Thursday News from Devoucoux

What’s on your bucket list?
Good Morning Eventing Nation! I hope your week back to work or school after the holiday break hasn’t been too overwhelming, I always felt that going back to school after a long holiday break was slightly less painful than going back to school after summer vacation, but just slightly. Hopefully this week hasn’t been too painful for you, but if it has, take comfort in knowing that you’ll be entertained (at least for the next couple minutes) with news stories that are sure to take your mind off the job.
 It sure is a busy morning for Eventing in December! I don’t even know where to begin, what with the stories of horse slaughter bans lifting, the competition for the 2018 WEG heating up, the conducting of scientific tests to determine whether horses like to jump, oh and then that story about the 80-year-old woman stealing a horse to fulfill her bucket list task of riding a horse. 
 In the spirit of positivity, I’ll start with the heavy hearted news before moving on to the lighthearted. In that case, I think the first order of business is yesterday’s breaking headlines about the lifting of the Domestic Horse Slaughter Prohibition. For the sake of clarity, it should be stated that that government funding ban (in place from 2007-2011) was a passive ban, meaning that rather than actively preventing horse slaughter through the use of ad campaigns and government resources, they simply did so by withholding funds required for inspections of slaughter-bound horses. That measure proved effective enough, because as it stands today, there are no slaughter houses operating in the United States with the objective of selling horse meat to buyers in Belgium, China, or Japan, to name but a few. This situation is a bit like driving your car with the handbrake half on, because although the Prohibition has been lifted, at this time, the appropriations bill does not allocate any money to pay for horse meat inspections. It seems there is legitimacy to both sides of the Horse Slaughter argument. On one hand, many people feel it is a crime to spend government money into something so brutal and inhumane as horse slaughter. On the other end of the spectrum are the individuals who feel that government regulation in slaughter houses in the United States is a benefit because horses intended for slaughter aren’t crossing national borders, and instead are being handled in a place with more humane regulations. I’m very interested to know, what is your take on this whole situation? The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that a real solution for handling the ever growing population of ‘unwanted’ horses has yet to be reached. For more information on the Prohibition Lifting: [COTH] [Lauren Gianni- For the Love of Horses.]
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has recently announced an aggressive $1 Million campaign for Laminitis research and studies surrounding the disease. The campaign has been launched in the hope that one day, we might find a cure, or at least a more effective treatment for what is thought by the majority of AAEP practitioners to be the most frustrating and devastating of diseases seen in horses. My first pony as a child contracted laminitis during her later years, I remember how painful an experience it was for me to see my pony in such obvious discomfort, which only worsened over time. It would be a huge step forward in the horse industry to see progress made in the treatment and prevention of this disease, and hopefully now with sufficient funds dedicated to it’s cause, we will begin to see just that. [The Horse]
Have you ever wondered whether your horse likes to jump? Well, EuroDressage certainly did, seeing as they initiated a study conducted at the Polish Academy of Science to determine whether horses did in fact, appreciate jumping exercise, or whether they prefer other pastimes such as belly dancing, antiquing, and painting. I don’t mean to make too much fun of the study, after all, being a good horseman demands constant attention to the question of whether or not our horses are happy. It’s just that the study was set up, a maze with two routes to food, one a longer, more circuitous route but without any obstacles, or a short direct route to the food with the only obstacle being a show jumping fence, to be so obviously skewed in the favor of horses disliking jumping. For horses, unlike dogs (and some people for that matter) food isn’t a huge motivator because they are programmed to eat all the time. Horses don’t experience the same endorphin rush as dogs do when eating hunted prey. Also, horses operate on terms of pressure, or rather, yielding to the amount placed on them. Almost all horses will, given the choice, take the path of least resistance. That being said, horses do some incredible, amazing things for their humans when asked, which makes us think our horse ‘likes’ jumping or ‘likes’ competing.  Using the human emotions of ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ to describe a horse’s feelings is kind of like using a crappy online translator to complete your french homework, it translates the gist but not every element involved. What are your thoughts? Do you think the study is valid or a hoax? Do you think horses like jumping? [EuroDressage]
It was just announced yesterday that Jacqueline Mars is this year’s recipient of the As You Like It Owner’s Award, which will be presented next weekend at the USEA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Mars, the longtime supporter of Karen and David O’Connor, has contributed to the sport of Eventing in almost too many ways to recount. Besides owning some of the most prominent equine stars on the American team at countless international championships, Ms. Mars is also the benefactor of the USET Foundation Competition and Training Grant (Which this year helped Sinead Halpin fund her wildly successful trip to Burghley). In addition, Ms. Mars has been ever so gracious in the use of her properties, both in Florida and Virginia, to host USEF training sessions. It’s wonderful to see the Owner’s Award presented to someone who has had such a vast and long spanning influence on our  sport and community. [USEA]
Don’t forget that as of today, the new US drug rule changes are in effect. We wrote in-depth about the revisions to the drug list a couple months ago, but just to refresh: The biggest change to the list is that now, only one of seven approved NSAID drugs can be present in the horse’s plasma or urine sample at the time of competition. Also, from today forward, anabolic steroids are considered a Forbidden Substances under the USEF Rules. To read the full extent of the drug rule changes, visit Horsetalk.
Get this: an eighty year old Russian woman, Agrafena Vasilyevna, apparently had always wanted to ride a horse, but never had the opportunity to. Being eighty years old and all, and with the item on her ‘bucket list’ still unchecked, the old woman took matters into her own hands. According to The Horse, “Vasilyevna reportedly took a horse belonging to her neighbor, Igor Vasilev, from his stable and hopped on, carrying out her life-long dream. Unfortunately, when she returned with the animal, the police were waiting to question her.” Although no charges were pressed, Ms. Vasilyevna said of the incident, “The cops told me off but it was worth it. I’ve fulfilled a dream I’ve had since childhood and I was running out of time. I’ve got a few more things on my list so people should stand by to be shocked.” She sounds like a woman best left to follow her own wishes, I personally wish her every success in completing the rest of her bucket list. [The Horse]
The race is on between eight countries to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games, but surprisingly, it was announced yesterday that Britain will not be one of them. According to Andrew Finding, chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation, “As much as we would like to host the 2018 WEG, it is just not viable in a financial sense. The French team running 2014 estimates a cost upwards of €58million (almost 78 million US dollars).  And with the domestic calendar already saturated with top-class horse sport, finding the date, location and resources makes it a rather impossible proposition.” Read the full story here. [Horse and Hound]
That’s all for now, Eventing Nation. Have a great day, I’ll see you soon.

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