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Just read this shocking news in Horse and Hound. How must Jock be feeling? To come from such a high flying season to finish on this downer. It must be even worse if he knows that he and none of his staff have administered the drug. Subterfuge.

I thought it explained quite well the potential hazards to a situation I found myself in a few weeks ago.
Just before shutting up time one Friday night I was doing the last minute checks, making sure hay was out for the morning, gates were shut, rugs, headcollars and stray bits of tack away, when I came across a feed bucket. It was on the floor outside the barn full of wet chaff. It was green, so I knew it was a riding school one, and the food looked manky. So I threw it away.
Five minutes later a livery owner comes into the yard with her horse. “Oh someone`s moved your dinner”.


So she hunts around for a moment then I step forward and explain that I had thrown it away as it was unclaimed, looked fairly old, and I didn`t want it hanging around in the morning when we would be bringing in hundreds of horses and the last thing we wanted was all the horses in our hands diving towards this solitary green bucket.

“But all his meds and supplements are in there” Huffs the livery owner. So then I start to explain that it wasn`t really the best idea in the world to leave a feed bucket on the floor for all passing horses, particularly if it had prescribed drugs in. You can just imagine a little boy leading his pony back to his stable and finds himself being dragged to this bucket. Or another horse snaffling some of the feed while their owner is distracted by the Hello`s from their stable neighbour. This horse then goes out competing the next day. Affiliated. And gets blood tested. It would be catastrophic.
Alternatively, the feed bucket isn`t sufficiently rinsed out and the next riding school horse who eats out of it has an allergic reaction to the meds. Goes into anaphylactic shock.

It could happen, lets face it. I eventually brought said livery owner round to my way of thinking; use your own feed buckets, and feed buckets should not be left hanging around the yard for all to snack on. Especially if your horse is on a special diet!!

So how did Clifton Promise get reserpine into his system? Unlike my situation I can`t imagine any of Jock`s yard being negligent enough to put the wrong feed bucket into his stable, or to have not washed the equipment properly. Which leads me back to subterfuge.

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