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This proposed rule by the United States Department of Agriculture that would eliminate the use of any pad, action device or hoof bands as well as eliminate all self-regulation would have devastating impacts. The demands on horse show management will be costly and create an abundance of unnecessary work on the part of show management and the exhibitors.

As members of the American Saddlebred Horse Association or even an interested party here is what you can do to support the cause. 

Submit a comment on the web site and oppose the rule. You must let the USDA know the impacts of the rule as it pertains to you. We can’t stress enough the importance of doing this. There are literally thousands of people in our sport that will be affected and we need each and every one of you to respond at:!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0009.

Next, there is a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, September 9 at the USDA Headquarters in Riverdale, MD, as well as a virtual meeting to be held Thursday, September 15 at 5:00 EDT. Any interested person may appear and be heard in person, by attorney or by other another representative. For the virtual hearing, any person may call in to be heard. 

Written statements may be submitted and will be made part of the hearing record. A transcript of the public hearings will be placed in the rulemaking record and will be available for public inspection. Registration is required to speak at the public hearing and can be accomplished by registering with the presiding officer 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the hearing. Persons who wish to speak will be asked to sign in with their name and organization to establish a record for the hearing. Anyone who reads a statement is asked to provide two copies to the presiding officer at the hearing.

When submitting your comment or speaking at the hearing you don’t have to have an elaborate speech, but need to focus on the impact the rule has with you. For example, if you are a:

TRAINER – how many employees you have, how the rule will impact your business, the effect it will have on your household income and the loss you will suffer as a result. You should also request a representative from every vendor you buy from to also submit a comment talking about the impact of the loss of your business on their business.

OWNER – how many horses you own, their current value and what the value will be if the rule goes into effect constituting the illegal taking of that value by the USDA with zero regard for veterinary science that proves no relationship between pads, action devices and hoof bands and soring. You can also speak to the real estate you own that is specifically tied to your involvement in the horse industry.

BREEDER – how many broodmares you own, how many stallions you own and if you own a breeding operation, how many employees you have and how your operation will be impacted by the rule. 

HORSE SHOW MANAGEMENT – speak to the value your horse show brings to the community where it is held and the charities that you benefit and with the rule how difficult it will be to have a horse show, have horses participate and how the new rules are making it too difficult and cost prohibitive to have a horse show and thus the loss to the community and charities. We have many shows that donate thousands and thousands of dollars to worthy causes.

FARRIER – how many employees you have, how the rule will affect your business, the effect it will have on your household income and the loss you will suffer as a result.

VETERINARIANS – how many employees you have, the impact of the American Saddlebred on your practice and the loss of revenue to your practice. You should also be able to speak professionally to the prohibition of the equipment (pads and bands) and how it is unrelated to soring.

ELECTED OFFICIALS – speak to the value of the American Saddlebred to horse shows in your area, the tax revenue received as a result of the American Saddlebred and the use of the American Saddlebred to help civic clubs and charities and the valuable work they do.

BUSINESS OWNER – speak to the impact of the American Saddlebred, the owners, the trainers and all the spectators to your business and how you would be affected if the American Saddlebred show horse went away.

If you have any questions regarding this process please contact ASHA Executive Director Bill Whitley or President Bob Funkhouser.


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