USDA Horse Protection Act Update - Deadline Extended


A unified front of leadership from the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA), the American Hackney Horse Society (AHHS), and the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) continues to work constantly on the extremely broad language proposed in the changes to the regulations governing enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).


Since our trip to Maryland, where members of our four associations, as well as Dr. Stephen Schumacher from the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), gave statements for the record, we initiated a campaign for all members of these associations to go to the USDA website and make a statement against the broad and open-ended language in the proposed changes. Terms such as “and related breeds” and horses that “move with an accentuated gait, cannot be defined and could unfairly include our trotting breeds who have no history of soring issues found in the three breeds originally named in the Past Act.


Several well-known farriers and vets have gone on record making statements that the trotting breeds should be excluded from these rulings as there is no history of soring and trainers/exhibitors would not gain a competitive advantage by soring their horses. As well all know, in fact, it would be counterproductive.


In addition to working for the well being of our own breeds, our committee has been working with organizations like USEF and the American Horse Council (AHC), seeking their help in working with the appropriate agencies and government officials to clarify and/or correct the ambiguous language.


ASHA created a page on our website dedicated to this issue and we ask that ALL members go to that page to get updates on the issue and more importantly go to the USDA link and MAKE A STATEMENT! The deadline for comments has been extended to October 26, 2016 but please make them NOW.


Thank you for taking the time to make comments to help us convince the USDA to do what is right for the trotting breeds who do not belong in their rulings. Additionally, contact any of your State Horse Councils and reach out to any political connections and let them know the USDA is proposing overreaching regulations for our breeds with no history of soring.


Bob Funkhouser

ASHA President