Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com

I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The State of the Horse Industry (updated)

My sister and I spent the afternoon in front of the TV, with the laptops on, watching hot guy movies and discussing the state of the horse industry, and why we hate what it has become. We also ragged each other about updating our blogs so here’s my contribution.

Reading the Fugly Horse of the Day blog http://fuglyhorseoftheday.blogspot.com/ yesterday got me to thinking about some stuff. There is no doubt the Fugly blog has a lot of readers, and has helped educate a lot of the unwilling public as to what horse abuse looks like, at all levels, from BYB to stakes winning racer. I still see people bitching about it on other forums, and most of the bitching is about the language, the fact photos are “borrowed” and the fact that idiotic horse-abusing morons are being “outed” by their own stupidity. Fugly doesn’t go to anyone’s house to get these photos. She’s not “hacking” someone’s accounts to get their rambling posts and pathetic ads. She’s reposting what some idiot has put out for public view, and is now pissed about having it dissected by outraged people that see the abuse, neglect and stupidity.
I think Fugly is great. She’s funny, snarky and doesn’t hold back. The people she outs should be jailed for being stupid, as well as abusive. Some of the parents should be brought up on charges of both animal and child abuse. I think the blog has made a difference, even if it is a small one at this point. It’s hard to educate the entire world about horses, when so much of the ignorance belongs to people that aren’t willing to learn.

This brings us to my blog. The Shame in the Show Ring blog came about because I got tired of reading the bitching about the show ring on the various horse forums, yahoo lists and in private emails. One thing I realized is that people love to show, but they hate all the politics and crookedness that goes along with showing. There is not a single discipline or breed that doesn’t have its bad apples. There is also not a single discipline or organization that doesn’t have its enablers. The enablers are people that know the abuse is going on, but ignore or justify it because “that is the way things are done”. I don’t care if “that is the way things are done”; some of the crap happening to horses needs to stop now! The breed organizations and open discipline associations need to get their shit together and create a better atmosphere for the horses and stop caving in to the crooks.

Let’s look at a few things that just make me furious with the horse industry:

1) Breeding a specific body type that limits the horse’s usability. I’m not talking about breeding minis either. I’m talking about breeding downhill Wp horses that can’t use their rear ends. Or overly bulky halter horses can’t perform under saddle. I’m tired of seeing Tbs with legs like sticks and Arabs that are so flat crouped they can’t get their rear ends under themselves. Why on earth are we breeding the “function” out of our horses? I don’t care if judges want flat top lines. It’s stupid to breed a horse that cannot drive from behind, cannot collect from the shoulder and cannot pick its knees up high enough to keep from tripping. The fact that judges want a flat top line tells me how fricking stupid they are. Flat means “not round”. It means “no impulsion”. It means “no maneuverability”. Why don’t the judges just put signs on their foreheads that say “ I know nothing about horse anatomy or morphology!” I personally think all judges should have to pass a test on biomechanics before they can judge. They should also have to ride each of the types of horses they judge and then write a dissertation on movement. If they would quit placing shit movers, then the breeders would quit producing shit movers.

2) Breed/discipline organizations that turn a blind eye, and even promote abuse. Let’s face it, a lot of the abuse happens because of the drug rules. People can go way past a horse’s limitations and still show because they can now use drugs that were unheard of 20 years ago. Lameness isn’t even an issue since the judges will ignore bad movement. I’ve posted the videos here of the AQHA Congress halter classes. Most of those horses had no business being in the show ring. They certainly weren’t the “ideal” of the breed. WP is riddled with drug abuse. I know the little WP bunnies will scream that I’m generalizing, but it’s true. The drug cocktails created to win WP championships would make a crack whore squeal with delight. Every single breed organization needs to clean up their allowed drug lists and start taking into account the health of the horse. Why isn’t the stock horse industry testing for anabolic steroids like racing has? Why don’t the NRHA and NCHA test for drugs? They already use up and throw away young horses at an astonishing rate, yet they make no effort to curb the worst abusers. I used to think FEI was on top of the abuse issue because of their hard stand on drugs, but they are now ignoring abusive training techniques in the warm up pen. Youtube has endless videos of people using Rolkur and draw reins to create artificial frames. Some of the top Dressage riders out there should be ashamed of themselves for the things they do to their horses.

3) Organizations that are run by the very people they are supposed to police. When judges/trainers are directors of organizations then the criminals are running the prisons. How on earth can anyone be objective about what a breed organization needs when their vote can affect their own business? They can’t. They also can’t be objective when they are judging their judge/trainer peers. It’s not a case of whining because the best fitted horse wins. It’s a case of judge/trainer/directors voting in rule changes that affect the entire industry, but suit their personal agendas.

If this wasn’t the case then why do we still have HYPP, as well as the drugs used to treat it being approved? Why do all stock horse organizations have huge approved drug lists, especially allowing drug maskers? Give me one fricking valid reason why any stock horse organizations needs to allow lasix? There is no reason on earth to let a known drug masker and diuretic on the approved drug list, unless you are condoning cheating. Why do they allow two year old under saddle futurities? Why do they not promote, and help fund, retirement homes for the show horses that get tossed out of the system? Why has it come to the point that judges can abuse youth exhibitors (ApHC and AQHA) and not get official charges filed on them, as well as public ass-chewings?

What on earth possesses a breed organization to hire a person from the cow industry to run it? And allow this person to let his judge/trainer/director buddies to get away with murder? I know of at least 25 complaints filed against ApHC judges in the past year and not a single one has resulted in someone losing their card. Child abuse is the least of it; try having alcohol at a show, heckling exhibitors (over a loud speaker no less), judging horses that were bred/sold by the judge, whacking another judge in the face with a stick, the list goes on and on. I have personally seen some of these complaints, and I’ve seen that nothing has been done about them. So when a breed organization is run by corrupt officers and directors then why is it a surprise that the show industry is tanking? Here's a tip off for you bloated good old boys: It doesn't matter how much money you put in futurity classes and incentive sales, if people can't afford to show they won't show up!

4) Enablers just piss me off. These are the people that try to excuse their actions, their friends’ actions and the industry as a whole, just because they like the way the slacker generation of horse trainers get away with crap. I’m tired of going to shows and seeing young riders being taught to abuse horses by trainers that are the dregs of the equine society. And the little darlings’ parents stand by the rail and let their spawn learn that constant jerking, spurring and riding with your ass poked out like a duck’s butt are all okay. There is nothing okay about a child learning that abusive riding is accepted in the show ring. I cringe every single time I see a gaited horse youth class. I can’t stand the warm up pen for youth WP. Even worse than the riding is the knowledge that half of the great youth trainers in the industry have been busted for drug or abuse violations. What fricking parent lets their kid ride with a known drug abuser? We've got three trainers that I know of in the ApHC that are multiple drug offenders, and they still have multiple youth clients! WTF is wrong with the parents?
And forget about watching pony hunters, it’s enough to make you puke watching pseudo-trainers browbeat children over fences they have no business going over. If the youth are the future of the horse industry then why is it churning out such a bunch of losers and cheaters? The good kids get pushed to the side by the spoiled kids with trainers, clueless but wealthy parents, and an industry that doesn’t care about longevity. How many of the kids you rode with as a youth exhibitor are still showing today? How many of the kids you see in the ring now will still be showing in ten, fifteen or twenty years? How many good kids will be driven out of the industry because of bad judges, cheating trainers and high expenses.

5) Fads and fashions that make the show ring cost prohibitive for most people. Let’s face it, if the show industry would go to a “uniform” system like a lot of schools have the world would be a better place. I’m not really hip on the whole “foundation” horse section of the industry, but I do agree with their attitude that it’s the horse that needs to be shown, not the saddle or exhibitor’s shirt.

Here’s my attitude: If Mr. Hotshit trainer is any good, then he’s still just as good in a plain saddle, plain shirt and not having his sponsors names printed all over his equipment. If some little darling can truly sit a horse then they can do it without $7,000.00 of silver dripping off their saddle. And if Thunder is a good show horse at home without his fake tail, show grease and hoof sparklies then he should be just as good a show horse without that crap in the ring. I understand the need for a clean, prepped and fitted horse, but the shit going on today is ridiculous. The bling and crap look like something out of a Vegas side show. And like a Vegas sideshow it's all glitz and no substance. It's an illusion of talent being sold to the judges as ability covered up in sequins.
Which brings us back to the judges.

WTF happened so that a judge cannot properly place a horse that has an active working tail? I’m not talking about moody switching, I’m talking about a horse moving his tail while being ridden at a lope. I’m talking about a reining horse using his tail to help balance, and a dressage horse swishing his tail in tandem to lead changes. If a judge cannot tell the difference between anger and casual swishing then they need to hand in their card now!
The fake tail fad is one of the dumbest I’ve ever seen. For one thing there is no reason for a working horse to have a tail that drags the ground. That is the height of human vanity. I love to look at fit and well turned out horses, but making a judging decision based on how long a horse’s tail is shows how ignorant the judge is. And not being able to judge a horse with a moving tail shows what piss poor judgment most stock horse judges have. Ditch the fake tails.

I’ve become a bit jaded with the stock horse show ring in regards to their attire, mainly because is looks like a Sunset Boulevard hooker would wear it. I figure that when someone comes in wearing all the glitz they are trying to distract the judge from the fact that their horse moves like shit; anything to take the eyes off of those poorly moving legs, the bouncing seat, the poor equitation and the spur stops. It’s not a case of envy; I can more than afford the silver. I just choose not to deck myself out like a Christmas tree. I don’t need sequins blinding a judge in order to place.

If a standard of attire was enforced then plain, clean clothing would be on every exhibitor. Plain clean and functional tack would be acceptable. Forget about fake manes and tails and show us what the horse can do. If you can’t stand out on your own merit then you don’t need to be in the ring. This is one place where H/J and Dressage have an edge on the stock horse ring. I see a little bling, but not the blinding levels seen in WP.

Now back to the blog. I have my detractors, most of them enablers or the crooks. I really could not care less. If you don’t like the blog then don’t read it. People bitch about my posting style, don’t like the language and don’t like it that I use photos to showcase the crappy riding going on in the industry. Screw them. I don’t go to people’s houses and scan their private photos. I find what is on the web, posted by someone that thinks their example of shitty riding or training is just fine for public viewing. I don’t make people behave badly, like the judges that abused the children. I simply show case them and let others post their opinions. For every person bitching that I am mean there are 20 more people sending me websites and examples of poor training to put on this blog.

I also don’t diss the horses for being the products of poor handling and breeding. The horses are not at fault. It’s the shitty breeders, trainers and judges that create the problems. Every single problem in the show ring is man made and human approved. Want stacked up hoofs? Ask a human how they look. Want huge, useless muscle, ask a human how functional they are? Want genetic defects passed on in perpetuity? It takes a human to do it. I have asked several times why the show industry promotes the things it does and never get a straight answer. “Just because” is not valid excuse. Until the show industry cleans up how the trainers/judges/directors run things then it will continue to lose exhibitors and public interest. it might not be a bad thing if it crashes and burns and has to be rebuilt by the honest people that actually love horses.