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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

 

What is the NRHA Hiding?

In a world where transparency of sports performance is a public expectation, the global body known as the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) are seemingly defiant in meeting those expectations.

For sports people involved in racing, football, baseball, cycling, Olympic events to name a few, their performance is measured, reported and public scrutiny is par for the course. Their wins and excellence publicized, as like their breaching of rules in relation to drugs, bad behavior off the field, court or track. Their governing associations hold members to account to ensure the image and conduct of the sports develop in line with modern public expectations, ensuring the growth of their sport.

Over the past two decades, the racing industry has evolved with stringent rules and regulations for the conduct and the welfare of horses both off and on the course. A sport that draws a high level of public attention and scrutiny, they hold trainers, jockeys and horse workers to high standards. Any breaches are public knowledge and recorded. They understand that entertainment cannot be at the expense of the animals or the minority allowed to fester bad conduct and horse abuse.

The American Quarter Horses Association is making slow but steady inroads into stemming the issues surrounding the public perception of some of their events, particularly western pleasure which draws enormous public resentment toward the style and welfare of those horses. The transparency demonstrated with suspended trainers and individual public record along with drug violations. There is affirmative action with public statements regarding disqualification of members in welfare matters. They are becoming more pro-active in addressing animal welfare.

The NRHA states they are “an organization dedicated to the promotion of the reining horse. It serves as the standard setting body for the sport of Reining worldwide.” They publish welfare statements and codes of conduct for trainers, but what is the real truth behind these declarations?

The NRHA response to complaints on conduct and welfare matters is seemingly one of secrecy to the point that complainants are not advised of outcomes. There is no known accessible public record of complaints being handled, and no publically defined complaint handling procedures. In fact, it seems that they default all complaint handling to the courts, as seen in the case in Mark Albro and Kyle Weston. A process that it is out of the reach of many individuals and one that fails animal welfare cases on many levels.

In the recent NRHA Futurity where Casey Deary young 3yo horse, ARC Gunna Mark Ya, collapsed to the ground after backing up so hard its legs gave way. There was immediate outrage around the world and the NRHA spin doctors went into overdrive to stop the meltdown as the video went viral. The trainers statement plausible to those who needed to believe it and laughed at by others who had experience with horses.

There are other videos of what is deemed by horse pub ic and the general public as horse abuse at the highest level of competition. The videos show grown men and women aggressively spurring and tugging their horse’s mouths to such a point that onlookers cringe. In 2011 it caused a global outrage when videos appeared of leading trainers at an international FEI event in Europe. The image with this blog is of Craigh Schmersal at that event. The video was so graphic it was taken down by YouTube. The image being one of the only still accessible.

The NRHA is noticeably silent, the trainers or riders common response being that people are uninformed. What those trainers and riders fail to understand is that people do understand and the pain and suffering caused when >100 pounds of pressure being applied to a horse mouth through reins being jerked or sawn through a mouth, or spurring that leaves dents on their sides like pulverized steak. The bending of a neck that is scientifically proven to induce pain and suffering. One can only imagine the treatment of these horses away from the lights of the show pen if this is them on their best behavior. Those same riders are held up as legends of reining by the NRHA to this day.

It begs the question “Are the reining trainers a protected species by the NRHA?”

With over 19,000 members worldwide and ever increasing public outrage on the treatment of these horses, questions need to be asked of the NRHA. Their clandestine approach to what are important matters of public information should no longer be accepted. Members and the public should demand a halt to the surreptitious conduct and the NRHA adapt to modern society and scrutiny. They should publicly honor the statements made on their website and attached files through affirmative public action, transparent for everyone to see.

The Reining Horse is a seemingly sad story, much like that of the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the cruelty those horses endure to perform like circus animals in a show ring. Five decades later there is now only action being taken by welfare groups bringing about federal legislation to ban their practices. Those practices underlying in their associations and welfare statements but no affirmative action taken. What horses must suffer for the entertainment of a small few.

If you have lodged a complaint with the NRHA and not received a public response, we would like to hear from you. We can assure you we will keep your name anonymous.

 

 

Tom McCutcheon must really hate this horse

USEF Equestrian of the Year and double WEG gold medalist, Tom McCutcheon, prepares before winning the gold at the inaugural FEI World Reining Final in Malmö, Sweden in May 2011. On lookers were horrified at the training techniques applied to this horse and the video shows just why. In the frenzy to be a winnner of the event the horses welfare became irrelevant as he focuses on making the animal completely submit through repeatedly spurring, jerking on a spoon bit and applying pain and suffering that non-reining horse people had not ever witnessed before. The expression ‘willing guided’ taking on a new deplorable meaning. The NRHA continues to this day to hold Tom McCutcheon as one of the Top 20 Trainers in the world. A standard of horsemanship that many others would hold in contempt of their welfare statement.

Click here to read what is considered as horse abuse, watch the video and you may to see the Reining Trainer Engima.

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.

This video is not available in some countries now you can watch on youtube at watch?v=Vh0cvIA8pk8