Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Not a Good Horse Show, Unless you have been put on probation/suspension!

I received an email last night, that to me shows a disturbing trend in the horse industry today!

Normally, this is not a topic that I would discuss on this blog, but I was asked for my view on the matter and thus I am going to ask for your views on the matter being presented here in this posting. However, as much as I hate to admit this, it has to do with trainers and training.

In our beloved horse show industry, things have changed quite a bit over the past several years. We have younger trainers that have introduced their own creative training techniques, some who have taken the time to learn and perfect their craft and some that have learned that short cuts seem to work the best. Everything in this industry is about the win, not about the horse anymore.

Where am I going with this?

Well, I was always taught that with anything in life and not just in the show ring, people that take the shortcuts are the people that are most likely to bend/break the rules. Those are the people that I want to discuss today.

About 10 years ago, I was at a show. Not a big huge show at which I was not showing but watching an open western pleasure class. There was only one big name in the class, he was a younger guy. The judge, who was also a BNT whom I know, was very competent.

The class of 17 entered the ring traveling down the rail at the jog. When the gate closed, and the class was being judged they made a few laps before they were asked to walk. When asked to walk they made a lap. No big deal so far.

Then they were asked to lope. This is where the shit started to hit the fan for the young trainer. The horse would not pick up the lead to the left, nor the right for that matter, as we would find out. The trainer tried in vain, but there was no way that horse would pick up the lead, so the trainer started to bump the horses face in an attempt to correct the problem, but that was not working. When asked for the stop, the trainer took half a lap before stopping. And the trainer had to yank the horse into a stop!

On the reverse, the same thing happened. There was no way that horse was going to pick up the lead. The horse never in the entire class picked up the lead, much less even made 1 lap at the lope.

The judge watched the whole thing and this trainer pulled a 2nd place on this horse in the open. I am sure that the judge felt the he could not place the horse 1st as that would be obvious.

Turns out the horse was a 4 year old that had only 60 days training on him and was not ready for the class.

The Steward, whom I also know very well told me later that the judge lost his card over this. The trainer was suspended, not for his performance it that class, but for having his youth riders bump into and cut off other riders in their classes. One of his youth riders parents complained!

The way that I see it is that if you are not ready for the show ring, do not go to the show and if you must, be prepared to not place where you want to place.

If you are a professional, be a professional!

Your horses and riders are representative of you work. If you teach them to cheat, then it says nothing good about you.

If you have to use politics to win, then you need to find a new career or learn to do your job!

I have never had a suspension or been put on probation and I will continue to follow the rules. I will never cheat. If I do not win because of it, then at least my integrity is intact.

Back to training tomorrow!


Drillrider said...

I commend you for being honest and maintaining your integrity.

I always thought politics was the "norm" in horse shows in determining the outcome rather than merit? Some of the horse shows I've watched in the past, winners were based on the expense of their outfit/tack, because from what I saw, the win was not merited.

One judge was very heavily judging on the horse's headset and that was all. I guess much of it surrounds what a judge's preferences and style are too?

I don't really have too much to say on this topic as I don't show, have never shown and never will show. All that work for the little bit of riding you do, just doesn't appeal to me.

CharlesCityCat said...

I can't believe a judge would place that horse at all. Correct leads are a pretty important criteria, and unless the other 15 horses in the class blew their leads too, that horse and trainer should have pretty much been disqualified.

Glad that judge lost his card and the trainer was disciplined for his poor training methods. Good for the parent who complained.

monstersmama said...

WOW! Thats crazy. I would love to be a trainer...I have ridden many green horses and put constistancy on them and won classes. However I do not consider myself a trainer. I know that it takes time and patience to be a trainer. Learning new and different techniques and sometimes you have to think WAY out of the box to accomplish things. Against shortcuts and training devices and against peanut rolling and tugging in a horses mouth To "correct" a problem. Love reading the blog and HAPPY the people where suspended.

horspoor said...

That kind of stuff happens here often. It has pretty much ruined our horse shows here. They have gotten smaller, and smaller every year.

I think the largest class I saw yesterday at our fair show was 7 or 8 riders. Most of the riders are students from one trainer. All into the very slow, 4 beating, hands wide, and uneven. Bumping horses often. Posture often a little hunched at the shoulders. Most others here have gotten so discouraged with this style, and them winning when it's so obvious that what they are doing is wrong, have quit showing locally. Or have changed disciplines.

pedfjords said...

Used to spend alot of money showing halter, WP, ect. Smarted up when we took a big step back and looked at the fact that " who's who " was winning, no matter what. If we paid the hottest trainer going, 200 bucks to stand up our filly in a futurity class, we won. Every time. If we stood her up ourselves, we got the gate, every time.
Started driving. Couldnt put any trainer ahead of whatever the preformance of the horse was....and loved the TRUE compitition.

Then found a breed that is shown in natural state, bred for conformational soundness and tempormant. Never looked back.

When I can produce and compete with an animal who is healthy, not kept in some artificial box, led in by a stranger and most of HAPPY with their work, Im good.

Just saying. Lisa

NW_Horse_Person said...

I can't stand cheaters, therefore I will never be one.

I have seen a lot of cheating- but - even I know I haven't seen it all. I am shocked, stunned and saddened by what people will do for a piece of ribbon.

I have seen it happen from the 4-H and FFA levels all the way up to the Bigs.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

I just really hate cheaters - cheaters at anything, not just horses. The horse show part of the horse industry will always bring out the worst in some people. For competitive, vain and/or financial reasons.

I think the good judges out there try to do the best job they can, at the end of the day, they can only call what they see. So, there will always be imperfections and mistakes in judging.

But, the judge mentioned, wow what an idiot. I call him/her an idiot for their willingness to ruin their good name for a buck/favor/whatever the motivator was.

It is so much easier to be honest. At least that's what I think.

Because this industry is mostly unregulated, everyone does whatever they want to do. Not that I want to see more regulation, it's just an observation.

The people that run their businesses dishonestly end up hurting us all in the end. People leave the sport or discipline or association (as already mentioned here). The less people in horses the less money getting spent in horses. For people that pursue horses as a full time career, they should be guarding all customers and inviting more. That's just my opinion.

I think trainers and instructors throughout their careers will come across situations where ethical decisions need to be made. From sales to shows to lessons and everywhere else in between.

I think usually the answer to the right decision is pretty cut and dry and other times it's not so easy to know what decision to make.

I apprenticed under a trainer that started off our relationship by giving me an essay entitled, "Ethics and Morals for the Professional Rider" by Guenther Festerling.

It is like a bible to me - as a guide for making decisions.

Quoting from it:

"There is nothing objectionable about earning money by training horses and riders, as long as it doesn’t lead to unsound practice with regard to humans and animals."

"Earning money is good. Earning money while keeping one’s good name is better. Earning GOOD money while keeping one’s good name is the best."

Some other favorite quotes from it:

"The professional must also be enough of a horseman that he will not allow himself to undertake premature and incorrect training procedures because of the false expectations of a horse’s owner."

"It is in the best interest of the horse, and of the Sport itself, to consciously disassociate oneself from colleagues who, through unsportsmanlike and dishonorable behavior, bring into disrepute the ethical standards of the profession."

"The professional trainer ought never to forget that he is a role model, a function never to be undervalued, especially for young would-be horsemen."

I could go on and on with the quotes. It is a good read and really sums things up. If anyone wants it, email me and I will send it. It is about 13 pages long and I have it in a word document.

Dena said...


Way to go JR!!! There are a lot of us who have left certain venues and disciplines over this crap.

CNJ I have Nikes, Addidas, Reebok, Sketchers, and am going to get a pair of New Balance.
And that is just my sport shoe collection.
Won't even name all the brands of jeans I wear. And boots.
Competitive marketing, a good fit, and you are in business.
Could you all imagine if there was only one manufacturer of all clothing?

fernvalley01 said...

I don't show ,it makes me crazy , but I would have thought the guy would have been wiser to politely remove himself and his horse from the class and come back whaen he was ready . As far as the judge goes ????

Cut-N-Jump said...

I have seen this crap on every level out there. 'A' rated down to the cheasiest of schooling shows.

Someone shows up as a self professed 'trainer' or the one with the most 'bling' takes home the prizes. It's all bullshit, on every level and takes the fun out of showing for those who enjoy it.

Lisa- I agree with you on driving, but also jumping, dressage and any other sport where you can't 'fake' your performance. You do well, because you do well. That's how it should be.

Surely anyone who has shown, has at some point, won a class they didn't deserve to and you know it, or not placed when they had a decent enough ride. It happens.

But when the politics are so obvious it's just disgusting, it makes the honest people not wish to come back. By participating, you become associated with that and many of us just don't wish to go there...

pedfjords said...


I will never forget a CA breed show where we took a Fjord who decided she did not like the show ring and missed her buddys back at the barn.
She stopped in the corners and pitched a fit. Like, a big giant naughty fit. Several times.
My husband was driving and kept his cool and also kept her moving forward ( minus a kicking strap UGGG ) so no carnage insued, BUT.
The judge missed it. He was the only person who did BTW. His back would turn and she would continue her fit. Looked pretty flashy inbetween I guess, cause he places 2nd in a big class.
OMG. Total embarassing OMG.

What can you do ? Usually if one of ours peeks over the top of their blinkers they get caught.

Its usually so FAIR, driving is. My goals are small. Dont kill anyone. Dont get hurt ourselves. Do WELL. Place somewhere in the final line-up. Oh, and if we get that far ?
Lord, make it a BLUE.
; ) Lisa

pedfjords said...

BTW, we never hooked her again. She was a great mover and also was an excellent ride. Produced wonderful foals. Just didnt care to drive.
No biggie. At 20, shes now doing therapy riding for
" Rising Stars " in CA. Lisa outta here, gotta put some stud colts away and shower for Jeffs Fathers Day dinner at Chilis tonight !

windingwinds said...

Our first show my goal was to hook up and go safely around the ring a few times, WE HAD A BLAST! We did win, but that was so small to me in ratio to just doing it correctly. (There was just the 2 of us in class)

JohnieRotten said...

The problem that I have is that you should not have to teach horse show ethics is that you should be able to figure a lot of this out on your own. It is called common sense.
If you are a trai er you should know your job and the rules that apply to your job.

In a perfect world there should not have to be a book written on this matter.

The aformentioned trainer was kicked out of his facility as well because of his professional ethics as well.

Trainer X said...

AMEN to that! At one show I went to last summer I entered a training horse of one of my clients in a green horse class and another trainer that I know also had a horse of his in the same class. HOWEVER, I've known this trainer and this horse for a long time and the horse was about as FAR from Green as you could get!!!! So needless to say he won the class on his DEAD BROKE HORSE! UGH! He's known around here for doing that all the time... It's very annoying LOL!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Pedfjords- I have blown leads and had horses start to 'meltdown'. Both with the judge watching and when their back is turned.

Sometimes they pin you for catching it early and correcting the issue, others they just don't see it. Lucky breaks maybe?

Funny thing about something happening and you as a competitor feeling "That's it, we are OUT of the ribbons." You figure the class is 'blown', just ride it out and be done with it.

That's when you relax and maybe ride better because the pressure is off to do well. You end up placing in spite of the bobble and wondering what just happened.

Our pony mare used to drive. Key words, used to. One incident and she was done. The cart was destroyed and so was her driving career. Sometimes one is all it takes.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I just found another place you might inquire about a dressage saddle.

Hobson Choice Saddlery

Link is to their pre-owned listing page.

Plenty with pictures though.

Posted here, so as not to get lost in the comments on the other thread.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

JR I agree that in a from an idealist standpoint that people should be able to use common sense backed by good values when they make decisions and take action.

No, there shouldn't have to be a book. But I'm glad this guy in Germany took the time to address the issues and define "professional." I think it is a very well thought out, non-discipline focused, non-theory focused paper that was obviously written by a seasoned professional.

In fact, when someone asks me for references, I give them the references and I give them that (if for no other reason than to teach them what ethics in horses should look like).

There are people that are raised without good morals, by others that were raised without good morals - goes the same with trainers that teach poor sportsmanship, those people go on to teach it as all perpetuates itself.

There are whole barns built on cheating and deceit. It is disgusting.

Quite frankly, I am acquaintenced with enough dirty horse people (no pun intended) that I am convinced some actually believe they are right.

I've even heard people BRAG about it.

I think they try to rationalize and validate to the best of their ability - and to someone not very experienced in horses, they believe it...think it's all part of the "game."

I know of a trainer that a year ago sold a horse to one of her clients...the horse is deaf and the client didn't know that fact when she purchased the horse.

The trainer received a nice commission on that sale and she did know the horse was deaf.

The horse is a decent horse, it is a tad insecure, the owner is a pretty seasoned rider.

I think it was wrong for this fact to be ommitted from the sale. Others would say that the horse being deaf doesn't matter. Well, whether or not it matters is not the point, no one told the owner.

The owner found out at a show when she ran into a previous owner of the horse. The trainer fed some kind of bullshit and the owner got over it.

People are crazy.

I say it's just easier to be honest, if I have nothing else, I have my good name.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Oh and glad to hear the aforementioned trainer was kicked out of his facility.

Thank God for the good horse people out there. I don't like horses enough to stay in it with all assholes.

horspoor said...

I was riding in a show some years ago. I was shocked when I realized someone I used to show with, and who had been a judge (cutting) was showing...yeah wait for it... Novice Amateur.

windingwinds said...

Thanks for link CnJ. It may be hard to find the right size since he is pony sized, so far every saddle I've liked has wide tree. But any help is welcome!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sad thing is, when one rat gets flushed out, they merely switch breeds and keep on going. Sometimes without even missing a beat.

-AQHA gave Cleaver Wells a one year suspension and $10,000 fine, but nothing is stopping him from shifting over to paints, Appies or any other breed for that matter.

-Someone had mentioned on FHotD a Morgan trainer getting permanently banned. Rumor had it he switched to Arabs. Just what we need.

That's what they do, switch breeds, but stay within the discipline. Keep on torturing and abusing.

Sometimes they make a huge leap to different breeds or types.

-David Boggs, while suspended from the Arabs, was here judging a paint horse show.

The breed associations need to get together and form some way to toss the loser/abusers, cheaters and otherwise- SCUM! out for good on their sorry asses where they belong.

Yet someone always holds up the rats and proclaims they got a raw deal or were made an example of or some other whiney lame excuse- defending their actions, poor ethics, low morals and lack of sportmanship or horsemanship.

Cut-N-Jump said...

WW- I figured as much after posting that. Ooops! But there are others with plenty of links. Feelin' like it may be a needle in a haystack? I've been there myself.

JohnieRotten said...


If they were a cutting judge. They needed to have a LTE of $25000 in NCHA approved shows to judge 2A as well as been showing for 3years.

I have had amateurs in the past hold their judges cards. As long as they met the requirements and they were honest I was fine with it.

I will also say this. Politics has now entered the 4H arenas. And that disgusts me.

SFTS said...

There is so much of this kind of thing that goes on.

Three words from the Arabian industry: Tree Top Ride. A fictitious "competitive trail ride" held "somewhere in Arizona" in order to fake National performance qualifications for a Halter Mare.

At the 1999 Canadian Nationals she was named Champion Mare after getting there based on the phony "trail ride". Then, in order to get the US National qualifications necessary, they stuck her in a couple of WP classes at a small Tuscon, AZ show (where the class was "stacked" with a few horses entered by friends of the mare's trainer and who purposefully "blew" their rides so the mare in question would win ~ more cheating). Her Canadian title was ultimately stripped, and her owner sued by the owners of the Reserve Champion Mare.

Goes on more than an of us would like to admit. :(

Then there are the multitudinous trainers who have been fined and suspended for drugging horses. That's one I cannot for the life of me figure out, why folks will send horses to those known to drug their horses with banned substances. And it's a looong list.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

What freaks me out a little is when they do get caught, they were just caught that time.

Who knows what else they have been up to? That was just the time they were caught!

This morning we were just talking about "trainers" that abuse horses.

I have a theory that they have a different understanding of what they think the horse is, altogether.

I went to a colt starting competition about 5 years ago. One of the trainers was awful, super duper old school tie up the foot, knocked the poor thing over, kicking and panicking. The horse came up lame and bleeding halfway through this "performace of skill."

It was just sick.

What really stood out to me with the whole situation was that he did this in front of a huge audience. So, he obviously did not think he was doing anything wrong.

There were people in the crowd cheering him on. It was a really f-ed up situation to be at.

So not only do people do this, but they do not RECOGNIZE it!

There are so many opinions out there, I think one person's idea of training might be someone else's idea of abuse and vice versa.

I think it comes down to whatever the horse thinks it is. Did anyone see the Josh Lyons, Craig Cameron and Pat Parelli "challenge?" This is a good example of this. Great video - I challenge all Parelli fans to watch it and keep saying they want to follow him.

JohnieRotten said...


I would love to see that video. Is it on line?

Juli said...

I once entered my paso fino in an open show that had some gaited classes. One of the "open" classes was an obedience class, so we entered it for fun. The class was full of WP types four beating around the ring, and my paso, who walked faster than they loped.

Al was a good horse, and he knew more than I ever would, so he was spot on for everything. By the time 3/4 of the class had been eliminated, I believe the judge was trying to find ways to get me out. She called for a posting trot. Hehehe...imagine her surprise when I dropped Al's head and asked him to trot, then posted.

We placed second in the class of around 15. We got pulled when she asked for a counter canter while I was on a corner, and I just couldn't get him bent around in time to get the counter canter before the other horse in the ring (who was on the straight away).

I had more fun in that class! Even if we did lap the rest of the class multiple times because paso's don't go slow.

windingwinds said...

God is great, beer is good, people are CRAZY!!

windingwinds said...

A Arab dressage saddle might work, anyone know who sells those?

SFTS said...

Windingwinds, I have never used a Dressage saddle made specifically for Arabian horses (they are what I specialize in), I just prefer a wide tree because they seem to fit most Arabians. However since your pony is probably built similarly to a couple of smaller geldings I have, the same thing should work for you. :)

JohnieRotten said...


mmmmmmmmm beeeeeeeeeer!

windingwinds said...

He is a welsh cross, and yes while my forward seat with reg tree "works", it isn't the right fit and when I do ride longer periods of time he gets a sore back. It's how my weight is placed, I don't know how to describe it technically.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

JR - It's called "In a Whisper" and is a two hour DVD. I am not sure how old it is, but I saw it about four or five years ago.

Here's a link to it on Amazon:

Make sure to watch ALL THE WAY to the end - you won't be surprised at the winner but there is a grand finale of sorts that is, well...I'm not sure what to say about it...sorta leaves a person speechless.

Cut-N-Jump said...

WW- I had someone tell me, about the pony, "He has no withers. You will never find a saddle or harness to fit him correctly."

You would likely never guess the position of 'authority' this person held.

When she asked me what I thought, I had to ask, "Isn't that why they make saddles with different tree widths?"

I do have a harness that does fit him quite well. It has never been an issue!

windingwinds said...

CnJ-just saw your post on Fridays page-we don't ride our little guy either (He is 38 in) but after he kicked me last week I was ready to ride to glue factory lol! That is one reason to like the 13hh ponies tho, can climb on if you feel the need.

JohnieRotten said...

Good driver- no fair leaving everyone guessing!

Drop me an email and fill
me in, would ya.

windingwinds said...

If my sis can get saddles to fit a mule, I can find one for Buck! I haven't had much trouble with harness though my next project is one with a collar/hames, but I have a link to help with collar size.

Dena said...


you have mail


NW_Horse_Person said...

Winding Winds

You might want to look in the UK for saddle to fit your pony. My friend who has a Cob stallion was able to find one in the UK, she bought it used. I can't remember from who though. The saddlers in England really know their stuff when it comes to building English saddles. They have a lot of training before they are allowed to hang out a sign and call them selves a saddler. It isn't the same here in the states. One of the few people in the US that I would trust to build me a custom English saddle was Verlane Desgrange, unfortunately she passed away about two years ago. She had gone over to England and trained with a master saddler. Before her death she had attempted to get a Guild set up here in the US. She saw the need to get some kind of regulation/ schooling set up. There are a lot of people calling themselves a "saddle Maker"(here in the US) and really don't have a clue on how to fit a horse for a saddle and how to properly build one.

NW_Horse_Person said...

Good Driver

Oh, I so want to see that video

horspoor said...

I think what bothered me is he used to judge cutting, and trained and gave lessons for years. Took a couple years off...and can show Novice Amateur, not just amateur. It was pretty crappy. (He still got his ass kicked btw)

It would be like you or me not training for a couple years, and signing up for Novice Amateur. Regardless of whether you can skirt by on a's still not right. (Not to mention, how embarrassing). Yeah, I took your money for training your horses, and giving you lessons....but I'm going to show novice.

horspoor said...

My old Arab gelding used a wide tree. My half arab gelding uses a wide tree, at least in the Passier Antares. I think a wide Courbette or HDR would be too wide. So, that probably throughs a wrench in the deal.

Cut-N-Jump said...

We are currently experiencing issues with our Wi-Fi and quest. We will hopefully return to our regularly scheduled snark momentarily.

For the time being we are posting from our iPhones and auto spell is a PITA.

This has been a test of the non-quest DSL/ Wi-Fi Internet service... I think they are testing our patience.

However we have been assured they are 'working on it'.

Yeah, we all believe that. Don't we?

Cut-N-Jump said...

HP- there are a few here who actively show ammy yet take payment for lessons and handling. I wouldn't so much call what they do training, as it does not resemble that much.

horspoor said...

Just amazes me. Why would you go to a trainer that was willing to show ammy? This guy didn't even do very well in the novice ammy. I'd rather go up in flames riding against another pro..than get my butt kicked by an ammy...let alone a novice ammy. lol

JohnieRotten said...


I anymore, am amazed at what some of the people do. There is no logic to it.

I got beat by an ammy once in an open class. But they were on a horse that I trained.

horspoor said...

See, now I think that's cool. I've always felt the goal was to make my students better riders and horsemen than I am. They hopefully surpass the teacher...right? Isn't that our job? And if I made a horse that goes well enough for another to beat me...good.

horspoor said...

The little girl on the red mare in the avatar. If she sticks with it...she'll surpass me. Kind of like looking at the future.

JediMom said...

It's sad but there's no way I'm encouraging my kids to join 4H. When I was leader I saw a lot of judging based on tack and horse and connections when it was all supposed to be on equitation.
I've mentioned before, but I was with the poorer group of kids using youth ranch horses and some of our family horses. We had borrowed and donated tack and cloths so our kids weren't the prettiest but they tried hard.
Does the AQHA still require the ethics in showing video for their juniors. We had to watch it in 4H as a leader. It was about ethical and fair showing practices and not to bleed your horse or make them stand tied all day and night without food or water to make them quiet. It seemed awfully bad that a big breed assoc. had to put out a video like that.

horspoor said...

When I was a kid, I did 4H with a friend. Her mom was the leader. She was areally good leader. It wasn't about who had the tack, or the was about who put the time in, who tried. (And she and her daughters had the tack, and the horses let me tell you, whew). She would have had any one of our heads if it ever became about the 'stuff' vs the ability and try. It has probably changed a lot in 30 some years.

JediMom said...

It's not so much the leaders as the judges. A lot of the judges knew the kids from open shows and also from their trainers and horses. The shows' were all supposed to be about equitation, no WP. Or about completing the course in trail and jumping. Of course gymkhana was all about not going off course and times.
It was really sad, the kids who could ride but were on older saggy type horses or were in a borrowed shirt that didn't quit fit OR rode in the 4H uniform, white pants, white long sleeve shirt, belt and of course helmet, were not placed as well as some other kids. Part of why I gave up being a leader was the politics were getting crazy and sitting for hours at the horse leader meeting while people argued over judges was quit enough. Even the achievment day test became political when a kids grandparents pulled a 2 horse trailer with their big and really really old caddy. I think they hauled it out of classic status for their grandkid. The kid got marked down for not having the right towing vehicle. That is not something a child can control. If got really frustrating.

JohnieRotten said...

Ok I need to go to bed because posting on the iPhone is a pain.

But I always thought that 4H was Goethe kids. They were to train the horses on their own and learn about horses as well with the guidance of their leaders. I hate the fact that there are politics in the 4H.

I a saddened for the kids whose parents live vicariously throuh them and expect a win at all costs.

I really need to go to bed. Gnite all!

windingwinds said...

Ahh 4h, very frustrating subject here. We had been going to a neighboring county, but this will be our last year there. I refuse to let others ruin the fun because we aren't gungho beat your pony into the ground cowboys.

mytwh said...

I know your post was more about the trainer riding in the class, but I have to say that the judges behaviour is EXACTLY why I don't show anymore.

We live in Maine where not many people understand the correct gaits of the Walking horse. I firmly believe that if you are going to judge breed classes at an open show, you do a little research on the breeds that will be at said show. My horse is very correct going, flat walk, running walk and canter. I know he's not perfect, but at least he does the required gaits of the class. It never ceases to amaze me when judges pin horses that are pacing or racking above my horse. After one class, my husband (who was showing) went to the jusge and asked why he pinned last when the other horses didn't even do correct gaits. Her answer "I just didn't like him". Nothing about his way of going, anything that could be constructive for us to work on. It was crazy.

We've invited judges to clinics and only 1 judge has ever shown up. Showing up here is a complete waste of time and money, for the most part. There are some judges that can get their head out of their a$$, but they're few and far between.

Phew, didn't realize I had that rant stored up! LOL

Cut-N-Jump said...

HP- that's funny that the guy got beaten by a novice ammy. Really says a lot about him, his methods and his horses. WOW!

WW- 4H can be awesome or not. Just like soccer, FFA, little league baseball, boy/girl scouts or any other 'youth group' type of organizations. Even some of the adult groups and organizations for that matter.

There are groups with leaders who try and parents who don't. Or the parents are interested and the leaders are worthless. Either one is a deterent to the kids involved actually learning anything usefull.

mytwh- my friend had two walkers she boarded at a local roping and team penning 'cowboy' oriented facility. One of the guys told her she shouldn't be riding her horse because he was 'off'. She asked him to explain.

"Well he's walking funny and his head is bobbin'. He's 'off'. He must be sore in both front legs. His head bob's so much, I can't tell which leg it is that's bothering him."

No matter how or how much she tried to explain that they were gaited horses and they were doing their running walk and how smooth it is to ride...

he just wasn't getting it. They were walking funny because they were both 'off'.

Neither were shod with anything but normal shoes- no fancy trims, pads, weights, chains or liniment cocktails. She's quite outspoken and opposed to all of that.

mytwh said...

CnJ-that's funny, we get that all the time. Pads aren't allowed in Maine (which is fine by me!) so my boy is always barefoot or has a light show on. He's from Mass and never been padded or sored or anything. That said, he has the biggest head nod I've ever seen! I frequently get positive comments from people who "know" walking horses. My favorite is "you could make a milkshake with all that shake!" LOL

Anyway, when our local breed organization was trying to get into Equine Affaire a few years ago, they sent videos to the Equine Affaire officials. The people at Equine Affaire told them that they'd love to have TWH's at Equine Affaire, but did we think we could get our horses sound before the event? It was so funny, they really thought all these horses in a video were lame, didn't realize that they're supposed to nod!

I like when people call it bobbing too, I do think it's cute. What a great bob your horse has! hahahaha

blueheron said...

HP, I have always thought a teacher's job is to make themselves superfluous. I like the way you put it. Kind of like evolution, making the next generation better than the current.
And if I had even half the natural affinity for riding the student in your avatar has, boy

Dena said...

HP young miss looks very fine. And quiet.
And most importantly comfy.

That is what I like about HS.
You know what I don't like about SS?
Hooker make-up.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena- not liking the hooker makeup, likely keeps you far from the WP arena too?

Seems they put it on the same way they take it off. With a putty knife.

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
I got beat by an ammy once in an open class. But they were on a horse that I trained.
- - - - - - - -

For me, that is always the BEST. I would rather my students beat me, than the opposite. It means that I am doing my job in teaching them. :)

SFTS said...

horspoor wrote:
See, now I think that's cool. I've always felt the goal was to make my students better riders and horsemen than I am. They hopefully surpass the teacher...right? Isn't that our job? And if I made a horse that goes well enough for another to beat me...good.
- - - - - - - -

Ditto!! :)

Dena said...


WP!?! Are you trying to pick a fight?
Naw just kidding.
The whole rhinestone/dimestore cowboy/girl thing?
And silver on everything? Has exactly what to do with the placing?

Anybody wanna see the trophy collection I bought?
Moving that mentality to 4H just bites.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena- rhinestone/dimestore is a real tongue twister.

Purchased trophies is like 'trophy' buckles with nothing engraved. Dead giveaway. Besides we all know, those damn things can about cut you in half while riding. OUCH!

Go to a 'country bar' and there is all sorts of frightening sights to behold. Make-up by Glidden and hair by the local power company. Do they even look in the mirror or was the bathroom that foggy?

Boots with silver tips and kilties that would likely dissentegrate should a bit of dirt get on them, let alone any kind of shit...

Cowboy hats with no 'character'. Creases, folds, dust or sweat marks.

Bathing in their cologne or perfume... 'nuff said.

I can understand getting cleaned up and puttin' on yer' best "goin' to town clothes", but geeze! Like none of us can tell?

windingwinds said...

I considered showing my apha mare WP about 3 yrs ago, when my sis(whom showed with Truman State's Equine team) mentioned the whore makeup I changed my mind. I am allergic to eye makeup, wouldn't that make a pretty pic?

SFTS said...

JediMom wrote:
It's sad but there's no way I'm encouraging my kids to join 4H.
- - - - - - - -

It really is all in the leader and volunteers, how they handle the attitudes (and especially how they handle the parents!!). But I cannot fathom what you must have been going through/feeling about what you have expressed.

OMGosh! How awful for the poor kids, especially when it's supposed to be about Sportsmanship and Horsemanship, and NOT Oneupmanship. Ugh.

We are lucky, in that we have a terrific group of 4Her's coming together.

SFTS said...

mytwh wrote:
I firmly believe that if you are going to judge breed classes at an open show, you do a little research on the breeds that will be at said show.
- - - - - - - -

I hear you. It's no different than showing an Arabian in "QH Country" under a QH judge and not even getting a look, no matter how correct your horse is. Very frustrating!! Indeed, if you do undertake judging an ALL BREED show with multiple disciplines, you should be able to judge ANY BREED of horse that might show up, under THEIR OWN breed standards.

Okay, have to run, two more lessons for today...

cattypex said...

This was my first year as an official 4H volunteer.

It's my old club, with my old leader back after a hiatus.

We are one of less than 5 counties in the state that has classes for special needs kids. Pretty damn sad. In fact, the blind girl I wrote about over on TJMs blog comes over from Ohio.

Our club has mostly ruff-n-ready kids, or kids who want to be good riders but don't necessarily want to show much. We do have a couple of Congress-level girls, and a couple of REALLY pretty Arabs that do well at Open shows I think.

Last year's judge on Western day was a joy. She normally does POA stuff, and was really kid-oriented, and I thought she was pretty good at looking past all the Dolly Parton on Porter Wagoner glitz and picking some good kids and good horses.

This year's judge? UGH!!!

He kept placing a VERY LAME Paint, and a couple of other questionable horses. He was very into post-legged halter horses, and blinded by BLING. A nice enough guy, and did talk to the kids during showmanship etc., but I thought he had TERRIBLE taste when it came to horses. If it didn't have 28 lbs. of silver and a fake tail, it wasn't gonna place.

I didn't get a "political" vibe, which is good, because yeah, I've seen that at the 4H level.

I need to go 15 miles east to the 2 big Ohio county fairs.... it's real Halflinger country there, and I want to see how they place up against the Congress Queen Bees and Wannabees.

Google Robert Miller's "And They Call Us Horse Lovers" essay. I love to point people to that.

At least they're now making ALL 4H'ers wear helmets in Indiana....

PrairieFarmer said...

It's too bad there can't be some sort of financial cap associated with horses and 4-H kids. Like the horses can only be valued up to a certain point, at least prior to kid taking on a project horse and doing some training, and tack and other accessories can only reach a certain dollar value. Then maybe it could be not only more of a level playing field, but it would also reinforce that it shouldn't be just about the wealthy parent's buying their kid the fancy horse and all the fancy crap that goes with it. Afterall, what sort of lesson does that teach the kids? Both the rich ones and the poor ones? Pretty sad to think about.
And also, it would be great if clubs could find a way to "sponsor" a horse for perhaps a really great potential member that couldn't do it financially otherwise. I mention that because when I was in dairy 4-H as a kid, we started a "sponsored cow" project. It started because we had a member who was tragically killed in a fire (his whole family died, it was very sad), and we ended up with his 4-H calf. We decided the best thing to do was to give that calf to a kid who was interested in joining, but didn't have the financial werewithal to get his own project cow. And of course, we helped as a club with the pens and stalls and all that. I thought it was a great thing and we did it every year, I realize it is more complicated with a horse than a 2 year cow project, but I bet something creative could be worked out.
And it just makes me SO PISSED off that 4-H can be the insanity you are all describing. My girls are too young yet (3 and 5), but 4-H was such a great experience for me. Man, if this shit is going on when they are of age, I might have to take NO PRISONERS!

cattypex said...

I know that at least some counties in Ohio have a "horseless" 4-H project, where a kid w/o a horse teams up with a kid who has one.

The horseless kids do some extra stuff, I think.

Someone from a different county in Indiana was complaining to me that their extension agent was so ignorant of anything but sheep, a bunch of people complained to Purdue, which did nothing, since the agent held an Ag. degree from them. So they figured she was automatically qualified.

I wish that 4H kids here were required to show in either Whites (never seen 'em in Indiana, even for livestock), or even better, white or green official 4H shirts (choice of polo or button-up), vest or blazer- or letter-style jackets without ornamentation and pants appropriate to their discipline, no chaps please. Heck, like Scouts or Campfire girls, maybe you could "graduate" to different uniforms as you get older and move up. You could earn different badges to pin onto your jacket or vest - not limited to Horse & Pony, either. I think it's really cool when a kid does really well with 3 or 4 different projects.

Minimal silver on Western saddles. Like, conchos are OK, maybe a little lacing, but no corner, cantle or pommel plates. "natural" colored leather required (except in contesting). Hey, if you can afford a $5,000 saddle, then you can also afford a plain but quality $800 saddle.

Cleanliness used to be much more of a factor. White-glove clean horse, tack & rider. This includes udder, sheath, under the dock, your boots, etc.

I couldn't BELIEVE how many dusty saddles I saw - and it was NOT dusty at the Fairgrounds this week.

Maybe even an official 4H helmet cover....

cattypex said...

....and crusty Manly Bits on geldings! EWWWWW

I am a George Morris level stickler about clean tack. If I had been judging, I would speak to EVERY kid who had dirty tack (including tarnished silver) or horse, or who dared to show a lame or skinny horse.

In fact I might even get on the loudspeaker and make a general announcement sometime during the day...

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Ha Ha, I can just hear you now...


And before the show...

And in the show...

cattypex said...

That would sure weed 'em out!!!

: P

Actually, if an otherwise OK but arthritic walk/trot horse with a tiny rider needs a very low dose of bute (the equine equivalent of a couple of ibuprofen) to stay active doing what he loves, that doesn't bother me much.

How about setting up a booth advertising "Free Ace"? It'd be like that dude who advertised pot on Craigslist! Fish in a barrel....

I just want to level the playing field somewhat. I think that an affordable uniform would help. Heck, you could swap around hand-me-downs forever!

Sure, you'd still have kids with expensive boots, but that's not as obvious as when the silver fairy pukes all over your saddle.... or the paper-plate size belt buckle.

And if you're too much of a snob to do it, well, the AQHA and APHA circuits are over that way.... there, with the zombie horses and clownface makeup girls.

I wish we had real hunters in 4H in my county *sigh*

And that the Pony Club here was.... better.

JohnieRotten said...

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...
Ha Ha, I can just hear you now...


And before the show...

And in the show...


Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- there was one show mom at 4H, the past few years. Spent money on the horse, tack and everything to go with it expecting to win it all. Well her daughter got beaten by the kid leasing our horse. "Well she's (meaning our horse) been shown before." was her excuse. Even in English and our horse had never been braided or worn the tack! But her horse had been shown too...

The first show was a real hoot because she came unglued on the judge when our rider in the eq class missed changing diagonals on the simple figure 8, but still won. The judge explained she had a better seat and control with BOTH hands and legs, which none of the other riders displayed. On the video it was obvious and crystal clear. (I was behind the lens)

Then because 'our' kid was 3 points above hers at the end but both placed 1st in two classes and 2nd in the other two- they should be tied! She went off again and got her way, as her child cried about it back at the trailer. (She cried because she didn't want to 'win' that way!)

She mentioned one time forgoing 4H and showing the open show circuit as there was better competiton. Our 'mom' asked her, "Why don't you?"

cattypex said...



I know a doctor who shows at Congress, won her adult Horsemanship class at the World (saw the video AND the trophy), and buys high-dollar horses as you can well imagine.

One time at the frickin 4H FAIR she got caught up in the announcer's booth doctoring numbers for high point, because HER kid "deserved" it.....


A theology professor lectured here a couple years ago about the usefulness of shame.

I should send her a copy....

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- what is it with these parents that throw money at things that are supposed to be FUN and expect to win?

Show mom in this case stated the competition was better at the open shows, yet she was consistently getting her ass kicked, or rather the kids were, at 4H, by kids with less money in the mixture. I found that rather funny concerning the mom, certainly not for the kids.

Her oldest daughter now makes excuses so as to not be able to make it to the barn to ride. Her other daughter was the one crying because SM was making a scene.

We had another show mom client just like her a few years ago. Word is she now shows appy's too. I can't wait to see them in the same ring together. That's going to be one hell of a show!

michelle said...

This is sadly a true storyline for my breed shows as well. It is sad that so many trainers and judges encourage abuse of the rules and that the industry hasn't done the best job of reprimanding those who think they are above the rules. There are several trainers that I have seen incur drug charges, wait out their suspensions and then return to the ring, only to do it again. unfortunate...