Recent News

Regularly posted news and announcements that matter to you.

The AWR Contact Page Ceased to Function Properly

Dear Members and Friends,
Wondering why the Registry did not respond to your inquiry?

We learned today that our website’s Contact Page has not been working for quite some time in that your messages were not transmitted to our email account.
We have corrected this error and are now doing our best to catch up with the backlog as fast as possible.
Thanks for your patience, and stay well.

Congratulations to REFLECTION!

Congratulations to REFLECTION for her winning scores at March Magic Dressage

Reflection at March Magic

At her very first appearance ever in a Prix St George and an Inter I class at March Magic Dressage in NC, 2013 American Warmblood Registry mare REFLECTION (Ridley/Royal Beauty, breeder Chris Rush) stormed to the top, scoring an impressive 70.4 and 71.1 respectively!

Reflection’s owner MARGARET GROOM and her rider DONNA GATCHELL can truly be proud of this beautiful mare. Keep up enjoying the journey!

And thanks to JOHN SNYDER of High Time Photography for letting us use some of his photos.


Scientists, Federations Applaud FEI Whisker Shaving Ban

The Horse asked researchers and equestrian federation representatives for their takes on the new FEI rule banning shaving of facial vibrissae, which are sensory organs commonly called “whiskers.”

Posted by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Removing long facial hairs that help horses “see” their close surroundings could deprive them of a safety mechanism and possibly make them feel disoriented. As such, the recent decision of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) to ban removal of horses’ “sensory hairs”—the whiskers around the mouth and eyes—constitutes an important move to safeguard equine welfare, according to equine veterinary researchers and industry leaders.

“The move by the FEI to ban the trimming of equine whiskers is to be applauded,” said Roly Owers, MRCVS, CEO of World Horse Welfare, in Norfolk, U.K., an international charity partnering with the Removing long facial hairs that help horses “see” their close surroundings could deprive them of a safety mechanism and possibly make them feel disoriented. As such, the recent decision of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) to ban removal of horses’ “sensory hairs”—the whiskers around the mouth and eyes—constitutes an important move to safeguard equine welfare, according to equine veterinary researchers and industry leaders.

“The move by the FEI to ban the trimming of equine whiskers is to be applauded,” said Roly Owers, MRCVS, CEO of World Horse Welfare, in Norfolk, U.K., an international charity partnering with the FEI on welfare matters for more than 30 years. “Whiskers, or vibrissae, play an important sensory role in protecting the muzzle and eyes of the horse and, hence, removing them because it looks neat is completely unjustifiable.”

Horses appear to rely on sensory hairs for judging how close their heads are to objects, especially when they’re so close they can’t see in front of their noses, since their eyes are on the sides of their heads, said Machteld van Dierendonck, PhD, who’s associated with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

“All vibrissae are a kind of safety measure, not only above the eye (where horses have seven vibrissae on each side, including a ‘very, very long one’ nearest the nose),” van Dierendonck said. “Because a horse is not able to ’see’ under his nose, he ‘sees’ with his vibrissae.

“In a domestic stable environment, they need their vibrissae much more than in a natural environment, since there are many more obstacles—doors, grids, stable sides, buckets, etc.—than they would ever encounter in the wild,” she continued. Her review of previously collected data even suggested that horses with shortened vibrissae might have had a slightly greater tendency to incur more head injuries than those with intact vibrissae, she said.

Federations on Board To Stop Whisker Cutting

The FEI sought to “align its regulations with those of National Federations (Germany, Switzerland, France) which had already banned this practice,” said Hall. “We were pleased with the support the rule received through the Rules Revision process in the lead up to the November vote at the FEI Online General Assembly,” she told The Horse.

During that revision process, the German Federation encouraged the FEI to include a ban on clipping ear hairs as well—which is also illegal in Germany—but the FEI opted to keep ear hairs out of the ban for the moment. That’s “not surprising,” said Owers, who explained that ear hairs are “not whiskers” and “do not perform the same function” of providing sensory details about nearby objects. “The key issue with clipping/trimming hair around the ear is how well the horse responds to that—and, hence, what risk is posed to horse and trimmer,” he said.

Meanwhile, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) expressed concern that the rules outlining the new FEI ban were “too subjective” and would be difficult to enforce, especially with regard to how much hair might have been clipped. “Since clipping the sensory hairs results in disqualification, is it to be understood that any trimming or shortening of these hairs would cause disqualification?” the Federation’s representatives wrote to the FEI during the rules revision process. USEF additionally stated that long hairs around the eyes could get tangled in blinders used during driving competitions, causing the horse discomfort. However, the FEI assured that this would not be an issue and that the ban’s wording should remain as is.

Ultimately, member nations voted unanimously to implement the rule, the FEI stated.

Despite its original concerns, USEF supports the ban, said Will Connell, USEF director of sport. “The ban on the shaving of sensory hairs already exists in a number of European countries, so for athletes that have been competing internationally, this will not present a huge change,” he said. “USEF did raise a question in response to the initial rule proposal, but the safeguards around the rule are sufficient should there be an issue relating to driving blinkers. USEF will now work to make sure all U.S. FEI athletes are aware of the restriction.”

Sensory Hair Science and Paying Attention to Horse Behavior

Ultimately, cutting off sensory hairs impairs equine welfare purely for aesthetic purposes, and the FEI ban “makes this very clear,” Owers. But protecting FEI competition horses is only part of the effort. “It is even more important to educate owners to understand the sensory role that whiskers perform,” he said.

Even so, little research has been carried out on equine whiskers, said Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECEIM, Specialist KNMvD Equine Internal Medicine, in Utrecht University’s Department of Equine Sciences. “More work has been done on rats,” she said, mainly because it’s difficult to run reliable, ethical studies on whisker shaving in horses.


To test whisker function in horses, von Dierendonck and her students found that horses with clipped whiskers generally bumped their noses against the bottom of shortened buckets (not the depth the horses expected), but horses with intact whiskers didn’t. They also saw that, especially in younger horses, the animals seemed to lose their balance and sense of orientation for about a half hour after having their whiskers experimentally shaved off. However, because it’s nearly impossible to “blind” the researchers observing the horses (hiding from them which horses were shaved and which weren’t, to avoid bias), the study results haven’t been scientifically validated, she said.




Ripping out wild mares’ ovaries with chains. This is what the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to do to our wild mares across the West… and as of right now, Congress is poised to approve & fund it. We apologize for the necessity of this gruesome photo, but please don’t look away.
We need your help to stop this cruelty.
We are fighting this with all we have, and we need your SUPPORT.
The “chain ecraseur” is used to blindly rip out the ovaries of a mare – and BLM is poised to take this chamber-of-horrors procedure into the field.
Welfare ranching on our public lands is behind this push to permanently sterilize wild mares. Taxpayers foot the bill, but wild horses pay the ultimate price.
The only way to stop this is to convince Congress it MUST NOT HAPPEN.
Ovariectomy, like gelding, is a form of sterilization that kills the essence of what makes our wild horses WILD – destroying their natural, biological, hormone-driven wild behaviors.
BLM will use this to systematically destroy our wild herds.
We must reach Congress, but we cannot do it without your help.
Please JOIN US in the fight to Keep the Wild in America’s Wild Horses.
Never give up.

2021 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

Lexington, Ky. – The US Equestrian Board of Directors has approved August 24-29 as the dates for the 2021 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions. The event will once again be held at HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Festival of Champions includes 14 national championship divisions:

  • USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
  • Adequan®/USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship
  • Horseware Ireland/USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
  • Adequan®/USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Children Dressage National Championship
  • Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships for Four-, Five-, and Six-Year_Olds
  • Markel/USEF Developing Horse Dressage National Championships for Grand Prix and Prix St. Georges
  • USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals for the 13 & Under and 14-18 divisions

For more information or questions about the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, contact Kristen Brett, Director of Dressage Programs, at [email protected].

Watch the 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on USEF Network on demand and follow USA Dressage on Facebook and Instagram.

Wildfire Smoke and Horses


  • Unhealthy air containing wildfire smoke and particulates can cause health problems in people and animals.
  • Particulates from smoke tend to be very small, which allows them to reach the deepest airways within the lungs.
  • Wildfire smoke can cause respiratory issues for horses. They may experience reduced lung function and difficulty breathing.
  • Knowing what is normal versus concerning can help to know whether a veterinarian should evaluate your horse.
  • Limit exercise when smoke is visible and give your horse ample time to recover from smoke-induced airway insult.

*Quick reference guide for horse owners to determine potential smoke inhalation damage

*Quick reference guide for veterinarians on treatment of smoke inhalation in horses

Posted by Amy Young

Suspension Of New H-2B Visas ‘A Massive Blow’ To ENTIRE Equine Industry


The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) released the following response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that no new H-2B visas would be issued in 2020:

On Monday, June 22, 2020, President Trump issued an order that extends the federal government’s suspension of new H-2B visas, as well as other work visas, through the end of the year. This order, as with the previous order issued in March, claims to open up new jobs to Americans during a time of record unemployment. However, when it comes to the Kentucky horse industry, this order will put our industry at severe risk.

H-2B visas are critical to Kentucky’s horse industry. During a typical year, the demand for H-2B visas vastly outpaces the supply. To fully suspend the issuance of these visas is a massive blow to the Commonwealth’s signature industry.

KEEP represents and advocates on behalf of the entire horse industry in Kentucky – all horse breeds and disciplines. KEEP’s goal is to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature $4 billion industry. Without a workforce that can meet the demands of the growing industry, it will be difficult for that economic impact to continue at the same level, especially as we are working to recover from the global pandemic.KEEP is contacting Kentucky’s Senators and Representatives in Washington to make them aware of this issue. Additionally, KEEP has joined with other businesses and trade associations across the country who are impacted by this decision to provide a response to the President and to the Congress.

Because the horse industry deals with animals that must be cared for, regardless of the pandemic, it is imperative that the industry can hire the labor force it needs. Additionally, equine operations across the state are working to ensure that their employees have necessary PPE and can work in a safe environment. Fortunately, due to the outdoor nature of the industry, it makes this much easier.

KEEP, through a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Workforce Center, has spent the last two years building the framework for a talent pipeline that will bring more Kentuckians into the horse industry. While we are confident that this will result in an increase in the homegrown workforce for our industry, this will not happen overnight. With unemployment in Kentucky reaching alarming levels, we are hopeful that Kentuckians will look to the horse industry for employment. However, historically, there has not been an affinity for these types of jobs.

Kentucky is leading the country when it comes to the horse industry and its economic impact. With nearly 80,000 jobs, more than 238,000 equines and 35,000 horse operations in Kentucky today, KEEP feels strongly that the industry will recover from the pandemic. However, without a full workforce, that future is in danger. KEEP will continue advocating to ensure that Kentucky’s horse industry has an adequate labor pool to meet our workforce needs and will continue developing career pathways for Kentuckians to join this industry.