The American Saddlebred Horse Association and the United Professional Horseman's Association have both released statements in response to an article published in "USA Today" on July 9. The article, "Horse trainer's suicide has equestrian community questioning sexual abuse investigations," by Brent Schrotenboer, can be found here. The statements are below.
Today [July 9], "USA Today" published an article about the equestrian community's response to the Safe Sport Act and enforcement efforts by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The American Saddlebred industry was referenced many times in this article. The American Saddlebred Horse Association’s position on the Safe Sport policy is as expressed by ASHA President David Mount, “We strongly support what the Safe Sport Act represents for the protection of our young members. We also firmly believe the enforcement of this law through the U.S. Center for SafeSport can be significantly improved to better protect youth while also providing fair processes to our members.” ASHA's mission is to promote the American Saddlebred horse, and a key part of that is to help ensure a safe, enjoyable environment in which to own and exhibit our beloved breed.
On July 9, 2019 in a "USA Today" article by Brent Schrotenboer, references were made to individuals in the equestrian industry who questioned the procedures, requirements and desirability of SafeSport, the federally authorized independent non-profit organization committed to ending all forms of abuse in sport applicable to those members of national governing bodies of Olympic sport and Paralympic sports organizations. The article further suggested that affiliated organizations under the umbrella the U.S. Equestrian and SafeSport rules, may have been considering the formation of a separate national governing body presumably to avoid the requirements of SafeSport. The United Professional Horsemen’s Association wishes to clarify and state its position with regard to the safety of its membership and the protection of those minors engaging in equestrian sport within its framework.
The United Professional Horsemen’s Association is an association of professional horsemen and horsewomen who have united to improve the horse show industry. The predominant breeds represented by the UPHA members are the American Saddlebred, the Morgan Horse, the Roadster, the Hackney Pony and the National Show Horse. Paramount to the goals and mission of the UPHA is the protection and safety of its membership and particularly those minors training, riding and competing within UPHA equestrian sport.
The UPHA is a long standing Alliance Partner of the United States Equestrian Federation and has worked with the USEF in identifying, sanctioning, and in once instance, banning for life, those individuals within the UPHA membership that have engaged in inappropriate conduct. The UPHA has also successfully defended itself in a lawsuit brought by a former UPHA member in retaliation for his expulsion for life from the UPHA and permanent ban from participating in UPHA horse shows for inappropriate sexual contact with a minor.
The UPHA is fully aware that Federal Public Law #115-126, Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017 was signed into law February 14, 2018. The UPHA is also cognizant that this law authorized the creation of SafeSport to prevent the abuse, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse, of amateur athletes participating in amateur athletic activities through national governing bodies and Paralympic sports organizations. The UPHA recognizes and agrees that the intent of SafeSport is unassailable.
The UPHA is committed to the ideals and goals of SafeSport to insure an environment free from bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct and/or any form of emotional or physical abuse.
The UPHA affirms its commitment to work and cooperate with the United States Equestrian Federation/U.S. Equestrian and SafeSport to improve the entire process for the aforestated goals.
The UPHA recognizes that the youth of today are the future of equestrian sport, and that every effort should be made and every process embraced, that fully protects these young equestrian athletes.