Oct 14, 2018

The Professional Horseman’s Council Puts the Horse First

A chaotic warmup area is one of the concerns the PHC is looking into. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Eventing USA magazine and is an update on the activities of the Professional Horseman's Council. Click here to read Matt Brown's statement as incoming PHC Chair.

The Professional Horseman's Council (PHC) is composed of active members of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) who are professionals in all aspects of the sport of eventing. The purpose of the Council is to facilitate communications between the professionals and the eventing community, including the governing body, officials, organizers, and competitors and to assist in the further development, growth, and safety of our sport.

The PHC has taken action on several issues this year so far:

Blood Rules

As horse welfare and safety is always at the top of our minds as professionals within the sport of eventing we have discussed how it could be possible to address issues that have arisen over the last year in relationship with the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) blood rules for eventing. After reviewing the current rules pertaining to blood on horses within both national and international competition we have made some recommended changes to the rules that we feel could solve some of the current issues. We have forwarded our recommendation to the appropriate committees responsible for making such changes. We know that the governing bodies for both the USEF and the FEI are currently reviewing the blood rules for the equestrian disciplines and we hope that our recommendation will be helpful to the effort to update the current rules.

Footing for the Future

Figuring out a way to quantify and recognize good footing is an ongoing effort of the PHC. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

With the long-term health and soundness of our equine partners in mind, we continue to discuss the ways in which we can help to facilitate the improvement of footing at eventing venues, especially on the cross-country. We are taking several different steps to do this:

  • We have recommended to the Board of Governors that a “footing” section be added to the Omnibus listing for each event. Under this heading the organizer could highlight their venues type of footing (turf with sand base, turf with clay base, dirt, etc.), their footing management plan prior to the event and what their footing maintenance plan is during the event (watering, dragging, aeration, etc.). This could help highlight the steps that some events/organizers are taking to benefit the competitors in addition to helping the competitors have a better idea of what to expect regarding the footing when sending in their entry.
  • We continue to discuss ways of objectively testing the footing at a venue prior to the event for soil compaction and water content. Having an objective rating for footing could allow the organizers to have a better understanding of how they could adjust their footing management plan and could help competitors to make better decisions about which events will be suitable to enter for their particular horse.
  • We know how much time, effort and money event organizers put in to make their events the best they can given limited amounts of all three of those assets. We are reaching out to organizers to ask how the PHC could be helpful in facilitating the best footing possible for the competition. We are also reaching out to find out if there are other areas where the organizers need assistance where the PHC might be of some use.

Warmup Woes

We have discussed some concerns that have been raised by amateur riders where in some competition warmups professional riders can overwhelm the ring steward and pressure them into allowing the professional to ride at a different time other than their stated ride time. This mainly effects some show jumping warmups and more so in one-day competitions. This causes the other riders in the ring to not know when to start warming up and causes undue stress in the warmup area.

We have made a recommendation to the Licensed Officials Committee to give the show jumping ring stewards direct contact to the events Technical Delegate in order to report “bad behavior” in the warmup area at national competitions. We also recommended that riders with multiple horses work with the organizer and secretary in advance to make any necessary ride time changes in order for rider to stick to the set times as closely as possible.

We continue to take on new topics and issues as they are brought to our attention and we encourage anyone with an issue or question to contact any one of the PHC members.

Happy eventing!

The Professional Horseman’s Council current members:

  • Matthew Brown, Chair (can be reached at e[email protected])
  • Max Corcoran
  • Tamra Smith
  • Mary Coldren
  • Lauren Keiffer
  • Karen O’Connor
  • Angela Bowles
  • Jay Hambly
  • Travers Schick

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