Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rotten Scottsdale Arabian Show Edition

If someone here that was new to the horse world were to ask me how I would describe the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, I would have to say that it is totally fake. Full of some of the most shallow people that have ever walked the face of the earth.

Yes I have to admit that I did show the Arabs for several years because I was drawn to the glamour and the glitter. That is natural I suppose, I like shiny things and I always thought that the Arabs were shiny. Our 16 year old daughter calls the attraction to shinny things, ADDOLS, Attention Deficit Disorder "Oh Look, Shiny". And while the horses are really shiny and wreak of show sheen, the people that show them really do lack the same luster as that of their mounts!

I as usual am really disappointed in the amount of over bridled horses as well as all of the jerking and spurring that goes on. About 90% of the horses that are being ridden at the show are behind the vertical, and if that is not bad enough the trainers are all using bats to drive them forward. I hate to be the one to break it to them, but the horses can only go so far forward when their chins are tucked to their chests.

There is one particular trainer that could not get his western horse to pick up the lope and I pointed out to him that his horse was too far behind the vertical and that made the horse too heavy on the forehand. I even videoed it on my iPhone (love that thing) and showed him what his problem was. Needless to say he did not even thank me for the advice. Perhaps he will pay the bill when I send it to him. But I won't hold my breath.

One other thing that struck me as odd, was how many Scottsdale Top Ten Jackets were being worn by the people that were there. It seems as though everyone had a jacket. Am I to assume that is the prerequisite for showing at Scottsdale, that you have a top ten jacket. I can only imagine the participants at the show greeting & introducing themselves to each other. 'Hi my name is Bob and I have a horse that is a Scottsdale top ten, that sure is a lovely jacket you are wearing'.

I wonder, do they have a secret handshake?

But it was soon pointed out to me that you can buy a Top Ten jacket in the vendor tents.

Perhaps it is true, that I am becoming far too cynical as I grow older. I really have seen the changes to the Arabian horse industry that are not good. But the cold hard reality of the horse industry is that the changes have occurred in all breeds. The trainers are younger and have more have access to more and more gimmicks that come on the market.

I was asked by a reader today if I am going to continue this blog. At first I pointed out to her that I am not sure if I am helping anyone or even reaching anyone. She assured me that I am.

This blog was started with the intention of helping people reach their horse training goals and will continue on in that function. All of your input is a big help and appreciated.

So I will continue, though probably not a post a day. Maybe we can start with one topic a week.

But want to ask you all a question..... what changes have you seen in the horse show and horse industries that turn you off?

And what positive changes have you seen?



fernvalley01 said...

I have never shown a lot , but going back after many years away from the small amount I did do. The pics and stories I have seen of Scottsdale, shcked the crap out of me! I won't be showing Arabs , but can the other breed shows be far behind? Please say yes, I am already queay thinking about it at the first show woul;d be 4 months away!

Cut-N-Jump said...

FV- I would love to fly up there and help you out. I really would. It would be fun and if nothing else then I could offer to be a shoulder to lean on for you.

It seems the 'bigger' the show the larger the facade, pretentious behavior and the number of idiots in attendance. In some cases it seems like the Arabs are way behind the times. Other parts of it- they are out in the lead.

I'll check into the Appy shows around here. Maybe you should winter and show here. Last time we were at one of their 'big' shows, I think the largest class had 7 entries. Four seemed to be the average...

fernvalley01 said...

careful cnj I might be sending you a ticket! 4-7 sounds much more manageable ,hopefully without the theatrics

onmyway said...

I've never shown and have no interest in ever showing.
I do have a teenaged daughter who was very much wanting to show until a certain "trainer" completely turned her off. Not saying that all trainers are like this person but it seems that a hell of a lot are.

I do hope things improve in the show world but money talks and "win at all costs" to the detriment of the horses is a huge turn off.

I have seen and heard more than enough to turn me off the show world but nothing, and I mean nothing to give me any desire to even bother.
Are there any positives at all?

Thank You JR! I'm glad you're blogging.

maiden53 said...

First.... JR PLEASE do not stop blogging! I really enjoy reading what you have to say!

Second... I was raised with Arabs..have one now and 2 Quarter horses. Still prefer the Arab personality :-). My grandpa was a trainer, top breeder and showed his Arabs in the 60's. I remember people as being more real than they are now at Scottsdale. I have attended a few of those shows and found people snobby.. did not go this year. I personally do not show and if I did, Scottsdale is NOT where I would go.

Again. Thank you for your blogging.

ponykins said...

I have shown Arabs for 45 years. I hate the fact that althought the rule book says WP horse should break at the poll, they break in the middle of their necks and like the QH, the slowest ones tend to win. As long as judges reward it, it will be done. I also hate that "freaky" tends to win in halter (type over conformation)over more practical, using types of Arabians.

ponykins said...

Did you get to see the stallion who "got" his handler 3 times? All of the Arab formums are pointing to the past training treatment of said stallion, that seemed to have caused him to attack. What a sad thing to hear of how cruel some trainers can be to their client's horses. And, even worse, if their clients are aware of it. Horses don't cringe in fear when trainer raise their whips for nothing.

JohnieRotten said...

we did not see that. What forum was that on?

no worries I am going to continue. I like hearing your input as well.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Ponykins- I know of a stallion, a son of Aladinn, who was shown halter for a short time before he was pulled from the ring and kept in a small scale operation. A friend of mine was duped into buying him and BNT was going to put him back in the ring. He was to be The Stallion of the 90's!

Thing is, the horse had had enough. Their first show and BNT is afraid of the horse. Of course the owner was having the class taped... Yay!

While on the rail, BNT turns his back on the stallion for a moment to check where the judge is. The horse rammed BNT in the chest with his teeth. Nearly knocked him down. The horse made it known he could have taken BNT out at that moment. BNT was scared of the horse because he knew of the horses past. The horse was tired of being whipped on and wasn't taking it anymore.

Having been around this horse at home, I don't trust him for a moment. He is fine when treated fairly, but has been known to trap people in a stall in the center of his pasture or up against the rails in a stall. His owner has had health issues recently and although they are both up there in years- they keep on kicking. However if anything should happen to the owner knows the horse is welcome to come live out his days with us.

kestrel said...

JR, I know sometimes it feels like we're preaching to the trees, but fads come and go. True horsemanship will never come back unless true horseman keep preaching, there may be a real rider behind the tree!

JohnieRotten said...


I have to agree with you that there probably is s real rider behind the tree. But then there will always be those that get hit by a branch.

katphoti said...

JR, we are seeing some major progress in the sound TWH community. More work toward using basic dressage principles rather than relying on bits and shoes to do the job. Not that the horses were sore by any means, they were just using mechanics to train the horses. I'm also seeing more people that use mechanics starting to change them, like using less harsh bits and slowly working horses up to heavier shoes. I definitely think we're seeing progress in the sound horse if we can only get the sore horse community to do the same...


GoLightly said...

"And what positive changes have you seen?"

Blogs like yours, JR.

Where else can I ask my dumb western questions?

You rock.
Blog ON.

GoLightly said...

14th, so THERE.

PrairieFarmer said...

Having not been a fan of horse shows or showing 20+ years ago when I was "doing horses" and not being involved now, I honestly can't say if it's any worse or better.
I can say that this blog has offered me some "positive changes." Went on a nice little ride today. My high-headed, hot to go, jiggedy, leapy mare, is getting more relaxed every ride. We start out with the "lateral flex" stuff you promote. She now walks calmly, head down reaching, she trots in a much better rhythm (not all over the place), picks up canter from a walk, dead stop from a canter with just the sitting back, "whoa" command and slightest tug. And stands there relaxed til asked to go! Yeah! And btw, all in a snaffle and with a loose rein.
She still gets a bit "excitable" on the trail rides and new sights, but we are working on that. I do feel like we are creating some "connections" and I owe a lot of that to you, so thanks greatly!
And if this blog wasn't here, where would I go to talk about my great ride? All those other horsey forums are SCAR-EE!

Dena said...

>But want to ask you all a question..... what changes have you seen in the horse show and horse industries that turn you off?

And what positive changes have you seen?<

It isn't really changes in the industry JR, so much so as it is, the evolution of the more is better no matter the harm. That no matter the cost attitude, has been around as long as, people who have been trying to buy the win.
That is why we don't really see the aged horses competing strong. Their minds and unfortunately, often their bodies, are fried very early in the game these days.

The positive changes? People like you and CnJ being willing to call a spade a spade.
I wish I had the money. I would pay to train under the both of you any day...

nccatnip said...

I would like to chime in here if I may. I went to an eventing trial this weekend and came home so pleased. First off, I will admit to not knowing anyone there but one person, who is a pretty high ranking rider with tons of experience so I do not know about what goes on behind the scenes at the barns.
It was a true pleasure to watch a bunch of well cared for, healthy horses doing jobs they loved. And let me tell you, there was some real "fuglies" there as well as some imports but other than a few rider created dust ups, everyone looked great. I only saw one horse that was out of sorts at some of the jumps, I am suspecting pain was an issue but I am not knowledgable enough to really say.
I will say with at least this crowd, the novice riders have some great role models to watch ringside.

ponykins said...

It was orginally on A Black Horse Community, but then made it to FHOTD the other day. A handler appeared to trip and the stallion "walked on him", then it happened again, and on the third time, the stallion go down on his knees on him. later released. Word is that earlier "halter training" caused him to snap and go after the current handler.

ponykins said...

Edited to say, the handler was hospitalized, but later released with no broken bones.

kestrel said...

JR, maybe we could use them there branches to start whacking stupid trendy fads...hey, let's start our own fad and start selling carrot branches...snork!

katphoti said...

Thought for all: I have discovered with my work in helping to end soring that we have finally seen in the past few years a true acceptance that soring IS happening and that it IS the main way to train a BL horse. The horrors are finally coming to the surface, thanks to the Internet and more widespread ways of learning information. It isn't that it's getting worse in the sore horse world, it's just that people are finally learning about what's really going on.

So is that perhaps true for the other breeds? Is handling getting worse, or are we just now finally hearing about the abusive methods that have already been in use for years? Or is it breed or discipline related: Saddlebreds have always been shown in upside down frames for the past 40 years or so, while Rollkur has only shown up in the past 10 years or so?

horsndogluvr said...

Here's something from the dog training world:

How To Housebreak Your Dog Using a Rolled Up Newspaper

1. Grasp newspaper firmly.

2. Use it to beat yourself over the head.

3. Repeat several times: "I forgot to watch my dog!"


kestrel said...

And to correct a brutal horse trainer, smack them firmly on the nose with a rolled up newspaper...and remember to put a lead pipe in the center of the paper...