Penalty Guidelines effective September 1, 2017
The United States Equestrian Federation has released the specifics of the horse welfare and safety violation types and penalties. The new guidelines go into effect in two weeks on September 1, 2017.
When the Federation announced the approval of new horse welfare penalties by the Board last month we sought answers to your questions. While Julian McPeak, the group’s Marketing and Communications Director initially replied to our request she failed to provide a response.
So is USEF President Murray Kessler’s commitment to transparency working?
USEF states if a member violates any of the horse welfare and safety rules and goes before the Hearing Committee the penalty should be appropriately severe. The Committee uses the Penalty Guidelines in horse welfare and safety cases as a guide to the types and ranges of penalties to impose, allowing consistency.
The violations include the following:
Rule Violation Types & Penalties
I. Excessive Use of Whip or Spurs and Improper Use of Bits
- Excessive or intentional use of whip or spurs or improper use of a bit to cause harm or pain to a horse/pony.
- First Offense – Suspension of 6 months and $6,000.00 fine
- Second Offense – Suspension of 12 months and $12,000.00 fine
- Third Offense – Suspension of 24 months and $24,000.00 fine
II. Illegal Equipment
- Use of illegal equipment with no intent to cause harm or pain to a horse/pony or which doesn’t cause harm or pain to a horse/pony.
- Discretion of the Hearing Panel
- Intentional use of illegal equipment to cause harm or pain to a horse/pony
- First Offense – Suspension of 12 months and $12,000.00 fine
- Second Offense – Suspension of 18 months and $18,000.00 fine
- Third Offense – Suspension of 36 months and fine of $36,000 and must appear before the Hearing Panel and provide proof of rehabilitation before being eligible to regain membership
III. Cruelty/Abuse/Neglect – Includes excessive riding, lunging, training and showing, deprivation of water and feed, striking with an object, unintentional death, and violations of the 12-hour injection rule involving forbidden substances for purpose of competition.
- First Offense – Suspension of 12 months and $12,000.00 fine
- Second Offense – Suspension of 24 months and $24,000.00 fine and must appear before the Hearing Panel and provide proof of rehabilitation before being eligible to regain membership
- Third Offense – Suspension of 60 months and fine of $60,000 and must appear before the Hearing Panel and provide proof of rehabilitation before being eligible to regain membership
IV. Death and Maiming – Includes acts in which the death of a horse occurred, but was not intended
- First Offense – Suspension of 36 months and $36,000.00 fine and must appear before the Hearing Panel and provide proof of rehabilitation before being eligible to regain membership
- Second Offense – Suspension of 60 months and $60,000.00 fine and must appear before the Hearing Panel and provide proof of rehabilitation before being eligible to regain membership
- Third Offense – Lifetime ban
V. Intentional Death for Financial or Other Means
- Lifetime ban
In each instance, if multiple horses are involved, the penalty applies to each horse and runs consecutively.
These new penalties go into effect September 1.
* Reciprocity of Criminal Charges – In cases of reciprocity of criminal charges, the minimum USEF penalty should at least mirror the criminal penalty with latitude given to impose more severe penalties.
New Horse Welfare Penalty Guidelines
Published July 30, 2017
The United States Equestrian Association will not reinstate a member who kills a horse under new horse welfare penalty guidelines, whether it was intentional or not.
The Federation’s Board unanimously approved the guidelines last week to help improve horse welfare at sanctioned competitions. The Hearing Committee will utilize the guidelines, which aren’t mandatory, when considering penalties in horse welfare and safety cases. The Board’s January review found the former penalties “were no longer sufficient”.
USEF states amending the penalties in the following categories helps Hearing Committee Panels govern members fairly while providing a safe environment for our horses. Included are:
- the excessive use of whip or spurs and the improper use of bits and other illegal equipment.
- cruelty, abuse, and neglect, which includes deprivation of water and feed, and striking a horse with an object. A member’s intentional killing of a horse is included.
- death/maiming and the killing of a horse for financial or other means. It includes acts where the horse’s death was not intended.
“Our members have demanded we impose stiffer penalties and offer stronger protection for our horses’ safety and welfare,” USEF CEO Bill Moroney said. “…they are certainly applicable in light of our duty to protect our equine partners.”
The Panel has the flexibility to impose penalties above or outside a penalty range due to prior violations, egregious conduct, and the need for increased deterrence, USEF adds.
If you witness horse abuse or neglect at a USEF sanctioned horse show immediately contact the horse show’s steward. Have the steward file the information in their report during the horse show. Document what you can with photos or video.
Board’s recommendation on Depo-Provera
Starting September 1, any equine given Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA) three months prior to the competition date must have a medication report form and an MPA Disclosure Form on file.
The Board voted to approve phase I recommendations from USEF’s MPA Panel. The suggestions include the continued investigation, research, and analysis of MPA used in competition horses. MPA is commonly referred to as Depo-Provera.
The Federation suggests it is using the MPA Disclosure Forms to analyze pharmacokinetic data related to MPA.
Opinions differ when it comes to MPA and its effects in competition horses. Withdrawl times are currently unknown.
USEF states the membership’s usage data and other research will be assessed and further recommendations will be made at a later date.
The medication report form will be available online. For those that do not report, the Federation warns there will be a penalty imposed.
The Board also approved a ban on injectable magnesium sulfate for later this year. USEF will notify members prior.
It also approved the MPA Panel to assess the controlled use of pergolide mesylate in competition horses with Cushing’s Disease. The Equine Drugs and Medications Rules currently have pergolide mesylate on the forbidden list.
Stay with us as we bring you the latest updates.
Horse Authority (formerly Rate My Horse PRO) champions social change initiatives to improve horse welfare. Since 2010, we’re empowering the equine industry through awareness and knowledge-based tools. Get involved in our horse community for good today because together we can do more to improve horses’ lives.