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What Do You Do When You Witness Horse Abuse?

Grooms witness a lot in the stables, but what do you do when you see abuse? How can you report it?

Earlier this month, videos of dressage rider Cesar Parra abusing multiple horses in training shocked the horse community. The FEI has temporarily suspended Parra as they investigate, with the US Equestrian Federation enforcing the suspension on the U.S.-based rider. This scandal comes on the heels of Danish journalist Rebekka Klubien uncovering disturbing welfare issues at Helgstrand Dressage and is the latest of many other stories of abuse spanning years, countries, disciplines and levels.

At HorseGrooms, we are busy researching what we can do to make reporting these cases easier–or at least clearer. Because what do you do when you witness horse abuse? As grooms, we see a lot: many good things but also some things that make us cringe. Some grooms have to sign a non-disclosure contract, legally preventing them from talking about what happens in the stables. Others work for people with ties to the criminal circuit, and therefore are afraid to speak up.

Our question is: What do you do when you witness horse abuse? What should you do? Do you know where to go to report it?

In the U.S., you can contact the USEF by texting what you saw to 2USEF (28733) or by emailing generalcounsel@usef.org.

“It is imperative that as a community, we continue to hold each other accountable and speak up when we see something that endangers the integrity of our sport, the health and welfare of our horses, and/or the well-being of our athletes and members,” USEF said in an email to its members.

Let us know in the comments and in the HorseGrooms Community (you can join for free). Only together we can fight against horse abuse, protect horse welfare, do better for the horses, and keep horsemanship alive.

February 14, 2024


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