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.