The horse show scene often is one of pageantry, color, and excitement. There are handsome horses groomed until they shine, riders dressed in colorful or formal garments who ride with skill and aplomb, and judges who observe every movement and mark their scorecards with placings that can increase a horse’s worth and elevate the rider’s standing in the equine community.
Frequently, the shows are festive occasions, complete with parties, bejeweled women, and tuxedo-clad men combined with much pomp and circumstance. To some, horse shows are a means to improved social standing; to others, they represent a chance to increase the value of their horse. To others, they simply represent a way in which to compete and enjoy a horse.
Fortunately, the latter group–horse owners competing for the fun and thrill of it all–represent the vast majority in the equine world. They are weekend warriors, traveling to shows large and small, often competing only for a ribbon and the pride they take in a job well done.
Normally, although not always, this is the group that adheres to all of the show rules. It simply isn’t worth the possibility of a reprimand or suspension to violate them, even if they were so inclined. Yet, the show world has its dark side. There is a minority out there that will do whatever it takes to win. They bend the rules until they break, and their first consideration is not for the welfare of the horse, but rather for their own ego or, in some cases, pocketbook. This segment of horse owners has no qualms about seeking that extra edge–be it the use of drugs or the abusing of an athlete.
Abuses aimed a