Lexington, Ky. – On Tuesday, July 25, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Board of Directors unanimously approved recommended guidelines for the USEF horse welfare and safety penalties. These guidelines are not mandatory but rather meant to advise the USEF Hearing Committee in the types and ranges of penalties to render in horse welfare and safety cases.
At their meeting this past January, the Board of Directors requested a review and evaluation of the penalties issued in welfare-related cases. The resulting analysis determined that previously imposed penalties in horse welfare and safety violations were no longer sufficient in today’s cases.
As such, penalty guidelines that reflect the severity of the violation were recommended to, and approved by, the USEF Board of Directors. In the event that a member violates any of the rules governing horse welfare and safety, and this violation ends in a hearing before the USEF Hearing Committee, it is recommended that any subsequent penalty issued should be appropriately severe. Horse welfare and safety violation is one of the most egregious violations under the USEF rules.
The USEF amended penalties related to the following violation categories to help govern the actions of members.
“We are committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of our horses and providing a safe and fair competition environment to all of our members and their equine partners, allowing them to experience the joy of horse sport,” said USEF CEO Bill Moroney. “Our members have demanded we impose stiffer penalties and offer stronger protection for our horses’ safety and welfare. We’ve been working on these for over a year, and they are certainly applicable in light of our duty to protect our equine partners.”
Under the guidelines, one cannot be reinstated in the USEF membership after killing a horse. A Hearing Committee Panel may determine that the facts and circumstances of a specific case and may call for the imposition of penalties above or outside of a penalty range. Examples include, but are not limited to, prior rule violations, egregious misconduct, the need for increased deterrence, or certain policy considerations.
The USEF puts the welfare of horses at the utmost of importance and encourages the reporting of abuse, negligence, and mistreatment through the safety and welfare reporting system. Equine abuse cases may be called or emailed into the office, or submitted online, here.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
This has been a difficult decision, but with the current pandemic situation at hand, we feel that this is the correct and ‘common sense’ direction to take. We are developing a plan to host a shorter, smaller, and more focused competition. We will be using state and local protocols to help guide us through this. Safety is paramount at Rebecca Farm, for both equine and human participants.