Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More on Integrity in the Arabian Horse Industry

One of the most obvious issues about integrity (or the lack of integrity) in the Arabian industry has to do with trainers. Certainly there are lots of ways that a trainer can have integrity or not! Many of the issues are probably the same across the board with other breeds but the following two are pet peeves of mine.

There are lots of trainers out there taking money for training horses that for whatever reason they don't spend much time, if any training. One trainer cannot be training twenty horses all by themselves. If they are, those horses aren't getting worked daily. That should be obvious to most people, but it's not.

It always amazes me the owners that leave their horse with a trainer for a year or two that has a huge barn full of horses to train and no help Then when the owner brings the horse home they start complaining about what the trainer didn't do. All the time knowing the trainer had way more horses than can be worked. What, did they think their horse was special and going to get worked more than the other horses? What are the chances of that?

The issue about Arabian trainers that gets me is taking multiple horses to a horse show and entering several all in the same class with the same rider/handler.
Certainly in trail, reining or dressage classes where horses are shown one at a time, this isn't a problem. But the pleasure classes where all the horses show at the same time each horse must have a different rider or handler. The trainer knows going into it they can't show all of those horses but enter them anyway.

When I first started showing horses it always confused me to see listed in the show program the same trainer entered on multiple horses in the same class. When the class would actually run, the trainer would be on one of the horses and there might or might not be a catch rider on any or all of the others. (Most of the time, those other horses never even saw the ring.)

I learned over time, the trainers that entered multiple horses would school all of the horses and then decide to show the one that schooled the best. The thinking was that would be their best chance of winning. You can bet those trainers didn't refund those clientswho horses stayed back at the stalls their show fees or their trainer fees for the horse being at the show.

In today's show ring the halter handlers are the worst offenders about committing to handle multiple horses. They'll just keep saying yes to every owner down the line when their intention is to show the best horse. Lots of times they don't even let the owners know ahead of time that they're taking someone else's horse into the ring.

Particularly this practice can be seen at the regional championships. The big name halter boys will fly in from all parts of the country, charge exorbitant fees (sometimes as much as $2000 or $3000) and go shopping for the best horse to lead into the class. Many of the owners will condition and train their own horses planning on picking up one of the handlers for the show. Some owners will even have made arrangements with the halter handler ahead of time to be sure they have someone to lead their horse.

Unfortunately, many of the big name halter boys are known for dropping horses at the show. Most with no notice to the owner (who have paid stabling and class fees). The horse won't even make the ring because they have no handler

Why owners tolerate this kind of treatment from trainers is beyond me. Maybe owners think they have no other choice. For me, it's just another piece of information to log away about the integrity of trainers. I would never leave my horse with a trainer who has no integrity. If a trainer isn't being honest to you to your face, what is he doing behind your back when there's no one there to monitor him.


  1. hi MiKael,

    Hope you are feeling better. How is Echo? Hope she is better too.

    Just wondering, since you don't brand your horses, how do you identify them? Do you use microchips?

    Take care.

  2. I had no idea. Well, I had a slight idea. I have an ex-sister-in-law who owned a Saddlebred. The training and showing per month was way more than my yearly income. So, with big money on the line the cheating had to be enormous.

  3. Greetings from the inn:) Thanx for stopping by.. Thanx for the info on showing here.. as a newbie in the show world it's good to get some insight... I'm aiming for a "turquoise" show :)

    Do you sell arabians

    GP in Montana

  4. Hi MiKael

    Well you know what my recent experience has been with a "trainer" so this is very close to home for me. I dont think I will trust anyone again for a long time with the welfare of one of my horses. The sad thing is that I can't do it all myself and no-one wants an untrained horse so it is a viscious circle.

    I am behind on posts so will read on LOL.