I don't mean to offend, but how can the discipline of Saddleseat be accepted as a legitimate equestrian sport? The horses, mostly Saddlebreds, are locked their stalls most of the time, ridden for 15-20 minutes a day and shod in ridiculous shoes. They have no to time to just be horses, and in the less reputable barns have ginger put in their rectums, chains around their ankles, their tails "nicked"(the nerves cut so that they can hold the tail unnaturally high) and put in tail sets which look suspiciously like torture devices, and sharp bits put in their mouths, all to enhance their "natural" gaits. Natural saddlebreds are sweet, intelligent, beautiful horses who have been enslaved by their riders. In my personal experience, I came across a saddlebred so destroyed by Saddleseat that he was unrideable, sore and his spirit broken. Rumors came in with his owners that firecrackers had been thrown at him to excite him to perform his gaits more extravagantly. People compare it to show jumping and dressage, saying they also use harsh bits and force horses to do things, which may be true, but the real issue is how an entire breed is being exploited, treated as though they are just gaits, not living breathing animals who need to be respected and allowed to act as their instincts dictate, not left in a stall for hours on end wearing a tail set to force them to carry their tail high and shoes that make them snap their feet up. How can the equestrian community ignore this obviously inhumane discipline?