I was initially dismayed to hear about the widespread opposition to the 'strengthening' of the HPA. This includes the American Morgan Horse Association, which in the articles I have found issued a statement of blanket opposition. I can only hope that the actual letter was more nuanced (does anybody have a copy?). I do have some faith in the AMHA, and I thought I should read the proposed changes before making a judgement. I dug up the proposed changes with some trepidation. Within the last decade, the AMHA has severely relaxed their shoeing rules.* But, they have also made strides in enforcing their own rules (which are generally much stricter than the HPA) at shows.
I can see many good reasons why the AMHA would oppose these changes. I still hope they do (or already have) lay out plainly why they oppose these regulations, because that is important for coming up with better alternatives. But here are some of the issues I see:
First is the call for “Horse Protection Inspector (HPIs)” to inspect horses. For the AMHA, and even the ASHA (Saddlebred), these inspectors would mean an additional cost for a redundant office. Rated shows already have inspectors for USEF, which again has stricter regulations than the HPA. Tennessee Walking Horse shows are not regulated by USEF, which is why these outside inspectors have been deemed necessary. Currently the HPA specifies Walkers, Racking Horses, "and related breeds" as being required to give notice 30 days before the show, and supply records to APHIS within 72 hours. Who is considered a related breed? I expect there is also some concern as to the availability of these HPIs, considering other staff shortages within the USDA. This concern would be heightened by the proposal that these inspectors be required at all "Tennessee Walking Horse, Racking Horse, or related breed class or event at any horse show or exhibition" of any size. In effect, any show of any size, rated or not, that wanted to have saddleseat classes could be required to have two licensed inspectors on site. This is regardless of whether or not they had other inspectors, because HPIs must be "outside the industry." This is despite that fact that the proposed changes also state that only vets or vet techs can serve as HPIs- and vets are, assuredly, part of the industry.
Shippers (including commercial) would be required to have the address of the horse's regular farrier. While I appreciate the desire to be able to be able to penalize farriers who perform illegal shoeings, most farriers don't have a business address. You are asking them to make their home address public. And, not every horse that is being moved may have a regular shoer. What if they've been recently sold (the provision includes auctions)? These are minor issues, but it would be just as easy to require the information of the owner in the case that a horse be found in violation of the HPA.
The use throughout of the phrase "or can reasonably be expected." This grey area is, I think, meant to allow conscientious trainers some leeway, but it is in fact the root of how the previous inspection setup could fail. Inspectors didn't need to lie to allow soreing to continue, because the inspections had a large element of subjectivity.
The prohibition of pads (while still listing allowed hoof packing materials). I've had more than one horse who needed a pad or pads to remain sound, either to support a congenital abnormality (such as club foot) or protect a sensitive sole (not many Morgans for this, but I'm sure many Arabs).
In all, the HPA is long, contradictory (prohibits all action devices in one area, but only those that might cause irritation in another, etc.), and puts a great deal of pressure on trainers and exhibitors who already follow stricter regulations while leaving loopholes that allow for abuse.
There is no simple solution. I do think many breeds would benefit from being brought under USEF, though I understand the resistance to the cost involved. The prior iteration of the HPA lead to splintering of Walking Horse groups, as some folks took a stand and others tried to find ways around regulations. I'm not sure these proposed changes would be any more successful. I also think that education is a stronger, and more lasting, force than regulation.
*I was discussing this with another exhibitor. I find the long feet and weighted shoes being allowed in hunter and western classes now to be problematic. But, AMHA has not changed the maximum hoof length or weight in total, but rather allowed their maximums in more divisions. As the other exhibitor pointed out, the same horses are just now allowed to cross enter. As I am a fan of Morgans "doing it all," I can't be upset with horses crossing divisions. With turnbuckles and stacks already illegal, as well as action devices on show grounds, the rule changes of the last decade don't significantly impact the horse. I do choose to support shows that pick judges who more strictly adhere to the criteria of each division, rather than picking the 'flashiest' horse regardless of the class. This, to me, also includes penalizing park horses who are out of control or have the lopsided, jerky action associated with shortcuts.
UPDATE: It looks like AMHAs official statement was sent via email (that's what I get for letting my membership lapse). Their main issues with the amendments seem to be the APHIS inspectors and the banning of all pads.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Seeking one or two more panelists for WSECS to be held at UC Santa Barbara Feb. 17&18, 2017. The conference theme is “Eighteenth-Century Science(s).” This panel will consider the ways in which new ideas about how the world did and should work were applied to the equestrian arts. Please contact KatrinBoniface@gmail.com no later than Sept. 28.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Yesterday, this came across my feed:
My first thought was "racehorses?...maybe harness racing?" My puzzlement only grew when I went to the full post which covered the five digitized photos from the U.S. National Archives collection RG 17-HD "Photographs of Horses and Dogs, 1897 - 1934." The horses picture were certainly not racehorses, and while of different breeds all appeared to be fitted for a halter (conformation) competition. The tweeter, and blogpost writer, do not appear to be the source of the error, as the original items are listed in the archives as "Photograph of a Race Horse" or "Photograph of a Race Horse with Handler." It is possibly that the original archivist, unfamiliar with specialized equine language, saw "Raza" –Race– at the beginning of each caption and assumed it meant "racehorse." In English, we talk about "races" of people, but not of horses. However, in Spanish, French, and other related languages "raza" is also used for breeds of animals, which is how it is employed on these photographs. So, here is my "crack" at translating them, and what I do with that information:
Canelón. - Raza Trakehnen cruzado con de carrera. - Nacido el 29 de Noviembre de 1909. - Premio Conjunto y Primer Premio. - Criador: Manuel Artagaveytia. - Haras ((Santa Lucia Grande)). - Canelones.
Horse's name is Canelón. His breed is Trakehner "crossed with the runner" (possibly Thoroughbred? theres the racehorse). Born Nov. 29 1909. Joint prize & first prize: "premio conjunto" was puzzling, but looking at some modern Criollo (Uruguayan breed– why Criollo will become clear), it seems that conjunto is the championship class, and not a tie or a group entry as I had initially though. His breeder was Manuel Artagaveytia of the Santa Lucia Grande studfarm. He was from Canelones, a coastal area of Urugauy.
Original Caption: Canelon. - Raza Trakehnen cruzado con de carrera. - Nacido el 29 de Noviembre de 1909. - Premio Conjunto y ler premio. - Criador: Manuel Artagaveytia. - Canelones.
This is the same horse from the other side. The differences are "ler premio" (the prize) instead of primer premio, and the farm name is left off. His handler is also visible in a uniform that matches that used by the Urugauyan military in the early twentieth century. Men often did, and occasionally still do (and now women, too!) show horses in military uniform even at civilian shows, though this could indicate a military inspection.
Roy Mischeif. - Raza Yorkshire cruzado con trakehnen. - Nacido el 20 de Octubre de 1909. - Premio Conjunto y Primer Premio. - Criador: Manuel Artagaveytia. - Haras ((Santa Lucia Grande)). - Canelones.
This horse is named Roy Mischeif. He is a Yorkshire (coaching relative of the Cleveland Bay) Trakehner cross. Born Oct. 20 1909. He was also award "premio conjunto" (championship) and first place. It is possible that this means these two horses competed in separate classes (possibly one for Trakehner crosses, and one for Yorkshire crosses, which could be a reason for the how the breeds in the cross are ordered, as they are of the same age); however, it is also possible that "first prize" means of a certain quality rather then best of the bunch. This is often done with warmblood inspections, with "first premium" still used in English. His breeder is the same as the horse above, and indeed his uniformed handler is likely the same man (possibly Manuel Artagaveytia himself).
The head of the first horse above.
Pandy?- Boulonnaise. - Nacido en Noviembre de 1910. - Primer Premio en la Categoria 151.a. - Criador: ((La Franco Platense)). - Cerros de Monzon. - Florida.
This horse's name is worn away, --ndy. He is a Boulonnaise, a French draft breed. Born Nov. 10 1910. First prize in the category 151.a. His show division being named may be incidental, or many mean signify he showed in a non-standard section while the others above were in the main category. An individual breeder is not listed, just a farm; La Franco Platense, in Cerros de Monzon, Florida (Uruguay). His handler looks to be the same mustachioed man above. It may be that these photos are meant to be stud ads, or simply one man's record of how his stock performed at a show or inspection.
Given the breeds represented: the Boulonnaise, a French draft breed, the Trakehner, a Prussian breed that was and still is popular in France, and the Yorkshire, a British coaching breed that was popular in France, I immiediately looked for (and found) connections between Urugauy and France at this time. The best avenue for further research would be Manuel Artagaveytia of Santa Lucia Grande Haras, in Canelones Uruguay. The pictures are likely from around 1912 (that Boulonnaise looks a little young, but certainly not a foal) but could be as late as the 1920's.
Information often gets lost in translation from one language to another. Just as fraught is the translation from one way of life to another. I find that many of the translations I work with require not only someone proficient in the tongue, but someone proficient in the culture.
Edit to add: