Read Before You Feed, Show


It may be winter now, but if you’re a horse show competitor you’re probably dreaming of spring and blue ribbons. Perhaps you’re heading off to one of the winter circuits in Florida or California. Whichever is the case, be forewarned: some of those herbal-based feed supplements, oral coat conditioners and even topical balms could contain banned substances, according to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). If you compete in any shows sanctioned by the USEF or one of its affiliates, you need to know the rules. Seemingly innocuous ingredients such as passion flower, lavender, devil’s claw and chamomile are not allowed. And think carefully about letting your equine have a taste of certain beverages: hops (beer) and caffeine (cola drinks) are also no-nos. For a complete list of forbidden substances, go to and click on the link to the drugs and medications pamphlet. If you still have questions, you can email the USEF at:


  1. Wow! This really zapped me as I use lavender and passion flower on my mare. Will be making a big change in our daily grooming.


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