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Rob Gage

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  • Originally posted by Max123 View Post

    Thank you for the clear and concise explanation .... which I know will continue to fall on deaf ears with the "due process" and "violation of constitutional rights" arguments. Again - membership in a club when one does not abide by the rules, is NOT a constitutional right.
    I urge you to read about what has gone on at college campuses with their rape allegation tribunals. Attending a particular college is not a constitutional right either, but they are facing a huge social and legal backlash for the way they have neglected the due process rights of the accused.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post

      I can see that. I think as I watch it play out, maybe I'll feel better. My biggest concern is that sexual abuse of any kind should go straight to law enforcement, kind of like states who require licensed professionals to report arrests and then disciplinary action on the license may follow. Ideally, any sexual abuse cases should be handled by law enforcement and then Safesport reacts accordingly after the verdict. At least in my perfect little world (which is full of caffeine because I haven't slept in two days).
      I really admire how reasonable you've been in this conversation.

      In a perfect world, law enforcement would be able to do *something* more than what they are allowed to do. But the problem is, they just uphold the law. They can take an abuser away in handcuffs under reasonable suspicion, but after that, they have little say in the matter. They don't determine innocence or guilt-- that is the job of the courts. Complications of the legal system make it hard for the victims of sexual abuse. I don't say that as an excuse, but just now in the 21st century are the problems surrounding conviction of sexual abusers getting the attention they deserve.

      That's why, in my opinion, we need something like SafeSport in place. And because of the pushback or the tendency of sports organizations to turn a blind eye, the government literally had to step in with this. Will it stop every incidence of abuse? Of course not. Is it perfect? No. But it's a step in the right direction and establishes widespread norms for high risk areas that were previously unregulated.

      Side note: I feel like a monster for not saying this earlier, but my many condolences go out to the friends and family of Rob Gage. This must be an unbelievably difficult time. A loss of life is always tragic.
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

      Comment


      • Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post

        Wellllllllllllllllllllll... We already know not to report a shamateur unless you want to be blacklisted. When there's this much prestige/reputation/ money involved, it wouldn't surprise me if someone decided to use Safesport as a means to temporarily get rid of the competition. That's why I'm against anonymous reporting.

        In the end? These issues are largely criminal issues and should be handled that way.
        I happen to know for a fact that Safesport doesn’t act on anonymous reports. Actually, I don’t know how they would handle an accusation by someone who is still a minor. However, from personal experience, I know that they will not use an anonymous statement.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Peggy View Post

          Based on reading the thread I’m guessing that there could be more than two people who have filed complaints.
          Bingo

          Comment


          • Originally posted by oneequestrienne View Post

            I happen to know for a fact that Safesport doesn’t act on anonymous reports. Actually, I don’t know how they would handle an accusation by someone who is still a minor. However, from personal experience, I know that they will not use an anonymous statement.
            That is absolutely 100% true. An accusation is not investigated unless you give your name.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by MyssMyst View Post

              I can see that. I think as I watch it play out, maybe I'll feel better. My biggest concern is that sexual abuse of any kind should go straight to law enforcement, kind of like states who require licensed professionals to report arrests and then disciplinary action on the license may follow. Ideally, any sexual abuse cases should be handled by law enforcement and then Safesport reacts accordingly after the verdict. At least in my perfect little world (which is full of caffeine because I haven't slept in two days).
              So, if the statute of limitations has run out, tough luck? What about standing up now, when it may be too late for criminal prosecution, for something which took place in the past? The threshold for for sanctions is different than for criminal charges as are the consequences.

              Comment


              • MyssMyst - ditto to Texarkana’s compliments - your comments have been very measured, given a really tragic situation, and an issue (the prevalence of sexual abuse in the context of youth sports) that has anyone who cares about youth sports heartbroken on many levels.

                A suicide is a tragic tragic thing, most especially for the family and close friends who are left behind. I say this as someone who witnessed their own mother attempt it... and who then had to coordinate with local law enforcement and mental health professionals to have her involuntarily committed. The situation was complicated... suicide generally is. To blame any single factor is an error. It was a devastating experience for both myself and my mother. And she is still alive... but our relationship forever altered. My heart goes out to RGs family and friends... I can’t imagine your pain right now.

                As for the swirl of older allegations, the Safe Sport process, etc... there are no easy answers or fixes. I am the victim of molestation at a young age by someone within the circle of family and friends. It was of a mild variety, compared to other stories I have heard. Nonetheless... it was devastating. Trying to speak with those who were obligated to protect me at the age of 13... I learned first hand how minimization, sweeping things under the rug, and victim shaming works. It was devastating then... and still is now. Frankly far more devastating in some ways than the molestation itself.

                I am now 40. I am at peace with the fact that there is no “justice” for cases like mine. I am not at peace with the fact that I am estranged from what used to be a close circle of family and friends. Most of these people purport to not know why I have cut off contact. Yeah right. I guess I could go report to law enforcement now... but that will go nowhere. And hurt far more people than it will help. It will definitely hurt the current wife and children of the person who abused me many years ago. I believe my situation is similar to the reality that MANY childhood victims of sexual abuse live with. It’s not easy.
                So before beating up on people who do, or do not, report abuse... just pause. It’s almost NEVER a simple choice.

                I am also now a mother of two kids. A boy and a girl. Both are involved in youth sorts, and one rides a pony. Bottom line, I pay little attention to safe sport, or a lot of other stuff. I am responsible as their mother, first and foremost, to keep them safe. Everyone else can go to hell... you won’t be as good at that job as me, trust me. Keeping my kids safe for me means either my husband or I attend EVERY practice, and EVERY lesson. Doing all the driving to and from stuff ourselves, or having one trusted grandparent or one or two trusted family friends help. That’s it. We also ate particular as hell about ALL our kids’ coaches. And we have rejected participation in multiple trendy travel teams (for sports other than riding). Most of all, we are very very very damn suspicious of morally bankrupt people from a number of different youth sports who seem to be in it all for the profit, capitalizing on parental vanity. Baseball, lacrosse, soccer, equestrian sports... there is a lot of hustling happening across the board. I don’t like adults who are busy hustling getting near my kids... but that’s me.

                Bottom line, Safe Sport is what it is, but I am not counting on it to keep my kids, or anyone else’s safe.

                Our kids are just old enough now to have begun getting upset about some of these limitations. Especially the travel team ones. But... both are happy, and well adjusted so far. If I can get them through their teen years unharmed, with some concept of sportsmanship, horsemanship, and being a part of a team... I did something right. Scholarships, admissions advantages to elite private schools, much less the Olympics in an equestrian event?!? Yeah - that’s smoke charlatans blow toward parents to either get access to your money, or your kids, or both. It’s best to ignore it.

                As for equestrian sports in particular... all these stories of abuse make my heart hurt extra. I was once a young girl getting abused OUTSIDE of the horse world. Horses and ponies were my “safe place.” They still are. I have poured my heart out to many an Equine during the course of a quiet hack. And cried in many a mane. My heart goes out to those who loved RG. But I know enough to know, that there might be more than 1, or 2, or even 3 young girls or women who also have pain and a long story that they are carrying around. Everyone needs to pause, and tread carefully, and just do the best you can to be a good adult, and to support the good actors out there in equestrian sports, and elsewhere.
                Last edited by Virginia Horse Mom; Jun. 13, 2019, 09:21 PM. Reason: Misspelling due to autocorrect

                Comment


                • Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                  There are a LOT of things that can get my license suspended or revoked that wouldn't necessarily be something I could be criminally charged for. One example might be commingling client funds with my own.
                  That's never happened in the horse business, either.
                  *****
                  You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

                  Comment


                  • VIrginia Horse Mom, what a wonderful , thoughtful essay.



                    _\\]
                    -- * > hoopoe
                    Procrastinate NOW
                    Introverted Since 1957

                    Comment


                    • I remember Rob Gage as a child from the mid 80's on the Arizona Winter Circuit when he had Dutch Chocolate, a horse I totally idolized. Also because of his cameo in "Danny!". I did not know him personally.

                      I am very out of the loop outside of short stirrup ponies, I am truly trying to figure this out!

                      Are these allegations of rape/violent assault or of underage consensual relationships?

                      What is the issue with Safesport? Is it because Safesport does not follow the same rules as real law regarding statute of limitations? Does it fail to provide a thorough investigation before banning someone? Does it throw out the name of the accused before any validation (i.e the investigation)?

                      On one hand, it concerns me all the passionate responses of what a nice guy he was and how horrible SS is. For sure he absolutely appears to be a friendly guy, wonderful friend, amazing horseman. If he had another side to him that involved sexual assault, none of that matters. He was YOUR great friend, he was somebody's else's attacker.

                      On the other hand, I understand that there are a lot of vengeful, crazy people in the horse world.
                      Also statute of limitations is there for a reason.

                      I also know the horse world is an extremely tight knit community and it's a fishbowl. Very hard to hide you are are, even if a likable person in general. The fact that there is such outrage says a lot. Rob Gage 100% does not seem to be a Jimmy Williams and I am positive if he was, it would be out there and the response would be different. So I am definitely thinking this is a tragic situation and am just trying to sort it out for myself and understand this SS better.

















                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
                        VIrginia Horse Mom, what a wonderful , thoughtful essay.


                        Thanks. I’m almost always guilty of being way too wordy. This whole situation is really heartbreaking, and human and complicated. It seemed worth it to try to share a bit... my heart goes out to everyone hurting right now.

                        there are no easy answers. Not safe sport. Not the criminal justice system. It’s an age old problem. The best answer I know of is being a good adult, a good mom, and supporting the WONDERFUL youth coaches I have known and met. Be the change you wish to see. Be the adult you needed many moons ago as a young, vulnerable person.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by kt-rose

                          OMG! Finally! In all of this a parent who knows they are the ones to hold the line. I grew up riding at a very fancy barn in the 70s. My mother drove me up to the barn one day and Jimmy Williams was standing there talking to the trainer and our car windows were open. I hopped out of the car while she listened. I have no idea what she heard but she did not like it. She called out to me and told me to get back into the car right now. I protested. She said if I ever wanted to sit on another horse in this barn to get back into the car NOW! I was a super mad 15 year old but she took me home and sat me down and said in no uncertain terms that I was to never allow myself to be alone with that man and that I should make sure my friends knew that we all needed to stick together if he was anywhere on the property. And that if I would not absolutely promise her that I would never forget this I would never be allowed back there. I promised. My mama had street smarts and no hesitation about protecting me. I'm very lucky.
                          Here's the thing: as much as we want all parents to step up and, you know, parent... it's not going to magically happen overnight. It is SO awesome you have a great mom. Mine was also pretty awesome and because of it, I came out of some very questionable situations unscathed.

                          Parents still need to do their job. But SafeSport offers another layer of protection. There are plenty of statistics that show that children from unstable homes are more likely to become victims of sexual abuse. Obviously looping in the parent isn't a panacea for those situations, but at least the next good mom who pulls up and overhears what your mom overheard has some recourse for reporting it.

                          Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                          Comment


                          • Wow. I've followed this story for along time - since seeing his name on the list a few months ago to now, and it's taken me a while to come up with anything to say. I didn't know Rob personally, but I have a lot of friends that did - and many are affected by this sudden loss of a man they held as a hero and cherised, and I do feel so awful for them. I know what it's like to lose a loved one via suicide. It's not an easy thing to deal with and I think everyone deserves to grieve in their own way, however I don't think it's fair for some to point blame at USEF.

                            USEF is not who handed down SafeSport, and I can happily provied the names of the political persons that carry the bill on their shoulders if you'd like to talk to them. Boycotting USEF doesn't do anything. As we are an Olympic sport, we have to abide by SafeSport ruling and let SafeSport do their thing. Whether or not you agree or even think we should be an Olympic sport anymore is a whole nother go round.

                            But I have to say, one thing that has really stood out to me is the fact to so many people are saying "it was so long ago, things were different" and that is generally NOT the case. It took me nearly twenty years to come to the conclusion that the abuse that was done to me was not OKAY because of the time. It's okay to become an adult, to become more away of yourself and your surroundings, and to form your own opinions away from family members and friends that forever defend those that abused you and realize that what happened to you was not okay. That your family member asking you for massages on their upper thigh because "you had the best hands in the house" as a CHILD is not okay and predatory behavior. For some people it takes a while. It takes a while of being on their own and figuring out their own lives to realize that things that were done to them when they were underage was not appropriate, no matter what the "time period" and "political vibe" was. None of us know the REAL story of what happened. Even those close to RG only got his side of the story - not the victims side - and none of us were there. Thats the real truth of it all, so I think we shouldn't gang up on either side - and certainly we shouldn't blame USEF for the death of someone.

                            On the other side, even as a victim of years of sexual abuse as a minor and then as a teenager and an adult that dealt with sexual harassment and stalking, I do think there are holes in SafeSport, and I've had very indepth converations with male trainers about how their own concerns with the movement. But I'd also never put only SafeSport as an umbrella to keep youth SAFE in this world. It falls back to parents - to education - to being PRESENT and going with your gut.

                            I happen to know someone of the safesport list, and I also feel in limbo about the way I feel for them - as I'm sure many of Rob Gage's family and friends feel for him. This person is a great person beneath his demons. He's done incredible things for the community, for charity, and would be the first to help if you call. It's a very HARD place to be in.

                            I don't even know where I'm going with this other than to say that it's complicated. The whole process and the feelings with it all are complicated, especially when someone as "famous" as RG is put into the limelight and painted as the picture of "Why SafeSport Sucks". It's not that simple. And I think many people should take a step back and really do their research and due diligence before running after USEF and blaming them for someones death or pointing fingers at other victims, as they are doing on Facebook. It doesn't get us anywhere. And its not the conversation we should be having.
                            www.thetexasequestrian.com

                            Comment


                            • Minors are not the only people that should be protected by SafeSport and the USEF. ADULTS in the industry need protection too---From SafeSport and accusations that cannot be positively and absolutely verified. Especially about things that may or may not have happened 30-40 years ago. Where is the protection for ADULTS????? Clearly, the USEF is not protecting it's adult members

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by Reality Strikes View Post
                                Minors are not the only people that should be protected by SafeSport and the USEF. ADULTS in the industry need protection too---From SafeSport and accusations that cannot be positively and absolutely verified. Especially about things that may or may not have happened 30-40 years ago. Where is the protection for ADULTS????? Clearly, the USEF is not protecting it's adult members


                                You're right, adults can also be abused by authority figures but I know that's not what you're talking about.

                                I find it appalling that people are more concerned with the reputation of professionals than with the sexual abuse of CHILDREN.
                                Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                                My equine soulmate
                                Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Reality Strikes View Post
                                  Minors are not the only people that should be protected by SafeSport and the USEF. ADULTS in the industry need protection too---From SafeSport and accusations that cannot be positively and absolutely verified. Especially about things that may or may not have happened 30-40 years ago. Where is the protection for ADULTS????? Clearly, the USEF is not protecting it's adult members
                                  Yes. There are reasons for statutes of limitations, and one of the main ones is that with the passage of time, memories fade, witnesses disappear, etc.-- thus making it hard to defend yourself against allegations. Suppose someone comes forward and says that Trainer X molested her at summer horse camp 30 years ago. Trainer X may know that his camp assistant and the other 5 girls at camp are witnesses to the fact that no abuse occurred--but how the heck is he going to find those people now and get them to testify???

                                  There are many lawyers on this board, and we all know that even after just 2 or 3 years have passed, it is often difficult to find witnesses to an incident (people move, women marry and change their names etc.) and those you do find, sometimes don't retain a clear memory of what happened.

                                  Comment


                                  • The harm of abuse exists on a range that varies for each situation and each person.

                                    The harm of suicide is also wide ranging.

                                    The objectives of SafeSport make sense -- the way its applied may not.

                                    What is lost in all of this is that SafeSport will not keep minors safe from abuse. Abusers will not play by these rules. Parents will not keep children safe from abuse (although they can help).

                                    There is a huge missing piece here that has not been addressed. Let us focus on educating minors. That means providing the training and support for minors so that they can recognize inappropriate situation before they escalate, avoid situations that place them at risk, know how to handle an inappropriate situation, and have a place or places to turn to when something happens despite everything else. Let's give minors the tools and avenues to take care of themselves.

                                    How empowering would that be

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
                                      The harm of abuse exists on a range that varies for each situation and each person.

                                      The harm of suicide is also wide ranging.

                                      The objectives of SafeSport make sense -- the way its applied may not.

                                      What is lost in all of this is that SafeSport will not keep minors safe from abuse. Abusers will not play by these rules. Parents will not keep children safe from abuse (although they can help).

                                      There is a huge missing piece here that has not been addressed. Let us focus on educating minors. That means providing the training and support for minors so that they can recognize inappropriate situation before they escalate, avoid situations that place them at risk, know how to handle an inappropriate situation, and have a place or places to turn to when something happens despite everything else. Let's give minors the tools and avenues to take care of themselves.

                                      How empowering would that be
                                      I believe your intentions are coming from a positive place, but this is tough.

                                      A child’s mindset is very very very different from an adult’s mindset. Children can land in dangerous situations through no fault of their own, and it is very hard to educate them to pro-actively spot warning signs that are easily visible to sophisticated, mature people. I don’t think education can remedy a lack of life experience.

                                      Additionally... the fact of the matter is that most abuse happens WITHIN a circle of trust. Perpetrators are frequently family members, close family friends, clergy, or trusted mentors and coaches. Teaching children to trust no one... that’s also problematic.

                                      Add to that Tex’s earlier point... victims are often kids from dysfunctional families/otherwise problematic backgrounds, who are frankly more vulnerable than your average child. Abusers exploit that.

                                      I do understand concerns about the harm that can happen by a lack of due process, and these extra judicial processes (like Safw Spirt) that seem to have murky lines in terms of where the statute of limitations and burden of proof lies are problematic.... but I think placing responsibility for keeping our of harms way on the shoulders of a vulnerable minor misses the mark.

                                      The best thing I know to do is to be a good parent, and a clear eyed, caring adult. And to try and support good, ethical people in sports and other activities, and withhold support (and dollars) from people with problematic reputations - especially in the area of sexual/emotional exploitation.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
                                        The harm of abuse exists on a range that varies for each situation and each person.

                                        The harm of suicide is also wide ranging.

                                        The objectives of SafeSport make sense -- the way its applied may not.

                                        What is lost in all of this is that SafeSport will not keep minors safe from abuse. Abusers will not play by these rules. Parents will not keep children safe from abuse (although they can help).

                                        There is a huge missing piece here that has not been addressed. Let us focus on educating minors. That means providing the training and support for minors so that they can recognize inappropriate situation before they escalate, avoid situations that place them at risk, know how to handle an inappropriate situation, and have a place or places to turn to when something happens despite everything else. Let's give minors the tools and avenues to take care of themselves.

                                        How empowering would that be
                                        It is empowering. That’s why Safe Sport developed training for juniors that are age dependent.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
                                          The harm of abuse exists on a range that varies for each situation and each person.

                                          The harm of suicide is also wide ranging.

                                          The objectives of SafeSport make sense -- the way its applied may not.

                                          What is lost in all of this is that SafeSport will not keep minors safe from abuse. Abusers will not play by these rules. Parents will not keep children safe from abuse (although they can help).

                                          There is a huge missing piece here that has not been addressed. Let us focus on educating minors. That means providing the training and support for minors so that they can recognize inappropriate situation before they escalate, avoid situations that place them at risk, know how to handle an inappropriate situation, and have a place or places to turn to when something happens despite everything else. Let's give minors the tools and avenues to take care of themselves.

                                          How empowering would that be
                                          While I think education is a valuable tool, I would hate the responsibility of not getting abused being placed on the shoulders of children. That’s rather like the decades of messaging to girls and women that it’s our responsibility to avoid being assaulted (don’t go out alone at night, don’t dress a certain way, don’t talk to strangers, don’t park underground, don’t have one too many drinks, don’t be too friendly in case it’s misinterpeted, etc.) rather than simply teaching boys and men about consent.

                                          In the context of SafeSport someone recently commented to me that “little Lolitas who show up at the barn dressed provocatively” are causing the problems. Sorry, no. My teenaged daughter could show up NAKED and it still doesn’t give someone the right to assault or abuse her.

                                          So by all means let’s inform, educate and supervise our young people to help keep them safe. But at the end of the day the ultimate responsibility and blame, if any, lies solely at the feet of the adult abuser, not of their victims. Period.

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