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#metoo - H/J World

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    #metoo - H/J World

    With the #metoo campaign sweeping social media, it's clear that sexual assault and harassment exist in more than the entertainment industry.

    What are your experiences in our hunter/jumper world?

    I worked for a trainer in my early twenties who was handsy. He knew how to keep the lines blurred; he never actually outright touched my private anatomy, but he would come very close and let his hands linger there or rub for a while - put his hand on my upper ribcage almost on my boob, or up on my upper thigh, or deep on my lower back....almost directly inappropriate, but never actually crossing that line.

    I had such a bad feeling about it, but it was never illicit enough to call him out on it, and, as many females end up thinking, I wasn't sure whether it really qualified as being worth objecting to. But I knew it made me feel dirty and violated and while I could convince myself he didn't really mean anything by it, deep inside I knew exactly what he was doing. And to this day, I'm ashamed I never stood up for myself and said something. I remember being concerned enough that I checked the barn bathrooms for hidden cameras, and hating every second he was close.

    But even so, I didn't want to make a fuss, didn't want to be wrong, didn't want to get fired, didn't want to accuse him of something that he could easily say never crossed a line.

    What are your stories? Is there a "casting couch" in the horse world?

    There was a thread on here (or maybe it was in off topic?) a while back about a young woman in a working student postion asking for advice because her employer was getting handsy with her and generally giving her the creeps. I guess she asked around and started to uncover the fact that several young women before her had been pressured to sleep with him.

    I don't think the thread was ever updated. I still think about it every once in a while and hope the OP got out ok. I think sexual harassment and abuse is much more common in this industry that some may think. It's such a taboo topic, but it needs to be discussed


      I was assaulted by a judge when I was 16, and everyone always talked about what an amazing person he was. He died in a car crash a while back. and I just now feel ok to talk about it
      "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


        A barn owner got handsy with me all the time. I told my trainer, who told me he "didn't know how to act around teenage girls." She was a woman in her late thirties at the time.

        He sure knew how to act around teenage girls when he assaulted me when no one was around on a Sunday when I came to ride my horse. I get the sense now that he was planning it, with the benefit of over a decade of hindsight. I never told anyone because they didn't believe me before so why would they believe me now.

        I quit riding for several years, sold the horse.

        Ironically sometime around my junior year of college I found out that the owner of one of the horses at a previous barn was on trial for child pornography and sexual assault of teenage students at another barn. I never had a problem with him, but he was barely older than a teenager when I knew him.
        Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
        you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the long as its in a conservative color.


          Yes it exists... all through many disciplines.

          I would say that given a healthy dose of hindsight that it probably wasn't typical that my 'boss' should have been sleeping with 3 women at the same time. One their WS, one their student and one their ex. Better yet we probably should not have all lived in the same one bedroom barn apartment in Ocala. Thank god the bed springs squeaked and I'd been wise enough to insist on a sleeper sofa on the first floor, not another twin in the bedroom. Reality of what was actually going on was rough and I would say I think it did some further damage on my already lacking confidence.


          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


            Originally posted by mroades View Post
            I was assaulted by a judge when I was 16, and everyone always talked about what an amazing person he was. He died in a car crash a while back. and I just now feel ok to talk about it
            I'm sorry. I am always amazed in the horse world at who gets elevated to semi sainthood after they die, or have just been around long enough.
            You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


              Hunter/Jumper world was pretty safe for me. There was one local trainer that had an awful reputation for how he treated young woman, but he always decent to me, I don't know why.

              Lots of it going on with the TB racehorses, but other the the occasional rude comment or overly enthusiastic leg up, I didn't have too much of a problem. BFF was working with racehorses at the same time, different farms, and wasn't so lucky. It was apparently expected that the female workers sleep with the married trainer when they were on the road to sales or the track. She declined that particular perk of employment and her working life was made miserable until she quit.

              I did have an amazing WS one summer who told me a really sad story about sleeping with her verbally abusive trainer starting at 16, and that she was not the only one of his students he slept with. He really did a number on her self esteem and confidence wise. She was a college student on her summer break when she worked for me; the damage done to that girl, I can't even tell you.... And she wasn't some delicate flower, she was a tough kid.

              I wanted to find him and hurt him.
              Last edited by McGurk; Mar. 6, 2018, 11:37 AM.
              The plural of anecdote is not data.


                I've only had female instructors therefore have not had this issue in my equestrian life.

                Anything that makes you uncomfortable is worth addressing. Period.


                  I only had male instructors back in the 70s. It happened and there was simply too much opportunity with unchaperoned, naive young girls with naive parents dropping them off at the barn. I was a little older but got cornered and groped in the tackroom once, realized he was drunk at 11am and I was allowed to work off some of my bill for reasons other then the worth of my actual labor. I got out of there. But the younger girls didn't feel they could speak openly with their parents and couldn't just leave so hid it.

                  Ask AK, she was one of the first to speak up and caught some flack over it. God bless her...

                  Happened to boys too and same sex abuse and harassment , even less likely to be brought up to parents. Some trainers are just dirtbags who would get outed in other professions. Some are just in all powerful positions intimidating their victims into silence if they ever want to to walk into a show ring with any chance of a ribbon and not disappoint their parents again.

                  Its about time this can be openly discussed.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                    Just FYI, all USEF licensed officials are required to take the "Safe Sport Training", which addresses exactly these issues, every two years.

                    There is a rule change proposal to require all "Trainers" to also take the "Safe Sport Training".
                    Last edited by Janet; Oct. 24, 2017, 12:03 PM.

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                      Originally posted by Janet View Post
                      Just FYI, all USEF licensed officials are required to take the "Safe Sport Training", which addresses exactly these issues, every two years.

                      There is a rule change proposal to require all "Trainers" to also take the "Safe Sport Training".
                      That's great, but if they're not "licensed" I don't see how this could possibly be monitored.


                        The rule change proposal wants to make it a requirement before you are allowed to sign an entry as "Trainer".

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


                          I had a very accomplished event instructor hit on me quite a bit. I didn't know what to do. I kept telling myself it couldn't possibly be what it felt like it was...if that makes any sense. Add in his delightful tendency to be verbally abusive and it was quite a mix. I'm sure it got him far with a number of women/girls. Later, he announced he preferred his women "young" at a clinic. No one said ANYTHING.


                            In my opinion, all Safe Sport does is give predators better ideas on how to do the things
                            "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                              I took lessons at a barn and a bunch of us were hanging around and this grown man, well into his 30s who was a boarder, told a girl she had great legs (not the sitting-on-a-horse great legs). She was 13. I about threw up in my mouth. I told my instructor and he was asked to leave. He knew how young she was, and how creepy he sounded.


                                We all need to be vigilant about protecting each other. I knew of one worker who was being too pushy with the young adult/late teenage riders. While I didn't see anything, one of them reported it to me. I told the guy that if he touched any of these girls, he would either leave here with a broken leg or in handcuffs. I also had one groom who was handsy with me - I actually kicked him one day because I was so sick of it. That ended that. He screamed like a baby and said that I must abuse my husband. Men can be so stupid.


                                  I didn't trust adults and rode on my own as a kid. In my 20s it turned out that the BO and trainer at our barn had been extorting sex from teen girls for the past two decades. Someone spoke out and he went to jail. I had no contact with him.

                                  In the 1970s all kinds of bad behavior went unnoticed. At my high school girls married their teachers right after grad. In the 1980s for the first time there was widespread legal and political attention to assaulting minors. I am saddened to see that things have not changed that much. On the other hand sexual harassment is no longer simply normal and can be a career wrecker for the man. Makes you wonder why they still do it.

                                  I do agree we need to watch out for each other and also teach young women to stand up for themselves, make a fuss, and especially to keep a distance.

                                  I also wonder if rap culture has worked a bit to normalize male hostility and aggression among teens.


                                    Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                    Just FYI, all USEF licensed officials are required to take the "Safe Sport Training", which addresses exactly these issues, every two years.

                                    There is a rule change proposal to require all "Trainers" to also take the "Safe Sport Training".
                                    This would be annoying to me. I often sign as my own trainer when I do my own care. I'm an amateur.


                                      I was molested at 13 by a trainer's husband while spending the summer in Europe with them.

                                      I didn't tell anyone for many years. It all came to a head my g freshman year of college when I had a full on suicidal mental breakdown. That's when I found out that he did it to at least 2-3 other girls in the barn too. I lived with the guilt and shame for far too long. I also refuse to believe that my trainer didn't know what was happening. She just turned a blind eye to it.
                                      Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                                      My equine soulmate
                                      Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding



                                        I am so sorry that happened to you. I hope you've gotten the help you needed to persevere.

                                        As for the molester (ETA: and his enabler!) well, all I can say is, hell's not hot enough.
                                        The plural of anecdote is not data.