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Letter To The Editor

Dear Kentucky State Fair Board,

My name is Melissa Moore; I am an American Saddlebred, Hackney and Roadster horse trainer. I am a second generation horse trainer whose family is deeply immersed in this equine industry and has been for over 75 years.  My Father, Tom Moore and my Mother, Donna Moore have been honored by receiving the WCHS Hall of Fame. In fact, at the time of my father’s passing he had won every class possible at the Kentucky State Fair.  I am sure you have seen his amazing bronze statue that proudly sits in front of Freedom Hall.  I like to say that my father, Tom Moore was a true legend on those green shavings. To my family, there is no other facility or show more prestigious than The Kentucky State Fair.

I am glad my parents are not alive to see what has happened to this prestigious show.  

I sat on the WCHS advisory committee for several years.  We all seemed to work hand in hand to give advice as to how to make the show better and safer for all involve.  But since the advisory committee has been dissolved the entire safety of the show has steadily gone down.  People pay a lot of money not only to the Kentucky State Fair, but to their trainers and for the purchase of equines that are of the caliber to be a World Champion.  For at least the past 4 years, numerous trainers and exhibitors have had complaints to the safety of the horses and exhibitors.  It has become a true nightmare to try and show at the Kentucky State Fair.  I have repeatedly voiced my concerns to Hoppy Bennett and his reply was always, “if you don’t like the way things are, don’t show here”.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have that option.   USEF has repeatedly asked for compliance to fix the numerous issues and nothing has been done.  They have been more than patient to try and work with the KSF to help them.  

USEF (American Horse Show Association) has been the World Championship Horse Show’s governing body for as long as I can remember.  They have the infrastructure, the financial ability, the immense knowledge and the genuine welfare of the horse as their governing structure.   They govern the top equine sports events including the Olympics.  With that, come the power and the ability to protect us and to serve us.  If the Kentucky State Fair was looking for another governing body, then they should have reached out to The American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association, The American Road Horse and Pony association and the American Hackney Horse Society to get the input of those that compete at the World Championship Horse Show.  Hoppy Bennett was well aware, that our affiliate agreement with USEF would put us in a position that many of our classes could not be held at the KSF this year under different governance.  He was aware that the Affiliate organizations would not want a different Governing body.  This was done behind all our backs and because of this; I fear the backlash and divide that this non- transparent move will ruin our industry.

I am the Co-Chair of the Futurity Committee and this has put us in a litigious situation. Upon making nominations and signing the futurity agreement. It clearly states that the futurity must be governed under USEF rules.  If the KSF stays ESC, we can not have our classes. This is a travesty. 

I am a licensed official and I take great pride in the education and time that I put into becoming a USEF licensed official. If we don’t all have the same rules to follow, our industry will become a very bad version of the “WILD WEST”.

In addition, the fact that ESC does not follow the Center for Safe Sports, banned list and puts that decision on the shows is also a very litigious move. If the show tells the banned person they cannot show and there is no governing body saying they can’t or the banned individual does something to another exhibitor at the show, well If I was the KSF I certainly would not want to be in that position.

That brings us to the point that ESC has NEVER drug tested one horse. The USEF drug testers are extremely knowledgeable at drug testing and the ramifications of positive results. Over the course of time they have drug test thousands and thousands of horses and know their job. I truly don’t believe our World Championship Horse show is the place to learn how to drug test. 

I sincerely hope you reconsider this non-transparent move to an infantile governing body.  Our industry is at stake.  


Melissa Moore
Owner/trainer Sunrise Stables
[email protected]


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