Does self-regulation of animal welfare and abuse work?

Many associations, like the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), take an approach to managing animal welfare through self-regulation by trainers and the case study of the Tennessee Walking Horse tells everyone, that it fails. Watch the video on this page and you will be shocked at the suffering they inflict on horses and justify as training methods.

soringOver the past half-century, the treatment of the Tennessee walking horse has increasingly become more inhumane as they attempt to achieve higher stepping horses known as the ‘big lick’. The trainers and owners have reached a point where now, these poor animals endure vile practices in which caustic chemicals, chains, hard objects, cutting, and other gruesome techniques are used to injure the horses’ front legs and hooves and force them to perform an artificially high-stepping gait known as the “big lick.” This sort of calculated, appalling cruelty should never be tolerated. The trainers self-regulate and the outcome is horrendous.

Like the NRHA, the Tennessee walking horse has a welfare statement within its rules, but that has certainly not protected these beautiful animals from barbaric treatment easily identified on horses attending a competition.

In competition, trainers are looking for that winning edge and across all disciplines you see people stretch the boundaries of welfare with the desire to win; some becoming animal abusers as they justify their actions to themselves. The horse is no longer a priority as winning has become their image, their livelihood and there is always another horse waiting to enter the barn.

In reining warm-up pens across the globe, you can watch trainers as they push the boundaries and subject the horses to unnecessary pressure and pain in preparation for that moment of winning. Often sanctioned by others around them and creating a benchmark for other trainers also to push their horses to the limits at all cost to the animal. With medical evidence of the damage being caused by some practices, the trainers are defiant and attempt counterarguments against scientific facts.

Owners may lack the knowledge, and some the heart, to understand the pain and suffering of their horse as they buy into the story promoted by the trainer as ‘how things are done to train show horses.’ The trainer, a perceived expert, uses their position of influence on the owners to their own gain in justifying their conduct. Trainers, farriers and owners are indoctrinated into the idea that those is how you must treat the animal to achieve a high-level competition horse.

Is reining heading in the direction of the Tennessee walking horse?

Are the boundaries now being pushed with the increasing rise of excessive spurring, jerking of reins, more aggressive bits and rollkur increase in the show pen? The wastage of reining horses increases as animals are quickly thrown aside that will not submit to the excessive demands of the trainer’s techniques. The videos of the European FEI and just recently a video taken in the US demonstrates that it is becoming more epidemic and accepted.

For the Tennessee walking horse, mainstream horse industry groups and veterinary organizations such as the American Horse Council, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and American Veterinary Medical Association have

tried to work with and encourage the walking horse crowd to bring about change from within – but more than a few stubborn horse owners and trainers continue to think they are above the law.

The US lawmakers now state the current system of self-regulation is still hopelessly broken, and nothing short of significant reforms will fulfill the intent of Congress and break the cycle of cruelty that is so endemic to the big lick walking horse circuit.

With the awareness of the Tennessee walking horse’s plight and how they got there, is the NRHA going to move from self-regulation to a system of transparency and improvement that ensures the reining horse does not follow in their path?

What actions are considered horse abuse? Click here to find out more.

Have some news or video of reining horse abuse? We are building a case for reform on trainers and your contribution can assist. Click here to send us information.

Sound familiar – the reining horse is bred for his natural athleticism and shown willingly guided:

The Tennessee walking horse is bred for its smooth, natural gait—the running walk—and The HSUS supports the many owners and trainers who use humane training methods to showcase this natural gait, while also working to end the abusive practices often used to create the exaggerated high-stepping gait that has long been associated with soring. 

Listen to a convicted Horse Abuser on the horrific practices he and others apply to horses.

 

 

Martin Muehlstaetter demonstrates he can abuse a horse

At the FEI World Reining final warm-up, Martin Muehlstaetter took to this horse in full public viewing with his spurring, sawing and gouging like a possessed man. The excitement of a major show, the overwhelming desire to win at all costs, sees the horse suffer to a level that should have demanded his immediate dismounting of the animal and removal from the show. Cleary unable to rationalize right from wrong, this man now travels the world giving clinics on reining horse training and is upheld by the NRHA as one of the Top 20 Trainers in the world.

Is this what it takes to train a Reiner or is this a person that is incapable of controlling his emotions? Is this an association that condones horse abuse to keep the entertainment rolling and trainers flowing the cash through their tills?

It would seem that at these FEI world championships the world became aware of the horse abuse that has been occurring hidden away in niche show pens and barns for many a long year.

What actions are considered horse abuse? Click here to find out more.

Have some news or video of reining horse abuse? We are building a case for reform on trainers and your contribution can assist. Click here to send us information.

To read more about their warm-up pen performance, Read the Book “I Can’t Watch This Anymore” with first-hand accounts of what happened to the reining horses.

 

 

Nico Hörmann matches the US in horse abuse methods

Not to be outdone by his American competitors, Nico Hörmann demonstrates his talent in gaining total submission during the warm-up of the FEI World Reining Final Warm-up. In relentless style, this man abuses this horse under the guise of professional training talent and a standard that is accepted industry-wide. Working amidst the other horses it seems to be an accepted practice that you cannot achieve ‘willing guided’ without excessive spurring, sawing of mouths, and full-strength jerking of reins in a spoon or port bit. The horse must give in and be dictated to as if it is a robot there to serve the whim of the rider. Clearly, the interpretation of willing guided has shifted from graceful to absolute submission; a sad fact for the horse.

Top competition and huge prize money are seeing massive changes in how reining horse is being trained as trainers and owners demand faster results and look for shortcuts, and it’s only getting worse. Review the video from 2016 that shows a warm-up pen that you would see at any weekend show or major event.

What actions are considered horse abuse? Click here to find out more.

Have some news or video of reining horse abuse? We are building a case for reform on trainers and your contribution can assist. Click here to send us information.

Behind the Scenes of Reining Horse Fencing

Reining Horse Fencing

Have you ever wondered how they train horses to get that big sliding stop? Simple – run it flat out at a wall and if it hits it, that is okay.  That is called Reining Horse Fencing. This video shows reining trainers working their horses to build a stop on their horses. At some point in time, someone many years ago, decided that running into walls was a good idea. I remember seeing this for the first time at a futurity warm-up pen with a top trainer running his horse at a wall. The horse finally decided what he wanted and ran into the wall headfirst with his butt buried in the ground. The trainer patted him and sent the message ‘that’s it – hit the wall’. Now in any warm-up pen or at home on the ranch trainers use this technique.

Applying logic to the method would only get in the way of what is clearly a ridiculous training technique that is suffered by these magnificent animals. Only a reining horse would have the mind and lack of fight in it to accept this continuous training and become a submissive and robotic animal willing to do anything to avoid further abuse; no matter how much pain it suffers.

What actions are considered horse abuse? Click here to find out more.

Have some news or video of reining horse abuse? We are building a case for reform on trainers and your contribution can assist. Click here to send us information.