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☛ NCHA Suspension and Appeal Guidelines Getting An Overhaul 9-21-18





By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 21, 2018

According to an interesting e-mail that I received, following the Dufurrena/Vogel situation I previously wrote about, the NCHA is revising Standing Rule 37 and 38, which cover members who have done something that places them on probation or suspends them from the NCHA by the Grievance Committee, Amateur, Non-Pro Review Committee, Medication Review Committee or any other committee authorized by NCHA for violating any rule.


Following are the major parts of the new suspension and appeal guidelines:


Rule 37: Non-members involved in NCHA rule violations may also be denied privileges of the Association for “violation of or assisting in the violation of NCHA rules.”  When the NCHA rule in question contains specific provisions concerning disciplinary actions or burdens of proof, any disciplinary action taken by an initial Hearing Committee, the Executive Committee or an Appeal Committee should be consistent with that provision.


Any member can file a complaint regarding any alleged violation of NCHA rules by submitting the complaint in writing to the NCHA Executive Director (ED), signed or identified by the person filing the complaint, and sent with a check or credit card payment for $50, payable to the NCHA, unless the person filing the complaint is an NCHA Director, a class representative, show management or a judge. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted, investigated or acted on by the NCHA, with the exception if a complaint is reporting a violation of the Zero Tolerance policy or for a complaint submitted by an NCHA Director, a class representative, show management or a judge. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted, investigated or acted on by the NCHA.


A complaint must be filed, postmarked, faxed, emailed or hand-delivered within seven (7) days of the closing date of the show involved or within seven (7) days of the alleged rule violations. The timing for filing a complaint alleging a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy is contained in Standing Rule 35.6. No complaint is required regarding a member’s competitive status (non-pro or amateur rules) or for violation of the NCHA Medication and Drug Rules.


The ED will refer complaints to (1) Grievance, (2) Medication Review, (3) Non-Pro Amateur, (4) or any other hearing or review committee. A quorum of an initial hearing committee will consist of three members with one being elected chairman.


The NCHA will notify the alleged violator in writing of the complaint and alleged action being investigated, each NCHA rule(s) potentially violated, the disciplinary actions applicable to the alleged violation and request that the violator file a written election with the ED to contest or not contest the alleged violation within 10 business days. If not received in that timeframe the case will be deemed not contested.


Initial Hearing:

The initial Hearing Committee shall schedule a hearing not less than 15 days‘ notice of the hearing date but not less than five business days notice of the hearing date. The alleged violator and NCHA shall exchange all proposed documents and evidence to be considered in the hearing no less than three days prior to the hearing. Legal counsel for NCHA and the alleged violator may appear and participate in the evidentiary position of the hearing. The hearing committee shall deliberate in private and shall render a decision in contested matters by majority vote and shall notify the EC of the decision in writing. The initial Hearing Committee will only be required to note in its report the NCHA rule(s) violated and will not be required to provide a detailed reason or opinion for its decision.


The Medication Review Committee shall consider potential violations of the Medication and Drug Rules and guidelines. Potential disciplinary actions for proceedings relating to alleged violations are contained in Rule 35A.7. The alleged violator bears the burden of proof to establish that he or she has NOT administered any drug or medication in violation of the NCHA Medication and Drug rules.


The Non-Professional Amateur Review Committee shall initially consider all violations of the NP and Amateur rules. The potential disciplinary actions for proceedings relating to alleged violations are in rules 50-51. The alleged violator bears the burden to establish entitlement to hold NP and/or Amateur status.


The Grievance Committee (GC) shall initially consider all violations of rules relating to alleged violations of NCHA Zero Tolerance Policy (35A) alleging improper conduct toward judges and monitors (35B), alleged improper conduct by and between members (35C) and alleged violations of other rules that are not considered by the Medication Review Committee, the Non-Pro Amateur Review Committee or Executive Committee.


For matters for which the rule allegedly violated contains suggested disciplinary action, the GC should consult those provisions in connection with discipline to be assessed for such rule violations. In cases where the rule allegedly violated does not contain suggested disciplinary action, the GC should consult the following general guidelines:  (i) First Offense: fine, probation or both. A first offense will be removed from a member’s record if that member has no further infractions for two years after the first offense is committed. (ii) Second offense within 2 years of first offense (a) increased fine (b) increased probation, (c) suspension or all of the foregoing. (iii) Additional offenses within 2 years will be dealt with severely, including heavy fines, lengthy probation and suspension will be increased as deemed appropriate by the committee.


Effects of Membership Probation and Suspension: Probation will be for a length of time decided by appropriate committee and also set a term of suspension imposed in the event the probation is violated. The term of suspension shall only become effective upon the probated member’s violation of the terms of his probation. In the event suspension is imposed for subsequent rule violation(s), the balance of the probated suspension shall begin on the day after the suspension for the subsequent rule violation s completely served.

Any membership Suspension that went into effect on or before Aug. 21, 2018 will not be allowed to participate in any way (owner, agent of horse, contestant, helper mounted  or on foot, in an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting horse contest. A suspended person can only attend an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting horse contest as a spectator seated in the stands. Any horse owned or controlled in whole or part by a suspended person will not be allowed to enter or compete in an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting. In the event a suspended person violates this rule, an additional six months will be added to his suspension. The rider of any horse ineligible to enter or compete in an NCHA-approved or sponsored cutting horse contest under this rule will be subject to a six-month membership suspension.


Membership Suspensions that went into effect after August 21, 2018:

Any person who has had their membership suspended, where suspension commences after August 21, 2018, will not be allowed in the premises of an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting contest. “Premises” include all show arenas, practice pens, loping arenas, sales barns, exhibit halls, trade shows and all other parts of the show grounds.

Any horse owned or controlled in whole or part by a suspended person or in which the suspended person holds any future rights of any kind, will not be allowed to enter, compete or transfer existing entries in an NCHA-approved or sponsored cutting horse contest. This includes horses owned by a corporation, partnership or any entity in which the suspended member has any ownership interest. If a suspended person violates this rule, an additional six (6) months will be added to his suspension. The rider of any horse in any NCHA approved or sponsored horse contest which is ineligible to enter or compete under this rule will be subject to six-month membership suspension.


Failure to timely pay fine:  When a member is assed a fine in addition to a suspension and/or probation, as a result of a committee finding made after Aug. 21, 2018, such fine must be paid in full within 15 days after the fine is assessed. In the event the fine is not paid in full in that timeframe, the corresponding suspension and/or probation will be extended by a period equal to the number of days over 15 that it takes for the member to pay to fine in full.


Transfer of horses owned by suspended member: This applies to all membership suspensions that went into effect after Aug. 21, 2018. A horse owned by a suspended member at the time of his/her suspension that is sold, gifted or for which ownership is otherwise transferred to an immediate family member, or that is sold, gifted or for which ownership is otherwise transferred to any corporation, partnership or any other entity of any kind in which the suspended member has any present or future ownership interest will not be allowed to show in any NCHA approved or produced event during the term of that member’s suspension. In the event the NCHA questions the legitimacy of a transfer made by a suspended person during his/her suspension, the suspended person shall bear the burden of proof to establish the legitimacy of the transfer.


Suspension by other associations: Every person suspended by the AQHA or APHA for unsportsmanlike conduct at a show or contest or for inhumane treatment of horses, shall stand suspended by the NCA upon official notification to this Ass’n from the AQHA or the APHA of any such disciplinary action which has become final and  non-appealable. The NCHA may honor the disciplinary actions of its affiliate organizations when supplied with satisfactory evidence that the person so disciplined has been given a full and impartial hearing by the affiliate organization involved; however, any action taken by an affiliate will not limit any authority of jurisdiction of the NCHA.


Publication of Findings:When disciplinary action is taken the results will be published in the Cutting Horse Chatter. Also, all decisions a final and binding unless subsequently overturned by an appeal committee under NCHA Standing Rule 38.


Rule 38: Appeal Guidelines:

Appeal Prerequisites: (a) Anyone found in violation of any NCHA rule by an Initial Hearing Committee, is entitled to appeal so long as (1) written notice of such request for appeal by each person appealing the ruling is received by the NCHA ED within 21 days of the date of the letter notifying the person of such action taken by the Initial hearing Committee and (2) an appeal fee as required by section (b) below is also received by the NCHA ED within the 21-day period.


(b) The appeal fee is $6,000 per person appealing that decision. For cases in which the Initial Hearing Committee has assessed a suspension of membership or competitive status, the appealing party shall have the right to request an expedited appeal as described in section (c) below. The appeal fee for an expedited appeal is $10,000 for each person filing an expedited appeal of the decision of an Initial hearing Committee. Appeal fees will not be refunded unless all findings of the initial Hearing Committee are completely overturned by an Appeal Committee.


(c) In the case of a non-expedited appeal, the appealing member(s) shall be given not less than 15 days notice of a time and place for appeal hearing to be heard by the EC or by an Appeal Committee appointed by the NCHA President. In cases of an expedited appeal, the appealing member(s) shall be entitled to an appeal hearing no more than five business days after the expedited appeal is perfected.


Appeal Proceedings: (a) An appeal is a “de  novo” proceeding that could result in a new finding concerning whether or not there was a violation of any NCHA rule(s) and either an affirmation, enhancement or decrease in the disciplinary action taken by the Initial Hearing Committee. (b) Eight members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum. (c) The NCHA President may appoint a Special Appeal Hearing Committee  (the “Appeal Committee”) to conduct any appeal hearing or disciplinary actions. This Committee shall have a minimum of five members and a maximum of nine. Each member must be a member in good standing of the NCHA. Five members of the Appeal Committee members shall constitute a quorum for hearing an appeal. (d) No continuance of an appeal hearing shall be granted unless a written request is received by the ED at least 7 days prior to the hearing and good cause is shown as determined at the sole discretion of the President or Chairman of the Appeal Committee. (e) At the hearing the appealing member shall have the opportunity to be heard, be represented by legal counsel, present evidence in his/her own behalf and to hear and refute any evidence offered against them. (g) The decision of the EC or Appeal Committee in an appeal proceeding under this rule shall be final and binding on all parties. The committee hearing an appeal shall only be required to note in its report the NCHA rule(s) it found were violated and shall not be required to provide a detailed reasoned option for its decision. (h) When disciplinary action is taken, the results in probation or suspension, the person’s name, the rule violated, and the disciplinary action taken will be published in the Cutting Horse Chatter.


From the Editor:

As a member of the NCHA for close to 20 years, I was sued at one time by the NCHA for asking for Rick Ivey’s salary and refusing to sign a non-disclosure form to prevent my dissemination of the information I was provided. (They dropped the suit when I told them I didn’t need his salary, I found it out another way.) As an investigative journalist and the owner of this website, my only remark about the above Guidelines is that they should include: “Any NCHA member who loses a lawsuit filed by another NCHA member regarding the other member’s actions, including taking advantage of the elderly, providing false or erroneous invoices to an NCHA member by a trainer, running an illegal business or training operation within the confines of the NCHA as defined by the State of Organization or Operation, providing false documentation to an NCHA committee during an appeal or suspension committee hearing, the loss of a customer’s horse due to abuse by the trainer or the trainer’s agent or assign including, but not limited to, employees, contractors or subcontractors, or charging exorbitant fees for other services, such as double dipping customers for travel or hauling expenses, should receive a lifetime suspension, without preferential treatment or exception.”


The trainers are basically unregulated by the above problems.  I hear these complaints all the time and instigating these rules could bring back some of the many well-heeled members who have left the NCHA…..and get rid of some the bad actors or unscrupulous trainers contributing to the demise of the membership numbers.

Glory Ann Kurtz

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  1. Hi Glory Ann,

    Didn’t know whether you are aware or not, but Ed & Brandon Dufurrena have broken their suspension rules again! At a show on Saturday September 15th, in Whitesboro, Both Ed and Brandon were Hanging over the fence hollering, coaching, and screaming instructions to their customers who were showing. Had they leaned over any further, they would have fallen into the arena. NCHA rules say that a suspended person may only be a spectator in the seating area. They were certainly not spectators! They were coaching their customers, influencing competition, creating a spectacle, and were “agents” of horses being shown! They worked the horses that were being shown (not on show grounds) (some horses being shown belonged to them, and others being owned and shown by customers). If these actions don’t qualify them as “agents”, I don’t know what does. These actions were video taped by some ladies at the show! To make matters worse, When Ed caught them video taping him and Brandon, they began screaming expletives at the ladies and trying to intimidate them. This caused a HUGE Scene resulting in Ed having to be dragged off by a customer of his. This incident involved Ed, Shona, and Brandon.I have never heard of a more brazen act of arrogance in my life. They all have no respect for the rules, and this is evident in the fact that EVERYONE in their family has been suspended (Shona was suspended a few years ago and banned from the show grounds at the Non-Pro cutting for trying to run a lady over with her horse)!! These are BAD people, and they need to be suspended for life!!!! This has all been caught on video tape and a complaint has been filed with the NCHA. So, there are 4 BIG violations here! 1. Being more than spectators and influencing the competition, 2. Unsportsmanlike conduct, 3. being the “agent” of horses being shown (while suspended), 4. Using grossly profane language at a competition.—These are all RULES that have been broken! Shame on them, Shame on their customers for supporting their bad behavior, and shame on the NCHA leaders if they don’t use this opportunity to finally exact proper justice upon them!!

    You may already be aware of this idiocy, but I figured I would inform you. I was not at the show, but know several of the people who were. They all told me the exact chain of events, and I can promise that they are very reliable! With your help, maybe we can rid our sport of these types of people!

    Thank You!

    • I have sent a letter to NCHA President Lewis Wray about this huge infraction by the Dufurrena’s. However, the last time I wrote him a letter, I got no response. They have some new rules out that took place Aug. 21 and he should be suspended for life. The secretaries should not be taking his entries and the judge should refuse to judge a suspended person. This is getting scary and dangerous.
      Glory Ann Kurtz

    • I just want to note that by publishing something anonymously, it lends no credibility. I’m certainly not a fan of the Dufurrena’s, but it’s really easy for accusers to hide behind a keyboard.
      Submitted by Jackie Dayberry

  2. It would be a breath of fresh air if people writing letters to the editor & “anonymous” informative responses to the hellish actions of the Dufurrena Clan, would take accountability & sign their names. Stand up to the crooked fowl mouthed sons a bitches. Obviously the NCHA doesn’t have the balls to do it. Do something.

  3. WOW! I cannot believe the level of arrogance these people have!! They just have no shame and they are throwing it in the face of the ncha and the rest of us! They are bad for our sport and need to go away for good! If the NCHA bungles the punishment for the dufurrenas like they did before, I imagine the entire NCHA leadership will be lynched! As today is the 7th and last day to postmark a complaint to be sent to the NCHA against ed, Shona, and Brandon, I would suggest that everyone who was at the show, to get busy and submit a complaint. Let your disgust be known! It is on all of us to be ambassadors of our sport and the horse industry in general. We need to ban together to show the public that we don’t tolerate bad actions or bad people!

  4. Did I read this right? NCHA is passing a rule to penalize non-members? How can they do that? Deny a non-member membership? If that’s the case, how long would the penalty be in effect? If this is correct, how would that non-member know this because NCHA has not officially released these new rules and non-members might be violating rules they didn’t even know existed – if these rules were effective retroactively to August 21. Does this mean they are going to make rules retroactive for all the offenses committed by the Duffurrenas?

    Rule 37: Non-members involved in NCHA rule violations may also be denied
    privileges of the Association for “violation of or assisting in the
    violation of NCHA rules.”

  5. In the comment section, did ‘unsigned’ say that someone turned in to NCHA the Duffurrenas along with the video for the violations that occurred on Sept. 15? If so, and because they are on suspension, won’t this be a lifetime suspension? Would appreciate getting an answer on this. Would appreciate a reply Glory Ann.

    • Yes, according to their new rules. But that’s if the video and complaint were sent to the NCHA with the $50 fee on this latest infraction.They have 7 days to do that and I would surely encourage them to do that.
      Glory Ann

  6. I did a quick check on NRCHA website and I believe current their dues are $75 per year with no mention of an increase. The $145 dues NCHA is proposing is ridiculous – they will continue to see an exodus from NCHA. I have been a continuous member of NCHA since 1990 and I have seen this organization lose 30% of their membership. The grass roots / weekend cutters have mostly left the NCHA .The NCHA Management seem to be completely out of touch. It will take more than triple crown shows to keep this organization afloat.
    Tom K.

  7. I must say that I’m pretty disappointed with the trainers who have come to the aid of the dufus family and showing their horses. They are helping them game the system! not good judgment fellas. Looks like y’all are taking up for for those people.

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