Why are people being mean to Joseph Newcomb?

I watched the video and found it to be a thoughtful discussion about bullying in our sport. Instead of attacking a person, have a discussion about the subject. I am glad you posted it, but I am not interested in finding out who is “being mean to Joseph Newcomb”. It would be more useful to discuss bullying, how to handle it and how to have meaningful discussion of ideas on training, bloodlines, etc.


I also am not interested in who is doing the bullying, but I am interested in the why; however, it sounds like this is typical dressage/horse world catty nonsense rather than something more meaty like an instance of horse mishandling or bad business practice. To your point about having a discussion around bullying itself, I think that it’s a pretty subjective discussion and there have been instances of “bullying” that thought were actually pretty fair attempts to collectively hold bad people accountable, but which were framed as bullying by the supporters of those people. If we’d uncovered a video of Newcomb having a Linda Perelli moment with a horse, this I would be keen to see. But, it does sound like he is just the victim of unfortunate mean-spiritedness that plagues our sport.


Compared to the other sales businesses out there eg Helgstrand where the whole barn is for sale and typically young, their prices are absolutely bargain basement. Just sharing the reality of that type of horse buying and selling. I tried a few from EDI and I felt their prices to be fair relative to what I was seeing in the markets I am accustomed to, which are the Northeast and Wellington. I understand that they do almost all their business via video distance sales now.

I think their video quality is also a LOT better than a lot of people hoping to get similar prices for horses, if sometimes too artsy to see what the horse actually is. But after one more shitty cell phone video from halfway across the farm for a horse that costs 6 figures, I respect the experience they’re trying to create for their buyers.


Yeah, Helgstrand is expensive but you are also paying for something coming out of the barn of an Olympian. As a buyer, I would place a higher value on that the barn of someone who has a social media brand. That being said, I decided that all of the US young horses were overpriced and brought one from a eu broker for approximately half what I would have paid here.

So to clear it up quickly. Someone shared a video of them critiquing the PSI auction horses. With an eye roll emoji. Of course they are entitled to their opinion and their take on how PSI presents their horses. However, comments were made by both of them that showed to a very large audience their how shall I say it, lack of real knowledge regarding breeding/bloodlines. Now as horse buyers and resellers…i.e. not breeders, they spend a great deal time I am sure watching videos. And I am also certain that the people trying to sell them these same horses are giving their “opinion” on different bloodlines. Of course because they want to sell them horses right. So this sort of knowledge passing along should be taken w a grain of salt. And I think it was unwise of them on many levels to attempt to analyze the quality of the PSI horses. Believe you me they were preselected by the best in the business. Are they perfect horses, probably not. But very good to be sure for the most part. I think they both are very nice people. But this can harm their business and certainly was not meant to help PSI either. People shopping PSI are certainly not the same folks who would shop at EDI. They wouldn’t be top of my go to list for advice. The dressage world has many facets. Breeders/pros/auction houses/ammys all are interconnected. If they want to educate themselves regarding breeding and bloodlines they need to spend time w breeders not horse sellers. I really love Joseph’s personality and love his desire to be better. I absolutely do not think they were being bullied. They were being called out and schooled for off the cuff comments that can hurt the reputation of the people that own some of those stallions etc, A couple of the comments were mean and catty. But to say it elevated to the level of bullying is quite the stretch. Ask any bullied child. The lesson here is to respect the breeding community. It is just as important a factor in any horses success as is the training and the owners. So doing a payback video because your feeling were hurt. Really…oh dear


When I say “bargain basement” I mean by a factor of 3-4x less expensive than a starting price from Helgstrand. Olympian or not, the prices are staggering.

Remembering that a lot of pros are actually not that good at choosing young horses, I think they understand what they’re offering to the market. I enjoy his videos and I don’t think the criticism of pricing really has anything to do with it beyond the general feelings of jealousy that I’m sure drive some of the commentary.

Also remember that prior to going into business full time with Jess, he was a rider at Steffen Peters’ place. His girlfriend is (was? not sure) Dawn White O’Connor. I think people have forgotten a little bit where he came from when they moved to their new place and really started marketing the sales business.

My only comment is - he managed to find himself a well heeled partner where he does the riding and she (apparently) bankrolls it. So many young professionals can only dream of such an arrangement.

Plus, his mom is about the sweetest horse show mom there is.


Yabbut, I’m not sure an Olympian makes better young horses that are rideable and maybe ready for an ammy than does Newcomb. I don’t have enough data to compare. But I did see him ride a young’n in person in a hard environment. And I have a friend who recently bought one of his. So far, that horse seems sane, educated and rideable.

I only say this because too few people that I know of (here in the US and in English world) appreciate the value of someone who can put a very good foundation on a young horse such that he can be sold on to someone else and be “orthodox” enough that his next owner doesn’t need to be world class in order to have him be OK and improve.

But I’m someone who has sought out those young horse trainers to start my horses because I appreciate their special skill. I have paid what they asked and not been disappointed with the horses that came back to me able to roll with the punches of being ridden by an amateur.

I don’t have an opinion about the prices that fancy dressage types are asking for young stock. It seems to me that that is the nature of the whole industry. Thanks to a combination of ingredients— the well-regulated breeding of the WB world that lets people buy on the basis of blood lines, the cost of keeping and training horses, the logic of buying a horse to bring up the levels yourself or with your own pro-- the best business-plan really does revolve around young horses.

All that means that Newcomb is doing what economic logic dictates. But if you can buy a well-bred young horse that also comes with a foundation that makes him relatively uncomplicated and “orthodox” to ride, why diss the combination? I think it’s great, but that’s because I have been taught to evaluate and to value the way a horse is started. I am starting to suspect that I’m unusual this way and that most people think that if a rider/seller/trainer is upper level his young horses will be trained for the rest of us to buy as well. I don’t think that’s a good assumption at all. And the more athletic the young sprout of a horse, the more you need him to have an expert foundation for you.


Comparing Newcomb to Helgstrand is laughable to me. Helgstrand Dressage is a mecca of dressage horses and young stock. They have multiple barns with HUNDREDS of horses both under saddle and younger. Andreas is not riding or training even 1% of what ‘he’ (the business) has for sale. He has a team of capable riders to do that but least not be fooled that an Olympian is riding the horse you are looking at to buy from Helgstrand.

EDI has what, maybe 10-12 horses for sale in their California barn? I would agree with mvp1 that he looks like a very capable young horse trainer something that is severely lacking here in the states. They command a price that suits their business, location, horse flesh and take on the risk of importing so buyers don’t have to. If any of you missed the thread on Hunter/Jumper forum of a complete botch of an import and are looking to do so yourself then go search that out first.


Smells like jealously. On this BB we have posters who probably can’t make it through a WT test on their saintly QH critiquing the riding skills of everyone from EDI to Olympians. It’s what people online do. According to this thread their horses are “poorly ridden” by riders who “don’t deserve it” or their designer clothing.


This I agree with. It’s worth more to me that my trainer can make a horse that I can ride, and not just a horse a pro can ride.


At no point was Joe’s ability to ride and train horses really a factor in the alleged bullying . Train rolled off the track a bit. Also he is not starting most of these horses fwiw. Again they can create any business model
they like and will do so. It’s best to allow success to anyone trying in this tough and historically deceitful horse selling business. Caveat emptor to all applies here. Both home and abroad. Jealousy has nothing to do with any of this. If you are naive enough to think that all horse sellers with slick and shiny cutesy videos have your best interest at heart anywhere on the planet you really need to consider another sport .


That’s it in a nutshell. They seem like nice enough people - I hope they learn from this. There are real people behind the horses they made comments about, people who care and would be hurt that these two demeaned their horses to their 24k followers.

As we know from COTH, publicly pointing out flaws in a horse that doesn’t belong to you, especially in a way that could affect someone else’s livelihood, is not ok.


On what planet do COTHers follow that rule?

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Both those things were mentioned in this thread by people who disagree with his program, his being catty about the sales horses in the video was not brought up.

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Just for the record, EDI owns a lot more horses than just what is in California. They have a couple stallions and a few partner riders in Europe with horses doing the young horse classes. They have owned some high sellers at some of the big auctions. They just keep that part of it separate for the most part from the amateur-targeted sales business in San Diego.

Anyway, it’s all moot. I guessed right that their critique of the PSI horses would piss people off. The critique of his riding was leveled in this thread and I think it’s a shame, because I think he’s the kind of horseman the US needs, willing to ride and bring along young horses and be a bit of a horseman with the ground work. They’re filling a part of the market that definitely exists; the horses are well cared for and obviously of quality. There’s a lot worse in the world to bitch about than this.


Thank you and whomever (above) explained what criticism of Newcomb was being discussed and where. And I think that was what the OP was talking about. Sorry to contribute to this thread going off the topic.

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I enjoy his spirit, enthusiasm and training tips. I think he’s a very nice rider and I also like his sisters videos.

A friend Purchased a horse from him and had nothing but praise for him and the handling of her demo rides and the sales transaction.


I don’t know any of the players here.

But best I can make out, BNT #1 posts online criticism of VeryBNT#2’s online sales horses. And then somebody tells BNT #1 he is wrong in his opinions. Then BNT #1 does some Vaguebooking about “being bullied”?

Just to clear this up, these are all adult men?


I find it odd that he chose to address “bullying” after posting a video apparently critical of others’ sale horses.

I have seen a number of his videos from back when Natural Horsemanship meets Dressage was his main message. Mostly liked his stuff. More recently it seems to be more about the workings of EDI and the sale horses.

I see a video of them critiquing auction horses (didnt watch much) Then he complains about “bullying” while completely misusing the term. Sorry but one of my pet peeves is that so many people like to claim that they are bullied is someone is mean to them. He talks about a long-ago incident when a “USEF coach” reportedly called his video “BS” and then vaguely refers to more recent events (I imagine response to his previous video) Personally I find dressage people not better or worse than most other groups in that some people are needlessly mean but most are not. I would expect a “USEF coach” to provide more insight than “BS” but I dont know if more was written.
Then another video on people being “pissed” about the auction video. I can see why horse seller 1 would not like horse seller 2 posting a video critical of his sale horses. Not surprised and others may believe that you shouldn’t reuse sale videos to criticize.

IMO if you strive to be a YouTube personality, you need to expect some fair and some unfair criticism.


Scribbler “But best I can make out, BNT #1 posts online criticism of VeryBNT#2’s online sales horses. And then somebody tells BNT #1 he is wrong in his opinions. Then BNT #1 does some Vaguebooking about “being bullied”?”

Just to clear this up, these are all adult men?"

Not quite.

He and his biz partner were criticizing a Very Big Name Auction House (PSI)'s annual catalog, not any specific trainer. The auction is put together by the Kasselmans and Paul Schockmohle, who are very big name buyers, sellers, standers of stallions, and wheeler dealers in Germany.

The comparison to Helgstrand’s sale horses was made subsequently and only here on COTH, not by Newcomb. Helgstrand is a Danish operation.

The people who complained about Newcomb’s video critiques of the PSI catalog aren’t known. It’s only clear that the complaints did get back to him. His biz partner who participated in the critique is female, and most dressage buyers and sponsors in the US are female, as are many trainers who take clients to the PSI. The trainers & riders of the auction horses are a mix both male & female. So there’s no reason to assume the other players in the back & forth are all grown men.

It would surprise me if it were the Kasslemans or Schockemohle who directly took issue with their collection being criticized. They’re all incredibly rich. They know what “hot” bloodlines, type, and movement they’re looking for from year to year. They market it well, bank a fortune doing it, and really don’t give a rip what importers in California like or don’t like about their catalog.