This sounds like a very scary poor example of a hunter circuit.
I highly doubt they show at A rated hunter shows with out a good lead, if they do they are showing in the non-rated classes and still not placing well.
The ones I know that show A rated do fairly well.
I love the jab about all the horses that have a lead were formerly western horses.
Not a jab. Just a fact of what is around this area.
My old man was originally trained as a western horse. They backed him to start showing as a 2yo in western classes.
When I bought him at 5 he had no lead change. They actually had him so unbalanced from trying to get him to be a peanut roller that loping/cantering was next to impossible.
It took a full year to undo what those amazing western trainers had done to him.
Now, as an English hunter horse he has a lovely lead change and will stand tied to wherever I want to tie him all day long*. (Note, he did not come to me with tieing thing either. Something else us horrible English people taught him.)
Will not go into my opinion of WP horses or how they are trained.
It is hard for me to believe that someone with as much true knowledge as you have (reiner) would be pushing such a short sighted stereotype.