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March 8, 2013

USEF Plans Town Hall Meetings To Discuss Medication And Treatment Of Performance Horses

On March 27 at 5:30 p.m. Equestrian Sport Productions will host the first U.S. Equestrian Federation Town Hall meeting in Wellington, Fla. Six more meetings will take place across the country throughout the spring and summer of 2013.

USEF representatives will join prominent industry owners, trainers and veterinarians to discuss topical issues contributing to unprecedented public scrutiny relating to medication and treatment of performance horses. Media articles have brought focus to both therapeutic techniques and medication practices in racing, and more recently this national media focus has raised a number of questions about medication use in the show arena. 

Prompted by reports across all breeds and disciplines confirming inappropriate use of medication for the purpose of gaining advantage in competition in today's show arena, the USEF leadership, in concert with the USEF Drugs & Medication and USEF Veterinary Committees, is soliciting information from stakeholders. Information gained in these forums will guide industry reform and regulation aimed at insuring the health and well being of the horse in our sport. 

Additional USEF Town Hall Meetings will be scheduled in the following locations. Look for updates regarding specific times and locations for these forums.

  • Virginia Horse Park - First week in May (Lexington, Va.)
  • Old Salem Farm - Mid-May (North Salem, N.Y.)
  • Kentucky Horse Park - Mid-May (Lexington, Ky.)
  • Colorado Horse Park – June (Parker, Colo.)
  • Blenheim Equisports – June (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
  • High Desert Classics – July (Bend, Ore)

Town Hall discussion topics will include:

  • USEF leadership speaks to the industry-wide focus on welfare of the horse today
  • Introduction and review of the American Association of Equine Practitioner's guidelines for treating performance horses with discussion of USEF enhancements leading to the adoption of the guidelines as industry standards
  • Overview of USEF and FEI medication rules
  • Regulatory and enforcement Issues
  • Owner-trainer-veterinarian relationship and responsibility
  • Next steps—call for industry reform

All USEF stakeholders are invited to attend these sessions in person. The USEF is also seeking input from interested parties who might not be able to attend. Simply respond to the topics outlined above by sending an email to: horsewelfare@usef.org. Your input will be compiled and presented to the Town Hall forums.