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Monday, November 23, 2009

Approve Rule Change #9

This year, there is a proposal up for consideration by the USTA to allow for the issuance of a non-racing registration for horses that previously raced.  It is strongly urged that the USTA approve this proposal.

Currently, there is an uproar in the thoroughbred world regarding Grand Forks, a twelve year old stakes-winning mare attempting to make her first start in nine years.  The mare had been an unsuccessful broodmare and the owner sold the horse to a new owner under the assumption the horse would be used as a riding horse.  The mistake the old owner made was that she only marked the bill of sale 'not for breeding' but after a nine year layoff, felt no need to mark it 'not for racing'.  The new owner, after starting to ride the horse, felt the horse wanted to race again and put her in training.

There are people trying to make this out as an animal rights issue.  They are wrong.  None of the principals involved are alleging the horse is not sound.  It is a question of the new owner not following the old owner's wishes.  In harness racing, many times a horse that is not successful in breeding is returned to racing (usually not that long a layoff); as long as the horse is sound and under the age of fourteen they can race at our raceways.  Legally, the new owner has a right to race this horse.  Morally, the new owner is wrong. 

Harness racing has the opportunity to avoid this type of problem by adopting the proposed rule change regarding registrations.  Selling or transferring ownership of a horse you don't want racing again?  Change the registration to 'non-racing' and it is done, end of story.  No he said/she said; it will be in black and white.  As long as the original owner is willing to take less money if selling the horse as non-racing stock, that is all that matters.  If you don't re-register the horse as non-racing, you have no right to complain if the horse shows up at your local raceway. 

We don't need a Grand Forks.  Pass rule change proposal number nine. 


Anonymous said...

Why issue permanent restrictions on horse use when situations can change- unsoundness that is temporary, a mare who was barren made fertile with new reproductive vet medicine, a formerly frightened horse overcoming their emotional difficulties.

Why reinvent the wheel just because a few sellers cannot take the time to CLEARLY STATE CONDITIONS FOR SALE IN A CONTRACT. Why make horse sales more complicated and put rigid restrictions for the entire life of a horse, just because of those who cannot do this correctly on their own. More babysitting in horse racing not needed. More for animal RIGHTS lawyers to play with as they keep trying to give your horse real legal rights.

Grand Fork's owner is not morally in the wrong. Why acknowledge a no racing clause not in the contract. Why infringe on your own livestock property rights for no reason. If anything, she did them a favor by taking an unusable broodmare and giving her a good home. A mare that would have to compete with the thousands of unwanted horses resulting from the animal rights activists closing slaughter houses. Grand Fork's owner decided to love AND get some use out of her pet. Increasing her horse's value could even be a result, more race wins might prompt treatment to cure the mare's broodmare troubles, ensuring a better life as a mare with greater value. Much the same as a now sound Sam P. is back on the track to try and enhance his weak stallion resume. Otherwise, Sam P. could himself become an unwanted horse. Thanks to misplaced compassion attempting to limit horse use.

Not an animal rights issue. Okay, then will call it a case of animal terrorists who called and emailed Churchill Downs in mass and got a perfectly sound, twice vet checked and approved horse scratched. FOR NO REASON.

Except to bow to threats and fear spurred on by animal rig . . . terrorists seeking to control others livestock property. Thank the lord they don't care about our children.

Pacingguy said...

Why issue a permanent restriction on breeding or racing? Because as long as the owner at the time decides that is what they want, it is their right to do so. They know if they make that type of restriction, they will get less for the horse. In this particular case, the horse was sound. There are people who try to make comebacks with horse that may not be sound.

Why reinvent the wheel (meaning being able to mark the registration 'not for racing')? Contracts can disappear. Having it on the registration makes it unquestionable. Plain and simple; no room for misunderstanding. A centralized place to have this information on record.

I disagree with your assement about Grand Fork's owner not being morally wrong. She herself admits she agreed the horse would be used solely for riding. She lied to the old owner when she asked for the registration papers saying she was going to use the horse in shows; she never said she was going to use the horse for racing. If she did, she never would have gotten the papers.

It is not an animal rights issue, it is a disagreement between two people plain and simple; everyone else should have stayed out of it. If there was not a verbal agreement in place, I would agree if the horse was sound, let it race.

Those people you call 'animal terrorists' had no right to get involved in this case. Then again, if the registration was marked accordingly, we would not be having this discussion.

Anonymous said...

Horses can live for 20-30 years, trotters and pacers can campaign into their early teens- any restriction on a horse's use threaten's their value and therefor their very life. Situations change, a horse that can be put back to use should not have roadblocks set up by PREVIOUS owners. Owners who cannot judge how the horse will be doing two, four or six years down the road. Let the OWNER, THEIR vet, THEIR advisor's make proper decisions for their horse at THAT time. To deprive them of their own judgement regarding their own property is to deprive them of said property. We sink our life time and earnings into our property, we cannot have liberty without property rights.

On the other hand, a seller who desires control over a horse's future use can put that into a contract- not hobble the rest of the industry with their personal choices. It is the seller's desire and the seller should be the one responsible for seeing that it is enforced. Controlling how a horse will be used limit's it's value and is a lot to ask of future owners.


Grand fork's OWNER changed her mind about how she would use the mare. As the mare's present and involved owner, she made the judgement call that the mare could do well at the track. As the mare's PRESENT HANDS ON OWNER she is uniquely qualified to make this decision. The former owner only had the mare at pasture, I believe. Her current owner omitted saying that she might race the horse, it never came up, it was not an issue at the time. The previous owner never brought it up. The new owner made the best decision for her horse and went in a new direction. NO HARM, no foul. Again, in the current economy and the sea of unwanted horses- it was a blessing that Grand Fork's found this loving home.

Thank you Pacinguy for hearing me out. I don't need to win this debate. I have studied up and coming proposed animal rights laws and those activists will use any foothold they can get. They are rabidly passionate and have little respect for property rights. Too many compassionate folks, especially many activists who do not own horses themselves, would gladly strip precious property rights from owners. Welcome to horse guardians only= no good.

I'll read your response but I've said enough myself. Nice chatting with you- HAPPY THANKSGIVING

PS- Chronicleofthehorse forum has some educated pro-Grand Fork's to race posts. Trainer insight, including stables nearby.

Pacingguy said...

While it may not be apples to apples, let me give you another scenario.

Let's say you were a dog breeder and you have a puppy that has a non-lifethreatening 'defect' of some type which means the dog should never be bred. One way to ensure the dog is never bred commerically is to sell the dog without papers. Does this infringe on the property rights of the purchaser?

In effect, selling a horse with a 'do not race' registration is similar. You can still use the horse for pleasure, you can even show the horse in horse shows because you have the registration. You just can't race it.

Having the USTA be able to issue such a registration at the request of the seller (before a sale is made) is no different than writing it in a sales contract. The only difference is if the seller dies, at least the wishes of the seller will be enforced where if just in a contract, there may be no one to hold the purchaser to the agreement.

Thank you for contributing to the conversation and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

Anonymous said...

Here at the USTA we do have a type of non-racing registration. Should a horse be sold without the accompanying registration papers (thus the horse cannot be transferred into another person's name) we do have what's called "Performance Certificates". If a person truly is using the horse for pleasure and maybe entering in a couple of shows, they usually don't join the USTA and pay the transfer fees anyways. This "Performance Certificate" shows that this new owner has custody of the horse and usually is all the horse show is looking for for "proof of ownership". Also, this way the seller can ensure that the horse is not used for racing or breeding to race purposes by not giving up the current registration papers.