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  1. #1
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    Default Would you get involved?

    This question is theoretical.

    Would you help in a possible lawsuit against a trainer in either of the below ways?

    1) If you had a horse trained by the same trainer and had serious issues with the horse/training, would you be willing to provide your experience as evidence?

    2) As a trainer, if you were asked by a lawyer to assess a horse's mental state/training for a legal proceeding, would you?
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  2. #2
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    Can only answer to 1).
    If I had serious issues to the point I had severed my relationship with the trainer, yes I would provide my experience as evidence, with a time line giving the issues and any bills incurred, vet, excessive charges, whatever.

    If I had issues with a trainer and had removed my horses but not severed a relationship, ie continued to lesson there or show with said trainer, just made the effort to move the horses home to oversee their care, then I would only give evidence if the issues were precisely the same as what drove me to move the horses home.

    If I had issues but preferred to complain and live with it, then obviously I don't really have an issue and wouldn't give evidence.

    For 2) I'm not a trainer, and a horse's mental state is so subjective, think of the thread on horses behaving differently at different barns. Not able to give an opinion besides the above.
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  3. #3
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    That would depend a lot on who was suing the trainer and why, what my relationship was to that person, and whether I felt there was sufficient moral or financial cause why that person should be sued and possibly even out of business.

    It would have to be a very serious matter affecting me personally to get involved in a snake pit like this.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    That would depend a lot on who was suing the trainer and why, what my relationship was to that person, and whether I felt there was sufficient moral or financial cause why that person should be sued and possibly even out of business.

    It would have to be a very serious matter affecting me personally to get involved in a snake pit like this.
    I would think the lawyer would want someone NOT involved to be able to be more objective. My other thought is, that the trainer would just be assessing the horse's current state, and not assessing the guilt or innocence of the trainer: that would be up to the court correct? Let's assume the trainer assessing does not know the name of the trainer who is being sued in order to remain objective.
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  5. #5
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    #1 - yes

    #2 - what they are asking for is an expert witness. I wouldn't do it without a) consulting my own attorney and if that was OK b) garnering a big fee.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    2) As a trainer, if you were asked by a lawyer to assess a horse's mental state/training for a legal proceeding, would you?
    I'm not a trainer, but this is something I do as a behaviorist. Generally the attorneys I've worked for want expert witnesses who are either PhD behaviorists or veterinarians to make these kind of assessments. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I haven't worked on a case where either side brought in a trainer for such an assessment. If they did, I would expert the trainer to be treated as an expert witness.
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  7. #7
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    I am not a trainer and so can only answer No. 1, but if it were about safety or abusiveness, then yes. I would. If I believed that the trainer's actions were abusive and illegal or were likely to cause harm to people or animals in the future, then I'd feel a moral obligation to do so. But if it was like a he-said-she-said barn-drama type thing or a disagreement over non-abusive training methods, then I'd probably mind my own beeswax.
    Last edited by suzier444; Mar. 25, 2013 at 06:31 PM. Reason: failure to form words into sentences


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  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    This question is theoretical.

    Would you help in a possible lawsuit against a trainer in either of the below ways?

    1) If you had a horse trained by the same trainer and had serious issues with the horse/training, would you be willing to provide your experience as evidence?

    2) As a trainer, if you were asked by a lawyer to assess a horse's mental state/training for a legal proceeding, would you?
    Only 1 could apply for me. It would definitely depend on situation if I would volunteer anything. I haven't been in a situation with a trainer causing an injury to a horse, so it's hard to say - injuries happen, and most of them are just because horses are a pain, not due to negligence or recklessness from a trainer. If I saw a trainer making a pattern of injuring horses and I had a first hand account, I thik I would volunteer to testify if it could possibly help the case, and would of course testify as required if subpoenaed.

    In a real situation, if someone I knew had a horse who had to be put down due to lack of timely care or water I would volunteer to testify against the former BO who gave far less than what I feel is the minimum for care at a supposedly full care facility.
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  9. #9
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    Overall, I'd probably not offer anything given how things backfire on me.

    But, a big but, if I were apt to do so, if I heard numerous similar stories of a certain trainer who actually did the riding (not an underling), then depending on circumstances, may help out, but only from some sort of distance. I even get nervous sometimes on this board about some of my experiences, relating them in this sue-happy society.

    As for the second part, I wouldn't as far as I can see. Horses can act just fine with me or my kids and being a real jerk with someone else or vice versa. Maybe the barn is scary or the firing range behind the house sets the horse off or whatever. I don't see how that can be done. Nothing stays the same when a horse is even moved from that side of the property to this side of the property. So, I'd beg off or fly under the radar in order not to be noticed and possibly asked.
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  10. #10
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    Keep in mind for #2 the trainer is not being asked to comment on the actions/incident, just on the current state of the horse's training.

    So not a:
    - Do you think the trainer did his job?
    But rather a:
    - Is this horse currently exhibiting behaviour that would make you question getting on it and/or are its reactions what you would consider typical for a horse its age and with its experience.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    Keep in mind for #2 the trainer is not being asked to comment on the actions/incident, just on the current state of the horse's training.

    So not a:
    - Do you think the trainer did his job?
    But rather a:
    - Is this horse currently exhibiting behaviour that would make you question getting on it and/or are its reactions what you would consider typical for a horse its age and with its experience.
    Regardless, they are asking for a professional opinion. It's an assessment. If you don't have a professional way to make the assessment that will stand up in court AND you can't back it up with some sort of credentials, you may (will?) get taken to task if the whole mess goes to trial and the trainer's attorney has his/her way with you. That's why I suggested talking to YOUR attorney first - it's a reality check re: the rules of evidence and the in and outs of being an expert witness.

    (I am not an attorney but have involved with just enough trials to be dangerous. Or to have a standing piece of advice which is: consult your attorney!!!)



  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    Keep in mind for #2 the trainer is not being asked to comment on the actions/incident, just on the current state of the horse's training.

    So not a:
    - Do you think the trainer did his job?
    But rather a:
    - Is this horse currently exhibiting behaviour that would make you question getting on it and/or are its reactions what you would consider typical for a horse its age and with its experience.
    Of this, I'm pretty sure I could answer for a using western horse trained using traditional methods, plus add in a bit of hunt seat and lower level dressage. However, if the 'training system' (whatever that is) used is something like the Peps, then, nope, I wouldn't know because it would be like asking what Pluto's surface looks like. I couldn't tell you although I've had some of their training on a couple of my horses and thought it was terrible.

    So, there's that line of thought too. All in all, I'd prolly just try to wiggle out of it and go about my way.
    Last edited by goneriding24; Mar. 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM. Reason: Clarifying.
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