Think of it as a Better Business Bureau or J.D. Power Award. Sure, ALL businesses should take care of their clients, provide superior products and services, and have stellar business practices, but we all know that the reality is hardly the case. We all notice and are often influenced by those little emblems or stickers on products and services and purchase accordingly. Seeing the BBB or a Consumer Reports stamp lends credibility but since it'd be difficult for those programs to evaluate a hunter barn, why not have our own?
The title doesn't have to use the word, "clean", but it should connote a horse business that:
- adheres to a minimal or drug-free program (not piggybacking multiple legal limit drugs, a la Humble),
- has no USEF infractions (define a historic timeframe such as 5 or 10 years),
- incorporates periods of rest to avoid running horses into the ground,
- is open to both scheduled and spot inspections / drug screens
- whatever else should be included
In other words, programs that are run by horsemen and horsewomen. Yes, there are undetectable substances out there, so include a survey (like J.D. Powers) or have a free, anonymous tip line for those braiders followed-up by screenings.
Since the majority of the negative issues raised can be traced back to making money, this idea is geared toward the business side of the horse world. Find sponsors, add a $1 per show rider fee or something. Solicit donations. I'd kick in a donation for this kind of program if it helped reward those who are trying to run a BBB worthy program.
"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford
I don't even think it would be about public accolades and I certainly wouldn't consider a trainer who didn't participate in the program dirty. I would just be nice to have a level playing field for all horses and students. There are many of us who just do the right thing but many who don't.