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Rockey 05-03-2009 11:58 AM

Severely malnurished horses at shows...
Has anyone else ever encountered a very (I mean VERY) thin horse at a show? If so, what did you do, if anything?
I was just at a show yesterday and started to comment about a horse with a buckskin coat (I like buckskins) that was coming around the bend, until he turned! I stopped what I was saying and just said, "Oh my god!" This horse was severely underweight. And he didn't even appear to be very old.
So here's what I am wondering, what would you do? Clearly I don't know the circumstances, but regardless, the horse should have been left home. He may have been ill, or a rescue, or whatever the story may be, so you can't just attack the owner or rider. But then again, what right do they have to bring a horse in that condition to a show?
As for me, I didn't do anything. My trainer went to speak with the show officials, but I don't know what ever came of it. What do all of you think? Have you ever seen a horse that you felt should not have been at a show?

Stepher 05-03-2009 03:36 PM

I was at a show one time, and there was this guy there with three or four severely underweight horses. In his first class, the judge asked him to leave [the ring] because she didn't like the condition of his horse. He got mad and left the show after yelling at the judge who told him he should be spending the money from the show on some hay (haha!).
I think it should be the responsibility of the show officials to dismiss any horse that is lame or malnourished; they need to set an example.

Juniper 05-03-2009 03:49 PM

That's hard because don't you almost feel like you are contributing to the situation if you do not speak up? But you also figure if you say something it will go in one ear and out the other. I have seen judges remove lame horses, but the one time I saw a horse "skeleton" at a jumping show people just talked a lot behind the owner's back but no one did anything constructive.

NorthernMama 05-03-2009 04:02 PM

I don't go to shows now, but years ago it was always considered the responsibility of the judges to excuse any horses that were deemed "unsuitable" for whatever class.

MIEventer 05-03-2009 04:54 PM

Well, I'm a strong personallity. I can be very over opinoinated and I have a big mouth - where I will speak before I think.

I was at a horse show once, where a girl was being called into the ring for her ride. While she was kicking the horse with her legs and whiping the horse she was hauling him in the face with this god aweful bit that was in his mouth.

So while giving this poor horse 2 mixed signals - leaving this horse overly confused and in pain - no one was doing anything about it.

His mouth was gaped open to escape the bit being slammed continuously in his mouth - and turning circles to get away from the whip being smashed into his side.

No one, was doing anything about it! Just stood there stareing.

So - I grabbed my crop that was stuck in my boot, walked up behind her and started to hit her with my crop.

I then said "There, how do you like that?" and walked away.

I thought for sure I was in a whole lot of trouble when I realized what I just did - but people started to was really weird.


And at another show - there was a girl and her pretty white horse in the halter/showmanship class. While the judge wasn't looking, she would punch her horse in the neck and would be kicking him. Then while the judge was looking, she stood there nicely.

I can remember this horse flinging his head up high and backing away quickly to get away from her. I looked around and again - NO ONE was saying or doing anything.

Her mother was shouting "That's right Kaley!"

So I pulled out my video camera, recorded it - and when the class was over, I marched over to the judge and showed him the footage. She was excused from any other class.


And another show.

I was standing at the side of the arena where the hunter/jumper show was going on, bewteen my classes - I can remember a girl who was to the far right of me allowing her chestnut mare graze.

They were in full tack and apparel, I would assume bewteen classes or waiting - whichever...........but I remember for a while this chestnut mare would be ansy. The mare would paw or walk around in circles around her handler.

The young girl's mother was standing with her, holding her camera and other stuff that Groom Parents hold - when this lady out of the blue walked up and starting to discipline this chestnut mare.

People who were standing by the arena, saw this too and made comments about how this lady always does this. I asked "is that her horse or her student?" and I was given the answer of NO and that she thinks she has the right to interfear with other people's discipline ideas and how they handle their horses.

So I looked at the young girl and her mother and they looked very preturbed to the intrusion - but wern't saying anything.

So I grabbed my crop, again - in my boot - and walked up to the session that was going on.

I waited for the horse to paw, and when the horse pawed - the lady whipped this strange horse with the young girls crop and jerked the horse in the mouth by pulling on the reins - so I struck her with my crop.

She was flabbergasted and appauled that I hit her - I told her I felt the same about her interfearing with someone else's horse where she had no business nor no right to do so.

She handed the reins to the mother, and stormed off. The mother thanked me and was laughing at he fact of what I did.

I looked around and saw others who watched the episode were laughing too. I dont know what exactly they were laughing at - but I did feel emberassed at what I did. Maybe they were laughing at me? I don't know.

I went on with the rest of the show aftarwards.

Yeah - I can be a beeootch, I admit it. But I have a short fuse with people who mishandle animals of any sort. I was raised to speak up. I was taught that if you see a wrong occuring, and you do nothing about it - then you are just as guilty as the person who was committing the sin.

We have to speak up for these animals who have no voices. These animals who have power over their lives.

If I saw a poorly treated horse at a show - I'd speak up, because that's who I am.

If I saw a poorly malnurished animal at a show, or anywhere - I would report it asap. I would take pictures of anything I can - the animals, the house, the owner, the vehicle, the liscense plate and report it.

I don't care about people's feeligs - but I do care about the animals.

I don't admit that my ways are right - but all I can think of are the animals when the situations arise. I act before I speak - I speak before I think. Am I proud of it? No - not at all - again, I have a sort fuse for any form of animal abuse.

photocowgirl 05-05-2009 02:59 PM

When I bought my show mare, she was severely malnourished. We had to wait several months before even breaking her to ride and another 5 months before she was filled out and broke enough to show. I feel bad taking my horses to shows when you can barely see their ribs...

I've seen people do it though. One of my friends growing up showed a severely sway backed and malnourished horse. Someone gave it to her for free and it was show season and well broke...I never have the guts to openly state my opinion, but it's good your trainer said something. I do think it's important for something to be said to the owner, talking behind people's backs, though easy (guilty here), is wrong.

iridehorses 05-05-2009 03:15 PM

MIEventer, although I would be sorely tempted to do what you did (concerning the crop), that could be a dangerous thing to do for two reasons. You don't know who you are dealing with or their companions; and, in the litigious country we live in, that is assault and battery.

I would be more apt to take the whip away from them and maybe for affect, break it in front of them then just walk away.

MIEventer 05-05-2009 03:30 PM


I would be more apt to take the whip away from them and maybe for affect, break it in front of them then just walk away.
I like your idea much better :)

And you are right, what I've done could of gotten me into a whole heap of trouble - but thankfull nothing came of them...learning lesson for me.

Pinto Pony 05-05-2009 07:12 PM

MIEventer, you have nerve hahaha.

I see it all the time around here, especially at gaming shows :(

If I don't see the show organises standing up and saying something I approach the organisers and point it out to them. Because the shows are usually on private land it is up to the show organisers to do something about it.

Though some shows I have been to I have pointed out breaches of rules regarding use of the whip in concern for the poor horses and I was ignored and the "lashings" where allowed! That really got to me and I left, I didn't want to be associated with people like that.

Spastic_Dove 05-05-2009 07:20 PM

I see a lot of it at local game shows as well. Kids are thrown on ponies with crops and huge spurs and that is the only way they know how to get the horse to move forward.
At the one I was at a few weekends ago, a woman spent a half hour trying to "teach" her appy pony how to stand quietly to open and close a gate. She spent half the time whipping and sawing on his mouth. The horse was confused, I was confused, and the woman was an idiot.

I haven't seen too many malnourished horses around here though...

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