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!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Don't Mess With Magnum P.I.

Looks like a local trainwhore got her ass handed to her in court for selling Tom Selleck a defective horse.

Tom Selleck took Dolores Cuenca to court because the horse she sold him was constantly lame and couldn't compete. The jury awarded more than $187,000 when they found the actor was duped into buying a defective horse.

Del Mar equestrian Dolores Cuenca is accused of trying to pass off a show horse with a medical condition as fit to ride in competitions. Selleck's 20 year old daughter was unable to show the animal at the level promised.

The Ms Cuenca's attorneys argued that the purchaser didn't check the medical records of the 10-year-old gelding, Zorro.

Most of the jury's award is for the price of the horse, the rest is to cover stabling costs. Another trial next week will set the amount that Selleck should be paid in punitive damages.

If this is the same Zorro Show results then the horse was obviously in training for jumping at an early age. If he's ten in 2009 then he was six in 2005. Figure two years of training to make him that level of jumper and it's obvious why he's chronically lame. Most of the information I've pulled up on Ms. Cuenco is that she' an amateur/owner rider. So even the non-pros are getting in the bilking game.

The horse industry has a history of Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware. We all know of a horse trader or two that has shafted someone with a horse that wasn't the age, training level, or pedigree that was claimed. Now with the onset of two year old futurities in just about every sport, except jumping and dressage, purchasing a sound well trained show horse is a crap shoot. If the horse has a few major wins before he's three then you're probably looking at a short career and a second mortgage worth of hock injections. Mr. Selleck seems to have actually gotten mad at the fact that someone banked on him being too dumb, or embarrassed, to call them out for selling a horse that had obvious problems. I can understand why. If I paid $1,800.00 for a horse that ended up being defective then I'd be pissed. If I paid $120,000.00 I'd expect the horse to shit gold pellets and translate the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as predict the next several sets of lottery numbers. Trying to screw a person over at that level of purchasing power is just plain stupid.

So let's examine the horse industry and some key indicators that there's a problem with buying and selling horses.

1) Too many futurities. This is the biggest red flag that the horse you're buying has already done too much. Unless you're purchasing a broodmare or stallion prospect then forget about the World Champion Futurity winner as a long term investment, unless you also own stock in Fort Dodge or Merial, in which case you'll get dividends back on every hock injection you buy. If the horse you're looking at has already racked up a shit load of points in under saddle classes and he'd barely past his third birthday then he's going to be a vet's wet dream as he racks up farm calls, injections, lay-ups etc. We've all seen what happens to those cute little gymnasts and skaters that compete in the Olympics. Once they hit their late teens they are wearing braces on their knees and ankles and popping Advil like it's a daily vitamin.

2) Trainwhores build their early reputations on being "just one of the guys", so you learn to trust them, but they build their marketability on the "mystic guru" crap to set themselves apart from us unwashed, shit shoveling heathens. Being a mystic is a tough line of work. It requires props, gimmicks and the ability to do things to horses that you know are morally wrong. There's a level of "turning a blind eye" that makes the bounced check scandal in the US Senate look paltry. If you're looking at a horse that is supposedly trained by a major trainwhore then be aware it's on a first name basis with its vet, was probably started and handled most of the time by an "apprentice" and has seen more gimmicks and gadgets than a Las Vegas hooker.

3) Those papers don't mean shit if you're buying a stock breed. AQHA, APHA and ApHC now have innocent third party rules that excuse poor and downright illegal breeding practices and allows a horse that doesn't match the DNA of the parents listed on its papers to produce progeny that retain breeding and show rights. So registration papers don't really mean shit in the stock breeds. If you're looking for pedigree integrity then go with a registry that requires DNA parentage verification upon registration. The stock breeds, which are by far the most populous breeds are also the last to require parentage verification for every single registration. So unless you saw the stallion breed the mare and you've seen the foal actually spit out from its mother's womb then don't count on those AQHA or ApHC papers being correct.

4) Genetic defects are becoming more prevalent. Unless you see them pull the samples that prove the horse is defect free then request new tests before shelling out huge sums of money on a horse. This is particularly true if you're buying a stock breed. People who breed those defective HYPP horses to win halter championships also have a hard time explaining to JQP as to why the horse they're looking at falls over when stressed out. HERDA is something that drives the cutting and reining horse breeders crazy. Pesky little life threatening skin condition makes it hard to inbreed, and actually keep the horse alive once the lesions start. A little less inbreeding would be a good thing, but unfortunately all those spins have made it too hard for the stock horse breeds to grasp that good husbandry means more than 25 crosses to Doc O'Lena.

How to avoid getting screwed when purchasing a show horse:

1) Check the show record. If the horse is registered then call the breed association and ask for his point record. If he's racked up the points in any under saddle classes before he was three then take a pass on him.

2) Request pedigree and genetic information. Really check the pedigree, go back six and seven generations, not just the standard three that come on the papers. Do internet searches on horses in the pedigree and see if any of them have HERDA, HYPP, SCID or any other nasty item.

3) Get a vet check. And don't use a vet that routinely comes to that barn. Get a vet from out of the area. Demand X-rays on knees, ankles and hocks. Have a spinal check done and definitely get a flexion test. Be specific about how you want to use the horse. A suitable walk-trot horse is not the same as a suitable upper level jumper.

4) Since most registries require photos or drawings on the papers check them against the markings on the horse. Horses rarely change face and leg markings, although sometimes scarring or roaning can make them look less defined. Check the parents' colors and make sure it's genetically possible for their colors to produce the color of the foal.

So even though as a potential show horse buyer you need to beware, you also need to be aware that many states now have "lemon laws" that cover horse purchases. Be sure to keep documentation on everything to do with your purchase. Don't assume that just because the seller is a BNT that you won't end up getting screwed.


Mikolaj said...

That is TOO funny. Well, not haha funny, but "you're an idiot" funny. Good on him for going after her, and for a blatantly reasonable amount that he was rightfully owed. Heck, I think he SHOULD get more just for the wasted time, energy and emotion.

I recently got myself somewhat jypped on a purchase. It's not a HUGE deal to me, since I've never been big into registering but I recently bought a 2 year old Paint filly for $800 under the pretense that she was "registerable as both her parents were registered". It wasn't until after I'd handed over the money that it magically came to the surface that her sire was dead and a report had never been filed so she's unregisterable.

Now, if it had been a big thing to me, obviously I would have made sure to check into that first. It just irks me that she felt the NEED to lie to me like that. If I didn't love that little filly so much, I'd feel somewhat obliged to call her out on it. Unless I wanted to return the filly, what was I really going to say to her aside from "you're a lying dirtbag and I hope your untrimmed horses kick you in the head?"

It just annoys me that she felt it neccesary to lie to me. Did she think telling me she was registerable clinched the deal? I'm assuming so, I don't see any other reason for lying which is ridiculous because it was nothing more then a question, I was buying her either way.

Anyway, /end rant. Watch yourself people. Even buying a horse worth a couple hundred bucks and people are out to scam you!

Trainer X said...

Good for Tom Selleck!!!! That's a bunch B.S.!!!!! Stupid A-holes like this woman really make the horse world look really shady... So thanks a lot bitch....

mrscravitz said...

Tom's my hero! LOL I am glad he did that.

cattypex said...

Wow... he COULD've just had Higgins set The Lads on her cheating ass...

Really, when I saw the headline, I thought I was going to see a photo of Magnum Psyche or something...

Yup, good on him. If nothing else, he's exposed her M.O. to a few people. Although... people are REALLY GOOD at making excuses for themselves or their trainers' actions, if they're winning. Ugh.

Great advice on checking up a high-dollar horse!!

autumnblaze said...

WELL written. Bravo.

Go Tom Selleck!

I wonder what happens to the horse in those situations...

GoLightly said...

Tom Selleck..


Oh, was this horse-related?


cattypex said...

What I love about that photo is that even w/o a 6-pack or shiny hairless chest, he ALWAYS got the ladies excited.

I confess to not ever having seen him in one of his Westerns.

Can he ride?

Horses, that is.....

GoLightly said...

Who cares??

With that..

Actually, I think he can ride. What movie did he do, he was a cowboy??
OH, Tom Selleck in a cowboy hat..

LuvMyTBs said...

He starred in Quigley Down Under and kept the horse he rode in that film.He is a pretty decent rider but he ain't no Sam Elliot!!

cattypex said...

Or Viggo Mortensen....

Y'know, I wasn't a huge fan of a lot of Reagan politics, but MAN... that guy could RIDE. I remember a white Arab stallion that was a gift from the President of Mexico, I believe....

cattypex said...

"If I paid $120,000.00 I'd expect the horse to shit gold pellets and translate the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as predict the next several sets of lottery numbers. Trying to screw a person over at that level of purchasing power is just plain stupid."

Every word of that sentence is true. I realized that after I laughed my ass off.

Seriously, around here, you can get a really nice HOUSE for $120K.

I know how janky the small-time horsepeople can be - shady handshake deals etc. And it seems to kind of apply anywhere, to any price point. And a lot of people who'd normally get a lawyer or agent involved with that kind of moolah sort of lose their heads when their trainers sweet talk them into buying horses like that.

Really, why do people who are degreed, astute in other realms of business, and really quite bright get suckered all the time?

I had a friend in HS. Her mom was provost (I think) at a local college, her dad was some kind of high-level executive, and they were both conned by this bleach-blonde Lee press-on nails frosty lipstick trainer who convinced them that their daughter was going All The Way. Now, this girl wasn't a bad rider, and had a couple of nice horses, but.....

I think maybe because we were in the Midwest, and she had an East Coast cachet? I dunno... my parents saw through her, and I just took some lessons, because she was actually a decent H/J instructor. But... not THAT decent.

There was then some kind of scandal involving the only good farrier in the area... paternity suit... etc.

She sort of disappeared......

Anonymous said...

Way to go Tom! Here he did not make the same mistake he made in not taking the role of Indiana Jones.

I wonder if he got x-rays and stuff done first, though? Not to give him shit or anything because he is doing the right thing now, but I guess if I were paying $120K for a horse then I'd have enough money to do a full-body x-ray or some kind.

"unless you also own stock in Fort Dodge or Merial, in which case you'll get dividends back on every hock injection you buy."

OMG, TJM, that is IT! The solution to the problem of having your 10 yo horse used up because of futurities! You can STILL make money on it when it's a pasture ornament! Brilliant!

As far as actors' riding goes:

Tom has improved over the years. He is consistently in Louis Lamour made-for-DVD films, and it's obvious he's gotten some lessons since Quigley!

Quigley's sniper skills have created a whole catagory in the cowboy action shooting world, BTW. My parents are cowboy action shooters, and it's tons of fun to go and watch the Quigley shooters.

Here's something fun: watch the movie Far and Away and laugh hysterically at Tom Cruise's crappy riding. Then watch The Last Samauri and notice that holy crap, Tom got lessons!

Honestly, as much as I don't like Kevin Costner, his riding skills in Dances With Wolves are worthy of my envy!

From Bruce Campbell's book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor on his receiving the role of Brisco County, Jr. in the TV series of the same name:

This old dog was about to learn some new tricks--I had to become a cowboy.
"Can you ride, son?" asked head wrangler, Gordon Spencer.
"Heck yeah, I rode a lot in the last film I did."
"Good, why don't you hop up on that horse there and take him for a spin."
I cantered around the corral a few times and when I stopped, I noticed a big smile on Gordon's face.
"Not bad, eh?" I asked.
"Son, you look like a monkey humpin' a football."

cattypex said...

Heh... I used to watch Young RIders (Yeah, I know, but they were HOT) and just CRINGE at how poorly they all rode. They got better, but the show didn't.

I loved the totally gratuitous scene in the Star Trek movie where Patrick Stuart and William Shatner go riding together.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Many times I have seen the selling price 'affect' the amount of things sought in a PPE.

If you are shelling out several thousand dollars- then X-rays, flexion tests, DNA, blood being drawn and a few test rides are acceptable and not beyond beign reasonable.

A couple hundred dollars, well you might not be looking at the horse as your next huge show competitor...

We looked at a gelding for $500. Nice horse, well presented, great manners and training, but...

He had melanomas growing under his tail. Do you have the vet out to check the progression and spend $XXXX on that before buying the horse? We passed.

SFTS said...

This one has been all over most forums. Good for Tom, lesson learned. :)

Carrie Giannandrea said...

I still think all parties involved in the Selleck horse deal were at fault.

The seller for lying.

The Vet for not doing a thorough exam.

And the Selleck's for not doing their homework.

C'mon, this is not some JQP, these folks have been around horses for some time.

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms