III. CODE OF ETHICS AND
DISCIPLINARY POLICY AND PROCEDURE
ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
[March 25, 2007]
a. The Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practitioners,
Incorporated (the “AANHCP”) was organized and exists to promote
equine well-being, in general, and in particular, to advance the
humane care and management of domestic equines worldwide through
the application of proven practices and principles based on the research
and findings of wild, free-roaming equines. The AAHNCP promotes
the Artful Science of Natural Hoof Care while also promoting the
common business and ethical interests of those currently certified by
the organization, those actively pursuing certification by the organization
or that has and those who have been elected or appointed to an
official position within the organizational structure (hereinafter referred
to as “members”) and other parties seeking to advance equine wellbeing
and natural horse-keeping practices for domestic equines.
b. The AANHCP has adopted this Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Policy and
Procedure (the “Code of Ethics”) in order to further promote its mission and
the collective interests of its members relative to the AANHCP’s mission.
2. Code of Ethics
a. Each AANHCP member agrees to abide by the following AANHCP Oath of
AANHCP Oath of Allegiance
I duly swear before my peers and all others, that according to my ability
and judgment, I will keep this oath:
I will follow the system or regimen of the Artful Science of Natural Hoof
Care which has been impressed upon me and so examined by those
who have certified my competency, and which, according to my ability
and judgment, I consider for the benefit of equines in my care, and abstain
from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.
I will honor the Healing Powers of Nature and advocate no pernicious
act or procedure, including any manner of fixed shoeing or orthopedic
treatment which impairs the hoof mechanism, obstructs the natural
gaits, or causes psychological trauma, upon any equine if asked, nor
suggest any such counsel.
Whatever connected or not connected to my professional services, I
see or hear, with respect to the perpetration of serious and inhumane
injuries of any equine, including transgressors of my own Art, I will report
to the Officers of my Association and the Law, accordingly.
With Purity and with respect for equines in my care, I will live my life
and practice my Art. I further pledge to remain respectful of other professionals
involved in equine care and maintain confidentiality with my
While I continue to keep this Oath inviolate, may it be granted to me to
enjoy life and the practice of my Art, respected by all persons, in all
times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be
b. Each AANHCP member pledges to observe high standards of integrity,
fair dealing and competence by:
i. Taking every opportunity to increase public understanding and
acceptance of the Artful Science of Natural Hoof Care as the
most humane and healthful approach to equine hoof care.
ii. Demonstrating in professional practice, personal behavior and
public and private discourse respect for the Healing Powers of
iii. Fully informing each client of all facts and circumstances relevant
to the beneficial use of the Artful Science of Natural Hoof
iv. Honoring all contractual obligations until or unless altered or
dissolved by mutual consent of all contractual parties or by law,
and by fulfilling contractual and other professional obligations
in a prompt and competent manner that is fair to all parties
concerned, while always maintaining equine health as the highest
v. Refusing to advocate any pernicious act or procedure, including
any manner of fixed shoeing or orthopedic treatment that
impairs the hoof mechanism, obstructs the natural gaits, or
causes psychological trauma to any equine.
vi. Observing in all aspects the Official Trimming Guidelines of the
vii. Adhering to the highest standards of ethical and honest behavior.
viii. Refraining from any professional practice, personal behavior or
public or private discourse that maligns the AANHCP, its officers
or members or the Official Trimming Guidelines of the
3. Basis for Discipline or Expulsion
A member is subject to discipline by or expulsion from the AANHCP for nonpayment
of dues, violation of the AANHCP Code of Ethics, as stated in under
paragraph 2, the commission of any private or public act deleterious of the
goals of the AANHCP (or otherwise detrimental to the interests of, or tending to
cause disrepute to, the AANHCP, its officers or its members), exceeding recommended
or customary periods of time in the training program without advancement,
failure to successfully complete continuing education requirements
mandated by the Board of Directors, refusal to comply with Board mandates, or
the commission of any inhumane act to any equine or other animal.
4. Initiation of Disciplinary Action
No disciplinary action shall be taken hereunder except upon:
a. A written accusation against the subject member by the management
of the AANHCP or by another member or a non-member claiming to
have firsthand knowledge of acts committed by the subject member
deserving of disciplinary action submitted to the Board of Directors. In
the event an accusation regarding the treatment or care of an equine is
presented by a party other than the horse owner, it must include a
statement that the accusation is submitted with the knowledge and
consent of the horse owner, and that the horse owner agrees to cooperate
in the event of an investigation;
b. The determination or adjudication by a government administrative
agency or a court of law that the subject member has committed any
act involving moral turpitude, the inhumane treatment of any animal, or
any other act deserving of disciplinary action;
c. The subject member’s admission of having committed any act involving
moral turpitude, the inhumane treatment of any animal, or any other act
deserving of disciplinary action;
d. Passage of a written resolution of the Board of Directors, the Executive
Committee or the Operations Coordinating Committee of the Board of
e. Passage of a written resolution of any committee appointed by the
Board of Directors duly authorized to determine and administer disciplinary
actions on behalf of the AANHCP (hereinafter, the “Disciplinary
Body”). None of the chosen members of the Hearing Panel shall be
persons having a significant interest in the matters to come before the
Disciplinary Body (except such indirect interests as are inherent in their
capacity as member or director of the AANHCP).
5. Preliminary Investigation
Upon receipt of a written accusation pursuant to paragraph 4.a, information
suggesting the existence of the facts described in paragraph 4.b or paragraph
4.c, or a written resolution pursuant to paragraph 4.d or paragraph 4.e, the Disciplinary
Body will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether
there exists sufficient credible evidence to support a reasonable suspicion of
actionable misconduct. Except under exigent circumstances, before determining
that sufficient credible evidence exists to support a reasonable suspicion of
actionable misconduct, the subject member shall be:
a. Given written notice that a preliminary investigation is being conducted,
which written notice shall include a description of the accusations
against the subject member; and
b. Afforded a reasonable opportunity (of no longer than seven calendar
days) to comment upon the matter in writing.
Upon gathering the evidence, including the subject member’s written response
pursuant to paragraph 5.b, the Disciplinary Body shall determine (in a closeddoor
meeting held in person or telephonically) whether sufficient credible evidence
to support a reasonable suspicion of actionable misconduct exists. The
subject member and Board of Directors shall be given written notice of the determination(
s) of the Disciplinary Body and, if any member has provided a written
accusation pursuant to paragraph 4.a, that member shall also receive a
copy of the written notice provided to the subject member. If the Disciplinary
Body makes an affirmative determination as to the existence of credible evidence
supporting a reasonable suspicion of actionable misconduct, the notice
given to the subject member shall state these rights of the accused:
i. The right to present a defense at a hearing.
ii. The right to be represented at the hearing by an attorney.
iii. The right to present evidence and witnesses at the hearing.
The subject member may then request a hearing by stating such request in
writing to the Disciplinary Body within seven calendar days of the notice of determination.
If the subject member makes no such request, the Disciplinary
Body shall be proceed to render a decision regarding an appropriate measure
of discipline, in accordance with paragraph 9, and in so doing may assume the
truth of any facts of misconduct supported by credible evidence.
6. Submission of Matter to a Hearing Panel
If the subject member has made a timely request for a hearing, the Disciplinary
Body shall submit the matter to a panel consisting of five persons chosen by
the Director of Operations (the “Hearing Panel”), at least two of whom shall be
AANHCP members and the balance shall be members of the Board of Directors.
None of the chosen members of the Hearing Panel shall be persons currently
serving on the Disciplinary Body or persons having a significant interest
in the matters to come before the Hearing Panel (except such indirect interests
as are inherent in their capacity as member or director of the AANHCP). The
Hearing Panel shall notify the subject member in writing that a hearing (the
“Hearing”) on the matter will be held at a stated time, date and place.
Except under exigent circumstances (or upon the agreement of the subject
member, the Disciplinary Body, the Hearing Panel, all members that have provided
a written accusation pursuant to paragraph 4.a and all other affected
members) the Hearing shall take place no less than thirty days and no more
than sixty days after the provision of the notice to the subject member.
If the subject member does not make an appearance at the Hearing, there
shall be no Hearing and the Disciplinary Body shall render a disciplinary decision
as provided in paragraph 9 and in so doing may assume the truth of any
facts of misconduct supported by credible evidence.
7. Conduct of the Hearing
The Hearing shall be conducted before the Hearing Panel. The Disciplinary
Body, its attorney or other representative, shall present the evidence of misconduct
against the subject member. The subject member or his or her attorney
or representative shall be entitled to present a fair defense.
a. The Hearing shall not necessarily proceed according to any mandated
formal rules of civil or criminal procedure. However, at minimum, the
Hearing shall proceed pursuant to an informal procedure consistent
with fundamental notions of fairness. The Hearing Panel shall determine
the rules of procedure and rules of evidence, and may chose a
chairperson who will preside over the Hearing and have discretion to
decide procedural issues.
b. The Hearing Panel may conduct the hearing in person or telephonically.
c. The Hearing Panel shall conduct the Hearing within a time frame that,
consistent with the goal of providing the subject member a fair opportunity
to be heard, completes its duties efficiently.
8. The Hearing Panel’s Decision
a. Upon presentation of all evidence and arguments, the Hearing Panel
shall, in a closed-door session, render a decision which shall be
promptly reduced to writing (the “Decision”). The Decision shall be de31
livered to the Disciplinary Body, to the subject member and to any accusing
parties, and shall state whether the subject member has been
shown by a preponderance of the evidence to have committed misconduct
addressed by this Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Policy & Procedure.
The Decision shall be determined by a majority of those present
and voting. The Decision issued by the Hearing Panel shall be final.
b. If the Decision is affirmative (to the effect that the subject member has
committed misconduct), the Hearing Panel may issue an opinion as to
its recommended disciplinary action. However, the Hearing Panel’s
recommendation as to the nature or extent of the discipline shall not be
binding upon the Disciplinary Body.
9. Measure of Discipline to be Determined by Disciplinary Body
If the Decision is affirmative (to the effect that the subject member has committed
misconduct), the Disciplinary Body shall determine, by a majority vote, the
measure of discipline it deems appropriate, and its decision shall be final. The
Disciplinary Body’s decision shall be reduced to writing and delivered to the
subject member, any accusing parties, and the Board of Directors. The discipline
may or may not consist of one or more of the following:
a. A verbal reprimand;
b. A written reprimand;
c. Suspension of the subject member’s AANHCP Appointment(s) and/or
d. Revocation of the subject member’s AANHCP Appointment(s) and/or
e. Expulsion of the subject member from AANHCP; and/or
f. Referral to appropriate governmental agency for enforcement.
The Director of Operations or any other officer directed by the Disciplinary
Body shall implement the disciplinary measures as instructed by the Disciplinary
a. The Hearing Panel’s Decision as to whether the subject member has
committed misconduct shall be final and shall not subject to appeal.
b. Any member, including the subject member, may appeal the Hearing
Panel’s recommendation as to the discipline to be imposed after an affirmative
Decision by letter addressed to the Disciplinary Body within
20 days of issuance of the Hearing Panel’s Decision and recommendation.
c. The Disciplinary Body’s decision as to the measure of discipline shall
be final and shall not be subject to appeal.
11. Letter of Exoneration
If the Decision is negative, the Disciplinary Body shall issue a letter of exoneration
to the subject member and the Board of Directors.
Summary Termination for Non-Payment of Dues; Reinstatement of Membership
If a member is delinquent in payment of dues, these procedures may, at the
discretion of AANHCP management, be followed in lieu of the above procedures:
a. Written notice shall be delivered to the subject member, providing notice
of the delinquency and giving the member thirty days to cure the
delinquency. If the delinquency is timely cured, no further steps shall
be taken. If the delinquency is not cured, membership shall be immediately
terminated, resulting in the revocation of appointment(s), Certification
Credential, or termination of participation in the Training Program.
b. A former member whose membership was terminated solely on the basis
of nonpayment of dues may apply for readmission. As a condition
of readmission, the member may be required by the Director of Operations
to submit payment of all dues that would have been payable during
the member’s membership lapse plus a late fee established by the
Operations Coordinating Committee.