Comparing the first six months of 2016 and 2017, there has been more than a 25 percent reduction in positive doping tests performed by the U.S. Equestrian Federation for the hunter, jumper and equitation divisions.
Is that a result of greater publicity about violations this year and stronger penalty guidelines that were approved more than year ago?
“Some of it very well may be,” said a spokesperson for the organization.
“We certainly hope that US Equestrian’s firm stance on intolerance of these type of violations is being recognized,” she said.
Enhancement of penalty guidelines for abuse and welfare violations were voted on in July, so there is hope that those violations will be reduced as well.
Doing all this costs money, so USEF is increasing its membership fee for the first time in 10 years from $55 to $80. For reference, the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s active membership is $85.
The increase “will allow us to address these issues and re-invest back into growing our sport at all levels, not just elite levels,” USEF President Murray Kessler said in a letter to members.
“A primary area of investment will be to bring unrated shows into the US Equestrian family and encourage the return of B- and C-rated shows. Our sport can’t be strong without a strong foundation. We will also continue to invest in education, learning center videos, communication tools, athlete pathways, trainer certification, and the like. Finally, developmental funds will be allocated to help grow the sport across all breeds and disciplines.”