Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Big Names Behaving Badly...

There's been a lot of this stuff in my in-box lately!

You may have already heard about the Cleve Wells scandal. A client of Cleve's showed up unexpectedly to see their horse - and they were shocked at what they found.

"The owner of this horse, her father, and a trainer friend went to visit her horse, unannounced, at Big Name Trainer's barn. Big Name Trainer was away at a horse show at the time. The owner found her horse with swollen legs, swollen lacerated muzzle, broken jaw, and spur scars on his sides. The wound on one side was dripping a nasty pus.There was water and feed in the horse's stall, but the horse was tied so that he could not reach it.

The owner's veterinarian removed a couple of bone shards from the horse's jaw."

FHOTD back in: Well, I can't say this is the first time I've heard a hint or two that Cleve is an asshole. He's been on my list of people I'd sure as hell never leave any horse of mine with for a long time. But it's a little different to see the photographic proof. Of course now lots of people are coming forward with abuse stories, emboldened by this one person who (a) documented it properly and is (b) suing. GOOD FOR THEM!

Honestly, after seeing this, if anybody leaves a horse with Cleve, they need their head examined. I guess we can look at his web site in two months' time and make ourselves a list of people we KNOW are "winning IS everything" asshats who don't care how much their horses suffer. That way we will all know who they are! Right now it looks like his clients include Mike and Sandy Vargo, Bill Cosentino, Ken Banks, Chip and Jeannie Crane, Lindsey Pearce, Jeff and Linda Sargent and Ed and Kathy Thompson. You guys have your horses home yet? If not, why not?

What makes me the most angry is that none of this is necessary. There are plenty of horses winning in Western Pleasure who haven't been tortured. If this is the result of training shortcuts - really, what horse winds up trained from this kind of abuse? Or is this merely the result of a nasty, evil man having a temper tantrum? $10 says he blames it on some assistant trainer and fires them in a big display of public outrage. I guess we shall see!

Bottom line, I'd like to see AQHA grow a pair and ban this guy from the show ring forever. Here's the perfect opportunity to make a point. No, it won't stop abuse - like guys who hit women, trainers will figure out things to do that don't leave obvious marks - but it would help. It would make a statement - a much needed one.

I understand Cleve is willing to explain this. OK, Cleve. I don't delete comments. Please explain this.