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New York Times article - USEF and Humble

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  • Salome, I think the point is that there might be a lot more heads out there that belong on plates (speaking generally--not in regards to that person). The problem (as others have pointed out) isn't just ONE single horrific situation involving the death of a pony, or even a few people blatantly using testable illegal drugs/combinations of drugs in their horses. I think that the average trainer doesn't want to risk positive drug tests, and why should they?

    The problem is the widespread abuse of "legal" medications (dex, banamine, robaxin, etc.) whereby as a routine practice some (many?) trainers administer an excessive array of medically unnecessary and potentially harmful "legal" drugs to perfectly healthy horses as standard show prep because those medications might have a calming side effect--and also happen to be "legal."

    And, worse yet, the widespread use of and experimentation with dangerous "untestable" drugs such as GABA (now testable) and IV magnesium. There is no rule against/punishment for accidentally killing a horse on show grounds with an injection of an untestable mystery substance. There is no consequence to giving mystery meds to a horse to the point that it falls down in the warm up ring. Not only does the USEF do nothing, but owners, riders and parents for whatever reason are failing to speak out when they witness these things. Are people afraid to "upset the apple cart" and be ostracized by their barn/trainer? Are they afraid of being sued for speaking out? Have they come to think that drugging horses is such standard practice that there is no point speaking out? Or do they genuinely believe that if a substance can't be tested for it is "ok"?

    Drug testing is a good thing, but I don't think it is the complete answer. And while I agree that the rules have to change (and many people on this thread and the other related thread have made excellent suggestions), I also think that the most helpful thing that could be done would be a change in judging. If judges penalized horses that appeared sedated, exhausted, or overly slow and rewarded horses with natural pace and expression that would do a lot to discourage the dangerous use of sedating substances.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Winston the Corgi View Post
      What I don't understand is why the protest system is set up the way it is for things like alleged drug violations.

      Granted it governs athlete doping in humans, but the US Anti-Doping Agency (which manages all Olympic and Olympic-Development athletes, even in off seasons ("out of competition testing")) has an Play Clean ANONYMOUS HOT LINE and even provides an anonymous report box online where you can submit your report in your pajamas at 2 AM if you'd like (http://www.usada.org/playclean).

      No need to pay a fee, no need to be publicly identified (or shamed!), etc.

      Yes, some may argue such a system promotes dubious reporting of others out of jealousy or for some competitive edge, but you'd think Olympic athletes would have the same problems (and they haven't), no?

      Why is USEF so afraid to set up an anonymous "Play Clean" hotline? Or online report submission box? Or fee-free reporting system? Or provide members with a drug reference phone line to consult on whether something is okay (or not) (http://www.usada.org/drugline/)? Or an ombudsman (http://www.usada.org/usoc-athlete-ombudsman/)?

      Do you realize how this looks to the outside? To report another competitor of a violation you have to PAY A FEE. Your name is public. Talk about a system that exists to protect the inner circle.

      (Then again, this is the same organization that gave a slap on the wrist to a top hunter trainer for drug infractions and then just put his picture on the cover of their organizational magazine (IN THE SAME YEAR). Did you forget? You can refresh your memory here: http://www.usef.org/documents/rules/...ePenalties.pdf

      So maybe that's all you need to know about this club of our's).

      USEF does have a free drug line you can call and ask "is this ok?".

      And unless Scott Stewart has multiple infractions (I have know idea) I wouldn't burn him at the stake for a single occurrence of bute overdose. Sometimes a true mistake does happen and bute is the least of our worries when it comes to drugging problems! At least he put himself down as trainer on the horse. So many BNTs don't, to avoid it hurting them if they get caught! Very sad. Yes, the owner is the trainer of that horse and the BNT is just riding (sarcasm).

      Comment


      • BeeHony,

        I agree that drug testing is not the whole answer. It is closing the proverbial barn door after the horse is out.

        Thinking about other areas with drug problems, I am reminded of the teen campaign "Just Say NO [to drugs]". It brought drugs "out of the closet" and into the mainstream. Parents and kids could talk about drugs and kids would sign pledges to not use. The drug problem was attacked proactively.

        The USEF needs to be proactive, too. Bring drugging out of the closet. Run a campaign acknowledging that drugs are used and that is wrong. Turn the issue around so that a mother is not afraid to say something when her kid's pony falls down in the warm up area.

        Talk about drugs. Put up posters in the stabling area. Get the riders on the side of riding a clean horse. [Try to] run a campaign in which owners/riders sign a pledge to only own/ride drug free horses.

        Making drugging bad has not worked (for many reasons...). Why not make riding a drug free horse a positive goal for people to achieve?

        If course the testing needs to continue and punishments need to be made harsher. But we need to make the issue one that people talk about, not sweep under the rug.
        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

        Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

        Comment


        • "Give me a child [horseman] until the age of ten, and I will tell you what kind of man [horseman] he will be."

          It's not JUST the drugging .

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
            BeeHony,

            I agree that drug testing is not the whole answer. It is closing the proverbial barn door after the horse is out.

            Thinking about other areas with drug problems, I am reminded of the teen campaign "Just Say NO [to drugs]". It brought drugs "out of the closet" and into the mainstream. Parents and kids could talk about drugs and kids would sign pledges to not use. The drug problem was attacked proactively.

            The USEF needs to be proactive, too. Bring drugging out of the closet. Run a campaign acknowledging that drugs are used and that is wrong. Turn the issue around so that a mother is not afraid to say something when her kid's pony falls down in the warm up area.

            Talk about drugs. Put up posters in the stabling area. Get the riders on the side of riding a clean horse. [Try to] run a campaign in which owners/riders sign a pledge to only own/ride drug free horses.

            Making drugging bad has not worked (for many reasons...). Why not make riding a drug free horse a positive goal for people to achieve?

            If course the testing needs to continue and punishments need to be made harsher. But we need to make the issue one that people talk about, not sweep under the rug.
            Except being a product of the "Just say no" "this is your brain on drugs" and D.A.R.E generation I can assure you that the drugs are more rampant NOW then before they started the campaign....Yes it made parents feel like they could talk to their kids about it BUT it some how made drugs NOT a big deal...I'm not sure how but I speak the truth!!!

            Comment


            • Originally posted by nlk View Post
              Except being a product of the "Just say no" "this is your brain on drugs" and D.A.R.E generation I can assure you that the drugs are more rampant NOW then before they started the campaign....Yes it made parents feel like they could talk to their kids about it BUT it some how made drugs NOT a big deal...I'm not sure how but I speak the truth!!!
              Yeah, well that had to do (also) with the international drug trade being profitable to the US government and it helped out some private firms who got contracts to build and run jails. Ironically, the "Just Say No" campaign was Nancy Reagan's. If I'm not mistaken, her husband headed an administration that made some international deals regarding drugs entering the US market.

              Anywho. Whatever the USEF Insiders decide to do, they need to recognized two things (and doing so will make their choosing policies a much easier pill to swallow):

              1. What we* did and didn't do in the past to keep our sport clean painted us into this corner. We all own a part of it, so the best thing to do, for PR purposes and otherwise, is to show up now and take a visibly proactive stance on correcting the problem.

              2. There needs to be a response that the USEF membership and the NYT-reading public can appreciate as aggressive and well-aimed. Half-a$$ed won't do it anymore.

              And worse, a response that looks like propping up the status quo will make the USEF look like a good ol' boys club, not merely in general, but additionally in the face of some horrendous stuff.

              The John Long-type response isn't quite good enough. I'd summarize his strategy as A) We do care about drugging horses, B) Look! We did some great stuff with GABA (Which misses the point a bit, IMO), and C) It's a complicated problem, you people just. wouldn't.understand. Leave it to us. But we are on it. That reeks to me of elitism.... when the elites have just demonstrably failed.

              * The We here is those who have enough power to have shaped either judging standards or nebulous D&M rules or mosquito-like fines.

              I think reorganizing Zone committees such that they give the rank-and-file membership some genuine power in them would be a good-looking start.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

              Comment


              • it's hopeless because when people are winning they don't care how. They bast in their "accomplishments" and label everyone else who points out how drugged the horses or ponies look as jealous. The trainer with the winning horse has a happy client who will be more inclined to buy more horses. The client is happy to believe that his child or himself has become an overnight success rider with the help of a new trainer. When the horse starts to break down because of the drug abuse and overpreparation, they can sell, or lease another one. Has anyone noticed how well horses go for potential buyers? First horse show is always a success but give a couple of weeks and things start to deteriorate. It is so fun to watch and, predictable.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by flyracing View Post
                  And unless Scott Stewart has multiple infractions (I have know idea) I wouldn't burn him at the stake for a single occurrence of bute overdose...
                  Matter of public record (although a little hard to dig up). Summer of 2011, 2 horses, 2 shows, 2 positives, a few weeks apart. He did a sort of mea culpa and blamed a newish road barn employee who was fired. But it really got everybody's attention.

                  Hard to remember anybody else of that stature coming up with two positives in that time frame and, IMO, somewhat unfortunate timing he has two magazine covers the same year as he served the suspension (IIRC he was off spring 2012 on on the covers fall 2012).

                  Part of the problem is USEF moves glacially slow for whatever reason (time off real job, leaving the barn, buying stagecoach tickets etc). The positive comes in pretty quick but the hearing takes at least 6 months to schedual, sometimes gets postponed and any diciplinary action like a suspension is not immediate to give them time to make arrangements for their clients. Typically be nearly a year between the violation and the actual time off.

                  Anyway, it's kind of hard for the rank and file to follow sometimes. Or even be aware of.

                  Edit to correct the misinfomation about the 2 positives at 2 shows with 2 horses-it was 3 positives at 3 shows with 3 horses in 2011.
                  Last edited by findeight; Jan. 4, 2013, 01:22 PM.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by flyracing View Post
                    And unless Scott Stewart has multiple infractions (I have know idea) I wouldn't burn him at the stake for a single occurrence of bute overdose. Sometimes a true mistake does happen and bute is the least of our worries when it comes to drugging problems! At least he put himself down as trainer on the horse. So many BNTs don't, to avoid it hurting them if they get caught! Very sad. Yes, the owner is the trainer of that horse and the BNT is just riding (sarcasm).
                    Just an FYI - reported in Oct 2011 - caught at Upperville June 2011 for Firocoxib over the limit, Bute and Arquel. Reported in Oct. 2011 - caught at I Love NY July 2011 for Bute and Banamine combination. Reported in Feb. 2012 - caught at Hampton Classic August 2011 for Bute over the limit. Only suspended for one week for one "infraction". Fined for all three.

                    Not trying to crucify Scott in particular, but this is a classic example of what the USEF needs to fix. Tested and caught 3 times in 3 months and only suspended for one month.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Tackpud View Post
                      ....Not trying to crucify Scott in particular, but this is a classic example of what the USEF needs to fix. Tested and caught 3 times in 3 months and only suspended for one month.
                      See, I do try to keep up and did not realize he had 3, June, July and August, only one simple bute over the limit. A month off in spring and 2 magazine covers in the fall.

                      Jeesh, how many would you have to have to get into any serious trouble or suffer any dents in your reputation?????
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
                        Salome, I think the point is that there might be a lot more heads out there that belong on plates (speaking generally--not in regards to that person). <SNIP>
                        Preachin' to the choir.


                        it's hopeless because when people are winning they don't care how. They bast in their "accomplishments" and label everyone else who points out how drugged the horses or ponies look as jealous. The trainer with the winning horse has a happy client who will be more inclined to buy more horses. The client is happy to believe that his child or himself has become an overnight success rider with the help of a new trainer. When the horse starts to break down because of the drug abuse and overpreparation, they can sell, or lease another one. Has anyone noticed how well horses go for potential buyers? First horse show is always a success but give a couple of weeks and things start to deteriorate. It is so fun to watch and, predictable.

                        There it is.

                        How many of you have received a horse with their "prep directions"? When hearing of the huge money sales have any layed wagers on how many shows until that horse decided not to participate any longer? How many of the most winning horses ever go on to continue winning the same way with new riders or actually get new riders? Don Stewart's horse Lyle is one of the few I can think of that actually gets a new rider almost every year and continues to win at indoors.

                        Did a little research:

                        2008: 17 shows: Caitlin Hope
                        Reserve Jr. Hunter Finals
                        Champ @ Capital Challenge
                        Won Emerging Pro Challenge
                        Champ @ Harrisburg
                        Champ @ Washington
                        2009: 17 shows: Abby O'Mara
                        Champ/Reserve @ 12 of 17 shows
                        Top ten Jr. Hunter Finals
                        Won Handy Hunter Challenge @ Capital Challenge
                        Champ @ Harrisburg
                        Grand Jr. Hunter Champ @ Harrisburg
                        Champ @ Washington
                        2010: 10 shows: Abby O'Mara
                        2011: no shows
                        2012: 17 shows: Hasbrouck Donovan
                        Champ/Reserve @ 14 shows
                        Champ @ Washington
                        Champ @ National

                        Picked this horse specifically because it continues to win with very few shows and different riders.

                        How many of you have watched a trip where one of the top horses was a little up for the first round, leaves for a bit, then comes back half an hour later and lays it down? I know, I know the guys lunged it. I guess we all were born yesterday.

                        Everybody in the industry knows what is going on, who is doing it, what they are using. Nobody is crazy enough to say anything about it for fear of the consequences. Everybody knows that too.
                        "Every century a witch shall be born."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Salome View Post
                          How many of you have received a horse with their "prep directions"? When hearing of the huge money sales have any layed wagers on how many shows until that horse decided not to participate any longer? How many of the most winning horses ever go on to continue winning the same way with new riders or actually get new riders? Don Stewart's horse Lyle is one of the few I can think of that actually gets a new rider almost every year and continues to win at indoors.
                          This is true. I can think of one West Coast trainer in particular whose lovely horses never seem to do much after they've left his program/prep routine.

                          (Lyle is a machine though, and his history goes way beyond 2008. But the problem? There aren't many like him, at any price. It all comes down to our judging expectations—we're trying to fit "round" horses into square pegs through chemistry.)

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by leyla25 View Post
                            Has anyone noticed how well horses go for potential buyers? First horse show is always a success but give a couple of weeks and things start to deteriorate. It is so fun to watch and, predictable.
                            I fail to see why find this is fun to watch. A buyer, perhaps naive but definitely excited and hopeful about their new, perhaps $$$ horse, finds that they can't get the same level of performance as the previous riders. Maybe they blame themselves and start doubting their own abilities and quit showing, or maybe they blame their trainer who is less than savvy about the new horse's "program" and so they switch to another trainer who is more adept at the "prep" needed to get the horse back to its previous level. Or maybe they blame the horse, whose fate is now at risk. Perhaps too the horse is now in pain, and this is why his performance has suffered.

                            Comment


                            • I was trying to go back further in his career but Google was not cooperating this a.m. and it was getting tiresome. But his consistency is what really shines. And granted, he was mostly shown in the older juniors and there are others whom always win in the youngers but those have never had any other riders and have historically been in the same program.
                              "Every century a witch shall be born."

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Salome View Post
                                When hearing of the huge money sales have any layed wagers on how many shows until that horse decided not to participate any longer? How many of the most winning horses ever go on to continue winning the same way with new riders or actually get new riders?
                                You don't seem to see too many top hunters with long careers. One high profile buyer in particular seems to have purchased a number of horses that then dropped out of sight.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                  Well there is no syringe with traces of Legend, the groom who reportedly either witnessed or actually gave the injection has disappeared
                                  Waaaaiit a sec... they are saying a groom did it, but EM just said herself in one of her posts here that she was so relieved when the necropsy showed that SHE did not hit the wrong spot. So why is she saying that now? But is implying a groom actually did the injection? She just made it pretty clear that the reason she packed up and left immediately was out of guilt that she may have nicked him.
                                  Erin and
                                  Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

                                  "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."

                                  Comment


                                  • On the number of top level Hunters and their longevity? I honestly don't think there are that many horses who can really get to the top level and stay there. Not really anything nefarious in that. Or in a horse not doing as well in a new home, there is a possibility it's that actual riding/training ability thing and not just the drugs wearing off as so many assume. Not EVERYbody is corrupt.

                                    Remember the top dawgs get picked off by Ammies and Juniors to dwell in 3'6" land...or even 3' land. You never see them again but they are still out there at those lower levels out of the HOTY spotlight. The whole point of the business is to aquire, train and sell top horses, not keep them forever and ever even if they can and do reach the top.

                                    Those that dwell in the lower levels with kid and ammie riders are the ones generating most of the whispers and rolling eyes when they stumble around a warm up ring and those owners the least likely to have a clue.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • And then the question remains: So how do those of us not "in the loop" know which trainers to avoid? SS is the only trainer who has been outed, while there are plenty of vague references I'm just not "getting" at all.
                                      Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                                      Comment


                                      • I really hate to say it but Ratemyhorsepro does have actual public records of suits and violations fairly easy to find...and alot of gossip, rumors and unchecked accusations. So be careful not to take every single word at face value if you go there-even the lawsuits have two sides. Disgruntled ex employees, clients with a sale gone bad and ex domestic partners or spouses can be vindictive hiding behind screen names.

                                        You can also Google if you have the patience. If you do have a basic time frame, you can go back in USEF records and find details of hearing findings and penalties. But there is NO index, you have to know when the USEF hearing was held. No idea about now that it's online but used to take 3 to 4 months between the hearing and the publication in the back of the magazine.

                                        Had another thought...how if the USEF indexes those results so we could actually look up the disciplinary record of any member? It IS public once it got in the magazine and now goes online. Not just to identify the worst of the bunch, it would also dispell rumours about those that turn out never to have had any kind of penalty or had a simple one 16 years ago and no repeats.

                                        USHJA is always advising owners to carefully check any trainer they are considering, how about recommending USEF make that possible? Not just meds are actioned by that hearing committee- financial irresponsibilty, being found guilty of animal abuse, unsportsmanlike conduct (hitting another exhibitor, screaming profanity at a judge, berating a child), cheating with Pony height, Green status or training while showing as an ammy. Prospective clients would want to know these things instead of finding out "everybody knows" the hard way.

                                        How about it? Low cost. No rule change needed. Supposed to be public.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                          Matter of public record (although a little hard to dig up). Summer of 2011, 2 horses, 2 shows, 2 positives, a few weeks apart. He did a sort of mea culpa and blamed a newish road barn employee who was fired. But it really got everybody's attention.

                                          Hard to remember anybody else of that stature coming up with two positives in that time frame and, IMO, somewhat unfortunate timing he has two magazine covers the same year as he served the suspension (IIRC he was off spring 2012 on on the covers fall 2012).

                                          Part of the problem is USEF moves glacially slow for whatever reason (time off real job, leaving the barn, buying stagecoach tickets etc). The positive comes in pretty quick but the hearing takes at least 6 months to schedual, sometimes gets postponed and any diciplinary action like a suspension is not immediate to give them time to make arrangements for their clients. Typically be nearly a year between the violation and the actual time off.

                                          Anyway, it's kind of hard for the rank and file to follow sometimes. Or even be aware of.
                                          I agree with your post, except for the phrase, "time off". That indicates that the trainer is taking a vacation. Let's call it what it really is (or should be): punishment for breaking the drug rules.
                                          "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                          Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                                          Comment

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