The Dope on Depo

CLICK HERE to read TPH Publisher Piper Klemm’s “It Shouldn’t Be Our Goal to Become FEI”  to learn more about this issue.

From loud conversations to faint whispers, there is a buzz in the hunter/jumper industry about Medroxyprogesterone Acetate, also know as Depo-Provera. “Depo,” as the drug is known in the vernacular, is a progestin widely used on mares, geldings, and stallions for a variety of reasons relating to behavior. Some believe that Depo has an anti-anxiety effect on horses. Some believe that it lessens mare-ish behavior and stud-ish behavior. In all cases, the effects are merely anecdotal as there has been no clinical research on the behavioral effect of Medroxyprogesterone Acetate in horses.

Photo: Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), sold under the brand name Depo-Provera, which for humans is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. (WHO Medicine)

Those are the facts. Another fact: At present, USEF is considering a future ban on the use of Depo- Provera in all horses. Further, it is considering also prohibiting the use of a stronger progestin, Altrenogest or Regumate, in all geldings and stallions.

For owners or exhibitors of mares, you will be limited to the use of Regumate to control estrous. Dangerous for females to handle, the drug must be administered in precise dosage on a daily basis. Monthly injectable Altrenogest is available at greater cost.

When the rumor of placing Depo on the list of banned substances floated to the surface of the equestrian world, the community voiced opposition to the rule. In response the industry’s demand to be heard, USEF is offering a “Public Workshop” in Orlando, FL on March 13, 2017. The meeting is public in so far as attendees are pre-registered and audience speakers’ topics are pre-approved. Amid claims of transparency and response to its constituency, USEF has chosen an opaque method of addressing the hot button issue.

For readers of this post who cannot attend the meeting, but who would like to weigh in on the decision, The Plaid Horse urges you to become involved. Please email your opinion to Murray Kessler or Bill Moroney and copy Mary Babick (President of the USHJA) at

If you are unsure about your opinion and would like more information, please copy and paste this text and email to or Please cc:

Subject: Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Ban

Dear US Equestrian,

Please clarify the status of Medroxyprogestrone Acetate (Depo-Provera) for use in horses and present the data indicating its harmful effects.


(Your name)

We cannot complain about the government if we do not vote. We cannot complain about the direction of our industry if we do not get involved. Speak out and step up; our collective actions will make a difference.

CLICK HERE to read TPH Publisher Piper Klemm’s “It Shouldn’t Be Our Goal to Become FEI” to learn more about this issue.

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