New Rule in Effect for Pony Finals photo © Amber Aslin

New Rule in Effect for Pony Finals

Collapse Rule

The excitement is building as hundreds of charming ponies and riders prepare to compete at Pony Finals. The children are tasked with having fun and riding their rounds, but the adults have new responsibilities.

A new rule, concerning the actions taken if a horse or pony collapses at a United States Equestrian Federation Licensed Competition goes into effect on August 1. The “Collapse Rule” is intended to help keep USEF informed of any collapses. It also empowers the association to investigate the circumstances surrounding incidents, and holds the trainer, or owner if the trainer is unavailable, accountable for refusal to cooperate.

So, what constitutes a collapse?

A collapse is defined by USEF as “a fall to the ground with no apparent cause.” It is important for owners to know that the trainer, owner or rider of the animal must report the collapse no later than 3 hours after it occurred. Once reported, any horse or pony that collapses is subject to drug and medication testing and inspection by a USEF appointed veterinarian. Cooperation with the Federation’s investigation concerning a collapse or death is mandatory. The complete rule can be found under GR 843 Mandatory Reporting & Cooperation of Horse/Pony Collapse.

Horse welfare concerns after the death of the pony, Humble, in 2012, led to USEF looking at ways it needed to take action to better protect our horses from those willing to do anything to win.

Another upcoming rule change will mean no horses or ponies can be injected within 12 hours prior to competing. There are 3 exceptions to this rule: therapeutic fluids, antibiotics, and Dexamethasone for the treatment of hives.

All acceptable substances must be administered by a veterinarian and cannot be administered to a horse or pony within six hours prior to competing. This rule goes into effect December 1, 2013. It will be under GR 414 Prohibited Practices.

If you see violations at shows or aren’t getting the action you need, snap a photo or shoot video and send details to us. All submissions remain anonymous.