I got this bulletin from a trainer friend who is well-known and practiced in the central Texas area. He's kind of awesome. I'll keep him anonymous, but he did have a very good point when several people attacked professional trainers in general, although this specific comment as you can tell was aimed against Parra's potential practices:
"I see it different. I am glad I have the luxury to be able to choose who I work with and only have clients that care foremost on the well being of their horses. The pressure from some horse owners to make a diamond out of a rock is pretty common and some trainers give in to that pressure instead of being honest and say the truth. Not every horse is Olympic material. I could not work in an environment where winning is above the welfare of the horse and its well being."I agree with his position on the pressure of the business, especially at such a high level as Parra was at. I also agree with what he (and so many trainers) has told me many times: there is never an excuse for abuse, no matter what the level or stakes.
Now, read the actual article here: http://www.ratemyhorsepro.com/news/cesar-parra-upgraded-abuse-charges-possible.aspx
My personal feelings? I had always thought Parra was amazing. This is appalling. While I'm sure it could have been a horrible accident, something about it angered enough people off that it has been taken to Superior Court (but then again, all it took was one angry woman to sue McDonald's for hot coffee... honestly, I don't care if there was no warning and it was in fact too hot, I would never put a thing of hot coffee in my lap and I always wait for it cool. Common sense rules!)
As for the still shots in the article, either that horse was put in a hyperflexion position, or they just caught a moment of bit evasion. The former would be a bit bothersome too, because I have never seen him use those methods before the few times I have watched him teach or school. What also bothered me was that he tried it again against vet orders. I should like to hear his side of the story, maybe some staff members or the vet who treated the horse. Of course the owner is going to be mad, so taking it all from her keeps it very one-sided. If it really was "torture" on his part, then I am absolutely ashamed for him and, once again, embarrassed for the sport of not only dressage but of equestrian sports in general.
What do you think?