Polo Association takes steps to safeguard ponies

April 27, 2009

Measures aimed at boosting safeguards for polo ponies have been announced by the United States Polo Association, in the wake of the Florida tragedy which claimed 21 of the animals.

The association's board of governors, meeting in Wellington, Florida, yesterday, voted to establish a committee to examine existing and additional safeguards for polo horses, including development of a prohibited substance policy.

The USPA's Board of Governors approved the following motion:

The research committee has been asked to review the forthcoming results from the formal investigations into the deaths and to "develop appropriate policies that will ensure the safety and well-being of polo horses".

Polo Association executive director Peter Rizzo said the committee would include veterinarians, players, owners and polo leaders.

"The committee will examine the practices and policies of other equestrian organisations, as well as examine existing protections for horses and possible improvements, including the establishment of a prohibited substance policy."

World-class US polo player Adam Snow said: "We need to look after the best interests of the horses.

"Ultimately, what we do best for the horses will be best for polo and the United States Polo Association."

The association pointed out that it has maintained an equine welfare committee for more than 16 years.

Its major goal, said Rizzo, has been the welfare, safety and protection of horses. The committee focuses on the rules of polo in an effort to make the game as safe as possible for the horses.

Official inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the ponies is continuing, although a Florida pharmacy has admitted there was an error in a formulation it produced which was given to ponies in the Lechuza Caracas team.