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.


19 replies
    • Jocelyn S
      Jocelyn S says:

      They lost me with Yellowstone. It’s all about dominance of land, people and animals. Branding People tissss – they belong in an asylum. The writer Taylor Sheridan is a reining guy throwing cash everywhere so makes sense they don’t see abuse as it’s the culture. The reining trainer guy in the show was just a swearing drunk throwing his weight around – great example.

  1. Leonie Palmer
    Leonie Palmer says:

    Reiners are so used to seeing drugged horses and abused over worked 3yo baby horses – they don’t even know where the line is that they crossed years ago. Hollywood is killing the morals of this sport. Big Money – Big Circus.

  2. Jimmy W
    Jimmy W says:

    The cries to stop the abuse has gone on for a decade and they jsut get worse. I was told that you cant win now without cheating – as everyone is and some are better that others. They even laugh about the happy trailer where horses walk in seriously hurt and walk out with a pep in their stride to show. Sick people – where is the USDA or some such independnet inspectors.

    • Peter Nash
      Peter Nash says:

      I think the FEI needs to be all over this too or people from the racing industry that cant be easily fooled. The USDA has struggled to enforce equine laws.

    • Sandra Frank
      Sandra Frank says:

      Not all trainers are cheaters and corrupt. I’m not sure where you are, but I haven’t heard of any crooked trainers from around where I’m from. Using drugs to cover up seriously injured animals. Must be really corrupt ppl you deal with!!

  3. John Roberts
    John Roberts says:

    No trainer is going to put in place rules that stop them going to the extreme to win. The board is just full of trainers. Definitely should be rules in place for any horse event that if the prize money goes over a certain level then independent vets (not paid NRHA buddies) should be managing the horses both in and outside the arena. Bet you don’t see those changes in the next rule book but good on them for trying.

  4. Sandra Stapleton
    Sandra Stapleton says:

    The board are masters of charades – this letter will be knocked out for some technical point in how it was lodged. It will never see the light of day – Leve the expression John used “Lights Camera Action” as that is all reining is now.

    • Deb Peterson
      Deb Peterson says:

      Like complaints – they go straight to the round bin unless its an advantage to their inner circle. My partner complained and was shut out fast. Horrible industry now.

  5. Emma Fieldman
    Emma Fieldman says:

    The only way those horses can perform to that level is to be interfered with. Look at that pompous fool on the buckskin in the video. Supposed to be a professional riding hundred of horses but doesn’t know when a horse is peeing. Yeah Sure. They are CHEATERS.

    Honest people can’t win and you either sell out the horses or walk away. Good Luck to the vet for trying but I would not keep my diary open waiting for meetings.

  6. John Campbell
    John Campbell says:

    The vet has broken ranks and will pay dearly for this letter. The money machine that is reining is fed by people who profit from the horses with no care about what happens to them. Vets make a fortune injecting hocks, tendons and other patch-up activities and then earn a double fee hiding it from the judges. The judges don’t care – it’s their long-time friend showing plus they suffer from god syndrome for the multi-million dollar riders. The trainers at the top would sell their kin to stay on top. It has become one of the most immoral equine sports. The only change that will happen is the vet will be no longer billing reiners.

    • Chris Patten
      Chris Patten says:

      They are the mafia of the horse world. The godfather – Do as I say – not as I do. What rules – we are the rules.

  7. Jenna Kiln
    Jenna Kiln says:

    Reining is purely a circus that has gone to Hollywood. Circuses were all about fancy tricks and entertainment meanwhile the animals were kept in tiny cages or tethered and if they stepped out of line beaten. Hollywood horses died on mass, making western films until flipping techniques were banned. The vet has great intentions but will not get anywhere as all they see is money.

  8. Kerrie Pickens
    Kerrie Pickens says:

    Is it just me or what. This rider in the video is the son of one of the trainers that is renowned for brutal treatment in warm-up pens. There is a new generation coming through with all those foul traits plus more. The whole sport rewards how much money you win so horses are tools to them nothing more. Reining horses (and all show horses) need absolute protection from these predators.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      The rider in the video is Kole Price. I don’t believe his dad rides horses.

      But 100% agree with you, and the fact that nothing has been done about this incident is mind boggling.

  9. Sally Kinder
    Sally Kinder says:

    Good intentions but vet has no hope. Reining (and all equestrian events) should be governed by FEI for drugs and welfare but reining has already failed to meet FEI standards with breaches of drug rules by daughter of board member, and abuse of horses by board members.

  10. Alice Flint
    Alice Flint says:

    I pray for the horses that are being drugged and abused and their safe passage away from these bastard trainers. Cheaters – that is what they are outright cheaters. Please clean up this sport and protect the horses over the feelings of the cheaters.

  11. Linda Busch
    Linda Busch says:

    The NRHA only cares about the money not about the horses. They quit with FEI because they were not willing to accept the rules. If you like horses do not join the NRHA


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