Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Horse Is A Horse, Unless He's A Superstar.

The horse is God's gift to mankind.  ~Arabian Proverb

I'm not sure if I should use this bit of advertising material, but I am. 

We have the biggest name in the Arabian horse world, and perhaps in the horse world, in Minnesota. 

This horse and he were a part of a big scandal close to ten years ago, which resulted in the bankrupting of the governing body of the Arabian industry. It also resulted in the five year suspension from showing of this trainer. I left the show world when the Arabian US Nationals welcomed him back with open arms. I couldn't stand it anymore, there was no way for me to justify my involvement in a morally bankrupt organization after this. 

I'm bringing this up because I found out, on facebook of all places, that the scandal surrounding this pair continues. This horse won the Senior Stallion Championship at Scottsdale. This is not a surprise. What I have since been reading about and looking at in photos is the alleged whip mark on his shoulder. USEF strictly forbids a horse being shown with a welt. One of the judges called this, but in the end it was overlooked and they went on to win. There is an internet furor over this. Again.

For those who don't know, Stallion halter is a blood sport. I played it for a while and barely made it out alive. The money in this group is beyond what you can reasonably imagine. Of course the owners of the horses have more money than sense, but it is an ego sport of massive proportion and anyone who plays, plays for keeps. The top stallions bring in millions and sell for multimillions. The trainers handling them and selling their get make millions. This trainer can ruin anyone who gets in his way, so the beat goes on. If, somehow he was to be taken down, someone would move into his place and it would be the same. This is my opinion based on years in the industry and nothing else.

The horse in this is a horse. He hasn't any control over how he is used, what is said about him or how he is portrayed. He is a very valuable horse who is more than likely about as unhappy as a horse can get. And he isn't alone in that, he is just at the top of the heap. I find myself feeling very sorry for him. For all of them, but this poor thing in particular. Like his sire and grandsire before him, life cannot have been easy.

I wanted to write about it. I have been so removed over the past years that I don't know who is who anymore, or what is what. And then I see this on facebook. It seems I can't entirely remove myself from what I don't want to see or hear. I feel the same knot in the pit of my stomach that used to be there regularly. I could become angry again. But I've done that and the activism that comes with it. It's a waste of indignation, because the powers that be are no different than the major offenders. They have the industry that they want. It is profitable and it is ego fulfilling. It suits them. You may as well spit into the wind as try to change it. So I moved on. But I can't help but feel a little sick as I think about it once again. But it's beyond me, so I can only go down to my own barn and look at my horses and be grateful.

7 comments:

  1. It is really unfortunate that these things happen. I don't know that it matters what the industry is, it seems a timeless issue.

    But, yes, when I was reading about it, I too feel sorry for the horse. What a life of torment. I'd hazard to guess he isn't very fun to be around at this point.

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  2. If there is money to be made and power to be had, bad things will happen. I know about soring of Walkers, the myriad bad things done to stock horses, the horror of the racing world, etc.

    This is my industry and I wish these stallions didn't have to face the life they do. I was offered money from one of the very wealthy for Zing. There wasn't enough money to leave my conscience clear.

    Arabian stallions are, by and large, gentle souls and because Stallion Halter is what it is in the breed, the stallions are not treated right.

    MP is shown in a bit and a chain. I think that would say he isn't very much fun to be around.

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  3. Duly noted.
    Even I've heard of the tainting of this person and I'm not in the industry.
    I signed the petition, although it didn't seem very formal.

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  4. It was started by DeEtta. She's trying to get 1000 signatures to put before the president of AHA. Unlikely to matter, but a couple of minutes to sign it is worth the effort. Who knows, nothing happens if nothing is done. Thanks for signing.

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  5. arab people. that's why i always liked paints. and pintos. much more down to earth. my mom likes the morgan people too, but i never, ever understood the arab people....

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  6. Hmmm, I can understand the interest in arabs. They are highly intelligent, kind and very versatile.

    But, while I am a "quarter horse person" I've never understood why people are only intereted in a certain color type. Color is skin deep but color will always sell higher. That's why people spend time breeding just for color. Lot's of color, no athleticism or brains to follow. Pretty is as pretty does.

    So I don't understand that. But I suppose misunderstandings can go all ways.

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  7. The sad truth is, all breeds are abused. Stock horses get their heads tied to rings placed in the ceiling, they get the nerve in their tails cut so they can't move the tail, they get trained to 'spur stop' and they get forced into an unnatural frame to look like they are a pleasure to ride.
    Tennessee Walkers are sored in the feet. I know if there is a buck to be made, there is a horse to be harmed. Breed doesn't matter. I love Arabians, so this is the breed I try to defend from abuse. We place a great emphasis on stallions, so they are at the forefront. You can't ask for a nicer horse to handle and live with. But the Arabian halter has become a circus show and it makes the horses look ridiculous. But no more ridiculous than a 1200 lb, heavily muscled, downhill built animal on tiny feet.
    : )

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I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.