The SHOW HIO was the affiliating Horse Industry Organization for the 81st Annual Celebration. The SHOW HIO conducted inspections across all 15 sessions of the show with the Veterinary Medical Officers from the United States Department of Agriculture present on Friday and Saturday of both weekends.

The designated qualified persons (DQPs) from SHOW inspected 1,834 entries pre-show, four more than the previous year and 186 inspections post-show versus 182 the previous year. The overall compliance rate was 92.6% however a closer look shows that the decrease in compliance year over year was mainly due to a focus on shoeing and post show inflammation on entries after they competed which included looking at their back legs as well as their front legs. The USDA referred 27 horses back to DQPs post show for open lesion or inflammation on fourth and fifth place horses that would not normally be checked by DQPs when the USDA is not in attendance as the HPA only mandates that the first place horse be checked post-show.

Of the 137 violations during the show, 20% of the violations were for this type post-show noncompliance.  Additionally, in 2018 foreign substance, illegal shoeing and high bands accounted for only 10 violations while this year those categories disqualified 31 horses during the competition. If you remove the focus on post show inflammation from 2019, which was not a focus in 2018, the compliance rate jumps to 94%, and if you remove the increase in illegal shoeing the compliance rate is 95.9% which is right in line with the previous year’s 96.2% compliance.

In 2018, the scar rule was written 14 times while this year that number rose to 27 violations. With regards to sensitivity, there were 48 violations in 2019 compared to 43 in 2018 but less than the 53 found in 2017.

“We are proud of the work our DQPs conducted during the show and disappointed in so many of the illegal shoeing violations found during the show, many of which were only 1/8” out but yet still out per the HPA.  The numbers of violations increased this year but many of them due to violations that could be prevented or that were not focused on in 2018” said SHOW Lead DQP John Paul Riner.

The continued positive working relationship between the USDA VMOs and SHOW HIO DQPs was on display again in 2019.  The teams have worked hard to improve compliance with the HPA together and have the enforcement standard the same whether USDA VMOs are present or not.  Despite the shoeing compliance and post show inflammation, again on horses that the DQPs do not inspect post-show when USDA is not present, the findings from each group were as in line with each other as ever before.

The industry remains committed to the dual purposes of the Horse Protection Act, eliminating soring and promoting fair competition, and the super majority of trainers, owners and exhibitors did their part at the 81st Annual Celebration.