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A "Clean Trainer" Accreditation?

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  • A "Clean Trainer" Accreditation?

    The recent drug abuse threads made me wonder if a public reward for clean barns could be an welcome addition to our show world? I was thinking of something along the lines of the "Green" or LEED Certification businesses achieve with a horse world twist. Essentially it would be a reward programs where trainers / barn owners show either drug-free or an extremely limited basis, don't LTD, and offer a down-time program for show horses, amongst other things.

    This could be a voluntary program where trainers / barn owners would have to submit their program and be accessible for both planned and spot inspections / drug testings. There could be levels similar to the LEED programs (silver, gold, platinum) that are annually awarded. A trainer / barn owner could then tout this accreditation to prospective clients and buyers - and the public.

    Perhaps with an annual awards program through the USEF (ahem)? Funded by a $1 per rider show donation plus ...?

    This type of program would further reward the "good" trainers who deserve recognition as horsemen and women.

    "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford

  • #2
    I think this is an interesting idea, but maybe instead they could initially start by making drug violating trainers more public. Maybe a link on the main page, separated by discipline?

    Plus I don't think a monetary incentive would work at the higher levels. It just won't compete with the potential reward of winning a big money class like a hunter derby. Plus I only see that meaning higher member fees since the money has to come from somewhere.


    • Original Poster

      If it's modeled after LEED there really isn't a monetary incentive other than future business. It's more of a good citizen effort that companies are flocking to right and left. It's work for a business to achieve an environmental LEED award yet it's hard to find a prominent company not pursuing at some level.

      This would be a positive spin on a dark issue - reward those who really do have a clean program vs. constantly witch hunting those who don't.
      "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford


      • #4
        I like the idea of a positive award for those who do good. Rather then always focusing on those doing wrong.


        • #5
          I do not think we have reached the point where we have to reward trainers or any other member of the organization for adhering to the rules.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Addison View Post
            I do not think we have reached the point where we have to reward trainers or any other member of the organization for adhering to the rules.
            Given the current state of the world .... The widespread concern about and use of drugs etc..... Having a certificatupion like this is an interesting option. It's not mandatory, it's public, it's promotable. It's not a reward for doing the right, it's an acknowledgment. Why not?


            • #7
              It would be incredibly difficult to differentiate between clean and undetected!!


              • Original Poster

                Of course, but someone who goes through a process like this has publicly stated that he or she has nothing to hide. It says, check my tack trunks and my trailer, interview my staff, test my horses, I'm following my clean program (as stated in written format). Watch me, I have nothing to hide.
                "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tiramit View Post
                  Of course, but someone who goes through a process like this has publicly stated that he or she has nothing to hide. It says, check my tack trunks and my trailer, interview my staff, test my horses, I'm following my clean program (as stated in written format). Watch me, I have nothing to hide.
                  Define 'clean'
                  No drug vioations or do you want to include medication violations? To me either one is a problem.
                  What does 'test my horses' mean? All horses stabled with a trainer at a show? All horses that list the trainer as 'trainer' on the entry blank.
                  As an owner I'm not sure I'd allow anybody to go through my tack trunks or trailer or allow testing unless it was an official USEF tester.
                  Who is administering the test program? What happens if your program gets a positive test? USEF won't care unless it's their supervised testers and their official lab.

                  It's an interesting concept,just not sure if it is practical or has any 'teeth'
                  Fan of Sea Accounts


                  • #10
                    Logistically? Not going to happen. Who would run it? Who would pay for the vet techs to go out, run the samples? Who wants strangers given free access to their tackrooms and all those french saddles or poking around clients private tack trunks? And if they are background checked, bonded and insured? Who's paying for that across all the states and counties in the USA?

                    Plus that, some of these trainers are expert in clandestine operation and manage to load the horse with god knows what in broad daylight at show with 2500 horses and as many or more people on the grounds. Evading an announced inspection on their own property would be childs play.

                    We can work with what is already in place if we can get some changes made. Changes that are not that complicated, not costly and are probably permitted without a rule change.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Addison View Post
                      I do not think we have reached the point where we have to reward trainers or any other member of the organization for adhering to the rules.
                      Really. A prize for simply not cheating is a sad commentary.
                      I understand the laudable intentions, but the execution needs work.
                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                        Really. A prize for simply not cheating is a sad commentary.
                        I understand the laudable intentions, but the execution needs work.
                        Agreed, but how many threads on drugs and trainers who have cheated and back room pharmaceuticals have we had over the years? And we're only a percentage of the people who discuss this topic.

                        The environmental comparison is a valid one. Think about all the stories of companies dumping illegally, who blamed employees for their infractions, who cut corners and lied to make more money? It is sad. EPA has set down and fined for years, but that hasn't been enough. LEED began as a way to publicly reward companies who go the extra mile to help the environment. Who have programs and aren't afraid of letting people look at them a little more closely, planned or not.

                        It has helped and brought back more reward than people ever expected.
                        "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford


                        • #13
                          I think a "clean trainer" program would be a good idea. I'm a young trainer who doesn't believe in drugging horses to win. I've always put the long hard hours into a good traing program. I would love to compete against other clease horses.

                          I'm not sure how exactly this kind of program would work but I'd be interested!


                          • #14
                            I think this program is a great idea! It would need need widespread buy-in and publicity to work. I'm thinking of when my non-horsey parents were looking for a place for me to ride as a child, they didn't read the Chronicle or any horse publications, but they do read the NYT. I think making information about both the good and the bad available to the general public would be good for the sport in general and would encourage trainers and others to put their best face forward.

                            Of course these things all cost money, which makes it more difficult to implement, but I think this is a good idea to start from, at least.


                            • #15
                              So if a trainer opts not to participate then they are automatically considered "dirty" or cheats? The reward for doing what is right is the knowledge that you as a trainer or rider are doing what is right and safe for the horse. I personally do not want or expect public accolades for playing by the rules. I just do it.


                              • #16
                                A large number of LEED projects are government/municipal buildings of some sort. And that certification has become an industry unto itself, with third parties and consultants who advise and evaluate the projects. I don't know how many truly small businesses participate - maybe it's higher than I think - but I would guess that like most training/boarding businesses, the cost is simply prohibitive.

                                I am ALL for making this sport free of performance-enhancing drugs, (NOT the FEI no foreign substances approach) but I don't think a certification program is going to do anything but add cost. Just the oversight alone would be a huge issue, along with the other issues raised above - like allowing inspections of customers' private property.

                                I *could* see (and support) more drug testing at shows, with larger and more painful penalties for those caught cheating. The UCI has created a pretty comprehensive program for a niche sport (cycling) that could possibly provide a road map; obviously one that would need adaptation, of course, but it is a combination of testing and education that seems to work a lot better than what the H/J world has now: http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI1...UzNDc&LangId=1
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                • #17
                                  I would love it it something like this was available, simply because I have a 3yo very nice homebred I am starting and going to sell this year, and I do not want to sell him into the wrong program. I would greatly appreciate any public way to help me find ethical trainers.
                                  We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


                                  • #18
                                    The "award" should come from the owners and riders. People who ride should be not be talked in to purchasing a horse that may be too much horse (or pony) for them; learn to ride that horse, and refuse to allow that horse to be filled w/ drugs...so while we can all criticize the trainers for doping, are the drugs on your bills? Don't pay for them. If there needs to be a change it needs to come from everyone in the industry, not just the trainers who drug and I should add the owners/competitors who go along with it are just as bad, if not worse, than the trainers.


                                    • #19
                                      I think it's certainly a good idea that sheds light in positive direction! I mean, it seems apparent that nothing is going to be done in regards to increasing the consequences for those who violate the rules, so why not? There's always going to be loopholes, undetectable drugs, etc. You can pick it apart all you want, but it's certainly better than the "nothing" that's going on at the moment!
                                      Originally posted by rustbreeches
                                      [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis


                                      • #20
                                        It's a nice idea, but given that so much of the problem is misuse of "legal" medications and abuse of medications for which there is no test--such as IV magnesium (and previously GABA) I can't think how on earth anyone would be able to make this accreditation in a meaningful manner. It would be easy to drug a barn full of horses and keep the staff ignorant and the medication box hidden, and use only non-testable substances. Might be hard to hide from the braiders, but I'm not sure using them as the source of the accreditation would work.

                                        I'm sure many trainers would love to participate while continuing with business as usual