Futurity Bound; the secrets to winning

Behind the plethora of images showing the famous reining horse slide, is a sport that is coming into question more and more by the public and a small number of members within the sport. The Hollywood style images are blinding individuals of having a conscious with lack of care toward the star of all the shows; the horse.

The world has changed with instant media. People are aware and concerned about what is going on behind the scenes of reining; their expectations and tolerance of dated standards are over. The feedback of cruelty occurring is sickening.

 

As some owners and trainers show a menacing compulsive obsession toward winning, that seemingly crosses the line to no longer caring about the horses; just the prize money and bright lights of the Hollywood style futurity events.

Some well-known industry stalwarts have publicly communicated their distress as hundreds, if not thousands, of 2 year-olds being started world-wide with only a handful coming through. Many dumped within months as trainers look for their next big prize. Some of those horses that fail to make the journey suffering life-ending injuries, others crippled, broken and damaged cast aside by owners that have no interest in anything that is not a futurity prospect. Some poor souls are ending up being slaughtered. One well known top breeder left the sport saying “I can no longer live with what the horses go through, so I am out of the business.”

People raising concerns are publicly ‘bullied online’ for daring to question any practices, training or conduct associated with the sport. Rebuffing any points raised as a lack of knowledge of this what they attempt to call unique sport. Their top statements are:

  1. You know nothing about the sport
  2. You don’t know what it takes to win
  3. You’re not a trainer what you would know
  4. You are one of those PETA or animal rights people

Share the article to Facebook, and they will all appear stating you are wrong.

Outside the bubble of reining, observers are shocked at what it takes to win, and they don’t like what they see. People who are highly experienced horseman and horsewoman from other disciplines cringing.

The prize money is much bigger, and the horse is paying the price.

The reining fraternity is showing no care for public opinion as its vocal members attempt to belittle observers. Their attitude is it is better to attack the evidence-based opinion than acknowledge, little own fix the problem? Some members have shown their outright recklessness denying proven court documents, videos, and images of abuse. Some enablers are holding themselves up as experts of the reining industry. There is a special place for those people as they enable abusers.

Behind closed Facebook walls a well known NRHA person writes but publicly denies any issues.

The saddest of all is the members of the sport are forced to choose their involvement over horse welfare. They write of the pressure applied for daring to speak out they live in fear of being kicked to the curb for daring to comment or acknowledge anything off script to the Kool-Aid Elixir mantra. The ironic statement is seen consistently ‘I can say this as I am no longer a member.’ Others write they are fed up with the abuse and left the sport.

What type of person decides that the welfare of the horse is no longer a priority? Denying science and logic and convinced that horses enjoy coping the excessive spurring and jerking and all other manner of things to control the animal’s movement and thinking. Could it be that the Elixir has been carefully brewed and shaped for many years? An Elixir that appeals to some people that need to idolize and be accepted in the crowd. The only thing in their life is to gain attention through the horse’s success no matter what it costs the horse? People easily awed by the shiny lights and smooth talking trainers.

Long-standing well-respected members write of their concern over the changes being seen in the sport in training styles and treatment of horses. Some cite the horse now is seemingly a disposable product.

One person writing “they pay $100k for the horse – they don’t want a pet it has to win.”

Trainers rule with an iron-fist quickly dismissing any questions of poor conduct with the slickness of a car salesman and with the prowess of well-practiced responses. The NRHA board, stocked with trainers governing the behavior of their cohorts. To the point of welfare, the focus on medications over abuse exists in the rule book as they attempt to block fellow trainers from gaining a competitive advantage through mixtures of cocktails in drugs. The sometimes abusive journey of how the horse gets to the show a seemingly low priority compared to drugging, based on the imbalance of rules in the handbook and enforcement.

As a sport in quarter horse events internationally, the number of members is just some 11,000 with active members lower numbers. It assimilates to being a small cult-like group of people with the obsession of the Futurity and the sensation of sliding. Culminated in the annual pilgrimage to the Futurity.

It is time for the rules to change and the NRHA to show compassion for the horses over the passion for the dollar.

To vote for change click here

Experienced any abuse and believe hiding it will not solve the problem? It is time to start outing this sport for what really goes on.

© Reiningtrainers.com

 

Reining Horse Slides

The reining slide or reining stop is heralded as the hero maneuver of the reining event. It is the extreme and unnatural maneuver of horses sliding 20-30-40 feet on specially designed plates (shoes). It is what the crowd whoop n holler about and people expect to see when they go to a show. But are they all stopping like that?

With strict regulations on photography at events, allowing only approved images into the market, most people only see the manicured and exceptional – the 5% that can actually slide. The ones that photographers skillfully take to show the brilliance of a good horse stopping. Images for magazines and advertisements. Usually with trainers that have spent years training – and brag of the tens of thousands of slides they have done to reach this pinnacle. The horses stopped from the time they are broken in nearly every ride until the 3 yo futurity event. That’s on average 3,000 stops per futurity training program. Read our article on the damage during sliding training.

For the rest of the time it’s a whole different story and its about as ugly as you can get. Horses tortured by riders as the horses attempt to get the job done.

  • Bouncing on their backs,
  • hauling on their mouths,
  • Poorly shod and horses doing the splits,
  • Throwing their legs high instead for striding,
  • Heads pulled under their chests,
  • Backs hollow attempting to get away from the heavy hands,
  • And the list goes on.

Go to an event away from the Hollywood lights and this is what you see, week in and week out. Where the cameras are not controlled and audiences get to see what the majority of horses experience.

This is what most reining horses lives look like.  Ooouch !

     

What do you think of the sport of reining that most horses experience?

 

horse sliding to a stop

How Stupid are Reining Trainers and Their Reining Slide Training Programs?

Look Mom – Look how far my 2yo reining futurity horse and do a reining slide! Like a little child on a bike riding no hands, reining trainers continue to post videos and brag with their buddies, continually sliding the 2yo prospects like they are grown horses.

They ignorantly or stupidly think that if the horse is not lame, then all’s good to go, as like their owners, once again showing their limited capacity to understand science and function. See enough of the videos and visit barns, and you quickly come to realize that reining should be called sliding as nothing else matters. Gosh, you see trainers and their owners bragging that on ride 14 the horse is sliding!

These less than bright trainers, have failed to learn that just because a horse can slide does not mean you put that into their 2 yo program. Whatever happened to longevity? Oh, that’s right Reining Trainer, you only have to get to 2yo futurity sale or 3yo November. After that who cares.

Some even boast about their preventive treatment to care for the horse, with the vets arriving to inject their hocks. The vets sure don’t want this news getting out that they may be focused on the wrong areas! The reining slide is the trademark and if a horse is not dragging its butt then it has no value in their world.

Sitting at the futurity sale, I watched a few 2yo prospects come out that have the maneuvers of a senior horse. They were slick looking horses prepared for sale and ridden hard all designed to push the price high. Those butts were dragging and those little babies were giving it their all.

As we sat there, we once again how money had overtaken the welfare of the reining horse. The desire to have the next big champion had people’s hands high or they did secret deals out the back, so the horse was passed in, so the story goes.

Chatting afterward, we remembered the stories of growth plates in horses and decided to go back and look for the facts on what is happening with these beautiful babies, and all the ones back in barns and those thrown on the scrap heap. Its industry standard to start them in full training at 2, and for some 18 months. Some even believe that if they ride the horse the most times, they will win.

Now we all have heard how Reining Trainers think they know more than vets and science and apply their bizarre thinking that comes from a barn floor to train and vet horses (and spread it to gullible owners), but world experts say a little different.

If you struggle to read science or long articles with no pictures, you may want to get someone to read it to you. It’s a long read, but you may learn something and take more care of your beautiful babies if you love them and not just drink Kool-Aid.

His legs won’t fail you, but his back will, especially when you need him to reining slide.

Dr. Deb Bennett is a world-renowned vet and conformation specialist. She rides and competes giving 360-degree view of horses.

A few years back she wrote the following article explaining about growth rates of the different areas of the horse. For those that work youngsters under 3 – read the part about ‘schedule of fusion’ very carefully….and perhaps reconsider your training methods and timing.

“Just about everybody has heard of the horse’s “growth plates,” and commonly when I ask ’em, people tell me that the “growth plates” are somewhere around, or in, the horse’s knees (actually they’re located at the bottom of the radius-ulna bone just above the knee). This is what gives rise to the saying that, before riding the horse, it’s best to wait “until his knees close” (i.e., until the growth plates fuse to the bone shaft and cease to be separated from it by a layer of slippery, crushable cartilage).

What people often don’t realize is that there is a “growth plate” on either end of EVERY bone behind the skull, and in the case of some bones (like the pelvis, which has many “corners”) there are multiple growth plates. So do you then have to wait until ALL these growth plates fuse? No. But the longer you wait, the safer you’ll be. Owners and trainers need to realize there’s a definite, easy -to- remember schedule of fusion – and then make their decision as to when to ride the horse based on that rather than on the external appearance of the horse.

For there are some breeds of horse – the Quarter Horse is the premier among these – which have been bred in such a manner as to LOOK mature long before they actually ARE mature.

This puts these horses in jeopardy from people who are either ignorant of the closure schedule or more interested in their own schedule (for futurities or other competitions) than they are in the welfare of the animal. The process of fusion goes from the bottom up. In other words, the lower down toward the hoofs you look, the earlier the growth plates will have fused; and the higher up toward the animal’s back you look, the later.

The growth plate at the top of the coffin bone (the most distal bone of the limb) is fused at birth. What this means is that the coffin bones get no TALLER after birth (they get much larger around, though, by another mechanism). That’s the first one.

In order after that:

  1. Short pastern – top & bottom between birth and 6 mos.
  2. Long pastern – top & bottom between 6 mo. and 1 yr.
  3. Cannon bone – top & bottom between 8 mo. and 1.5 yrs.
  4. Small bones of knee – top & bottom on each between 1.5 and 2.5 yrs.
  5. Bottom of radius-ulna – between 2 and 2.5 yrs.
  6. Weight-bearing portion of the glenoid notch at top of radius – between 2.5 and 3 yrs.
  7. Humerus – top & bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.
  8. Scapula – glenoid or bottom (weight-bearing) portion – between 3.5 and 4 yrs.
  9. Hindlimb – lower portions same as forelimb
  10. Hock – this joint is “late” for as low down as it is; growth plates on the tibial & fibular tarsals don’t fuse until the animal is four (so the hocks are a known “weak point” – even the 18th-century literature warns against driving young horses in plow or other deep or sticky footing, or jumping them up into a heavy load, for danger of spraining their hocks)
  11. Tibia – top & bottom, between 2.5 and 3 yrs.
  12. Femur – bottom, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.; neck, between 3.5 and 4 yrs.; major and 3rd trochanters, between 3 and 3.5 yrs.
  13. Pelvis – growth plates on the points of hip, peak of croup (tubera sacrale), and points of buttock (tuber ischii), between 3 and 4 yrs. …and what do you think is last? The vertebral column of course.

A normal horse has 32 vertebrae between the back of the skull and the root of the dock, and there are several growth plates on each one, the most important of which is the one capping the centrum.

These do not fuse until the horse is at least 5 1/2 years old (and this figure applies to a small-sized, scrubby, range-raised mare. The taller your horse and the longer its neck, the later full fusion will occur. And for a male – is this a surprise? — you add six months.

The lateness of vertebral “closure” is most significant for two reasons.

One: in no limb are there 32 growth plates!

Two: The growth plates in the limbs are (more or less) oriented perpendicular to the stress of the load passing through them, while those of the vertebral chain are oriented parallel to weight placed upon the horse’s back.

Bottom line: you can sprain a horse’s back (i.e., displace the vertebral growth plates) a lot more easily than you can sprain those located in the limbs.

And here’s another little fact: within the chain of vertebrae, the last to fully “close” are those at the base of the animal’s neck (that’s why the long-necked individual may go past 6 yrs. to achieve full maturity). So you also have to be careful – very careful – not to yank the neck around on your young horse, or get him in any situation where he strains his neck (i.e., better learn how to get a horse broke to tie before you ever tie him up, so that there will be no likelihood of him ever pulling back hard. And readers, if you don’t know how to do this, then please somebody write in and ask!).

What is very unlikely to happen is that you’ll damage the growth plates in his legs. At the worst, there may be some crushing of the cartilages, but the number of cases of deformed limbs due to early use is tiny. The reining-horse futurity people, who are big into riding horses as young as a year and a half, will tell you this and they are quite correct. Want to damage legs? There’s a much better way – just overfeed your young-stock

More likely is that you’ll cause structural damage to his back.

So, what’s to worry about? Well…did you ever wish your horse would “round up” a little better? Collect a little better? Respond to your leg by raising his back, coiling his loins, and getting his hindquarter up underneath him a little better?

The young horse knows, by feel and by “instinct” that having a weight on his back puts him in physical jeopardy. I’m sure that all of you start your young-stock in the most humane and considerate way that you know how, and just because of that, I assure you that after a little while, your horse knows exactly what that saddle is and what that situation where you go to mount him means. And he loves you, and he is wiser than you are, so he allows this. But he does not allow it foolishly, against his deepest nature, which amounts to a command from the Creator that he must survive; so when your foot goes in that stirrup, he takes measures to protect himself. The measures he takes are the same ones YOU would take in anticipation of a load coming onto your back: he stiffens or braces the muscles of his top line, and to help himself do that he may also brace his legs and hold his breath (“brace” his diaphragm).

The earlier you choose to ride your horse, the more the animal will do this, and the more often you ride him young, the more you reinforce in his mind the necessity of responding to you in this way. So please – don’t come crying to me when your 6-year-old (that was started under saddle as a two year old) proves difficult to round up! (Not that I’m not gonna help you but GEEZ). If he does not know how to move with his back muscles in release, he CANNOT round up!! So – bottom line – if you are one of those who equate “starting” with “riding”, then I guess you better not start your horse until he’s four.

That would be the old, traditional, worldwide view: introduce the horse to equipment (all kinds of equipment and situations) when he’s two, crawl on and off of him at three, saddle him to begin riding him and teaching him to guide at four, start teaching him manoeuvres or the basics of whatever job he’s going to

End of article:

An entire industry built and regulated on training horses hard at 2 year old and finished their careers as a 4 year old. Spurred, punished and belted for not complying with what the horse instinctively knows is going to, and is hurting it.

But then science is wrong for many as the horse looks okay. His eye is bright, and he’s healthy. He is loved and cared for like a prince. Its just he is a bad minded horse that won’t gets his hocks under him and round up – after all, we have done for (to) him.

Sell him and buy another youngster that is better minded says mister Reining Trainer. We can train him for the futurities and you might get some of your money back.

We used to say a horse has only so many slides in it, so use them wisely and carefully. A good learning lost on today’s trainers.

Dont forget to vote to change the welfare rules for reining horses.

© 2018 reiningtrainers.com All rights reserved.

Isn’t It Abuse No Matter How You Attempt to Justify It?

The reining horse training is now renowned for the excessive spurring and jerking of the horses which can be seen in many warm-up pen at shows across the world. People cringe at the movement of a western pleasure horse but they are shocked about what they see away from shows or in the early hours of the morning at big shows.

Reiners say it is done with masterful techniques but a trip to horse show tells a different story when you see it first hand. Craig Schmersal Top 20 Reining Trainer looks very masterful in this old photo taken at FEI competition as he runs spurs up the sides under the saddle and leans over the wither to gain more leverage hauling on the horses mouth in a curb bit. A quick look at a recent show and you can see its an epidemic style.

Reiners claim that anyone not seeing it is masterful must be from PETA or a tree-hugger. It is become laughable to hear as some of their own high profile people start to break away and state it is abuse and excessive abuse, throwing a spear into the heart of their well rehearsed lines.

You just have see the poorly managed tempers and frustration taken out on the horse while their egos take over in the relentless show down between riders of who is bigger and better in the warm up pen.

The un-inducted and non-reining horse people are often left speechless as they watch how these horses are trained to achieve those moments of flashiness in the show ring. Many observers coming away with the conclusion that it is abuse; something any reining horse rider denies. They deny it publicly but jump into their private groups and they talk of excessive abuse and cite things that leave you shaking your head. Those writers are fearful of speaking out or they will be out of the ‘family’. The people relationships being more important than horse welfare.

Reiners believe that the obsession with over bent head sets and hauling on reins is fine. As like the believe that constant spurring is fine. The running of horses from end to end of the warm-up until they are exhausted known as fencing. Some horses actually running head first into the wall. Their best excuses heard as the blood drips from the horses sides and mouths as they apply their ‘kind and masterful’ spurring and jerking. A quick bit of show ring preparation of rubbing sand from arena surface and a towel through the mouth before they enter the show ring.

Sitting high in the stands, are the crowd and judges, often unable to see the evidence from afar. They only care about the lights – show – action for a brief couple of minutes. The show stewards seemingly caring more about group acceptance than welfare.

What is seen is the show ring is polar opposites to what goes on behind the scenes and back home in the barn but the gullible believe its all loose reins and soft.

The argument is always ‘what is abuse’? Smooth talking trainers could talk their way out of any corner with a justification and often ‘baffle owners and non-pro’s with BS of what is or is not abuse. It would be a fool of a trainer that would actually stand there and say ‘hell yeah, I abuse horses’ instead they craft magical tales to deflect the obvious to person intend on believing anything but the truth.

The FEI, the international body governing horse events defines abuse simply.

Article 142 – Abuse of Horses
1. No person may abuse a Horse during an Event or at any other time. “Abuse” means an action or omission which causes or is likely to cause pain or unnecessary discomfort to a Horse, including without limitation any of the following:
– To whip or beat a Horse excessively;
– To subject a Horse to any kind of electric shock device;
– To use spurs excessively or persistently;
– To jab the Horse in the mouth with the bit or any other device;
– To compete using an exhausted, lame or injured Horse;
– To “rap” a Horse.
– To abnormally sensitise or desensitise any part of a Horse;
– To leave a Horse without adequate food, drink or exercise;
– To use any device or equipment which cause excessive pain to the Horse upon knocking down an obstacle.

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) also run world title events with reining. Their rules implicitly consider excessive spurring and jerking as abuse too.

The NRHA, however, believes all is good, and no changes have been made to rules to address this now worldwide epidemic of abuse again this year.

The definition of a reining horse is: The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely. Any movement on his own must be considered a lack of control.

The dictation has gone too far but those saturated within the system cannot see the woods for the trees. They believe the Kool-Aid.

Sending horses to reining trainers can be a big mistake for many horses with an increasing number landing in the discarded yard.

Please click on our poll and vote for change to the rules.

One of these Reining Professional Trainers is a convicted horse abuser?

Do you know who? Would you know if any of the Reining Professional Trainers have records for convicted horse abusers or NRHA reports for horse abuse?

Right now, there is a person who is a repetitive horse abuser, charged in a court of law in recent years, is promoting his status as an NRHA Professional.

At the court hearing for horse abuse, witnesses came forward and told how they had seen this man over a number of different incidents, over time, cause harm and severe distress to horses on his property, even leaving them tied high without food and water for extended periods of time. The horse in questions showed severely gauged and blooded horse sides and mouth photos were sickening. Evidence from other horses were presented. He pleaded guilty to four counts of horse abuse.

That man now struts around promoting the badge of honor of being an NRHA Professional. He has a shiny website and a FaceBook page that tells a great story. He has the videos and all the trimmings. You would think you are booking your horse into one of the safest barns because he is an NRHA Professional. A highly promoted standard of the NRHA.

He appears at shows, and you could be unaware of his track record for abuse as only those in the inner circle may know, and they do not speak ill of their ‘family’. It is like horrible Uncle Bill, knowing he commits domestic violence but no-one interferes with many excuses as to why.

His fellow trainers and NRHA Professionals are slapping him on the back saying what a good man he is, knowing full well of his history. Probably thinking it is a shame he got caught. They welcome him and join him in the festivities before, during and after the shows.

Is a convicted multiple time horse abuser the standard of horse management they accept in the NRHA? 

With first-hand knowledge of this person and his conviction, the NRHA has approved his membership, and he has passed the litmus test of the board being ‘a person in good standing.’ They have even gone on to approve his membership as an NRHA Professional Trainer.

Here is his handy work on the a horse he was entrusted with to train and severly abused including a torn tongue and bleeding mouth. Is this how you train a reining horse?

The question is “how many other horse abusers are out there promoting themselves as NRHA Professionals or Reining Professionals and the public are not being informed?”

How do you find out who it is? All the trainers and die hard reining enthusiasts chasing the lights, stick together and keep those skeletons hidden behind barn doors.

In fact, many equine victims and their owners are hunted off to the abyss away from the sport to remove all evidence as though they committed the crime not the trainer. We have many tales posted by the public of the horrific suffering that left the sport. Some NRHA members doing everything they can to deflect and whitewash the fact ‘a convicted horse abuser is accepted as an a-ok trainer for reining horses’. They even attempt to deny abuse is occuring and have become online trolls attempting to gang bash any one who makes a comment about concern for reiners.

Times have changed and these barbaric practices and guarding of the guilty are over. Society no longer accepts this attitude and any association or its members supporting such practices is as guilty as those who commit the abuse. Those bad apples need to be ejected from the sport, whether they are on the board of directors or in a barn out west.

Please click here and vote for change and improved transparency and accountability of reining trainers.

Wondered who it is and can’t find out elsewhere, click on the image.

©2017 Reining Trainers Enigma. All Rights Reserved

Are Reining Trainers Getting Away with Blocking Tails to Win?

The trainer or non-pro is riding to win, but that dang horse’s tail keeps wringing. It is not a penalty but it detracts from the overall quality of the run, and the score goes down. There is a fix for that; tail blocking or nerving the tail.  If you watch reining classes or are loping around in a warm-up pen, you will see a tail just hanging flat even in spins, slides, back-ups and fast circles.

Under the medications rule it is illegal, but have you ever seen someone being pulled out of competition for a lifeless tail? Most likely not. Are the horses drug tested – rarely.

The tail of a horse indicates its discomfort, pain, frustration or annoyance. The vision of a horse wringing its tail when spinning, lead changing, backing up could see you lose a ½ point or more in quality on a maneuver. Over a few maneuvers, those points can be slipping away quickly and out of the money. Is the risk of blocking worth it? For some, yes as they know they will not be pulled up by judges and stewards if they have the right friends and influence. You just have to look at the irregular application of fines and penalties.

Tail swishing is often linked to poor training methods, improper use of spurs, or to the horse being “ring sour,” i.e. burned-out on competition or being hammered day-in-day-out in their training program. If they have a horse that is a top contender, but the horse lets the world know its issues, then the line of ethical and unethical is confronted.

How do some reiners solve the problem; numb or nerve block the sensation of the nerve endings so the horse cannot move the tail.

Now the reining people will start shouting this down as that is how they manage all awareness of cruelty going on in their sport. Intimate, deny and bully. The more they shout, the more likely you have hit a nerve, so to speak.

A horses tail is part of its spine and plays and important role in their balance. While there are signals of problems with the horse, prior blocking, the issues increase ten-fold when they lose the function that is part of their balance to perform.

Tailing blocking is quite controversial because many seem to believe nothing is wrong with the practice and it can be done without a trace (sometimes). Like all cruelty, its justifiable to anyone who is over-trusting, stupid or gullible enough to listen. After all, many think it is only temporary. Wrong.

Trainers can nerve tails without owners even knowing, just to keep the horse in the barn or to win an event. Some get away with it time after time. It is only the physical evidence that tells the owner something is seriously wrong, if they visit the horse at the barn. If they care for their horse they will be seeking for justice, but the NRHA does not impose fines on anyone outside of a show event. Most tail nerving problems occur back at the barn before a horse gets a show. The barn is where the NRHA hides behind their (un)governed code of ethics for all trainers that is not enforced. Why have a code of ethics if its not enforced on those that signed up for it???

What horses suffer from tail blocking

There are many cases where the tail blocking is permanent, and more than people may realize. The tail is left damaged, hanging limply with the horse defecating all over itself cause it cannot move the tail to the side. The mare is peeing down herself. The horse cannot flick flies away. The horse becomes an invalid, requiring frequent daily attention to wipe the manure and urine away. Without the manual cleaning, the horse can become flyblown. Mares can become infected in the uterus and become problem breeders or barren.

Another complication that may occur is a temporary inability to defecate and/or urinate due to paralysis of the muscles that control rectum and bladder emptying. This requires veterinary care to assist the animal to defecate and urinate. In extreme cases, especially if the alcohol injected migrates from the tail to nearby muscles and skin, damage can be so severe that necrosis can set in. Another damaging outcome is the development of a form of body paralysis due to nerve damage in the hindquarters.

These can be problems for a few weeks or months, but many have permanent damage with owners sending them to the slaughterhouse.

How is the tail blocked or nerved?

The tail can be blocked by veterinarians, much like a nerve blocking to a leg. However, more often it is done using alcohol for the cheap, untraceable, behind the barn version that no-one is to know about. The bad trainers and owners preferred method.

The major nerves of a horse’s tail are injected with alcohol to stop the horse’s ability to lift, or even move it’s tail. The results from injecting can be the introduction of an infection to the tail. Tail circulation is poor, and injuries are slow to heal, and infections can persist and spread into the leg, into the back, etc. Worst case, you have a dead horse on your hands.

While simple local anesthetics could be used, such medications can show up in drug tests.

Conversely, grain alcohol acts locally and degrades the myelin sheaths of the nerves so that the horse cannot move its tail. Injections are usually applied directly to the tail at a certain point at the base of the dock. If the wrong point is used the problems of infection escalate. Some inject slightly down from the base of the dock so that the horse may appear to carry its tail in a natural manner, but only for the first few inches, and the animal still cannot move the entire tail structure. This is often undetectable, though injections can sometimes leave white spots above the tail dock like the horse in the image or the sliding horse with obvious tail marks in the main image. These are often treated with hair die to cover the evidence at shows.

Needless to say, with an untraceable drug used; tail blocking can, and is, happening more than one cares to believe.

While promoters of the practice claim that most grain alcohol injections eventually wear off, if done carefully, a poorly done injection can cause abscesses or permanent nerve damage. Sometimes normal tail function never returns.

Read the story of Gator, where a trainer convinced an owner it was just the done thing to inject tails. Gator went from a world champion paint contender to a long-suffering, then ultimately a pasture horse.

Next time you see a reining horse flying down the pen with a flat tail – you are most likely looking at a blocked tail. Take note if the judges or stewards do anything about it on the day. Were drug tests being done? Most likely not according to the low number of horses tested. Does the person appear in the suspended list?

Don’t forget to vote on our poll for change to improve the regulations to stop this happening.

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.