The United States Equestrian Federation is taking steps to level the competition field. The organization has announced effective immediately, any supplements or products containing gama amiobutyric acid (GABA) are forbidden.
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which can be found in products often marketed as supplements or under the name Carolina Gold. The products act as a calming aid since experts say the compound which is often injected appears to reduce anxiety.
“While initially not considered a forbidden substance, the use of GABA as a 'calming supplement’ does violate the spirit and intent of the Equine Drugs and Medications Rule. During recent research and administration trials involving ‘Carolina Gold,’ many adverse reactions were documented. The nature of these reactions has prompted immediate action from the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program.
According to the USEF, there are no recognized medical uses for the substance so the use of a Medication Report Form to report its administration will not be allowed by any competitors.
“The detection of GABA is being actively pursued by the USEF Equine Drugs and Medications Program and will be implemented without delay or notice. No further announcements will be forthcoming regarding the use of ‘Carolina Gold’ or GABA. All positive findings will be forwarded to the USEF Hearing Committee. Trainers and veterinarians involved in the sale or use of this substance may be subject to fines and/or suspensions.”