vet injecting a horse in the pastern

Equine Veterinarian Calls For Intervention Into Reining Horses Shown Drugged

A well-known equine veterinarian has written to the NRHA for intervention authority where animal welfare concerns are seen in the show pen. In an openly published letter the vet wants rule changes for the requirement of veterinarians on site to conduct examinations where concerns are seen in relation to animal welfare such as reining horses shown drugged, and other welfare violations following the observation of the distressed horse competing recently at a major show. Scroll down to read the letter.

With prize pools in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the questions need to be asked:

  1. Should Welfare and Drugging Rules of Western Events be managed by an independent body to ensure the highest standards are upheld in the interest of the horses. An example is the racing industry with the establishment of the HSIA   
  2. Does the board of directors of NRHA have a conflict of interest in managing and enforcing welfare and drug rules when they are involved in the breeding, training and showing of horses?
Self-regulation is not working for the horses.

 

Watch the video of the incident that has raised alarms across the world. Scroll down further to read the letter.

The publicly published letter was written to the NRHA on February 10th, 2022.

 

Why Reining is No Longer an FEI Sport

As recently as this fall, at the World Equestrian Games, reining was a big draw and the US team brought home gold, says author Liz Goldsmith.

But that’s over now that the FEI has severed its ties with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA). Reining is no longer an FEI-recognized sport. So what caused this change? According to the reports, there is a disagreement both over the minimum age that horses can compete in FEI events and a lack of agreement over allowed drugs.

In terms of age, the FEI regulations restricted competition to horses ages 7 and above. There was an exception made for one WEG where horses aged 6 were allowed to compete. This is not out of line for other FEI disciplines: The minimum age for FEI dressage is 8; for Olympic/WEG level eventing it’s 8; and for show jumping it’s 7. In the reining world, where many horses are started at age 2 (or even at 18 months), junior classes are held for horses age 3-5 and the NRHA and many breed associations offer futurities for 3-year olds which have large purses — the NRHA’s snaffle bit futurity for 3-year olds pays out in excess of $1 million, with the Futurity Open Champion winning $125,000.

The argument against competing horses this young in such a physically demanding discipline is compelling: most horses haven’t finished growing at age 3 and many young horses are irreparably injured. The spins can cause concussion-type injuries on the fetlock and knee and slides can cause injuries to the hock and fetlock joints, stifles and sacroiliac subluxation.

Which brings us to medications. The FEI has very stringent drug regulations; however, many substances prohibited by the FEI may be used up to threshold levels under NRHA rules. Some people believe that the younger age of competition and the rigorous training for futurities means that reining horses are at a higher risk of being drugged to keep them comfortable. It is reported in some media that over the period of the agreement (from 2010-2018), the NRHA has the highest positive drug test results of all FEI sports.

Training methods in reining have also come under fire, although were not specifically called out by the FEI. Reining horses are subjected to riding techniques similar to “Rollkur” or hyperflexion. The video below, which shows the warm up at an FEI World Final, is pretty disturbing. Not only because of the hyperflexion but because the horses are basically run into the arena walls at speed to train the sliding stops. Even more disturbing? The rider featured, Martin Muehlstaetter, is one of the sport’s top trainers.

[footnote] Check out this video at the end where the horse spinning was asked to complete 19 consecutive spins.

I am in no way stating that all reiners are ridden and trained this way. As in any discipline, there are trainers who cut corners with training techniques that border on abuse and trainers who treat their horses like valued partners. It’s just a shame when the public warm up at World Reining Final, holds up this type of riding as something to aspire to.

Original article posted equineink.com

What do you think about the decision by the FEI to cut ties with reining?

reining horse sliding on arena

Slow Motion Reining Slide Video

Reiners live and breathe to slide their horses every day. Have you ever wondered what it really looks like in slow motion? Have you looked beyond the length of the slide and flying dust to see what the horse is required to do? It happens so quick it can be difficult to see, until now.

The futurity event is the pinnacle of reining accomplishment as they take horses through a 2-year gruelling training program in pursuit of winning the covenanted prizes in Oklahoma City, USA as late 3yo’s. The Italian futurity and other futurities happening across the world.

When we saw that Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics had videotaped a reiner with his high-speed video camera, we knew it would show the real pressure and psychical strain these horses go through. There’s no doubt these horses get a workout in the biomechanics department.

This is one of those videos that you should watch once or twice, then go to full-screen mode and watch it while toggling the stop/play buttons. Watch the neck, the shoulder, the back and the hocks.

Some horses get high-level care, but many do not, and that does not mean they are going to be any better off. Watching the video makes it a little easier to understand why Adequan is one of the largest sponsors of the Futurity.

These relatively small horses are carrying a heavy saddle and rider, well above the accepted ratio of 20% of the horse’s body weight. And then asked to turn inside out to slide and stop.

Look at the tailbone and see how much work it does in balancing and helping the horse achieve the sliding stop. Regrettably, most tails are blocked to avoid penalty scores these days, creating even a great psychical detriment to the horse during the slide.

Many trainers are asking baby horses, just 2yo (some started under saddle even earlier) to start sliding within 90 days of being under saddle and some by 6 months are boasting about the length of the slide. No wonder so many break down or are running on drugs to enable them to get shown or even stay in training.

 
 

I’m sure everyone who watches Russell’s video will see something different.

But maybe after watching it, you will notice more than you did before the next time you watch a reining horse slide, and maybe you’ll look at some different parts of the horse and consider what they are really asking this horse to do.

If you care for the Welfare of Horses please vote on our poll now for change now. Now Closed.

© 2018 Reiningtrainers.com  All Rights Reserved.

 

reining horse with his nose on the ground during stop

Do NRHA Judges Reward Intimidation?

Intimidation or Not? You be the judge of these two videos. A horse dropping its head to the ground at every stop? A shake of the reins and the horse is eating dirt. To perform the next manouevre, the horse must lift his head at least 2 feet higher so why have its head all the way down there?

At a recent judge’s seminar one of our team attended, judges and applicants were advised not to give credit to horses that dropped their heads to the ground as it showed intimidation. The lead judge’s instructor was saying ‘a horse carrying its head unnaturally low, dropping its head lower with every shake of the rein – is not the look we want for reiners. They look intimidated and probably are.’

You be the judge of poor Titan the deaf horse owned by the outspoken Clinton Anderson. The horse he likes because he is a dumb horse.

2018 Cactus Reining Classic Open Derby Winner Scoring 234 (78)

Co reserve Champion level 4 Italian Derby Scored a 225 (75)

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Gunstep❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ co reserve Champion level 4 Italian Derby Score 222.5 Owner : CS Ranch

Posted by Cira Baeck Reining Horses on Sunday, May 27, 2018

Can’t see the video – go to:  https://www.facebook.com/cirabaeckreininghorses/videos/234817333940701/

What is intimidation training?

Intimidation training, which is repeated punishment, is the primary way most horse trainers get their horses to perform. They jerk, jerk, jerk on the reins or spur, spur, spur until the horse complies out of fear and force. Of course, a horse that is deaf is already at a set back of submission; basically, the animal is disabled and categorized that way if he were a human.

This method works for those who demand short-term results; just long enough to win a class.

Intimidation is teaching a horse helplessness. A horse drops its head to the ground when it’s being dominated in the wild and when being ridden. Reiners want their horses helpless and entirely reliant on them for every move. Another good reason to have a deaf and dumb horse some might say.

Intimidation training works so well that a great many of the most successful trainers seldom use any other form of behavior modification. It becomes the ‘way of training’ as the majority of professionals use intimidation, and the majority of horse owners who are not professionals adopt the same methods of “intimidation” as their training practice to get a horse to perform. Stand in the warm-up pen, and the fact cannot be denied unless your drowning in their Kool-Aid. It’s Monkey see-Monkey do.

With most of the judges and “influencers” of reining policy also being trainers or are “invested” in the showing of reining horses, intimation is accepted. No one will stand aside and enforce fair change for the horses as it could mean the end of an industry with so many operating with intimidation. Instead, the policy makers concern is increasing the revenue and prize money to feed the intimidation trainers and those invested in the industry.

The proof is that intimidation trainers are continually intimidating their horses. You can observe it during at-home training sessions, during the warm-up at shows, just before entering the show pen for a performance class and even after exiting the show pen. They even post videos of it now as the standard practice for training a horse.

When a person wins in the ring, Money see-Monkey do goes into overdrive. How many horses now will be victimized to drop their heads to the ground when at a standstill?

It’s never-ending because it is never permanent. You often see a horse that performed in the pen, under new stewardship start to fall apart. Less intimidation is applied and the perceived training starts to unravel. Intimidation training does not teach a horse the correct response to a request that will be long-lasting; it only instils fear and helplessness. The horse merely performs out of an effort to avoid pain.

Intimidation trainers don’t use positive or negative reinforcers; they quickly opt to negative as the horse shows a sign of non-compliance. They immediately begin more intimidation—severe bits, tying heads up in stalls, refusing to let horses lie down to rest, excessive flexing without relief. Relief is not just letting the rein go, its letting the horse carry its head naturally for a period of time to relax all the muscles.

There are those unique horses that can tolerate the intimidation and can win classes…some even become champions. But, of course, most intimidated horses don’t perform well consistently. They get so nervous, and fearful, that they can’t manage a smooth and graceful performance; instead, they get through it with pinned ears, swishing tails (unless tail blocked), sweaty necks, and heads carried as low as their knees or lower.

Judges aren’t going to disqualify professional horsemen since they feed the NRHA money machine. They may have to show under them also at a later date. They are not going to score them down due to the fear of retribution when they are being scored. The judge’s seminar is seemingly an ideological session that no one is forced to comply with.

NRHA Directors and Show management are the only people who can set aside those who succeed using intimidation training. Disciplining the worst to set a standard for all others.

It is just plain stupid to think competitors are going to discipline themselves or their trainers….why would they? The consequences are intimidating!

© 2018 Reiningtrainers.com. All Rights Reserved

Only Old Women Care About Horse Welfare?

We sat and listened to a high profile NRHA judge & former western sport board member at a judging seminar states “only old women are really concerned about animal welfare”. Probably the most honest and discriminatory statement made when you see most abusers charged are men. But does it reflect the priorities of NRHA or just the opinion of a rambling old fool?

What we do know is there is no place on earth for that mentality toward any breed of horse (or animal). God help the horses.

Some high profile horse owners and breeders have also been battling hard to protect the horses, the AQHA 2015 Protect Them Coalition.

As one of the highest profile women in quarter horse, Carol Harris and Kathi Hansen lead a group of 20 women to change the welfare of the quarter horse.

This applies to any quarter horses in general and those horses that compete at shows. The NRHA is not excluded from being considered in these remarks.

“We who love Quarter Horses have allowed too many inhumane trainers to become judges who continually reward each other when they judge or show in our competitions.

These trainer/judges have been permitted by our Association to badly hurt our favorite sport by participating in conflicts of interest positions at our Quarter Horse shows and by refusing to listen to valuable advice and criticism that have been given to them for years.

If our leadership and our members do not know the difference between right and wrong, they should try to remember that there is “NO RIGHT WAY TO DO ALL THE WRONG THINGS THEY ARE DOING”. That is exactly what they have been continuing to force on our horses, our membership and our Association for countless years. They never seem to think it is necessary to improve or correct the continual mistakes.”

Carol Haris of AQHA 2015 Protect Them Coalition writes: This email was sent to me a couple days ago by two Quarter Horse lovers, Betty Marshall and Liz Hickling. For some reason, it made me ashamed that I was not helping them like I used to try to, but a year and a half ago I was more or less asked not to write any more “On The Fence” articles because it disturbed the halter horse people too much. No telling who I will disturb this time, but the fact that people who don’t know the difference between right and wrong are still bothering me and should be bothering others the same way.

To read the rest of the article from AQHA 2015 Protect Them Coalition

Vote now for change. Now Closed.

© 2017 ReiningTrainers.com  All Rights Reserved.

 

Professional Reining Horse tied very high to tire it out and make it submissive

Top 20 NRHA Reining Professional Busted for Horse Abuse at Show

Professional Reining Horse trainer takes action against the NRHA after being suspended for abuse.

This is a story that just keeps on giving. It starts as horse abuse protests and allegations, owners pulling horses and end up with the trainer saying he is unfairly treated and should be compensated. What about the horse Mr Reining Trainer should he be compensated for being in your barn?

It all starts with this:

Imagine seeing your horse in a stall at a reining show. At first, it may seem normal and then you realize, your horse breaks out in a sweat and becomes distressed after being hung high for punishment for hours. Is this unusual for reining training?

The world is abuzz with the story of a reining horse who suffered the torturous treatment of being hung, while at NRBC  (National Reining Breeders Classic) annual show in April 2017. One of the largest shows on the NRHA circuit.

To assist you to understand how it can all turn out for the horse, the image below is a recent snap taken at western trainer C. T. Bryant’s barn displaying what a horse can suffer when it gets hung and loses its footing after attempting to get free. Now back to the reining professional busted.

horse hanging from tie up with body on ground after collapsingThe sound of a thrashing horse could be heard across the facility. The thrashing noise was unbearable to listen to and many thought at first it was a cast horse. People talk about seeing others racing to where all the sound was coming from, ending up at a stall covered in curtains blocking any view inside. The curtains were pulled aside, and there is a horse that has been tied high now in deep distress and potentially could permanently harm or kill itself trying to get loose.

The allegations are the colt was hung by a Top 20 NRHA Professional trainer, but no one wants to speak of his name as he is one of the worshipped Top 20. It’s all hush hush unless you are in the inner circle, until now after his name has been finally published.

Questions are being asked “If this is what he does at a show, imagine what he does back home in the barn?”

Reining trainers, like some others, are renowned for tying horses with their head and neck up to an awkward level; leaving the horse to appear to be on its tiptoes. A mindless method used by many reining trainers to punish horses in an attempt to tame those that show any sign of resistance to their dominant training regimes that demand the control of every move the horse makes. Some horses are tied like this, away from food and water, all night. In severe cases, the horses will be left like this for 23+ hours. Some hang them on high walls, others from rafters in stalls and arenas. It is the secret that no-one in the inner circle talks about.

The suffering horses pull against the restraint, half-rearing and shuffling their feet, trying to ease their pain and suffering. The muscle cramps and tearing of muscles and ligaments are relentless on them. All the horse wants to do is drop its head down to relax the muscles. These horses are bred to have a low head carriage hung well outside their bearable comfort zone even for a few minutes.

Attempting to escape, the horse can lose its footing and then they are in serious trouble. Others just quit and submit to the helplessness in agony and silent distress. To move around can mean breaking their neck, others kill themselves with a severe hit to the poll while reefing on the tie-up. They can break legs, and hips and even smash teeth with the halter pulled through their mouth.

Some clandestine trainers and their bamboozled owners call it a necessary part of training. Most enlightened people call it abuse. The horse would call it hell.

Unlike the horse in the photo, not all horses reached the point of complete exhaustion and hang themselves, but many suffer severe muscle pain and muscle tearing and are expected to work as performance horses the next day. The trainer is believing they have dominated the horse sufficiently that it will do what is demanded of it instantly to avoid another tie-up session or further pain inflicted.

Most trainers using this technique also have a bag full of other torturous methods they apply to dominate the horse to the point of learned helplessness. Submissive and robotic fulfilling the trainers’ aim for a winning ride.

This clandestine trainer thinking occurs when the desire to win–or otherwise achieve training goals, overcomes the humane treatment of the horse. When they run out of intelligence and patience and their repressed anger takes over. The trainers in some cases resent the horse will not do as it is told and become aggressive toward the animal. As the futurity season is well underway, horses are exposed to bizarre and oppressive training practices to force the final performance in the hope of winning.

The horse’s owner has pulled all her horses from the Top 20 NRHA Professional barn and moved them to other locations. It is unknown if a protest has been filed as the NRHA lives in a world of secrecy when it comes to complaints and how they are handled.

What has the NRHA done about the incident and what standard did they set?  What did the stewards on the day do about this incident?

It has been a long wait. On a review of the disciplinary list for May 2017 through August 2017, the reining professional busted has not been mentioned. The September list was not published even though referenced in the index. However, the NRHA is renowned for not releasing all suspensions and revoked memberships. It often seems that just the occasional one makes it to the list; the ones that they cannot keep undercover.

Update: In the October 2017 disciplinary list, an alleged trainer, Arno Honstetter is finally published with just a minor three-month suspension. Did they charge him for hanging a horse or was this for another offense, as it has taken so long to appear on the list?

Well, the lawsuit that follows shows us that Honstetter is actually reported for another incident in January 2017 by Leading AQHA Horsewoman and NRHA Trainer, Karen McCuistion. A person who is competent in defining abuse of horses. It is alleged that he was caught bitting up/checking a horse in the barn at a show. The same practice that killed Bella Gunnabe Gifted at the hands of Mark Arballo – who was banned for life, only after the courts found him guilty of abuse. Read the full article here.

Honstetter denies the abuse and believes he did not get a fair process in how the NRHA handled the protest so he wants it overturned and a payment of $100,000 for his suffering. If only the reining horses could get as good a legal representation as trainers!

No longer is the matter about horse abuse – its all about the trainer being treated unfairly – the culture of reining shining through.

Arno Honstetter continues to market himself as a NRHA Professional which again questions the value of the NRHA Professional program. His lawyer has advised that Biting up horses is a standard practice in NRHA – so all reiners are being abused?

arno honsetter biting up horse

 

The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) has a zero-tolerance policy on horse abuse, and recently immediately (within days) suspended a well-known high profile trainer for abuse of a horse at a show, even though the SPCA laid no charges. AQHA is reported to have a life ban on bitting up horses.

© 2017 reiningtrainers.com All rights reserved.

Do the NRHA Enforce Medication Rules?

With a massive 94% of the weighting for welfare and medications clauses sitting squarely on medications, not abuse, in the National Reining Horse Association Handbook, the questions need to be asked: “Have you had your horse tested at an official NRHA event anywhere in the world?” and “How often are they testing at official events?”

The National Reining Horse Association has gone to great lengths in its handbook to define it’s Animal Welfare and Medications Rules and Regulations within their Handbook. As we mentioned in a recent article “NRHA turns back on horses again in 2017” the reference to welfare is weighted heavily to medications, not abuse.

In fact, there are:

• Seven sections with 35 clauses and 36 sub-clauses for medications being 71 points, whereas
• Only two sections with mentions in four clauses for abuse outside of the actual show pen

That is a weighted ratio of just 6% emphasis on abuse and the balance on medications. Many would say that is just not good enough to manage and stop the abuse of horses that people write about observing in warm-up pens of NRHA shows across the globe.

Many questions can be asked about the medication rules.

The rule book states the testing can include physical examination, obtaining urine samples, blood testing or any other tests that an approved veterinarian considers necessary. All except the physical examination would have results post the horse competing in its classes. It raises the question does the horse still competes medicated or do they have an on-site rush service for testing?

Some of the prohibited drugs can take effect in a matter of minutes or within the hour before a person enters the ring. How is that tested? The horse is being warmed-up ready to show, a quick trip back to the stable and they are ready to go with it looking like it was just a quick slick up ready to show. Those that use medications would be swift and secretive in how they give them.

The test of whether the NRHA enforces the medication rules would be in the rulings. How often are people seeing someone’s placing withdrawn after an NRHA event as they were found to be in breach of the medication rules? Do they discipline the person but the horse keeps its placing at the event even though it had an unfair advantage?

The big question is, has anyone been disciplined for breach of the NRHA Medication Rules? Surely they did not write all those rules because the problem does not exist?

Keeping it positive, if there were no convictions and the testing is happening, then there are the costs associated. The NRHA funds the medications testing and the costs should appear on the annual financial report to all the members. Are any members aware of the cost of testing in the last fiscal year (2015) or have an indication of what the costs were in 2016?

Reading the NRHA Handbook is an education in the application of drugs in the equine sport today. With the listing of drugs available in the handbook, some may see this as an instructional guide more than a set of rules if they are not consistently testing.

Let us know your thoughts?

Don’t forget to go to the Poll on our website and vote.  Poll Now Closed.

© 2016 ReiningTrainers.com   All Rights Reserved.

NRHA Handbook turns back on horses again in 2017

The new 2017 National Reining Horse Association – NRHA Handbook is now available online

Unfortunately, they have let the horses down once again with their lackluster approach to animal welfare and no changes being made from 2016.

The Animal Welfare and Medications Provisions is focused on medications demonstrating they believe they have a greater drug problem than abuse. All we can say is the drug problem must be astronomical as the abuse is extremely noticeable in warm-up pens across the globe.

Some interesting extracts from the handbook are:

  1. The Show Steward should be knowledgeable of accepted reining schooling practices and should take necessary action should he/she witness or be made aware of misconduct or abuse on the show grounds.

There remains no documented standards that need to be abided to as like in the American Quarter Horse Association rule book. If the Show Steward accepts that excessive jerking, spurring, fencing and over spinning is all part of the training process, then they immediately condone the behavior and set a self-belief standard at any event.

  1. The Show Manager is required to receive complaints from NRHA members related to cruel, abusive, or inhumane treatment of horses on show grounds.

Once again, nothing is documented so how is cruel, abusive or inhumane substantiated. A knowledgeable person does not mean they are sufficiently emotionally intelligent enough determine this. A quick look back over some training videos by the greats stands testament to that with wire nosebands, tie arounds and many other barbaric methods. It is an ambiguous statement that is open to interpretation to benefit trainers, not horses.

  1. New Professionals members must complete a Code of Conduct and submit it with the membership form and fee.

There is no other mention of the Code of Conduct, and it remains totally unenforceable as they only take action on what is set out in the Handbook.

 

The questions need to be asked:

Q1:  Is the National Reining Horse Association tolerant of abuse?

!2:  Is the National Reining Horse Association reluctant to make changes as they may upset their primary money-making source – trainers bringing horses to shows?

The American Quarter Horse Association are able to define more about welfare of reiners than the reining association itself. Extract below.

Please vote on our pole for change located on the website.

aqha-rules

© 2016 ReiningTrainers.com  All Rights Reserved.

Who is protecting the reining horse’s welfare?

“Unfortunately we do have our share of abusive trainers in our industry that I consider a minority, and when identified, they should be removed, period. It is these individuals that attach a bad stigma to the industry” says Rick Dennis of Wind River in May 2015. A highly respected quarter horse performance breeder and competitor and author of many articles on horse abuse.

You do not need to look too far to find examples of extreme reining horse abuse. In 2013 reining horse trainer Kyle Ronald Weston, from Alberta, CA was charged with horse abuse. The photo on this page is the result of his excessive spurring of a horse at home in his barn. The mare’s mouth was reported to also bleeding badly.  The NRHA did not take any action against him until after he was charged by the law courts.

There are extremists everywhere in both the level of abuse and the animal rights advocates who don’t even want horses ridden. In the middle ground of treating a horse respectfully, there is a place for sound and logical welfare of the horses. Would you do it to a child? Then you should not be doing it to an animal as a constant measure. The oversight of horse abuse should not just be in the show arenas and warm-up pens, but back home at the barns. That is where most of the abuse actually occurs and where people have the most direct experience with reining trainers.

For their welfare, a middle ground must be struck where horsemen from other disciplines can evaluate and define what is reasonable, not just people that are indoctrinated into a way of thinking like the culture of the reining horse industry.

The problem is that the public, newcomers, and members are wooed by the photos of expensive barns with extensive breeding and training facilities and horses presented like rock stars. The glitz of the show entertainment, expensive advertising campaigns and the lure of big prize money. This glamourous image is a far cry from how most horses live and are trained by hundreds of people across the world proclaiming themselves as reining horse trainers. Behind this glamour are many tales of the physical and mental abuse of horses. It is not just limited to the horse under saddle, but how they are treated in their day to day lives. What happens away from the spotlight and public eye and seen only by people investing in having horses trained, whether they are NRHA members or not.

The truth of what happens can be seen with horses like trainers Weston’s and Arballo.

bella-wider-shot

Reining horse trainer Mark Arballo, a repeat offender of being charged for horse abuse, in 2015 was charged again over the horrific death of Bella. Again, with full awareness of the matter, the NRHA is reported to have not taken any action against this person until after he was charged by the law courts.

 

 

 

 

The shocking attack at the major show, Reining by the Bay, in 2015 where three of Andrea Frappani’s horses were poisoned, and one had a U-Shape nail driven into his foot.staple-in-foot Horses at the top of the game were targeted by someone who was most likely more motivated to win than care for the well-being of horses. A person that was either personally motivated or paid to commit extreme acts of cruelty against those innocent horses; evidencing a potentially highly competitive ‘at all costs’ culture within reining.

 

 

For many people reporting horse abuse can mean the end of their involvement in an association.

An association they have invested heavily in, both in money and emotion. The few that stand up for the horses are quickly finding there are few avenues for complaints that are not met with criticism and denigration by trainers and their friends. Some complaints are pushed toward the courts as the only option, where outcomes of such matters are reported to be unlikely to succeed due to the lack of knowledge and priority of animal abuse in the court system. Weston’s case gives measures of extreme abuse and getting just a $4,000 fine.

For a complainant, trainers are often victimizing the person for speaking out as they see the person as turning in one of their own. Many trainers are quickly justifying their actions by saying the person knows nothing and vilifying the person by relying on the cult-like behavior of their followers to support them. You will see many social media posts where they victimize the person who dares to stand up for the horse’s welfare.

Unfortunately and very real is the fact that many people reluctantly condone the abuse, by remaining silent, as the fear of being ostracized for speaking out against someone is more penetrating on them personally than living with the knowledge of a horse suffering out of sight. They attempt to reconcile the abuse by closing their minds or moving to another trainer. They fear becoming a victim of social media keyboard warriors as uninformed, often very ignorant and closed-minded people make wild and often threatening statements against the abused reporter. People quickly protect the abuser due to their public persona and their desire to stay in the group, with little to no regard for the horse. The more the celebrity status of the trainer, the more likely this will occur.

Could all of that really happen to someone reporting horse abuse? Sure, it could, and it does and anyone active on social media will most likely have seen it first-hand.

People are reaching out to Reiningtrainers.com, sending shocking stories of horse abuse and how they became victims for attempting to help the animal. Some have just walked away from the reining industry, and others have paid the price for speaking out and being pushed out. Moreover, an appalling outcome is the people that are attempting to live with the knowledge they let the horse (and more in the same barn) down by not speaking out.

However, what would happen if you all would send a loud and clear message to the reining horse industry that you will not tolerate horse abuse at any cost?

Consider the famous quote of Albert Einstein, who once said,

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Think about it and reflect on the horses.

It is the responsibility of the National Reining Horse Association and its affiliates to provide the tools and mechanisms to permanently weed out the abusive trainers and give members and the reining horse enthusiast public the confidence to report their concerns. Set a standard by removing peer reviews of complaints where subjectivity is rife and, agendas can be at play. Install independence to ensure complaints receive the balanced hearing they deserve. A place where the horse becomes the priority and actions are taken to filter out those that are abusing the animals and setting an underlying standard of acceptance in the market.

What do you think?

Are you concerned over a reining horse’s welfare  – send us the details via our contact page.

Please vote for Change on our Poll – the poll is now closed.

© 2016 reiningtrainers.com  All rights reserved.