The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority is seeking applicants to participate in a Horsemen’s Advisory Group, which is being formed to advise the federal agency on the “implementation and evolution” of regulations and protocols.

HISA will select 10-12 people who are involved in small and large racing operations in the United States. HISA’s standing committees will provide input on the selection process. HISA expects to announce the appointments to the group and hold its first monthly meeting in October. Those interested in applying for the group can submit their qualifications to by Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.

“We look forward to building upon our existing efforts to collaborate with participants in all facets of the sport by seeking more targeted input from active horsemen and women,” says Lisa Lazarus, HISA’s chief executive officer. “Their hands-on experience will help ensure the practicality and effectiveness of our rules for all racing participants. HISA is proud of and grateful for the unparalleled expertise that has informed the development of our regulations — the first-ever national rules to govern our sport. As we continue the implementation phase of our mandate from Congress, HISA will benefit immensely from additional perspectives from the trainers and owners who are on the backside, standing trackside and in the racing office every day.”

Horsemen’s Advocacy Group members can expect to be involved in monthly meetings with HISA officials and offer insight on issues that they have knowledge of and experience.

“Establishing the Horsemen’s Advisory Group will significantly enhance our regulatory system and allow us to account for the wide range of environments found at tracks across the U.S. as we continue to implement HISA’s safety and integrity programs,” says Ann McGovern, HISA’s director of Racetrack Safety.

HISA has faced vocal criticism from those in the horseracing and farrier industries, as well as from the United States Senate.

On July 29, just days before Rule 2276 was to take effect Aug. 1, HISA announced that it “shall not enforce traction rules for horses racing on dirt surfaces that are shod on hindlimbs with traction devices in the form of either a full outer rim shoe (up to 4 mm in height) or a toe grab (up to 4 mm in height).”

The decision came 1 month after a bipartisan quartet of U.S. senators questioned the “chaotic implementation and poor communication” of the Authority, as well as whether the FTC has the “ability to effectively provide oversight of the Authority and ensure it complies with HISA.”

The mandated implementation of HISA was July 1; however, the Authority failed to meet the deadline for the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program, horseshoes and riding crop regulations.

“This deadline is statutorily required and neither the FTC nor the Authority have the authority to extend this deadline,” according to a letter addressed to Lina Khan, chair of the FTC and Lisa Lazarus, president and CEO of the Authority. The letter is signed by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.

American Farriers Journal was first to report May 12 that the Authority would delay implementation of the shoeing rules until Aug. 1.

“This is also concerning because we understand the initial rules were functionally impossible for industry participants to implement due to limited supply chain availability of horseshoes and riding crops,” according to the senators’ letter. “This raises questions about what industry representatives were consulted in the drafting of the rule.”

Although Dr. Susan Stover, chair of HISA’s Racetrack Safety Committee, confirmed the delay with American Farriers Journal on May 12, it officially was confirmed June 28 on the Authority’s website. HISA published a downloadable fact sheet on shoeing requirements before June 17 that stated the rules would be delayed until Aug. 1. Citing American Farrier Journal’s May 12 report, the senators chastised the Authority for how it has implemented HISA and its effect on the farrier industry.

“And now, only one week before the rule was set to take effect, the Authority published a notice announcing a one-month delay in enforcement of these rules,” according to the letter. “This chaotic implementation process and poor communication by the Authority makes it difficult for industry participants to comply with the new rules and regulations. Additionally, continuously changing implementation dates for new rules and regulations, and last-minute delays, cause more confusion and difficulty with implementation.”

The senators concluded their letter by requesting independent responses to six questions, one of which directly apply to HISA’s horseshoeing rules. They set a July 11 deadline for responses from the FTC and the Authority. It is not known how the agencies responded.

“Given the Authority has acknowledged the impossibility for [the] industry to comply with the rules regarding horseshoes and riding crop specifications and postponed enforcement of these rules one week before they were set to go into effect, were industry experts and all relevant stakeholders consulted in the initial drafting of these rules?” question four reads. “Please identify specifically who was consulted for this rule.”

American Farriers Journal contacted the four main manufacturers and suppliers of Thoroughbred racing plates to determine whether they had been consulted during the initial drafting of the shoeing rules. Victory Racing Plate Co., Thoro’Bred Inc., Mustad Hoofcare and Farrier Product Distribution all say they were not consulted.

Learn More

  • HISA Needs Farriers at the Decision-Making Table: A name is powerful. It defines one’s character and ethics. For the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, its name defines a noble and significant mission. Yet, its credibility within the farrier industry is eroding the most important word in its name — integrity.
  • HISA Won’t Enforce Traction Rules for Dirt Racetracks: With the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s shoeing rules just days from taking effect, the federal regulating body announced it is changing its stance on the application of traction devices for Thoroughbreds racing on dirt tracks.
  • Senators Want Answers After “Chaotic” HISA Implementation: A bipartisan quartet of United States senators are questioning the “chaotic implementation and poor communication” of the Authority, as well as whether the FTC has the “ability to effectively provide oversight of the Authority and ensure it complies with HISA.”
  • HISA Bans Traction Nails When Shoeing Thoroughbred Racehorses: In a downloadable fact sheet titled “Shoeing Requirements,” HISA adds traction or mud nails to its list of prohibited devices on Thoroughbred racehorses. The list includes, but is not limited to toe grabs, bends, jar calks and stickers.