Weekend Warriors Could be Silent Abuse

Could this be abuse Big Fella? Lugging excess weight is really putting pressure on the horse, says the scientists. The horse suffers just to satisfy the weekend warrior.

You have to ask “does the warrior consider all the factors of animal welfare or just focus on getting a winning run?”

An owner of a racehorse puts a jockey on the horse. The jockey has weight restrictions on them and thoroughbreds typically run on the basis of 10% weight on their backs, including saddles. They are deemed under heavy stress when they carry more than 143 pounds or 65 kilograms. And only a rare individual can win major races with that weight aboard. That is the rules for racehorses that are working at the top of their game with extreme fitness galloping over distance.

Consider the reining horse. It not only has to gallop, they stop hard, spin hard and may well have more stress and strain on them than a racehorse. Some not even sufficiently prepared in fitness for the weekend runs.

In research presented in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, and published throughout the world as a benchmark and leading research paper, the weight carrying ability of a horse and the effects on them uncovered the degree of stress and soreness they experience.

The average weight of a quarter horse reiner standing 15hh, weighs in around 1000 pounds or 450 kilograms. Scientists say the correct weight carrying capacity of those horses is 15-20% of their body weight. With a saddle weighing an average of 55 pounds/25 kilograms, this allows for a rider weight of just 143 pounds/75 kilograms at 20% ratio. The more intense the work required by the horse, the less weight it must carry.

The big heavy reining rider in this photo is an example of what some reiners are expected to carry. You can see the pressure over the horse’s kidneys and back with the downward curve in the horse’s loins. Its not a photo angle, in fact it looks worse than this from different angles.

We were informed this person is approximately 6 foot tall, and can potentially weigh 286 pounds/130 kilograms, if not more, plus tack. According to scientists, he should be riding a horse weighing in at 1550 pounds/700 kilograms. That would usually a horse standing over 16.2hh with a solid build; like a warmblood. Or maybe not on a horse at all.

Should this person be riding futurity horses in a pen?

Big and/or overweight men and women, riding reining horses (and horses in other events) are causing consistent and maybe for some severe pain and suffering according to the researchers. While most healthy horses can easily carry a rider and saddle, they do have their limits, particularly in extreme reining maneuvers and all the time spent in the warm-up pen.

Researchers identified a threshold for when a rider is too heavy for a horse to comfortably carry them in normal riding. These researched horses were tested undertaking just walk-trot-canter, and not extreme moves of the reining pen. The additional stress of spinning, stopping and working at speed adding, even more, stress. The other allowance not considered is the stress on their legs hauling to and from events.

Reining horses are renowned for having the hightest levels of hock problems and carrying excessive weight is just adding to this problem.

In the research the heart rate was monitored, plasma lactate concentration was determined in jugular blood samples pre-exercise, immediately post-exercise, and 10 minutes post-exercise, with serum creatine kinase activity determined at the same times as plasma lactate concentrations, with additional samples collected at 24 hours and 48 hours post-exercise. Muscle soreness and muscle tightness scores were determined using a subjective scoring system 24 hours before and 24 hours after exercise.

Heart rates remained significantly higher when the horses carried 25 and 30% of their body weight. Plasma lactate concentrations immediately and 10 minutes after exercise differed when horses carried 30% of their body weight compared with 15, 20, and 25% weight carriage.

Horses tended to have a greater change in muscle soreness and muscle tightness when carrying 25% of their body weight, and a significant change in soreness and tightness scores was found in horses carrying 30% of their body weight. Add extreme maneurvers and you have a horse that is suffering in silence, particularly when put back on the trailer for the trip home.

Interestingly, this research from the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute has concluded with the same weight guideline as the US Calvary Manuals of Horse Management published in 1920.

Should there be a weight limit on those ‘Big Riders’ showing (even riding) reiners that are well over the limit?

Animal welfare or animal abuse is defined as using the horse to perform behaviors which causes physical or mental harm to horse whether intentionally or not.

The weight a reining horse carries in warm-up pens and competition can greatly affect its health and welfare; there are limits to what a horse can carry.

Next time you look at a ‘big sized’ person aboard a reining horse, consider the stress and silent abuse the horse experiences while these people entertain themselves.

We are polling for change at the NRHA, don’t forget to vote here.

 

A late footnote: Overweight English Riders are Asked to Dismount at a Show  – click here to read the article.

 

Reference: Evaluation of Indicators of Weight-Carrying Ability of Riding Horses : Debra M. Powell, MS, PhD Karen Bennett-Wimbush, MS, PhD, Amy Peeples, AAS, BS,  Maria Duthie, BS. Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, Wooster, Ohio

Reining Trainer Spurs Mare in the Face

These confronting images are how a man finds his horse after being in training with a high profile Australian Reining Trainer. Badly spurred with spur tracks down her sides and shoulders and even a spur tracks near her eye. He reports that the horse also had a torn tongue on both sides. It was reported that the trainer could not get the young mare to do flying lead changes; she was just two and half years of age. A young mare that is just starting out her career under saddle.

Spur Tracks On Shoulder and Sides

A reining enthusiast, has been concerned about putting this out in the open until now after seeing how much abuse goes on. Like many, he would consider his case to be unique, but people are quickly learning about other victims of abuse of their horses too.

Seeing the promotion of reining and select trainers, through marketing clinics and events, this man may have felt a degree of comfort from all the marketing, and the high profile individual marketed by the association.

So Who is the Trainer?

We are withholding his name at this time with the expectation it is the Reining Association or other reining trainers responsibility to ‘out’ the person.

However, researching online, the trainer states he is a multiple futurity champion, with many national awards too. Promoted by the association as one of the leading trainers in their country, this trainer travels the country giving clinics on training and horsemanship under the “Reining Trainers Professional” banner. An NRHA member competing in the show ring and a professional trainer. A known abuse offender being openly marketed and endorsed by the associations in that country.

Appearing on an NRHA affiliate website the trainer is endorsed as Professional Trainer with the following statement:

“Reining Professionals is an industry body establishing and governing standards for professional reining trainers in Australia. Members agree to uphold ethical treatment of horses in their training programmes and undertake continued education in the form of clinics, seminars and overseas studies to improve their service to their clients and develop the reining horse industry in general.

 A Reining Professional’s primary responsibility is to provide the highest quality service to their clients. They are to operate in a professional manner and at all times act with the highest degree of integrity. The list of Professionals below hold full financial membership and agree to be bound by the rules of the Reining Professionals ‘Code of Ethics’.”

The standards of this Reining Professionals certainly need to be questioned if the person training this mare is one of their best in the land down under. The public in Australia should be careful and prudent if selecting or using a Reining Professional trainer based on the evidence presented to us.

The reining enthusiast says he is expecting threats against him personally by the trainer for posting these images but informs us that he is not concerned. Typical behaviors of trainers and their friends that we wrote about in our article ‘Who is looking after the welfare of reining horses’.

Reining Trainers Enigma has people contacting us that were concerned about the repercussions of speaking out but now are gaining confidence to do so, to stamp out abuse. Their stories are disturbing as to what is really going on. Only when this is out in the open will changes be made to the standards of Professional Reining Trainers and the NRHA Rule Book.

Reining Trainers Enigma is about stopping horse abuse. If you would like to report an incident and photographs or video of the damage, please send it to us via Facebook or our website.

Please do not forget to vote on Polling For Change.

 

NRHA’s newest unofficial ambassador: Clinton Anderson

Clinton Anderson describes training techniques for a reining horse and children

NRHA has a new self-appointed ambassador of reining, Clinton Anderson of Downunder Horsemanship, a constant of the North American clinicians circuit in recent years. Anderson is taking his thousands of followers on the journey of training his NRHA reining futurity prospect Titan (aka Telling White Lies) and providing his opinion on training and horse management and all things imaginable for children and people.

He states “if your definition of an asshole is someone who tells the truth, speaks their mind, and is direct, then yes I’m a complete asshole”

Mr Anderson explains in part 4 video of Titan, released in June 2016, that it is right to

‘knock the shit’ out of a male teenager or horse to remind them there is a pecking order; regularly.

He goes on to share his opinion by ridiculing segments of society and shows contempt for other people. All this delivered in a narcissistic ego filled video under the guise of him telling it how it really is.

Click here to watch the interview slide to about the 9 minute mark and listen, or read a transcript of the media release.

With over 53,000 views of the video this is creating a social media storm.

As a member of the NRHA, in their welfare statement, he is expected to

care for and treat [a reining horse] as a member of the family, and that relationship is the essence of a members involvement in Reining. An interesting perspective of family is held by Mr Anderson.

They [NRHA] further state,

the NRHA promotes and stands by the wellbeing of the mind, body and spirit of the horse at all times. We expect our members to consider the welfare of their horses paramount and to always treat them with dignity, respect and compassion.

It is understood by horse people, [and parents] all stallions [horses and children] need boundaries but how you establish them is important. Firm and fair is a horseman’s approach to each individual situation. Is the video of his opinions way over the top to how he actually managed the stallion? After listening to all the video and/or reading all the transcript, would you say this is respectful and the way to treat a member of the family?

We can say that some people seeing Mr Anderson out and about, may want to give him a big warm down under holler and say ‘gidday arsehole’ and that is not for his horse management.

Does the NRHA condone Clinton Anderson’s behaviour?

In fact, the NRHA promotes Clinton Anderson as a corporate partner. An interesting partnership on the basis of their welfare statement.

 

A late note to this blog

Seems Clinton Anderson has been taking this approach for some time. Here is a snippet from his newsletter published by deserthorseinc.com. He is not misquoted as some say- he means every single word of it.

http_deserthorseinc.com_blog_category_horse-abuse_page_2

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.

Reining Trainer Charged with Horse Abuse

Reining Trainer Mark Arballo Sentenced In Felony Animal Cruelty Case

Written by Stacy Pigott on .

bella-gunnabe-giftedBella Gunnabe Gifted • Waltenberry photoOn May 27, reining trainer Mark Arballo was sentenced to three years probation on one count of felony animal cruelty in the September 2013 death of Bella Gunnabe Gifted. Arballo’s probation includes 180 days of home detention, as well as a stipulation prohibiting him from training horses for three years.

Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Gerard, of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, was present at the San Diego Superior Court, South County Division for sentencing. According to Gerard, approximately 12 “Bella” supporters were in attendance, two of which stood up and read letters to the court. Arballo also read a letter in which he maintained that Bella’s death was an accident.

Bella Gunnabe Gifted (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Bay Brim Hat x Hollywood Return) died at age 5 while in training with Arballo at owner Martha Torkington’s River Valley Ranch. Following an investigation by the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services, the district attorney charged Arballo with one count of felony animal cruelty under California Penal Code 597(a) in September 2014. He pled not guilty in October, but in late March, entered a plea of guilty to one charge of felony animal cruelty under PC597(b).

“There was the 597(a), and that essentially included the element of intent – that he intentionally tormented a horse. And 597(b) takes out the element of intent. So it just says that he did torment a horse,” Gerard explained. “It’s kind of a technical difference, but he [Arballo] didn’t want to plead to the intentional. For our purposes, it was still a felony. He admitted to tormenting the horse and torturing the horse and he got the same amount of time, so we were OK with him pleading to that.”

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office asked Judge Garry Haehnle to sentence Arballo to 365 days of custody. The subsequent judgment of three years of formal probation and 180 days home detention will be served in North Carolina, where Arballo currently resides.

Arballo will be monitored in San Diego through a SCRAM house arrest GPS monitoring device. He is only allowed to leave his residence for work, church or medical reasons. The sentence also included a Fourth waiver as a condition of probation, meaning that Arballo’s person, house or effects can be searched at any time without probable cause.

“He’s also not to train horses as a condition of probation,” said Gerard, adding that the issue of horse ownership represented a gray area. “We do know that he owns a horse. He [the judge] basically made it clear that he [Arballo] was not to be training or around horses, but the actual issue of him owning a horse wasn’t specifically addressed.”

While the normal court fees were imposed, Gerard said the issue of restitution was not brought before the court. “Mrs. Torkington said that she had already been made whole from the insurance payout, so we didn’t address it.” Torkington has filed a civil case against Arballo and his girlfriend, Patricia Hohl, that is still pending in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego – Central Division. A tentative civil jury trial date of Jan. 29, 2016 has been set.

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) handbook addresses court of law convictions and allows the NRHA to discipline a member if there is a conviction of an individual felony, animal abuse or moral turpitude under municipal, county, state or federal law. According to the NRHA publication The Reiner, Arballo’s NRHA membership is currently suspended. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) previously sent notice to Arballo, who was not an AQHA member at the time, that the association had imposed restrictions on him, including the denial of privileges associated with conducting registration-related transactions with the AQHA and participation in any AQHA event.

“It was a newer case to our office, and I think it was something that was very close to the horse community’s heart,” Gerard said. “We did get a lot of media attention from the equine community and from what I’ve understood, they were very pleased with the outcome that he was not able to train horses. And that was ultimately our goal as well. We wanted to make sure that, for at least the three years that we could, he was not going to be near another horse.”  Read more: http://quarterhorsenews.com/#ixzz4CADejo5b

As a follow-up to this article on September 13th, 2016

– Abusive horse trainer ordered to pay $160,000 settlement 9-13-16

Mark Arballo is paying a price now for his actions and it will set a precident for all other trainers facing action against them for horse abuse.

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.

Horse trainer fined $4,000 for abusive training methods

On March 27, 2013, the Alberta SPCA received a call from a concerned individual who had seen a trainer injuring a horse through the aggressive use of his spurs and reins.

The caller had photographed the horse’s injuries: numerous deep cuts to the sides of the animal, which resulted in significant bleeding, as well as bleeding from the mouth. The witness also gave our peace officer a video recording of the same trainer injuring a different horse in the same fashion, with the same results, earlier in February 2013.

During the course of the investigation, more people came forward with information. They all described incidents where the trainer was observed injuring and causing distress to horses with training methods that are not acceptable to the riding community. His methods included using spurs intended to cut into the flesh, tying back a horse’s head and withholding feed and water.

Kyle Ronald Weston pleaded guilty in Grande Prairie Provincial Court on February 15, 2014, to four counts relating to section 2(1) of the Animal Protection Act. He was fined a total of $4,000.

February 15, 2014, Grande Prairie

Read about the charges and $160,000 fine Mark Arballo received on September 13th, 2016 for horse abuse.

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.