Protecting Horse Health in the Show String

Preventing equine stomach ulcers is one of the secrets to success for this German-born trainer.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Merial

If it weren’t for a chance trip to a western riding camp, successful reining trainer Robin Schoeller might still be doing what he did when first introduced to horses – vaulting.

“It was me – and the rest were girls,” he says of his younger days taking vaulting lessons in his native Stuttgart, Germany. “I was lucky that my mom loved horses and was committed to keeping me involved, because horses are an expensive hobby.”

Robin made the switch to western riding in his early teens and devoted his spare time to riding as much as possible, even cleaning stalls in exchange for lessons. After high school, he went on to earn a degree in horse science and accepted a position working for German reining horse trainer Volker Schmitt.

In 2004, he moved to the United States to work for the legendary Shawn Flarida. During his time there, Robin quickly became a common name in the winner’s circle with such mounts as Peanuts Kid, Peptoleap, Wimpys Pinesail and KR Lil Conquistador.

In 2009, he and wife Laura started their own business, Robin Schoeller Reining Horses, in London, Ohio. They offer training and buying and selling services, as well as youth and nonpro instruction. Since branching out on his own, Robin and his clients have continued their success in the show pen on horses like Miz Whizconsin, WLS Tinseltown, Made By Magnum and Smart Tinseltown.

“I strive to provide an environment that allows each horse and rider to reach their full potential,” he says.

Is your performance horse not performing her best? Do you suspect ulcers might be the cause? Download AQHA’s FREE Stomach Ulcers in Horses report to learn more about the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention of ulcers.

As his mentors helped instill, Robin believes optimal equine health is part of the foundation for success.

“We expect a lot out of our horses, and to do their jobs, they need the best health care we can possibly provide.”

Part of Robin’s program for all the horses in his care includes attention to stomach health, which can be compromised by the stress that comes with preparing for the show pen, including training, traveling and competition.1 In fact, in a study, two out of three nonracing competitive horses were shown to have equine stomach ulcers.2

Robin has personally experienced horses with stomach ulcers.

“I think more horses have ulcers than we realize. They just don’t always show obvious signs. Some are just more stoic than others.”

But Robin did experience a mare that showed the common clinical signs.

“She started losing weight, picking at her feed, getting irritable during training and generally not acting like herself,” he recalls. Ultimately, Robin’s veterinarian performed an endoscopic examination, revealing that the mare had ulcers.

The signs of ulcers are often subtle. AQHA’s FREE Stomach Ulcers in Horses report can help you learn the clinical signs of ulcers to spot them before they become severe.

Following treatment with GASTROGARD® (omeprazole), the only proven and FDA-approved product for the treatment of equine stomach ulcers,3 she recovered.

To help prevent the ulcers from reoccurring in all of his show string horses, Robin now uses ULCERGARD® (omeprazole), the only proven and FDA-approved product for the prevention of equine stomach ulcers.1

“I start using it a couple of days before I leave for a show, use it during shows and until I get the horses back home,” Robin says. “With all the hard work and financial commitment it takes to get to a competitive level, you should do everything possible to make it successful,” he says.

Robin knows about success, as his rides have him squarely in the list of top competitors, both on the AQHA and National Reining Horse Association circuit. Under his tutelage, Beth Himes with Miz Whizconsin and Lyndsey Jordan with Made By Magnum have become top nonpro competitors, both with too many wins to mention.

Robin remains humble and grateful. “I’m lucky to be doing what I love every day,” he says.

For more information about ulcer prevention and treatment, go to

Safety of GASTROGARD in pregnant or lactating mares has not been determined.
ULCERGARD can be used in horses that weigh at least 600 pounds. Safety in pregnant mares has not been determined.
®ULCERGARD and GASTROGARD are registered trademarks of Merial. ©2015 Merial, Inc. Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. EQUIUGD1518 (04/15)
1ULCERGARD product label.
2Mitchell RD. Prevalence of gastric ulcers in hunter/jumper and dressage horses evaluated for poor performance. Association for Equine Sports Medicine. September 2001.
3GASTROGARD product label. Oral Paste for Horses and Foals NADA 141-123, Approved by FDA Caution Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. Description Chemical name: 5-Methoxy-2-[[(4-methoxy-3,5-dimethyl-2-pyridinyl) methyl]sulfinyl]-1H-benzimidazole. Empirical formula: C17H19N3O3S. Molecular weight: 345.42. Structural formula: How Supplied GASTROGARD® (omeprazole) Paste for horses contains 37% w/w omeprazole and is available in an adjustable-dose syringe. Each syringe contains 2.28 g of omeprazole. Syringes are calibrated according to body weight and are available in boxes of 7 units or 72 units. Storage Conditions Store at 68°F – 77°F (20-25°C). Excursions between 59°F – 86°F (15-30°C) are permitted. Indications For treatment and prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcers in horses and foals 4 weeks of age and older. Dosage Regimen For treatment of gastric ulcers, GASTROGARD Paste should be administered orally once-a-day for 4 weeks at the recommended dosage of 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (4 mg/kg). For the prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcers, continue treatment for at least an additional 4 weeks by administering GASTROGARD Paste at the recommended daily maintenance dose of 0.9 mg/lb (2 mg/kg). Directions For Use • GASTROGARD Paste for horses is recommended for use in horses and foals 4 weeks of age and older. The contents of one syringe will dose a 1250 lb (568 kg) horse at the rate of 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (4 mg/kg). For treatment of gastric ulcers, each weight marking on the syringe plunger will deliver sufficient omeprazole to treat 250 lb (114 kg) body weight. For prevention of recurrence of gastric ulcers, each weight marking will deliver sufficient omeprazole to dose 500 lb (227 kg) body weight. • To deliver GASTROGARD Paste at the treatment dose rate of 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (4 mg/kg), set the syringe plunger to the appropriate weight marking according to the horse’s weight in pounds. • To deliver GASTROGARD Paste at the dose rate of 0.9 mg/lb (2 mg/kg) to prevent recurrence of ulcers, set the syringe plunger to the weight marking corresponding to half of the horse’s weight in pounds. • To set the syringe plunger, unlock the knurled ring by rotating it 1/4 turn. Slide the knurled ring along the plunger shaft so that the side nearest the barrel is at the appropriate notch. Rotate the plunger ring 1/4 turn to lock it in place and ensure it is locked. Make sure the horse’s mouth contains no feed. Remove the cover from the tip of the syringe, and insert the syringe into the horse’s mouth at the interdental space. Depress the plunger until stopped by the knurled ring. The dose should be deposited on the back of the tongue or deep into the cheek pouch. Care should be taken to ensure that the horse consumes the complete dose. Treated animals should be observed briefly after administration to ensure that part of the dose is not lost or rejected. If any of the dose is lost, redosing is recommended. • If, after dosing, the syringe is not completely empty, it may be reused on following days until emptied. Replace the cap after each use. Warning Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, contact a physician. Physicians may contact a poison control center for advice concerning accidental ingestion. Adverse Reactions In efficacy trials, when the drug was administered at 1.8 mg omeprazole/lb (4 mg/kg) body weight daily for 28 days and 0.9 mg omeprazole/lb (2 mg/kg)body weight daily for 30 additional days, no adverse reactions were observed. Precautions The safety of GASTROGARD Paste has not been determined in pregnant or lactating mares. Clinical Pharmacology Mechanism of Action: Omeprazole is a gastric acid pump inhibitor that regulates the final step in hydrogen ion production and blocks gastric acid secretion regardless of the stimulus. Omeprazole irreversibly binds to the gastric parietal cell’s H+, K+ ATPase enzyme which pumps hydrogen ions into the lumen of the stomach in exchange for potassium ions. Since omeprazole accumulates in the cell canaliculi and is irreversibly bound to the effect site, the plasma concentration at steady state is not directly related to the amount that is bound to the enzyme. The relationship between omeprazole action and plasma concentration is a function of the rate-limiting process of H+, K+ ATPase activity/turnover. Once all of the enzyme becomes bound, acid secretion resumes only after new H+, K+ ATPase is synthesized in the parietal cell (i.e., the rate of new enzyme synthesis exceeds the rate of inhibition). Pharmacodynamics: In a study of pharmacodynamic effects using horses with gastric cannulae, secretion of gastric acid was inhibited in horses given 4 mg omeprazole/kg/day. After the expected maximum suppression of gastric acid secretion was reached (5 days), the actual secretion of gastric acid was reduced by 99%, 95% and 90% at 8, 16, and 24 hours, respectively. Pharmacokinetics: In a pharmacokinetic study involving thirteen healthy, mixed breed horses (8 female, 5 male) receiving multiple doses of omeprazole paste (1.8 mg/lb once daily for fifteen days) in either a fed or fasted state, there was no evidence of drug accumulation in the plasma when comparing the extent of systemic exposure (AUC0-_). When comparing the individual bioavailability data (AUC0-_, Cmax, and Tmax measurements) across the study days, there was great inter- and intrasubject variability in the rate and extent of product absorption. Also, the extent of omeprazole absorption in horses was reduced by approximately 67% in the presence of food. This is evidenced by the observation that the mean AUC0-_ values measured during the fifth day of omeprazole therapy when the animals were fasted for 24 hours was approximately three times greater than the AUC estimated after the first and fifteenth doses when the horses were fed hay ad libitum and sweet feed (grain) twice daily. Prandial status did not affect the rate of drug elimination. The terminal half-life estimates (N=38) ranged from approximately one-half to eight hours. Efficacy Dose Confirmation: GASTROGARD® (omeprazole) Paste, administered to provide omeprazole at 1.8 mg/lb (4 mg/kg) daily for 28 days, effectively healed or reduced the severity of gastric ulcers in 92% of omeprazole-treated horses. In comparison, 32% of controls exhibited healed or less severe ulcers. Horses enrolled in this study were healthy animals confirmed to have gastric ulcers by gastroscopy. Subsequent daily administration of GASTROGARD Paste to provide omeprazole at 0.9 mg/lb (2 mg/kg) for 30 days prevented recurrence of gastric ulcers in 84% of treated horses, whereas ulcers recurred or became more severe in horses removed from omeprazole treatment. Clinical Field Trials: GASTROGARD Paste administered at 1.8 mg/lb (4 mg/kg) daily for 28 days healed or reduced the severity of gastric ulcers in 99% of omeprazole-treated horses. In comparison, 32.4% of control horses had healed ulcers or ulcers which were reduced in severity. These trials included horses of various breeds and under different management conditions, and included horses in race or show training, pleasure horses, and foals as young as one month. Horses enrolled in the efficacy trials were healthy animals confirmed to have gastric ulcers by gastroscopy. In these field trials, horses readily accepted GASTROGARD Paste. There were no drug related adverse reactions. In the clinical trials, GASTROGARD Paste was used concomitantly with other therapies, which included: anthelmintics, antibiotics, non-steroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, diuretics, tranquilizers and vaccines. Diagnostic and Management Considerations: The following clinical signs may be associated with gastric ulceration in adult horses: inappetence or decreased appetite, recurrent colic, intermittent loose stools or chronic diarrhea, poor hair coat, poor body condition, or poor performance. Clinical signs in foals may include: bruxism (grinding of teeth), excessive salivation, colic, cranial abdominal tenderness, anorexia, diarrhea, sternal recumbency or weakness. A more accurate diagnosis of gastric ulceration in horses and foals may be made if ulcers are visualized directly by endoscopic examination of the gastric mucosa. Gastric ulcers may recur in horses if therapy to prevent recurrence is not administered after the initial treatment is completed. Use GASTROGARD Paste at 0.9 mg omeprazole/lb body weight (2 mg/kg) for control of gastric ulcers following treatment. The safety of administration of GASTROGARD Paste for longer than 91 days has not been determined. Maximal acid suppression occurs after three to five days of treatment with omeprazole. Safety • GASTROGARD Paste was well tolerated in the following controlled efficacy and safety studies. • In field trials involving 139 horses, including foals as young as one month of age, no adverse reactions attributable to omeprazole treatment were noted. • In a placebo controlled adult horse safety study, horses received 20 mg/kg/day omeprazole (5x the recommended dose) for 90 days. No treatment related adverse effects were observed. • In a placebo controlled tolerance study, adult horses were treated with GASTROGARD Paste at a dosage of 40 mg/kg/day (10x the recommended dose) for 21 days. No treatment related adverse effects were observed. • A placebo controlled foal safety study evaluated the safety of omeprazole at doses of 4, 12 or 20 mg/kg (1, 3 or 5x) once daily for 91 days. Foals ranged in age from 66 to 110 days at study initiation. Gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels were significantly elevated in horses treated at exaggerated doses of 20 mg/kg (5x the recommended dose). Mean stomach to body weight ratio was higher for foals in the 3x and 5x groups than for controls; however, no abnormalities of the stomach were evident on histological examination. Reproductive Safety In a male reproductive safety study, 10 stallions received GastroGard Paste at 12 mg/kg/day (3x the recommended dose) for 70 days. No treatment related adverse effects on semen quality or breeding behavior were observed. A safety study in breeding mares has not been conducted. For More Information Please call 1-888-637-4251. Marketed by: Merial Limited, Duluth, GA 30096-4640, U.S.A. Made in Brazil ®GASTROGARD is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2011 Merial. All rights reserved. Rev. 05-2011