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Crossing the Line- Discipline or Abuse?

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  • Crossing the Line- Discipline or Abuse?

    We were at a local show this weekend and I saw something that has left me disturbed and angry. I wonder how it should properly be handled?

    A particular local trainer has an adult amateur client with a problem horse. I don't show at a lot of local shows, maybe 8 or 10 per year, but I know this has been going on since at least last fall. I saw this scene play out twice last fall and I've seen it now at 2 or 3 shows this spring. This horse doesn't want to play. He (she?) will not go around. At any show. Not at 2'6", not at 3'. I have no problem with discipline. The horse is being a jerk. I did see them hire a very good riding professional last fall to get this horse around. He did a great job. He used the crop effectively and sparingly. He gave an accurate, strong ride. He rewarded the horse for good behavior.

    But this weekend, the lady's trainer climbed aboard to "fix" the problem. It was horrifying. She yelled "git!", spurred, cropped and then would get completely left behind over the jump. She would then haul the horse up to regain her seat- this happened over roughly half the jumps. Then I witnessed a "training" session in the schooling ring. She kicked the horse into a trot, then hauled it up. The horse stopped at a big (3'3") vertical. She beat it. It then jumped the jump. She hauled it up and beat it. It then pulled a rail. She hauled it up and beat it. Not surprisingly, the horse didn't go around for the adult. This scene is playing out at show after show.

    I approached the steward of the show yesterday and pleaded my case. Nothing was said as this was the end of their day. I told the steward that we as an association have to step in and say something. I have no respect for this particular trainer. We don't care for one another. If we were friends, I would have approaced her and spoken to her myself. We've all been there, but this repeated performance has crossed the line in my book.

    What do you all think our responsibilities are?
    http://patchworkfarmga.com

  • #2
    I feel it is the job and responsibility of the stewards to make decisions in these types of cases. I don't agree with what the trainer was doing, but I also wasn't there. I can say that one time something I did at a show got blown WAY out of proportion on the internet (imagine that!) and by the time the story got "told" a few times I had "beat the horse on the head with a bat". That was SO FAR from the truth it is laughable, and actually myself and a client of mine was laughing about it when we heard/saw it, but at the same time stories like that, rampant on the internet can seriously impact a pro. I see abusive behavoir at MANY shows, sometimes trainers, sometimes (and more often than not) on part of the competitors. You may want to follow up with the organizxation that puts on the shows to insure that the matter is taken seriously.
    www.shawneeacres.net

    Comment


    • #3
      You don't school your horse to go over jumps at the show.
      If you can't ride, you don't prove it to everyone at the show.
      Some people can enable a horse to do wonderful things, some can't.
      Some horses aren't show horses.

      Some show stewards and TDs (technical delegates) suck...and really don't care about pissing off a trainer, no matter how horrid they are.

      You told the steward, you went through the correct channels. Is the horse's owner that stupid or just inexperienced...and how bloody inexperienced would put up with their horse being beaten. Some horses do need a good whack with a jump bat...this rider (I wouldn't call her an instructor except for teaching poor behaviours) can't ride and shouldn't be trusted with spurs.

      I used to watch a few top trainers actually polling their horses on the show grounds...I also saw them kicked out of the show. I saw an olympic rider kicked out of a show season in DC due to beating his horse in the face with his crop when she refused several jumps...people actually "Booo'd" him.

      Just think how this woman "trains" the horses back home! Idiot owner...think they're glued to the trainer? Maybe they'd listen to someone they respected.
      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

      Comment


      • #4
        Just a thought...

        This opened with "it's a problem horse that won't go around" but it went for a decent rider. Who knows what it was like before this crap "trainer" got a hold of it? Sounds like somebody ought to do the owner a favor and just say, "Look, compare - look at how little trouble rider X had compared with trainer Z. Don't you think a change is in order?"
        Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

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        • #5
          At the next show, videotape the action.

          Keep a copy and send one to the local horse show association. If nothing is done to discipline the trainer, maybe the video needs to be posted on youtube.
          Last edited by cloudyandcallie; Apr. 6, 2009, 03:17 PM. Reason: spelling

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          • #6
            Check your local association's rules. You may have to submit your objection in writing. I feel bad for the horse.
            A proud friend of bar.ka.

            Comment


            • #7
              Even tho' it was end of day I don't understand why steward didn't have a talk with trainer.
              What reason did steward give for not addressing the issue ?

              Comment


              • #8
                Videotape.

                Anonymous YouTube.

                Link in many forums.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Steward's position was, "hmmm, let me think about what's the right thing to do." I can't say for sure whether she spoke to the trainer or owner. Aside from speaking up to the steward, I didn't want to be too nosy.

                  The reason I spoke to the steward was because this wasn't an isolated incident. It's been going on for awhile. I'm not at every single local show, but I've seen the circus every time I've seen them at a show since last fall.

                  The horse wasn't "good" for the good rider. He just did a good job with it and got the job done.
                  http://patchworkfarmga.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Pursue it!

                    Contact the show management and asked if the Steward did, in fact, speak with the trainer or do anything else.

                    It was the steward's job to handle this situation, but the Steward works for the show, and the show is responsible to the local association.

                    It's best to handle things personally and directly, so you may need to start small and work your way up. Ask first if and how the situation was handled, then tell higher ups. If all else fails, don't show there again and make sure everyone knows why.

                    There should be a clear and natural order of escalation to all this, one that gives everyone the opportunity to change their ways and do the right thing.

                    Let us know if you find some resolution.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      yes, I'm having a hard time understanding the steward's behavior. What is the steward there for if not this? Hypothetically speaking, I can see if the steward didn't agree with your assessment - that's a judgment call. But "end of the day" is not a good reason for not intervening IF the steward agreed with your assessment, right? And I get that this sort of confrontation totally sucks and makes most of us feel ill at the thought, but if you aren't willing to step up in these situations (again, assuming the steward agrees), then why do the job?

                      It sounds more like the association needs to reiterate their expectations with the steward, right?
                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tiffani B View Post
                        Videotape.

                        Anonymous YouTube.

                        Link in many forums.
                        I have a real problem with this line of thinking. If the OP wants to videotape and then show to STEWARDS or the ASSOCIATION fine, but to plaster stuff on the internet I think is a pretty nasty thing to do, regardless of the actions of the trainer. The situation here is to enforce policement of abusive behavoir at shows. Go to the show committee/organization, express your concerns either at a board meeting (which means it will have to go into the minutes) or send a letter in writing with a response requested. Let them know that the steward was not inclined to approach the trainer (however, it may be that the trainer in question had already left if it were the end of the day so maybe the steward could not apporach them at that time). I you launch an official protest, most organizations will take steps to follow thru. But plastering videos all over the internet doesn't accomplish anything and may make the OP a lot of enemies. I am sure that your organization has a grievance policy, find it in the rulebook and follow the policy to insure action can be taken.
                        www.shawneeacres.net

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                          I have a real problem with this line of thinking. If the OP wants to videotape and then show to STEWARDS or the ASSOCIATION fine, but to plaster stuff on the internet I think is a pretty nasty thing to do, regardless of the actions of the trainer. The situation here is to enforce policement of abusive behavoir at shows. Go to the show committee/organization, express your concerns either at a board meeting (which means it will have to go into the minutes) or send a letter in writing with a response requested. Let them know that the steward was not inclined to approach the trainer (however, it may be that the trainer in question had already left if it were the end of the day so maybe the steward could not apporach them at that time). I you launch an official protest, most organizations will take steps to follow thru. But plastering videos all over the internet doesn't accomplish anything and may make the OP a lot of enemies. I am sure that your organization has a grievance policy, find it in the rulebook and follow the policy to insure action can be taken.
                          Ditto.
                          Work - feed - ride - shovel poop - repeat.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sometimes I really wonder about people. How does that owner enjoy her riding pursuits? With a horse who won't jump and she watches get beaten. That's horrible. I am all about discipline and won't hesitate to use a crop myself to get my point across but there is a line, and its pretty obvious.

                            Ill never understand why people try to fit a square peg into a round hole. For the love of god do everyone a favor, give him away or sell him even at a loss and get a different horse.

                            Follow up with those stewarts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Was this a local show? Or a USEF rated? You say steward then you also say it was a local? And what Association offered points there...like a GA H/J or something? Around here our USEF affiliate "rated" locals, like OHJA or KHJA, have no USEF requirements (or fees) including license requirements for judges and there is no steward.

                              If it was a rated, you can fill out a show evaluation form and note the steward was unwilling to step in BUT it's possible the steward did not see what was going on personally and was unwilling to act without doing so.

                              Also possible the "steward" was seving as an unpaid volunteer, was not licensed and had no real authority to step in.

                              What you can do depends on the status of the show.

                              You can write to whatever affiliate organization that offered points for the show and which you are a member of and note what you feel is abusive behavior.

                              Ya' know, the owner is a fool and the "trainer person" is a jackass but unless the behavior was blatently abusive under the laws of your state or it was an actual USEF rated show with licensed officials, including a steward, there is really not too much outside that letter you can do. Think you probably just had to endure really, really bad riding thats not going to meet the law's standard of abuse.

                              Incidentally, 3 smacks with a stick behind the leg is the proverbial line between discipline and abuse. More then that and a licensed steward should step in and a licensed judge will have the right to excuse the exhibitor as well as call the steward. Actually seen that a few times.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                                I have a real problem with this line of thinking. If the OP wants to videotape and then show to STEWARDS or the ASSOCIATION fine, but to plaster stuff on the internet I think is a pretty nasty thing to do, regardless of the actions of the trainer. The situation here is to enforce policement of abusive behavoir at shows. Go to the show committee/organization, express your concerns either at a board meeting (which means it will have to go into the minutes) or send a letter in writing with a response requested. Let them know that the steward was not inclined to approach the trainer (however, it may be that the trainer in question had already left if it were the end of the day so maybe the steward could not apporach them at that time). I you launch an official protest, most organizations will take steps to follow thru. But plastering videos all over the internet doesn't accomplish anything and may make the OP a lot of enemies. I am sure that your organization has a grievance policy, find it in the rulebook and follow the policy to insure action can be taken.
                                Normally I do not advocate this tactic. However, my thinking is that if nothing was done by the steward, show management or USEF, then there really is nothing left to do except show the public what is being condoned.

                                I was going on the assumption that the OP already went through proper channels and nothing was done. At that point... you do what is necessary to prevent further abuse.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                  Was this a local show? Or a USEF rated? You say steward then you also say it was a local? And what Association offered points there...like a GA H/J or something? Around here our USEF affiliate "rated" locals, like OHJA or KHJA, have no USEF requirements (or fees) including license requirements for judges and there is no steward.
                                  Around here we say local or rated, and if it is a GHJA sanctioned show (probably 95% of the locals are such) there must be a steward in attendance. Obviously local association rules vary from state to state, but I think if a person says it is a local show and it had a steward, we might need to take them at their word that they know what they are talking about and move on from that point.
                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Local H/J association which is a USEF affiliate member association. Local points. We have our own rulebook, but any issues not covered by our rules defer to USEF. A steward is required at each show.

                                    I am in the process of writing a letter to the Board of Directors of my local association. I will be copying the Stewards Committee as well as the Show Standards Committee of which I am a member. I've decided to make this a general letter (not naming names), but I will be asking that the association handle any reports of abuse seriously. I realize that there is a fine line between discipline and abuse and if this had been an isolated incident of a horse behaving badly and receiving correction, I would not have spoken up. I hope that if I "red flag" the issue, it will be dealt with swiftly the next time it happens. It's the least we can do for that poor animal.
                                    http://patchworkfarmga.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Jsalem View Post
                                      I am in the process of writing a letter to the Board of Directors of my local association. I will be copying the Stewards Committee as well as the Show Standards Committee of which I am a member. I've decided to make this a general letter (not naming names), but I will be asking that the association handle any reports of abuse seriously. I realize that there is a fine line between discipline and abuse and if this had been an isolated incident of a horse behaving badly and receiving correction, I would not have spoken up. I hope that if I "red flag" the issue, it will be dealt with swiftly the next time it happens. It's the least we can do for that poor animal.

                                      Very good. That does work. Even without stewards, our area affiliates have acted on letters like this and issued warnings to a few specific individuals as well as rewording the rules governing this type of display.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                        Very good. That does work. Even without stewards, our area affiliates have acted on letters like this and issued warnings to a few specific individuals as well as rewording the rules governing this type of display.
                                        That absolutely sounds like the best course of action. Our local association also requires that a USEF steward be on the grounds at a show, though I would say 99.9% of their job is to measure ponies and help interpret the rules. That other .1% would be to discourage the sort of behavior described above.

                                        I would hate to be the organization, and steward, to try to enforce any sort of disciplinary action beyond a warning without the hearing structure and legal resources of a USEF-type organization.

                                        Best case scenario to me would be that such a warning (sent to the owner as well) would serve as a wake-up-call that a new trainer, and possibly new career for horsie, is necessary.

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