Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Of Rules and Foreign Substances

In the continued effort to prevent joint strain and to support Delphi's joints and performance in general, I've been researching joint supplements and the USEF rules about particular substances.
What I've learned:

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) is helpful in the support of sinovial fluid in joints.
  • Chondroitin sulfate has to do with cartilage support, both by stimulating new cartilage and preventing the breakdown of existing cartilage.
  • Glucosamine is the building block of chondroitin sulfate, so it also supports new cartilage growth and prevents cartilage breakdown.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic sulfur that helps form cartilage and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Vitamin C is needed for collagen formation and it too has anti-inflammatory properties.
So Delphi has started on the supplement TriSport which has glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, and vitamin C. After a month, I'll switch her to SmartFlex III which has glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, vitamin C, and HA.

At first I was under the impression that HA was considered a Foreign Substance and that you had to sign a declaration that your horse had been administered HA in order to comply with the USEF rules. I was wrong. I spoke with an actual human being at the USEF Office of Federation Equine Drugs and Medications Program today and learned that HA (and all of the other ingredients I mentioned above) are indeed allowed and are NOT considered foreign substances. Only if one is showing cross country (USEA) or the FEI levels, one must declare the use of HA.

For my purposes, until I compete at CDI(an acronym for Concours Dressage International, a dressage competition recognized by the FEI; at CDI-W there are World Cup qualifying classes, at CDIO there are Olympic qualifying or Olympic classes at the show), Delphi can eat supplements with HA, chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM and vitamin C, and can even be injected with pharmaceuticals containing HA like Legend.

For now, we're starting with the oral supplement route and hoping to avoid any injection therapy in the future.