The first of the USEF Town Hall Meetings series was hosted by Equestrian Sport Productions at their FTI Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds on March 27. Federation representatives joined 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 focus has raised a number of questions about medication use in the show arena. Video of the first USEF Town Hall Meeting can be seen online. You can also read the Chronicle's in-depth coverage of the first meeting.
Member input received since the announcement of this USEF Town Hall Meetings series has called for additional forums to be scheduled in Texas and the Midwest. The USEF is currently exploring appropriate times and locations for additional meetings to be scheduled.
These public forums are open to all USEF members and participation from every breed and discipline is strongly encouraged. "Over-medicating show horses is a clear and present threat to the industry. It is going to take involvement from the entire equestrian community to get this just right," says John Long, USEF Chief Executive Officer.
Dates are confirmed for the originally scheduled USEF Town Hall Meetings:
May 1 - 5:00 PM—Lexington, Va. - Virginia Horse Center VIP Area
May 15 - 5:00 PM—Salem, N.Y. - Old Salem Farm Special Events Tent next to GP Ring
May 16 - 5:00 PM—Lexington, Ky. - Kentucky Horse Park, location TBD
June 7 - 5:00 PM—San Juan, Calif. - Blenheim Equisports VIP Tent
June 14 - 5:00 PM—Parker, Colo. - Colorado Horse Park, location TBD
July 25 - 5:00 PM—Bend, Ore. - High Desert Classics Patron's Tent
All times listed are local
USEF Town Hall discussion topics will include:
- USEF leadership speaking to the industry-wide focus on welfare of the horse today
- Introduction and review of the American Association of Equine Practitioners' 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. Response to the topics outlined above should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. All input will be compiled and presented to the Town Hall forums.