From Endurance to Dressage
If you missed US Equestrian's announcement on Thursday regarding Safe Sport, you might want to check it out. Go. Do it right now.
I am just going to say exactly how I feel: This ... requirement by US Equestrian is an insult to the overwhelming majority of riders, and it smacks of simply protecting someone's ass. I am frustrated and discouraged to live in a society where common sense and even morality must be legislated by the government, or in this case, the governing body of equestrian sports.
I completed the training over the weekend. I figured I didn't have as much of a leg to stand on if I hadn't even seen the curriculum of the training. Now I've seen it. I will say this - it's a good course ... for coaches, teachers, nurses, law enforcement, scout leaders, and other people who are responsible for the safety of the youngsters under their care.
Should every human being recognize the signs of sexual abuse, bullying, and situations where there is an uneven balance of power? Absolutely. Should you or I report a suspected case of abuse even if it looks consensual? By the way, it is never consensual if a person under 18 years old is involved. And the answer to that last question was yes.
Should it be the function of my hobby's governing board to insist that I be trained to "protect young victims from sexual abuse?" No, it should not. As a competitor, I do not supervise children, I do not compete with children, and I rarely even see children at shows.
Should coaches and trainers be asked to participate in a training that focuses on abuse of power over youngsters? Sure, especially if they will be working with children. In my capacity as a classroom teacher who supervises children, you'll be happy to know that I participate in LOTS of these types of training every single year. You should also be relieved to hear that a training for suicide prevention was added to our back to school training this August.
Coaches and trainers (and even teachers) are in a position of power that could be abused. Is that likely? Of course not, but because of the twelve pedophiles and seven abusive coaches that have been found to be victimizing their young charges, the rest of us must now watch a series of videos and answer a stack of what would you do? type questions. I made up those numbers by the way; there are probably more pedophiles and bad coaches than that.
Does anyone really think that a pedophile who coaches kids will suddenly realize that their actions are morally and legally wrong after earning their Safe Sport certificate? No. US Equestrian's position is that everyone should take the training, even if they do not work with kids, since it is everyone's job to monitor and recognize the signs of abuse so that we can report it. Isn't that already everyone's responsibility?
Going back to my first point: it should not be up to US Equestrian to ban me from participating in my sport unless I complete a training in the hope that it will prevent sexual abuse. I don't need my moral compass to be shaped by an equestrian organization. That was the duty of my parents, my church, and my community.
US Equestrian's website states, US Equestrian is committed to creating and maintaining an equestrian community free of all forms of emotional, physical and sexual misconduct.
I could not agree more. But I knew and believed that before receiving a certificate that said I had been trained. I bet you already believe it too.
On a much light note, check out yesterday's blog post for a chance to win a pair of Roeckl gloves.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: