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:
- You know nothing about the sport
- You don’t know what it takes to win
- You’re not a trainer what you would know
- 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.