A Dec. 28 article in The New York Times investigating the death of Humble, a pony who dropped dead after receiving an injection at the Devon Horse Show (Pa.) in May, suggests that the issue of drugging in the horse show world has become a mainstream concern.
Throughout the year The Times has reported on drugging and other welfare concerns at Thoroughbred race tracks, but reporters at the publication are now looking into the practices and penalties around drugging at horse shows, specifically in the hunters.
The article questions the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s ability to regulate drugging and deal with violations when they do arise, citing facts such as at race tracks, only veterinarians may administer injections, while at horse shows, the owner can as well, and suggesting that the USEF has no detailed protocol for how to respond when a horse dies on the showgrounds.
John Long, CEO of the USEF, responded to the article on the USEF website and linked to a letter he had previously sent to The New York Times.
The Times interviewed a witness to the pony’s death, USEF officials, horse show industry heavyweights such as George Morris and Julie Winkel, and a number of veterinarians including Dr. Kent Allen, chairman of the USEF Veterinary and Drugs and Medications committees.