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Doping Takes Center Stage At USEF Convention

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  • Originally posted by MHM View Post
    ^ Some of us enjoy the horses and the challenges of shows regardless of the ribbons.

    If you don't feel the same way, by all means, suit yourself.

    Nothing at all wrong with your purist sport.

    But how do you feel about funding a dirty sport while you are there for the right reasons?

    I feel and act as you do when I have shown. But I started to get frustrated with being the odd man out, the person who helped the USEF and show management keep doing what served the cheaters.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

    Comment


    • I seem ot recall in Body building the cheating became so prevelent that they had to make a naturals only class. In Amatuer pee wee Motorcycle racing the cheating became so bad they had to make a "Modified " class .
      Maybe what Horse Showing needs is a division called the "Non Drugged / Non Supplemented/ Non Lunged till they drop /Non deprived of Water/Non tied to the wall all night" Division, am I leaving anything out

      Comment


      • Originally posted by mvp View Post
        But I started to get frustrated with being the odd man out
        I don't feel like the odd man out for doing things the right way. I enjoy my horse activities in the way that suits me.

        What's the old saying? "I can't control the actions of others. I can only control my reactions." Something like that, anyway.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by MHM View Post
          ^ Some of us enjoy the horses and the challenges of shows regardless of the ribbons.

          If you don't feel the same way, by all means, suit yourself.
          Originally posted by mvp View Post
          Nothing at all wrong with your purist sport.

          But how do you feel about funding a dirty sport while you are there for the right reasons?

          I feel and act as you do when I have shown. But I started to get frustrated with being the odd man out, the person who helped the USEF and show management keep doing what served the cheaters.
          I'm with MVP. I don't mind being beaten by a better horse. Or a better ride. Happens a lot, actually, as I am not all that talented. What I won't abide is spending a fortune to show against people who win by cheating.

          I don't care for the implication that it's only about the ribbons for me just because I insist on a level playing field.

          I also don't think it's OK to just look the other way when situations like the recent Devon fiasco are becoming more and more common. I enjoy horse shows and their (legitimate) challenges, but not at the expense of the horses we show there.
          **********
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
          -PaulaEdwina

          Comment


          • Originally posted by MHM View Post
            I don't feel like the odd man out for doing things the right way. I enjoy my horse activities in the way that suits me.

            What's the old saying? "I can't control the actions of others. I can only control my reactions." Something like that, anyway.
            Yabbut, along the way, your dollars are making it possible for cheaters to do their form of Business as usual.

            Look, it's a matter of emphasis-- what we do individually while also funding horse showing at large. I acknowledge that both happen, and happen together.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat

            Comment


            • MVP you definitely are blunt! I understand that there is a problem, I just don't think that getting angry on here is going to help you or the situation.

              MHM thanks for the kind comments! I'm glad others are enjoying their horses as much as I enjoy riding and showing mine

              Comment


              • And another thing!

                Not happy with the way this Pharmaceutically Level Playing Field "cheats" clean owners with respect to trainers.

                IME, those of us who play clean and accept a head shake in the corner are simply wallpaper to fiercer competitors who will take the same type of horse and drug it down to perfection. Do you think the likes of Mandarino (or Scott Stewart for that matter) cares if you spend your trip "clean" and out of the ribbons? It makes no different to them that you do it your way and ethically.

                Also, I think those Competitive trainers see a HO like me as "quaint." The old ones who have gotten tired of the racket find me a fun owner and rider to teach. But they have to be able to afford that.

                The young trainer trying to make her mark? She might agree with my way of doing things, but runs up against that new "level playing field" and just can't afford to be the purist that you or I can be. What do we have to offer these young pros who don't want to cheat but can't make a living if they don't?
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

                Comment


                • Originally posted by mvp View Post
                  Yabbut, along the way, your dollars are making it possible for cheaters to do their form of Business as usual.
                  I don't look at it that way.

                  I spend my money to challenge myself and my horse in a show environment. If we have great rounds, fantastic. If we win ribbons, it's icing on the cake. If we have terrible rounds, it's less fantastic. If we win ribbons with terrible rounds, that doesn't make me feel any better about the terrible rounds. So the ribbons don't dictate my enjoyment either way.

                  There are plenty of people out there with more money and more horses and more resources than I have, and also some people with fewer scruples. I don't let any of those people spoil my fun.

                  Others can spend their money or not as they see fit. Free country, and all that.

                  Comment


                  • Well said MHM!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by MMF View Post
                      MVP you definitely are blunt! I understand that there is a problem, I just don't think that getting angry on here is going to help you or the situation.

                      MHM thanks for the kind comments! I'm glad others are enjoying their horses as much as I enjoy riding and showing mine
                      Done and done. I did not renew my USEF membership this year, and I won't until they get some D&M rules with teeth.

                      The reason I do post here is because so many people have what I consider to be limited and ineffectual justifications for continuing to participate.

                      It's not clear to me that anything the rank-n-file can do will change the USEF.... until we deprive people who care of money. Lots of folks just don't want to personally go that far. I get it.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by mvp View Post
                        And another thing!

                        Not happy with the way this Pharmaceutically Level Playing Field "cheats" clean owners with respect to trainers.

                        IME, those of us who play clean and accept a head shake in the corner are simply wallpaper to fiercer competitors who will take the same type of horse and drug it down to perfection. Do you think the likes of Mandarino (or Scott Stewart for that matter) cares if you spend your trip "clean" and out of the ribbons? It makes no different to them that you do it your way and ethically.

                        Also, I think those Competitive trainers see a HO like me as "quaint." The old ones who have gotten tired of the racket find me a fun owner and rider to teach. But they have to be able to afford that.

                        The young trainer trying to make her mark? She might agree with my way of doing things, but runs up against that new "level playing field" and just can't afford to be the purist that you or I can be. What do we have to offer these young pros who don't want to cheat but can't make a living if they don't?
                        Has Stewart been caught using calming drugs? If USEF had a searchable databased I could answer my own question (hint, hint - USEF are you listening). There are many posts on the COTH forums that imply he uses drugs to create that calm, lope around and jump huge winning round; but the only violations I am aware of are stacking NSAIDs or something of that nature (please correct me if I'm wrong). His clients are all very well heeled so I have always assumed the horses he has are the one-in-a-million quiet types that actually cost a million bucks and that they don't need a cocktail to make them quiet.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by mvp View Post
                          ........

                          The young trainer trying to make her mark? She might agree with my way of doing things, but runs up against that new "level playing field" and just can't afford to be the purist that you or I can be. What do we have to offer these young pros who don't want to cheat but can't make a living if they don't?
                          I raised this issue earlier in the saying " I know a number of young up and coming professionals who are questioning their career choice and their involvement in this sport because of what they have seen in the "treatment of horses". As young professionals they would prefer to work for established professionals and apprentice their way .... However, that means being at the least complicit in some of the drugging we are discussing here at many barns. On their own, they can run their programs the way they want but without personal resources its a very difficult road."

                          The truth is right now the there is not much to offer young professionals who want to do it the right way -- not much in the way of apprenticeships where there values will not be undermined, not much in the way of building a reputation by bringing along young horses clean and making a name for themselves, and not much in the way of support from the organization that should be behind clean showing.

                          Many have lamented the loss of the true horseman -- and yet the systems keep telling young would be professionals that the true horseman is not that valued

                          The effect of drugging is negative and pervasive.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by MHM View Post
                            I don't look at it that way.

                            I spend my money to challenge myself and my horse in a show environment. If we have great rounds, fantastic. If we win ribbons, it's icing on the cake. If we have terrible rounds, it's less fantastic. If we win ribbons with terrible rounds, that doesn't make me feel any better about the terrible rounds. So the ribbons don't dictate my enjoyment either way.

                            There are plenty of people out there with more money and more horses and more resources than I have, and also some people with fewer scruples. I don't let any of those people spoil my fun.

                            Others can spend their money or not as they see fit. Free country, and all that.
                            Except...there are people who DON'T play by the rules, and you're funding and endorsing their behavior with your presence. You're acknowledging the system as legit, when it clearly is not. It's not just a matter of whether you're there for a ribbon or not, it's agreeing to participate in a corrupt system. The point isn't that people are winning by breaking the rules to the point you almost HAVE to cheat to realistically compete with them, it's that win or lose they are permitted to break the rules with wrist-slap penalties at most (if they're penalized at all) and the responsible governing bodies *do not care.* Yes, bad enough that you're automatically at a disadvantage because you're honest, but the more important point is the system's reached the point of winking and nodding at the cheaters. Participating in it is endorsement. You're giving them your money and following their rules (more than some) and basically admitting you know it's crooked, but you aren't upset enough about it to leave. Even if you would come in out of the ribbons anyway, even if the person giving the horse sixteen different injections and hoping the testers don't pick them comes in fifth instead of first, the fact that the people ultimately running the show don't really care about the rules and think an open-book test is an appropriate response is the important part.

                            The more the good people keep telling themselves "It's not about ribbons so it doesn't matter if I lose to the cheaters as long as I feel I had a good round" and therefore keep shelling out the bucks, the less-inclined the people responsible will be to doing anything to enforce their own rules, let alone rewrite them so horses aren't Dr. Feelgood's pincushions any more.
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                            Comment


                            • Well danceronice I will agree to disagree with you!
                              I'm not going to stop showing because some do it in a way I don't agree with and it's my perogative to keep showing! And if a few think by not renewing their USEF membership is going to really affect USEFs bottom line your kidding yourself because I would bet they are getting more and more members daily, but that is your choice and I wish you the best of luck in your path forward!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                                Except...there are people who DON'T play by the rules, and you're funding and endorsing their behavior with your presence. You're acknowledging the system as legit, when it clearly is not. It's not just a matter of whether you're there for a ribbon or not, it's agreeing to participate in a corrupt system.
                                I beg to differ.

                                I'm not funding or endorsing the activities of anyone but myself. There IS a drug-testing system in place, and the drug fee I pay at every USEF show DOES go towards funding that system.

                                Is the drug-testing system perfect? No. Does it need improvement? Yes.

                                Is that more likely to be influenced by USEF members who get involved? Or by non-members who pack up and go elsewhere?

                                We may have to agree to disagree on the answers to those last questions.

                                In the meantime, I will still enjoy the horses, within the rules and with or without ribbons.

                                Comment


                                • MMF, were we separated at birth?

                                  Comment


                                  • MHM I think no matter how many rational points we make the people on this thread will come up with reasons we should (in their minds) stop showing, not worth my time it's a shame they derailed the thread!

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by MMF View Post
                                      MHM I think no matter how many rational points we make the people on this thread will come up with reasons we should (in their minds) stop showing, not worth my time it's a shame they derailed the thread!
                                      Eh. Again, it's a free country and everyone's entitled to an opinion.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        The druggers are affecting more than just the horse shows. I recently leased my hunter out. Many people came to try him. He's a very nice 3' hunter, VERY laid back, unflappable, great brain. After several tried him, liked him, then dropped off the face of the earth I started to wonder if they were sure he had been drugged when they tried him.

                                        The person who finally leased him came more than once to try him. He was thoroughly vetted prior to them signing the lease. Two blood samples were taken. One for coggins and I imagine the other for tox, although that was never disclosed to me.

                                        Moral of the story: If you have a *genuinely* quiet hunter, stuff him full of grain in the weeks prior to anyone trying him so they won't think he's drugged.

                                        Comment


                                        • I'd comment further, but mvp and Lucassb have pretty much said what I would.

                                          And gumshoe--years ago, when I was a barn manager, a friend/boarder had a horse she was trying to sell as a small jr hunter.
                                          The buyers came 3 times to try him out.
                                          3rd time he dumped the kid after she caught him in the mouth over 3 fences in a row.
                                          My friend was cringing, thinking that was the end of that.
                                          Instead, the buyers were ecstatic--they said "well, he must not be drugged!"

                                          Turns out they had been taken to the cleaners by former trainer who aced the kid's pony every time she rode it, and when they found out, they came very close to just quitting the sport.
                                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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

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