Your definition of better breeding programs and mine are likely not anywhere close to the same.
Anyway, yeah a part of the horse industry will collapse but no where near enough to pull down the whole industry. Most horses never go anywhere near a show ring and do quite well without that function in our new society.
Now to explain my previous comment a bit more. The idea of showing is not a bad thing but human nature will not leave it that way. They want to win for money, ego boost or both. Now add in the judges, most I've met are self important know it alls but there are some good ones out there. These judges have their own ideas on what an animal should be and they reward those who fit into their ideals with wins. People take notice of what is winning and so start breeding for those traits specific traits. This usually leads to changing a breed into something totally new and quite often leads to detrimental changes. It also can lead to morally outrageous training methods to reach that ideal.
In the case of TWH industry both have happened. If you want a good big lick horse you need to start with a pacer. This has led to many lines losing their ability to naturally gait (see my previous statement about breeding programs) though they can still be trained to gait. Next comes the oh so pleasant training methods. Lastly comes standing ovations and accolades for winning that blue ribbon. Isn't showing oh so wonderful?
This doesn't just happen with horses. Pick any animal that is shown, go watch the shows with open eyes and see for yourself. FYI, I've also seen miserable execuses for a breed win just because the "right" person (well known trainer) was the one showing it when up against a bunch of average Joe nobodies.
Perhaps I stated myself wrong...
Yes, there are several shows that because of the Judges and the publics want for a certain something, several breeds (Not naming names) have gone down the ****ter. But the idea of showing for a better horse to bring in better money is something that is a real drive. I think if we can just get the shows grounded back into reality and not purely looks (though I wouldn't complain about a horse who looks **** fine while doing its job
); then we would get better examples of the breed. Reward those who do it right, and not those who take shortcuts.
Yes you are right; people sometimes get curious and we try to get things that are unnatural for a animal and try to put it in them... sometimes this works (most breeds are synthetic breeds that we created, nothing wrong with that), other times it is taken into the wrong hands and things like soring happens; and it is truely horrible, as a proud owner of a TWH half bred I am appalled by it.
And no, I do not think that the equine industry could support itself without shows, there would be less public eye on it and less people going to get into it, buying their own horses that would in return help keep our horse economy going. We need public events to keep drawing in crowds... we just need to find a safer, more humane way to carry out some of these public events. The horses don't care either way as long as they are well taken care of, treated properly and receive the "love" (for lack of better terms) from being in a herd of their own(humans count, many animals do follow us and accept us as their leaders and herdmates/packmates) and knowing they did what they were supposed too.
The problem lies with bad trainers, and the problem behind bad trainers are judges letting them get away with murder. I'll stop myself here, as anything further I do not have true insight on, and I don't wish to make myself look like an idiot
* I personally am not a show person, nor do I really have the drive to do it, but I respect those who do and appreciate them greatly. But the happy trails are my only calling.
I've stated my oppinion, and don't really have the time to debate it further, got lots of packing to do and four animals to get ready for the pet sitter
Fun fun fun
Have a nice weekend! :)