Unfortunatly, there are many out there. A good friend of mine just brought her horse back two weeks early from a trainer. The horse was there for six weeks. He was highly recommended. He wouldn't return phone calls to my friend with progress etc. He would post on FB how he was in the mountains skiing...so who was training the horse? She went to visit two weeks early....she was shown her horse running in a roundpen bucking for what seemed like a long period of time. She told the trainer specifically that she wanted the horse rode out on trails to gain her confidence out of the arena. She was already trained in the arena and did very well. The trainer told my friend that the horse was too dangerous and that he didn't like her when she first got there, and didn't like her then either. He then went into a conversation about his having an affair with the girl who referred my friend to this trainer in the first place. This girl that referred her to him was 20 years younger, in her twenties.
I went to visit my friend over the weekend to see this 'crazy' horse. She was wanting to see my opinion since the trainer told her these things about her horse being no good etc. She was very discouraged and listed her for sale. When I worked with the horse she was such a wonderful mare. At first, she was very unsure and buddy sour. She wouldn't focus on me in the roundpen at all. It only took about 5-10 mins. Then I could see that she had some moments where she was frantic with certain things that I asked....but only after a couple attempts where she received positive encouragement, she totally opened up. She was receptive to anything I asked of her. You could see the 'try' in her even if she was confused. It almost seemed like she enjoyed being a part of figuring out a puzzle.
My girlfriend mentioned her being so barn sour that if she took her down the driveway 100 feet, she would go insane and was walking all over her and trying to rear. I attempted going down the driveway only after working with her in the roundpen for a half hour. I was so convinced that this mare was not a monster, that I just put the lariat around her neck with no leadline on her halter at all. We walked down the driveway to the end and a part way down the street. She was fine. Listened to everything I told her. I could be very light with my cues. My girlfriend arrived a short time later. After I exclaimed how wonderful her horse was, she really wanted to see for herself. We walked the horse down the drive, down the street and about a half mile around some farmland....all the way home. No problem, just with the lariat around her neck.
So, she just paid this trainer $1700 and got back a horse that was obviously man-handled....(no disrepect to the fellows).... It is so discouraging to horse owners and legitimate horse trainers.