Logo by Cynthia Johnson
Choosing A Trainer"Basic"
Horse Abused at Big Name Trainer's Barn
Sometimes, the very best may not be what they appear to be
Submitted by Lil Peck, 1/2/2009
UPDATE APRIL 22, 2009
The Executive Committee of the American Quarter Horse Association has revoked Cleve Wells' membership for 1 year and fined him $10,000. For the details, please see the GoHorseShow link grouped with the other links after this article.
UPDATE MARCH 31, 2009
Equine Affaire and Western Horse Expo had each scheduled Cleve Wells as a clinician, but have since removed him from their schedules. I see that Monty Roberts is scheduled to appear at Equine Affaire...he is an alleged liar (see www.horsewhispersandlies.com, and also see the Feb. 1999 Horse & Rider expose of Monty Roberts), and I can't stand his smarmy voice. [Both events have so-called "animal communicator" Lydia Hilby scheduled...(me rolling eyes and sighing). People, if you find the services of a so-called "animal communicator" to be helpful, well, goodie for you. But, they ARE NOT PSYCHIC. There is nothing paranormal about what they do.]
UPDATE FEB. 26, 2009
The following quotes are from a statement that was on Cleve Wells' website as of Feb. 20, 2009:
"I want to be clear that I do not tolerate the abuse of any animal."
"I am proud to say that after 35 years of training hundreds of horses, not a single person who has put a horse in my barn has come forward with anything other than a compliment. I want to thank my clients and note that I have not lost a single client as a result of these allegations."
"And, I want everyone to know that they are welcome as always to come ride, come watch, or just come by and visit. Please call me any time that you think I may be able to assist you."
The statement was removed from the website soon thereafter. Because of copyright considerations, I am unable to post more than those snippets. In the links section below, there is a link to Jodie Ann Strait's blog, where She offers an analysis of the statement.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 18 2009 11:19 PM
The Professional Horseman's Committee has recommended to the Executive Committee that Cleve Well's membership be revoked.
Here's Rule 479 of the AQHA Rule Book:
"PROFESSIONAL HORSEMEN. Membership in the AQHA
Professional Horsemen is a privilege, not a right, application for
which shall be made by procedures prescribed by AQHA. A member
of the AQHA Professional Horseman must, at all times, act in a professional
manner and adhere to the Professional Horsemen Code of
Ethics. An individual’s conduct as a member of the AQHA Professional
Horsemen is subject to continual review by the Professional
Horsemen’s Council and/or the Executive Committee. Membership
in the Professional Horsemen may be terminated by the Professional
Horsemen’s Council and/or the Executive Committee with or
without notice and formal hearing."
The PHC's Code of Ethics (which may be seen at http://www.aqha.com/forms/pdf/prohorsemenapplication_090904.pdf) reads:
"AQHA PROFESSIONAL HORSEMEN CODE OF ETHICS
We, the members of American Quarter Horse Association of Professional Horsemen, in carrying out our role of
providing service to the American Quarter Horse industry, recognize the need to do so in a professional manner, and to deal
with the public and our colleagues with the highest degree of integrity. Therefore, we have set forth the following creed
which shall govern our endeavors to fulfill our obligations:
•To adhere to the professional standards of the American Quarter Horse Association and to work to further its goals and objectives.
•To ensure that the welfare of the American Quarter Horse is paramount and that every American Quarter Horse shall at all times be treated humanely and with dignity, respect and compassion.
•To conduct all business affairs with integrity, sincerity and accuracy in an open and forthright manner.
•To act with integrity in financial dealings with clients, other professionals and the public. In this regard, any horse shown by my spouse, client or child will be economically owned as prescribed by applicable rules.
•To handle our business and operations in a manner which promotes the image of the American Quarter Horse industry.
•To instill confidence among clients and the public in the American Quarter Horse industry, avoiding any action conducive to discrediting it or membership in the American Quarter Horse Association."
The original article appears below.
The owner of this horse, her father, and a trainer friend went to visit her horse, unannounced, at Big Name Trainer's barn. Big Name Trainer was away at a horse show at the time. The owner found her horse with swollen legs, swollen lacerated muzzle, broken jaw, and spur scars on his sides. The wound on one side was dripping a nasty pus.
There was water and feed in the horse's stall, but the horse was tied so that he could not reach it.
The owner's veterinarian removed a couple of bone shards from the horse's jaw.
I haved posted photos that I received from the owner, including scans of a letter written by her trainer friend.
I do not know what the Big Name Trainer's role in any of this was, and he is welcome to post his point of view here.
The owner contacted the AQHA Professional Horsemen Association, but as of this date, has not yet gotten a response from them regarding this matter.*
Edited by Lil Peck January 6, 2009 to attach the following files to this article:
Statement by Karen Adler DVM
Statement by Larry J McConnell DVM
Statement by co-owner of Slow Lopin Scoth, Nicole Marr
Picture of Slow Lopin Scotch at Cleve Well's in April 2008
If you would like to contact Nicole, you may email me at LilPeck@gmail.com and I will forward your message to her.
Edited by Lil Peck January 10, 2009 to add more information.
(Edited again to change County Attorney to District Attorney.)
I heard from Detective Shaw of the Johnson Co TX Sherriff's Dept that there is a case concerning the trainer, that was prepared and is pending before the District Attorney.
Detective Shaw was not at liberty to give details, so we do not know if this case is the same matter as Nicole and Wayne's horse.
Because District Attorneys elsewhere sometimes think that animal abuse cases aren't worth their time, I think perhaps it would be a good idea for folks to contact the DA to let him know that nationwide, we are watching and are very interested.
I received an email Jan. 9 from Kelly Proffitt on behalf of the AQHA Professional Horsemen's Association. The content of that email:
There is an active investigation regarding Nicole's allegations. AQHA
investigates all reports received. If nobody is willing to write in and
notify us, our hands are tied. With this case, the owners wrote in and
as I mentioned, we are investigating it now.
Ms Proffitt's email address is KProffitt@aqha.org
Here is the contact information of the District Attorney. I spoke with a receptionist at his office, and she says letters are welcome. I believe that letters would be more effective than telephone calls.
Honorable Dale Hanna
Phone (817) 556-6802
Fax (817) 556-6816
Guinn Justice Center
204 S. Buffalo Ave Room: 209
Cleburne, Texas 76033
UPDATE JANUARY 22, 2009
I telephone the DA's office this morning and asked his receptionist if a decision has been made whether to prosecute. She said that no, a decision has not yet been made.
If you haven't yet written to, faxed, or phoned the DA's office, please do so, to let him know that you are interested in his decision regarding this matter.
I received an email from Connie Hill, President Elect of the NSBA (National Snaffle Bit Association). She said that the NSBA is also conducting an investigation.
To sum up:
1. Criminal case pending the Johnson County Texas District Attorney's decision.
2. It appears that a civil case may be filed.
3. The AQHA's Professional Horsemen group is investigating (sometimes seen as asking the fox to guard the henhouse, but there are true professionals in the group also).
4. The NSBA is conducting an investigation.
It is important that we don't let this get swept under the rug or forgotten. Let those various agencies know your opinion.
Update January 25, 2009
Found here: http://community.equisearch.com/forums/t/44036.aspx
In response to a reader query, Julie Thorson posted:
Thank you for your concern about the article announced in our February issue.
Please be advised that the article announced in the February issue (which went to press before Christmas) is not being published.
Horse&Rider has suspended its involvement with Mr. Wells as a member of Team Horse&Rider.
--The editors of H&R
Update February 3, 2009
I telephoned the office of the District Attorney again today and spoke with the attorney who was handling the Cleve Wells case. I am typing my report from memory, so please take into account that it is only as complete, correct, and accurate as I can make it.
The attorney said that the office has done a "discretionary rejection" of the case. She said it wasn't that they didn't think that something bad had happened (Please note that such a comment doesn't necessarily imply that Mr. Wells had anything to do with it.), but that most of the information they received was about events that happened outside their jurisdiction. She said they had been in contact with the AQHA. She said, "If anyone has any information about a crime in Johnson County, the District Attorney's office would be very interested." She commented that the office has received a large amount of correspondence from the public about the case.
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