But when threads like this pop up every few months...? Maybe, just maybe, when so many people complain, that's because there's something to complain about.
This thread and many others were not started in an effort to truly learn anything about the discipline, they are more of a lynch mob thread. It is like getting on any dog forum and bringing up the topic like "I think all Pit Bulls are killers" They get attention. People have strong reactions to the topic and sadly it is more often then not misinformed.
There are people on here like LadyDreamer that try very hard to explain things but... talking to a wall makes little difference in the long run. Some people are simply unwilling to hear anything different then they THINK they already know. LD, I think you are a saint for continuing to try.
It has been said a few thousand times but Walkers and Saddlebreds are very very different and often, the "Abuse" that is talked about in referrence to "saddleseat" is not in the Saddlebred industry. Yes, there are BAD Saddlebred trainers. I have known a few. Fortuneately most of those got their just rewards for the abuses they practiced.
Sometimes I read the critisisms and just thing "what?" because they are so far from the truth it scares me. Maybe after so many years of fighting for my beloved Saddlebreds, I am simply worn out.
In my many years on this earth and all the shows I have attended over the years, I can honestly say that I saw NOTHING at any Saddlebred show as bad as I saw at some other breed shows. I didn't see blood draining, spur scars, bleeding mouths, broken spirits etc.. There truly is something in all disciplines and it COULD be argued that all showing brings out the worst in people. That too might be true but then... don't get me started on what I saw at the trail rides and the back yard horse people. Abuse is done by stupid or cruel individuals and people should only be judged on THEIR individual actions, not the actions of others who just so happen to enjoy the same activity.
As far as the man in the video's posted earlier with the "speed racking" Saddlebred. That made me sick to my stomach. I wanted to gather a group of friends and go knock him off the horse and beat the pulp out of him. That poor dear old horse should be enjoying some casual trail rides and lots of pampering. Instead he is subjected to an ape bouncing around on his back while IT screams at him and yanks on his mouth. Don't judge the Saddlebred breed by the few apes that are out there. That is NOT the majority.
Oh and on the "long toes and long heels" thing... That too is not participated in by all. There are many many more short hooved horses in the ring doing very well.