I complete agree with Tiger. It is no mystery that in the history of man working with horses that these animals have experienced all kinds of treatment from us. We have only learned and moved away from the old "cowboy" way of "breaking" horses (I'm sure there are still some out there that use this but it is not widely supported). If no one ever spoke up we might be doing the same thing today.
When working with animals it is absolutely imperative that people speak up when something is being done to animal that is not humane. If you "win" all the time by doing something that is clearly not humane or sportsmanlike, I am NOT impressed and I don't think anyone else should be either.
Look at horse racing. Sure some might win by using clearly unethical practices at the horses expense, but if they win, who cares? NO way. This is not okay.
When it comes to making money off animals it can get pretty dirty. Humans want instant results and that is a bad combination with animals. When people start doing anything it takes to win, the animal loses. Drugging, all kinds of tack that forces horses into a position (or just look like they are), getting frustrated and hitting the animal, etc. is not okay.
I was not happy that BarrelHorse used that picture on the cover. I think a lot of people saw this picture and we wondering about this wire tie down. If you are going to use questionable gear then I think you should expect to be questioned. I don't care who Brett Monroe is or how much he wins. Not only does the horse have a wire tie down on, it's in a Futurity. If anything that shows me that that Futurities might be encouraging this "do anything to win" and "rush a young horse" kind of attitude and I see that as a problem.
We all want to win and do well. But it is important not to sit back and assume because someone wins that they know everything and should not be questioned. That is a grave mistake in any situation, but especially when dealing with training animals.
I'd love to see some more horsemanship come into this sport. I think a great person to look to who has won (even more than this Brett Monroe fellow) is Charmayne James. In fact, she has in article in the very same magazine that Brett is on the cover on, titled "Investing the Time".
The last lines of the article by Charmayne reads as this:
"You've got to be driven to put in the time that is necessary in order to improve, but don't become obsessed with barrel racing to the point that you put excessive pressure on yourself or your horses to win. You need to balance your lifestyle so you are not trying too hard to win at all costs".
It's worth reading.
Last edited by MT2012; 01-05-2013 at 05:53 PM.