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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im warning you now that this will likely be VERY long and very rambly, as there is a ridiculous amount to write. I waited a while to post this so that it wouldnt be a crazy, angry rant, but actually something worth reading. Please excuse any typing issues, my keyboard is being a jerk.

Many of you may know that I was working for as the trainer assistant for a top reining, cowhorse and cutting trainer. These horses were the best money could buy. Sons and daughters of horses like Bet on Me, Hollywood Dun It, Nu Chex to Cash, Dual Rey you get it. One yearling was bought for 100k. This place is VERY well known and respected, and because of that I am not going to mention any names or facts that might give away who they are, as I don’t want to slander or accidentally black list myself in the industry. I have not reported them anywhere, as it really wouldn’t get me anywhere. There is WAY too much money involved and Id just be shooting myself in the foot. After these horses are done showing they will live plush, happy lives & beyond their training they get the best possible care. I know this is hard to understand for people who haven’t seen the industry from the inside, but please don’t flame me.

First things first, I quit. I will explain everything as follows!

Before I took this job I first visited and then worked a full 12 hour day to be sure it was what I wanted as I was moving on site and quitting my other job for it. The job was supposed to be $400 a week, live on site, board for one horse and rent included, 6 days a week with Sundays off hat I didnt realize when I took the job was that it was a minimum of 12 hours every day, with barely even a lunch break. Basically I was working constantly and when it was time for lunch he would hand me his horse and go inside to eat. I would have to care of that horse and whatever other horses that had been tied in their stalls drying before I got to go in and eat, and then I would have to beat him out there. This was the only break I got. What I also didnt know was that if we finished up working at 6 I would still have to stay on site to un tie the horses that were drying and switch out their blankets, and then turn off the lights at 9:30. I previously lived an hour and a half away and I thought if I was willing to suck it up and drive I would be able to leave after I was off and then come back in time to start at 6. Not possible with turning the lights off at 9:30. If we finished at 6, I would be done with putting the horse up by 6:15 but would need to un tie whoever else a bit later, even if someone wanted to drive the hour and a half to meet me I wouldnt have any time before being back to get the lights. Christmas Eve I didnt get out of their till 7:30pmven though he knew I needed to drive an hour and a half to see my family. Mind you HE got to walk the whole 5 feet into his house and party it up immediaty while I handled the last horses. Beautiful.

When I took the job I intended to bring my dog and my horse with me, I quickly realized I would have zero time for my mare and why have her sit in a stall all day or a turn out when she can be at home, in a pasture with daily care and exercise from my family. Not to mention some snotty nosed thing was going around with the horses and I refuse to give it to my mare, so no horsey. I didnt bring my dog either because I quickly realized that the trainer would think he was in the way (hes a velcro puppy, very well behaved and horse savvy) and my dog was gonna get hurt by his foot connecting to his face, thats how this guy was.

Now down to the actual horse things.

I did not learn a single thing. The majority of the reason that I took this job was so that I could learn and improve not only my riding, but my training skills. I quickly realized that although he was a phenomenal rider, he didn’t know jack about training. He had recently taken over, due to illness, this established business from a world class trainer he worked under for many years. It was very sudden. The day he hired me he had just gotten back from a competition and did not do well, I think he really realized how much he had on his plate and started going HARD on the horses because of it. I realized right away he used constant rollkur, but I figured I could learn everything, but only use what I wanted. Everyone has their own way. However, when your standing in the stirrups ripping on their faces and their as bent in half as possible, you’re out of line. The second he would drop the reins many would stretch out their necks and just breathe. Hearing them gasping while he was riding them was quite horrifying.

He didn’t know the first thing about how horses think, or pressure and release. If he was teaching a horse to back up for example he wouldn’t ask them for a step and then reward and work from there he would ask them to back up 15 ft and when they didn’t get what he was saying he would yank on their faces and kick their feet and legs harshly(if he was on the ground) till they went the 15 ft. Mind you the entire time the horse would be in panic mode, head in the air trying to figure out WTF this crazy person was asking.

There was a particular well known stud in training there who the trainer absolutely despised for reasons I couldn’t understand. You wernt allowed to pet the horses but this boy was the sweetest horse, let alone stud I had ever met. He was the easiest to blanket, stood quietly for everything and would rest his head on me and fall asleep while I would braid his mane. I have never come across a sweeter soul. But the trainer HATED him. Nothing he could do was good enough. He was constantly putting harsher and harsher bits on him, and he always wore a very thin twisted wire tie down, which I repeatedly witnessed the trainer ripping his face UP INTO to punish him. More than once I was handed back the stud and he would be coated in blood from the shoulders down from being ripped into with spurs. You roll spurs dangit! They are not supposed to be a torture device! His splint boots would be absolutely saturated along with the girth and the stirrups would be coated. When the trainer would decide he wouldn’t deal with whatever imaginary issue he was having He would tie the stud (and other horses) with their heads between their knees and leave them in their stall, hot and still tacked up, for hours. With their heads between their knees, gasping the entire time. Mind you, the stud was in a cathedral bit with 7+ shanks and the cathedral was HUGE. Other horses were ridden in bike chain bits and would come back with their lips bleeding after every ride. I cried almost every time I had to clean him up, it was horrible to basically be preparing him for his doom knowingly.

I understand that babies need to be started so they can go to their futurities and what not, but having a long YEARLING being ridden and lunged heavily everyday by a 6ft 4’ man is NOT acceptable. They should not be cantering circles in a round pen period, let alone with a RIDER. Despicable.

I was completely miserable and after 2 weeks I quit. I couldn’t handle it. I was done there after 4 days but like I said I quit my job and moved to go there, I needed to save some money because I was going to have to be unemployed while I looked for a new job. Im now moved back and working a solid job at a feed store and will be going to school for something like equine nutrition in the future.

Maybe I’ll post more about it in the future, but that’s plenty for now. Cookies to anyone who suffered through that!
 

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Been there, done that. Good luck with your future endeavors. I won't say anymore, as I will be blasted on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks waresbear. & definitely not worth getting blasted for! Touchy touchy.
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That sounds like a total hell hole. Thank God you are gone, but I feel for the poor show ponies under his hand.
 

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Good lord! I feel so bad not just for you, because you can make a decision based on what's best for yourself, but for those horses at his mercy.

I have no words of wisdom , but I'm sure other will . So sorry on so many levels.
 

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Thank goodness you didn't jump on the band wagon. Good for you for sticking to your instincts and knowing when to get out.

Absolutely horrible.

Karma. That's all I have to say. He'll run his "business" into the ground because he doesn't know what he's doing, his horses will be miserable and won't be willing to perform for him. He'll fall off the map.

Poor horses though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Speaking of band wagon, that's what was really scary. Between the time that I decided to quit and actually quitting I became so desensitized to the cruelty it was insane. It was scary knowing how terrible these things were and not being phased by them anymore because you had been gritting your teeth and dealing. I did NOT want to be that person.
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Been there, done that. Good luck with your future endeavors. I won't say anymore, as I will be blasted on here.
Blasted with a hose maybe! But nah, you're allowed to vent.

As for the OP... my goodness. They were working you and the horses so hard! Who the hecklefish RIDES, even lunges, a yearling?!
 

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Everyone who wins a two year old futurity.
 
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Ok, please explain further. I don't show, so dont' know much about "futurity". What exactly is a futurity? Just assume I know nothing about it.
 

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There is futurities in most horse events. Horse racing, western pleasure, reining to name a few. The stallion owners offer a incentive to breed to their horse. Any offspring can enter these shows (prize money can be very good, title is even better for the owner of sire). You decide to enter your foal, you start making payments until the show, so kind of a jackpot type thing too I believe. Horses in a snaffle bit western pleasure futurity look dead broke to me, wanna bet they were started as yearlings?
 
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What? you are paying into a jackpot? Can you only enter if your horse is get of that certain sire? What kind of money? Why must they be so young?
 

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If all that you are describing is true, then it is animal abuse punishable by the association. Think Cleve Wells. You can anonymously report what is going on--document with photos, if possible, and send them to the governing body of the association, or file a cruelty complaint with local law enforcement or animal control. Bloodying horses up with spurs, I'm pretty sure, falls under the legal definition of abuse.
 

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Not really a jackpot Tiny. Only the offspring of nominated stallions. Could be many, many stallions. The more stallions nominated, the higher the payout I think. To enter, your foal has to be out of an incentive fund stallion, then you make futurity payments well in advance of the show, which would be the late fall of the horse's two year old year. I was hope someone else would jump in & help me out here, like NHreiner, they have 2 yr old reing futuries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Basically they want the horses to show as young as possible, so that they can win as much money and titles as possible, which is why they start them so young. That's how they have 2 and 3 year olds that are dead broke and can perform advanced moves, they've been doing them a longtime. It's also possible because of their breeding, these horses really do the moves on their own he just refines their movement and puts a cue with it. If he had to deal with a REAL horse that wasn't literally born for it it would be a whole different ball game.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Bubba, I did document as much as I could. I have pictures and a few videos. I will definitely look into reporting him, I just didn't know how to go about it. It's not that I don't want to report him in the least, just didn't know how and such. Most people flip out and want me to call the humane society *eye roll*.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Triple post!
I don't have any videos of him riding like that though (no opportunity, no cell service so no good excuse for being caught with my phone...) maybe I could either post the pictures on here or send them to you to see if they would be enough?
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All other issues aside, a 12-16 hour day (more if you're at a show) is 100% common throughout this industry. In the summer, you get to find out what it's like to have all the riding done between midnight & 6am, then you do as many chores as possible before you die of heatstroke, sleep the afternoon and get up in the evening to do it all over again.

I think you just got a hard lesson on the difference between an assistant trainer and a trainer's assistant. I hope it didn't sour you on the cow-horse business as a whole. Remember there are always bad apples. There are quite a few cutters looking for lopers, so you could attempt that avenue instead, but the hours will suck just as much.
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I'm not against doing lungeing groundwork and respect work on baby horses and yearlings. But for christ's sake you don't lunge them into the ground. You teach them to yield and give you their attention, desensitize, start teaching them to move off of pressure, etc. I've shown two year olds before, won some ribbons, and never once had to get on their back before they were of riding age and I never worked them into the ground either. You can accomplish SOOO much just going slow, without even breaking into a trot with young'ns. You could be teaching them softness, and how to move off gentle pressure and become responsive. There is never a reason to ride a young horse into the ground.

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I hope you find a better situation than that soon...With a good trainer who actually knows how to train.
 
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