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Dressage at Devon Celebrates 40th Anniversary
with New Classes, Amateur Division
August 2015

The 2015 40th Anniversary Dressage at Devon show will take place from September 29 – October 4 at the historic Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon, PA. To celebrate, DAD has introduced new classes, increased its prize money and is proud to feature Lipizzan stallions in a special exhibition.

New Classes
DAD has partnered with the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) to launch a youth dressage sport horse seminar created to familiarize the younger generation with the dressage sport horse industry.  The seminar will be held over two days, September 28-29 at Dressage at Devon, and will consist of classroom and practical handling sessions, along with the opportunity to observe competition classes and practice judging.  Information regarding this class can be found on the Dressage at Devon website (

DAD will also offer an FEI Amateur Division which will include FEI Prix St. Georges and FEI Intermediate I classes. Sunday afternoon, DAD will offer a National level FEI Test of Choice. This class is not part of the CDI. Horses entered in CDI-Am classes must follow the same procedures applied to open CDIs and are required to undergo a veterinary check and be stabled in restricted-access CDI stalls.

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Putting Out the Flames in the Horse Slaughter Debate
by Suzanne Bush - August 2015

Alex Brown is not afraid of controversy. He’s a pragmatist who has boldly stepped into one of the equestrian world’s most contentious issues: horse slaughter. He has gone where few have gone before, in search of the facts.

Suppressing his own belief that horse slaughter is wrong, he created a series of videos that explored all sides of the issue. His goal was to find a space where people can examine horse slaughter without rancor. In one regard he has succeeded. His video series has angered both those who say that slaughter of horses for food is inevitable and those who think it is wrong.

“It’s a highly emotive issue. You have three schools of thought,” he says. “One is the pro-slaughter group, (we need slaughter). Then you have the anti-slaughter group which is the animal welfare folks, and then everyone else who doesn’t know enough about the issue.” He says that many people cling to their positions on this issue tenaciously, and the “echo chambers” of information they consume only reinforce their positions. “There’s no real dialog or discussion. Therefore, that’s the sort of niche that I tried to fill.”

Brown’s video series is the culmination of eight years of work that drew on his experience with horses, his desire to learn as much as possible about equine welfare, and his interest in understanding how horses are viewed by groups as diverse as the Amish, rodeo competitors and those in the horseracing industry. “I think I know this issue pretty much as well as anybody, and the video series does a pretty damn good job of covering this issue from a 360 degree perspective,” he says. “It’s not just my view. Hopefully that makes it a more informed resource, so people can come away and say ‘oh, I get it now.’”

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Bill to Restructure Racing Commissions Passes PA Senate
by Suzanne Bush - August 2015

Senator Elder Vogel (R, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence Counties) has long sought reforms of Pennsylvania’s racing industry. Last year he proposed numerous changes to the way the state regulates horseracing; although the bill he introduced last year passed unanimously in the Senate, it languished in the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and the session ended without any further action.

Last month the Senate passed SB352, the latest iteration of Vogel’s effort to “bring the regulations regarding the horseracing industry into the 21st Century.” It will now go to the House of Representatives.

The legislation would dissolve the two current racing commissions—the Harness Racing Commission and the Thoroughbred Racing Commission—and consolidate their work under one commission within the Department of Agriculture. Additionally, there are provisions in the bill that would regulate the promotion and marketing of horseracing in Pennsylvania. And the bill would require random drug testing of any horse entered in a race, whether the horse is resident at the track or brought onto the track on race day.

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PA Senate Unanimously Passes Equine Cruelty Bill
August 2015

“Cordelia’s Law,” a bill dealing with cruelty to horses, passed the Pennsylvania Senate June 3 with a vote of 49-0 and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on June 5.

Senate Bill 294, sponsored by Sen. John Eichelberger, improves the clarity and uniformity of animal cruelty laws as they apply to horses. It ensures that equine animals are covered by current animal cruelty laws and improves the definitions of the crimes. In addition, it calls for the development of standards and procedures in determining violations and the necessary probable cause to support seizure of animals.

The bill amends Title 18 (Crimes) to better define “torture” and to provide appropriate penalties with language drafted with the assistance of the Farm Bureau.  The bill will also amend Chapter 37 of Title 22 (pertaining to Humane Society Police Officers) to require the development of standards and procedures for determining violations under Section 5511 and the need for seizure of animals in extreme instances of torture or cruelty.

The bill defines starvation caused by deprivation of food, resulting in the loss of more than one third of the animal’s normal body mass without veterinary care, as torture, a

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Bigger Purses, New Classic in Store for PA Harness Racing
August 2015

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will invest an additional $1.6 million investment in purses that strengthen breeding programs and in a prestigious stakes race planned for 2016.

One half of the $1.6 million will be used to increase purses in the 2015 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes finals and consolation races. The Sire Stakes program rewards breeders of Pennsylvania-bred and Pennsylvania-owned stallions and broodmares. Each of the eight finals races will receive an additional $90,000 in purse money, generating a total of $350,000 for each race. The eight consolation races will receive an additional $10,000 apiece for purse money, bringing the total for each of these eight contested trotting and pacing races to $60,000.

“With this commitment, Pennsylvania makes our sire stakes finals and consolations the top races of their kind in the country,” said Harness Racing Commission Chairman Jonathan Newman. “They’re part of North America’s top harness horse breeding program – all based here in Pennsylvania.”

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Another Award for Pennsylvania Equestrian
August 2015

“The Star Barn Saga: ‘Get Rich” Scheme Costs Dozens of Horses’ Lives, written by Amy Worden, won second place in the News Reporting, Single Article category at the American Horse Publications Annual Awards Contest, held at the organization’s annual conference in San Antonio, TX in June.

The competition was judged by 27 professionals and included over 60 classes, 837 entries, and 115 contestants, of which 72 were finalists.

The judges remarked, “Vividly written and thoroughly reported. The writer does a wonderful job detailing a very sad sage and shining a light on a particularly ugly case of animal cruelty.” The article appeared in the June, 2014 issue of Pennsylvania Equestrian. The category had 22 entries and the article placed ahead of those from other far larger publications including the Chronicle of the Horse, Horse Journal and Quarter Horse News.

The second place award brings the total national awards for editorial excellence won by Pennsylvania Equestrian to 16.

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Look at what’s coming up in the Pennsylvania Equestrian October 2015
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