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FEI says goodbye to the Reiners

Following years of controversy over horse abuse and high levels of drugging, the FEI is finally disconnected from the sport of reining.

Insiders at the FEI and connections say that they have been working to find a way to disconnect from the NRHA reiners without bringing a further spotlight on the abuse and drugging and creating further shame on FEI events.

In this latest move, the FEI has terminated their agreement with both the NRHA and AQHA. The FEI  issued a statement Tuesday highlighting its position on three provisions of the agreement – classes for horses age 7 and older, stewarding requirements and medication regulations. Drug report from FEI Nov 18

The reining horse industry, although promoting they are growing, and their passion for horses have an ever-growing record of abuse and show little evidence of a desire to improve it. The public are becoming more aware of the abuse applied to the training of these horses and are not accepting it.

Everyone remembers the vile video and images of Craig Schmerscal and Martin Muehlstaetter at FEI in Europe where people saw firsthand the degree of abuse these horses suffer. The domination and spurring that makes peoples skin crawl.

The daughter of a board member Roseanne Sternberg, riding Shiners Chic tested positive to the banned steroid stanozololfailing and was suspended. It is reported in some media that over the period of the agreement, the NRHA has the highest positive drug test results of all FEI sports.

Maybe this is the bell tolling on yet another chapter of reining slowly imploding as the general public step away and those with a conscious toward horse welfare cease membership and involvement.

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(C) 2018 Reiningtrainers.com

 

 

 

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.

Serial Reining Horse Abuser Brags Publicly about not being Caught

Horse Abuser Brags of his horrendous treatment of horses and people flock to him for advice on reining horse training.

Warning this is traumatizing to read for horse lovers.

As he wanders the world, staying at people’s properties for weeks and months assisting them training their horses, they open their doors while knowing his reputation for horse abuse.

These old trainers are often referred to as a barn flies. They brag about their knowledge and mumble about their success from by-gone years while skiting, unfiltered, about their conquests of cruelty to win a prize. Their audience of people finding it entertaining as they break the lines of what is abuse and use the mental ramblings and techniques in pursuit of winning. Old-timers swap stories trying to out do the others sitting around squatting barn flies. The horse – nothing but a piece of meat to take out their tortuous theories on to be the winner.

In his bizarre ramblings claiming to have Ph.D. in Psychology, this man enjoys, if not boasts of the cruelty he has inflicted on horses to win. We are sure The Ohio State University is proud of their Ph.D. graduate and the emotional intelligence he gained from a Ph.D. Shame they did not teach him how to spell and string a sentence together nor reference the Ph.D. in the correct format. We would enjoy that certificate of achievement being published with his name on it.

Farcically, this man bursting out against the cruelty that is alleged to have occurred on two semi-finalists in the recent NRHA Futurity claiming he has a video of quivering lips with a loose curb chain as the wire in its mouth took effect in the full knowledge of NRHA Directors and professionals. His attack aimed at the NRHA with little regard to the horse. A horseman would have filed a protest against the horse’s trainer and owner. But that is a whole other story.

On his public Facebook page, he writes of his opinions and conquests and of course, his best friend Tommy Manion, extreme horse abuser who has been suspended many times across different disciplines.

Proud of his conquests he brags:

All we can say is sickening. You don’t need to be PETA or an animal rights extremist to know how sick that is.

Not satisfied in shocking the world with that pearl of information he goes on to say:

Was it necessary?  Heck no. The photo on this page is Hollywood Jac 86 – one of the greatest horses in reining history. A hall of fame horse and hall of fame sire. His floppy ears never stopped him earning. Thanks to the person who messaged us and reminded of this great horse’s ears for comparison.

While many reining horse people support this man, others have a different view. Some top trainers employ him to improve their training skills. Those that have been in the sport for a few years are fully aware of the barbaric treatment he has put horses through. At any time, he could be a hair trigger away from applying it on any horse.

He brags about his talent in not getting caught:

There is commentary that he has been suspended, but a review of the NRHA disciplinary list and his name does not appear. Some people want him banned, and many others in the reining horse community are strong supporters.

Those long-standing people talk of firsthand experience of the horror of things seen when visiting his barn. They talk about his reputation for crippling and killing horses.

What his posts do show, in our opinion, is a person with no emotional intelligence, a person that has little to no ability to show concern for the welfare of a horse. Any teachings he does would be potentially doused in cruelty as he has no measure of what is right and wrong. To the people that he spends time with “Your Vibe is your Tribe.”

Did you miss who this person is: Meet Larry Rose (the guy on the left) on his public Facebook page.  Scroll down and you will see all the people he hangs out with and those that support him. You will see him also going out of his way to be pictured with the famous people of reining to make a bigger man of himself.

Best of all read the most ironic post at the top of the page – he is anti-cheaters. But does he consider cheating differently from abuse?

Then there is the Larry Rose Fan Page with currently 191 people registered that say he is the greatest. There is a saying about the company you keep, so you may want to jot their names down.

If you wish to have a real good belly laugh then head on over there and read about how Larry Rose is going to save NRHA and is best buddies with the NRHA directors. What a team?

WHY YOU NEED RULES IMPROVED?

Can anyone explain how a person like this that publicly confirms abuse for many years can be tolerated to be part of any horse sport? The members open their arms to him?

He should be banned from having anything to do with horses or animals for life.

Vote for Change in the Rules and Enforcement of Rules by clicking here.

© 2017 reiningtrainers.com

Only Old Women Care About Horse Welfare?

We sat and listened to a high profile NRHA judge & former western sport board member at a judging seminar state “only old women are really concerned about animal welfare”. Probably the most honest and discriminatory statement made when you see most abusers charged are men. But does it reflect the priorities of NRHA or just the opinion of a rambling old fool?

What we do know is there is no place on earth for that mentality toward any breed of horse (or animal). God help the horses.

Some high profile horse owners and breeders have also been battling hard to protect the horses, the AQHA 2015 Protect Them Coalition. As one of the highest profile women in quarter horse, Carol Harris and Kathi Hansen lead a group of 20 women to change the welfare of the quarter horse.

This applies to any quarter horses in general and those horses that compete at shows. The NRHA is not excluded from being considered in these remarks.

“We who love Quarter Horses have allowed too many inhumane trainers to become judges who continually reward each other when they judge or show in our competitions.

These trainer/judges have been permitted by our Association to badly hurt our favorite sport by participating in conflicts of interest positions at our Quarter Horse shows and by refusing to listen to valuable advice and criticism that have been given to them for years.

If our leadership and our members do not know the difference between right and wrong, they should try to remember that there is “NO RIGHT WAY TO DO ALL THE WRONG THINGS THEY ARE DOING”. That is exactly what they have been continuing to force on our horses, our membership and our Association for countless years. They never seem to think it is necessary to improve or correct the continual mistakes.”

Carol Haris of AQHA 2015 Protect Them Coalition writes: This email was sent to me a couple days ago by two Quarter Horse lovers, Betty Marshall and Liz Hickling. For some reason, it made me ashamed that I was not helping them like I used to try to, but a year and a half ago I was more or less asked not to write anymore “On The Fence” articles because it disturbed the halter horse people too much. No telling who I will disturb this time, but the fact that people who don’t know the difference between right and wrong are still bothering me and should be bothering others the same way.

To read the rest of the article from AQHA 2015 Protect Them Coalition

Vote now for change

 

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.

Customs Can be the Biggest Horse Abuser

 

The truth is that a person deemed as knowledgeable,

may well be the cruelest person that ever stepped into a horse pen.

Ask a reining trainer or clinician how they train their horses and they will have a mantra response that is palatable to most people’s ears. What they won’t talk about is the things they do behind barn doors; sometimes barbaric practices deemed tradition in the training of the reining horse.

They have learned skills passed on from generation to generation from people considered knowledgeable; the people that influence the sport today. Some of those people were good horseman and many others were barbaric in their methods. Those people having immense influence over members and enthusiasts of the sport whether good or bad. They are the masters of the destiny of reining horses as they are provided with full access and authority across the globe.

Those same trainers and clinicians are conditioned to seeing and working with those barbaric methods and have no measure of the degree of abuse being applied. They justify everything with their longevity in the business and their prize winnings. A good prize winner or promoter seems to have a licence for unquestionable abuse, even when other horseman stand back and shake their head in disgust.

The twistedness of the trainers lack of skill and knowledge was captured in this US Patent for horse training equipment. The 1964 patent states:

Customary methods for training animals in general, and horses in particular, often are relatively very cruel. For example, in training horses to neck rein, one method involves beating the horse about the head with a wide leather paddle or bat several hundred times to train the horse to turn when the rider so orders. Horses trained in this manner to be cow horses usually are retrained after periods of two or three months, During each such training exercise the horse may again be batted about the head several hundred times. These training and retraining exercises often cause a horse to become extremely head shy.

Another training method used to train a cow horse to neck rein involves the use of sharp spurs as the rider wishes the horse to turn. This method often results in badly injured shoulders for the horse, often resulting in permanent injury. In addition, horses which otherwise were very good horses, though somewhat high-spirited, often were ruined for cow horse purposes because they could not be beaten into submission by either the hat or the spur.

Accordingly, it is an important object of this invention to provide a humane animal training device which is capable of more rapidly and more permanently training animals, such as the horse, than has been achieved by the use of prior art methods.

Another object of this invention is to provide an electric training rein for rapidly and efficiently training a horse, such as a cow horse, to neck rein without cutting, bruising, or otherwise injuring or undesirably shying the horse.

Wow. The electric rein was the improvement as it was a rapid solution and left no noticeable marks and the horse was not head shy.

I remember seeing a lovely Zan Parr Bar bred colt, in the late 70’s early 80’s, trained with electric reins. He shivered from head to toe in fear with his eyes rolling and his entire relationship with the trainer was reactionary to fear, and beatings for the wrong reaction. The trainer was deemed a champion and appeared on the front pages of magazines.

Move on to the 1980-90’s and watch some of the old educational videos; the videos actually published in that era and not the vetted versions available today. Some readers will remember attending clinics or spending time in training barns.

Those videos (and live demonstrations) demonstrate such barbarian treatment as:

  1. Barbed wire bits for hard mouth horses
  2. Reins tied from the bit to the hind legs snagging the horse every stride to soften its mouth.
  3. Metal cavessons to pull horses heads under – of course tied through the front legs
  4. Chains as nosebands and bits
  5. Shoulder spurring to the point of spur holes left in horses shoulders
  6. Wire bands over the poll being pulled taught in a war bridle
  7. Tying heads around tightly to the saddle for hours on end
  8. Tying heads high in the barn to weaken spirits and tire the horse
  9. Hobbling horses and beating them to teach them who is in charge
  10. Hitting horses relentlessly with poly pipe to spin faster

and the list goes on.

Several years ago, at a demonstration in front of hundreds of people, a prize winning legendary reining trainer informed the crowd that when he had too many horses to ride each day, he would use hardened black plastic pipe and beat on the horses to get them to turnaround. Not much going on in that man’s head for sure.

And yes, these methods still exist to this day. They are like a mother’s milk to some trainers. Occasionally when it happens like with the death of Bella (Gunnabe Gifted) it comes out of the closet what has been happening in trainer barns. Or the horse in Calgary spurred beyond any reasonable purpose. Others have died and suffered, but did not get the media attention as the owners were fearful of the consequences to them.

How the NRHA defines abuse through the eyes of a reasonably hands-on person in training and showing horses. In other words a trainer. The full statement is subject to copyright but can be read in their handbook on page 11 of the 2017 edition.

If the people chosen were raised on these barbaric techniques, and many have been, then the toleration would be very different to someone who was a good horseman with a fair hand and heal.

One event, we observed a gelding being harassed, severely spurred and jerked hard continually in front of the show manager and other riders. It escalated to such a point the horse was in such a state of fear, and it was unable to function. Every move it made met with extreme punishment. The gelding urinated on itself then collapsed on the ground. No-one intervened, (except for us). Amidst a spray of language for intervening, the show manager, and riders responded ‘he knows what he is doing, and the horse can handle it, that horse just has a bad attitude.’ Justifying that level of abuse left us speechless. Customs can apparently out ride brains.

The image on this article is a wire wrapped metal cavesson, with a sliding gag and twisted wire bit. The string is a cavesson hanger to set it to the softest part of the horse’s face. This barbaric training item is deemed a solution to a horse with a problem and what was required to train a reining horse.

A knowledgeable (?) person may well be the steward overseeing the horses at your next show. Hardened to the point of not being able to see abuse when it is right in front of them. As the frenzy builds to have the horse completely submit, ready to run for +1 ½ scores the level escalates.

Improvements in the NRHA rules are needed and the litmus test of ‘horse public opinion’ for the treatment of horses. You do not need to be a reining horse rider to see abuse; you do not need to be a top level trainer to understand abuse. The two most common statements made to support any action of a reining horse person where the lines have been crossed. A good horseman can see abuse no matter what discipline they show or ride in. In the NRHA member logic, Buck Brannaman or Ray Hunt may well of been sidelined as being not a good measure of welfare as he did not show top level reining horses. I think not.

Let us know your thoughts and don’t forget to vote.

Always Remember:  You stick up for a horse abuser  –  it’s usually because your tribe is your vibe.

 

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 Rollkur: any ride at a weekend show

Shame in the reining pen as Rollkur becomes the latest trend in training horses. This video is what any person would see any weekend at a reining show as trainers and riders focus on the head control and leverage of spoon bits for the control of the horse. Reining Rollkur is hyperflexion that is scientificallly proven to cause stress and pain to horses. The horse loses much of its vision whilst in this head carriage, but that does not seem to be a concern to reining horse people.  Originating from the dressage pen, this is now a serious problem as trainers look for more short cuts and control or ultimate submission from their rides. Justification from poorly educated people attempting to refute science only lowers their credibility as horseman (woman) even further.

Watch the video and read more about Reining Rollkur by click here.

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.