Inhumane treatment of any animal in the show arena, warm-up arena, stall, runway or elsewhere on the show grounds is strictly forbidden. Likewise, any cruelty to or the abuse of any horse is a violation of USTPA rules. USTPA emphatically desires to avoid all cases of cruelty and inhumane or abusive treatment of any horse.
Treatment of any horse will be considered cruel, abusive or inhumane if a reasonable person, educated in accepted equine training techniques, could perceive the conduct of an individual to be abusive or an attempt to abuse the horse.
Furthermore, any behavior by an exhibitor, trainer, or rider that could be perceived by the general public to be harmful to any horse should also be avoided. It is the responsibility of each member to report each and every event which could be perceived as an abusive act toward a horse during a USTPA sanctioned event.
The following is a list of criteria specifically prohibited at USTPA sanctioned events.
- Excessive jerking, spurring, whipping, slapping or kicking while on the ground, or any other act with the intent to cause trauma to the horse;
- Slapping or hitting a horse in the head with hands or any other object;
- Using a bit in a manner that causes a horse to bleed from its mouth or face;
- Using any object held in the rider’s hand, other than the bridle reins, to hit a horse;
- Repeatedly and excessively pulling on one or both reins;
- Riding a horse that is visibly lame, sick or emaciated.
If any of the above actions are observed, they should be reported to a USTPA Director, judge or show management. In the case where the soundness or health of a horse is in question, the decision should be based on the assessment of a veterinarian. In the event one is not available, it shall be at the sole discretion of either the show judge(s) or USTPA Animal Welfare Director to decide whether an animal is fit to be used. At each show, an Animal Welfare Director shall be named.
Each person found to be in violation of this rule may be subject to receiving the following penalty:
- 1st Offense: $10-$500 fine and 6 months probation
- 2nd Offense: $500-$1,000 fine and 12 months probation
- 3rd Offense: $500-$1,000 and 6 month suspension
These penalties can be increased as appropriated by the Executive Committee depending on the circumstances and nature of the violation.
Inhumane treatment – Inhumane treatment to horses, including, but not limited to, physical abuse towards the animal by the rider or owner to cause the animal further injury or competing on an animal that is visibly hurt or lame.
A $500 fine will be assessed by the judges, after the teams run has ended, if a team member continues to work cattle other than to gather the herd for the next team, or a team member exhibits any unnecessary roughness or contact with cattle. If excessive roughness continues, any team or team member may be assessed an additional fine and/or disqualification by the judge.