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Can we talk about SafeSport?

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  • Ok. So I decided to follow my own advice and do a very careful reading of the USEF-specific MAAP policy (Appendix A of this document). I believe I've been misunderstanding a few very key points. This is super long so I apologize in advance. Also I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV so please feel free to tell me I'm still misinterpreting the details.

    All clauses under the "One-on-One Interactions" Section apply to the following people:
    "1. Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors [i.e., all amateur USEF members];
    2. Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor [Maybe judges/clinicians at USEF clinics/???];
    3. Adult members at a facility that is either partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF or at USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activity [i.e., show/clinic staff]; and
    4. Adult staff and board members of USEF"

    The same section seems to ONLY apply at facilities "partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF," which is defined as "any facility that USEF owns, leases, or uses at no cost. Additionally, this definition covers all USEF licensed and endorsed competitions, USEF training sessions, USEF clinics, and observation events" or at USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activities.

    So none of the policies related to one-on-one, in-person interaction between Applicable Adults and minor athletes apply at your home barn, except in such circumstance as there's an official USEF clinic/training session/show there or you board at Gladstone. You DO have to follow the policy if you're at a show, however. They also include a recommended addition for out-of-program contacts that reads as follows:

    USEF recommends that Applicable Adults refrain from interacting one-on-one with unrelated minor athletes in settings outside of the program that are not observable and interruptible (including, but not limited to, one’s home and individual transportation), unless parent/legal guardian consent is provided for each out-of-program contact. Such arrangements are strongly discouraged.
    So to me, that says USEF and SafeSport would like if Applicable Adults would conduct themselves at home within the same restraints in place at USEF facilities/events, but realize that enforcement would be impossible.

    The Massages, Rubdowns, and Athletic Training Modalities Section applies to the same group of applicable adults plus "Physical therapists, chiropractor, masseurs, physicians, and other healthcare providers" and to massages, rubdowns, and athletic training modalities "performed at a facility or a training or competition venue." So it does apply at your home barn, but hopefully most of you are not performing massages on minors regularly, aside from the trained LMTs/PTs/etc. among us.

    The Areas Where Athletes Change section seems to apply only to "facilities under USEF's jurisdiction" (see previous definition) or at USEF events, so once again, generally not at your home barn.

    The Social Media and Electronic Communications section applies to:
    "1. Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
    2. Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor; and
    3. Adult staff and board members at USEF."

    This section makes no mention of where it applies, and seems to be an all-the-time thing. So this WOULD apply at your home barn.

    The Local Travel section applies to the same group of people as the social media and electronic communications, and covers "travel to training, practice, and competition that occurs locally and does not include coordinated overnight stay(s)." So that does apply at home.

    The Team Travel section applies to the same group of people, and covers "minor athlete travel to a competition or other team activity that USEF plans, books, and supervises the minor athlete’s travel." So that does not apply at home obviously, nor does it apply to normal overnight shows, which is interesting. Just if USEF is overseeing the travel. So I guess like...Nations Cup stuff?

    So at your home barn, everyday life, adult USEF members only have to worry about social media, texting, massages, and driving kids to the barn. At shows and USEF-led clinics etc., we also have to pay attention to one-on-one interactions and meetings.
    Last edited by 541hunter; Jun. 5, 2019, 04:51 PM. Reason: typo

    Comment


    • Originally posted by MHM View Post

      Where in the rule does it say that all this applies at home? The post I quoted above made it sound like the rule only applies at USEF competitions, or facilities owned or controlled by USEF.
      I feel like the travel/one-on-one policies become 'recommended' when at home...which makes them completely toothless but also makes sense because USEF only has jurisdiction at shows. Does anyone else have a definition of out-of-program? It's only used 2x in the document...both in the below section under Required Practices for One-on-One Interactions.

      B. Recommended Best Practices USEF recommends the following components: Out-of-program contacts USEF recommends that Applicable Adults refrain from interacting oneon-one with unrelated minor athletes in settings outside of the program that are not observable and interruptible (including, but not limited to, one’s home and individual transportation), unless parent/legal guardian consent is provided for each out-of-program contact. Such arrangements are strongly discouraged.
      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
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      Comment


      • Originally posted by 541hunter View Post
        Ok. So I decided to follow my own advice and do a very careful reading of the USEF-specific MAAP policy (Appendix A of this document). I believe I've been misunderstanding a few very key points. This is super long so I apologize in advance. Also I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV so please feel free to tell me I'm still misinterpreting the details.

        All clauses under the "One-on-One Interactions" Section apply to the following people:
        "1. Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors [i.e., all amateur USEF members];
        2. Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor [Maybe judges/clinicians at USEF clinics/???];
        3. Adult members at a facility that is either partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF or at USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activity [i.e., show/clinic staff]; and
        4. Adult staff and board members of USEF"

        The same section seems to ONLY apply at facilities "partially or fully under the jurisdiction of USEF," which is defined as "any facility that USEF owns, leases, or uses at no cost. Additionally, this definition covers all USEF licensed and endorsed competitions, USEF training sessions, USEF clinics, and observation events" or at USEF licensed, endorsed, sponsored activities.

        So none of the policies related to one-on-one, in-person interaction between Applicable Adults and minor athletes apply at your home barn, except in such circumstance as there's an official USEF clinic/training session/show there or you board at Gladstone. You DO have to follow the policy if you're at a show, however. They also include a recommended addition for out-of-program contacts that reads as follows:



        So to me, that says USEF and SafeSport would like if Applicable Adults would conduct themselves at home within the same restraints in place at USEF facilities/events, but realize that enforcement would be impossible.

        The Massages, Rubdowns, and Athletic Training Modalities Section applies to the same group of applicable adults plus "Physical therapists, chiropractor, masseurs, physicians, and other healthcare providers" and to massages, rubdowns, and athletic training modalities "performed at a facility or a training or competition venue." So it does apply at your home barn, but hopefully most of you are not performing massages on minors regularly, aside from the trained LMTs/PTs/etc. among us.

        The Areas Where Athletes Change section seems to apply only to "facilities under USEF's jurisdiction" (see previous definition) or at USEF events, so once again, generally not at your home barn.

        The Social Media and Electronic Communications section applies to:
        "1. Adult members who have regular contact with amateur athletes who are minors;
        2. Any adult authorized by USEF to have regular contact with or authority over an amateur athlete who is a minor; and
        3. Adult staff and board members at USEF."

        This section makes no mention of where it applies, and seems to be an all-the-time thing. So this WOULD apply at your home barn.

        The Local Travel section applies to the same group of people as the social media and electronic communications, and covers "travel to training, practice, and competition that occurs locally and does not include coordinated overnight stay(s)." So that does apply at home.

        The Team Travel section applies to the same group of people, and covers "minor athlete travel to a competition or other team activity that USEF plans, books, and supervises the minor athlete’s travel." So that does not apply at home obviously, nor does it apply to normal overnight shows, which is interesting. Just if USEF is overseeing the travel. So I guess like...Nations Cup stuff?

        So at your home barn, everyday life, adult USEF members only have to worry about social media, texting, massages, and driving kids to the barn. At shows and USEF-led clinics etc., we also have to pay attention to one-on-one interactions and meetings.
        Thanks, @541hunter...you went much deeper than I did, but I had the need to comb through the rules again.

        In your opinion, does it read like the One-on-One interaction recommended practices is in contradiction to the Local Travel section?
        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

        Comment


        • Thanks, guys.

          To me, this makes it even more important to stress Safe Sport education for both minors and their parents, since many of the rules only apply at competitions. That does not cover anything like all the bad possibilities.

          I also think it is a little source of confusion that they keep referring to minor amateur athletes, since in the standard USEF language, juniors and amateurs are completely different things.

          Comment


          • RugBug kinda, yeah—in the One-On-One Interactions section it says the individual transportation stuff is a recommendation at home while the Local Travel section says it's required when you're traveling to training sessions so??? Maybe the "training sessions" portion in Local Travel was meant to apply to USEF-run training sessions, but it certainly isn't written that way.

            I'm struggling with this much more now that I've gone more in depth on the policies. There are definitely portions that are confusingly written—that one, and those two bullet points under "Observable and Interruptible" that I quoted earlier, which still seem to negate each other in my mind.

            I really care about this stuff and as all of you who've read my posts here can see, I want to support new policies. But as we go down the rabbit hole I'm feeling uneasy about the thought behind these. With my new understanding of the applications of the MAAP policies it's starting to feel more like it's focused on preventing lawsuits against USOC NGBs, rather than the culture shift goal I so hopefully brought up earlier.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by 541hunter View Post
              With my new understanding of the applications of the MAAP policies it's starting to feel more like it's focused on preventing lawsuits against USOC NGBs, rather than the culture shift goal I so hopefully brought up earlier.
              Yes, all of this. I read (not all but a darn good portion of) the MAAP policies they day they arrived in my email and that was my initial impression. Which would be fine, if it didn't also set a precedent that children are potential liability risks to have in your program, and wasn't in lieu of efforts that could be far more impactful.
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              Comment


              • dags I'm hoping it's not necessarily in lieu of, especially looking at the recently announced training for minors and their parents and the rest of the SafeSport code. But that's me being optimistic I guess.

                So I guess I'm wondering where we go from here. The policies are in place and here to stay for the foreseeable future, but I imagine there's room for advocacy for changes. What those changes should be, I'm not sure. I liked what I thought the MAAP was doing, at least in concept, but I don't feel qualified to write policy from wholecloth. Maybe a grassroots campaign for empowerment-based self defense in our communities? I don't know.

                Comment


                • I fired off an email basically asking for clarification on scope and about home barns. I will post the reply here when I get it.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                    So that brings right back to the other question.

                    If you are a USEF member that is an adult that boards your horse and 16yo junior rider drives to the same barn and you are the only one there, what must the adult do to stay with in the rules?
                    First thing I would do is text/call the parent/trainer/assistant trainer and let them know the junior was the only other person in the barn and do they want the junior to ride unsupervised? Add in that you don't feel comfortable being the only adult there with the junior rider and would one of them please come to the barn immediately after responding in text/call.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                      I fired off an email basically asking for clarification on scope and about home barns. I will post the reply here when I get it.
                      Awesome and thanks!

                      Also, and I really hope this doesn't come across as condescending...but thank you for the tone shift in your posts. I do value your opinion and your posts from today have been much easier to consider.
                      Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                      Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                      Comment


                      • We may hang out in different places but:
                        And for the 15th time, no one is recommending we do away with SafeSport.
                        I've seen actually quite a lot of commentators suggest we do so, or suggest they will leave USEF over it, or otherwise make all kinds of recommendations that we completely wash our hands of it. (Many seem unaware that it is a mandate from Congress and thus USEF's options are somewhat limited.)

                        I hear a lot of grumping about how it is impossible. I get that rules are annoying and that they are forcing change, not all of which is happy change. I deeply appreciate everyone who has responded with specific suggestions of how to work within the rule changes without losing some of the independence and communication and opportunities we remember and people who are willing to make specific suggestions for how to write the rules better. This is the path forward. We are not going back to a pre-SafeSport Do What You Want era. The scandals of gymnastics and swimming have made sure of it; we are merely lucky in Equestrian to have less press for ours, which are also real and pervasive.

                        Equestrian's status as agriculture for workers and the fact that its practitioners frequently have had no formal education or institutional employment means that we've always had a problem with ethics and with practices that are problematic in how we treat labor, clients, and students. There are some real cultural issues to consider. I'll just point out how many big name trainers have had serial sexual relationships with newly 18 year old students and/or young employees throughout their careers, changing them out with some regularity. And people still send/sent their teenagers to these professionals. I realize again that this is part of the reason people feel threatened - there are powerful people in our industry who have done it wrong in years past by current mores and expectations. We have to move forward anyway.

                        I too was a working student and barn rat and I don't want those opportunities to go away any more than they already are due to time, money, liability, and other competition for kids' time. I think our task is to figure out how we set those up while still protecting the kids and while setting up expectations and training on both sides for what is an appropriate mentor-mentee relationship that is professional, healthy, fulfilling, and beneficial for everyone.
                        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

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Tackpud View Post

                          First thing I would do is text/call the parent/trainer/assistant trainer and let them know the junior was the only other person in the barn and do they want the junior to ride unsupervised? Add in that you don't feel comfortable being the only adult there with the junior rider and would one of them please come to the barn immediately after responding in text/call.
                          Yeah, no. I'm not going to parent the kid or make sure their parent is doing so. Trainer doesn't even come into our picture as that is not how her program runs. It's a boarding barn and we are only under her supervision when we are taking lessons (or if we are getting in the way of her lessons). Otherwise, we are on our own.

                          I'm close to crossing the line when I stay while she's riding. Her parent does appreciate it, but it's of my own volition...and often the kid won't know that's what I'm doing. I just make myself busy. Truthfully, I do this with anyone at the barn, junior or adult, for my own peace of mind. I would feel terrible if someone did fall and got seriously hurt and I could have been there to mitigate.
                          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by RugBug View Post

                            Yeah, no. I'm not going to parent the kid or make sure their parent is doing so. Trainer doesn't even come into our picture as that is not how her program runs. It's a boarding barn and we are only under her supervision when we are taking lessons (or if we are getting in the way of her lessons). Otherwise, we are on our own.

                            I'm close to crossing the line when I stay while she's riding. Her parent does appreciate it, but it's of my own volition...and often the kid won't know that's what I'm doing. I just make myself busy. Truthfully, I do this with anyone at the barn, junior or adult, for my own peace of mind. I would feel terrible if someone did fall and got seriously hurt and I could have been there to mitigate.
                            Tangent: Props to you for being a good citizen and keeping an eye on your fellow barn mates.

                            I can’t imagine too many trainers or assistant trainers would be thrilled at the idea of going back out to the barn at the end of a long day just to be the extra person. Plus, does that mean both adults then have to stay the exact same amount of time so neither one is left there alone with the minor? Would the adults have to coordinate their departure? Or wait for the minor to leave first?

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by RugBug View Post

                              First, thanks for sharing.

                              for perspective, how much of your grooming do you think this rule would cover? This was at a time before widespread use of cell phones. Did he call you or was most in person? Was it in private or did he get you to, or start you down, the "I would have' path in public?

                              You don't have to answer. I just ask to help calibrate my thoughts around this rule not really getting at the core issue...and your comment on the fact that you would have been willing echos some thoughts I've had.

                              Time alone in the barn mainly. I worked my bill off with no limits to what that meant. Which meant he would assign me things to do late in to the evening. Then take advantage of me being there alone. I was once given 150 laps of no stirrups, around 50 in he settled himself on his deck with a drink and just watched. Silently. I finished my laps around 8:30 pm. That was the first thing that struck me as something amiss. It should have occurred to me much much earlier given his behavior. But again. He was seen as a God In my parts of the world. There are a few posters on here that can confirm all of what I’m saying.

                              For me, technology of today would have made ME much more accessible 30 years ago. So although the rule doesn’t apply directly to my situation of the day and time when it existed, people like him in this sport certainly still exist. If this guy was texting me, what’s apping me, messaging me, I *would have loved it* AND kept it a secret from my parents.

                              There are people that I know as adults now that are still completely screwed up by what this person did to them. Again without the talent and the money I was only hungry, and cute but not super interesting to him.

                              Its about a shift in culture. It’s about protecting the vulnerable. It’s about reduction of risk for these riders that would literally sell their soul for a chance to get to the top.
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                              Comment


                              • Hmm ... so the current understanding, pending clarification from USEF, is that the “observable and interruptible by another adult” is only policy at USEF events and facilities and is simply a “recommendation” for home barns?

                                So it wouldn’t be a violation for an adult amateur to be in the barn alone with a junior who shows up to ride while they’re there? Or for an adult amateur to go for a hack with the teenage working student?

                                It is much easier at competitions and clinics and such to make sure there is always another adult within “interruptible” distance.

                                (Although I have to wonder ... what proportion of abuse actually occurs at horse shows and clinics versus at home barns?)

                                Comment


                                • Sticky Situation That is our current reading of the text, yes. Hopefully Denali gets a response to clarify and can report back. Having it only apply at USEF/USOC NGB events and facilities definitely limits that specific policy's efficacy in my mind, and is likely only included to reduce legal liability for them. But does at least address all the hand wringing in this thread about being alone at the barn with a junior rider.

                                  Nickelodian thanks for sharing your experience. I too was on the receiving end of similar behavior as a teen, though not in a horse related environment. It's really horrible to look back and realize how little control I had over the situation, despite feeling like I was the one in charge of the flirtation.

                                  Comment


                                  • So basically the USEF used Safe Sport’s template for the MAAP. Safe Sport writes that the intent of the template is to provide guidance so NGB can tailor theirs to their sport and if one is not done the template is used. So the USEF is lazy and truly is doing the bare minimum so........

                                    That said the change I would make is to tailor it to the USEF.

                                    No email yet but I went to Safe Sport and saw the template with instructions.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post
                                      Hmm ... so the current understanding, pending clarification from USEF, is that the “observable and interruptible by another adult” is only policy at USEF events and facilities and is simply a “recommendation” for home barns?

                                      <snip>

                                      (Although I have to wonder ... what proportion of abuse actually occurs at horse shows and clinics versus at home barns?)
                                      I’m sure some abuse might occur at shows, but my gut instinct is that there are often more opportunities at home. Though it probably depends on the individual dirtbag/perpetrator and the situation.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by Tackpud View Post

                                        First thing I would do is text/call the parent/trainer/assistant trainer and let them know the junior was the only other person in the barn and do they want the junior to ride unsupervised? Add in that you don't feel comfortable being the only adult there with the junior rider and would one of them please come to the barn immediately after responding in text/call.
                                        Jesus.

                                        I swear to God if I got a text that I had to come to the barn lights and sirens because one of the adult ammys didnt feel comfortable being in the same barn with one of the juniors, either that ammy or that junior or all of the ammys or all of the juniors or possibly even all of them collectively would have to go.

                                        I can't even control my facial expression reading this on the internet as a hypothetical.

                                        I'm *ALL FOR* safe sport and running tight, safe, respectful and empowering programs for all humans -and horses! - involved, but we've now reached the point of suggesting this complete nonsense. Let's dial down the hysteria and evaluate the proposed solutions like reasonable adults.
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                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by Impractical Horsewoman View Post
                                          poltroon I think your locked tackroom scenario is an excellent way of summing up what the new policies are attempting to do--effectively prohibiting situations where abuse may be likely to occur and putting greater onus on adults to protect, versus teens to prove something happened.
                                          .
                                          The issue I have is that in the US the standard has be "innocent until proven guilty" and as a society we are seeing a move toward "guilt upon accusation" which is very harmful.

                                          Like everyone on this thread, I detest abuse of children and teens. That said, I am loathe to cross into the guilt by accusation territory. A person close to me has been a victim of such and seeing a person falsely accused lose their job and livelihood and have their family torn apart is heartbreaking.

                                          This trend has lead to defensive posture by people who might be willing to help/mentor a young rider. The 21yo with a truck and trailer is hesitant to offer a 14yo fellow client a ride to a show or a clinic. The 19yo instructor is less likely to form a personal bond with the 15yo student who needs a non judgmental ear, the recently unemployed who's horse just died is less likely to offer to help young teens with their horses at their family's property because they might be left alone with the girls.

                                          Yes, adults are responsible for their treatment of minors but by potentially criminalizing so many innocent relationships, you are not actually ensnaring real criminals and creeps just preventing adults who ight be able to offer an opportunity to a kid from taking the risk. The person mentioned above was tying to help a kid who was in crisis. The kid reached out and the person I know offered help and advice and a shoulder to cry on. It was a parent, who was wrapped up in a personal crisis of her own who made the accusation, not the teen, who refuses to accuse. Parents are divorcing and one parent claims teen was abused by coach because other parent allowed kid to go to away tournament, thus making other parent responsible for "abuse" which student claims never happened.




                                          F O.B
                                          Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                          Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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