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☛ YIPPIE KA-YAY, THE RUSSIAN WAY-11-5-18

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, FEATURE ARTICLES, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

YIPPIE KA-YAY, THE RUSSIAN WAY

 By Rick Dennis
Information derived from The New York Times and Valuets Journal
Nov. 5, 2018

Quietly secluded in the Russian interior, amid Russia’s wilderness fabric is a seldom heard of but emerging new industry modeled after the United States economy and the cowboy way of life. That new industry is the Russian beef industry.

Russian Company Rustles Up Cowboys To Help Beef Up Demand For Steaks

The firm Miratorg is building an American-style beef steak industry from scratch. To make it work, it has to import everything from the cows, to the feed — right down to importing American cowboys. And now we have a story from Russia of a massive effort to import something that’s very, very American. Russia has lots of open land, which is good for grazing cattle, but steak remains something of a foreign idea. So one company is trying to single-handedly build a steak industry from scratch in Russia – importing American cows, importing American grass, saddles, horses, and even importing American cowboys.

 

Russians Learn the Ways of the Cowboy From American Ranch Hands

 VALUETS, Russia — A visibly tiring but stubborn Aberdeen Angus cow sank all of her four feet in the rich black mud of central Russia, refusing to budge. Try as they might, the two Russians yanking on the rope lassoed around her wide, wet neck could not pull that massive body out of the icy December slush.

 

The cowboys on this new Russian ranch here still have a few things to learn. And unlearn. In a throwback to the old Soviet way of doing things, while the two were trying to move the recalcitrant cow, four others were standing idly by shouting advice.

 

Watching the greenhorns from afar was Ashley Chester Corlett, one of 10 American trainers brought in by the ranch’s owner, the Miratorg company. It chose them over Brazilians and Australians in large part because of the similarity between the climate in Wyoming and central Russia, where temperatures can drop to 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 29 Celsius).

“At first people always want to use pressure to handle the cattle and don’t realize how much like a predator they seem to the cow,” said Mr. Corlett, a thickset fourth-generation cowboy from Riverton, Wyo. “If you want to get the best out of that cow, you have to understand how it thinks. It opens so much understanding.”The aspiring cowboys also have to get used to working long days in harsh conditions, a concept that often seems novel to many of them.

 

“Working here is hard. Many people cannot stand it, especially the need to stay sober,” said Viktor P. Buivolov, who installed elevators in Moscow before becoming the manager of the ranch. “We even have a Breathalyzer here,” he said, navigating a Russian UAZ Patriot sport utility vehicle through a herd of cattle.

 

Agriculture all but disappeared from this and many other parts of Russia years ago, after the final screw was turned into scrap metal at the last surviving Soviet collective farms. But as oil prices have collapsed and Russia has imposed retaliatory sanctions against Western food products, reviving the economy with import substitution has become a priority for the Kremlin. President Vladimir V. Putin has said Russia has the potential to become a world leader in food production, and has set a goal of self-sufficiency by 2020.

 

Russian Cowboys Learn To Wrangle A Brand New Beef Industry

 As far as rodeos go, everything resembles an American rodeo, but the proceedings were just a little different. No swords here, but plenty of horses. And tons of people who came to watch. They brought signs and applauded their teams as they struggled to rope steers in the arena.

 

The Russian Rodeo embodied more than entertainment. It was a cacophonous celebration of a fledgling beef industry clawing its way into the Russian countryside. It was also part of a larger national goal to gain self-sufficiency with food production.

 

By copying the structure of Western beef operations, Miratorg skipped more steps. Miratorg is single-handedly trying to create an American-style beef industry, but in a very condensed time period. It now has about 400,000 cows, the largest herd in the world. The company has had to build fences in a country without any, to train veterinarians, and to also import everything from horses and grass seed to tractors. But the hardest part of managing this immense operation is not the science or the planning.

 

It’s finding workers. Cowboys. So the company imported some of them, too. One of them, Shawn Weekes, has been in Russia for two years. He’s a fourth-generation, Montana-born cowboy with a great, big mustache, Western boots, a hat, and a tucked in button up shirt. “I grew up doing this,” he said. “A rope was actually my first toy.

 

“He’s worked on ranches all over the U.S. but the growth of Miratorg, from zero to the largest herd in the world, stood apart. “I’ve never seen anything grow this fast. Ever. And sometimes it kind of set me back a little bit, like, whoa, let’s slow this train down a little bit. But this is their program and this is what they want, so I just try to help them,” Weekes said.

 

His job is teaching locals to cowboy. The new hires, mostly young men from nearby villages, have no experience. Most of them have only seen cowboys in black and white movies. Miratorg now employs 1,000 Russian cowboys, though they call them ‘operators. “The difference is they’re starting out from scratch, there’s only a handful of us here to teach all these people how to do this,” he said.

 

Which ever way the Russian beef industry turns out, I’m sure the American beef industry and entrepreneurs supporting this industry will have a boost in their sales economy.

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: richardedennis51@gmail.com
Website: http://www.richardedennis.net

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☛ AQHA is on the right track 10-15-18

Posted by on Oct 15, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 8 comments

AQHA IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK

 

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
October 15, 2018

 

On August 6, 2014, I authored and released an article for publication on allaboutcutting.net entitled “MECHANICAL HORSE, A Horse Under the Influence of Drugs.”  At first glance this article suggests to the reader an apparatus resembling a horse traveling on rails making a series of stops and turns and acting much like the mechanical cow we see in the training arena.  However, this article is about the horse that performs, whether on the racetrack or in the performance arena, under the influence of illegal or prohibited drugs.

 

The article was authored due to the heightened awareness of horse doping bestowed on us by the main stream media and other news outlets, as well as by legislative action in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. More specifically, the bill introduced by Senators addresses the horse-doping fiasco in the United States, e.g., “The Chronic Abuse of race horses with pain killers and other drugs are dangerous and just plain wrong,” Udall said. US Senator Tom Udall, D – New Mexico is a cosponsor of the bill.

 

Essentially, the bill addresses the horse-doping epidemic in the United States by establishing a federal regulatory commission empowered to design a uniform, federally controlled enforced and prohibited drug policy for the welfare of the horse.  This bill mimics the federally mandated drug and alcohol – testing programs established in the 1980’s by the (49 CFR, Part 40) rules and regulations for federally mandated workplace drug and alcohol testing.

 

In response to the bill’s introduction, a group of racehorse trainers came out in support of the bill stating, “We believe it’s time to take a proactive position regarding the administration of race-day medication.  American racing has always been a global leader and it’s time to restore confidence in our game, and in our international standing” said D Wayne Lucas, a Hall of Famer who is one of the trainers supporting this proposal.  Todd A. Fletcher, another leading trainer is also on the list.

 

In my opinion, this is the industry’s attempt to police itself rather than have a government mandated equine drug-testing federal rule to do it for them, as is the case today with the Federal Mandate of certain positions under federal control.  For the record, I was in on the ground floor of this federal takeover of an industry, as well as the author of a litany of Fortune 500 companies’ drug and alcohol testing policies, including their implementation and maintenance, e.g., Exxon Company USA, Kerr McGee Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, Mobile Oil Company, and Gulf Oil Company – to name a few.

 

My background in Drugs of Abuse spans from 1970 to the present and began as a Drug Enforcement Agent, to being a contributing writer for the original Federally Mandated Drug and Alcohol Testing program, to providing a dissertation to members of the U.S. Congress and Admiral Malloy of the US Navy for the integration of private sector drug and alcohol prevention programs for use with the US Military and the  Department of Defense, operating my own drug testing laboratory, and private sector enforcement and maintenance of Corporate Drug and Alcohol testing policies.

 

Click for “Mechanical Horse, A Horse Under the Influence of Drugs”

 

Today, the majority – if not all – of the major nonprofit horse organizations including the Thoroughbred Race Horse Association and USEF have some type of rules and drugs-of-abuse prevention policies in place to prohibit the use of drugs or other prohibitive items and substances from being introduced into a horse’s system on the racetrack or in the performance arena. One of the outstanding associations taking the abuse of horses with drugs on a very serious proactive basis is the American Quarter Horse Association. The stand-out traits of this organization’s equine drug testing rules are: The frequency of the testing and the suspension and fining of the violators“across-the-board,” without discrimination of whether the violator is a horse trainer or a regular member.  Equal treatment for all.  A very admirable trait.

 

It’s long been my experience that equine trainers, for some unknown reasons, are considered by some in the industry as GODS, therefore they are untouchable or receive reduced penalties for rule violations. However, this is not the case with the American Quarter Horse Association.  A recent review of the 2017 and 2018 suspensions and fined lists include trainers for animal abuse as well as drug violations.  It also includes expulsion from the prestigious American Quarter Horse Association Professional Horseman’s listing for those trainers who have committed rule violations as well as their names being included in the Quarter Horse Journal, along with identifying the committed infraction and fine amount.

 

This suggests that AQHA’s punishments for rule violators are handed out evenly “across-the-board.”  AQHA should be commended for their fair and unbiased treatment of rule violators as well as their devotion to protecting the American Quarter Horse breed and living up to their mission statement.  If more organizations would use AQHA as their role model, it would restore member confidence that some have lost simply due to the bias some associations have exhibited toward specific members and trainers in the industry. I’d say this is money well spent to prevent horse abuse, a business philosophy worth adopting.

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC
Richard E. Dennis
Managing Member
Free Lance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: richardedennis51@gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.richardedennis.net

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☛ From the Editor 9-19-18

Posted by on Sep 19, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

FROM THE EDITOR:

I received the following letter from Allen (Skeeter) Bird, an NCHA member, regarding an article by Rick Dennis and am posting the letter here, with the response from Mr. Dennis.

 

LETTER FROM ALLEN (SKEETER) BIRD:

Bird, Allen (Skeeter) <AEBird@nwosu.edu>

Sep 14, 2018, 9:55 AM

Mrs. Kurtz,

Since I am pretty new to the NCHA and not involved in the politics, I
may be missing something that you are trying to communicate.   I hope
that I don’t offend you; but, I feel there were a couple of things
that I think your analyst incorrectly stated or ignored.

·         Rick Dennis states in his analysis that the NCHA is a 501
(c) (3) organization.  If he carefully read the 990, he would see on
page one that the NCHA is a 501 (c) (5) organization which is not the
same as a 501 (c) (3).   Maybe it is not that important to the
numbers; but, it immediately lends suspect to his competence to
perform an accurate and/or thorough analysis.

·         I also feel Mr. Dennis completely ignores the positive trend
from the previous year (2014 vs 2015).  If one were to compare the
previous year figures which are stated right next to the current year
numbers one would notice a positive increase in the income less
expenses from $90,054 to $1,084,769.  That is a positive increase of
over 1204% in one year.

·         Additionally, the net assets increased from $5,806,940 to
$7,117,395 from 2014 to 2015.  This is an increase of 22.6% which
looks like a decent move in the right direction.

I read through the 990 myself.   Based on what I saw, I think there
would be many things I think I would do differently if I were running
the company that would influence the bottom line of the organization.
At a minimum, several things warrant questions.

I don’t know what the current numbers look like and this 990 is almost
2 years old.  I just don’t think Mr. Dennis’s analysis is accurate or
provides a legitimate case for current mismanagement or insolvency of
the organization.

Respectfully,

Skeeter
Allen E. Bird (Skeeter)
Class of ‘85
Chief Executive Officer
Northwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation and Alumni Association
Direct line:  580-327-8599
Cell:  580-732-0565

 

THE FOLLOWING IS THE RESPONSE FROM RICK DENNIS:

 

Mr. Allen E. Bird (Skeeter)
Class of 85
Chief Executive Officer
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Foundation and Alumni Association

 

Dear Mr. Bird:

I’m in receipt of your electronic transmittal (email) to Mrs. Kurtz, pertaining to my cursory analysis of the NCHA 2015 – 2016 IRS 990 for the National Cutting Horse Association. I agree with your first paragraph, pertaining to the 501 C (3) nonprofit designation and for clarification purposes, it was merely an over site by the editor.  However, since you state that you’re new to the NCHA please allow me to enlighten you. If you had performed a little research you would have learned, in a previous time, the NCHA use to be a 501 C (3) up and until they decided to change the (3); which is a charitable organization, to a (5) which is an agriculture designation.  In fact, the NCHA Charities Foundation moniker is still in use today, by the organization. The primary requirement for the change was Politics.  A (3) doesn’t allow for the engagement in political activity while the (5) designation does.

 

At this time the NCHA does engage in political activity.  However, the main focus of your rebuttal should be limited to the IRS 501 (C) designation in the prefix which stipulates an organization’s nonprofit status.  This moniker was and is the main focus of the cursory audit.  As an FBI and IRS trained Forensic Auditor, the correct numerical designation is only relevant when an audit is made of the Chart of Accounts for an organization, which wasn’t possible.  Further, I don’t visualize, associate, or comprehend any relevance to your statement, “Maybe it is not that important to the numbers; but, it immediately lends suspect to his competence to perform an accurate and/or thorough analysis.  To set the record straight, an error by an editor has absolutely nothing to do with the competency of an analyst, or didn’t they teach you that in college? Especially, since you so proudly tout yourself as a Chief Executive Officer!

 

To provide you with a little nomenclature in financial audit, audit terminology, and descriptive phraseology please be advised of the following: There are only a few key points to be made during a cursory inspection or cursory audit of an organization’s IRS 990  tax return and, i.e., income versus expenses, accounting method utilization, e.g., accrual or cash accounting methods, assets versus liabilities, income versus expenses, bottom-line profits versus income, bottom-line-profit percentage, and upper management salary percentages versus overall accrued employee salaries.

 

If you were an experienced auditor, which apparently you’re not, you would know that the accrual method is a misleading barometer of the overall health of an organization, simply due to the fact it’s a projection of available – but not received cash on hand, versus the cash method which is a statement of actual cash on hand, or money in the bank so-to-speak. The accrual method becomes problematic for an organization when spending is based on money owed rather than cash-on-hand which provides an actual cash to expenses spending ratios.  In simplicity, if you spend money before you receive it, then, if the projection of outstanding receivables never materializes this develops into a cash flow problem for the nonprofit which the NCHA is apparently having at this time.

 

Another problem with your rebuttal is your comment, pertaining to the age of the 990, which also shows inexperience on your part.  If you had engaged your brain prior to engaging your computer key pad to attempt a feeble character assassination which is actually laughable, and performed due diligent research about the NCHA’s latest 990 filing, you would have learned; as I did, that this is the last IRS 990 on record for the NCHA. Their 2016 – 2017 IRS 990 and tax return hasn’t been filed as of either the article release or it hasn’t been posted by the IRS on Guidestar.org. Since the NCHA has a history of running the organization in a shroud of secrecy, perhaps you should contact them directly and inquire about if and when they intend to file another tax return.

 

Lastly, my cursory inspection and audit of the latest NCHA financials wasn’t intended to show anything other than what it it is: To point out areas within the organization that needs scrutiny, adjustment, and change in order for the NCHA to remain a fixture within the industry, that a myriad of individuals count on to support their families. Nothing more or less.  As a side note, please be advised that I was at a Fortune 500 Board of Directors meeting, during a Personal Protection Detail,  and I personally witnessed the Chairman of the Board fire an Executive Vice President simply due to him salting his food before he tasted it.  Later I learned, that the Chairman’s ideology correlated to the fact that if he salts his food before he tastes it, then he would spend his money before he justified the expenditure.  Perhaps this is a lesson for your to learn before you are fired for incompetency.

 

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis CPP

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☛ NCHA Tax Return Analysis 9-10-18

Posted by on Sep 10, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

NCHA Tax Return Analysis

Clarification and Risk Analysis

 By Rick Dennis
Sept. 10, 2018

NCHA Tax Return Analysis

 

Clarification and Risk Analysis

 

The following Risk Analysis was performed by the WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC, Richard E. “Rick” Dennis, Analyst at the request of Mrs. Glory Kurtz Ann Kurtz, allaboutcutting.com, and encompasses the latest IRS 990 tax filings for the National Cutting Horse Association.

 

The National Cutting Horse Association is a 501 (C) (3) Nonprofit organization, organized in the State of Texas.  Therefore, the following Risk Analysis should apply whether the company is a for profit or nonprofit with the exception that a for profit pays corporate business taxes and the nonprofit doesn’t pay corporate business taxes. Any profits made by a nonprofit are kept to forward the vision and mission statement of its State business organization and bylaws.

 

What Is A Good Profit Margin?

 

Typically, an operating profit margin of a company should be compared to its industry or a benchmark index like the S&P 500.  For example, the averageoperating profit margin for the S&P was roughly 11% for 2017.  A company that has an operating profit margin higher than 11% would have outperformed the overall market. The National Cutting Horse Associations latest IRS 990 filing’s states on page 12 of their latest tax filing that total revenue is $24,026,610. Total expenses for this specific tax period is $22,941,841.  During this specific tax reporting period, the NCHA’s Income less Expenses is $1,084,769. A quick percentage ratio calculation revealed the NCHA’s Income less Expenses is approximately (4.5%).  This mathematical calculation revealed the NCHAis operating below S&P 500, or below market standards for operating efficiency, e.g., :

 

What Is Considered A Healthy Operating Profit Margin?

 

Operating profit margin is one of the key profitability ratiosthat investors and analysts consider when evaluating a company.  Operating margin is considered to be a good indicator of how efficiently a company manages expenses because it reveals the amount of revenue returned to a company once it has covered virtually all of both its fixed and variable expenses except for taxes and interest. Typically, a healthy operating profit margins ranges from 11% to 20%.

 

What Does Operating Profit Margin Tell Investors and Business Owners?

 

The operating profit margin informs both business owners and investors about a company’s ability to turn a dollar of revenue into a dollar of profit after accounting for all the expenses required to run the business.  This profitability metric is calculated by dividing the company’s income by its total revenue.  There are two components that go into calculating operating profit margins: revenue and operating profit. This metric was used in the forgoing to establish the (4.5%) NCHA Income less Expenses mathematical ratio.

 

Revenue is the top line on a company’s income statement.  Revenue, which is sometimes referred to as net sales, reflects the total amount of income generated by the sale of goods or services.  Revenue refers only to positive cash flow directly attributable to primary operations without withdrawing from a company’s savings or investment programs or loans to sustain operations.  When revenue ratios are low it can indicate a company that’s not very well run.  In a worst case scenario, it’s headed for a disastrous conclusion.

 

The Bottom Line.

A consistently healthy bottom line depends on rising operating profits over time.  Companies use operating profit margin not only to spot trends in growth, but also to pinpoint unnecessary expenses to determine where cost-cutting measures can boost their bottom line.  To gauge a companies performance relative to its peers, investors can compare its finances to other companies within the same industry.  However, this metric is also useful in the development of an effective business strategy as well as serving as a comparative metric for investors.  To learn more financial analysis, please confer with a certified public accountant, economist, or learn“How the Income Statement and Balance Sheet Differ?”

 

NCHA 990 RECAP

There’s a few important elements of this 990 tax return that requires explanation, e.g., :

 

NCHA IRS 990 TAX PERIOD:

 For the 2015 tax year, or tax year beginning 10/01/2015 and ending 09/30/2016.

 

PART IX STATEMENT OF FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES

 Number (7) Other Salaries and Wages:

$2,087,139.00

 

Program Services Expenses

$1,137,015.00

 

Management and General Expenses

$950,124.00

 

The key element to this category is that Management Expenses are calculated at the rate of (45.5%) of total salaries.  I don’t believe these salary quotes takes into consideration of perks to include, but not limited to retirement contribution, insurance, tax contributions, etc. If the foregoing Program services expenses are representative of the 42 employees then the average salary paid to the (42) excluding the management team would calculate to the average salary of being approximately $27,071.78 each.  Check with the NCHA for clarification of the computations.

 

Number (11) Fees for services (non employees)

b – Legal
$140,100.00

c – Accounting
$93,651.00

d – Lobbying

$150,000.00

 

SCHEDULE (O)

 The organizations board of directors has vested all powers of the board of directors in the Executive Committee, except the power to amend by laws and except as otherwise limited by the board of directors or by statute the Executive Committee manages the affairs of the organization between meetings of the board of directors at all times, the Executive Committee is subject to the direction of the board of directors.

 

Essentially, what this clause means is that the NCHA Executive Committee has total control of the NCHA – at all times, except when a meeting of the board of directors is called to order.  Their power is ONLY limited by statute or a majority vote of the board of directors.

Click below for NCHA 990 from Oct. 1, 2015  to Oct. 30, 2016

NCHA 990 for 2015-2016

 

 

 

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

Posted by on Sep 3, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 11 comments

THE BUSINESS OF RUNNING A “BUSINESS””

 

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

 

On July 18, 2014, I authored and released an article, on allaboutcutting.net, 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.

 

NON-PROFIT INSTABILITY

 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 Guidestar.org, 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!”

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: richardedennis51@gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.richardedennis.net

 

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☛ The ABCs of hiring a professional horse trainer 8-12-18

Posted by on Aug 12, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 5 comments

THE ABC’S OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL HORSE TRAINER

 

DON’T BE A FOOL WITH YOUR MONEY!

 

 

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Aug. 12, 2018

 

So, you’ve made the decision to enter the horse industry. Your reasoning may include a myriad of ideological thought processes, including for an investment purpose, just to enjoy the equestrian life, a reenactment with the Old West lifestyle, or simply your love of horses and the ability to engage with one of the most marvelous animals on planet earth.

 

Regardless of what your reasoning is, one of the most important investment decisions the equestrian will make, besides the horse, is locating and retaining the right professional horse trainer. However, and for the record, the horse industry, unlike other professions requiring either a college degree or a degree from a vo-tech school, professional horse trainers occupy a unique niche in our society: “a niche that’s virtually unregulated and likened to the unregulated society of the Wild West.”

 

In a sense, horse trainers are unique in that they learn their trade on a generational basis, i.e., the training techniques are passed down from generation-to-generation. However, and contrary to popular belief, horse trainers aren’t Gods and they can’t walk on water! In some cases they think they are lawyers but a majority percentage dictates they aren’t one of those either.

 

Another satirical moment in history has taught us that some horse trainers think they can run a multi-million-dollar 501(c)3 nonprofit but they can’t do that either.

 

However and for the record, there are a lot of really good horse trainers out there; however, the corrupt, immoral, fraudulent and imbecilic individuals operating within the industry, as well as the ones causing the abhorrent abuses and fraudulent activities, are unfairly stigmatizing the honorable ones. For the record, not all horse trainers are created equally or share the same moralistic values of trust, duty of loyalty, honor and country.

 

Therefore, there aren’t any degrees to obtain, either from an accredited college or a vo-tech school, to vouch for their training. And there aren’t any governmental or 501(c)3 non-profit horse organization licensing requirements that I’m aware of, except the Thoroughbred racing industry, which is designed to regulate a horse trainer within a specific industry, as well as the AQHA Professional Horseman group. Unfortunately, in today’s society and especially in the performance horse industry, the only requirements for an individual desiring to be a professional horse trainer is to hang out his or her shingle and proclaim, “Today, I’m a professional horse trainer.”

 

In an abundance of caution, the investor or newcomer to the industry should also be aware that there’s absolutely no way for an individual to know whether or not an horse trainer has a prior criminal history or an existing criminal record of wrong doing, unless you ask, or the trainer agrees to a background check. Don’t rely on the 501(c)3 nonprofit to assist you in this matter because, to my knowledge, there’s no rule in their rule books to address pre-existing criminal record exclusions, except for “horse abuse.”

 

In my line of work, as a security consultant and risk analyst, I have to undergo an annual background check, including a urine drug screen, fingerprints check and a financial checkup, just to stay within my licensing requirements.  Therefore, my question is, “If I have to undergo those checks to operate within my jurisdiction, why shouldn’t horse trainers have to be subjected to the same scrutiny, especially in lieu of the fact that in some cases, horse trainers operate using millions of dollars of other peoples’ money?”

 

WHAT IS NOT REQUIRED OF TRAINERS?

Individual background checks are essential in maintaining safety standards within certain industries of our society; however, unfortunately it’s not a requirement with performance horse trainers in the reining, cutting or cow horse industry. Equally, it’s also not a requirement for an individual to be subjected to pre-access, random, probable-cause, or post-accident individual drug and alcohol screening requirements.

 

WHAT IS REQUIRED OF TRAINERS?

However, there are governmental licensing and taxing requirements for the individual proclaiming to be a professional horse trainer. More specifically, the professional horse trainer has to adhere to the taxing requirementsof the state he or she operates in, as well as the federal government taxing requirements for both the individual and the business name he or she is operating under. For example, in the event the professional horse trainer’s name is John Doe and he is operating a (dba) “doing business as” or “an assumed name” business, i.e., John Doe Cutting Horses, then, he or she has to register his or her business with the secretary of state that he or she is operating in, as well as the county the business is located in. This is also the same for partnerships.

 

In the absence of legal registration requirements, the owner of the (dba) or “an assumed name” doesn’t have the legal protections provided by the legal requirements or have the state’s authority to operate a business in the state of the domicile; nor does the owner or operator have the legal authority to engage in contracts or enforce contracts while being unregistered, such as filing or maintaining lawsuits within a specific legal jurisdiction. Furthermore, the individual operating an unregistered or non-legal business has to absorb all of the liability for operating an unregistered business, by his or herself.

 

Each state and county has their own licensing requirements, so the best avenue for obtaining this information is through either the Secretary of State’s office or the County Clerk’s office of your county.

 

RESEARCH:

Therefore, your only available option is left up to you to conduct your own research.  For the record, an individual’s failure to register a (dba) “or an assumed name” when required to do so, could result in fines and penalties to the trainer, which also can include incarceration, prosecution and imprisonment upon a guilty verdict.

 

One essential element, which appears to have escaped most 501(c)3 nonprofits, is the absence of enforcement rules to govern the moral behavior of certain individuals in the industry. This has also contributed to the withdrawal of existing members and is perhaps stymying new investors and members. Therefore, this analytical reasoning can be deduced as one of the “direct causes” to the rapid decline of participants and members in the specific performance horse groups.

 

Your Research:

The due-diligence doesn’t end after you locate a prospective training facility and horse trainer. The next step is to gather as much background or intelligence information as you can on the training facility itself, as well as the trainer. This can be done by:

 

  1. Ask for references. An excellent place to start is talking to prior or existing customers to find out what their experiences with a specific trainer have been. This can be done by asking the professional horse trainer for a list of references.

 

  1. Check with the Better Business Bureau. If any complaints were filed against an individual or his or her company over the years, this information will be located with this agency.

 

  1. Check with your state, county or parish licensing agencies for a particular business license requirement. Ascertain whether or not this particular individual’s business is currently registered and up-to-date, if required.

 

  1. Check with the local sheriff’s office or the SPCA to ascertain whether or not your potential trainer has ever had an animal abuse complaint filed against him or her. If so, obtain the judicial disposition of the case.

 

  1. There are two ways to research an individual’s background.1) Do it yourself or hire someone to do it after you obtain a signed release from the trainer, or 2) simply go to the local civil records section of the court house yourself and ask the clerk of court in the civil records section for all public arrest and filed lawsuit records for a specific individual. After all, arrest and lawsuit records are public documents.

 

B – Business Contracts and Insurance Policies

 

         The Business Contract:

 

  1. One of the most vital aspects of any business arrangement in today’s society is reducing the business arrangements to legal and notarized writings. A competent attorney at law should be used to draw-up the particulars for you.

 

  1. NEVERexecute or sign a “hand-written” contractual document with anyone. This type of scribed document is suspect in the first place. You may be signing a scheme to defraud, which has been proven factual in certain filed legal documents and circumstances. After all, you need all the legal protection you can muster-up in the event a dispute arises and you require an attorney at law to enforce a specific performance clause in the contract.

 

  1. A contract keeps everything clean and neat.If a trainer won’t sign a contract, this is a “red flag,” simply walk away and find someone who will.

 

         Business Insurance:

 

  1. Unfortunately in today’s marketplace, we all need insurance to protect our valuable assets. This is especially true with a horse.As my old veterinarian use to say, “A horse is just an accident looking for somewhere to happen.”  Therefore, common sense tells us “We all need to insure our horses while they’re in training.”

 

  1. Common sense also tells us, that the training facility, where the horse is boarded, as well as the trainer, should also have a liability insurance policy in the unlikely event that an incident happens and client damages can be recouped for injury, illness, or even death to a particular horse, while under trainer care, custody and control.

 

  1. As a Risk Manager, I feel two of the most important aspects of any insurance liability policy are: a) having the client named as “additionally insured” on the trainer’s liability policy and b) an “error and omissions” clause. Still another important aspect, is to have the insurance company notify the client in the event of policy cancellation and/or at least (30) days in advance of the cancellation date. This provision can be included in the business contract between the parties.

 

C – Maintaining Contact With Your Horse While It Is In Training:

 

As a Risk Manager, I believe in the practice of, “seeing what you getand what you’re paying for.”  Since, you’re paying the bills, it’s a good practice to make regular trips to see your horse while it’s in training. That way, you can see for yourself exactly how the horse is being trained and how the horse is progressing during training with the trainer. If you aren’t satisfied with the horse’s progression, it’s a good idea to speak to the trainer about it.

 

NEVER, get caught in the trap of being a victim or a life donator to a trainer’s 401 K retirement plan, especially with a horse that’s never going to make it in a specific performance horse discipline in the first place. It is a fact of life that not all horses are destined to become “superstars” no matter what the breeding sheet tells you and no matter how long they are in training. Therefore, your only reliance on this fact is in the opinion of your horse trainer’s credibility. That is, unless you’re an experienced horseman yourself, as well as being a good judge of horseflesh and training methods. So live by this rule: “Trust But Verify.”

 

Making regular visits to the horse-training facility will allow you to judge that for yourself. If your horse trainer objects to your regular visits to ascertain how your horse is being treated and trained, simply find another horse trainer. The plain truth is: Your trainer is going to know in very short order whether your horse is a worthy candidate or not for a specific horse discipline or event in the performance horse industry. It’s not going to take a year or longer.

 

D – Money Earnings Split:

 

NEVER engage in a practice where a horse trainer is allowed to have a winning’s check issued in his or her name and NEVER opt for a deal with the trainer to maintain control of your share of earnings and apply it to your bill balance. The “pitfall” of this accounting method is that you’re relying on the horse trainer to act as your accountant. This is exactly how financial disputes arise in the first place. Be smarter than that!  Essentially, the horse trainer is your “contract laborer,” not an agent for your accountant.  The proper way to handle the “money/split” is for the client to receive the earnings’ check, pay the trainer his or her portion and issue the trainer an IRS form 1099 form at the end of the year for the tax filing purposes of both parties.

 

The client should always pay their board, training and entry fees separate and apart from money-earning check payouts. At the end of the year, it’s the client’s responsibility to issue the IRS form1099 to the trainer, which includes what you paid him or her – not, vice-versa.

 

E – Fraudulent Acts:

 

If at anytime you determine your trainer is “padding” invoices, i.e., adding expenses that aren’t usual and customary, this is a red flag! Immediately address this with your trainer and refuse to pay the bill until it is rectified. If this practice persists after the initial finding, fire the trainer and find someone else. Beware, of a facility that desires to provide you with multiple months’ billing all at once – or even on a quarterly, semi-annual, bi-annual or annual basis. This should raise a serious red flag to the client as it relates to the accuracies of the contents identified as billable services.

 

Another avenue available to the individual, who has been the victim of a fraudulent act, is to consult with law enforcement, rather than a lawyer, for asset recovery. In my opinion, those identified as operating fraudulent business practices should be evicted from the business on a permanent basis.

 

F – Money-back Guarantee:

 

If the trainer you pick is the really “fire-bang wizard” he or she proclaims, then speak to them about a “Money-Back Guarantee” on their training. At my company, I offer a “Money-Back-Guarantee” on all of my business products and services, including horse training. The guarantee states: “If a Client isn’t completely satisfied with my products or services, they’re entitled to a full refund, or a “money-back guarantee.”  If the trainer balks, you might want to find another trainer. To date, I haven’t returned anyone’s money and I’ve trained a lot of horses in my time. This separates the really confident trainers from the wanna-be’s, “so-to-speak.”

 

Overall, the bad trainers in the industry are making the good trainers and the industry suffer. That’s a sad commentary for the industry. In recent years I’ve seen highly publicized increases in animal abuse cases among trainers, as well as an increase in lawsuits, because of business dealings that have gone bad or have been fraudulent.

 

One trainer to avoid is the one who always wants you to engage in some sort of partnership with him or her. This is just another way for them to use your money. From what I can tell, most of those partnerships don’t have happy endings. Therefore, be frugal with your money, diligent in your research and prudent in your business practices and you’ll more than likely be happy in the industry.

 

Another option for guidance is to purchase my book: “THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding the Pitfalls.”  This book was written to address the many “Pitfalls” the equine enthusiast may encounter in the industry, as well as the ways to avoid them, including the ones in this article.

 

Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between the Bridle!

 

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Professional Reined Cow Horse Trainer.
Freelance Writer and Author
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Email: windrivercompany.rd@gmail.com
Web Site: http://www.richardedennis.net

DIVISIONS:
Wind River Security, Personal Protection, Risk Management, and Analysis.
Wind River Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Consortium Services.
Wind River Stock Horses – Breeding Training Exhibition and Sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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