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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.
TUMAR/SHUTTERSTOCK

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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