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Digital Subscriptions > Horse Illustrated > Jan 2020 > Equestrians Split Over SafeSport

Equestrians Split Over SafeSport

The new guidelines for trainers working with minors are seen as long overdue by some and overly restrictive by others.

During her career as a trainer, horse show judge and clinician Jennifer Woodruff of Port Richey, Fla., has always offered a comforting hand to young equestrians who might not have had the ride they expected. But, she says, that does not happen much anymore.

“If I’m judging at an event where a kid is crying because his horse just didn’t perform the way he expected or because he was scared, I would go over to the kid, put a hand on his shoulder and say ‘It’s OK—you were fine’,” Woodruff explains. “But to tell you the truth, I think twice now. I don’t do it.” That’s because trainers like Woodruff are fearful that even the best of their intentions will be misinterpreted into allegations that they have abused a young athlete under the U.S. Center for SafeSport rules.

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