Snarky commentary on the breeding of a poor quality woman, her silly and abusive teaching techniques and pretty much anything else that annoys me about her! Your UNCENSORED place to vent about this woman being in the horse world!

Fugly Wench of the Day

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This is a philosophical blog about.....oh, screw it!!! This blog is dedicated to calling Cathy, the FHotD writer, out on her bull sh*t!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The healing power of horses

After running across FHotD talking about yet another subject she has no clue about I decided to post a little more about handicapped/therapuetic riding. I'll only post a few sentences from FHotD that caught my eye.

Somehow you actually believe these horses will be well broke enough to pack handicapped children around safely with no training other than free help you can scrounge off of Craigslist?
This is one of the crazier schemes I've read, even on Craigslist. If I were qualified to open a handicapped riding program (by the way, we have names for those "physical therapist"...I'll be surprised if the poster has those credentials),
A) You are not required to be a physical therapist in order to run a legal handicapped riding academy that is certified through NARHA(North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.) NARHA has a trainer/instructor program called CAT you are required to pass in order to give one on one lessons and group lessons. There are several levels from volunteer, advanced, and master. None require a physical therapy background. and B) many NARHA approved horses that are not broke or sound for riding are often used as petting therapy for younger children that are unable to ride or not yet comfortable riding.
Like almost every job you must work your way up the ladder. You can not become a master instructor until you have 4 or more years working at a certified NARHA facility, are a current advanced instructor, have documentation for at least 2 years of your NARHA work, and have taught over 400 hours of equine assisted activities which can range from ground work, to vaulting, english or western riding.
Many of the NARHA horses are donated by owners or other organizations. They are evaluated under saddle to see if they would be suitable and have the proper temperaments. The horses that do not pass into the program are often donated back to riding clubs or a show barn where they might be suitable as a lesson horse for a young adult or advanced rider. A certified NARHA facility can not have any stallions on the property for safety purposes and most facilities go through very rigorous inspections that include vet checks, book keeping, and surveying the property. These horses are treated very well and most of the time live out their remaining years ponying around children that are in need. Some facilities are donated accomplished show horses and vary in all breeds, size, and disciplines.
There are many opportunities that NARHA provides. Many facilities hold horse shows and offer a wide variety of disciplines. The riders range in a wide variety of disabilities from autism to cerebral palsy. Most of the horse back riding activities are formed to offer brain stimulation and human interaction. It also teaches balance and strengthens leg and core muscles, often speeding up development in children that otherwise would be far behind their age bracket. All NARHA facilities are equipped with wheel chair ramps that allow for easy mounting. All riders are required to wear helmets and other protective gear.
A NARHA facility is a great place to volunteer as it is not required to pass any certain accreditation, but it is encouraged to purchase NARHA volunteer lessons and hand outs from the NARHA website. If you can't give volunteer hours they always accept tack, horses, feed, and other horse supplies.
All in all I would not recommend sending a developmentally challenged child to a therapeutic program that is not NARHA approved or at least carry the EAAT standards. NARHA facilities are required to carry insurance and MOST accept medicaid, Blue Cross, Aetna, or other insurance as form of payment or partial payment.
Here is NARHAs home page so you can read more on what NARHA is and the great work they do.
And here is the direct link to find a NARHA center near you.
Here are a few great centers that hold NARHA premier accreditation.


Anonymous said...

yeah, she's pretty stupid

Anonymous said...

Yikes that she didn't research. Even I checked throught the narha site to check rules and you aren't required to be a medical professional to run a narha facility. So long as you are a CHA and hold your master instructor-ship its all good. I use to voluntere at my local facility. Then they moved out of state. I really miss working with the kids and horses.
And a lot of belief is that the horses are all oldies. But the facility I voluntered at had some young horses too. It also had minis for the little kids to ride. They were so cute.
Great post wench. I like these kinds of post better because you give information to help and bring more awareness. All fugly horse can manage to do is pick on everyone. So what if people want to ask for voluntere help on craigslist. Would she rather those people not ask for help at all???

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, the info regarding handicapped riding should have been researched.

However, Wench, do you think the horses in the ad sound suitable for a handicapped riding program with the time and training mentioned? Just curious...

fuglyfuglyfugly said...

Anonymous (the third one) took the words right out of my mouth. Although certainly not all horses are old, I highly doubt barely-handled, just-halter-trained horses are suitable for small and handicapped children to be even petting.

The Wenchster said...

Anon #3 based on the info provided in the ad at this moment no these horses are not suitable candidates for therapuetic riding. That is not to say that with some formal training and professional handling that they wouldn't shape out to be suitable for riding or even grooming sessions.
The reason I did not make any comments about the craigslist ad is because it is not my business if people ask for help with their horses or how they go about asking for help. As another anon mentioned, would Cathy rather people not ask for help at all? Would she rather they not ask for help and this person maybe miss a chance to be educated? I for one would rather they ask for help and a knowledgeable horse person step up and teach them a few things and maybe make a few suggestions that perhaps these horses need more training before they are considered towards a therapeutic program. I'm pretty sure by now though that the person that placed the ad has probably received a ton of hate mail regarding her ad and most likely took the ad down.

I've been around a good majority of parents of children with disabilities and most all of these parents have 6 senses. They normally can see the red flags about 3 steps ahead of most parents and make sure that things are kosher before leaving their children with any type of large animal. Most therapeutic camps are day camps and most of the parents stay and either volunteer or monitor their child anyways.

One reason why I would not recommend looking into any other riding program outside of NARHA for handicapped/therapeutic riding is because NARHA has a great reputation and makes sure that the people that do it's good work are keeping up to the standards they first set. NARHA makes sure that instructors are properly educated and evaluated and also make sure those instructors can teach volunteers proper procedures.

The Wenchster said...


"not suitable candidates for **therapeutic** riding."

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Awesome post Wench!!

There is an old saying..."There is no harm in asking". So if these people need help and are willing to ask...W.H.Y the need to make fun of them?
It's like the lady with the nice barn and nice horses that was asking for free help...if I remember, that turned into a fat bashing fest.

Once again...your damned if you do and damned if you don't in Cathy's mind.

CharlesCityCat said...


Great post and great info. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

again.. a mole hill into a mountain... there is also riding for the handicapped, and actually physical therapy using a horse, which is done by a physical therapist. The point of the post was that those horses will not be suitable for any children, let a lone handicapped children this summer, and anyone qualified to do theraputic riding of any type, no matter what qualifications are required, would know that the horses in question would no way be ready to use this summer.

no harm in asking, fine, but here you have a person with a bunch of under trained and under handled horses for their ages asking for something for nothing, and promising unrealistic results for someones donated time.

the horse in the craig's list ad doesn't even look to be in good condition.

Besides that, Cathy gave that person a whole bunch more press for free... shes probably more likely to have someone show up to help her now.

Anonymous said...

"So what if people want to ask for voluntere help on craigslist. Would she rather those people not ask for help at all???"

Here here! *Applauds*

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

For the crabby Anon, who says Wench is making a mountain out of a mole hill...HUH?

I think Cathy is the one making a mountain out of a mole hill. The ad says "hoping" to get the horses ready. Cathy is making a lot of assumptions that these people might actually take these untrained horses and attempt to use them in the handicap program.

Having seen how the fugly crowd "helps"...I doubt that these people got anything but nasty hate mail/calls. Cathy has no idea what these people will do if they cannot get some help to get the horses prepared.
There used to be a little thing in this country called "innocent until proven guilty". Well, when it comes to the way fugly thinks, everyone is guilty until they can prove themselves innocent. Not that she is interested in publishing that. She just buries it under another post. Still, whatever these people's thoughts may be...they are not guilty of anything...except trying to do something beneficial.

flying fig said...

>>The point of the post was that those horses will not be suitable for any children, let a lone handicapped children this summer, and anyone qualified to do theraputic riding of any type, no matter what qualifications are required, would know that the horses in question would no way be ready to use this summer.<<


Yet, hopefully someone nearby with horse sense will be alarmed enough to speak to the person who wrote the ad and help them... but in over 20 years of therapeutic riding experience I have seen things that would make your hair stand on end.

Sometimes well-meaning people have no horse sense - or common sense, for that matter. And wanting to do something beneficial does not mean it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately some parents do not see those red flags.

Just one example...

At a provincial therapeutic riding show many years ago, we were horrified to see some proud parents lead their quadriplegic daughter into the arena for her class. The kid was strapped into the middle of a metal cage that was bolted to a western saddle. Yep - bolted to the saddle. If that horse spooked - that heavy contraption could have shifted and taken out both rider and horse. Never mind if the saddle shifted even a little bit due to a loose cinch. They saw nothing wrong with it. A cowboy friend of theirs had decided to just start giving "handicapped riding lessons" on a whim and this rig was his invention.

He had another student demonstrating a different contraption out in the parking lot. Two shafts from a sulky that you strapped onto a wheelchair with a kind of harness that went around the back - and then you hitched the horse to the shafts and drove.

I think my head exploded.

Not just mine - I saw the head instructors from two different programs quietly trying to talk some sense into the parents involved and their "trainer" to no avail. If CL had been around then, that guy would have been selling his Fatal Accidents Waiting To Happen on there, and we would be discussing him...

So when I read things like that CL ad, I confess that my alarms start chiming softly... from much sad experience.

Viatecio said...

I think the major issue here, aside from the NAHRA thing, is the whole "asking for free help" from the general public. I could look on the bright side and say that the posters of the ad were going to screen their 'trainers' for horse experience and knowledge, but something tells me that's not the case.

I'm not against someone donating time on their own to 'play' with horses. When I moved out of my house, my riding instructor allowed me to come out to the barn whenever I pleased to groom, clean stalls, do groundwork with her POAs, clean the tack room, whatever I wanted within reason. It was great therapy and kept me out of depression. She didn't adverise on CL for that kind of help (and it's not like I was able to make it out all the time either), and she could fully handle and work with all the ponies on her own time. I'm sure I helped a little bit with some of the major things that really did need done, but for the most part, all that time out there was for my sanity.

When you advertise like that, you get anyone. With my job at a small pet supply retail store, when an ad for help was put into the paper (I'm moving again), I'd say a good majority of the applicants were NOT qualified per my employer's request and only said "I love animals." Well, honey, I love animals as much as the next person, but that alone didn't get me the job. Thankfully a few people are qualified enough to work, but when it comes to 'playing with pritee ponies' especially with someone who has expectations that shallow, who's going to take the time to make sure that not just anyone gets to set foot into the barn?

By the way, I volunteered at the therapeutic riding facility in Wapak OH for a little bit. Awesome place, the instructors were top notch and the kids were paired with each horse depending on how long they'd been riding there. I had to pass a background check to volunteer there and it was completely worth it. I'd do it again if I wasn't working and going to school and sleeping in between.

Anonymous said...

Reality check. The only people who are going to volunteer to train horses, especially off a craigslist ad, are maybe a bunch of 15 year olds who think they know everything.

Professional handlers?? No way. Time is money, especially in this economy. Professionals arent going to train a bunch of young rank horses from the ground up for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100% with anon 8:49
Making a mountain out of a molehill about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

Agreed anon 8:49 and 7:25
Completely pointless post. Looks like it was simply posted just to get SOME fugly bashing out this week.

Be_Smart_Breed_Less said...

ANON 7:22 am

I agree with you, I have a neighbor who has been riding for a year and now calls herself a horse trainer,(she is 15 also) She happens to have a horse listed on C/L, it is THIN, WORMY and she did all the training. I wish I could post an ad warning people that this horse is an accident waiting to happen. There are huge holes in this horses training. I can only hope that who ever does buy it goes back to square one with it. Odds are the horse won't sell she wants way more than it is worth.

Anonymous said...

Wench said...

I've been around a good majority of parents of children with disabilities and most all of these parents have 6 senses. They normally can see the red flags about 3 steps ahead of most parents and make sure that things are kosher before leaving their children with any type of large animal. Most therapeutic camps are day camps and most of the parents stay and either volunteer or monitor their child anyways.

I 100% agree. As a parent with CP child and having been around these parents for over 10 years it is amazing how your senses become heightened with a child with disabilities. I have a good friend with a son about my daughters age with CP. Shes like super woman and it seems like she knows whats going to happen hours ahead of time. She also has a good radar about people. Last year she got an uneasy feeling about one of the workers that volunteers at my daughter and her son school. That was the first day of school. She felt like she had seen him somewhere before and then it hit her. She had seen him on the site that she checks weekly. He was arrested and served jail time for raping and molesting several special needs children in another state, only now he had changed his name. She notified police and he was arrested before he could do any more damage. I thank the lord for her every day because his targets were girls around my daughters age that needed extra hands on help.

I also think some of the anons here are missing wenchs point or are the ones trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. All wench did was correct a few statements that Cathy made that were untrue. She cleared up those lies. She didn't no where in the post mention the ad and I agree with her reasons for not doing so. I also agree with BEC. Fuglys followers are not the kind of help these folks need because most of the time all they do is bash.
IMHO some handling on these horses is better than no handling. And so what if it comes from a 15 year old. I've seen a lot of younger people far more intelligent about handling horses than some adults.
I got wench's point and that was to fix the points of cathys post that no you don't have to be a medical professional in order to be a NARHA instructor and that not all the horses at NARHA facilities are broke to ride. Some are just large pets that are used for other kinds of therapy.
I agree with wenchs post because people need to be aware that NARHA instructors go through special training to work with special needs children BUT and thats a huge BUT, but parents should not substitute therapeutic riding for physical therapy.

FHotD is a large feeding ground for people to pick apart others they feel are less. I think a lot of them forget that they use to be beginners too and instead of helping they bash because it makes them feel better. But then again I forgot, a lot of the readers on FHotD are professional trainers, instructors, breeders and their knowledge is far more superior and important to any one elses.

Anon 747

Be_Smart_Breed_Less said...

I forgot to add, she is a KNOW IT ALL. I have tried ever so gently to help her with proper feeding. I am not the only one that has tried to help. She now competes on a equestrian team, there are lots of complaints about the condition of the horses she uses for the team. The coaches are powerless to do anything. Her parents are just as dense as the daughter. I tried there too. Lord help the horses they need it!

Sorry for the O/T!

Be_Smart_Breed_Less said...

anon 747


I don't agree with "some handling is better than none". If the handling is bad, it will follow with those horses for a lifetime. I don't think the people with the ad are knowledgeable enough to weed through the possible trainers.

Just my opinion.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Anon 747...
....But then again I forgot, a lot of the readers on FHotD are professional trainers, instructors, breeders and their knowledge is far more superior and important to any one elses.

(Picking myself up off the floor cause I'm laughing so hard)

EXCELLENT use of wit and suble sarcasm....YOU ROCK 747!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"One can partly ride, if you have any skills such as breaking, grooming, halter, or show experience we would be ever so happy to have you out..."

It doesn't sound like they just want them for petting.

Recently, a handicapped riding program started up at the barn where I board. I never particularly liked the trainer (she used to teach h/j there) but I figured that she was finally doing something worthwhile with her time.

Until I saw one of the "lessons". Yikes. Despite a 50,000 dollar grant from the government, the trainer had not bought saddles, horses, anything. So these kids were riding in a few western saddles, a few english saddles (this was the second lesson - most of these kids had never even sat on a horse before the first lesson), and two were bareback. And the horses were just horses from the barn that people let the program use. Some were very nice, calm, broke horses. One was a horse that, the week before, had reared up, bolted, and bucked her (intermediate) rider off because a truck drove by too fast. Um, yeah, not really the type of horse you want to be putting handicapped kids on.

I avoided going to the barn when they were having their program because I always was really tempted to say something to the trainer and/or the parents. I guess they must have figured that out, because one day I drove up while they having their lesson and they were using my horse. Without my permission. But let me tell you something important about my horse: he is "sensitive" - read, if all of his tack is not a perfect fit, if his rider is all over the place, if there is something spooky...he can get pretty temperamental.

So anyway, I get there and see this trainer telling this kid to "pull harder" on the reins (yes, they had an actual bridle on with a bit...there was a halter under for the walker, but these kids had full control of the reins which had anything from snaffles to big shanked curbs attached to the ends of them. My horse only had a snaffle, thankfully) because my (five year old, not very broke Arab) was "walking too fast and his head is too high"

I was walking up to the trainer when she noticed me. "Oh, I borrowed your horse." Um, yeah, I noticed.

"Get that kid off of him."

"We only have about fifteen minutes left in this session; look, the kid's happy. Don't be such a downer."

My response was something along the lines of if you don't get that kid off of him right now, I will call the police, channel 4 news, and all of these parents and tell them what a bogus program you have going on and their kids are more likely to get thrown and killed than any kind of therapy.

The trainer made a face at me then went to tell the kid that the horse's "angry mommy" was here and that "the angry mommy wanted her horse back because he was a troublemaker and needed to be spanked" What?

So I get my horse back into the barn and am untacking him when I notice that the (big and heavy) western saddle they have on him is super wide and pressing right down on his withers. Me slightly pinching his withers was very painful to him.

That trainer is sooo lucky that there was nothing spooky that day and that my horse was obviously in a generous mood because that kid would have been on the ground crying if it had been any other day.

Oh, and I just learned that the trainer got another 50,000 dollar grant from the government. Again, no, she did not buy horses or saddles (or qualified instructors)...I take that back; she did by horses and saddles - but not for the handicappped program. No, she bought some nice horses and show tack for her hunter jumper kids.

Kind of off on the story tangent there but bad experiences brought me to believe that if they aren't NARHA certified (this one wasn't) than they probably aren't the experts in the field. More than likely they are just someone who heard about a successful program and thought "hey, I could do that!"

WV: buhking - what my horse should have been doing with the way that kid was hauling on his mouth

Anonymous said...

First let me say that I am not a FAN of fugly or any other blog for that matter, just a casual lurker.

But I find it ironic that wench supporters say over and over again that all fugly supporters do is bash.

When in fact wench supporters do just as much bashing of their own.

Also, wench posted the other day that she was going to start deleting posts that named called her supporters things like lame and pathetic and offered nothing constructive.

Yet the first post on this topic calls fugly stupid and it hasnt been removed.

So just some clarification here please....does the name calling deletable posts go both ways?? or is it just wench supporters that cant be smeared but open season for nasty comments about cathy??

Just wondering......

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, it's so nice to see a list of required credentials.

Speaking of credentials, has she ever posted hers (as a judge, trainer, or certified in body condition scoring?) so we know what makes her more qualified than someone off CL?

Maybe I just missed that post.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, credentials are often worth nothing more than the piece of paper they are written on.

How many people do we know, or hear of, in the horse industry who are highly credentialed but arrogant, abusive, and basically nasty human beings.

One of the finest trainers I know has no formal credentials. She is self-taught and naturally gifted and has proven herself via results with the hundreds of horses she has trained.

Anonymous said...

FHOTD is just an opinion blog. It states that very clearly. You give your opinions here and call her out - so what are your qualifications to have that opinion? We are ALL just offering our opinion.

I would guess that the majority of us who work with horses 24/7 would be alarmed by that CL ad. I was. Do I need to provide a resume to have that opinion?
Video? References?

OldMorgans said...

I did not read her physical therapist comment as saying that one had to be a PT to do a handicapped riding program. Rather, I read it as that a person had to have some training/knowledge/certification of some sort.
I also find it interesting, in light of the comments here saying how mean and awful the commenters are at Fugly, that for this particular post, the majority of the comments are from people who have volunteered at one center or another and are saying how good that center is. There are a whole lot of very positive comments in that post.
When I read Wench's post here, I just had to think "is that the best you can do this time?" Some of Wench's posts have had some good stuff. This one fell flat for me.

Anonymous said...

Actually oldmorgan I'll pull several of Cathys sentences that she keeps saying or letting on that you have to be a physical therapist in order to be an instructor.

"Just because someone is a fantastic physical therapist doesn't mean they are a fantastic horsewoman"

"is therapeutic riding and there should be a medical professional involved who can make good judgment calls about the types of movement and activities a disabled child can tolerate"

"(by the way, we have names for those "physical therapist"...I'll be surprised if the poster has those credentials),"

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:09..

WELL SAID! Your post pretty much sums up how I feel about this blog in general.

No doubt wench supporters will be posting shortly calling you a troll and other nasty things.

Seems to be the way things work around here....

Shadowed Storm said...

Ok... I just went to do my weekly Fugly read through...
Does this look familiar to anyone else?
Umm... Familiar Much?

Anonymous said...

Ummmm... your point is - what? Seriously?

Topics come and go across the equine boards and blogs all the time - and many of those topics were mentioned here after they appeared elsewhere, or here prior to being discussed on another forum or not even mentioned at all.

Is there some kind of protocol that COTH and other big forums are not aware of?

Would you like the URL of another big horse blog/forum where they only started discussing this topic this morning?

There were links to that story over at FHOTD in other comments - and I could care less who says what when... as long as people are discussing it and addressing the issue.

Anonymous said...

I have a very hard time believing that the horses described in the ad will be ready for any sort of therapeutic work, whether actual riding or just standing to be loved on, in less than six months... especially because, as others have pointed out, the OP is seeking trainers to volunteer their time and receive no monetary compensation.

Personally, if I were seeking a therapeutic riding program for my special needs child, I would never consider a program that isn't fully certified through the NARHA and doesn't have a certified NARHA instructor on the premises at all times.

In my opinion, if the OP is interested in donating their time to a therapeutic riding program, they would be smart to volunteer at an established facility rather than start their own, especially if they don't have the time or ability to fully train the horses they currently own.

I don't see this as an example of Cathy making a mountain out of a molehill as some have suggested... I see it as pointing out the fact that some people, no matter how good their intentions, just aren't that bright.

Attempting to start a therapeutic riding program from the ground up with untrained horses and insufficient staffing and ability is just an accident waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the posters are claiming that Cathy is making a mountain out of a molehill.

They are saying its Wench who is making a mountain out of a molehill by calling out Cathy on this subject.

Cathys opinion is just that, an opinion. But I guess some people feel entitled to flog another for just having an opinion....

Anonymous said...

Waaaaa!!!!! (thumping fists & kicking feet) its just not right that YOU ARE PICKING ON CATHY!! Waaaaa!!!

Just thought I would re-phrase the above posters remarks into something we can all understand.

dressagepony said...

Just wanted to point out (I know I'm late to the discussion) that I think Cathy's argument was that these people were NOT going to open a NARHA certified therapy program. I think Cathy is aware, as is anyone who's heard of NARHA, that that organization has a strict accreditation process. Cathy even links to in her post -- did you miss that? Her whole point was that many therapeutic riding facilities operate WITHOUT NARHA affiliation, which is the exact situation she suspects is going to happen with the Craigslist posters she's targeting. Cathy was using this Craigslist ad as a way to show that there are many "therapeutic riding centers" out there that are NOT NARHA accredited. You really want to fight her on that??