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June 11, 2013

Updated: Eventer-Turned-Hunter Raises USEF Record Keeping Questions

Commentary, the eventer-turned-hunter shown here with Kate Conover, has raised questions about the USEF's horse registration system. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Larry Glefke and Ken Garber’s newest hunter star, Commentary, raised questions about industry-wide record keeping at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show (Va.), June 3-9.

The mare, previously named RF Amber Eyes and owned by Karen O’Connor, competed up to the two-star level, most recently finishing fifth at the Jersey Fresh CIC** (N.J.) with Hannah Sue Burnett in early May. Glefke and Garber bought her the next week, and on June 2 she made her hunter debut at Devon (Pa.), finishing second in the USHJA International Hunter Derby with Glefke’s partner at Lane Change Farms, Kelley Farmer, up.

The next week the mare showed at Upperville, winning the second year green hunter, grand green hunter and reserve high performance hunter titles with Farmer. She was also slated to compete in the derby there but was scratched, as she was in the process of being vetted to be re-sold.

When Glefke and Garber changed her name to Commentary, she was also registered anew with the U.S. Equestrian Federation, leaving the mare with two USEF numbers. Commentary’s new registry also listed a different age for the horse and didn’t include her breeding, which had been included in the original listing.

According to Glefke, the double registration and inaccurate information was an accident, and Farmer misheard or misremembered the horse’s age when she registered the mare. Glefke said he was unaware of the discrepancy in registrations and that he closed the sale quickly because the mare was due to head to Europe that same week.

“I didn’t know that the three-day horses are registered,” he said. “The sale happened in a matter of about five hours. I don’t even have her passport yet.”

Farmer contacted the U.S. Equestrian Federation to correct the mistake as soon as she was alerted to the discrepancy, and the Chronicle has confirmed that the horse's new name and owner have been synched with the horse's original information.

USEF rule HU101 forbids multiple registration numbers for the same horse, but Ken Ball, Director of Horse Registration and Services, said that unless a horse is registered with identical information, such as pedigree and foal date, there’s no easy way for the USEF to know; owners do not need to provide documentation proving pedigree or foal date when registering with the USEF.

“I wish there was an easier way to fix that, but I don’t know that it will happen,” said Ball. “If we go to microchipping, that could help stop some of that from happening.”

Ball said that if a horse goes through a name change process, its record is searchable through all the names it’s had during its career, but that the system doesn’t list all the horse’s aliases he has shown under during his career. The price of changing a name versus registering a horse depends on the type of registration. Lifetime registration, for example, costs $200. Meanwhile, transferring ownership—a process the regulations department has streamlined in recent years—and changing a name each incurs a $60 fee. 

Glefke also answered questions about Commentary’s eligibility for the second year green division. He knew the horse had competed one year in the United States, and in Europe before that. He said it’s common industry practice to consider a horse’s first year competing in the United States as their first green year, even if it competed in Europe.

HU103 states that “A Green Hunter is a horse of any age in its first or second year of showing in any classes in which the national specifications require horses to jump 3’6” or higher, regardless of whether or not the fences are actually set at 3’6” or higher at Regular Competitions or Eventing Competitions of the Federation or Equine Canada or any national or international competition.”

According to Lauren Fahey, Director of National Hunter Affiliates of the USEF, horses entered to compete in classes restricted by green status do not normally need any specific paperwork to do so, and the Federation does not have to pre-approve horses to show in classes restricted by status. The Federation does evaluate applications from owners wishing to reinstate their horse’s green status, in which case a records check is completed to determine eligibility.

Fahey said that to the best of her recollection, she has never consulted a horse’s European or international record through the Fédération Equestre Internationale when investigating a horse’s green status eligibility.

“That’s not something that we’ve ever done,” she said. “[But] if the charge was specific to that, if someone said ‘this horse competed at 1.50 meter,’ I’m sure we’d use every method we could to check that.”

3 years 30 weeks ago
Ya Think
Just like Clinton...I did not have sex with that woman...Monica Lewinsky....Larry Glefke did not know the horse was already USEf registered. Badda Bing Badda Bang.....yep...same old story...come on... Read More
3 years 31 weeks ago
Fascinating Story
There is so much to raise eyebrows here. First of all, the fact that an upper level event horse was able to place second in the USHJF International Hunter Derby at Devon one month after running... Read More


3 years 32 weeks ago

"Common Industry Practice"

Well Larry has finally been caught, and hopefully the dominoes will start to fall. The USEF rules re green hunter eligibility are directly contrary to Glefke's professed view of common industry practice-----If a horse has competed in Europe at a height in excess of 3'6" it has lost its US eligibility for first year green. Period. Registering a European horse as unknown breed and/or unknown parentage can't be used as an artifice to gain green eligibility in the US. Green competition is for green horses, not the sale horses Glefke wants to foist off on buyers. And anyone who thinks that Commentary is Glefke's only problem horse are ignorant----at Devon, Selma Garber, the wife of Kenneth Garber who co-owns Mythical with Glefke, blithely announced that Mythical, the horse currently leading the first year green standings in points and in terms of money won, had been shown as a jumper in Europe at heights up to and including 1.45 meters. Goodbye first year green eligibility----though not in Larry Glefke's special world. When will the USEF stop this idiocy and enforce its rules? Microchipping and FEI passports have been in place for years re European horses. Their European show results are readily available. The burden should be on a horse owner to establish division eligibility, not on the USEF to disprove eligibility. While Glefke's violations of the rules are blatant, he is not alone. Indeed it does seem to be "common industry practice" to ignore eligibility rules . A trainer of another horse currently in the top ten in first year green money won also acknowledged at Devon his horse's jumping career in Europe, again way beyond the metric equivalent of 3'6". This rule is finally gaining attention. The rankings of eligibility divions should be purged of ineligible horses, their winnings returned and redistributed to the truly eligible horses. Take a look at the horse reports for the first year green----if the parentage of these horses is not disclosed, their European histories are likely being actively and wrongly concealed.
3 years 31 weeks ago

Fascinating Story

There is so much to raise eyebrows here. First of all, the fact that an upper level event horse was able to place second in the USHJF International Hunter Derby at Devon one month after running around a CCI** shatters myths about eveners and their horses. It says a lot about Karen O'Connor, Hannah Sue Burnett, and everyone involved with Amber Eyes that the horse was able to beat the top hunters in the country in its debut in that sport while still just coming down from her three-day level of fitness. It probably also says a lot about Kelly Farmer as a hunter rider. Great story! The part that had me scratching my head is that anybody, much less a top show and sale operation, would think you could change the identity of a horse like Amber Eyes in violation of USEF rules. Mr. Glefke surely must have been misquoted when he stated, "I didn't know that the three day horses were registered." USEF registration forms have little boxes to check where you mark the discipline and one of them is eventing! He bought the horse just days after it placed fifth at Jersey Fresh CCI**. Not registered? Wrong age? Different name? No pedigree? Whether the motivation was to be eligible to show in the Green Hunters or whether it is just a habit of changing horses identities to avoid the hassles of people finding out how much money you made in a sale, or just sloppy bookkeeping, I just don't get it. USEF really needs to catch up with the rest of the world on this. What a shabby system we have that makes it so easy for horse dealers to change a horse's identity.
3 years 30 weeks ago

Ya Think

Just like Clinton...I did not have sex with that woman...Monica Lewinsky....Larry Glefke did not know the horse was already USEf registered. Badda Bing Badda Bang.....yep...same old story...come on USEF...we are getting tired of giving you money for people to lie, cheat and steal with no repercussions. Of course in light of major associations with USEF Presidents no one would think to check the horse. Are we stupid????? I'm not. How Bout You???
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