USEF's 12 Hour Rule Takes Effect December 1 stock photo

USEF’s 12 Hour Rule Takes Effect December 1

A new rule taking effect next month means no horse or pony competing at United States Equestrian Federation shows can be injected 12-hours prior to stepping foot into the ring.
The 12 Hour Rule falls under a new category in USEF’s Rule Book labeled Prohibited Practices. The rule was one of two introduced in March 2013 by the USEF Veterinary Committee. Intense scrutiny, over horse welfare concerns, fell upon the association after the death of the pony, Humble, in May 2012.


There are only three exceptions that apply to the rule: therapeutic fluids, antibiotics, and Dexamethasone for the treatment of hives. Additionally, all acceptable substances must be administered by a veterinarian and cannot be administered to a horse or pony within six hours prior to competing.

A few medications are affected by this change.
•Dexamethasone (Azium®) – maximum 24 hour dose has been decreased from 20mg/1000lb horse to 10mg/1000lb horse and must be administered in accordance with the new “12 Hour Rule” GR414.
•Ketoprofen (Ketofen®) – maximum 24 hour dose 1.0 gram/1000lb horse remains the same, however it must be administered no later than 12 hours prior to competition.
•Methocarbamol (Robaxin®) – maximum 24 hour dose 5.0grams/1000lb horse remains the same, however must be administered no later than 12 hours prior to competition.
GR 414 Prohibited Practices states

1. No injectable substances may be administered to any horse or pony within 12 hours prior to competing, with the following three exceptions subject to paragraph 2 below:

a. Therapeutic fluids, which amount must consist of a minimum of 10L of polyionic fluids; and which must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines. The fluids must not be supplemented with concentrated electrolytes, such as magnesium.

b. Antibiotics. Procaine penicillin G is prohibited under this exception.

c. Dexamethasone. This is permitted only for the treatment of acute urticaria(hives). The dose must not exceed 0.5 mg per 100lb (5.0 mg for 1000lb horse) if administered more than 6 hours and less than 12 hours prior to entering the competition ring, and must not exceed 1.0 mg per 100lb (10.0 mg for 1000lb horse) within any 24-hour period.

2. The above exceptions are permitted only when (i) the substance is administered by a licensed veterinarian and no less than six hours prior to competing; and (ii) the “Trainer” as defined under General Rule 404 properly files, or causes to be properly filed, an Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form with the Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative within one hour after the administration of the substance or one hour after the Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative returns to duty if the administration occurs at a time outside competition hours. The Steward/Technical Delegate or competition office representative shall sign and record the time of receipt on the Equine Drugs and Medications Report Form.

The 12 Hour Rule takes effect December 1, 2013.