I am over all the horse abuse BS that is rampant in the horse world, but especially in the HJ world. I have contacted USEF and been blown off. I am over it. It is time that someone does a big expose on all this abuse.
Many, many horses are shown quite lame and judges, officials, trainers, other participants turn a blind eye. Especially in the lower-level jumper and hunter classes, a large percentage of the horses are obviously lame or neurologic, and I almost never see them whistled out. In fact, if you have a half decent eye, you will see lame horses pin in flat classes and even in big medal finals etc. The excuses that the horse may be rein lame, or just stiff, or have a mechanical issue are basically bull. Most of them are obviously in pain, and signs such as pinned ears, ringing tails, an obvious head bop are there. As far as I am concerned, “serviceably sound” in the HJ world means the horse will still do the job and does not take into consideration whether or not the horse should even be asked to do this job. “A horse ready to move down” usually means it is too lame to do what we want now but let’s see if we can pawn him off on someone who doesn’t want to jump as high. People who could very easily afford to retire their lame horses, pass them down the line instead. Those who don’t are the exception, not the rule. People show horses in multiple over fence classes that are lame enough I would not ride them period. It happens al the time. This needs to stop.
Drugging horses is “standard industry practice”. This has been the case for as long as I can remember in the hunter world, but it is only getting worse. Horses now practically live on dexamethasone to sedate them. This drug really lowers their immune system. I honestly believe that the outbreaks of EHV and Stomatitis and whatever else are partly due to the fact that these drugged horses have crap immune systems. How USEF turns a blind eye to this is ridiculous.
One of the reasons the horses are drugged so much, besides the fact that judges reward horses that act like Stepford Wives, is because it is all about the show, show, show and money, money, money. Horsemanship is a dying art. Good riding is reserved for the very few, and the average competitor cannot ride a horse that is not lunged to death, drugged, or ridden most of the time by a pro (or all three). Many people treat the horses like vehicles. Many kids have a string of horses and a true connection to none. Horses are just a status symbol, a vehicle, or something to do.
You all remember the outcry about the Pentathlon? Imagine what the public would think about all the very privileged people parading around on lame drugged horses?