimension of the “horse business” opened up to me the day I questioned why I was charged for “show meds” when my horse wasn’t sick. The answer didn’t come immediately. The office manager wouldn’t discuss it with me. My trainer finally told me after three days of phone tag that he administered A.C.T.H. to my horse a few hours before he was to show.
Four immediate concerns became apparent: my trainer injected something without my consent, without veterinary instructions and with the intent on cheating. The fourth was what possible side-effects my horse could experience.
My trainer tried to convince me that “everyone” uses it. Nine of the top ten western horses that year were all administered A.C.T.H. Showing your horse can be great entertainment for the entire family.
The point of this blog is to open all fellow horse enthusiasts eyes to make sure that you are paying your trainer to train your horse, not drug it.