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Once per month, this blog will share my insights on the facinating world of the horse business.
Although I will not be taking comments on this blog, your feedback is welcome - email link

Past Cases of the Month are available at this link

The current Case of the Month is available at this link


January 2020
The solution to years of sexual misfortune is being addressed head on by an organization called Safe Sport.

This group was established by Congress with Senator Diane Feinstein at the helm. The direction being taken has been a very direct assault on men mostly and a “Take no prisoners approach,” which has alienated the majority of the equine world, especially the Hunter and Jumper industry.

My legal consulting and horse appraisal business has had the pleasure of appraising well over 30 separate specific equine breeds. My specific interest was in the hunter and jumper world, which focused on the very close relationship between the student and trainer. Such relationship between rider and trainer/coach is now looked at as perhaps a much too close relationship which, Safe Sport would eliminate.

The complaints from the riders and trainers have been huge since the hunter/jumper folks feel they’ve been discriminated against….. and perhaps they have.

The evil that was directed from the likes of Dr. Larry Nasser, MD, for the gymnastics folks is what started the whole thing. The world of gymnastics was shown to not at all be understanding or helpful, and as a result, hundreds of young people were hurt in a very significant way, showing how not paying attention to the cries for help from youngsters, must not ever be allowed to happen again.

The upshot of course is that all the Olympic sports have become the targets of the mob’s vitriol. (You saw what can happen as was demonstrated during the recent Kavanaugh Supreme Court Hearings, from a totally bogus accusation from a troubled woman, and had there been even the smallest shred of admissible evidence………., but of course, there was none).

Now, when looked at with as much of an un-biased eye as is possible, (Really very nearly impossible since you have young children, possible sexual activities coupled with Olympic sports). Just exactly how does this mess get solved?

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, there will at least be SOMETHING that will make sense, we can only hope and pray.


February 2020
The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, one of the city of Scottsdale’s biggest events, is in its 65th year. Show activities begin February 13th and go through February 23rd, 2020.

The focal point of the show highlights the myriad of abilities the Arabian horse can do. From the elegance of dressage, where the horse performs “High School” maneuvers, to open jumping, working Hunters over fences, which shows the Arabian horse smoothly negotiating jumps over a specified course, the Arabian horse seemingly can “do it all.”

One of the crowed favorite classes is the “Freestyle Liberty” class where each entry is turned loose into the show ring for two minutes. The focus of the class is for each entry to perform at the open trot and canter, hopefully showing off their fantastic movement. At the end of the two minutes, the handlers come into the ring and have an additional two minutes to retrieve the horse.

Each horse is scored on 5 separate items: 1. Arabian Type, 2. Animation & Charisma, 3. Movement, 4. Use of the Arena, 5. Crowd Participation. The judges score each of the 5 categories 1 to 10 points each, for a possible total of 50 points.

The Arabian Freestyle Liberty Class is not usually seen at the smaller Arabian shows, but especially when the evening crowds get into the events, these classes are quite exciting.


March 2020
Because of the crazy world we live in, I’m taking time to give my view of the world and the items which have changed our perception of ethics and its effect on “the kids.” Naturally, it’s our kids and their love of ponies and horses which get us into the horse scene to begin with.

Trusting that most of my readers haven’t been under a rock for the past 9 (nine) months, the “ME TOO” movement took the horse world, Hollywood and big-time TV Network elites, by surprise.

Kathy, my wonderful wife of many years and I, began riding, showing and doing literally anything which kept us near to horses. And while we could never understand just why and how a sex-related situation could develop, the advent of “SAFE SPORT” found several of the individuals.

In the next issues of the “NAES CASES OF THE MONTH,” I’ll be addressing as directly as possible, what’s happening in the horse world, while being sensitive so as not to upset the kids.

For starters, the banning of equitation guru George Morris came as a huge shock to the hunter/jumper world following SAFE SPORT’s exhaustive investigation.

Next, the Endurance Ride Conference, after 16 new rules were passed by the USEF’s Board of Directors, was no longer a USEF affiliate. The consistent level of injuries to “endurance” horses required more welfare related rules be addressed by USEF’s Board.
And finally, the American Driving Society pulled away from USEF’s affiliate status. I’ll have more information on the Driving Society’s actions probably next month.

With the horse world melting down, it was apparent, the people most affected had to be protected, namely our horse-crazy kids.

Of course, “the kids” make the most sense because they must be protected from the really bad people, (mostly pedophile men). Then, when you think about it, all of us other men in the horse world, are big-time upset since some of us actually knew of certain pedophile men but didn’t know what to do and hadn’t the courage to even bring it up.


April 2020
Well, as you all know by now, the world, and especially the horse world’s been turned right on its head because our government has asked all Americans to stay home and avoid the Wuhan Flu/COVID-19. But there is some good news since horses are considered a big part of the agricultural community.

So be of good cheer, go on out and get your horse out but just stay 25 feet away from anyone else also out at the barn. That also means that are lessons are OK as well.

And while horse shows are all cancelled for now, you’ll be in great shape for the next event. Just stay away from everybody else, (Simple to do…. Right?).

Now for the very important stuff, praying to “THE BIG GUY,” may help us all get to the shows that much faster, so follow the advice below…..

All of the residents of this great nation, MUST pray as hard as you can, which by the way, has been lacking for years, because our world must get it’s “stuff” together. And, that gives us all something to do.

There, that’s better. I knew there was a smile in there!


May 2020
A very large problem confronting all of us who own a stable or care for horses is the tragedy of the person who has lost their job. The result of the COVID –19 virus is that many horse people, a usually kind and understanding bunch, are forced to “NOT PAY” the overdue board bill.

As the stable/ranch owner, all the overdue invoices (boarding, training, etc.,) must be paid or your business is headed for bankruptcy. You must contact your stable/ranch attorney and plan to file a lien. Generally, these liens are titled “Feed Lien,” or “Agister’s Lien.”

Unfortunately, when going to the County Clerk’s office, be prepared to receive a blank stare after you’ve mentioned the names of the liens you’re requesting. You must be fully aware of the specific lien requirements which you will need if you decide to handle the situation legally.

Of course, the best actions on your part; you must be so very kind and polite to your boarder because each customer feels bad enough about the situation. Being rude will not be the way to encourage them to pay the boarding invoice.

To help in finding each of the 50 states’ feed or Agister’s Liens, NAES has provided a list and text of each of the 50 state’s statutes. Because NAES does not represent any legal opinions whatsoever, you must verify each statute with your own legal counsel.


June 2020 #10 of the NAES Top 10, From: November 2006
The Case of the Month involved an eleven year old horse who had won a series very prestigious horse show divisions and was donated to a New England school.

The taxpayer claimed $125,000.00 as a deduction which in this case was completely reasonable for this very good and sound horse. The IRS questioned the valuation since their part-time Appaloosa appraiser had seen no horse advertised in the current Boston Globe for more than $6000.00.

The lesson is that for the most part, high priced horses are rarely offered for sale in classified newspaper sections. I carefully explained to the IRS agent that using questionable results from an un-certified appraiser would never stand up at trial. The IRS dropped the charge and the taxpayer was happy.

Always maintain the most recent picture, videos, show and vet records to prove your donation horse is all you claim it to be.


July 2020 #9 of the NAES Top 10, From: October 2005
Whether a highway is designated “Open Range” or not can make a big difference to some poor soul who runs into 1,000 pound cow on the road, late at night. 

Our client found out the hard way when he got a bill for the cost of the cow including removal from the scene, etc….The reason, the area, surrounded by new subdivisions, had never changed its designation from “Open Range.” 

Simply stated, “Open Range” means the livestock has the right of way. While not all that common in Eastern States, the west has lots of these areas still around. Texas is especially onerous since it takes a vote of the county, (no matter when), to remove the “Open Range” designation for each of the 254 counties. In this case the last recorded vote for “Open Range” was in 1928! stand up at trial. The IRS dropped the charge and the taxpayer was happy.

Always maintain the most recent picture, videos, show and vet records to prove your donation horse is all you claim it to be.


August 2020 #8 of the NAES Top 10, From: June 2012
This month’s case involved a young professional who was confronted with an ethical dilemma early on in his career.

The pro had worked so very hard to establish himself as a very good trainer and one that an amateur horse enthusiast could whole heartedly trust. In this case, one of the pro’s clients wanted to buy a very competitive open jumper…and, in addition said, “Price was no object.”

The pro went to a number of other trainers and examined and rode many horses finally deciding on one. The price of the chosen example was put at $250.000.00. (The actual cost of the horse was $150,000.00 but the selling trainer/agent told our young pro that “They could just split the $100,000.00 since the jumper was easily worth the $250,000.00”).

Our young pro naturally had a bad feeling about the sale but before he did anything further he went to his father, a retired trainer, too.

The trainer’s dad told his son that honesty was the best and only way to keep his client for many more years.

The young pro sat his client down and explained just what had been offered to him and that he could not, in good conscience, “fleece” his customer. The client understood and backed up his trainer by purchasing another great jumper, paying his trainer a substantial 15% commission, too.

This case actually happened to a very well-known horseman who still has the client as a friend and good customer for over thirty years.


September 2020 #7 of the NAES Top 10, From: March 2018

A polo match was being held at a very prominent club in Florida. At the same time, an antique car show was being held on an adjacent field. The very successful polo club had several regulation fields, and with the size of approximately 200 yards by 160 yards, there was more than enough room to hold both the polo match plus the car show.

Unfortunately, the two activities were divided by a yellow crime scene tape stretched between several wooden saw horses. The problem of course, was that the two activities were vastly different in that the polo match involved horses going at high speed and the car show was a static display of automobiles.

During the polo match a player’s horse broke loose and crashed into a gentleman looking at the portholes of a classic Buick; he was severely injured.

The case wound up going to trial with the result that the defendants’ expert testified that the crime scene tape was adequate separation between the two activities. Unfortunately, the same expert had testified that in a similar case in Michigan she had testified that it was quite necessary to have a very strong and secure division between such disparate activities. The defense expert was shown to only testify for the obvious benefit of the polo club and therefore lost the case.

The lesson is to always be sure your expert has not testified opposite to your case previously.


October 2020 #6 of the NAES Top 10, From: August 2015

Several years ago NAES was asked to provide an appraisal on an amateur jumper horse who was injured in a fall at a large Connecticut horse show.

The horse’s owner claimed the career ending fall meant the horse would never show in the open jumper or related divisions again. He also claimed the horse had been worth well over the insurance policy’s $250,000.00 even though the 11 year old horse had been secretly purchased two months prior for $15,000.00.

My client insurance company authorized my trip back East to get the “low-down” on the horse and the claimant, since they would have to pay off on the “Loss of Use” policy. (By the way, the Loss of Use policy is not marketed and sold by most insurance companies because of the many problems in settling the “payoff” should an accident occur).

As my investigation found out, there was no way the horse could ever have been worth anything more than $10,000.00. It turned out the insurance policy’s owner had provided fraudulent horse show results and had sought and received a positive insurance exam from a very cooperative veterinarian.

Needless to say the insurance company’s offer of $10,000.00 was quickly accepted by the horse’s owner when confronted with the huge amount of questionable evidence. They obviously did not wish to go to a trial where the fraudulent schemes could be highlighted.

The lesson is obvious: Always make sure you are absolutely honest in making sworn statements to your insurance carrier.


November 2020 #5, From of the NAES Top 10, December, 2008

Case of the Month focuses on the action of a trainer who allegedly advised his junior student NOT to wear a helmet in a reining equitation class saying the judge would “mark her down.”

NAES was asked to review the case and determine if the trainer had any reason to believe judges would penalize a rider for wearing protective gear.

Based on personal experience as a licensed judge I knew judges did not discriminate at all regarding safety issues. In addition, written USEF rules dictate that a judge is not allowed to discriminate against a rider who chooses to wear protective headgear even in a class not requiring such headgear.

Safety is always of paramount importance and in this case the trainer was only trying to weasel out of his responsibility to look out for his junior student’s welfare. The trainer was simply throwing up a “smoke screen” hoping to avoid any responsibility; in the end he lost.


December 2020 #4, From January, 2019

Barn and stable maintenance is so important in keeping “safety” as the most important item in your checklist of “Very Important Things” to remember at your horse facility.

It is so stupid when any horse becomes injured because a pitchfork was left outside its storage place, wherever that is. Even if the horse involved is not your potential champion green working horse but an old wonderful school horse who has single handedly paid for the new indoor ring…….. you never are “OK” with any horse becoming hurt because of a stupid neglectful human error. After all, we are horse lovers.

The case I had many years ago, involved a high end show stable which was usually immaculate. The problem was a simple tack cleaning hook attached to the barn ceiling and positioned not close to the wall and door opening into the beautiful tack room, but somewhat in to the barn aisle; obviously a dangerous place to have any metal object with the potential to injure a horse or human, for that matter.

The sad part is that all the horse owners and the stable owners/managers had seen the tack cleaning hook for many years; in other words the exposure to the potential cause of accidents was in very clear view to all for years.

NOW THE ACCIDENT: Several horse owners and guests with their very fancy show horses were at the barn in order to take lessons from the resident trainer, a well-known young man from Canada who had a fabulous record showing both hunters and jumpers. In other words, a well-qualified person to teach these wealthy horse owners.

Now, as the Canadian has taught all morning long, a lunch break is called and, after lunch, the students go back into the ring, but approximately half way through the afternoon session, one of the woman students complains about a migraine headache and leaves the arena. She momentarily leaves her horse untied as she darts into the tack room and then is startled by her horse rearing up into the air and crashes to the barn aisle in front of the tack room.

Obviously, the horse had caught his left nostril on the tack cleaning hook, got scarred, reared and set back, then collapsed on the dirt floor. The “tack cleaning hook” is actually made up of three hooks, welded together then chromed.

The prominent blood flow from the wound was stopped by putting many towels over the horse’s nose. By the time the veterinarian and his vet tech showed up, all they had to do was “start stitching.” The horse ended up receiving over 60 stitches.

Obviously, a lawsuit was filed against the stable owner. I had been retained by the plaintiff to testify as to the damage which could have been anticipated by having a metal cleaning hook in close proximity to a horse area. In addition, the damage to the horse was severe and included two severed nerves which paralyzed the right side of the horse’s face, and looked to be permanent from the testimony of the veterinarians. A case such as this is very difficult since I have known many horse people for many years. I received my judging licenses in 1969 and as so many of the cases I handle are related to hunters and jumpers I backed off from accepting many judging jobs.

In this instance, I knew the barn owner and several of the women quite well, so I felt bad that I was being called upon to testify against an old friend, but my ethical background is very strong and I will not under any circumstances become affected by such a case.

The safety lesson, which cost the insurance company a boatload of money, should not have cost anything. The smart, wise thing to do, for the barn owner, was to have assigned the job of safety “checker” to the barn manager or perhaps the senior groom, or the individual you feel to be the most responsible. Then, of course, as the stable owner, you must always check……. It’s always up to you, the boss, to always follow up so you can ALWAYS TRUST YOUR FACILITY. It really is so very simple.


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