AQHA Makes Clenbuterol A Banned Substance

ventipulminClenbuterol, marketed under the brand name Ventipulmin or the generic aeropulmin, becomes a banned substance in AQHA competition Nov. 1.Beginning Nov. 1, 2015, clenbuterol will be considered a forbidden drug per American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Rule VIO401. Earlier this year, positive drug tests for detection of clenbuterol in American Quarter Horse racehorses resulted in significant penalties. As previously announced April 24, that policy was expanded to put an end to the abusive use of clenbuterol in show horses, and in time for the 2015 AQHA World Championship Show.

With this change in classification, clenbuterol is no longer reportable on a medication report form. Therefore, all horses at all AQHA shows, including those competing at the AQHA World Show, must be clear of clenbuterol on or before Nov. 1. To avoid a positive test, the AQHA is recommending a minimum 60-day withdrawal time.

The penalties for positive clenbuterol tests are as follows:

  • First Offense = $5,000 fine, disqualification of horse and 180-day suspension of responsible party;
  • Second Offense = $7,500 fine, disqualification of horse and one-year suspension of responsible party;
  • Third Offense = disqualification of horse and five-year suspension of responsible party.

The penalties referenced above also apply to positive tests for Class 1 and Class 2 drugs.

A bronchodilator marketed as Ventipulmin, clenbuterol is a legitimate and valuable medication used by veterinarians to treat horses with breathing difficulties, but its use has gotten completely out of hand because of its ability to act as a beta-2 agonist to increase muscle mass when used in dosages exceeding recommended amounts.

The health and well being of the American Quarter Horse is the AQHA’s utmost concern. In accordance with the AQHA’s mission statement, the American Quarter Horse shall be treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times. It is the goal of AQHA to educate members and non-members on this issue.

“Part of leveling the playing field in the show industry includes doing away with the illegal and illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs,” said AQHA President Dr. Glenn Blodgett. “It all comes down to protecting our horses.”

It was at its April meeting that the AQHA Executive Committee voted to add clenbuterol to the list of forbidden drugs per AQHA Rule VIO401. To view all committee and council recommendations with the Executive Committee’s actions from the April Executive Committee meeting, visit