In 1992 I walked away from that Arabian Horse Industry for good!
I made a decision that I would not take on anymore youth riders and their parents and I wanted to have nothing to do with the equitation part of training and showing as well and I wanted nothing more to do with the western/English "pleasure" part of it.
It was just a mentality that I was not wanting to deal with. The win at all costs without regards to the horses well being. Sanding their feet to a high gloss and shaving the horses damn near bald was in my mind, not in any way a benefit to the horse. But that was not all!
In 1992 I had a couple of youth riders showing in the Regional Arab show in Houston TX. We had 5 horses at the show, one of my riders was showing in the HUS class and my other rider was showing in the reining classes as well as the western pleasure classes. I had 3 adult amateur riders showing as well.
We would get to the show grounds early in the morning to take care of our horses and ride them around the grounds so they could have a good look around.
There was a trainer there with a horse that was also being shown by a youth rider who was friends with my riders. When we were in the arena working our horse this trainer was also in the arena working the girls mare as we left the arena the trainer was still working the mare who by now was sweating profusely. The trainer, in my opinion was abusive with his extensive use of the dressage bat that he loved to carry everywhere he went. Me being who I am said something to the trainer, who at that time decided to take the mare back to the barn.
Less than an hour later I saw this same trainer back on this mare in another arena working the shit out her. The whole time he was doing this, his rider and her parents stood by the rail and watched as this mare was worked into the ground. Finally a few hours later the trainer took the mare back to the barn to let her rest. From what I have heard the mare remained tacked and tied in her stall, but I am not sure of that. After the classes ended that day, this same trainer took this same mare out into the main arena and worked her well into the morning before putting her up. By the start of the days showing, this mare was dead!
And I will say that she was a really nice mare.
As far as to what actually killed this mare I am not sure and will not comment on it, though I have an idea what it was and that should be obvious. But that is not the point of this.
The point is, this was a mare that this girls father, from what I am told had paid over $120,000 so this girl could compete at a level that she wanted to compete at. When my youth rider went up to offer her friend her condolences on her mare. This young 12-14 year old girl looked my rider in the eye, smiled and said "That's OK, my daddy will buy me another horse".
That made me sick. Never in my life would I have ever imagined a child being taught that a life has only a monetary value and nothing more. I realized that day that there is a mind set out there that we have to win at all costs, no matter what.
I can tell you the I want my daughters to have everything they want or need, but they have to know that we can not always give them that. I refuse to buy them a win at a horse show or anywhere else. They are going to have to learn to lose graciously and win humbly. As do the rest of my riders. Yes we are into showing again and I do like to win, but I also know how to lose as that is part of this game.
Like everyone else, they are going to have to work hard and develop the skills that will help them achieve their goals. I still see it all of the time at shows, parents sparing no expense to give their child an over all advantage over other kids just for a blue ribbon.
I have heard parents tell trainers that they have spent a lot of money, so their precious child better win. It's no wonder trainers try to cheat their way into championships.