AQHA sent out this Facebook post on May 28 at 7 p.m. of a really gorgeous photo. A gleaming bay horse, his mane and forelock falling dramatically before him. Really quite beautiful. Except….. the very thing that has been called abuse in such disciplines as Dressage is being promoted here by the organization that oversees the quarter horse breed.
This horse is pushed to the ultimate in flexion, his chin pushed against his chest. His mouth is open and he has nowhere left to go. The bit appears to be severe with long shanks. And while it is a dramatic photo, AQHA’s promotion of it as part of its #AQHAproud campaign also promotes intimidation as a training technique, which is the very thing they should be protecting the breed from.
In this era when the general public has their eyes on the horse industry, the associations that run our horse shows, make our standards, and promote our breeds should be watchful of also promoting good horsemanship practices. Tennessee Walking horse breeders/exhibitors have recently come under much scrutiny for their training techniques. Horse racing is being more carefully watched by the public, partly due to a resent onslaught of undercover videos by PETA. Many believe AQHA could find themselves in the same boat if some training practices are not curtailed. It’s disappointing to see this image, as beautiful as it is artistically, featured on the AQHA’s page.