What should I do? (Horse mistreatment?!)
Okay, sorry I haven't introduced myself on the forum yet, I will get round to it soon! I just need a bit of advice with this so for those who actually have the patience to read my very long, very written thread and give me some feedback, I would really appreciate it! :)
Anyways... At the moment I go at quite a large equestrian facility in Dubai, where I ride an arabian gelding for a friend of mine several times a week. I'm no professional rider, but I've learnt alot from helping to train and riding this horse (which I've been doing for the past 3 or so years). Today, I was just walking around the large arena to warm him up, when I saw a woman about 20 years old or so riding another arab. She was with her family, who were watching on the outside (they didn't seem particularly "horsey"). Next to this horse was who appeared the "trainer" (I'm assuming) holding a lunging line and whip. The woman riding the horse didn't seem particularly experienced as she appeared to be pretty unbalanced in the saddle, slack reins ect ect... Despite this, nothing really seemed too bad. I was slightly anxious given she was a novice rider on a very hot headed horse but everything seemed under control. Then the horse began to play up a little (in that very frisky way that lots of arabs and many other horses seem to do if they're if they're feeling a little hyper). He then broke into a small canter, again, somthing that the arab I ride tends to do if he has extra steam (I like to bring him back down to walk again of course though!) however, as soon as this happened the rider gave an enormous scream, which just made the situation a whole lot worse. The horse then took off (given that the arena is a HUGE show jumping sized thing) and began to gallop madly around the arena, with the rider screaming the whole time. Charlie began to freak out at this point as well so I quickly got off and calmed him down. The galloping arab then managed to give a very nasty buck which catapulted the poor woman into the wooden fence. I managed to grab hold of the horse when he came towards my horse and I, (for "herd comfort" I'm assuming?) and got him calmed down as well. Fortunately, the rider managed to get back onto her feet again (although she was distraught and looked like she was in quite a bit of pain) and walked back to the barn with her family. Once the rider had left the trained strutted towards me and grab the horse from my hands, (I don't want to seem pretentious or anything after what happened, but I don't think a little "thank you" would have hurt, after I caught the horse for them?, or is that just me being sensitive and silly? :P). I then continued to walk behind the back of the barns and came back down to the arena about 5 minutes later. What I saw really, really, really ticked me off. (I would use a stronger word if this forum allowed it!) The trainer who had been with the rider before the accident was now on the horse (wearing just tracksuit bottoms and flip flops with NO hard hat) holding the reins very short in one hand, and the lunging line in the other. He then used the lunging rein to beat the horse as he galloped around the arena. I'm not talking about a quick tap on the rump or anything here, full on beating. He also used the reins to whip the horse on the neck again and again and again, sometimes hitting it on the face. All the while, urging the horse into a faster and faster gallop around the arena. Not only is high speed riding forbidden in the arena (I didn't even dare go in the arena for fear of being collided into!) but the manner in which he was riding was just appalling. I could see some visiting tourists with children getting rather upset by this treatment but the trainer continued going around at top speed for several minutes.
It was as if he was trying to punish the horse for misbehaving? Surely a horse doesn’t understand that he is being punished for somthing he did a while back (this beating occurred about 30 minutes after the accident), and if he was perhaps trying to burn off the horse's excess energy or somthing (this horse seemed to have alot of it!) there was no need to be beating the horse even as it galloped around at its very top speed?!? It almost seemed as if he was taking his anger out on the poor thing.
From what I saw, this whole incident seemed to source from the horse just simply being over energetic. When the horse began to canter, most riders would have been able to pull them over. Not only did the rider not manage this but the screaming really aggravated the situation and is what actually caused the horse to bolt. I'm not blaming her in anyway, this could have happened to anyone!
I acknowledge what a "know-it-all" I probably sound like, maybe had I been riding this horse at the time the situation would have been no different, but I still feel that what happened was not entirely the horse's fault, and the poor animal did not deserve this.
I'm sorry for this long rant, but this really upset me and I just felt I needed advice. Maybe I am over-reacting? (If I am just give me a shout!!!) I am a little melodramatic sometimes, but I promise that no details from what happened have been exaggerated.
So, here's the question, what should I do??? Should I just keep my head down, or make a stand? If I, personally, owned this horse, firstly I would cut down high energy grains and feed a mostly forage based diet. I would ensure he was turned out in a large paddock for most of the day (I know for a fact that this horse lives in a stable for most of the time and is rarely turned out), and is exercised every day. I really do believe that this is the root cause of the problems, not being a misbehaving horse or one who is mean and just wants to dump the rider, but simply just having so much energy and not really being sure what to do with it! I am quite sure of this because the horse I ride used to be exactly the same when he was younger, as the owner rarely rode him (they were scared of him!), he was fed way too much concentrated feed and lived in a stable 24/7. After a year of working with him he is practically a dream horse (for me anyways!). Okay, he's not a novice ride, he spooks easily, tends to get easily excited, but nothing that would be impossible to control and incredibly dangerous to myself on a daily basis (I often ride in a rope bitless bridle with ease). So should I go to the owners (I believe that they are oblivious to this "training" as they don't seem particularly experienced around horses and weren’t there to witness this event) and tell them what I think they should do? I'm just too scared of sounding snooty and "uppity" /: Or should I just leave it? I know there's no point trying to get the police (or somthing similar for animal abuse) involved. Because out here, people literally get away with murder with these sorts of things. So...
What to do????
Thanks so much guys!