The fact is that many groom are in fact immigrants and since I work in racing I see it every day. Grooms are the hardest workers on the backstretch and often the least heralded. Horseshow grooms are the same. I know, I've been one, though not at WEF or the like. In fact for a BNT to name a groom who would in fact take the fall should a drug positive be found is setting up far less powerful people to take the fall for them.
The point was to demonstrate an example of a "lowest common denominator." If BNT hires winter help because they are leaving horses back home in northern bases, they could end up hiring people who fit my example who though hard working and dedicated are NOT trainers, or barn managers and who in many cases don't have the experience of either. Whether that person is me or a recent transplant to Wellington from a northern racetrack they shouldn't be listed as "Parkland's Trainer" because they are not, and doing so gives the appearance of attempting to establish a lack of liability.
But as PiggyJump and others have said, in this case, the man listed as trainer (Gerardo Escalara) is not a groom. He is Heritage Farm's manager and has been with them for 15 yrs or somthing. If you want to know more about his role, read the article about them in Practical Horseman from last year. I believe Andre cites Gerardo as being an integral part of his barn's success.
You are making reference to the supposed situation of a temporary hire being used as a falll-guy, for which there is no current example.
IMO, major barns which win a lot should be held to a higher standard. Children and adults alike look toward Heritage and Scott Stewart, etc., as people who can be and are emulated. If they get set down, or have to have to consult with attornies before making a decision, then it becomes OK for others to follow the same path.
I'd settle for the big barns being held to the same standard as everyone else. I'd want that for exactly the reasons you mention: People watch them and derive their sense of "best practices" for the industry from them. Scuttlebutt of the horse show world, however, suggests that those with a great deal of power in it live by a different set of rules, from their over-representation on USEF committees to their ability to sway horse show managers in a way that smaller trainers and certainly the lone ammy cannot. A pro friend of mine who had worked for a BNT on the West Coast swore that this dude drugged with regularity and somehow evaded drugs tests with regularity.
Have you been reading this thread? Because if you have, you could not, with any integrity, say "without apparent cause." It might not be a cause that you agree with or accept, but an apparent cause has been given.
I have been reading the thread. I think I missed something about a bee sting. Personally, I haven't seen a horse fall over from a bee sting. I have seen the buggars "fall over" in an attempt to roll (and give the handlers no warning... on purpose).
Otherwise, I have no opinion on the cause of the horse's collapse. It just seems odd to me, that's all.
And by the way, what up with questioning my integrity?
I never ONCE said that. Where the heck did you think I said that. I said that the reasoning behind the racehorse rule was to keep large fields of galloping horses and riders safe. Comparing that rule to something in the hunter world is a lot different as there is only one horse going at a time, which means that the rider's choice affects the rider and it's horse only. This means that one rider's choice does not affect the rest of the competitors. I am just saying that the racehorse rule is installed b/c the rider's choice CAN affect (and possibly kill) others in the field.
I then even stated in the EXACT SAME REPLY that I did not think the horse should have been shown if it actually did collapse. Man, you really just want to throw people under the bus.
Glad you clarified it because it sure seemed like that is what you were saying. What I am saying is that to allow a horse that collapsed at ringside, to go in and compete, bee sting, narcolepsy, seizure from watching previous idiots misride a horse in the ring (I am being sarcastic here), is what is at issue. That and the passing the buck routine by having grooms sign as the trainer so that there will be someone that the farm can blame if there is impropriety such as drugging. Plenty of that in every discipline. In racing, for instance, Barbaro is a case in point. Here was a horse who was typically calm prior to a race, obviously washing out in the post parade and he BROKE THROUGH THE GATE before the start. The only other thing this horse could have done is stand on his two hind legs and said in plain English, "I am not right, I am afraid to run". This was in the highest graded stakes race that exists and they did not pull the horse out even so much as to look him over by the vet. If I had been Michael Matz, I would have been climbing the walls to have him pulled, but no one said a thing, at that point Matz could only have called the stewards to call the starter and say "pull him" but no had enough sense of urgency that this could turn out ery wrong. The rest of the story is known.
All the rest of the obvious overuse and misuse of therapeutic drugs for performance purposes is pretty much the same from discipline to discipline and if the institutions cared, they would not allow these kinds of sleazy practices to continue.
"Nothing in life is to feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more and fear less." Marie Curie
You can think it's immoral all day long (and I agree when done for blame-shifting reasons!) but it's permitted under the rules.
A lot of pebarns ople will have the head honcho sign. Well, a barn of 100 horses coming and going-- yes the buck stops with the head honchd but how is he/she realistically going to be ground-level involved enough to know if medications are accidentally switched or mis-administerated. On the other hand, in some ways I think the person who handles the buckets probably ought to be signing-- because if an error is made, that person is part of the error. So I can see WHY a barn might want the actual feeder/medicator being the one who signs. And that might be a "groom." And for some barns, that person might have a LOT of say as to what horse gets what. I'm not their barn manager so I don't know. I'm not going to assume either way.
Without knowing WHY a barn decides to have a certain person sign, there's no way to know if the blame is being shifted or if there's a legitimate thought process at work/attempt to name the person most in control. But regardless. The rule permits and I would say even CALLS for the use of a name like a groom who is day-to-day caring for the horses at the show.
I would be in favor of a rule sanctioning everyone at the show up and including to the actual trainer for a violation... but that's NOT how the rule is written. And with the rule as written, I'm not going to speculate or cast aspersions on WHY certain barns choose to follow the letter of the rule as written. Could be for nefarious reasons or non-nefarious ones. Nor am I going to assume that just because someone is not a BNT that person is expendible/a fall guy etc. I really don't know. And that's why I think the rule needs to be re-written. Does the buck stop with someone or not? If it does, the rule needs to say who clearly. If the buck doesn't stop, it's open to too much variation/interpretation and I think is more prone to abuse. It's just not a good rule, as written, IMO. But I am not going to hold that against people following it when I don't know WHY they do things the way they do.
Barbaro is a case in point. Here was a horse who was typically calm prior to a race, obviously washing out in the post parade and he BROKE THROUGH THE GATE before the start. The only other thing this horse could have done is stand on his two hind legs and said in plain English, "I am not right, I am afraid to run".
Seriously? This is one of the most ridiculous things I've read on this thread.
"I am witty. Ask around." --Pat, COTH
I see diversity in the posts. Why do you hate 'em all?
Or is it that you think the thread shouldn't exist?
No, disagreements are too, well, disagreeable, in the land of Winken, Blinken and Nod, "we just don't 'do' disagreements". Either that or poster can just not sort out the truth from fiction without a suitable authority like the news media to confirm it.
"Nothing in life is to feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more and fear less." Marie Curie
Its been many years since I was at these big shows, but I remember going with 35 - 50 horses at times with head trainers, assistant trainers, barn owner, road manager, barn manager, 10 grooms, etc. I never saw nor signed an entry blank in some 10 years. Some of the barns I worked at had an Office Manager who never left the home premises who took care of all the entries (hence that "office fee" many of you see on your invoice). She filled them out, signed them, logged them in our computer or log system before computers in order to know what to bill. It was never an attempt to mask anything nor was she the "trainer" but she was the person who took care of our entries. I do not know if the rules have changed now, but if we let the Mom's go up to pay the secretaries would grab them to sign if we did not send them in ahead of time.
We were too busy getting students and horses ready to show to be signing entry blanks. So I hardly think that this practice is 100% (probably less than 10%) indicative of malice.
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
Sunken Meadow, don't get too hung up in the semantics of "signature" - the issue is less about the actual ink used (and who may be holding the pen and where they are standing when holding it) and a more about the name printed below and the way the rule is crafted.
However that said, most people aren't trying to game the system. But if a rule has a loophole so wide a semi can barrel through it, it's in the interest of the people who follow the intent of the rules to have that loophole closed since they are not the one abusing it.
Which of course makes this a good time to point out (for the humpty bilionth time) that if the loophole IS a problem, it's not the fault/blame/problem of individual trainers. It's squarely in the rule making authority's lap (USEF for those keeping score).
Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.
How dare we not assume there is some evil reasoning behind it and that every horse in ever barn is drugged beyond belief just because they can.
I don't think that's what we are assuming, however, it is a practice that is not (again) the intent of the rule and therefore when something happens that is suspicious or unusual (as the descriptions of the events have been) it is certainly not unreasonable to examine practices (unusual or not) around the event that has occurred. That *is* how people discover things.
Personally, I wouldn't sign for a horse unless I had direct control over it's care/custody and control. However, I may put more value on my signature than is ordinary (as it sounds).
If the incident was just a reaction to a bee sting, the reports of urination and defecation are strange, are they not? I'm certainly not in any rush to paint someone as a cheater, however, my spidey-senses be saying *something* isn't right. If that report is unfounded, well then, it does say something about the sport that people are looking for this conclusion.
This is the problem with these boards. People think that everything is black and white like the Lifetime movies. Nobody is saying that these trainers using drugs are malicious bad people versus the good ones that don't do it. It is a convenience, they do it as a shortcut and they get results and they keep doing it. Others copy and so on. And on top of it, the horses that win sell for more money so there is a lot of incentive to do it. And sometimes these trainers who break the rules get suspended but two months later get an award for horsemanship and appear on the cover of magazines. Why? Because the USEF, the horse shows and the magazines need their business to survive.
No sane person will deny illegal drug use at the top (of any sport).
That's funny...when others mentioned drugging is rampant in the hunters, they were blatantly told they are wrong. I, personally, was called a whack job.
The fact remains that it is known to happen, and those who do it tend to stay ahead of the "testable" stuff or limits. Those who would report tend to not because they often end up being labeled as trouble makers and "jealous" of those at the top. (yes, the green-eyed monster has also been mentioned in this thread)
But I agree with the rest of your post (just being a bit snarky. It must be time for a nap. Or a beer.). We really don't know what actually happened and can only take Ms. Keenan at her word.
"IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique
I never said they should be emulated, I said that they are emulated. By people who don't know that the emperor has no clothes.
That is the most dangerous part of this. The potential for metaphorical lemmings to jump off a legal cliff.
I can cite the example of one wonderful ammy, new to the horse show world who talked about giving ace a horse before showing because her trainer told her that it was OK because everyone did it. She just plain did not know that it was illegal. When told, she was horrified. But for a small time trainer to point to the big barns as (quite rightly so) people who used drugs to quiet their horses perpetuates the idea that it is OK to do so.
If you put 50 children with Down's Syndrome in a room, there's going to be a lot of hugging.