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Rob Gage

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  • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
    So if the figures that someone put forth, Safe Sport thought they would have 35 cases a year and they really have 800, it no wonder the funding is falling short. I think the real test will be, does it get the federal funding it needs?
    A very interesting stat.

    Because when something egregious has not been responded to adequately for a very long time, a genuine new interest in addressing it can create a reaction on the level of a dam bursting with pent-up problems. Problems that didn't exactly wash away over time. Yes, some are going to be old ones, because rather than going away, they festered.

    The fact that there aren't already several hundred suspensions from this level of reporting indicates that SS really is following a process. If they acted solely on a report without real investigation, there would be sanctions being handed out right and left - but that is not what is happening.

    It would make sense that SS is indeed doing some sort of triage, trying to identify where the immediate need for protection is greatest. That is speculation on my part, though.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Roser123 View Post

      “I'm going to say it again. Louder for the folks in the back that didn't hear me the first time ...”

      That was a good line ... the first time.
      As for the rest of it, I just want to say for the record that in my wildest dreams, I would never shame the victims - nor would I use their apparent shaming an an excuse to go after RG on a bulletin board.
      I could write a long responsive screed, but I’m of the “brevity is a virtue” crowd.

      I appreciate your kind words regarding suicide ... I wish he knew how much some of his smallest gestures meant. To many of you on COTH, I get that the SS charges define RG, but to a lot of us, this is a really heartbreaking time.


      I hope he did know how much he meant to a lot of people. Sadly, sometimes that is just not sustaining enough when the darkness falls.

      Please uderstand, that for my part, I am not "going after RG" beyond the known facts. I am greatly concerned about the wide and viscious reaction, the deflection, the victim shaming vitirol, the open acceptance (if not outright support) of known and convicted child molesters in FB comments.

      Like it or not, this situation is now bigger than RG and his life and his actions both good and bad.

      And that means it warrants discussion. It is by no means a comfortable discussion. For anyone. But it has to happen.

      Comment


      • Why would the federal govt fund a sports monitoring group with no actual authority beyond the sport. Even if criminal conduct is proven, that would be turned over to regular law enforcement in the appropriate jurisdiction, who would be govt funded by whaterever jurisdiction the operate in,
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • As stated, it is difficult to separate people (especially ones you love) from actions.

          I had had a boyfriend when I was in college. He hit me and ruptured my eardrum. Fast forward 30 years later- this is the only time I have spoken if it since.

          He’s now a nurse, has a family, he’s beloved by his colleagues and our high school and college friends. People who knew about it, disapproved. He’s all but revered by these people. Some have zero idea what happened, probably wouldn’t believe it. Old friends know about it, but hey- I had cheated on him so I deserved it- right?

          I’m fierce in real life. Even my SO of 11 years doesn’t know the story. HE probably wouldn’t believe it- I’m such a strong advocate for victims, fierce in my protection of victims, stand up for myself and “underdogs..... Things I couldn’t /didn’t do back then for myself.

          I even struggle with emotions of this person. Separating the him I know he was and can be and is from him hauling back and punching me on the side of my head hard enough to rupture my ear drum.

          I am sorry for RG’s victims. I am sorry RG killed himself. I am sorry for his friends, as egregious as his behavior- I know first hand that doesn’t fully define a person. It’s painful for all.
          Come to the dark side, we have cookies

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
            As stated, it is difficult to separate people (especially ones you love) from actions.

            I had had a boyfriend when I was in college. He hit me and ruptured my eardrum. Fast forward 30 years later- this is the only time I have spoken if it since.

            He’s now a nurse, has a family, he’s beloved by his colleagues and our high school and college friends. People who knew about it, disapproved. He’s all but revered by these people. Some have zero idea what happened, probably wouldn’t believe it.
            Pennywell, thank you for sharing this.

            In my mind, this raises a philosophical question. Before I pose the question, I should say I don't know Rob Gage, have no knowledge of what he may have done, and have no opinion of Safesport's actions in his case. I am against sexual conduct of any kind with minors. That shouldn't really need to be said, but I hope to avoid being deemed a closet pedophile merely for raising what I consider interesting and thought-provoking issues.

            With all that said, Pennywell's post eloquently raises the possibility whether people can grow and change, in effect becoming different people, over the decades. Many of us have seen men who were sexist jerks in their 20's become respectful and even feminist when they have daughters of their own. Indeed, my own hubby, while never a jerk, was pretty conservative when I met him and (two daughters later) is one of the biggest champions of women in STEM you'll ever meet!

            Should this kind of moral/personal development matter when it comes to punishing someone for conduct that occurred 20 or 30 years ago? Does Safesport recognize any concepts of reform or redemption? Can someone make reparations or restitution instead of simply being banned?

            I guess my questions are twofold: (1) should a person's moral growth and good character matter in assessing a penalty for long-ago conduct; and (2) does Safesport have a mechanism to take this into account?

            Comment


            • Most psychotherapists agree that offenders who prefer minors don't change.

              But because it doesn't really matter in my estimate, let's say, sure.

              But can we agree that we can acknowledge the potential for redemption but also disallow certain individuals to be around minors at shows governed by our ngb. Remember, that's literally all these bans can do.

              Let me apologize in advance.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post
                The people I know who do NOT drink, when hanging out with a drinking crowd, are almost always

                1. An alcoholic who is in recovery
                2. Someone with a health reason, such as pregnancy, being on certain medication, or some other health condition.

                Or...

                3. They do not like feeling out of control.
                I don't drink because I spend all my money on horses.

                I did the math when I was of that age, declared myself the designated driver, and plonked $12 in my horse account every time I went out with friends. Paid off nicely!
                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                Comment


                • Originally posted by HLMom View Post

                  Should this kind of moral/personal development matter when it comes to punishing someone for conduct that occurred 20 or 30 years ago? Does Safesport recognize any concepts of reform or redemption? Can someone make reparations or restitution instead of simply being banned?
                  I am not an authority and merely speculating, but from what I've read of SafeSport guidelines, the assessment of whether the person is an ongoing danger is separate from and not directly dictated by the specific offense they're investigating. Of course, they may have decided specifically that sexual contact with a minor is always a permanent ban; I don't know that.

                  An athlete in another sport was banned for 10 years, not life, for raping a fellow athlete while she was asleep and unable to consent.

                  I also don't know to what extent they've considered more intricate carve-outs, especially in a sport like ours where it's common/possible for a person to be all of a coach, an athlete, and a licensed official. For example, I might imagine allowing a person to continue competing but maybe ask them to surrender a stewarding license, in certain circumstances.
                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                  Comment


                  • I am in no way absolving Anyone’s past behavior or actions. On the contrary, I believe that as joining a private organization- one can And should be held to a code of conduct.

                    It is well studied that predatory behavior rarely changes, and a frequently repeat offenders if the opportunity presents itself. Power disproportion in our sport is almost always there.

                    I posted more as a cathartic response to those who struggle with the man they know, and his behavior that resulted in RG’s tragic suicide. I am friends in real life with many of his defenders. It is tearing me apart and I’ve all but gone dark on social media.

                    I don’t have any answers and am sad for so many people. (And angry at those targeting the victims).
                    Come to the dark side, we have cookies

                    Comment


                    • This is in response to the question about child predators, or sexual abusers changing. I'm not commenting on a specific person on this or any other thread.

                      Years ago I lived in New Mexico, and it was at the height of the predator priests stories coming out, the lawsuits, the settlements. There is a center (or was) in New Mexico called the Paraclete Center (spelling?), that is only for Catholic priests, with all types of addiction, and behavior issues.

                      The head of the center was interviewed on a radio program discussing if child predators can ever be treated. The psychiatrist who treat people at this center for years said that the pedophiles he treated were the only group that never changed. He said that the only pedators who never assaulted again were the ones that had no access to children.
                      You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by HLMom View Post

                        I guess my questions are twofold: (1) should a person's moral growth and good character matter in assessing a penalty for long-ago conduct; and (2) does Safesport have a mechanism to take this into account?
                        Question 2 first. I think SafeSport does, because an assessment of the current and future risk to minors is part of the process of deciding on the interim suspension.

                        Now Question 1. Perhaps. However, I don't see ordering a person who has previously engaged in "Sexual Misconduct - Involving Minor" to stay away from USEF activities, where lots of the same kind of minor he engaged in sexual misconduct with are hanging around, as being that egregious of an action, even if you are taking a person's "moral growth" into account. Nothing says the person can't go on and live a virtuous and successful life in the horse industry - people in this thread have cited several who have done exactly that, despite not being able to participate in USEF-sanctioned events.

                        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                        that's even remotely true."

                        Homer Simpson

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by JanM View Post

                          Years ago I lived in New Mexico, and it was at the height of the predator priests stories coming out, the lawsuits, the settlements. There is a center (or was) in New Mexico called the Paraclete Center (spelling?), that is only for Catholic priests, with all types of addiction, and behavior issues.

                          The head of the center was interviewed on a radio program discussing if child predators can ever be treated. The psychiatrist who treat people at this center for years said that the pedophiles he treated were the only group that never changed. He said that the only pedators who never assaulted again were the ones that had no access to children.
                          That's a fair point. I guess I was thinking more of the situation where a trainer uses his power and influence to begin a "relationship" with a 17 year-old student--a situation which seems to have been described with regard to quite a few trainers people are talking about.

                          I assume you are right--someone who has sexual attraction to a younger child has psychological problems that will always be there.

                          I guess I also was lumping in what we think of as sexual harassment in regular workplaces. Like if the boss pressures a secretary for sex, even if they are both adults, he would be subject to discipline and possibly civilly liable for sexual harassment. Would that be a Safesport issue, say if a more senior trainer was harassing an assistant trainer (even if she was an adult)?

                          Comment


                          • I just answered my own question. It appears that much of the conduct addressed by Safesport could be conduct between adults. It is not just dealing with pedophile type behaviors. From the website:

                            The Center handles ALL reports of sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Make a report to the Center if you have a reasonable suspicion of sexual misconduct such as child sex abuse, non-consensual sexual conduct, sexual harassment or intimate relationships involving an imbalance of power.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by JanM View Post
                              This is in response to the question about child predators, or sexual abusers changing. I'm not commenting on a specific person on this or any other thread.

                              Years ago I lived in New Mexico, and it was at the height of the predator priests stories coming out, the lawsuits, the settlements. There is a center (or was) in New Mexico called the Paraclete Center (spelling?), that is only for Catholic priests, with all types of addiction, and behavior issues.

                              The head of the center was interviewed on a radio program discussing if child predators can ever be treated. The psychiatrist who treat people at this center for years said that the pedophiles he treated were the only group that never changed. He said that the only pedators who never assaulted again were the ones that had no access to children.
                              Not making any reference to RG and I don't know the confirmed ages of the others but the first person to speak up says they were 17 at the time. Someone upstream posted a guide of sorts. What defines a pedophile vs some guy whose an idiot. Wasn't the age of pedophile defined as less than 12? Then there was maybe 13-17ish, I can't remember but it was interesting. Possibly a true pedophile can't be rehabbed but someone choosing a 17 year old......maybe?

                              Ok, Wikipedia says sexual attraction to pre-pubescent is the definition of pedophile..
                              "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Pennywell Bay View Post
                                As stated, it is difficult to separate people (especially ones you love) from actions.

                                I had had a boyfriend when I was in college. He hit me and ruptured my eardrum. Fast forward 30 years later- this is the only time I have spoken if it since.

                                He’s now a nurse, has a family, he’s beloved by his colleagues and our high school and college friends. People who knew about it, disapproved. He’s all but revered by these people. Some have zero idea what happened, probably wouldn’t believe it. Old friends know about it, but hey- I had cheated on him so I deserved it- right?

                                I’m fierce in real life. Even my SO of 11 years doesn’t know the story. HE probably wouldn’t believe it- I’m such a strong advocate for victims, fierce in my protection of victims, stand up for myself and “underdogs..... Things I couldn’t /didn’t do back then for myself.

                                I even struggle with emotions of this person. Separating the him I know he was and can be and is from him hauling back and punching me on the side of my head hard enough to rupture my ear drum.

                                I am sorry for RG’s victims. I am sorry RG killed himself. I am sorry for his friends, as egregious as his behavior- I know first hand that doesn’t fully define a person. It’s painful for all.
                                Uggg, that’s terrible and it brings to mind a story I remember from when I was younger - and who knows - maybe this colors my thoughts about RG, and others in his position.
                                My friend (we were probably 13-14 at the time), rode at a different barn than me. Without getting into the details, she was somewhat of a scholarship student. She rode/showed a horse for an older man, and her expenses were covered by him. That would have been the only way she could ride. Her benefactor was friends with the barn owner. Said Barn owner also owned a equestrian clothing line at the time, and he would summon my friend into his office to try on “samples” from time to time. I don’t know how many times this particular scenario came up, and I don’t know if the ‘benefactor’ was aware of it, but the barn owner would tell her there was no time/need for her to go to the bathroom to change, just to do it in his office and also to remove her underpants because the lines were too distracting. He then had her come over to him so he could “check the fit”. This included putting his hands down her breeches to check the crotch area.
                                This was a tough girl. She was absolutely no push over, but she was frozen and silent. She knew that any fuss or objection would probably end her riding career. Like some of you, I’ve never repeated this story to anyone before, but to me, there’s a big difference between a 50+ year old groping and fondling a paralyzed 13 year old who he had absolute power over, and a young man having a 17 year old girlfriend (who he also admittedly may have had influence over). I’m not the morality police, and in my mind, both are wrong, but they’re not on par; and definitely not 30-40 years afterward in the case of the latter.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Roser123 View Post

                                  I’m not the morality police, and in my mind, both are wrong, but they’re not on par; and definitely not 30-40 years afterward in the case of the latter.
                                  I agree that they aren’t on par, but both are beyond the pale of what can be allowed in our sport.

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by JanM View Post
                                    This is in response to the question about child predators, or sexual abusers changing. I'm not commenting on a specific person on this or any other thread.

                                    Years ago I lived in New Mexico, and it was at the height of the predator priests stories coming out, the lawsuits, the settlements. There is a center (or was) in New Mexico called the Paraclete Center (spelling?), that is only for Catholic priests, with all types of addiction, and behavior issues.

                                    The head of the center was interviewed on a radio program discussing if child predators can ever be treated. The psychiatrist who treat people at this center for years said that the pedophiles he treated were the only group that never changed. He said that the only pedators who never assaulted again were the ones that had no access to children.
                                    One of the thing that strikes me about these statements from professional counselors and psychiatrists is that pedophiles seem to be one of the offender groups that has the most to lose if they are busted. They not only stand to lose everything in their lives (job, family, friends), but must also have little expectation of forgiveness that would allow them to rebuild, and we are told that prison can be a nightmare for them. And yet it does seem there are so many stories of predators who go from one offense to the next, in spite of the risk they are running to their own life, not to mention their victims.

                                    Locally there was a male second grade teacher who was dismissed under the cloud of 'inappropriate contact with children' . He had been at the school for less than a year. As it turned out, he had come from a similar situation in another town (how he came to be hired here is another can of worms). In the current case of dismissal, the school felt that they didn't have enough to prosecute. So the disgraced teacher moved on to the next town, next school.

                                    The thing is, this disgraced teacher could almost certainly have made more money and had a better career in another line of work. In another line of work he probably wouldn't have had these repeated job/career interruptions, or the lurid gossip, not to mention the risk of arrest and prison. And yet instead he just kept going back to the next school system that could be talked into taking him on and regaining access to children.

                                    That doesn't have anything to do with Rob Gage that I know of. It just brings up the comparison of the behavior being discussed to the old parable of The Scorpion & The Frog. In the end, when the frog asks "It makes no sense - why???" the scorpion replies "Because it is my nature.".

                                    Comment


                                    • I read every page of this and found it mostly reasonable and enlightening. I wanted to share my opinion that reading all if the victim shaming the excusing of the behavior and the failure to recognize sexual harassment and more than once instance of abuse of a minor has made me realize that every irksome aspect of Safe Sport is necessary. I was a little irritated at the ninety minutes it took to do the training. I was a little worried about the process. I though the idea of not being able to drive a student to a show without a signed release a real cover your arse move by the USEF. Now I sadly realize every bit of it is needed.

                                      Quite possibly people like RG saw their mentors being sexually active with the "girls" at the barn and grew up thinking it was just fine. Hopefully SS will educate everyone to realize it is not.

                                      I hope we do better. I will not be irked by measures designed to protect minors.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by Roser123 View Post

                                        Uggg, that’s terrible and it brings to mind a story I remember from when I was younger - and who knows - maybe this colors my thoughts about RG, and others in his position.
                                        My friend (we were probably 13-14 at the time), rode at a different barn than me. Without getting into the details, she was somewhat of a scholarship student. She rode/showed a horse for an older man, and her expenses were covered by him. That would have been the only way she could ride. Her benefactor was friends with the barn owner. Said Barn owner also owned a equestrian clothing line at the time, and he would summon my friend into his office to try on “samples” from time to time. I don’t know how many times this particular scenario came up, and I don’t know if the ‘benefactor’ was aware of it, but the barn owner would tell her there was no time/need for her to go to the bathroom to change, just to do it in his office and also to remove her underpants because the lines were too distracting. He then had her come over to him so he could “check the fit”. This included putting his hands down her breeches to check the crotch area.
                                        This was a tough girl. She was absolutely no push over, but she was frozen and silent. She knew that any fuss or objection would probably end her riding career. Like some of you, I’ve never repeated this story to anyone before, but to me, there’s a big difference between a 50+ year old groping and fondling a paralyzed 13 year old who he had absolute power over, and a young man having a 17 year old girlfriend (who he also admittedly may have had influence over). I’m not the morality police, and in my mind, both are wrong, but they’re not on par; and definitely not 30-40 years afterward in the case of the latter.
                                        It wasn’t just one 17 year old girlfriend or even a succession of 17 year olds, which by the way, is still a problem. I’m sorry you lost your friend. Four victims came forward after the Grand Prix at The Oaks. One of the victims was 13 at the time. There were others younger than 17. That narrative is done.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                          An athlete in another sport was banned for 10 years, not life, for raping a fellow athlete while she was asleep and unable to consent.
                                          Ugh. So many posts on this thread have me shaking my head so hard I need to see a chiropractor. But this? A 10 year ban instead of a lifetime ban? How about ten years in jail?? That might be more proportionate to the crime.

                                          Thank you again to all who have shared their experiences to add to the discussion. It is definitely a difficult subject, but it's important shine a light on something that has continued in the shadows for so long.

                                          Comment

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