THA Open Letter on HISA

Sarah Andrew

The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Assocation released the following letter on HISA. Click here to read the full letter.

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

“In short, HISA has survived constitutional challenges and the legal maneuverings now are just a distraction lacking substance. As the federal court said when it granted the limited injunction, if HISA fixes the four issues it specifically addressed as faulty, the case is over. Our view was previously, and continues to be, that litigation would be costly and there is little to gain. HISA was crafted by constitutional and administrative law experts who strongly believed then, and now, that HISA would survive expected constitutional challenges.

The best course for our horsemen is to engage with HISA directly and frequently. It is our strong opinion that HISA will survive all constitutional challenges and be accepted as the regulatory authority on medication, and equine safety and welfare throughout the country. We are not inclined to spend horsemen's money or time on a lost cause. Furthermore, we believe our efforts are working. The THA, along with TOC, KTA and TOBA have been in constant communication with HISA and the FTC since day one. We sought and have actually received significant adjustments to the following rules:

Pin-firing remains acceptable for curbs and splints.

  • Rule 8400(1)(a), the search and seizure provision, has been significantly curtailed.
  • Toe grabs remain permissible on hind shoes.
  • While the medication and enforcement rules are not done yet, our initial comment to HISA was widely praised as targeted and responsible and dozens of changes have been made by HISA at our suggestion.

Just yesterday, HISA announced it is forming a Horsemen's Advisory Group, a glaring oversight, but one we are pleased they corrected.

In no way does this mean our work is done! In particular, the THA and our coalition partners are focused on making sure the assessment plan is fair and affordable for all of our jurisdictions. We intend to forcefully and responsibly protect the interests of our horsemen on all matters related to HISA. You should expect nothing less from us. We believe our approach has not only been in the best interests of our membership but that we have earned the respect, credibility and trust of HISA. It is better for our members to have a seat at the table rather than being relegated to the upper bleachers.

Resoundingly our members have been telling us that long-sought uniformity is the one aspect they will enjoy from HISA. Achieving uniformity is not easy and compromises are often necessary. We promise you that working with HISA, we will do the best we can for the horse, our members, and our sport. Knowing that HISA is a reality and will be regulating our sport in the future, we hope we have your support and thank those who have reached out to us already in appreciation of what we are doing to allow for a smooth transition.”

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