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An Unpopular Stance(long)

Hi ride campers.   I wanted to respond to the conversation about the dead horse and the rider rudeness at the same time.  Kimberly , I read your post about the rider's responsibility, and agree with you about the usefullness of competitive trail, but I must mention that I have never been judged on my horses's "shiny manes!" lol   In fact I keep my horses show groomed with bagged tails, because I occasionally show too, and it is a fact that my white horses have the whitest tails on many a ride, and I  STILL was corrected by a judge one time for "not cleaning the hooves enough", but never got an extra point for the excellent tail!! ha ha.  And yes, they are  sometimes anal about things like grooming and tying, but no harm done.  In fact if a few more of these hot shoes were made to adhere to standards like that, maybe they would eventually learn some horsemanship to take with them on the longer distances. 
    A few years back, I was president of our local riding club.  There was a family that habitually neglected their horses, and their kids rode them abusively.  The kids also were caught on several occasions, stealing tack from the neighbors.  They had a horse colic, and die without Vet attention.  The next horse had cancer, and was dying. The boys took the horse for a "gallop" on a horse show day, and the horse collapsed in the street ,  a block from the show arena.  The dad came to "shoot the horse and put it out of it's misery", right on the street, and a couple of show riders and trainers intervened. They called a vet, and he euthanized the horse when they walked it home.   Then they got a little Arab, about 25 years old.  Their little girl used to ride it, but then the teenage boys would try to gallop it around too.  One day the boys decided to take the horse and a couple of girls on "their first date"  .  They were talking with one of our local teenage showriders, and she told them of several safe trails to take their friends on "the date".  These boys knew the trails anyway.  They decided, against the show-girl's advice, to take the horse, and the girls (who had never ridden) on a "scary" trail.  It was a very narrow, overgrown hiking trail on a steep cliff, with a good two hundred foot drop.  Well, the girls got scared, they ran out of trail, and they attempted to turn the horse around. She fell off the cliff with "their date", and the girl was able to jump off after getting shredded and landing in poison oak.  The horse was smashed up, numerous broken bones, but still alive.    Then the family called our riding club to "go get the horse out".  Well, it wound up that there were animal control, sherriffs, fire, a vet and several people from our club, and they couldn't get the horse out--it was night by then!  The mother was heard to joke about "the lousy first date", and "looks like we may need to get another horse!"  The kids were joking and laughing. There were no signs of compassion, concern, or even interest, and absolutely no remorse.   The next morning, the horse had to be euthanized on the spot, and I think they left it to rot, they couldn't get it out.  The vet was seriously ill with poison oak reactions, as were several other people.
   THEN..the mother started talking about "sueing the city for their lousy trails".  That is when I jumped in.  As president of the club, I composed a letter to the parents, reminding them of the other incidents with their horses, that knowledgeable horsepeople had repeatedly asked their kids to stop galloping their horses on the street, on rocks, and other abuses.  I declared that they needed to take their kids to counseling to explore why they had no emotional response to killing horses, before they took their "next dates" in a hot car and crashed it off of one of the local mountain roads.  I also declared that if anyone asked me if they should sell that family a horse, I would say no!  I then gave a copy of the letter to the city, and made it known that if the family tried to sue the city, I would act as an expert witness on the city's behalf, in order to save our trails for the other riders in the community.    WELL...that made me the biggest "witch" in town.  People who had complained constantly about the kids thieving ways, and the parents neglect and cavalier attitude..the biggest gossips about it..they came to the defense of the family.  I was mean, and I made her cry.   But the idea of the lawsuit was dropped, they bought their teenage son a big hot truck the very next month, and a new horse for the kids followed.  This one is not ridden hard however.   We had a lot of division in our club, some people on my "side" and other people who thought I was a "witch".   And guess what.. I never really cared what they thought of my stance, and I would do it again a hundred times.  
    Sometimes you have to really speak up..and if people know who the riders are on the Malibu ride and the Nevada ride, and they witnessed the behavior..they would show a lot of character by actually talking to the riders in question.  Those riders are a potential threat to safety of other horses and riders in the future, and  for the  ride community possibly losing trail priviledges.    I also wish the vet's had had more teeth.  I don't know why vets don't hold riders for longer times?  I was at an endurance ride where I heard a vet tell a rider, "your horse is thumping, better ride it easier".  I don't understand why horses like that aren't pulled, or held for a longer time. I haven't ridden enough endurance to know the rules for that.  I do know they are very strict at Tevis though , having been pulled there myself , for a minor injury to my horse.    But anyway, I would say that I don't know if it serves a lot of purpose talking about people who may not even know anyone is talking about them, who knows if they are on ridecamp at all. They need to be confronted by actual witnesses, and even better if it was done at the time. 
    Yours in flames,   Beth Glover

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