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Chronicle report on USEF Town Hall Meeting in Wellington

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  • Bewildered

    I have followed this thread with interest. My daughter's jumper was tested twice at the SAME show...Thursday and Saturday. When she was selected for testing the second time, I told both the vet and tech that he had already been tested. After some thought, they said they remembered testing him, yet elected to proceed with testing him again. I asked if there was a reason for the second test and they said it was a random pick and they did not remember selecting her the first time and had (re) selected her the second time as she appeared finished and in the way back to the barn. She also said they were trying to finish up as the show was over that day and people were leaving. She said she did not typically do hunter jumper shows and wasn't as familiar with the horses or trainers and confirmed that he was a random pick again.

    We, of course, complied as we don't have any worries, but I am dismayed that a) it was performed twice on the same horse and b) an opportunity to have a greater selection of testing was missed. Is this typical? Is this a good use of resources? I made a call to USEF to ask and all I got was "up to the vet and its random". I am supposed to receive a phone call from the head of testing but haven't as of yet. I don't think we "looked" drugged (we weren't) to raise her suspicion. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, maybe he looked tired....second week, last day of showing?

    Comment


    • Over the years, I have always been told by testers that they do pick the horses at random. One even told me they usually picked horses who looked "sweet," since they would be easier to handle for the test.

      I am one of the people who thinks the tests should be random in order to protect ALL the horses, not just the winners. Otherwise the unscrupulous people who make a living training less-than-competitive types could give the horses just about anything with no fear of consequences.

      I think it's also a valid idea to test the top three at some major competitions. I just don't look forward to a hike in the drug-testing fee across the board to pay for it.

      Comment


      • My dear, many offending trainers would be overjoyed to get tested early in the week to get it out of the way and allow them to go back to business as usual for the weekend classes. I would welcome a repeat test and support their right to pull any horse for a repeat if more then 24 hours had passed.

        If they can figure out a way to insure which horse they were testing if it's not wearing a number, they should do more random picks. Not just as they exit the ring. Certain people seem to have alot of horses that colic, develop inexplicable minor lamness or experience bad allergic reactions to the sight or rumor of testers on the grounds and have to scratch. Some class sizes reduce quite dramatically, those entered horses that went MIA should be included in the testing.

        I don't think testing the first 3 plus Champion and Reserve would be as effective as random selection-at big AAs or smaller rateds with huge classes they run open cards. You could have 2 rounds and a warm up with 90 or 100 trips (plus 2 water and drag breaks and empty ring time) before any awards are announced and many of those horses are long put up or even gone down the road home. There is no ribbon presentation for the o/f, you pick them up later at the back gate or office if you want it. The hack is optional and many do not do it for various, legit reasons. Very few opportunites to catch the 3 top pins outside of that hack many don't do, skews the sample as well as those who are dirty just don't come back for it.

        We seem to have fostered an environment where we are saturated with hints we HAVE to give horses something, testable or not, to the point some have turned it into very profitable business. Any enforcement efforts are going to need to deal with that attitude and focus on educating members on the art of selecting a suitable animal to start with.

        Judging standards also need some tweaking to reward the more suitable animal, not the dull, iffy movers who never get out of second gear-quiet is one thing but it should not look so much like sleepwalking the lines.

        Any effort would be progress, especially if it avoids the mixed messages of something like the SS debacle or products specifically sold to calm touting legality sponsoring classes and hanging banners all over the grounds. Puleeeze do not kid yourself that such products are not heavily marketed to other disciplines-pick up their magazines and check out the ads.
        Last edited by findeight; Apr. 3, 2013, 01:20 PM.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • If I were the USEF and want to set up a testing program that has targets, I'd divide a big class into three sections (1-4, say, 5-9 and the rest) Randomly select one horse from each of the groups. Get statistics that mean something, so in the future testing could be more targeted.

          As it is, it sounds as if the USEF hasn't been doing computer modeling with the stats that they already. In policing in the real world, computer modeling is one technique that works really well.

          The first years of testing this way be very expensive, because so many horses would need to be tested, but after the model had been developed, the costs would mostly go down significantly because they would be able to better target their testing.

          Hit or Miss random testing is far more likely to miss.
          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
          Thread killer Extraordinaire

          Comment


          • Originally posted by findeight View Post
            Very few opportunites to catch the 3 top pins outside of that hack many don't do, skews the sample as well as those who are dirty just don't come back for it.
            Except for all the divisions that jog. All pony hunters, junior hunters, amateur-owners, greens, conformation, performance, etc., etc.

            Comment


            • @ findeight

              Ahhhh...I see said the blind man! Didn't think about that! We keep our horses at home and I have full care, custody,and control of our horses when we meet our trainer at the show. I guess I'm naive about that.

              Comment


              • Yeah but...the number of entries in classes that do not jog are far greater then the numbers in those that do. Plus the rider competence might be a little less, the horse a little older and creakier hence the temptation to make the horse more suitable for the rider is greater.

                Eq horses don't jog either and some have been known to get "footsore" and skip the flat when the testers show up on the grounds (and everybody in the barns knows that within 10 minutes of their arrival).
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment


                • You are all assuming that every drug can be tested, which is not the case. Until a testing method can quantify acceptable/unacceptable levels of certain substances, testing every horse in the class is of no value. It's a sad truth that testing protocols cannot keep up with the introduction by unscrupulous people of more undetectable cocktails. Another sad truth is that these unscrupulous people are veterinarians.

                  Comment


                  • The speakers said that they were working closely with the FEI on this. Would one be out of the realms of probability to think that perhaps the NYTimes article might have resulted in FEI pressure to clean up?
                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                    Thread killer Extraordinaire

                    Comment


                    • Every drug can eventually be tested for. It's just a question of developing the test. Think of dermorphen (sp) in racing this spring. In the case of legal medication, it's got to be the baseline for acceptable limits that is set to catch horses at the 12 hour out mark.
                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                      Thread killer Extraordinaire

                      Comment


                      • Oh, it has plenty of value because they do catch plenty of people with garden variety, well known and long used drugs that are either over allowable limits, in forbidden combinations/stacked or on the banned list.

                        Referencing the SS spectacle, nothing found in those 3 positives was exotic. Just same old, same old. What is troubling is hearing several other trainers defend him and say you have to do it to be competitive and it's wrong to think ill of him for just being competitive.

                        Never, ever can you catch all wrongdoers but we still have laws and enforcement and it's no excuse not to try to catch as many as we can. Nobody wants robbery laws eradicated because people still rob others and might go unpunished..
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
                          My current thought is how USEF's entire pro-NSAIDs argument has been rendered irrelevant in light of events over the past few days *since* the WEF Town Hall. USEF (or rather, Mr. Moroney for USHJA I think) argued that since "our horses are pets" we can get away with using bute/banamine on our show horses, whereas those substances are banned on Planet FEI b/c horses over there go into the food chain and the meat gets tested.


                          Well, don't blink, ladies and gentlemen, but we just legalized horse slaughter in the USA, and our horses will now be going into that same food chain (like they ever weren't), so it may yet be that a zero tolerance rule is going to HAVE to be put in place. I don't think it's going to be avoidable, at some point in the very near future.
                          Don't blink because horse slaughter has never been illegal in this country. Existing ones were closed because regulations and standards became more restrictive. What this translated to was an upsurge in American equines being shipped to Canada and Mexico,,,,long trips in overcrowded, unsanitary trailers with little to no consideration as to the manner of death at the end. A new facility in the USA is bound to be better than the alternative, much as I hate the entire process. With over 1/2 the 35000 TB's born every year fated for the auction block (& the killers) by the time they are 5 or 6 and a good number of the remaining half facing the same demise down the road, well, that's just TBs. Add in used up or broken hunters, jumpers, and hundreds of 'breeds', the numbers are staggering. Even the 2002 Kentucky Derby winner ended up as someone's dinner. We can't stop it but as long as slaughterhouses exist we need to make sure they are run as humanely as possible. Once our horses are over the border, its out of our hands.

                          Comment


                          • Based on the responses, most trainers are against this so called investigations. The whole thing is a sham.....and a show of transparency. The NYT article opened the lid on issues that the USEF did not want to face and that implicates many of its leaders and their close friends. Sitting on these committes allows some of these judges and horse dealers some more visibility for their sales. This is all that is.

                            Comment


                            • It is a bit like the fox hiring another fox to investigate the disappearance of the chickens in the henhouse. I grant you that.

                              And pointing the finger at Racing saying they are worse? Laughable-they just are better monitored (because of the money bet and associated gaming regulations) so find more offenders-and they STILL can't get rid of the worst ones in all states.

                              But, it's a start and the intent of it membership driven. Being skeptical should not dissuade a member from supporting this effort, imperfect tho it may be. It's a start, give it a chance.

                              While I'm at this, I might add that deciding on a specific date and publishing it well in advance for these Town Halls might make it possible for more members to attend. You know, the dues paying ones outside of the circuit denizens? The ones who work outside the industry yet fund it thru dues and fees? Who can't just drop work for a day to go on some random weekday that is convenient for the Pros stabling their strings there and decided upon a few days in advance?

                              Listening down there? Ky in mid May is a little vague here in April when setting work scheduals or asking for a personal day to attend in May. Pick and publish a date-you, the USEF, don't need to make any travel arrangements, just walk out your office door.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                If I were the USEF and want to set up a testing program that has targets, I'd divide a big class into three sections (1-4, say, 5-9 and the rest) Randomly select one horse from each of the groups. Get statistics that mean something, so in the future testing could be more targeted.

                                As it is, it sounds as if the USEF hasn't been doing computer modeling with the stats that they already. In policing in the real world, computer modeling is one technique that works really well.

                                The first years of testing this way be very expensive, because so many horses would need to be tested, but after the model had been developed, the costs would mostly go down significantly because they would be able to better target their testing.

                                Hit or Miss random testing is far more likely to miss.
                                Testing is already very expensive . $8 a horse per show.
                                Most of the proposals discussed here would triple or quadruple the cost.
                                With two horses showing at 20 shows a year it's already a bit pricy.

                                And add the USEF and Zone fees and it's already prohibitive for some people.

                                Not sure how you could computer model a cheaper way. It needs to be random to spread a wider net.

                                Or you could test every horse shown by a trainer with three violations within the past year. Bet you'd get a lot of positives. Especially for over medication. LOL

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                  While I'm at this, I might add that deciding on a specific date and publishing it well in advance for these Town Halls might make it possible for more members to attend. You know, the dues paying ones outside of the circuit denizens? The ones who work outside the industry yet fund it thru dues and fees? Who can't just drop work for a day to go on some random weekday that is convenient for the Pros stabling their strings there and decided upon a few days in advance?

                                  Listening down there? Ky in mid May is a little vague here in April when setting work scheduals or asking for a personal day to attend in May. Pick and publish a date-you, the USEF, don't need to make any travel arrangements, just walk out your office door.
                                  They have published the dates and times.

                                  http://www.usefnetwork.com/news/9803...ding_usef.aspx

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by Purepony View Post
                                    Even the 2002 Kentucky Derby winner ended up as someone's dinner.

                                    War Emblem was sold to the Yoshida family in Japan, who own Shadai Stallions, and is a stud on their farm... In fact, he produced a couple of foals in 2011. Your facts are incorrect.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by neigh View Post
                                      You are all assuming that every drug can be tested, which is not the case. Until a testing method can quantify acceptable/unacceptable levels of certain substances, testing every horse in the class is of no value. It's a sad truth that testing protocols cannot keep up with the introduction by unscrupulous people of more undetectable cocktails. Another sad truth is that these unscrupulous people are veterinarians.
                                      Don't care. Don't let perfect be the enemy of good, or of better.

                                      And I'm all for holding samples and retesting them a year or two later when tests become available for substances thought to be ubiquitous but untestable.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                      • It is difficult to listen to all the crap. "Europeans are afraid to sell us horses because we drug them" Who believes that? As if they care once the check is in the bank whether you serve the horse for dinner or feed it carrots on your backyard is not their problem. Demagoguery at its best.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by lrp1106 View Post
                                          War Emblem was sold to the Yoshida family in Japan, who own Shadai Stallions, and is a stud on their farm... In fact, he produced a couple of foals in 2011. Your facts are incorrect.
                                          Ferdinand , winner of the 1986 Kentucky derby was slaughtered in Japan.
                                          That story was the catalyst, at least in the mainstream, for support and formation of many thoroughbred retraining and retirement facilities ,and for many farms to have specified in the sales contract that the horse will be returned to the seller when his career at stud is over.

                                          War Emblem is fine, as Irp writes. He really doesn't enjoy his job at stud though, and they have been very patient with him!

                                          Comment

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