ENFORCE EQUINE WELFARE RULES - Arabian Halter Horses
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For decades abuse in the form of beating, shanking and intimidating Arabian halter horses has been a point of outrage. Yet, The Arabian Horse Association has done nothing to effectively end these abusive practices.
In April of 2016, in response to a formal Protest file by The Arabian Coalition, the United States Equine Federation ruled that effective immediately, The Arabian Horse Association was to begin enforcing AR115 and AR116 as clarified.
To date, there is not a community outreach from AHA to educate owners, trainers, judges and enthusiasts that these practices are unacceptable. The horses are continuing to be abused at home and in the ring, even directly in front of judges. You can review the rules, AR115 and AR116, at the bottom of this petition.
This year there is a penalty judge for the halter classes, Cindy Reich. Presumably, creating a position for a penalty judge is to curb this abuse. The intent of this petition is to demand the rules be enforced and intimidated horses heavily penalized if not excused from the ring. There are examples below of what is currently accepted as non-penalized handling, and examples of what we feel are presentations which reflect the intention of the horse welfare rules.
Here are videos of top handlers presenting horses at US Nationals. These presentations were not awarded penalty points for for any breach of rules.
This is a video of Loose Lead Walking that is considered acceptable
Here are the examples we would like to ask the judges, stewards, leadership and Arabian horse community at large to consider as the appropriate interpretation of the rules and humane handling. This is handling based on positive reinforcement training and not punishment based training. As halter classes are our breed classes, not performance classes, and meant to judge breed standard, including the "in the tent" personality, we feel strongly this type of presentation is good for the horses and the breed.
Here are several peer reviewed, published, scientific studies which support our demand for enforcing the equine welfare rules.
Below you will find useful information to explain the rules as well as contact information for all of the people who can make a difference. Please take the time to comment if you choose to sign this petition and explain how you feel, and especially if you have left or might come back due to the handling of halter classes.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Catherine West, President of The Arabian Coalition
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE JUDGES
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR AHA LEADERSHIP
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR AHA REGIONAL DIRECTORS
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR USEF
1. There can be no contact of the whip to the horse, any contact shall result in elimination from judging consideration by the Judge. “Intimidation”: A horse that appears to be intimidated by its handler will be penalized. This may include but is not limited to, crouching, cowering, quivering, withdrawing and buckling their knees. Judge(s) may excuse any entry deemed in violation of any of these restrictions.
2. A Breeding/In-Hand competitor must be eliminated for: (also see AR105 Soundness and Welfare.)
a. Removal of eyelashes,
b. Changing the natural color of the mane and/or tail (AR106)
c. Applying a product to a horse’s hoof to hide or conceal a conformation defect. Only clear or transparent products may be used on the hooves of horses while being shown in Breeding and/or In-Hand classes.
3. An entry must be penalized for:
a. Excessive amounts of oil, grease or other similar substances.
b. Balding the area around the eyes or proximal to the muzzle and nostrils.
c. Excessive use of the whip or actions that may disturb other entries.
1. The following procedures shall be followed in all Breeding/In-Hand classes. Exception: Sport Horse In-Hand
Classes see AR176
2. A horse must be handled and shown throughout an entire class by only one and the same person, except that a substitute handler may be used if, during a class, the original handler becomes ill or is injured. Time allowed for the change of
handler shall be in accordance with AR108 Time Out Rules No handler may show more than one horse per class.
3. Handlers are expected to keep a reasonable clearance between horses and judges should modify the alignment of horses to achieve that clearance. Further judging will not commence until the Call Judge approves the placement and spacing of all horses.
4. Breeding/In-Hand horses are not to be stretched. A horse is considered not stretched if all four feet are flat on the ground and at least one front and one rear cannon bone is perpendicular to the ground.
5. All class entrants must be in a “controlled paddock” outside the ring until entering the ring individually in the designated order of go. A “controlled paddock” is an area designated by show management outside the competition ring for Breeding/Gelding In-Hand classes. The USEF steward and/or the Show Commission shall supervise this area. Only one specified person appointed by the show committee shall be in the controlled paddock to assist with the entrance(s) into the arena.
6. Competition management shall have the option of choosing a or b of the following class procedures:
a. In the Ring Class Procedure.
1. Judging begins when the first horse enters the ring. From the moment the horse enters the ring its movement is being evaluated and scored.
2. The horse shall enter at a trot, and at the handler’s discretion may either proceed directly along the rail, or trot a counterclockwise circle at the in-gate end of the arena and then proceed along the rail to the far end of the arena. Upon each horse reaching the designated position at the far end of the arena they are to remain
relaxed. The judge(s) will then ask for the next horse to enter the ring. When all horses have entered the ring the horses shall be asked to walk collectively counter-clockwise and/or clockwise past each (and all) judge(s). They shall walk in a relaxed manner on a loose lead with the handler at the side of his horse, whips down.
The lead line must maintain a discernible drape and the handler must not place his hand on the chain or close enough to in any way restrict the natural head and neck motion. The handler may not unnecessarily impede the forward motion of the horse while at the walk. Following the cessation of the walk all horses shall relax
within the ring and only the horse “on deck” shall be prepared to show. Each horse shall be led to the judge(s) at the walk and presented for judging. In order to satisfy a proper presentation to the judge, horses should stand correctly, bearing weight on all four feet (not stretched), in a quiet and deliberate manner. Following the
evaluation by the judge(s), horses shall walk away from the judge(s), and then strike a trot before turning left and proceeding counter clockwise down the rail. They shall resume their relaxed position at the end of the arena. The scores for all categories will be completed, recorded, and may be announced at this time.
3. When using the in the ring class procedure only the horse “on deck” shall be allowed to prepare for its presentation to the judge(s). Preparation shall include controlled circling and positioning the horse for presentation to the judge(s). The only shanking allowed shall be limited to an unruly horse in order to regain control.
All other exhibitors must remain relaxed within the ring or they shall be penalized. Judge(s) may excuse any entry deemed in violation of any of these restrictions.
b. Exit the Ring Class Procedure.
1. The horse shall enter at a trot, and at the handler’s discretion may either proceed directly along the rail, or trot a counterclockwise circle at the in-gate end of the arena and then proceed along the rail to a designated point by the judges. The horse shall then walk in a relaxed manner on a loose lead with the handler at the side of his horse, whips down. The lead must maintain a discernible drape and the handler must not place his hand on the chain or close enough to in any way restrict the natural head and neck motion. The handler may not unnecessarily impede the forward motion of the horse while at the walk. Each horse shall be led to the judge(s) at the walk and be presented for judging. In order to satisfy a proper presentation to the judge(s), horses should stand correctly, bearing weight on all four feet (not stretched), in a quiet and deliberate manner. Following the evaluation by the judge(s), horses shall walk away from the judge(s), and then strike a trot.
At the handler’s discretion they may trot a counter clockwise circle and then proceed towards the exit. The scores for all categories will be completed, recorded, and announced at this time. The horse shall be excused from the ring to the controlled paddock where it shall remain until the placings are announced, and the next
horse shall enter promptly and be presented accordingly until the class is completed.
c. Combined Ring Procedure.
1. The class entrants must be in a “controlled paddock” outside the ring until entering the ring. The horses will enter the ring clockwise, one at a time at the trot and/or the animated walk. They will continue clockwise around the ring at the trot and/or animated walk at the direction of the ring steward. Once all of the horses are
in the ring, they will be asked to walk around the ring or a shortened version of the ring as directed by the ring steward. The horses will be excused from the ring at the end of the walk to the “controlled paddock”. Then the horses will enter the ring individually in the designated order of go. (AR113.2).
2. See Exit the Ring procedure for remainder of class proceedings.
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