Call it tough love for the horse industry. Even if you weren’t there last week at the USEF Town Hall Meeting in Wellington, you can be a part of the change for our horses.
Horse trainer Geoff Teall calls the situation alarming, “we need to adapt to this new scene… we are killing our horses…”
Federation representatives are joining industry owners, trainers, and veterinarians to discuss fixing issues that recently caused public scrutiny regarding the welfare of performance horses. Articles from the New York Times and Rate My Horse PRO narrowed the focus and raised hard to answer questions about medication use in the show arena.
“For people that do bad things to horses we need to throw the book at them. We need to make it hurt,” said United States Equestrian Federation Chief Executive Officer John Long.
Additionally, USEF just released a statement regarding the use of supplements during competitions.
The United States Equestrian Federation does not certify, endorse, nor approve specific equine nutritional supplements as safe for use during recognized competitions. As a service to USEF Members, and upon request, the USEF Drug and Medication Program office will review product labels to determine if forbidden substances are amongst the specific ingredients listed. However, all competitors are advised that the manufacture of equine nutritional supplements is not currently subject to formal regulation by any government agency; therefore the proportions, source, and quality of their ingredients may not be consistently controlled during the production process and may be highly variable from manufacturer to manufacturer.
In the unfortunate event that a forbidden substance is present in a sample collected by the USEF Drug & Medications testing program, the owner and trainer will be subject to the provisions outlined in GR404 and GR406 and will be held accountable as defined in Chapter 4 of the USEF Rule Book.
The public forums are open to all USEF members and participation from every breed and discipline is encouraged.
“Over-medicating show horses is a clear and present threat to the industry. It is going to take involvement from the entire equestrian community to get this just right,” says Long.
Confirmed Dates Include:
May 15 – 5:00 PM – Salem, NY – Old Salem Farm Special Events Tent next to GP Ring
May 16 – 5:00 PM – Lexington, KY – Kentucky Horse Park, location TBD
June 7 – 5:00 PM – San Juan, CA – Blenheim Equisports VIP Tent
June 14 – 5:00 PM – Parker, CO – Colorado Horse Park, location TBD
July 25 – 5:00 PM – Bend, OR – High Desert Classics Patron’s Tent
Members have asked for additional forums to be scheduled in Texas and the Midwest which USEF says it is exploring.
USEF Town Hall discussion topics will include the following:
• USEF leadership speaking to the industry-wide focus on welfare of the horse today
• Introduction and review of the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ guidelines for treating performance horses with discussion of USEF enhancements leading to the adoption of the guidelines as industry standards
• Overview of USEF and FEI medication rules
• Regulatory and enforcement issues
• Owner-trainer-veterinarian relationship and responsibility
• Next Steps – Call for industry reform
USEF officials want to hear your ideas. If you can’t attend a session in person send your responses to the topics above to firstname.lastname@example.org.