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☛ American Horse Council sues former employee for embezzlement 10-10-18






Oct. 10, 2018

According to an article in the Denver Post, dated Sept. 26, the American Horse Council (AHC) filed a federal civil lawsuit against a former employee, accused of embezzling nearly $600,000 in what they called a carefully planned criminal enterprise.


Filed in U. S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the lawsuit, filed Sept. 25,  says that former employee Ashley Furst stole at least $588,061 and attempted to cover up her actions by hiding information from management by falsifying bank statements and payroll documents, as well as applying for an unauthorized loan intended to replenish stolen funds.


The Denver Post stated that Furst and her husband Christopher Furst are co-defendants in the lawsuit that says that Ashley Furst was fired June 25 on suspicion of theft and fraud. The AHC then reported the activity to law enforcement and the FBI has opened a criminal investigation.


The lawsuit filing reported that the AHC hired Ashley Furst in January 2010 as an office administrator. She had administrative duties that expanded over time until she was promoted to director of communications. In 2017, she was approved to move to Highlands Ranch, Colo., and telecommute for work.


In the lawsuit, AHC alleged that Furst used at least five schemes to steal from the organization from 2013 into this year, including making direct electronic payments from AHC for her personal loans and credit cards; writing checks from the AHC’s operating account to herself by using forged signatures to hide the payments; transferring money from an AHC Pay Pal Account into her own account; directing AHC’s payroll company to increase her salary while falsifying W-2s to hide the increase and applying for a loan in the AHC’s name in an effort that the AHC says was intended to replenish  stolen funds.


Since AHC policy requires two signatures for checks, they allege Furst forged signatures to meet that requirement. However, the AHC became aware there was a problem when a check issued to a consultant bounced.  When they met with representatives from the bank, they discovered their bank statements didn’t match those maintained by the bank.


Court documents allege that the Fursts used the money to “help purchase or lease two cars valued at $96,050 and purchase a $630,500 home in Highlands Ranch.”


According to the American Horse Council, they are a trusted voice for the horse industry to the public and to government authorities. They synthesize and promote consensus-based AHC legislative and regulatory objectives.


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☛ NCHA Suspension and Appeal Guidelines Getting An Overhaul 9-21-18






By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 21, 2018

According to an interesting e-mail that I received, following the Dufurrena/Vogel situation I previously wrote about, the NCHA is revising Standing Rule 37 and 38, which cover members who have done something that places them on probation or suspends them from the NCHA by the Grievance Committee, Amateur, Non-Pro Review Committee, Medication Review Committee or any other committee authorized by NCHA for violating any rule.


Following are the major parts of the new suspension and appeal guidelines:


Rule 37: Non-members involved in NCHA rule violations may also be denied privileges of the Association for “violation of or assisting in the violation of NCHA rules.”  When the NCHA rule in question contains specific provisions concerning disciplinary actions or burdens of proof, any disciplinary action taken by an initial Hearing Committee, the Executive Committee or an Appeal Committee should be consistent with that provision.


Any member can file a complaint regarding any alleged violation of NCHA rules by submitting the complaint in writing to the NCHA Executive Director (ED), signed or identified by the person filing the complaint, and sent with a check or credit card payment for $50, payable to the NCHA, unless the person filing the complaint is an NCHA Director, a class representative, show management or a judge. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted, investigated or acted on by the NCHA, with the exception if a complaint is reporting a violation of the Zero Tolerance policy or for a complaint submitted by an NCHA Director, a class representative, show management or a judge. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted, investigated or acted on by the NCHA.


A complaint must be filed, postmarked, faxed, emailed or hand-delivered within seven (7) days of the closing date of the show involved or within seven (7) days of the alleged rule violations. The timing for filing a complaint alleging a violation of the Zero Tolerance Policy is contained in Standing Rule 35.6. No complaint is required regarding a member’s competitive status (non-pro or amateur rules) or for violation of the NCHA Medication and Drug Rules.


The ED will refer complaints to (1) Grievance, (2) Medication Review, (3) Non-Pro Amateur, (4) or any other hearing or review committee. A quorum of an initial hearing committee will consist of three members with one being elected chairman.


The NCHA will notify the alleged violator in writing of the complaint and alleged action being investigated, each NCHA rule(s) potentially violated, the disciplinary actions applicable to the alleged violation and request that the violator file a written election with the ED to contest or not contest the alleged violation within 10 business days. If not received in that timeframe the case will be deemed not contested.


Initial Hearing:

The initial Hearing Committee shall schedule a hearing not less than 15 days‘ notice of the hearing date but not less than five business days notice of the hearing date. The alleged violator and NCHA shall exchange all proposed documents and evidence to be considered in the hearing no less than three days prior to the hearing. Legal counsel for NCHA and the alleged violator may appear and participate in the evidentiary position of the hearing. The hearing committee shall deliberate in private and shall render a decision in contested matters by majority vote and shall notify the EC of the decision in writing. The initial Hearing Committee will only be required to note in its report the NCHA rule(s) violated and will not be required to provide a detailed reason or opinion for its decision.


The Medication Review Committee shall consider potential violations of the Medication and Drug Rules and guidelines. Potential disciplinary actions for proceedings relating to alleged violations are contained in Rule 35A.7. The alleged violator bears the burden of proof to establish that he or she has NOT administered any drug or medication in violation of the NCHA Medication and Drug rules.


The Non-Professional Amateur Review Committee shall initially consider all violations of the NP and Amateur rules. The potential disciplinary actions for proceedings relating to alleged violations are in rules 50-51. The alleged violator bears the burden to establish entitlement to hold NP and/or Amateur status.


The Grievance Committee (GC) shall initially consider all violations of rules relating to alleged violations of NCHA Zero Tolerance Policy (35A) alleging improper conduct toward judges and monitors (35B), alleged improper conduct by and between members (35C) and alleged violations of other rules that are not considered by the Medication Review Committee, the Non-Pro Amateur Review Committee or Executive Committee.


For matters for which the rule allegedly violated contains suggested disciplinary action, the GC should consult those provisions in connection with discipline to be assessed for such rule violations. In cases where the rule allegedly violated does not contain suggested disciplinary action, the GC should consult the following general guidelines:  (i) First Offense: fine, probation or both. A first offense will be removed from a member’s record if that member has no further infractions for two years after the first offense is committed. (ii) Second offense within 2 years of first offense (a) increased fine (b) increased probation, (c) suspension or all of the foregoing. (iii) Additional offenses within 2 years will be dealt with severely, including heavy fines, lengthy probation and suspension will be increased as deemed appropriate by the committee.


Effects of Membership Probation and Suspension: Probation will be for a length of time decided by appropriate committee and also set a term of suspension imposed in the event the probation is violated. The term of suspension shall only become effective upon the probated member’s violation of the terms of his probation. In the event suspension is imposed for subsequent rule violation(s), the balance of the probated suspension shall begin on the day after the suspension for the subsequent rule violation s completely served.

Any membership Suspension that went into effect on or before Aug. 21, 2018 will not be allowed to participate in any way (owner, agent of horse, contestant, helper mounted  or on foot, in an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting horse contest. A suspended person can only attend an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting horse contest as a spectator seated in the stands. Any horse owned or controlled in whole or part by a suspended person will not be allowed to enter or compete in an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting. In the event a suspended person violates this rule, an additional six months will be added to his suspension. The rider of any horse ineligible to enter or compete in an NCHA-approved or sponsored cutting horse contest under this rule will be subject to a six-month membership suspension.


Membership Suspensions that went into effect after August 21, 2018:

Any person who has had their membership suspended, where suspension commences after August 21, 2018, will not be allowed in the premises of an NCHA approved or sponsored cutting contest. “Premises” include all show arenas, practice pens, loping arenas, sales barns, exhibit halls, trade shows and all other parts of the show grounds.

Any horse owned or controlled in whole or part by a suspended person or in which the suspended person holds any future rights of any kind, will not be allowed to enter, compete or transfer existing entries in an NCHA-approved or sponsored cutting horse contest. This includes horses owned by a corporation, partnership or any entity in which the suspended member has any ownership interest. If a suspended person violates this rule, an additional six (6) months will be added to his suspension. The rider of any horse in any NCHA approved or sponsored horse contest which is ineligible to enter or compete under this rule will be subject to six-month membership suspension.


Failure to timely pay fine:  When a member is assed a fine in addition to a suspension and/or probation, as a result of a committee finding made after Aug. 21, 2018, such fine must be paid in full within 15 days after the fine is assessed. In the event the fine is not paid in full in that timeframe, the corresponding suspension and/or probation will be extended by a period equal to the number of days over 15 that it takes for the member to pay to fine in full.


Transfer of horses owned by suspended member: This applies to all membership suspensions that went into effect after Aug. 21, 2018. A horse owned by a suspended member at the time of his/her suspension that is sold, gifted or for which ownership is otherwise transferred to an immediate family member, or that is sold, gifted or for which ownership is otherwise transferred to any corporation, partnership or any other entity of any kind in which the suspended member has any present or future ownership interest will not be allowed to show in any NCHA approved or produced event during the term of that member’s suspension. In the event the NCHA questions the legitimacy of a transfer made by a suspended person during his/her suspension, the suspended person shall bear the burden of proof to establish the legitimacy of the transfer.


Suspension by other associations: Every person suspended by the AQHA or APHA for unsportsmanlike conduct at a show or contest or for inhumane treatment of horses, shall stand suspended by the NCA upon official notification to this Ass’n from the AQHA or the APHA of any such disciplinary action which has become final and  non-appealable. The NCHA may honor the disciplinary actions of its affiliate organizations when supplied with satisfactory evidence that the person so disciplined has been given a full and impartial hearing by the affiliate organization involved; however, any action taken by an affiliate will not limit any authority of jurisdiction of the NCHA.


Publication of Findings:When disciplinary action is taken the results will be published in the Cutting Horse Chatter. Also, all decisions a final and binding unless subsequently overturned by an appeal committee under NCHA Standing Rule 38.


Rule 38: Appeal Guidelines:

Appeal Prerequisites: (a) Anyone found in violation of any NCHA rule by an Initial Hearing Committee, is entitled to appeal so long as (1) written notice of such request for appeal by each person appealing the ruling is received by the NCHA ED within 21 days of the date of the letter notifying the person of such action taken by the Initial hearing Committee and (2) an appeal fee as required by section (b) below is also received by the NCHA ED within the 21-day period.


(b) The appeal fee is $6,000 per person appealing that decision. For cases in which the Initial Hearing Committee has assessed a suspension of membership or competitive status, the appealing party shall have the right to request an expedited appeal as described in section (c) below. The appeal fee for an expedited appeal is $10,000 for each person filing an expedited appeal of the decision of an Initial hearing Committee. Appeal fees will not be refunded unless all findings of the initial Hearing Committee are completely overturned by an Appeal Committee.


(c) In the case of a non-expedited appeal, the appealing member(s) shall be given not less than 15 days notice of a time and place for appeal hearing to be heard by the EC or by an Appeal Committee appointed by the NCHA President. In cases of an expedited appeal, the appealing member(s) shall be entitled to an appeal hearing no more than five business days after the expedited appeal is perfected.


Appeal Proceedings: (a) An appeal is a “de  novo” proceeding that could result in a new finding concerning whether or not there was a violation of any NCHA rule(s) and either an affirmation, enhancement or decrease in the disciplinary action taken by the Initial Hearing Committee. (b) Eight members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum. (c) The NCHA President may appoint a Special Appeal Hearing Committee  (the “Appeal Committee”) to conduct any appeal hearing or disciplinary actions. This Committee shall have a minimum of five members and a maximum of nine. Each member must be a member in good standing of the NCHA. Five members of the Appeal Committee members shall constitute a quorum for hearing an appeal. (d) No continuance of an appeal hearing shall be granted unless a written request is received by the ED at least 7 days prior to the hearing and good cause is shown as determined at the sole discretion of the President or Chairman of the Appeal Committee. (e) At the hearing the appealing member shall have the opportunity to be heard, be represented by legal counsel, present evidence in his/her own behalf and to hear and refute any evidence offered against them. (g) The decision of the EC or Appeal Committee in an appeal proceeding under this rule shall be final and binding on all parties. The committee hearing an appeal shall only be required to note in its report the NCHA rule(s) it found were violated and shall not be required to provide a detailed reasoned option for its decision. (h) When disciplinary action is taken, the results in probation or suspension, the person’s name, the rule violated, and the disciplinary action taken will be published in the Cutting Horse Chatter.


From the Editor:

As a member of the NCHA for close to 20 years, I was sued at one time by the NCHA for asking for Rick Ivey’s salary and refusing to sign a non-disclosure form to prevent my dissemination of the information I was provided. (They dropped the suit when I told them I didn’t need his salary, I found it out another way.) As an investigative journalist and the owner of this website, my only remark about the above Guidelines is that they should include: “Any NCHA member who loses a lawsuit filed by another NCHA member regarding the other member’s actions, including taking advantage of the elderly, providing false or erroneous invoices to an NCHA member by a trainer, running an illegal business or training operation within the confines of the NCHA as defined by the State of Organization or Operation, providing false documentation to an NCHA committee during an appeal or suspension committee hearing, the loss of a customer’s horse due to abuse by the trainer or the trainer’s agent or assign including, but not limited to, employees, contractors or subcontractors, or charging exorbitant fees for other services, such as double dipping customers for travel or hauling expenses, should receive a lifetime suspension, without preferential treatment or exception.”


The trainers are basically unregulated by the above problems.  I hear these complaints all the time and instigating these rules could bring back some of the many well-heeled members who have left the NCHA…..and get rid of some the bad actors or unscrupulous trainers contributing to the demise of the membership numbers.

Glory Ann Kurtz

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☛ Is NCHA Acting as a Non-Profit? 9-17-18







By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 18, 2018

A non-profit organization, also known as a non-business entity or non-profit institution, is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. In economic terms, it is an organization that uses its surplus of the revenues to further achieve its ultimate objective, rather than distributing its income to the organization’s shareholders, leaders, or members. Non-profits are tax exempt or charitable, meaning they do not pay income tax on the money that they receive for their organization. They can operate in religious, scientific, research or educational settings.

The key aspects of nonprofits are: accountability, trustworthiness, honesty, and openness to every person who has invested time, money, and faith into the organization.


Nonprofit organizations are accountable to the donors, funders, volunteers, program recipients, and the public community. Public confidence is a factor in the amount of money that a nonprofit organization is able to raise. The more nonprofits focus on their mission, the more public confidence they will have, and as a result, more money for the organization. The activities a nonprofit is partaking in can help build the public’s confidence in nonprofits, as well as how ethical the standards and practices are.


Nonprofits are required to submit their financial statements and other information — including the salaries of directors, officers, and key employees — to the IRS. (For information on who is considered a key employee, see IRS Form 990 and its instructions.)


The IRS and nonprofits themselves are required to disclose the information on Form 990 to anyone who asks.Nonprofits must allow public inspection of these records during regular business hours at theirprincipal offices. However, many people won’t even need to ask — a number of websites make Forms 990 available for the searching, including the Foundation Center at and GuideStar at


People can also request information from the IRS by writing a letter, including the name of the organization, the year, and the type of tax return requested, and send it to:

Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Attn: Freedom of Information Reading Room
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224



Even though the NCHA is a non-profit, their finances seem to be headed downhill, which is requiring the association to try to raise more money, of course from the members. They are currently raising their membership dues to $145 per year. Unfortunately this is not how you balance the books. This only runs  people out of the horse industry!  In other words, the members suffer because of mismanagement.


During their Aug. 6-8 Executive Committee meeting, it was pointed out that they need to get a better handle on cash flow; accounts receivables are solid but the timing of payment needs to be recognized in order that there are no cash flow shortfalls. For example, NCHA is still awaiting the reimbursement from the MERP fund for the 2017 Futurity. There isn’t a question of whether NCHA will receive the funds, it’s simply a matter of when the funds will be disbursed by MERP (Texas’ Major Event Reimbursement Program).


A discussion ensued regarding a method for NCHA to fund the current cash flow shortage citing three options: the liquidation of investments, requesting from our bankers, Frost Bank, a margin loan against our investments or opening a line of credit.


Cutting down on their internal costs was not a choice! Rather charging the members and their employees more for their services was their choice!


As a part of this cash shortage, the NCHA passed a motion to charge the box seat holders from last year $1,890.00, to this year $5,000.00 for same seats, boxes with 8 seats to $5,500. This increase would include box seats for all three Triple Crown events: Futurity, Super Stakes and Summer Spectacular.


It was also passed that all vendors currently outside the Will Rogers Coliseum for all Triple Crown events, be moved inside the John Justin Building with the exception of horse spas and cleaning trailers.


The NCHA is also exploring methods to reduce the amount of money NCHA spends on very costly benefits on an annual basis for employees by a change of the insurance plan design, change of carriers, wellness incentives, cost-sharing plans, etc.


Also it was passed that there would be increases in the various levels of NCHA membership. Life Membership will no longer to offered as of August 7, 2018. For 2019 memberships, all members will pay $145 and will include Amateur and non-pro members but that amount will not include trainer’s fees. Amateur and Non-Pro fees will be $25. Trainer fees will be $125 with PAC, $25 without PAC in addition to membership fee.  It was later passed that a fee of $145 would include the cost of the trainer’s card or non-pro/amateur card. Existing life members with amateur and non-pro fee will be $25 annually. Existing Life Non-Pro fee will be $400.


All new memberships are free for one year and include online Chatter only. All former members who have been members for 3 years will also receive a one-year free membership that includes the Chatter online only. It was later reviewed and when the numbers were run, it would mean approximately $30,000 to $35,000 NCHA would not recognize on an annual basis. My question: “Had the numbers never been run before?”


As of 2019, one printed Chatter will be sent per household and printed rulebooks will be sent to current affiliates trainers, judges, certified secretaries and amateurs/non-pros, the goal being to print fewer copies. All others can request a copy. My question is: How will the members know and adhere to the rules if they don’t get a rulebook? How about putting a copy on their website for members to copy.


A discussion ensued regarding a method for NCHA to fund the current cash flow shortage citing three options: the liquidation of investments, requesting from our bankers, Frost Bank, a margin loan against our investments or opening a line of credit.


Discussion for other ways to save money was to reduce the number of Chatter issues published, as well as immediately reducing the number of issues of the Chatter sent to each household. Moving the payment of fees by members and vendors by ACH, i.e., the direct debiting of a member’s checking account. James V. Burris advised the Executive Committee that there are both positive and negatives to ACH payment methods.


Reducing the NCHA staff was also brought up; however, a it was stated that a thorough audit must be made by the various departments in the NCHA business office to identify items that can be eliminated immediately thereby reducing expenses as well as explore areas in the budget that may be reducing going forward. My question: “Why did they wait so long?”


Finance committee member, Steve Smith, said he would take the message back to the Finance Committee that they need to have a better handle on cash flow and structured budgeting process.


However, when it came to lowering costs of the events, which included the costs of the number of awards provided for NCHA events, they produced several options: (ie) reducing the number of buckles awarded, only giving them to the Top 10 and allow other finishers to purchase a buckle from Gist at the NCHA negotiated reduced rate; reducing the number of cattle per cutter by ¼ of cows in a go-round, bringing the total to a ½ cow reduction, which would reduce cattle costs by $200,624 (it was moved to reduce the cattle in each go round by an additional ¼ cow; thereby bringing the total reduction to ½ cow per go-round). The discussion was tabled until the Limited Age Event Committee had an opportunity to discuss this matter with the Executive Committee later.


Some additional costs were discussed, with some passing. The Amateur Committee recommended that there be a 5/6-year-old gelding Unlimited and Amateur classes at $535, with $450 going to the jackpot, $50 to office charge and $35 for processing fee. Motion passed.


The motion was passed recommending adding a gelding class to the 5/6 at ALL NCHA Triple Crown events, as a class within a class – no prizes or buckles, CASH ONLY.


The cost of the Rulebook was brought up and passed, with the cost of the 2018 edition being $11,461 for printing 10,000 and mailing out 8,183. Of that amount  $2,965 was for postage. NCHA copies to affiliates, amateurs, non-pros and judges, 4,500 amateurs, 1,000 affiliates, secretaries and judges total approximately 2,600. It was moved that effective with the 2019 rulebook year, 2,500 rulebooks be printed for distribution only to secretaries, judges and affiliates and they review how many are left at the end of the year, with the stipulation that if anyone calls NCHA requesting a copy, the staff will print off a copy and mail it to them.

As I mentioned previously, how about putting rulebook on their website so they can be downloaded by members?


John Rutherford agreed to Chair a Subcommittee on NCHA management, operations and financial efficiency. The subcommittee will be comprised of Kevin Knight, Joan Hayworth, Jan Gandy and Alvin ?  to help facilitate the completion of this study. The EC agreed to table taking further action regarding the proposed sub-committee until a new Executive Director was in place.


In closing, I would like to inform my readership that I’m currently waiting for the NCHA’s 2016 to 2017 IRS tax filing which is currently missing on As soon as I receive this document I’ll resume my audit of the NCHA as well as its income versus their operating expenses.


My question is, “Is the NCHA really acting as a Non-Profit?”


To read complete results of the NCHA Executive Committee, click below:


Click below for “What Is A Non-Profit?”

2-What is a Non Profit_

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☛ The business of running a “business” 9-3-18




By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
September 2, 2018


On July 18, 2014, I authored and released an article, on, entitled; “WHERE’S THE HORSE INDUSTRY HEADED?”  The article covers a myriad of topics that were plaguing the American horse industry back then, and in some degrees, with exception, are still plaguing the equine industry today. This article had the most comments ever, with 99 – all agreeing.


However, we haven’t seen much progress in two of the focal points of the article, directly contributing to a loss of membership, investors, and participation in the industry: bad horse trainers and the mismanagement of a 501(C)3 Nonprofits. It’s been established that equine nonprofits are very reluctant to intervene in helping to eradicate immoral, unethical, abusive and downright bad horse trainers from the industry, except for animal abuse.

☛ Where is the horse industry headed? – 7-18-14

Well ladies and gentleman, what about member abuse? During my tenure in the horse industry, I’ve witnessed an increase in civil litigation involving horse trainers and their client or clients battling it out in the court system over a fraud dispute that usually emanates from some horse trainer’s bad, unethical, and in some cases just outright – bad and illegal business practices. In fact, there’s a large populous of unsuspecting newcomers to the horse industry who are victims of unscrupulous horse trainers, on an annual basis. The sad commentary to this ever-increasing problem is, that every time these victims turn to the 501(C)3 nonprofit for assistance or relief, the victim hears the same old pathetic excuse: We Don’t Have a Rule For That ! ”


Perhaps it’s time for the “Powers-That-Be” running these struggling multi-million dollar 501(C)3 non-profits, to get together and design and adopt specific rules to govern its horse trainers, as well as, in some cases, their illegal and unscrupulous bad business practices. After all, investors and members are the backbone of any 501(C)3 nonprofit horse organization and not the horse trainers, as they often recite. I know these facts to be self-evident because I’ve been involved in a myriad of unethical business practices in the industry, committed by horse trainers,  from a “Risk Analyst’s” perspective.


When appropriate and where probable cause exists, I have on more than one occasion recommended a further review by law enforcement to ascertain whether or not prosecution for specific law violations are warranted and as a result of my Risk Analyst determinations. However, a 501(C)3 nonprofit doesn’t have any problems asking members for free time and donations to support these “over-priced” individuals occupying management positions within the organization.  For doing what?  protecting bad horse trainers and their unethical conduct and actions, which usually results in running good people out of the business!

In my opinion, when a horse organization doesn’t establish rules and regulations to protect innocent and unsuspecting members, investors and newcomers to the industry, then they are essentially condoning these types of unethical business practices. They are ostensibly going right along with the bad actors!


Case-in-point, when a horse trainer is sued in court by two separate horse organization member Plaintiffs and accused of fraud involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, my question is, “Why is this individual being sued still a member of any horse organization?” Or better yet, “Why isn’t this individual in jail and being prosecuted?”


For the record, I’ve been in business, in the private sector, since January 28, 1984.  Since inception, my company has been registered in the state of organization, both my Federal and State taxes have all been filed and paid on a recurring annual basis – when necessary, all business licenses are up-to-date, issued 1099s are accounted for and my company has an A+ business rating with the Better Business Bureau. If I have to comply, why shouldn’t everyone else calling themselves a business owner?  Especially, the ones operating with a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization and using a business moniker such as “Incorporated,” Limited Liability Company,” “Sole-Owned-Proprietorship,” a “Doing Business As (dba)” or “an assumed name?”


In business, we call this being fiscally responsible. In addition to being fiscally responsible, I also have another prudent business practice: “I offer a “100 percent, full-satisfaction money-back guarantee” on all of my business products and services, including “horse training.”  It’s just “good business practice.” However, there’s one difference that separates my company’s clientele from the horse industry. It’s referred to as “over-sight.” Unlike 501(C)3 nonprofits in the horse industry, that don’t exercise any or very little “over-sight” of horse trainers except horse abuse or issuing a bad check, my clients demand “over-sight” and I either adhere to compliance protocol or I find another place to work.


Obviously, that’s the difference between governmental agencies like the Department of Defense and the petrochemical industry versus the unregulated horse industry. Another major difference between my business criteria and the horse industry is by example: background checks, criminal record checks and drug and alcohol tests. Alone, these criteria strictly separate the good from the bad so-to-speak. The latter is also the criteria, which is lacking in the horse industry and allows individuals with criminal records to infiltrate and seemingly blend in with the overall good and excellent horse trainers in the industry, who bad horse trainers and their unscrupulous and often times “illegal” business dealings, give a bad stigma also.


Therefore, until the “powers-that-be” take the “reins of responsibility” and move to enact membership rules to “counteract” unscrupulous horse trainers and their diabolical practices, I’m afraid the horse industry is going to continue to experience a significant decline in membership, participation, investors and sponsors.


In the mean time, there are a lot of changes that 501(C)3 nonprofits can enact to enhance the viability of an organization, i.e., 1) term limits for how long and how many times an individual can occupy a seat on an organizations executive committee, 2) the removal of horse trainers from the Executive Committee and decision-making status, 3) a financial restructuring to reduce employees and overhead expenses (i.e., expenses and salaries for executives and employees, to come in-line with available cash-flow), 4) and enacting rules to address fraud and unscrupulous acts committed by its members.  After all, the horse industry is suppose to be fun and not a legal exercise in a courtroom because of fraud and illegal business practices.


As a professional reined cow horse trainer, my job is to train horses, students and prepare them for the show ring. I’m a big believer that businesses should be run by successful business people with expansive business experience and logic – not by horse trainers whose primary mission is to protect their food source “so-to-speak,” as well as other horse trainers when necessary, as we’ve all seen in the past. A horse trainer’s job is to train horses, bring new customers into the industry and represent themselves, their clients and the association in an ethical business manner and atmosphere. As we see today, well-run organizations, like the National Reined Cow Horse Association are flourishing, while others that are not practicing prudent and fiscally responsible business practices, are on a rapid decline in members, sponsors and investors.



 During my tenure in the horse industry I’ve witnessed a lot of regime changes over the years, but one in particular stands out: the National Cutting Horse Association.  When I first came into the industry, Jeff Hooper was the Executive Director, next came Allen Stein then Jim Bret Campbell. The next interim Executive Director was Ernie Beutenmiller, then Chuck Smith and now the interim Executive Director is Louis Wray. It’s my opinion that when these many executive employee changes transpire in such a short period of time, it’s usually a result of inexperience within the executive staff.


However whatever the cause, instability with upper management within an organization exhibits nothing else but unsound business experience within the rank and file of upper management, a fight for power dominance within the organization and subsequently translates in the long run into a reduction in membership and loss of sponsor revenue. The tragedy in this “helter-skelter” ring around the rosy of Executive Director roles is that it’s a very expensive proposition for the nonprofit, especially when they have to pay a former Executive Director the full amount of his employment contract financial agreement – even after the individual has left employment with the organization before his full tenure is up. This is not a very good, sound or prudent business practice!


Over-all, now’s the time for 501(C)3 nonprofits to perform a little “soul-searching” and determine the best course of action for them to viably sustain the organization in the future. Remember, horse trainers are not the backbone of an organization.  The real money that makes the “world-go-round” comes from investors, METF funds, members and sponsors. Without these entities, nonprofits wouldn’t exist and neither would horse trainers. As my contribution to the horse industry I wrote a book many years ago entitled: THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding The Pitfalls which was written to provide members in the horse industry with common-sense business practices to avoid the pitfalls inherent in the industry and some of which are covered in this article. If an individual really wants to know how financially responsible your 501(C)3 nonprofit is doing, you can go to, enter your nonprofit’s name and research a specific year’s IRS 990 tax filing to see exactly what’s going on financially with them, including the amount of salaries being paid and who they are paid to.


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:


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☛ Oregon horse sues former owner for neglect 8-23-18






Reprint from The Oregonian/Oregon Live
By Everton Bailey Jr.
May 4, 2018


Justice, an AQHA horse emaciated from months of little food or shelter. His owner was later convicted of animal neglect and now the horse is being represented in a lawsuit against the ex-guardian seeking damages for pain and suffering. (Animal Legal Defense Fund photo)

A horse is suing his former Washington County owner for $100,000 in damages in a rare case in which an animal is listed as a plaintiff in legal action against its guardian.


The Animal Legal Defense Fund in Portland has filed suit against former owner Gwendlyn Vercher, 51, of Cornelius on behalf of the horse. Justice, an 8-year-old AQHA horse is seeking damages for negligence that left him 300 pounds underweight and afflicted with lice, a skin infection and damaged genitals from severe frostbite, according to the lawsuit filed in Washington County Circuit Court. He will require special medical care for the rest of his life, the suit said.


Justice, formerly known as Shadow when he lived with Vercher, was removed from the Cornelius property in March 2017 and now lives at a horse rescue in Troutdale.


horse lawsuit


Sarah Hanneken, one of the attorneys representing the horse in the case, said state case law has shown animals have legally protected rights. She said Justice should be allowed to recover the costs of damages for pain and suffering, just as a human victim would.



“The Oregon legislature clearly established an anti-cruelty statute for the safety and protection of animals,” she said. “Victims of crimes can sue their abusers and animals are sentient beings that are recognized as victims under Oregon law. So with that premise, we’ve come to the conclusion that animals can sue their abusers and we’re confident of our stance in this case.”

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☛ NCHA gives Janie Vogel 3 years probation 8-21-18






By Glory Ann Kurtz
August 21, 2018


In a recent meeting of a chosen NCHA committee that was to determine blame in the Ed Dufurrena/Don & Janie Vogel case, it’s plain to see that the NCHA protects its trainers. The committee, almost unanimously, determined that Janie Vogel had “aided and abetted”theDufurrenas because she “allowed” Rieta Dufurrena to ride one of the Vogel’s horses in the 2015 NCHA Futurity.


Records indicate that Rieta Dufurrena a total of $14,145 when she won the NCHA Non-Pro Limited Class at the NCHA 2015 Futurity on Stevie Rey Von, collecting $9,145 and $5,000 in the Non-Pro. For the record, Stevie Rey Von was the 2015 NCHA Futurity Champion, ridden by Ed Dufurrena, for take-home pay of $200,000.


Yet, in reality, in a recent conversation with Janie Vogel, who is in ill-health, she told me she didn’t even know that the NCHA Futurity was going on or that one of her horses was showing in it. The first she knew about it was when a friend in attendance called her and told her that one of her horses made the NCHA Futurity finals. The only thing she did know was that Ed Dufurrena was training several of her horses – including Stevie Rey Von. When she called Shona, who received no penalties for aiding and abetting her kids riding in the event, to ask her about the win, Shona replied, “Oh, I thought you knew!”


The problem becomes even more exasperating, when the actual facts surrounding the Dufurrenas and the Vogels are delineated and the real facts are known in this continuing saga of nightmarish events that started long ago.


The events started when Ed Dufurrena was sued in a prior lawsuit entitled: Minshall vs Ed Dufurrena, et al, with the Plaintiffs claiming advertising fraud by Dufurrena for advertising “Auspicious Cat” as HERDA Negative when, in fact, the horse is HERDA positive.This fact was confirmed by AQHA registration records. For the record, advertising fraud was proven in court, during the Hartman trial, and the jury assigned 60 percent responsibility for the damage to Dufurrena. The Minshall lawsuit alleges the Dufurrenas concocted a fraudulent advertising scheme which resulted in their foal by Auspicious Cat being HERDA positive, thereby, causing permanent injury and damage to the foal which requires enumerable funding during its lifetime for maintenance costs.


The curious nature of the Minshall lawsuit is that it also included the “Dos Cats Partners” being sued along with all of its members, except the Vogels – who were never mentioned. Perhaps, the reason the Vogels were never mentioned is that no one knew about the Vogels and the second “Dos Cats Partners” and perhaps by Dufurrena design.


Again, and for the record, the Vogels entered into what they thought was a “hand-written contract” named “Dos Cats Partners,” which was the identical (dba) or “an assumed name” used in the Minshall lawsuit that the Dufurrenas executed on March 25, 2011, between the parties and in consideration of the Vogel’s $105,000 investment.


 However, my investigation proves the Vogel’s were duped into investing in an unregistered Dufurrena business entity, operating without registration or legal status as required by Texas business law. Further, the Dufurrena’s duped the Vogels into investing in an unregistered Texas business entity called “Dos Cats Partners” when, in fact, Dufurrena had already sold shares in the business which was revealed in the Minshall lawsuit.


The simple fact is that if the Vogel’s would have been told by the Dufurrenas that “Dos Cats Partners” wasn’t in compliance with Texas Business Law and there were other pre-existing investors in the bogus business entity of the same name, I’m sure it’s safe to say they would have saved their money!


More specifically, how is it feasible or possible for the Dufurrenas to sell a 49 percent share to the Vogels when a 49 percent share had already been sold to the “Dos Cats Partners” identified in the Minshall lawsuit? A good question and perhaps the NCHA would like an answer too! That is, if the TRUTH can be determined. One sure fire way to figure this out is by an IRS audit, an Investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s office or a law enforcement investigative agency in Cooke County. I’m sure they could clear all of this business maneuvering by the Dufurrenas right up.



 However, the problem for the Dufurrenas in this matter, that is perhaps a little tricky for the NCHA, is that NONE of Dufurrena’s dba’s or “an assumed name” business entities were legally registered in the State of Texas at that time, as required by law, including Ed Dufurrena Cutting Horses, Dos Cats Partners, Dufurrena Cutting Horses and “Dos Cats.”  According to the Texas Secretary of State filings, the foregoing listed dba’s or “an assumed name” Dufurrena business entities had never been registered with the State of Texas, as required by law.  Yet Dufurrena is allowed to participate in NCHA cutting events and even earn money. Therefore, according to the Texas Businesses Practices Act, this is an unconscionable contract.


For the record, Dufurrena received a check for some $200,000.00 for winning the 2015 NCHA Futurity on Stevie Rey Von and Rieta won $14,145 for a total of $214,145. However, reviewed documents, including Dufurrena invoicing, indicate the Vogels were 49 percent vested interest partners in Stevie Rey Von when the horse won the Futurity, yet the Vogel’s have never received a dime of the winnings.  In fact, to illustrate how enlightened the Vogels were, they didn’t even know the horse was in the NCHA Futurity or the Finals until they were tipped off by a friend who was at the event.


However, the NCHA allowed Dufurrena to change the ownership records on Stevie Rey Von from Brandon Dufurrena to Ed Dufurrena in the middle of the 2015 NCHA Futurity, or right before the finals on Dec. 1, 2015,, so that any earnings checks would be distributed to Ed Dufurrena (ONLY) and thereby bypassing the Vogels completely. The Vogels did not get Stevie Rey Von transferred into their company name, Jandon Ltd., until Feb. 6, 2018, during their meeting with the lawyers. But the Vogels hit back, as on Feb. 10, they sold the stallion to Fults Ranch Ltd., Amarillo, Texas, for $2 million.

Stevie Rey Von AQHA ownership record


The unfortunate aspect of this Dufurrena “Shell Game of Horse Ownership Records” is that the NCHA “aided and abetted” re-enactment of this “Shell Game” at the NCHA Summer Spectacular, when at the last moment Brandon Dufurrena was allowed to transfer ownership of his horses, to his mother – Shona Dufurrena, in-order for them to be shown, as by then Brandon had been suspended from the NCHA. (Tom Dvorak rode the horse attaining the NCHA Open Finals)


Of course, the horses were gifts to Shona Dufurrena – if you can believe that?  My questions is, when did the NCHA become an agent for the AQHA? My information is, that the AQHA transfers and the money were held at the NCHA office while the horses were showing. For the record, ownership transfers aren’t in full force and effect until AFTER AQHA records them in their data base which is accomplished during usual and customary business hours.


Also, my business records investigation proved:  NONE of the Dufurrena (dba) or “an assumed name” business entities have ever been recorded or registered with the Cooke County Clerks Office, as required by law.Therefore, NONE of the Dufurrena (dba’s) or “an assumed name”  business entitieswere in compliance with “LEGALLY” operating a business in the State of Texas.  I wonder if the NCHA knows that?


An even better question is: How is Dufurrena going to file taxes on business earnings or business entities that are unregistered and don’t exist by lawful requirements and standards?


Info-Secrertary of State – Aug 15, 2018



According to Texas Law, an individual operating an unregistered (dba) or “an assumed name” business entity in the State of Texas is ONLYallowed to answer or defend a lawsuit brought against him or her, NOT institute one. Therefore, the problem for Dufurrena, in this “Shell Game of Mystery and Intrigue” of who he is “from day-to-day” is that filed court documents indicate that he has brought legal action against individuals under the unregistered business name of “Ed Dufurrena Cutting Horses” which is contrary to Texas State Business Law. According to my information, these individuals have the legal right to bring a “counter-action” against the Dufurrenas for filing an “unlawful lawsuit.”



Claudon lawsuit





During my investigation, the sound of bad invoicing rang out loud and clear from my interviewees. Each individual, separate and apart from each other, clearly outlined a business operation, i.e., Ed Dufurrena Cutting Horses invoicing that were so convoluted and filled with inaccuracies that Einstein couldn’t make heads or tails of them. However, one common denominator existed with all of the interviewees: inflated billing information. Another common denominator with the Dufurrena invoicing is that they were sporadically submitted, with some invoicing dates being monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually and even exceeding annually.


To further illustrate Ed Dufurrena’s invoicing dilemma, the Vogels claim that they have never received any portions of any earnings check from the Dufurrenas, not even any part of the NCHA Futurity earnings for Stevie Rey Von. Could the NCHA have some culpability by allowing these unorthodox business practices, especially, by a trainer who is entrusted with supposedly operating lawful business practices within the association.


Also, its been reported that the Dufurrenas issue “training credits” instead of cash to eliminate the necessity of issuing year-end IRS 1099s. Again, we all know how and why that one works. It eliminates 1099s from being in the IRS system for tax auditing purposes as well as bringing attention to a specific business entity.


For the record, the Vogel’s – as did the Minshalls – reached an out-of-court settlement with Dufurrena with the Vogel’s paying a sum total of $1,150,000for Stevie Rey von and two other horses and Dufurrena’s allegedly 51 percent interest in an unregistered Dufurrena Texas business entity – “Dos Cats Partners.”


Since the NCHA has aProfessional Trainers Standing Committee, with Morgan Cromer being the Chairman and Bret Davis the Vice Chairman, what has their role been in this fiasco? As I understand it, this group is suppose to make sure the trainers are treating the horses they have in training as well as their ownerscorrectly. Do they not have any authority? I haven’t heard a word out of them. Are they afraid of Dufurrena?





According to an article I’ve previously released on my site, Ed Dufurrena violated the provisions of his suspension by being in the practice pen that required the aid of law enforcement to remove him. According to the anonymous source letter, a written complaint was signed and submitted, by an NCHA member, who  adamantly opposed Dufurrena being in the NCHA practice pen.  However, the problem for the NCHA in this matter is multiple issues, e.g., Ed Dufurrena shouldn’t have been in the practice pen or on horseback for that matter, as NCHA rules of suspension say he is only “allowed to sit in the stands.” NCHA President-elect Ron Pietrafeso wrote on my Facebook page that Dufurrena wasn’t in violation of NCHA rules, when in fact and according to the filed and signed complaint he was, and now the NCHA is strapped with the arduous task of adding six months to Dufurrena’s suspension time for this act according to the NCHA rule book.



Now, my question is – “Exactly why is NCHA aiding Dufurrena to show horses and why are they protecting Shona?” My next question is – “Exactly why is the NCHA President Phil Rapp insulating Ed Dufurrena?”


Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you run valuable, investing members out of the horse business – which the NCHA just did – and keep the trainers who ran them out.



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