The Gossip Girls – Heads Should Roll…


THE PHONE has been ringing off the hook the past few days….

The embarrassment that has been carelessly thrown upon the dues-paying members of USEF and USHJA is unconscionable. This is entire affair is worthy of a National Inquirer investigation.

Since when is it acceptable for a governing body to refuse to give their members the complete story concerning one of the worst scandals to hit the horse show world?

The entire debacle has been as transparent as a stone wall.
The membership wants to know EXACTLY when USEF knew the lab testing and collection procedures were at the very least questionable and more importantly, terribly flawed. The membership should not have to request these facts – they should be offered.

Did the hearings take place using flawed evidence?? Was the hearing committee aware of these flaws??

This has made the USEF and its membership the laughing stock of equestrian sport worldwide.
APPARENTLY a horse was tested at a USEF recognized horse show – and this is where the fun began…

APPARENTLY the testing official decided, for whatever reason, to NOT take the samples to the official drop-off site, but to take them home and toss them in the garage fridge.

APPARENTLY the tubes, containing the blood samples, were frozen when it clearly states those tube should not be frozen.

APPARENTLY there was careless handling of the samples once they were received at the lab.

APPARENTLY the difference in the results of the testing of Sample A and Sample B was so ridiculous even a first grade student could see there was a problem!

APPARENTLY there is a dead rat in the testing program because this all smells very, very bad.
BUT the powers that be proceeded to bring charges against two members and held a hearing using improperly handled samples with incorrect results! Just remember folks, this could be you.
LUCKILY, the people involved, had the where with all to hire MS. BONNIE NAVIN, well-known Florida attorney….

MS. NAVIN got to work and uncovered the above “APPARENTLIES” and the case was taken to the Hearing Committee, then to arbitration, where the arbitrator allowed the two members to return to the show ring until the final arbitration hearing was scheduled for February.
A PRESS RELEASE from USEF was sent out and it was ridiculously vapid….

It had the tone of a teacher speaking to a first grade class. Gee whiz, there was a little mistake…but it will all be fine…

We’ll take care of it…
THE two trainers have been permitted to return to the show ring.

WELL FOLKS, if the membership accepts the entire farce – shame on you! Heads should roll.

The head of the Drugs and Medication Committee should step down.

The head of the lab should step down or be fired immediately.

The testing official who took the samples home to the safety of the refrigerator in her garage should never be permitted to have any part in the drug testing of horses at a recognized show again.
THE many phone calls WE received were strongly (a synonym for loud, somewhat angry language) worded – The USEF should sub-contract the testing to a top flight lab (which the USEF’s lab apparently is not). This is how it was done at the inception of the testing program.

This would certainly be cost-effective – no payroll, no rent for the lab facility, no pricey equipment – do we need to go on and on?

USEF could chase the paperwork but there would be no chance of collusion when numbered samples are sent to a lab which has no ax to grind.
THE hearing process has been rife with conflict of interest since inception of the drug testing program more than 40 years ago….Since the days of Ned Bonnie, Dr. Jordon Woodcock, etc. When, for the first time, the word “TRAINER” was introduced into the rule book….all of a sudden, the hired help became the “TRAINER ” who had the absolute responsibility for the results of a drug test.

YOU pay to stable your horses in a drug contaminated environment where anyone can walk up to your horse’s stall. In an unsecured stable area where the walls and floor are filled with the unknown drug dangers of the previous inhabitants…… Unless you have an FEI horse which offers 24 hour guards and chainlink fence enclosed stabling you are pretty much on your own…

What the hell is wrong with this picture??

THE folks sitting at the big desks need to be more responsible to those who pay their salaries… The last available tax records show a past lab director receiving in excess of $150K…. Legal Eagle Sonja Keating, in excess of $190K…. Drug Tzar Stephen Schumacher in excess of $133K…. Lab equipment valued in excess of $2.1 million…The CEO makes in excess of $300K…

The membership deserves better work for the money spent.
BEFORE the USEF continues to run rough shod over its membership, might their time not be better spent cleaning up its own house of this ongoing testing charade.

The membership has had enough of the lofty egos at the top.

The folks at the top are not above reproach – in fact they need a little reproachin’….
LET’S get back to showing horses….

The over regulation, ever increasing dues and fees and sloppy work are unacceptable. This is the opportunity for the membership to take a stand and take back the sport – because the business aspect of it is not looking very good right now.



*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinions of Phelps Media Group, Phelps Sports, its affiliates, owners, directors, officials or staff.

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