NAWD has stood for Horse Welfare since it's conception in 2010
Since it's inception in 2010, NAWD has stood for Horse Welfare. Our stance has been noted by these emminant Equine Welfare Advocates, and they have graciously agreed to join our Advisory Board. Message from Head Judge Donna Snyder-Smith
Message from Head Judge Donna Snyder-Smith
"When it comes to the welfare of our equine companions the “buck stops” with owners, riders and trainers.
But what do judge's also play a role in the health and happiness of horses?
I believe they do. We are obliged to follow the rules of the various associations and disciplines, but as judges we must also be responsible to the horses in a broader way.
We must insure the rules which are written to protect the horse in the competitive environment are followed. To do so effectively, we must be sure we are familiar with not just the ”letter of the law,” the rules, but also with its spirit. We must be careful in our observations and thoroughly even handed with every exhibitor.
A judge's duty is to the horse first, the organization second, the rider third, and the trainer last. We must be first to call out trends that mistreat the horse or contribute to destroying its soundness. The official title may be “JUDGE” but truer title might be “horse advocate.”
Many of the exaggerated, destructive styles of movement we see in today's show arenas, might have been short circuited if judges had held to the established standard without wavering or being influenced by others opinions. It is not enough to accept a pattern of performance from a horse and rider, injurious to the horse, simply because it has become so popular that “everyone is doing it.”
As judges, we have to exercise the authority of our office: we have to do better! For the horse! "
-- Donna Snyder-Smith