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Self-policing is not working

What I wrote was, “At some point I won’t be physically able to ride and compete him anymore.”

Me. I’ll be the one whose health issues preclude me from continuing to ride and show him.


I meant that chance that every foal has, i.e. serious deformity, injury as a result of birthing trauma, etc. I’m following a few cases on FB of foals seriously knuckled over to the point of surgery with the outcome to be a paddock-sound animal at best.

There is always that chance that your long-awaited foal just doesn’t cook right.


Not at all. I see people putting foals through all sorts of interventions with a moderately sound but unrideable animal at the end, and trauma along the way to boot. It is a genuine question to the floor.


I agree… mostly. I bought what I thought was a long yearling from a dogger auction. Turned out to be 25+, unbroke, unbreakable, emaciated… and pregnant. We foaled her down and sold the foal (he was too small for me, absolute shame because he is a gorgeous, quiet boy). She was lent to a lot of people for lawn maintenance over the next five years. I threatened every year to put her down. She was old, useless… but sweet. A literal money pit.

Eventually she went in to heart failure and we had her laid to rest, amidst lots and lots of tears. I had no history with her, she was a more-fool-you sight unseen pity purchase. She cost me a lot of money and a lot of rugs. I had no obligation to this horse. She was spared the knackers truck and brought her baby into the world.

But, we kept her. Cursed her. Loved on her.

No one would shame me for putting her down early, and I wish I had done so as her ending was unfair and traumatic.

I agree: you break it, you deal with it. But quiet euthanasia needs to be a viable and supported option. Not every horse needs a ten-fifteen year long retirement.

Oh yeah, I have one of those too. Sucker.


I wholeheartedly agree. I have a heartbreaker that I bred too (still have her). She was an absolute rockstar for a year :frowning: She is retiree #2. I love her to death, but I will never do it again.

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This. The judge should be able to spin or simply not pin a horse and say to the trainer, “Lovely horse but he looked a bit stiff / footsore / took a bad step. It happens, I’m sure he’ll look great next time I see him,” without it being a big drama or raising concerns of lawsuits.


Why can’t USEF insulate the judges? Why can’t it be part of the general show agreement that no one can seek recourse if a judge whistles out or eliminates a horse they deem lame? The culture needs to change where people are not emboldened to show horses that are so lame they shouldn’t be ridden on the flat let alone over fences.


What would be the basis of a lawsuit?

I didn’t get a blue ribbon!

Really? What kind of damages would one expect?


Perhaps in the lower levels that would be the “argument”.

At the higher levels there’s enough money to be won that I suspect someone somewhere has figured out a way to sue for a loss of income or something like that. It’s dumb IMO, but money makes people crazy.


Loss of value on the horse for a lost sale.


I doubt if judges aren’t spinning horses because they’re afraid of being sued, they are much more likely to be afraid of losing out on the business of selling horses to these trainers down the road.


I think that the judges are sometimes afraid to spin a big name trainer’s horse for fear of not being hired back. I think this because I’ve been told this by judges.


Oh okay I thought you meant a different thread. I guess I don’t understand how it’s relevant to the conversation here


It is a shame that the welfare of the horse always comes in second behind winning.


Still, impossible to prove as any prospective buyer would do a PPE.


a lollipop and a sticker would be my judgement


A 2023 Report “Social License And The Involvement Of Horses In Sport” published by World Horse Welfare showed that in the UK only 2% of the population has regular contact with horses, one-fifth thinks using horses in sport is unacceptable and another two-fifths accepts the use of horses in sport but only if welfare and safety are improved. So perhaps the thing we need to consider is that it is only by continually improving welfare and standards, through culture change and regulation, that horse sports will be able to retain their critical social license and protect their future.

To me, as an outsider but a persistent reader of COTH fora, the USEF as the National Governing Body does not seem to be transparent, strategic, responsive or even able to demonstrate practical concern for horse welfare. The discussion initiated by OP, I believe, is a very important one.


I am pretty sure the USEF DOES protect the judges, in the sense that no one can protest (to the USEF) the judge’s determination that the horse is lame.

But there is nothing the USEF can do to prevent someone from bringing suit in the courts.

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Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

I was responding to your statement that “Some horses are just built thick.”

While the individual horse’s metabolism definitely has an effect. Bo and Matilda show that a horse that is not fed enough gets VERY thin, regardless of the metabolism.

But I agree that some horses DO have metabolisms that make it difficult to get the weight off. My now-diagnosed with EMS / IR Connemara x TB was an 8 on a diet of nothing more than pasture and a ration balancer. But since being diagnosed, taken off pasture (except 1-2 hrs in an eaten-down paddock with a muzzle), given a limited amount of low-sucran hay, and put on medications (InsulinWise and Thyro-L) she has lost 6 inches in girth, and is much more healthy weight (as well as becoming much friendlier).