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!
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