Laws regarding showing/handling a stallion
Although I am aware that most shows put on their show bills that they require all stallion riders and/or handlers to be over the age of 18 I was wondering if there were actually any LAWS corresponding to the handling of stallions by minors at public events or if it was just a proper etiquette kind of thing? I live in Illinois and haven't been able to find an actual law. Granted I am over 21 so obviously it doesn't apply to myself but it just recently occurred to me that I had always accepted it as just the way things were done and wasn't sure how it fell in the laws eyes.
You'll find very few actual laws pertaining to horses on the books of any state.
What you're asking about are rules and regulations as defined by USEF and other horse show governing bodies. They're the ones who make the rulings, not individual states.
It has nothing to do with proper etiquette and everything to do with safety. Minors don't have the physical strength or training to deal with rambuctious stallions. If a mare or gelding gets loose it's usually nothing more than an annoyance. If a randy stallion gets loose, you can have any number of things happen to people and other horses.
Common sense says don't put fire in the hands of those who don't have the capabilities to deal with it.
Oh I completely understand and agree with the reasoning behind it I just wasn't sure WHO made the rules, etc. I was on a trail ride a couple years ago and was slightly disturbed to see a young boy (approx 6 or 7) on an arabian stallion riding the same trails as myself with my mare who was in heat at the time. I chose to leave the situation before something did occur and at the time had looked into the laws but didn't see anything which if why I was unsure.
In the private sector people can be as stupid as they want, unfortunately.
I've known many Arabian stallions who were big love smooshes that anyone could ride.
Still doesn't mean I'd let a youngster ride one out on a trail with people who have mares in season.
Common sense isn't so common anymore!
It just sucks that common sense ISNT common anymore as you said. People behving stupidly and putting stallions in positions where they are very likely to cause trouble is exactly the reason they get such bad reputations overall. I did check the USEF rule books and it said outside of Junior classes and Ladies classes (which is odd) that as far as open classes anyone can show a stallion although I know most shows (being smart) make a statement on the bills disallowing minors handling studs.
The open classes that aren't Junior are all required to have handlers/riders over 18, so USEF really hasn't left a loophole.
No horse show governing body or venue that I'm aware of will allow a stallion to be handled/ridden by a minor.
I didn't know that about the Ladies classes. Interesting. Although women can and do handle/ride stallions in other classes, so I'm wondering why so oddly specific?
Personally I will not let anyone under the age of 18 handle my stallions for legal reasons. Having said that I don't let anyone under the age of 18 handle any of my horses. I have been handling stallions since I was a kid, it is not strength, but finess and knowledge that allow one to handle them safely.
Like what Poco said, Forethought and knowing how to keep a stallion out of a situation where he becomes unmanagable is really the key.
A direct copy from the USEF 2010 rulebook
Stallions are barred from any Ladies’ or Junior Exhibitors’ classes except as provided for in division rules. Unless competition rules state otherwise, stallions may be shown by anyone in other classes in every division.
I was not aware that children are allowed to do so at youth or amateur shows. The Arabian breed shows I participated in many moons ago did not allow children to ride/show stallions.
Interesting that the Youth/Ammy shows don't seem to follow the USEF rulings. Learn something new every day.
I've seen stallions determined to breed a mare in season when both of them had riders. Had the person riding the stallion been a child, there would have been no way to prevent it from happening.
I've also seen stallions being ridden about by young children after a show, and they're good as gold. Still doesn't make me change my mind about letting children handle a stallion at a strange venue.
Sometimes we have to go with what's better for the majority, than what the individuals think they should be allowed to do.
As much as I agree with children not handling stallions as a general rule I do know of at least twice when I was working horses at a barn when I was younger (13-15 at the times) when the barn manager (who was easily over 35) was literally drug and rundown by a stallion in a viscious manner because he did not have the intelligence at the time to deal with him and should not have been handling them at all. Both times I was the one who saved him from the situation and rendered complete control of the stallion. I also handled him several other times with no issues. So although brute strength is always handy I'm going to have to agree that strength without knowledge is nothing.
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