The cannabidiol (CBD oil) industry is quickly growing across the Commonwealth, so much, that it's reaching into other more traditional industries like horse training and racing. It's forbidden in race horses. A recent investigation into the possible use in a race horse has caused officials to hammer-out some punishments. However, others who train show horses are testing the substance and say there have been successes.

  • Cannabidiol is a growing industry in Kentucky, so much that trainers have been testing it on some show horses.  
  • The use of CBD is prohibited in race horses. 
  • After a recent investigation into the possible use in one race horse, there are new punishments. 

At Silver Brook Stables in Louisville, a 6-year-old show horse named Skinny Dipping trains. The mare has been given CBD oil, and trainer Debbie Foley says it's been successful. 

"She gets distracted easily, and then when she does get distracted, she just gets a little rattled and she can't stay- keep her mind straight on what she's doing," Foley explains. 

After trying the CBD oil on the horse, she says Skinny Dipping has shown and won. She compares the mare to a human. 

"I would compare her to a child with ADD. She has a hard time staying focused on what she's doing," Foley says.

Elsewhere, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is coming down hard on those who give the substance to race horses. It's forbidden. The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium has laid out the consequences for those who give CBD oil to a race horse; the horse will be disqualified, and there could be either suspension or a fine for the trainer-- based on the facts of the investigation when it's learned how the substance got into the horse.

"Cannabidiol is being aggressively marketed for a litany of health conditions in humans, horses, dogs, cats, and many of those claims have no scientific support," Dr. Mary Scollay says. 

Dr. Mary Scollay is the Equine Medical Director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. She says there's too much unknown about the effects of CBD oil; however, it's being tested. Until more is known, there's a strict policy against it. 

"I think the viability of the entire sport rests on the stewardship of the horse's health," Scollay continues. "If we are not responsible and caring for them, we cannot defend anything that we do. So, I think that we have to keep our focus on the health and welfare of the horse, we also have people wagering on our races, and those people need to be able to wager with confidence that the horse's performance was not modified by a foreign substance."

Foley says she's seen no alteration in her horse's performance from the substance, but that "we certainly don't want to do anything to alter their performance or take their brilliance or animation away from them. We know you, we don't want them looking like they're sleepy, tranquilized, that kind of stuff like that. We don't want that kind of look to these horses."