first published in the October 2017 Equiery

On July 25, the U.S. Equestrian Federation board of directors unanimously approved recommended guidelines for the — USEF horse welfare and safety penalty guidelines. The — USEF posted, “A common thread that binds all of the Federation’s breeds and disciplines is a dedication and commitment to the health, welfare, and safety of the horse. US Equestrian is committed to ensuring the welfare of our horses and providing a safe and fair competition environment to all of our members and their equine partners. To do this, US Equestrian has created rules to govern the actions of our members and protect both horses and humans, allowing them to experience the joy of horse sports.”

The statement went on to say “In the event that a member violates any of the Rules covering welfare and safety of a horse, and this violation ends in a hearing before the Federation’s Hearing Committee, any subsequent penalty issued should be appropriately severe, as a case of a welfare or safety violation against a horse is one of the most egregious violations under the Federation’s Rules. Previously imposed penalties in cases of welfare and safety violations are no longer sufficient in today’s cases. It is important that the Federation’s penalties reflect the severity of the violation.”

However, the penalty types and ranges that were presented are guidelines, not mandatory. The guidelines are intended to provide a basis which discretion can be exercised in similar circumstances but are not binding. For the complete list of guidelines and penalties, click here:–safety-penalty-guidelines

The Equiery wants to know: What do you think of the — USEF Horse Welfare and Safety Penalty Guidelines? Email your thoughts to