PHOTO: EQUI-FIT / HUNTER MESSINEO USHJA OWNERS RESOURCE GUIDE The USHJA Owners Committee created the Owner’s Resource Guide, which is designed to help you, as a horse owner, make educated decisions and assist you in enjoying your experience with horses.
This guide supports the vision that the welfare of the horse is paramount in our sport and an educated and engaged owner has a role in assuring this outcome. TABLE OF CONTENTS The Rewards of Horse Ownership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Welfare Code of Practice American Horse Council . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 USHJA Member Code of Conduct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Selecting Trainers and Other Professionals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Purchasing Your First Horse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Show Day Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Organization Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Sample Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Rewards of Horse Ownership To the casual observer, the rewards of owning a horse may not be apparent.
For those of us who have had the honor and privilege of ownership, we know differently.
Whether you have owned one or 100 horses, you know that the rewards of this great partnership between human and equine are often too great to list and too moving to express.
For children the true rewards may not be seen until later in life when they look back on their youth and fondly remember the long hours at the barn grooming, bathing, feeding and spoiling their friend.
They will look back on those times and see how much ownership of their horse or pony shaped their adult lives.
Horse ownership will teach responsibility, priority management, compassion and other character strengths too numerous to mention.
Children will learn to appreciate the people around them that help make their dreams a reality.
They will form lifetime friendships and networks based on a passion for horses.
View An Educator’s and Parent’s Guide to Riding to learn more.
For the adult owner the rewards are similar, but often felt differently.
Between a career and often a family, it may seem that there is no time for anything else.
When you own a horse you make the time.
You make the time to ride, groom, and care for your new family member.
Time with your horse is time that often cannot be explained to anyone who has never owned a horse.
It is the serenity, challenge and reward of time spent with and showing your horse.
The friends you make at both the barn and at shows will often last a lifetime.
It is a community built around a passion for horses.
Horse ownership can also be a business venture.
Time and money spent on your horse may increase the value of your horse.
As you or your rider move through the levels of competition it is often necessary to sell your horse and buy another one that is more suited for new goals.
Buying and selling horses can be personally and financially rewarding.
There are numerous opportunities either through individual or syndication partnerships to realize both competitive and economic goals.
This guide is designed to help you, as a horse owner, make informed decisions and assist you in enjoying your experiences with horses. 2 USHJA OWNERS RESOURCE GUIDE Welfare Code of Practice American Horse Council American society has grown away from its agrarian roots of only a few generations ago.
The horse, which was once a staple of American agriculture and general transportation, is now used primarily for breeding, competition, sport, recreation and entertainment, although there are still many horses used for work on farms and ranches, and in urban areas and exhibitions.
The horse industry is committed to the safety, health, care and welfare of all horses and to always “Put the Horse First.” We address equine welfare and responsible care (1) by supporting a uniform Code of Practice regarding the responsible breeding, training, competing, care, use, enjoyment, health, transportation, and retirement of horses; and (2) by initiating communication with the public, the media, federal and state officials and within the horse community regarding these issues. Our Commitment to all Horses and the Horse Industry WE ARE COMMITTED to the dignity, humane care, health, safety and welfare of horses in all our activities and care.
These are our highest priorities.
We are the stewards of our horses and must be firm in the standards and practices that guide us.
Our first principle is: The welfare, safety and stewardship of the horse is the guiding principle in the decision-making process for all segments for the horse industry.
WE ARE COMMITTED to promoting responsible breeding practices and to produce better horses, not just more horses.
WE ARE COMMITTED to responsible training techniques.
All training should be done with the maturation and ability of the horse considered.
Horses should be prepared for competition with proper training and conditioning methods.
Excessive disciplining methods, whether in stables, training areas, or during competition, will not be tolerated.
WE ARE COMMITTED to educating owners, trainers, veterinarians, competitors, exhibitors and recreational riders to ensure that they know and respect their horse’s abilities and limits, and their own, so as to not push the horse or themselves beyond their ability level.
WE ARE COMMITTED to horse owners and caretakers ensuring horses in their care are current on vaccinations and following best practices to minimize infection and disease.
When a disease outbreak occurs horse owners and events must act quickly and responsibly, monitor the horses, report the outbreak to, and cooperate with, veterinarians, authorities, facility management and all stakeholders to bring a rapid resolution to the outbreak.
WE ARE COMMITTED to ensuring that our horses will have an opportunity to transition to additional careers, uses or activities as the need arises.
When necessary, owners and veterinarians may have to consider end-of-life decisions.
The welfare, safety and dignity of the horse must continue to be the guiding principle in deciding how and when to provide a humane death.
WE ARE COMMITTED to being transparent about our activities in order to ensure the public, the media, federal, state and local officials and the various segments of the horse community understand what we do, why we do it, and support it.
Www.horsecouncil.org USHJA.ORG 3 — Selecting a Trainer and Other Sport Professionals The sport of hunters and jumpers is a team sport.
In addition to our horses and riders, the team will have a group of support professionals which will include trainers, veterinarians, farriers, grooms, and even sport psychologists.
The owner, rider, and trainer head up this team.
Selecting a trainer is the most important decision you will make as an owner.
Take your time and do your due diligence.
Select an individual that fits your goals and personality.
Evaluate the various trainers as you would any other advisor.
Go to horse shows and talk to parents, riders, and other participants.
Watch a potential trainer school a child or adult for the show ring.
Observe both the rider’s performance and the trainer’s pre and post performance feedback.
Also, get a feel for the culture of the barn and if that would be a suitable fit for you. The trainer’s skill as both a rider and horseman will also impact your decision.
If you plan to have the trainer show your horse for you, watch him or her compete on other horses.
Take notice of the care and condition of the trainer’s current horses.
Select a trainer who will keep you informed about your horse’s program and is open in discussing their preparation and medication philosophy and routines.
Determine if the trainer you are considering is USHJA certified.
Realistically evaluate the level at which you want to participate in horse ownership along with the resources necessary to do so.
Understand a potential trainer’s fee structures, ask for a written fee schedule, and set a realistic budget.
When setting your budget, remember to include all the initial purchase items such as tack and equipment and ongoing maintenance such as board, farrier, vet, and insurance.
Horses are an investment in yourself and your enjoyment, and this is the greatest return on your investment.
Once you have selected a trainer or riding program, allow the professionals on your team to do 4 USHJA OWNERS RESOURCE GUIDE their jobs.
Stay informed, but allow them to do what you hired them to do which is to provide expert advice and skills.
If your goals change and you feel you need a change of trainer, have an open and honest discussion with your trainer and be clear concerning your intentions.
Pay your bills to all providers in a timely manner. Purchasing Your First or Next Horse There are varied reasons to purchase a horse or pony.
You might be looking for one for yourself, or your child, to ride and show.
You may want to buy a young horse to develop into a prospect for you to compete at a future date.
Or, you might be looking for a young horse to be trained and shown by a professional as an investment, or for the sport of watching your horse compete.
Always keep in mind that this purchase is a commitment to a noble animal.
It is your responsibility to be an educated and involved owner.
Please refer to the Horse Welfare Guide of the USHJA for reference articles and pointers to help you fulfill your obligations in this wonderful partnership.
The cost of horses varies depending upon level of performance, innate talent, show record, vet issues, and age.
Discuss your budget with your Clarify commission fees and costs involved in the search process. (Generally, commissions range from 10-15% of the purchase price.) When buying and selling horses, a reputable trainer will stand behind the horse they sell you to ensure it is a good fit for your needs and to help you find a solution should the horse not work out as expected.
Be familiar with the USHJA Sales Integrity Program which is described at the end of this segment.
Remember, you are looking for a unique individual not a commodity so keep in mind the following possibilities when searching for a new horse: • “Bringing along” a young horse or pony offers the reward of watching the youngster develop into a possible champion.
This is usually a long-term process so be sure it fits your show goals. • Rescuing a horse that is no longer suitable for his current job (eg a thoroughbred racehorse) and re-training him to do a job for you is a rewarding option.
This also can be a long term process. • A horse at the peak of his successful show years affords the owner the pride and satisfaction of owning and riding a champion.
This will probably be the most expensive option. • An older, “Schoolmaster,” usually over 15 years of age, offers the reward of having him teach you the ins and outs of riding and horsemastership.
With the older horse comes the responsibility to retire him properly when his career comes to an end.
Do not abandon an older horse to questionable circumstances.
He may end up at a sale where he is sold and shipped long distances under dangerous circumstances to be inhumanely slaughtered for meat.
If you are unable to finance an appropriate retirement arrangement for your horse, it is your responsibility to see that he is humanely destroyed.
Find out more about Equine Retirement Facilities. PHOTO: USHJA / ROBBI MEISEL trainer or agent and do not try horses that are not within your budget. USHJA.ORG 5 The Trial Process Trying a horse is a fun and exciting process.
This is the step in the purchase where you rely heavily on your trainer’s expertise to find you the best horse for your needs.
Your trainer or agent brings years of experience and networking resources to the process of finding your new horse.
If you have chosen this member of your team wisely, they will have the expertise to evaluate your goals and the abilities to find a suitable horse within your budget.
Do not waste time and energy trying a horse that is out of your price range or level of ability.
Keep an open mind and do not rule out a horse that is not attractive enough in your estimation.
Personality and fit are often the most important characteristics of a rewarding match.
You may have to travel to try the horse at another barn or horse show.
If you are fortunate, you may be able to take the horse on trial for a few days or weeks.
If not, go back and try the horse again another day and in a different ring, if possible.
Confirm that your trainer has made inquiries about the horse and its experience.
Do your due diligence and confirm the horse’s show record with the USEF.
If you do take the horse on trial, you may be expected to have an insurance binder on the horse, as well as being responsible for any vet and farrier bills that may be incurred during the trial.
You will probably pay transportation costs to and from your farm, and boarding expenses while he is there.
If you decide to return the horse, return him in the same or better condition than you received him.
The sale of a horse is not final until the funds have been transferred to the former owner or his agent.
Therefore, there is always the possibility that if funds are not transferred in a timely manner the horse may be made available to other prospective buyers. The Pre-Purchase or Pre-Lease Vet Exam Before leasing or purchasing, you should have a vet PHOTO: FLASHPOINT PHOTOGRAPHY
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