Monday, April 27, 2009

One down, way too many to go!

Back from the war, LOL...felt a bit like a war, anyway, with a small but mouthy opposition. ;-) I am sitting here worrying about our orphan colt, Drake. If anybody is still on site and wants to post a Drake report, please do so.

So, the good news that has already been posted is that the AQHA took Cleve Wells' abuse of Slow Lopin Scotch seriously and smacked him with a one year suspension and a $10,000 fine. GO AQHA! However, as always, we cannot rest on our laurels. There is still all too much abusive training out there and I've got a story for you today that is one of the most upsetting I have ever heard. To make things worse, it's local and I may have to walk by this man at a horseshow without performing any violence to him. Damn laws...Before I even begin, I want to say that I have talked to numerous individuals who witnessed his actions and I am 100% sure this took place, so if anybody wants to sue me, go for it. I know I have the facts and numerous people ready and willing to testify.

His name is Randy Byers. Here is his web site. As you can see, he promotes himself as using John Lyons' methods. This is why a friend of mine took a horse to him last fall for some fine tuning. At their initial meeting, Randy rode the horse in a plain snaffle and used Lyons' techniques. While my friend did not care for the arrogance he displayed toward her, she believed he was a competent trainer and sent her horse there.

Two weeks later, she was smart enough to drop by for an unannounced visit - at which she found her horse in a twisted wire snaffle and running martingale, totally traumatized, dripping in sweat, and with a bloody mouth. Oh, and now he reared. My friend, being no wimp, ripped ol' Randy a new one and picked up her horse the next day. She then had to send him to Jon Ensign to fix all the Randy damage. Jon did a great job. Meanwhile, Randy sent e-mail nastygrams to my friend and basically accused her of being a stupid female who knew nothing about training. Anyway, catastrophe narrowly averted - her horse survived.

A little Arabian mare did not. She is buried on the property where she lived with her very young owner, who I am pretty sure is too young to be reading this blog or I would be hesitant to post it. And there is a vet - not a good one - who said she died of a stroke.

Here's the truth:

A family bought an older Arabian mare - in her 20s - for their young daughter. The mare hadn't been ridden in several years and needed some tuning up so they took her to Randy. Unlike my friend, they did not check on her, and her nightmare began.

"I always knew when Randy was riding," one source told me, "because all we could hear was the sound of the whip from the barn." It didn't matter which horse Randy rode - he was nothing if not consistent. Everything got ridden into a white sweat, beaten and spurred. Everything. When Randy was riding, horses who weren't even in training with him would stand in their stalls and tremble with fear. If an owner came to watch, they were told ridiculous statements like "you need a curb bit to neck rein" and told that this kind of training was normal. Randy, like many NH snake oil salesmen, preyed on beginner horsepeople who did not know right from wrong. His macho, aggressive personality scared other boarders into silence. He went on trail rides with a local horseman's group where witnesses saw him ride horses until they collapsed and "race" other riders on exhausted horses but no one ever said a word because he scared them. "I am scared to talk against him," one witness told me. "He seems like the kind of guy you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley."

On January 19, 2009, Randy finally took his horse-beating style a little too far. He rode the little Arabian mare for several hours, until she fell to her knees. After she collapsed, he got off and kicked her, yelled at her, and whipped her. She somehow got into the aisleway at the barn where she died. Whip welts and a bloody girth gall were apparent on the body. A vet called Dr. Dugan was called, who pronounced her dead from a stroke. Her body was loaded into the bed of a pickup and taken back to her owners' farm for burial. The incident was reported to the Thurston County Sheriff, who investigated, but with the body gone and the vet report, nothing could be done.

Well, Randy, you think you're so slick, don't you? But people talk - and some clueless livestock vet being in your pocket doesn't save you from everything. I decided to do a little research with a REAL vet (an expert in pathology) about what it would take to accurately diagnose a stroke. I am told there is no way at all to verify a stroke without examining the brain in a necropsy. That mare went to her grave whole. Now, I'm not saying she didn't have a stroke after the hours of being worked and beaten but it cannot be proven as the cause of death. A heart attack is just as likely as is a head injury from flipping over or striking her head when she fell. But hey, we had to get that body into the ground in a hurry before anybody took a picture of all the whip welts and girth galls, didn't we? Priorities!

I mentioned Randy on my blog in January. He e-mailed me the following response "Move me up to #2 please...
I love that picture of me on the half linger, we look good together. He is one of the sweetest horses I have worked with. Could you please move me up under Cleve's #1. I think that I deserve the #2 spot instead of #6. If I give you some reall good dirt on me can I be move to #1? Randy"

Yes, Randy! YOU WIN! You are NUMBER ONE! Cleve at least didn't KILL the horse.

Again, this is RANDY BYERS who is currently holding clinics at the Triple H Arena in Chehalis, Washington and the Hart Ranch and Arena in Yakima, WA. He has something going on at the Ride the West event in Spokane, WA. He is currently training out of Carbon Stables, 15340 133rd Ave SE, Yelm, WA 98597 (this is the fourth facility in about a year or so...he got kicked out of the facility he beat the mare to death at and he got kicked out the facility before that, too)

Randy's website says (illiterate moron) "Some people succeed because they are destined too" Randy, you're not gonna succeed with that poor little mare's blood on your hands. Not if I have anything to say about it. You disgusting, pathetic loser.

Please, DO feel free to x-post everywhere. Don't let that poor little mare's death be in vain.

And if you have a horse in training, GO AND CHECK ON HIM! Do NOT leave your horse with a trainer who tells you WHEN you can come to the barn (within reason, normal barn hours are to be respected). Use your head and don't let this happen to you or your horse.