About Me

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Rachel Kosmal McCart is a lifelong horsewoman and the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, PC, an equine law firm based in the Portland, Oregon area. Rachel is a member of the New York, California, Oregon and Washington State bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Rachel currently competes in three-day eventing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Show Horse Abuse: One Insider's Perspective

I was inspired to write this post when someone (anonymous, of course) on the Chronicle of the Horse forum posted this to me:

 "Gee Rachael: How do you think all your AQHA clients would feel if they read this post? The horse is very small, you of all people should know this. I get it that it's not for everyone, but feel that this is very hypocritical for you of all people to post. Just remember that there is abuse everywhere in the horse world, not just AQHA or USEF or eventing or ASBs or Walkers or whatever else."

This is very typical of the feedback I get whenever I post anything critical about show horse abuse. There's the personal attack (in this case, ironically, misspelling my name). There's the threat I'll lose clients. There's the defense "there is abuse everywhere." There's the suggestion outsiders don't understand.

As far as being "hypocritical," I've always been outspoken about what I didn't like in the breed show rings, and I've refused to participate in trends I thought were stupid and abusive, like injecting horses' tails with grain alcohol. Did it negatively affect my show ring results? I have no doubt. Have I lost clients and even friends? For certain. Do I wish I'd been even more outspoken? You bet I do.

I know my publicity of show horse abuse makes people uncomfortable. In fact, I want it to make people uncomfortable. Perhaps, uncomfortable enough to speak up the next time they see something they can no longer stand.  Change happens one person at a time...

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