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Can we talk about SafeSport?

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  • In order for something to be “interruptible by another adult” wouldn’t that require the actual presence of another adult? So if I’m in the barn alone, with no other adults around, and a teenager shows up to ride her horse and doesn’t have a parent with her, it seems that I would be in violation if I didn’t immediately leave.

    I just looked over it again and there actually is a provision for private lessons as long as there is written, signed permission slip from the parents every 6 months. Yay I guess?

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post
      In order for something to be “interruptible by another adult” wouldn’t that require the actual presence of another adult? So if I’m in the barn alone, with no other adults around, and a teenager shows up to ride her horse and doesn’t have a parent with her, it seems that I would be in violation if I didn’t immediately leave.

      I just looked over it again and there actually is a provision for private lessons as long as there is written, signed permission slip from the parents every 6 months. Yay I guess?
      That’s not that hard. Make a permission slip. Make copies ask parents to sign. And I agree with Texarkana. A little extra effort to help the kids that are most at risk for grooming and abuse is apparently way too much to ask. Best to just do nothing and pearl clutch when it happens again because it’s not at your barn.

      No one has come up with an alternative except parental involvement and that’s exactly what this is trying to force. How hard is for a permission slip to be added that says little Suzy has permission to be at x barn without my supervision. This permission is extended to the trainer, barn staff and all adult boarders.

      Cripes its a piece of paper, update every 6 months. It’s not hard.

      And yes it’s interruptible unless you close the barn for the duration of the kid being there. Other people could show up at a moments notice.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

        That’s not that hard. Make a permission slip. Make copies ask parents to sign. And I agree with Texarkana. A little extra effort to help the kids that are most at risk for grooming and abuse is apparently way too much to ask. Best to just do nothing and pearl clutch when it happens again because it’s not at your barn.

        No one has come up with an alternative except parental involvement and that’s exactly what this is trying to force. How hard is for a permission slip to be added that says little Suzy has permission to be at x barn without my supervision. This permission is extended to the trainer, barn staff and all adult boarders.

        Cripes its a piece of paper, update every 6 months. It’s not hard.
        I’m not a trainer, so the private lesson situation doesn’t affect me (although it would have when I was a kid, because as soon as I got my license I almost always drove myself to the barn).

        I guess as an adult amateur who boards at the same barn as kids, I should have a lawyer draw up a permission slip for parents of the kids at my barn saying that if parents let their kid go to the barn unaccompanied, they give permission for their kid to potentially be alone in the barn with me? And get it re-signed every 6 months?

        My solution? How about we see if the SafeSport training they started requiring, in addition to overall increased public awareness, did anything before they go making sweeping policies essentially saying all interaction between a kid and adult is suspect if the parent isn’t there?

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post

          I’m not a trainer, so the private lesson situation doesn’t affect me (although it would have when I was a kid, because as soon as I got my license I almost always drove myself to the barn).

          I guess as an adult amateur who boards at the same barn as kids, I should have a lawyer draw up a permission slip for parents of the kids at my barn saying that if parents let their kid go to the barn unaccompanied, they give permission for their kid to potentially be alone in the barn with me? And get it re-signed every 6 months?

          My solution? How about we see if the SafeSport training they started requiring, in addition to overall increased public awareness, did anything before they go making sweeping policies essentially saying all interaction between a kid and adult is suspect if the parent isn’t there?
          So you’re parents would have balked at a permission slip? You know your parent signed permission slips for every school trip you ever took right? The permission slip is on the trainer and barn. No it’s not on you.

          I think you are willfully trying to make this into this into a situation that needs to be a lot harder than it is because you don’t like it. Why on earth would you do something with someone else’s kid that makes you responsible if they got hurt without the parents knowing beforehand the plans?

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

            So you’re parents would have balked at a permission slip? You know your parent signed permission slips for every school trip you ever took right? The permission slip is on the trainer and barn. No it’s not on you.

            I think you are willfully trying to make this into this into a situation that needs to be a lot harder than it is because you don’t like it. Why on earth would you do something with someone else’s kid that makes you responsible if they got hurt without the parents knowing beforehand the plans?
            And I think that because you approve of these new rules, you are willfully refusing to see that while people will likely just end up jumping through a few extra hoops so that they can comply with all the new restrictions, they are a burden for all involved and cast perfectly normal interactions in a light of suspicion.

            I’m not sure what line of work you’re in, but you would make an excellent hospital administrator.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post

              And I think that because you approve of these new rules, you are willfully refusing to see that while people will likely just end up jumping through a few extra hoops so that they can comply with all the new restrictions, they are a burden for all involved and cast perfectly normal interactions in a light of suspicion.

              I’m not sure what line of work you’re in, but you would make an excellent hospital administrator.
              Military and I have to abide by similar restrictions as an adult working with other adults. I also am a victims advocate on top of my actual job so I see first hand the damage done from a trusted shipmate. I wish things were different but they are not. I also see restrictions like this working to protect the victim and the wrongfully accused IRL. I’m sorry to hear you see taking measures that have been proven to work to prevent the abuse of children as a burden.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Sticky Situation View Post

                And I think that because you approve of these new rules, you are willfully refusing to see that while people will likely just end up jumping through a few extra hoops so that they can comply with all the new restrictions, they are a burden for all involved and cast perfectly normal interactions in a light of suspicion.

                I’m not sure what line of work you’re in, but you would make an excellent hospital administrator.
                My parents would not have signed permission slips for every adult I ever hung out with in my life. That is absolutely absurd. My parents did, however, raise me to know what was appropriate and what was not appropriate, and what to do if I found myself in a situation.

                I don't see how the rules actually help. A person who violates a child is breaking the law. Clearly they don't care about rules. And to the rest of the people who do care about the welfare of the child, here are new rules to make it look like the powers that be are actually taking action. Still I ask - where is the specific education for the children?

                And BTW, I was thinking regulatory/compliance for a medical devices manufacturer. But I see your Hospital Administrator role as well!

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                  Cripes its a piece of paper, update every 6 months. It’s not hard.
                  Actually, with my background in operations that would handle something like this...I would balk at a policy like this exactly because it is difficult to administer. Let's brainstorm for a moment what it would look like:

                  End result: Junior rider's parents sign a permission slip every 6 months

                  to get that the result, we will need:

                  Generate list of current students
                  Design the permission form (maybe Safe Sport has a sample?)
                  Send out the forms (mail/electronic? if Electronic for signature, need to set up form in Docusign or similar and load recipient lists)
                  Track responses
                  File returned forms
                  Follow up with reminders for those that haven't signed

                  What that looks like in a sample process (quick brainstorming on my part):

                  For existing students, you can do them in bulk with monthly billing or using Docusign perhaps if you do electronic billing. So, let's say we get all existing students parents to sign en mass in the month of June, with an "effective date" of July 1st. To be safe, we will have them sign again in December with an effective date of January 1st. Not too hard...as long as everyone actually complies with the timeline. (Anyone that has to deal with getting employees to do mandatory trainings or is involved with benefits open enrollment is laughing right about now...and people think they're benefits are important and vital).

                  We've got to keep a list of all the students/parents that have signed as well as those that haven't...as well as the signature date. So, if the trainer has a billing system that can handle that information in a way that can pull into a report (hopefully with contact information, etc,), excellent. IF not, we are talking Excel or Google Sheets (most likely) so they can track who has signed, who hasn't, and follow up with reminders.

                  Now, some parents don't sign until July/August, whatever. You will still work to get them to sign in December for January...but may have to keep chasing them down (for something they are most likely going to think is ridiculous).

                  New students come in in March, they sign the permission slip initially when feeling out releases, boarding contracts*. They are then put on the schedule to sign again in June because God forbid trying to manage different signature date requirements.

                  Depending on the number of students/parents, you've got two signatures windows that you are tracking and following up on. If you are good at technology, or have someone who you can farm it out too, you will be better off. If you or your staff is tech challenged? Job just got immensely harder. I imagine larger programs will find it easier than smaller ones, at least from a resource standpoint.

                  "It's not that hard" is flippant and shows a lack of consideration for what would be involved. It's not the most difficult process ever, but it is by no means is a throw away in its ease.

                  *do barn owners need the same permission slips? Trainers are not the only one that can be onsite alone with minors and in a place of authority.
                  Last edited by RugBug; Jun. 4, 2019, 11:45 AM.
                  Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                  Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by atl_hunter View Post

                    My parents would not have signed permission slips for every adult I ever hung out with in my life. That is absolutely absurd. My parents did, however, raise me to know what was appropriate and what was not appropriate, and what to do if I found myself in a situation.
                    I do think the regulations state something about 'someone with authority' but don't necessarily define that. I have conferred authority by virtue of being the only adult when I'm the only one there. So maybe, maybe not every adult.

                    Originally posted by atl_hunter View Post
                    I don't see how the rules actually help. A person who violates a child is breaking the law. Clearly they don't care about rules. And to the rest of the people who do care about the welfare of the child, here are new rules to make it look like the powers that be are actually taking action. Still I ask - where is the specific education for the children?
                    Agreed. Again, parents were IN THE ROOM with Larry Nassar. The journalist's riding instructor allowed the second adult (the track coach) to abuse her...and yet they could have easily been the "two adults' that are required by SafeSport.


                    Originally posted by atl_hunter View Post
                    And BTW, I was thinking regulatory/compliance for a medical devices manufacturer. But I see your Hospital Administrator role as well!
                    Military makes 100% sense, both from a red tape, follow the rules no matter what, aspect...to the tone in which the posts come across.
                    Last edited by RugBug; Jun. 4, 2019, 12:39 PM.
                    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by RugBug View Post

                      Actually, with my background in operations that would handle something like this...I would balk at a policy like this exactly because it is difficult to administer. Let's brainstorm for a moment what it would look like:

                      End result: Junior rider's parents sign a permission slip every 6 months

                      to get that the result, we will need:

                      Generate list of current students
                      Design the permission form (maybe Safe Sport has a sample?)
                      Send out the forms (mail/electronic? if Electronic for signature, need to set up form in Docusign or similar and load recipient lists)
                      Track responses
                      File returned forms
                      Follow up with reminders for those that haven't signed

                      What that looks like in a sample process (quick brainstorming on my part):

                      For existing students, you can do them in bulk with monthly billing or using Docusign perhaps if you do electronic billing. So, let's say we get all existing students parents to sign en mass in the month of June, with an "effective date" of July 1st. To be safe, we will have them sign again in December with an effective date of January 1st. Not too hard...as long as everyone actually complies with the timeline. (Anyone that has to deal with getting employees to do mandatory trainings or is involved with benefits open enrollment is laughing right about now...and people think they're benefits are important and vital).

                      We've got to keep a list of all the students/parents that have signed as well as those that haven't...as well as the signature date. So, if the trainer has a billing system that can handle that information in a way that can pull into a report (hopefully with contact information, etc,), excellent. IF not, we are talking Excel or Google Sheets (most likely) so they can track who has signed, who hasn't, and follow up with reminders.

                      Now, some parents don't sign until July/August, whatever. You will still work to get them to sign in December for January...but may have to keep chasing them down (for something they are most likely going to think is ridiculous).

                      New students come in in March, they sign the permission slip initially when feeling out releases, boarding contracts*. They are then put on the schedule to sign again in June because God forbid trying to manage different signature date requirements.

                      Depending on the number of students/parents, you've got two signatures windows that you are tracking and following up on. If you are good at technology, or have someone who you can farm it out too, you will be better off. If you or your staff is tech challenged? Job just got immensely harder. I imagine larger programs will find it easier than smaller ones, at least from a resource standpoint.

                      "It's not that hard" is flippant and shows a lack of consideration for what would be involved. It's not the most difficult process ever, but it is by no means is a throw away in its ease.

                      *do barn owners need the same permission slips? Trainers are not the only one that can be onsite alone with minors and in a place of authority.
                      I think you're overcomplicating this. Barns already have clients sign waivers and keep updated emergency contact information on file. So you don't have to filter out your younger clients - you need to update your existing waiver and emergency contact form to include a SafeSport section for riders under age 18. Previously, it may have been fine to have everyone update only at perceived times of need, but it's reasonable to ask everyone to re-sign the waiver form and review their emergency contacts every 6 months. Have a stack of copies handy when people come into the barn, like you already do for new clients all the time.

                      Obviously, there is a long tradition, but it's possible that SafeSport will mean that people under age 18 can't be live-in working students. And honestly, I think it probably should. That's a pretty vulnerable group of kids. Those opportunities can wait for legal adulthood.

                      There are apps that handle group texting. And it's not horrible if mom has to ignore some texts about whether or not Dobbin should be wearing bell boots. Mom and Dad pay the vet and training bills, so they should be looped in on the communications about the animal.

                      Comment


                      • RugBug a barn is not a large corporation. They manage to create a culture where the trainer has a lot of control over someone else’s horse and this is too hard? Create itemized bills, have contracts, etc. Heck trainers bill outside clients at horse shows.

                        If I (yes me alone) can manage to keep 300+ people up to date on their CPR pretty sure a barn with staff can do the same with permission slips. Is it extra work? Sure. Doable? Extremely.

                        My it’s not hard comments are stemming from the fact the no one is required to join the USEF to ride and show horses, board horses or teach lessons. If one wants to do so as a member they have to follow the rules. If one doesn’t like the rules then they do not have to join. It’s like anything else in life. Don’t like it? Do something else.

                        If nothing else this thread has given me a list of professionals with whom I would not do business with in the future.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                          RugBug a barn is not a large corporation. They manage to create a culture where the trainer has a lot of control over someone else’s horse and this is too hard? Create itemized bills, have contracts, etc. Heck trainers bill outside clients at horse shows.
                          You've got a very narrow view of the variety of ways trainers run their businesses. Just to help broaden your perspective, my trainer is a USEF member. She owns a flip phone (can't figure out smart phones) with NO APPS. She often uses FB Messenger when she's on her computer at night so she can use a full qwerty keyboard (she would have no idea what that means) to type a message. She texts...but HATES groups because her phone will go off a lot while she's teaching with all the messages coming in. A lot of time, instead of texting, she will text "left voicemail" and then calls and leaves a message so she doesn't have to type. She keeps track of her billing on a paper desk calendar. Releases are hard copy in a drawer. I've created electronic lists for her in the past, but they don't stay up to date.

                          And barns create that control to avoid the complications of individual communications...and people not doing the things they should be.

                          If I (yes me alone) can manage to keep 300+ people up to date on their CPR pretty sure a barn with staff can do the same with permission slips. Is it extra work? Sure. Doable? Extremely.
                          Awesome. Again, missing the broader picture. I managed operations for 3600+ and while I could make this happen, I would find it inefficient and overkill....and I HATE inefficiency.

                          As far as what it accomplishes? I think very little in the way of actually preventing predators. Parents will sign with little thought because it is what is convenient and certainly Trainer Susie isn't going to molest their daughter or try to start a sexual relationship with her. Maybe that have a little more concern about Trainer Bob, but probably not. Other parents wouldn't have their kids ride with a predator, so he must be safe and fine.
                          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            Ok, I’ve thought about these new rules over the past few days and have decided they don’t address the issue.
                            The problem with these rules is they make life hard for those who aren’t abusing children, but don’t really effect those that are. Abuse happened before instant communication. It happens even when parents sign permission slips, even when minors don’t get in cars with adults. The problem here is that a person abusing a child will still do these things. They will still have the kid get in the car ‘just this once’. They will still abuse them in an empty barn. They will still antagonize them, maybe on a social media site that doesn’t track messages, maybe just in person. It will still happen.

                            The answer isn’t to hope that having parents more involved will help because a lot of times parents are blind to the abuse. Maybe they see something weird, but brush it off as a one off. Maybe they ignore it, because their child is excelling.

                            The answer is to educate the children. We forget that minors sometimes don’t even know the abuse is wrong. If we educate the children to know that inappropriate behavior and abuse is wrong, you can speak up, there are other trainers out there that can teach you just as well without the abuse, and here is someone you can talk to who isn’t your parent, well, that seems like something that could help.

                            Many times children don’t speak up because either their don’t know that the abuse is wrong or because they are afraid of what they will lose. If we make sure that they know it’s not ok, and that they will still get to ride, will still get to have barn time, maybe we could stop some of this.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by RugBug View Post

                              You've got a very narrow view of the variety of ways trainers run their businesses. Just to help broaden your perspective, my trainer is a USEF member. She owns a flip phone (can't figure out smart phones) with NO APPS. She often uses FB Messenger when she's on her computer at night so she can use a full qwerty keyboard (she would have no idea what that means) to type a message. She texts...but HATES groups because her phone will go off a lot while she's teaching with all the messages coming in. A lot of time, instead of texting, she will text "left voicemail" and then calls and leaves a message so she doesn't have to type. She keeps track of her billing on a paper desk calendar. Releases are hard copy in a drawer. I've created electronic lists for her in the past, but they don't stay up to date.

                              And barns create that control to avoid the complications of individual communications...and people not doing the things they should be.



                              Awesome. Again, missing the broader picture. I managed operations for 3600+ and while I could make this happen, I would find it inefficient and overkill....and I HATE inefficiency.

                              As far as what it accomplishes? I think very little in the way of actually preventing predators. Parents will sign with little thought because it is what is convenient and certainly Trainer Susie isn't going to molest their daughter or try to start a sexual relationship with her. Maybe that have a little more concern about Trainer Bob, but probably not. Other parents wouldn't have their kids ride with a predator, so he must be safe and fine.
                              I’m not missing the broader picture. The point of these new rules is to prevent abuse from a predator. It is NOT to prevent people from being them. Maybe it’s time for people to treat it like a real business. Most of the trainers I worked for and have ridden with manage to run a professional business that is akin to small businesses outside the horse industry.

                              I hate group messages too. Guess what? I deal. Slack is great because you can access the group chat on the computer.

                              Also, once again. One does not have to be a member of the USEF to ride, board, train, teach or show.

                              Yes these protocols accomplish a lot. Because g-you do not use them in everyday life doesn’t mean they don’t work.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by EllenMCM View Post

                                I think you're overcomplicating this. Barns already have clients sign waivers and keep updated emergency contact information on file. So you don't have to filter out your younger clients - you need to update your existing waiver and emergency contact form to include a SafeSport section for riders under age 18. Previously, it may have been fine to have everyone update only at perceived times of need, but it's reasonable to ask everyone to re-sign the waiver form and review their emergency contacts every 6 months. Have a stack of copies handy when people come into the barn, like you already do for new clients all the time.
                                I think you're oversimplifying. We send out reminders to have employees verify their addresses/contact information once a year before W2s are sent. You'd be surprised at the number of returns we get...and the number of people contacting us because they didn't get theirs and it turns out they have a different address. I could go on and on.

                                I find it unreasonable to ask for a review of information every 6 months. If we look back now, 6 months is Christmas. It's like a blink of an eye.

                                The kids that don't have parents dropping them off at the barn? That drive themselves or carpool?

                                There are apps that handle group texting. And it's not horrible if mom has to ignore some texts about whether or not Dobbin should be wearing bell boots. Mom and Dad pay the vet and training bills, so they should be looped in on the communications about the animal.
                                Many of those apps have options that make it easier to hide texts. That allows you to delete conversations in set time frames and they are deleted from servers, etc. They are GONE. That's why they were developed. And the predators are going to use those anyway. Again, this is a rule that has basic elements that make sense for interactions with minors...but doesn't really address the problem in significant ways.

                                Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by RugBug View Post

                                  I think you're oversimplifying. We send out reminders to have employees verify their addresses/contact information once a year before W2s are sent. You'd be surprised at the number of returns we get...and the number of people contacting us because they didn't get theirs and it turns out they have a different address. I could go on and on.

                                  I find it unreasonable to ask for a review of information every 6 months. If we look back now, 6 months is Christmas. It's like a blink of an eye.

                                  The kids that don't have parents dropping them off at the barn? That drive themselves or carpool?



                                  Many of those apps have options that make it easier to hide texts. That allows you to delete conversations in set time frames and they are deleted from servers, etc. They are GONE. That's why they were developed. And the predators are going to use those anyway. Again, this is a rule that has basic elements that make sense for interactions with minors...but doesn't really address the problem in significant ways.
                                  Put it in the contract that any non-compliance with safe sport policies will be met with a 30 day notice. Barns make this easier because you can get rid of people WAY easier than in a corporate setting.

                                  Comment


                                  • IMO, the major shortcoming of SafeSport is that it has demonstrably failed to protect children from serial abusers in multiple sports, and doesn't actually do much.

                                    I *do* think that ultimately professionals who work with children in a number of sports will wind up adopting a number of policies and procedures to protect children from abuse that they don't have now, and that if these are going to be effective, they will cause some changes in every sport, some of which many people will find those changes inconvenient.

                                    The reality is being sexually assaulted sucks, and it changes a child's life, and a lot of kids who have reported abuse from coaches wind up having to choose between continuing to have contact with their abuser and leaving the sport. It's a lot kinder to kids if we prevent them from ever being abused in the first place. Preventing abuse means a lot of supervision and very serious consequences for adults who take advantage of their power over kids. Ultimately, that's probably a legislative project, not a project for a non-government organization. SafeSport is well-intentioned and a lot of the rules it's proposing are actually reasonable. It's doing a great job showing how attached people are to traditional ways of doing business, even when those put children at risk. We have to stop tolerating "traditions" that hurt kids the same way we try to prevent injuries to horses and riders. But ultimately, SafeSport can only apply sports-related sanctions and those are not the appropriate consequences for perpetrators of child abuse.

                                    Comment


                                    • I have said it before and will say it again... I firmly believe that silly sport is NOT GOING TO HELP ONE SINGLE CHILD!! and is especially inappropriately "designed" for our sport. Home and schools are the place children should be taught the "skills" "mind set" that would help prevent and report abusers, random strangers should not be taught what is and is not "abuse" and how to police their peers. It is ridiculous to place any of the responsibility on people who are paying ALOT of HARD EARNED MONEY to COMPETE when there are many other people with access to kids at barns or shows that do not have to take silly sport. And yes I have wasted a few hours of my life completing silly sport and the training was USELESS! Actually part of it makes it sound like "good guys" are just lulling kids into a sense of false security so they can then turn into "bad guys"

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by TooManyBays View Post
                                        The answer is to educate the children. We forget that minors sometimes don’t even know the abuse is wrong. If we educate the children to know that inappropriate behavior and abuse is wrong, you can speak up, there are other trainers out there that can teach you just as well without the abuse, and here is someone you can talk to who isn’t your parent, well, that seems like something that could help.

                                        Many times children don’t speak up because either their don’t know that the abuse is wrong or because they are afraid of what they will lose. If we make sure that they know it’s not ok, and that they will still get to ride, will still get to have barn time, maybe we could stop some of this.
                                        Educate and EMPOWER. If we remove the shame of abuse and start believing the stories, we'd create a world where potential victims could and would speak up...and they would be heard and the situation addressed.

                                        Think about #MEtoo and the ripple, nay tidal wave, that has caused. What brought about Safe Sport? Girls/women that were empowered to tell their stories and were believed.
                                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                                        Comment


                                        • "I think you're oversimplifying. We send out reminders to have employees verify their addresses/contact information once a year before W2s are sent. You'd be surprised at the number of returns we get...and the number of people contacting us because they didn't get theirs and it turns out they have a different address. I could go on and on.

                                          I find it unreasonable to ask for a review of information every 6 months. If we look back now, 6 months is Christmas. It's like a blink of an eye.

                                          The kids that don't have parents dropping them off at the barn? That drive themselves or carpool? "

                                          Don't sign the form, don't get on a horse. Same as the waivers barns use already, just a couple times a year. Non-parent drops you off or you drive yourself? You pick up a form at the end of one lesson and bring it back at the beginning of the next or you don't get on a horse. If you can't keep up with paperwork that is HANDED TO YOU when you come to the barn, you do not ride or board at that barn.

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