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New York Times article - USEF and Humble

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  • #41
    Originally posted by M. Owen View Post
    I have said multiple times that I think that penalties for positive drug tests need to hurt more, and hurt the person who is ultimately responsible for the welfare of the animal- the owner- in addition to hurting the trainer. 1) fine AND set down the owners for a month (i.e. no other horses owned by that person can show, similar to what the trainers get), and 2) fine AND set down the trainer and ALL trainers associated with that facility. I understand that will be painting with a broad brush, as one bad apple can affect an entire business, but it may make people think twice about policing themselves and their associates. I understand people will still look for the next big thing that doesn't test, so I think these changes need to be made along with changes to the judging rules where a little exuberance and personality on course are not punished in the judging.
    A month isn't long enough. First offense - a year. Second offense - banned for life.

    Until the punishment affects a trainer's (or owner's) pocketbook, there will be no change. The USEF has never had any backbone when it comes to enforcement and punishment. And, the mamby-pamby interview with the USEF powers that be by the NYT just proves the point. The USEF will spend 5+ years "thinking" about it, another 5 years getting feedback, a couple of years coming up with a policy, then another year to implement it.

    Put your freakin' money where your mouth is, USEF. Make the punishment (and fines) so severe that you discourage the behavior. Otherwise, just shut your mouth and get off the pot.

    This whole issue is about money. Money is the USEF's favorite pastime. I'm not holding my breath that policy will change anytime soon.
    Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
      Kudos to the mother who filed the protest. She may not have been the most experienced pony-mom (her words) but she certainly knew when there was a rat in the woodpile.
      Is this correct . . . if Ms. Williams (competitor's mother) had not filed charges, Humble's death most likely would have gone unnoticed? From what I understood after reading the article the USEF has no bylaws or rules to enforce bad behavior. The USEF needs a "Humble Law" against this, like Megan's Law. Big pat on the back to Ms. Williams.
      "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach

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      • #43
        USEF posted a response on their website, here:
        http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/9441..._york_tim.aspx

        Comment


        • #44
          Originally posted by Calhoun View Post
          Is this correct . . . if Ms. Williams (competitor's mother) had not filed charges, Humble's death most likely would have gone unnoticed? From what I understood after reading the article the USEF has no bylaws or rules to enforce bad behavior. The USEF needs a "Humble Law" against this, like Megan's Law. Big pat on the back to Ms. Williams.
          I am participating in this thread, but Ms.Williams is NOT the competitors mother. She was the mother of the girl who leased Royal T, and her daughter attends the same school as the rider of Humble.

          Comment


          • #45
            I'm interested to read the different responses to this NYT series. On the racing board, most of the responses were along the lines of "The NYT got it all wrong," "Joe Drape hates racing and is out to get us," "Hardly any of this ever happens and if it does it's only a few bad people who are ruining it for the rest of us."

            Here, it's more, "This is a real, entrenched issue that needs to be addressed for the good of the horses and the sport." Of course, this is only a small population to read responses from, but I still find the difference interesting. And I wonder which of the two disciplines' organizing bodies will actually do anything about it.

            FWIW, one earlier poster described using a calculator to check drug amounts before a horse show. This is great, but this is the NORM in eventing, which has strict rules and very good adherence, unless I'm entirely mistaken. Maybe the USEA rules can be a model.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by ChocolateHooves View Post
              I am participating in this thread, but Ms.Williams is NOT the competitors mother. She was the mother of the girl who leased Royal T, and her daughter attends the same school as the rider of Humble.
              Ms. Williams was a competitor's mother.... Just not the mother of the competitor on Humble.... Although it is not clear why that is an important distinction.

              The USEF response is interesting since the USEF could easily require that competitors at its event consent to USEF investigative, subpoena, and penalty powers ... It is after all a privilege and not a right to be permitted to compete.

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by ChocolateHooves View Post
                I am participating in this thread, but Ms.Williams is NOT the competitors mother. She was the mother of the girl who leased Royal T, and her daughter attends the same school as the rider of Humble.
                It still saddens me so much to think of those two young riders. No doubt they were so happy to be attending Devon. What a nightmare it turned into for them and their families. Both the awful events at the show as well as the aftermath.

                Comment


                • #48
                  The USEF should have a rule equivalent to the police DUI rule, which goes something like this: you CAN refuse a breathalyzer, but you lose your license to drive for a year, regardless if you BAC comes back positive. (I'm not saying you can refuse the drug test, this is directed at her refusal to disclose all results).

                  EM refused to turn over full results. They should be able to suspend her on actions unbecoming a professional. If you are innocent, you have nothing to hide.
                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Mandarino refuses to cooperate and then her suspension is lifted for lack of evidence. That's showing them, USEF!

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by CiegoStar View Post
                      I'm interested to read the different responses to this NYT series. On the racing board, most of the responses were along the lines of "The NYT got it all wrong," "Joe Drape hates racing and is out to get us," "Hardly any of this ever happens and if it does it's only a few bad people who are ruining it for the rest of us."

                      Here, it's more, "This is a real, entrenched issue that needs to be addressed for the good of the horses and the sport." Of course, this is only a small population to read responses from, but I still find the difference interesting. And I wonder which of the two disciplines' organizing bodies will actually do anything about it.
                      .
                      I was thinking this too- racing people are SO defensive and totally in denial about goes on that its just absurd.

                      I wonder why drugs have to be tolerated at all at shows. I do endurance riding and there are zero drugs allowed in that sport and its a very demanding one.

                      I also dont understand how the hunters got to be so comatose and why that is rewarded. I totally agree with someone above who said that they want to ride a horse that is happy and fresh and enjoying their job. Sure, they may get speedy at times or do a "expressive" change or a little buck, but big deal...I wouldnt want to ride a robot or a horse that didnt seem to have any "joy" in it.

                      And people need to wake up and realize that IV injections are not without risk, even if given by experienced people or vets. About 10 years ago, my horse was at a clinic for a choke episode and when the vet gave him an injection of banamine, he collapsed and starting convulsing. I'm not exactly sure what the vet did after that, because I thought he was dying so I couldnt watch and left the building, but it left an impression on me. I also dont believe in giving any drug unless its really needed.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        I think the real proof of USEF's intent will be when those first two suspensions come out. A couple new names are on the list as of the first week of December, but the detail on what/why and how long/how much is not yet posted for December.

                        But as other have said, what is REALLY needed is an X strikes you're out rule along with an exponential escalation in penalties for repeat offenders. And while we are at it, who can and who must sign that entry blank appears to be just as important.
                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post
                          My biggest concern with all riders from a barn being banned from the ring is this: Susie goes against trainer's advice, and drugs her horse. We use the same trainer, and now I'm SOL because of something my trainer couldn't control Ban my trainer, fine. Ban the owner? Sure. But ban me over something that could not possibly be my fault? OH HELL NO.
                          Your response is exactly why it would work. Because if people have so much pressure and scrutiny from their peers to behave in an ethical manner lest all in a group be penalized, it is much more likely that they will then behave ethically.

                          It would make people choose much more carefully their trainers, barns, employees, and peers. It's not about each person winning a nice ribbon. It's about elevating the sport as a whole and promoting the utmost respect for our horses' welfare.
                          ******
                          "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."
                          -H.M.E.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by jonquil View Post
                            I'm a re-rider who left the horse world for 35 years and am now back, in a very small way. I had NO idea that parents could lease a pony for one show. What a terrible idea. Who knows whether these kids can ride or not?
                            This is not the issue. The kids these ponies are leased to aren't exactly fresh off the pony ride circuit; they ride just as well as any other kid and the trainers obviously aren't going to allow just any random kid to lease the pony. Most of the leases are in-barn (not sure if the kid leasing Humble at Devon trained with the Mandarinos normally or not) or are highly orchestrated by trainers.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              Originally posted by jonquil View Post
                              I'm a re-rider who left the horse world for 35 years and am now back, in a very small way. I had NO idea that parents could lease a pony for one show. What a terrible idea. Who knows whether these kids can ride or not? The temptation to drug must be powerful, just on the hope it will prevent injuries to these "riders". Of course all this doping is wrong, but it seems to me that the whole system of horse showing has gone seriously off the tracks, and this is one of the symptoms of that. Too bad for horses, too bad for kids who don't really learn to ride.
                              I don't think these kids are non-riders. They get training, lessons etc. but perhaps cannot afford to purchase a winning show pony. And pony owners, say a pony mom whose kid has outgrown their Small pony (or any size really) can keep the pony and make some money leasing it out.

                              Two girls who ride junior jumpers at my barn went to one of the big Florida shows a couple of years back; neither of them had a suitable horse at that time, so the trainer (who has good connections in the industry) went with them and helped them each select and lease a good jumper for the show. As I recall, one of them did quite well.

                              The pony deal is something like that, right?
                              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                John Long's letter to the NY Times is interesting http://www.usef.org/documents/Bogdanich.12.19.12.pdf

                                As another poster pointed out, it highlights the issue of relying on the voluntary cooperation of those who have been accused, but since there are no repercussions for refusing to cooperate, why would anyone hang themselves?
                                "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
                                Rainy
                                Stash

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                  And while we are at it, who can and who must sign that entry blank appears to be just as important.
                                  Good point...forgot about that part.
                                  Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    I'm glad to see this on the front page of The NYTimes, because pressure from without is obviously what's needed to change things. Changing the status quo from the inside hasn't worked, despite the internal outrage over this case. I wouldn't be at all sorry to see all disciplines move to something more akin to FEI drug rules. I realize those are not without flaws or attempted circumvention, but it would at least be a start. I also like the "X strikes and you're out, permanently" idea.

                                    Originally posted by saratoga View Post
                                    I also dont understand how the hunters got to be so comatose and why that is rewarded. I totally agree with someone above who said that they want to ride a horse that is happy and fresh and enjoying their job. Sure, they may get speedy at times or do a "expressive" change or a little buck, but big deal...I wouldnt want to ride a robot or a horse that didnt seem to have any "joy" in it.
                                    I don't get this either. Its one of the reasons that the only time I've done (local) hunters in the last year is to get some milage at a specific height on my horse. She can do the hunter thing, but doesn't love it. We go around an XC course, and I get people commenting on how they can see her light up, and it is a fantastic feeling. There's no crazy or out of control there, but there is brilliance, which is something that seems to be sorely lacking in the hunter ring today, though I've seen it in a few of the Derbies. Hopefully it will start to creep over to the other rings, and we'll see more horses who love their jobs, because there's nothing more beautiful to watch than that.
                                    A Year In the Saddle

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      There is nothing wrong with the business model of leasing horses or ponies for specific periods. Ponies get outgrown, kids age out or lose interest, and parents may choose to keep the animal and lease it out year after year, or lease it in the hopes of getting more exposure for a possible sale. I knew one wonderful horse who showed very successfully in the junior hunters with his owner, won with three or four other junior riders who leased him while his owner was in college, and then won again with his owner in the amateur division before he was retired.

                                      Ponies in particular are often leased out to many different kids over the years, since it can make more sense to lease rather than buy a pony for a child who will outgrow it in size or ability in a relatively short time.

                                      These leases are usually arranged through the rider's trainer, who has a good idea of the rider's ability, and a trial ride (or two or three) is common, to make sure the match is suitable.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        I thought the article was well-written and did a good job of explaining the situation without dumbing it down or oversimplifying things. However, it's sad to think that even for those of us within the horse industry we had to wait for a major newspaper to pick up the story to truly get any details about what happened that weren't purely speculation. The USEF just seemed to want to sweep the whole situation under the rug as quickly as possible. Now, we still don't know exactly what killed Humble, but the information provided in the article kind of makes it sound like anaphylaxis ... Probably a reaction to whatever he was injected with.

                                        It is also sad that on the rare occasion that horse sports make the front page of a major newspaper, it's usually something like this, exposing the nastier side of the equestrian world, rather than anything that showcases good horsemanship and presents horse sports in a more positive light. Of course, we have no one to blame but ourselves, for allowing this to continue.

                                        I'll be interested to see Mandarino's reaction ...

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          My thoughts:

                                          Having only vets administer IV shots at a USEF show will never happen. You think our costs are high now, can you imagine the increase for FEI level security on stabling and ship in areas at all USEF shows!!!!

                                          IMO - holding owner more accountable for a positive drug test will help. Having longer sentences and enforce the no trainer from that suspended barn being permitted to "take over" will also help. The way it stands now, barns continue to function even when one of the trainers is suspended.

                                          That said, there needs to be away for an owner to tell USEF that the horse has been leased out so they are NOT held accountable for a positive. Not really sure how that would work, but there needs to be some way to take yourself from being the person responsible. Trainers need to be held more accountable, but owners need more than a slap on the wrist!

                                          I really wish the Drug Forum from the USHJA convention was available online. It was a very informative discussion. I think most of you would be surprised at the LOW number of "positive" tests that the USEF finds. They test over 10,000 horses a year. Of that the positive tests were (I believe) less than 150 and many of those were for simple errors on when they would return to showing. Not that they were showing on banned substances.

                                          The USEF has one of the best testing programs in the world. It has been evolving for 25 years. Due to the success of the program, the USEF was able to become "exempt" from certain FEI regulations on time frames (Burr suspension). There is really little wrong with our testing program. Do people slip through the cracks, yes, but unless you want to test every horse at every show, they will happen. I do believe that the majority of offenders are caught at some point. The suspension periods need to increase to discourage more.

                                          Because we have the testing program in itself is one reason the majority of horses DO show "clean". Without a testing program I can't even imagine what it would be like.

                                          Regarding the Humble situation: USEF at the time of the horses death did not have anything in the rules regarding a manatory investigation into a horses death while at a USEF competition. There are rules for a human death, but none for a horse. I suspect this was the first time a horse died at a show where the owner REFUSED to turn over any information regarding the death.

                                          All that USEF needs to do is add the following: Any death of a horse on the competition grounds of a USEF competition, regardless of the show being in session or not, shall be fully investigated by the USEF. The owner and/or trainer of the horse will be required to turn over vet reports from either the attending vet and/or from any necropsy.

                                          This would allow for an attending vet for an accidental death (ex. show ring) to provide a report and most likely the investigation would be closed before it even started.

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