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  1. #61
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    Exactly. While I appreciate Heritage's position, it appears the rule makes it easy to disregard the intent behind it. That's not Heritage's fault. I would hope that the USEF takes a long hard look at the rule and the process and adjusts it accordingly so there is not such a huge gap between intent and letter. Because it does seem from a random review of trainer apps at WIHS, most are signing for the horses they bring to the show, so I think most people follow the intent and the letter. And if they do have a third party in charge of the daily care, custody and control of those horses (and let's face it, most do), they trust that arrangement enough to sign on the dotted line.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMK View Post
    Exactly. While I appreciate Heritage's position, it appears the rule makes it easy to disregard the intent behind it. That's not Heritage's fault. I would hope that the USEF takes a long hard look at the rule and the process and adjusts it accordingly so there is not such a huge gap between intent and letter. Because it does seem from a random review of trainer apps at WIHS, most are signing for the horses they bring to the show, so I think most people follow the intent and the letter. And if they do have a third party in charge of the daily care, custody and control of those horses (and let's face it, most do), they trust that arrangement enough to sign on the dotted line.
    ^^This, exactly.
    Most barns are not consulting their attorneys over who should sign as trainer.

    The ones who are doing so are certainly following the advice they are given by the attorneys ,which keeps them within the letter of the rule but not the intent.

    USEF will have to correct the rule to if they want to keep people from skirting it.


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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMK View Post
    Exactly. While I appreciate Heritage's position, it appears the rule makes it easy to disregard the intent behind it. That's not Heritage's fault. I would hope that the USEF takes a long hard look at the rule and the process and adjusts it accordingly so there is not such a huge gap between intent and letter. Because it does seem from a random review of trainer apps at WIHS, most are signing for the horses they bring to the show, so I think most people follow the intent and the letter. And if they do have a third party in charge of the daily care, custody and control of those horses (and let's face it, most do), they trust that arrangement enough to sign on the dotted line.
    And how would you know the intent of the rule?
    The rule is simply to establish who is liable to get suspended ( responsible) in the event of a bad drug test.
    Nothing more, nothing less.



  4. #64
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    Yes... and your point? Because after implying I was privy to less knowledge of intent than you, you went all Captain Obvious on me...
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.


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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    It sounds to me like a lot of people just don't like the way the USEF has defined "trainer" for purposes of the entry blank. It's a broad definition that could be numerous people for a big barn. It's not necessarily defined as "the top brass with whom the buck stops" or "the big name person who most financially benefits from the running of the operation." The care, custody, and control definition really does fit the head barn manager/show groom at some show barns. And in some cases (people who meet up with their trainer at shows) it doesn't fit the actual trainer. Maybe the person responsible OUGHT to be the top brass, famous person-- but that sounds like it's ripe for a USEF rule change and not a thread being upset at barns that are applying the rule as written.
    I can make it simple for you, the understanding of the term for many decades:

    It's the person who's supposed to get the most credit for the management and schooling of horse and rider if they win.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by poltroon View Post
    I can make it simple for you, the understanding of the term for many decades:

    It's the person who's supposed to get the most credit for the management and schooling of horse and rider if they win.
    That may be YOUR understanding of the term (or even a common lay definition)... but that is NOT the "care, custody, control" definition being used by the USEF. They chose to define the term otherwise. That may be a right/wrong or wise/unwise decision-- but it's their definition and their rule to enforce.
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by poltroon View Post
    I can make it simple for you, the understanding of the term for many decades:

    It's the person who's supposed to get the most credit for the management and schooling of horse and rider if they win.
    Your 'understanding' of the rule is not relevant ( besides being incorrect LMAO).
    All that matters is USEF's application of their rule.
    I'm sure you've read the USEF definition of 'Trainer' by now.
    So sorry if it differs from your 'understanding'.



  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMK View Post
    Yes... and your point? Because after implying I was privy to less knowledge of intent than you, you went all Captain Obvious on me...
    DMK you seem like a reasonable person who has read the rule book.
    Surely you understand who USEF holds responsible for drug violations and the USEF definition of a Trainer.



  9. #69
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    At Heritage farm, does Gerardo have the *final* say in how the horses are managed or is it still Andre and Patricia? In other words, is he THE guy that makes all the calls or does he follow protocol within the trainer's guidelines? It sounds like he may have enough authority to make some decisions on his own but I wonder if his decisions truly override the trainers.


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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by S A McKee View Post
    DMK you seem like a reasonable person who has read the rule book.
    Surely you understand who USEF holds responsible for drug violations and the USEF definition of a Trainer.
    Why yes, yes I have. What do people think the purpose of that signature is? It certainly seems designed to assign blame in the event some illegal behavior is proven. That's not hard to grasp, given the structure and application of the language in the past.

    Where we seem to disagree is in the area of intent. The intent is to me (and I think most people would agree) deterrence. There is a punishment attached to assigning blame, both monetarily and in more serious cases, suspension. To me (and I suspect, most reasonable people) this presumes the intent is to affect (adversely) the livelihood of people who have the most to gain from an unfair advantage, thereby making attempts to gain an unfair advantage a high risk/low reward behavior (aka deterrence).

    Deterrence is typically the intent behind most rules that deal with enforcement/penalty/punishment - I don't think it's a big leap to talk about the intent of this rule even if you weren't a founding member of the rules committee who crafted it, this is pretty basic stuff...

    So when people talk about a gap between intent and the letter of the rule, I think it is not unreasonable to ask "is the rule actually written in a way that it effectively deters most people who seek to gain unfair advantage by violating the rules?"

    That has nothing to do with the farm in question, who has a good reputation as far as I know, but it does beg the question, "what if the same approach is taken by somebody who would like very much to gain an unfair advantage in a low risk manner?" And the case can be made that if the trainer, rider and potentially even the owner are not penalized for said advantage, then that is a pretty low risk and subject to abuse by such people.

    Now if you think the rule's intent is designed not to deter unfair advantage, but is just a revenue generating operation by the governing body, well, then I would have to say you are absolutely correct and that intent aligns with the letter of the rule. But I think USEF and the FEI's position on the matter of unfair advantage and a clean sport doesn't support this interpretation of intent.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.


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  11. #71
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    Where the USEF has gone wrong with this rule is that an employee of the trainer, regardless of their skills or knowledge, should not be signing as the trainer. They cannot be held with the ultimate responsibility of the "care, custody, and control" of the horse if they are required to follow instructions from their employer on the "care, custody, and control" of the horse.
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  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMK View Post
    To me (and I suspect, most reasonable people) this presumes the intent is to affect (adversely) the livelihood of people who have the most to gain from an unfair advantage, thereby making attempts to gain an unfair advantage a high risk/low reward behavior (aka deterrence).[/I]
    I disagree with this; I believe the intent of the rule is to place the blame on the person who has "care, custody, and control" of the animals in question. The quote above implies that USEF is purposely targeting a certain demographic (those who have the most to gain) whether or not they are to blame. I think the problem is that the person that USEF calls "trainer"is not the same person that most people think of as "trainer". I can appreciate this distinction because my trainer (i.e. the one who gives me my lessons and takes me to the shows) is not the person who is present when my horse needs veterinary care/medication advice - that would be the barn manager. Do the vet and barn manager communicate with my trainer regarding his care? Yes, of course they do, but ultimately the barn manager is the one who is there when vet care is needed, is in communication with the vets when necessary, and handles the day to day care. If I have questions about the care of my horse, I go to the barn manager, not my trainer. If I have riding questions, I go to my trainer, and not the barn manager.

    Having said that, my trainer (i.e. the one who gives me my lessons and takes me to the shows) is the one who signs entry blanks as trainer as far as I know. But really, by the USEF definition, she is probably NOT the one who should be signing.


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  13. #73
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    Maybe USEF could simplify things by adding a mandatory signature line for "the person to be suspended in the event of a violation."
    The Evil Chem Prof


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  14. #74
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    Who is liable for the "care, custody, and control" in the contracts that these clients hold with the barns/trainers?



  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by ynl063w View Post
    I disagree with this; I believe the intent of the rule is to place the blame on the person who has "care, custody, and control" of the animals in question. The quote above implies that USEF is purposely targeting a certain demographic (those who have the most to gain) whether or not they are to blame. I think the problem is that the person that USEF calls "trainer"is not the same person that most people think of as "trainer". I can appreciate this distinction because my trainer (i.e. the one who gives me my lessons and takes me to the shows) is not the person who is present when my horse needs veterinary care/medication advice - that would be the barn manager. Do the vet and barn manager communicate with my trainer regarding his care? Yes, of course they do, but ultimately the barn manager is the one who is there when vet care is needed, is in communication with the vets when necessary, and handles the day to day care. If I have questions about the care of my horse, I go to the barn manager, not my trainer. If I have riding questions, I go to my trainer, and not the barn manager.

    Having said that, my trainer (i.e. the one who gives me my lessons and takes me to the shows) is the one who signs entry blanks as trainer as far as I know. But really, by the USEF definition, she is probably NOT the one who should be signing.
    This is an interesting discussion, not just because it deals with an important topic of assigning responsibility for medication errors and the like, but because it begins the discussion of how segmented we have made the responsibility for our horses.

    I accept that the most literal reading of the rules permits a groom, a barn or road manager may qualify to sign as the trainer. OTOH it seems to be dissembling to say that there was NO intent to assign responsibility to the trainer who employs those people.

    At the same time people decry the lack of a pipeline of real horsemen, owners and/or riders are not only able to be less and less knowledgeable about and involved in decisions about their horses. Trainers (themselves or through their staff) find it more effective and cost efficient (and perhaps profitable) to be the sole point of contact for vets, farriers, and other care. In some instances, this extends to owners/riders not even grooming their horses (and yes, assigned professional grooms may well be more familiar with and likelier to notice changes in a horse than the owner/rider who is not in the barn fulltime). For some owners/riders this is a service and a convenience - and one they are entitle to choose. However, it creates a distance a separation between the person ultimately responsible for the horse (the owner) and the horse.

    This discussion indicates that that separation has now extended to the professional ranks as well. We now separate the trainer who trains the horse from the person who is responsible for its "care, custody, and control". Apparently how the horse is cared for and treated outside of the ring is not something for which the trainer is responsible -- they are not to be considered the party truly in control.

    There seems something intuitively wrong with this position -- because ultimately the buck should stop with the person with the authority to make the last decision and that is never a groom, the barn manager or any person like that - its the trainer. Its a chain of command and the chain stops at the top.


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  16. #76
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    To me, this is an overly complicated discussion for what is really a simple dilemma:

    Sometimes, a horse tests positive because of an "intentional" violation of the rules. That is to say, the Trainer perhaps instructs the barn manager/groom to give Dex for non-therapeutic purposes.

    On the other hand, sometimes a horse tests positive because a groom swaps a feed bin and the horse gets trace amounts of bute when he has already been given banamine.

    As these examples show, to me, the real problem lies in correctly determining blame. Why should the trainer be set down for one of their staff member's mistakes when they were trying to play by the rules? On the same token, why should the groom/staff member be set down for simply following their boss' instructions?

    The ability to accurately discern between these two scenarios is what would give the ability to make a clearer decision on who takes the fall for positive tests.

    To me, the most fair punishment for determining the responsible party in the case of a failed test begins in pegging exactly who was at fault. Was it the trainer that dictated the meds? The head groom/barn manager dictating meds? Or did someone make a mistake?

    However, discerning that seems unlikely for a lot of reasons. And until someone can come up with a rule that understands and resolves this conflict, there is always going to be a way to get around the intention of the rule.

    Trying to solve "Who Signs as Trainer" completely misses the point, IMO, because in at least a solid representation of cases, the "Trainer" is not actually the person who should be taking the fall.

    ETA: the person ultimately responsible for the horse's care is the Owner. And yet again, the Owner is NOT usually the person feeding and medicating the horse.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


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  17. #77
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    Ynl, I just don't see it that way. By your own admission the wrong person signs the entry form. I agree, it doesn't sound like your trainer is in charge of those decisions. It sounds like you are, because unless you have some rogue barn manager, that bm isn't making decisions that you are unaware of or without your guidance. Sounds like your trainer should sign on the coach line, and YOU bear responsibility for the care, custody and control decisions that you have selected this BM to manage on your behalf.

    If you filled out the forms in a manner that represented true responsibility for that care, custody and control, then yes, you as a person with the something to gain with an unfair advantage is the person who will be penalized if you actively seek that advantage or passively fail to give proper oversight for the duties you have kept under your own control.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by juststartingout View Post
    At the same time people decry the lack of a pipeline of real horsemen, owners and/or riders are not only able to be less and less knowledgeable about and involved in decisions about their horses. Trainers (themselves or through their staff) find it more effective and cost efficient (and perhaps profitable) to be the sole point of contact for vets, farriers, and other care. In some instances, this extends to owners/riders not even grooming their horses (and yes, assigned professional grooms may well be more familiar with and likelier to notice changes in a horse than the owner/rider who is not in the barn fulltime). For some owners/riders this is a service and a convenience - and one they are entitle to choose. However, it creates a distance a separation between the person ultimately responsible for the horse (the owner) and the horse.

    <snip>

    There seems something intuitively wrong with this position -- because ultimately the buck should stop with the person with the authority to make the last decision and that is never a groom, the barn manager or any person like that - its the trainer. Its a chain of command and the chain stops at the top.
    See, I think the buck stops with a different person depending on the individual situation as it pertains to each individual barn. Is there really ever one single person who is responsible? Isn't it up to each barn to decide who the ONE SINGLE person who will be listed on the entry as "trainer" (or maybe they could list more than one person)?

    I am far, far from the BNT examples given in this thread, but I will use myself as an example anyway. I, as owner of my horse, have very little knowledge most of the time as to what's going on with my horse. This is not because I don't care; it's because I am busy and I am lucky enough to have complete trust in those who ARE in control of his care.

    I bought my horse several years ago, and I had very specific goals in mind when I made the purchase. Things didn't work out how I planned, and in the meantime my job has become more and more demanding; add to that parental duties, home ownership duties, etc., I sometimes go for months without even SEEING my horse. I am so grateful to know that he is at a barn where I know that he is happy, healthy, and taken care of that I can be an absentee owner and not have to worry about him. I show up when I can, and he is always fine. I know from experience that if there is a problem I will get a phone call.

    I am the kind of owner that most on this board believe shouldn't own a horse. I sometimes wonder why I BOUGHT this horse to begin with, but the fact is he's mine and I know he is happy and healthy. I don't feel bad about not seeing him, because I know he doesn't care about not seeing me. He is happy and I have complete trust in the people who are caring for him.

    Honestly, my horse doesn't give a crap who is taking care of him. He doesn't miss me when I'm not there. And I'm not a bad owner because of this. I WOULD feel like a bad owner if I decided to dump him on the first person who would take him from me, without any regard as to whether said buyer would care for his well being, just so I could stop paying all the bills associated with owning him. I refuse to feel bad about myself for continuing to pay those who care about him as much as I do to care for him in my absence.

    And yes, I am capable of braiding a mane and tail, wrapping legs, grooming, blah, blah blah; I spent my childhood doing all that. Unfortunately, I'm not a kid anymore and I have Real Life responsibilities that have to be prioritized. I pay someone to do my fall cleanup on my property too - I wonder if there's a landscaping forum somewhere that would shun me for that?

    This discussion really comes down to nothing more than a difference in the perceived meaning of the word "trainer". USEF would likely have been wise come up with a different word to describe the person with "care, custody, and control" of the horse.

    Edited to add: Holy crap DMK, did you get the wrong impression of my first post here (please see above!) The BARN MANAGER is the one who carries out care per the VET when there are issues that require a vet; for minor issues that don't require a call to the vet, the BARN MANAGER is the one who makes the decisions. I get a phone call when needed, but that is simply to keep me in the loop. I am certainly not making care decisions regarding my horse's health and well being. I am NOT qualified to make those decisions, an as I said, I'm grateful to know that he is in the care of people who I trust to make those decisions.



  19. #79
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    I do think that as much as the FEI leaves to be desired, they have solved the dilemma in which USEF now finds itself.

    Considering the RIDER as the person responsible, no matter what the circumstance, has ensured that the "buck" is not easily passed.

    When Sheik Mohammad's (husband of Princess Haya,president of the FEI) endurance horse, on which he was competing, failed the doping test, his defence put forth to the the FEI tribunal was (paraphrasing) I'm the ruler of Dubai and I don't have time to ensure that my horses are not doped . I am assured by my trainer that my horses are fit to compete and I should be able to take their word for it, etc.etc.

    He was held responsible. Do you think he is using the same trainer, the one who assured him that his horse was fit to compete under FEI rules? I would guess not and if he is, I bet that it won't happen again.

    With the rider held responsible, no trainer who administers drugs in violation of the rules will be trusted by clients ,who are suspended because of the trainer's (or barn manager's or whomever now signs the papers) actions.

    No one showing their horse, whether they are wealthy or not, who spends the large amount of money required to show horses with the services of a trainer, will tolerate having THEIR name on the suspension list.

    Trainers, showing their clients horses will be risking their own livelihood in yet another way.

    The FEI rule, results in the necessity that owners be pro-active in choosing a trainer and that trainers suffer the consequences of a violation in a manner that has a much greater effect on their finances and reputation. You , as a trainer, will not be in business for long if your good client is suspended because you have doped the horse or made an "error" with it's medication.

    I think the FEI anti-doping rule and enforcement are cleaning things up a bit on the international level because of the no "gray area" about who is responsible. (USEF has obviously left the "person responsible for the horse" up to much interpretation by attorneys and anyone else with an opinion).

    Is it "fair" to punish the rider for the violation of a rule in which they may have had no direct part in breaking? Perhaps not.
    Is the rule effective? You bet it is, and that is the important bit, to have an effective rule that keeps horses from being drugged.
    Last edited by skydy; Nov. 1, 2012 at 06:58 AM.


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  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Ridge View Post
    Exactly.

    While, yes, a groom may be administering supplements or medication, the trainer is dictating who gets what and when—and thus should bear responsibility.
    Anyone other than me see a really big problem with trainers having this much say in the medical treatment of a horse? In the human world, athletes have "trainers" who are educated and work closely with doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of sports related conditions and injuries. They usually have college or higher level credentials to back them up. Show horse trainers are self proclaimed and there are NO educational or professional credentials that they need to maintain in order to run a barn full of equine athletes. IMHO, they have NO BUSINESS diagnosing medical conditions and administering medication to horses without consulting a licensed vet. I wonder why they are not charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license when the medication administered was prescription only? It's about time that someone puts some teeth into the rules and makes trainers think twice about hauling their precious medication trunks around with them to shows.


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