The American Saddlebred Horse Association has released an open letter from the association's president, David Mount, to its membership. The letter follows:
"To our Saddlebred community:
I have just returned from attending the town hall at the Midwest Charity Horse Show. While Terri and I have been listening to members' concerns through other open forums, calls, emails and social media, I wanted to be there in person to listen and to respond. I am thankful we had such a good panel and audience attendance.
ASHA's mission is to promote the American Saddlebred, and a key part of that mission is to listen to, and represent, membership. Now, we are facing unprecedented challenges that reflect the world we live in. We like to think we're in a world apart, but the reality is that no matter our personal opinions on these issues, our society FF the laws of the land FF demand that we change some of the ways we operate.
Like other sports organizations with youth involvement, the ASHA is bound by the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. This act, which is also Federal law, applies to all sports organizations that participate in interstate competitions and whose membership includes any adult who is in regular contact with an amateur athlete who is a minor. The act requires mandatory reporting, prevention training and prevention policies. Other equine organizations, such as the UPHA, must also grapple with this law.
We are aware that there are more stringent requirements for National Governing Bodies and Paralympic sports organizations. We have been working with experts in the field to determine just what the law and the standard of care set by the more stringent requirements means to our members, and to the ASHA, which represents you as well as the breed we love. We have other challenges that we're addressing simultaneously, but determining the best way to respond to the law of the land has consumed the bulk of our efforts now.
Leaving the USEF will not exempt us from the law. The fact is, we must determine how we are going to comply with the law while we serve our industry, whether we remain with the USEF or not. The charge we have, to do the right thing -- right for our youth, our members, and our breed -- is worthy of the time and effort we're investing. This is your future and our future too.
We are working daily with our members and other breed and equine organizations, including the Joint Leadership Council, to address concerns about the process. These concerns have been communicated directly to the USEF and the US Center for Safe Sport. We will continue to develop actions that will better serve the Saddlebred community not only through this challenging period, but into the future.
Terri and I, along with the board of directors and staff of the ASHA, hear you loud and clear. We've been listening all along, and we will continue to listen, and to communicate what we're doing for our beloved breed and industry. Thank you for working with us through this challenging time.
David Mount, President, American Saddlebred Horse Association"
-- via ASHA