The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Board of Directors voted on Nov. 3, during meetings in Oklahoma City, to maintain its Animal Welfare and Medications Policy for NRHA events held in locations outside of Europe.
Medication testing will continue in 2015 at NRHA events held in locations outside of Europe. The association’s Animal Welfare and Medications Policy, enacted in 2011, is a two-part program which also includes a protocol for events held in Europe and one for events held anywhere else. Per the desire of the European membership and the European Affiliate Council, a specific European policy that provided for testing and disciplinary penalties was implemented on Jan. 1, 2013.
Simultaneously, the original policy outlined a multi-year plan for events held outside of Europe. The first three years consisted of research testing at selected events, plus discussion and evaluation of disciplinary procedures and penalty structures. The research phase included four major events in the United States and one in Europe. During the research phase, 50 horses were tested with only two samples testing positive for a forbidden substance. Since 2013, when the disciplinary phase began in Europe, 148 samples have been tested with zero samples testing positive for a forbidden substance. The timeline for the fourth year (2015) stated that testing will be implemented and disciplinary procedures enforced.
For NRHA events held in locations outside of Europe, the following events are subject to testing: AA events ($100,000 or more in added money for the entire event), Category 2 and 6 (aged event) classes. With the vote to maintain the Animal Welfare and Medications Policy, testing is now slated to begin in May 2015. The policy, as approved in 2011, can be found in the Members Only section of nrha.com.
“Over the past year, I have talked to a lot of members about this subject. There have been some passionate discussions, but throughout, it was very clear that, despite differences in opinion on specific aspects, everyone held the welfare of the horse in the forefront,” said Rick Clark, previous chair of the Medications Task Force and NRHA vice president.
“The intent of the NRHA Animal Welfare and Medications program is to enact a process that carefully considers all aspects of the issue, its impact on our horses and its impact on our industry. A task force has been created to evaluate it and to bring any suggested changes to the board next year,” said NRHA President Beth Himes.