I’ll don my flame suit before posting this article. ok I’m suited up now.
Please understand that the topic I’m writing about thankfully is NOT the norm..
Have you ever wondered why intelligent, educated, really nice horse owners (mostly women like me) often seem to give up their powers of discrimination and rationality in regards to their horse when it comes to their trainers? And have you noticed that in some instances it is to the detriment of their own horse’s welfare? I am no expert, and not a trainer, and I respect the hard work and commitment that so many horse trainers dedicate to their passion, but I still do not understand why we amateur horse owners oftentimes sacrifice our discretion as advocates of our horses when it comes to an abusive trainer. I have witnessed with my own eyes, very nice people I respect & like, sit silently as their trainer mounts their willing horse without so much as a pat or hello, and immediately demands submission with an aggressive seat, leg w/spur, and harsh rein aids – forget about easing into a conversation with the horse. I couldn’t help but think that they related to these generous creatures more like machines rather than sentient beings. Trainers, you may be fuming right now, or perhaps agreeing because I’m sure you’ve seen it all; but what really irks me is WHY, why don’t horse owners SPEAK UP? – set some boundaries? or better yet, fire their trainer?…
I have seen wonderful horses, dearly loved by their owners, who are willing, generous, and giving their all – be given without constraint to trainers who dominate and subdue an already willing horse. Their owners stand by and watch as their horse freaks out and this misbehavior is blamed on the ‘stupid’, ‘obstinate’, or ‘dangerous’ horse.
This article is not so much about bad training as it is simply a call for owners to stand up for the rights of their horses. If you see something that really doesn’t feel right in regards to the treatment of your horse, SAY SOMETHING no matter who the trainer is or how highly regarded they are. Standing in silence while looking past abuse may help to keep your public face, but your horse’s spirit will be sacrificed little by little. And in the end when he looks into your eyes, know that he will only see the truth.