Million dollar reining trainer, 14 times world champion, two times NRHA futurity champion and one of the most respected people in the reining sport, with an international reputation, Craig Johnson has posted to his Facebook Page on May 29th, 2017 a confession regarding the reining horse sport. Craig writes – “I was asked the other day at an NRHA event by one of the other million dollar riders if I had retired. Umm.”
“Maybe it’s because I’m no longer willing to do the things I use to, and things I’ve seen, in order to make a horse do what it takes.”
“Maybe I’m not interested until I find a better way. Maybe I’m home experimenting with a better way. Maybe I think we should take longer, wait on horses, and create something that is broke, sound, and happy for years.”
“Maybe I’m not as selfish as I use to be. Maybe I’ve decided it’s more about the horse and what it wants to be rather than what I need it to be.”
“No I haven’t retired, I have evolved.”
There are many other similar statements throughout his confession. A confession of major significance and confronts all those people that say that horses are not started too early, broken down, forced to fulfill giant egos. You only need to read our other posts and people’s stories on our website and Facebook page comments on the atrocities that these horses endure to fulfill the dreams of desperate trainers and their limelight hunting owners wanting instance results and futurity glory. An association driven by making money from horses and lauding their positions over the small membership of just 11,000 odd people globally.
His intent may have been to promote himself to other equine disciplines like ranch riding, or maybe to distance himself from the now epidemic of abuse in the international reining sport. Only he knows the intent of his confession, but the statements made are loud and clear.
Yes, you may be evolving Craig Johnson, but the proof of how far you have evolved is when you use your status to change the rules of the NRHA and influence trainers to back off and put the horses before themselves and selfish limelight hunting owners. Maybe some others will follow in your enlightened example, and the abuse of these beautiful horses will no longer be acceptable at shows and home at their barns. It will be interesting to see what other reining trainers will stand at your shoulder and what you do from here on.
One thing is for sure, the denial that exists from within the industry is now out in the open; exposed by one of their own. Those ego driven and unenlightened people, living in the reining bubble now shown up for their ignorance and/or denial as the horses are made to perform at the cost of their welfare and wellbeing.
His confession speaks volumes to the reining horse sport, the NRHA that defines it and those trainers that endorse what the horses now endure.
We have been asking for change, and the million dollar rider is confirming why we are right!
Please vote for Change on our Poll – click on the link.