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☛ Equine Herpes in Cooke County, Texas 6-26-16




Press release from TAHC
June 25, 2016


Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials released the premises quarantined for Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in Cooke County on June  22. There are no other reported EHM cases in Texas.


The first case of EHM in Cooke County was confirmed on May 24. Since the original case, six additional horses on the premises tested positive for the neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1. One of the test-positive horses exhibited neurologic signs consistent

with EHM, bringing the total number of EHM cases at this facility to two.


TAHC staff worked closely with the facility management and veterinarian to implement testing protocols and biosecurity measures. All test-positive horses (seven) on the premises were removed to an isolation area after being diagnosed. The premises

was released after more than 14 days of no new cases, and the previously positive horses tested negative for EHV-1.


TAHC is monitoring a situation at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico, where a single horse has been diagnosed with EHM. The equine industry is encouraged to obtain the latest information on this outbreak and other disease events across the country by visiting

the Equine Disease Communication Center at:


For more information on protecting your horses from EHV-1 and other equine diseases,

visit our website


To learn more about EHM, visit


For more information contact the Communications Dept. at 512-719-0750 or at


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☛ Jake Gorrell NRCHA Bridle Champion 6-22-16

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, MAJOR EVENTS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments




Press release from NRCHA
June 22, 2016 

Jake Gorrell shown riding Smooth N Cash beat 13 other elite equines to win the CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular. NRCHA photo

The show day at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Jack & Phoebe Cooke Memorial Derby in Paso Robles, California, began with the herd work finals for 4- and 5-year-old horses, and wrapped up with a thrilling display of the older, seasoned bridle horses in the $50,000 added CD Survivor Memorial Open Bridle Spectacular, sponsored by Holy Cow Performance Horses.


CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular

Bridle Spectaculars at NRCHA Premier Events deliver some of the best cow horse action a reined cow hose fan will ever see. The bridle horses are the veterans of the NRCHA, with all the ingredients: talent, training and years of experience.


The CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular, named in honor of the late, great stallion owned by NRCHA sponsor Holy Cow Performance Horses, is a $50,000-added contest that never fails to thrill spectators, year after year.


A perennial crowd favorite horse rose to the top of the field of fourteen elite equines, ridden by the NRCHA’s most accomplished professionals, to win the Champoinship.


Shown by Hanford, California, professional Jake Gorrell, the gritty 2005 gelding Smooth N Cash (Smooth As A Cat x Dox Gavacash x Miss N Cash), claimed the $22,350 championship check when he scored a 662 composite (222 herd/220 rein/226 cow), winning the title by a six point margin. Smooth N Cash had the high score in the herd work, and the second high score in the rein and fence work.


It was the first time for Gorrell and the little sorrel he calls “Gadget,” owned by Roloff Ranch, to win this particular coveted title, although they have come close before.


“It’s awesome. It’s nice to put it all together, finally. Last year I fell down [in the fence work], the year before I had a switch [penalty in the herd work], came back and marked a 232 [down the fence] and almost got a check, but this was the first time for me to win it,” Gorrell said.


The CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular paycheck elevates Smooth N Cash’s NRCHA earnings right to the $230,000 mark. They also took home a Gist buckle, a CR Morrison Trophy, product from Platinum Performance and San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health, and they will have their names inscribed on the perpetual CD Survivor Memorial Trophy.


Over his long and successful career, Smooth N Cash has won the hearts of many fans due to his particular flair for the fence work. His grit and ability in that event shined again in Paso Robles.


“He fell on the first turn, and he almost fell down. He still gathered himself up and ran down there and made a turn in the middle. There’s no better horse. I’ve never trained one like that. I’ve never had one train ME like that,” Gorrell said, laughing. “He’s like my best friend. I started him. My clients who own him are the best in the world.”


Click here to watch the 226 fence work by Smooth N Cash and Jake Gorrell.


Gorrell had unlimited admiration for his fellow competitors and their horses, and he thanked Nancy Crawford-Hall of Holy Cow Performance Horses for providing the outstanding showcase for bridle horses.


Doug Williamson riding High Brow Shiner scored the highest fence score of the night and was Reserve Champion of the Bridle Spectacular. NRCHA photo

The big 226 fence work by Gorrell and Smooth N Cash was goosebump-inducing, but it wasn’t the highest fence score of the night. That particular honor belonged to the CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champion, High Brow Shiner (Shining Lil Nic x High Brow Meow x High Brow Cat), a 2009 stallion shown by NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Doug Williamson for owner Belle Meade Ranch.


The pair scored a 228 down the fence, an exceptional wrap-up to their other performances, a 216 in the herd work and 218 in the rein work. The 662 composite came with a $18,625 paycheck.


“That’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on!” Williamson said, laughing, after the tremendous run on the fancy palomino he calls a natural at the fence work.


“That horse is such an amazing fence horse. He just loves his job, and I go along for the ride,” the NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman and two-time Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion said. “A great bridle horse has to have heart. That horse has so much grit, so much heart. I’ve showed his wheels off, every time I go someplace, and he’s quiet. If a cow attacks him, he says, ‘No way can you beat me.’ He just has it in him. He’s such a great horse.”


Click here to watch the 228 fence work by High Brow Shiner and Doug Williamson. 







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☛ NRCHA Derby Champs named 6-20-16




Press release from NRCHA
June 20, 2016

Todd Bergen and Some Kinda Merada claimed the NRCHA Derby Open Championship. NRCHa photo

The best 4- and 5-year-old reined cow horses in the country put their talents on display at the Paso Robles Events Center Saturday, June 18, in the National Reined Cow Horse Association Jack & Phoebe Cooke Memorial Derby Finals. Champions in three Open and three Non Pro divisions were crowned at the NRCHA’s largest Premier Event for derby age horses, which paid out nearly $300,000 and attracted the industry’s elite horsemen and -women.


Derby Open Champion

Leading National Reined Cow Horse Association professional Todd Bergen, Eagle Point, Oregon, added another Premier Event title to his impressive resume when he guided Some Kinda Merada (Cats Merada x Ima Fern Believer x Peptoboonsmal) to the NRCHA Derby Open Championship.


Bergen and the 2011 mare, owned by Cable Creek Ranch, Aurora, Oregon, earned $30,767 when they scored a 670.5 (218 herd/225.5 rein/227 cow).


How did Bergen feel about another big win?


“It never gets old,” he said. “This event has gotten so tough and so deep. Everybody’s always rooting for each other. We could run this whole thing again tomorrow and it could change around completely. Any time you come out on top, it’s a thrill. I don’t care how many times you show or compete, it’s always gratifying.”


Bergen, a NRCHA 2 Million Dollar Rider, had piloted Some Kinda Merada to just over $24,000 in reined cow horse earnings since he bought her for Mike and Cindy Warn’s Cable Creek Ranch as a 3-year-old. While Bergen never doubted the mare’s abilities, a major win had eluded her until her performance in Paso Robles.


“I have to thank Justin Wright and Eric Freitas for selling me this mare, and I’m sorry it took me so long for me to show everybody what she could be,” Bergen said, “I’ve always believed in her. This has been a great mare for a long time, and I just have never got it all put together. I was starting to scratch my head and wonder why. I told myself to trust her, and just do it, so that’s what I did, and it worked,” Bergen said.


Some Kinda Merada was in a three-way tie for first place after the herd and rein work finals. She needed a big score down the fence to move into the lead, and when the judges marked the run a 227, the resulting 670.5 composite score proved untouchable.


The last time Bergen won the NRCHA Derby Open Championship, it was in 2010, and he was riding another horse owned by Cable Creek Ranch: Smart Luck (Very Smart Remedy x Gunna Be Lucky x Gunna Smoke), a 2006 stallion who has gone on to be a brilliant performer with more than $245,000 in reined cow horse and reining money on his record.


“That goes to show you how great a customer Cindy [Warn] is. She supplies me with good horses and trusts my program and trusts my judgment about what to do with these horses and where to go with them. I can’t thank her enough. This mare just got an embryo flushed out of her about a month ago to Smart Luck, so hopefully, in a few years, we’ll be riding that baby,” Bergen said.


The Derby Open Championship prize package included a Scottsdale Western World and Silver Spurs Equine saddle sponsored by Eric Freitas and Korie Baker; a Gist buckle; boots from Rios of Mercedes, and gift certificates from San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health and Platinum Performance.


Click here for video of Some Kinda Merada and Todd Bergen’s 227 fence work.


Smooth Bellingrah and Nick Dowers were the Open Derby Reserve Champions. NRCHA photo

Derby Open Reserve Champion

The Derby Open Reserve Champion was Smooth Bellingrath (Smooth As A Cat x Very Special Peppy x Peppy San Badger), shown by Nevada professional Nick Dowers for Triple D Ranches.


Dowers and the 2011 stallion had the high score in the preliminary composite, and in the finals, they had the high rein work score on their way to an overall 664.5 (217 herd/226.5 rein/221 cow). They took home $23,283, as well as a pair of boots from Rios of Mercedes and gift certificates from Farnam and Platinum Performance.


Intermediate Open Champion

Justin Lawrence and Dualinn Stargun were the Intermediate Open Champions. NRCHA Photo

Dualin Stargun (Dual Rey x Amanda Stargun x Playgun) and Justin Lawrence, Alzada, Montana, are two-for-two at National Reined Cow Horse Association Premier Events in 2016. At the NRCHA Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April, the pair won the Intermediate Open Championship and qualified for the Open finals. They did the same thing in Paso Robles, scoring a 661.5 composite (220 herd/218 rein/223.5 fence) to win the Intermediate Open title and finish fifth in the Open.


“I was excited at the Stakes, and probably more excited now, because you wonder if it was a one shot deal. He was better this whole trip. Better in the prelims, better in the finals. It was such a tough finals, with great horses and great riders. I’m pretty stoked!” Lawrence said.


The Intermediate Open Championship paid $6,583, and Lawrence collected another $11,641 for their top 5 Derby Open finish. He and his wife, Kelcie, own the 2011 stallion with another couple, John and Heather Kennedy, as the Dualin Stargun Partners.


“They [the Kennedys] make everything possible. I don’t know if we’d venture that far on our own paycheck, and they’re always there and always supportive, and it makes it easier to go to the shows,” Lawrence said.


The little gray stallion may barely make 14 hands in height, but Lawrence says he possesses the grit and heart of a horse three times his size – and proved it again in Paso Robles. Lawrence was most proud of their fence work in the preliminaries and in the finals.


“In the prelims cow work, we were a 224.5. The cow – I’ll be the first to say wasn’t the fastest cow — but it was 100 pounds bigger than he was, and he pushed it around. Today in the finals, the cow was faster, and he stepped up and handled it. I’ve waited a while to have one like this that’s so consistent and gives me his heart,” Lawrence said.


Besides the two paychecks, Lawrence took home a Gist buckle and a gift certificate from Platinum Performance.


Click here for the finals fence work video by Dualin Stargun and Justin Lawrence.


The Intermediate Open Reserve Champion was Metallic Masterpiece (Metallic Cat x Kings Masterpiece x Peppy San Badger), shown by Kyle Trahern, Walsh, Colorado, for owner Silver Spur Operating Co. LLC. They scored a 651.5 (214.5 herd/221 rein/216 cow), earning $4,851.


Limited Open Champion

Ryan Thomas and Magicat, Limited Open Champions. NRCHA photo

The 2016 NRCHA Derby was the first time for Ryan Thomas, King Hill, Idaho, to make the finals at a National Reined Cow Horse Association Premier Event. He marked the occasion by winning the Limited Open Championship and finishing 8th in the Intermediate Open aboard Magicat (Metallic Cat x Magical Lena x Little Lenas Legend).


Thomas and the 2011 mare worked their way to a 646.5 composite in the finals (211 herd/215.5 rein/220 cow), winning the Limited Open Championship by a 26.5 point margin. Their combined paychecks totaled $6,930. Thomas also took home a Gist buckle and a gift certificate from Platinum Performance.


“I’m just happy I did it right,” Thomas said. “It’s only my second time to show her, and I didn’t get her shown very well the first time [at the NRCHA Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas]. I’m grateful to be able to show her, especially at two major events.”


For the past four-and-a-half years, Thomas has worked as an assistant trainer to NRCHA Hall of Fame Professional and Million Dollar Rider Anne Reynolds, King Hill, Idaho. Magicat was raised and trained at Reynolds’ Why Worry Ranch. She is owned by Reynolds’ mother, Joyce Pearson, as part of the mother-and-daughter team’s joint breeding program.


“There are a lot of real good horse trainers who have trained on her, and I just got to capitalize on that this week,” Thomas said. “Nick Dowers started her and Nic Brunelli [Reynolds' former assistant] rode her ,and Annie rode her, and Gusti [Buerger, another former assistant to Reynolds] rode her a little bit. Now I get to show her – how lucky am I?” Thomas said, smiling.


Thomas acknowledged the mare’s particular talent for the fence work, and noted that their rein work performance in the preliminary round, where they scored a 218, was a personal best and a mental victory for him.


“She’s a machine down the fence, as long as she’s relaxed, and she was super relaxed here,” he said. “The fence work was fun, in the prelims and in the finals.The prelims rein work was awesome for me as well because I never have scored a 218 at a major event.”


He thanked Reynolds and Pearson, and also appreciated the motivation and coaching from two other mentors in particular.


“I’m grateful to Annie for letting me show her, and to Joyce for raising awesome horses, and all my help – Jake Telford is an inspiration, and Nick Dowers is an inspiration, and I’m fortunate to be around those guys as much as I am.”


Click here for video of Magicat and Ryan Thomas in the Derby finals fence work.


Derby Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and Novice Non Pro Champion

Keri Hudson Reykdal and SLR Won Smart Wolf Won the Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and Novice Non Pro divisions. NRCHA photo

Canadian competitor Keri Hudson Reykdal guided SLR Won Smart Wolf (Paddys Irish Whiskey x Smart Miss Wolf x Smart Trip Olena) to a clean sweep of the  Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and Novice Non Pro divisions.


Reykdal, a veterinarian from Ashern, Manitoba, Canada, piloted her 2011 gelding to a 642.5 composite (215 herd/211 rein/216.5 fence), and her three paychecks totaled more than $12,000!


“I really lucked out with a good draw in the herd. My trainer, John Swales, I believe is the best help here for picking cows. Between him and Cody [McArthur] and Cayley [Wilson], they always pick me awesome cows, always, so I knew I could count on them for that. In the rein work, we’re still struggling and just trying to get through, so I was happy to mark over a 210 again. This horse is amazing down the fence, so I know I can count on him. He was a little hot today and wanted to go, but we were able to make it through, so I was happy,” Reykdal said.


The Non Pro division was sponsored by Pony Tail Sportswear. For winning all three divisions, Reykdal collected a pile of prizes including a Scottsdale Western World and Silver Spurs Equine saddle; boots from Rios of Mercedes; a triple stack of Gist buckles; multiple gift certificates from Platinum Performance and San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health; and a pair of Pony Tail Sportswear underwear for riders. The Non Pro divisions also received award sponsor support from the City of Fort Worth, Texas.


Click here for video of the finals fence work by Keri Hudson Reykdal and SLR Won Smart Wolf.

Click here for complete 2016 NRCHA Derby results, schedule and information.




Click here for complete 2016 NRCHA Derby results, schedule and information.
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☛ NCHA Convention/METF News 6-17-16




By Glory Ann Kurtz
June 18, 2016



With the NCHA Convention scheduled for June 24-26 at the Hilton DFW Lakes in Grapevine, Texas, NCHA officials are more than likely nervous due to the loss of membership, financial condition of the association and the discontent of some members over the payout at the Triple Crown events.


In the latest Chatter, NCHA Convention Guidelines were published, as well as an article from NCHA Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell entitled “Disagree…agreeably.” Campbell encourages members to “work together to find solutions that will keep the cutting horse and its heritage alive and well 100 years from now.” He agreed that we all have disagreements with others in our horse family – but asked that the “heavy artillery be left at home.”


The published list of Guidelines included: Member Conduct: 1) Identification badges would be issued to members and invited guests for admission to all meetings, 2) Discussion will typically be limited to one speech of not more than five minutes for each member and only relevant agenda items will be discussed, 3) Members are expected to have a positive attitude and respect one another, listen with an open mind, speak only on the topic, respect time limits, speak only when recognized and speak clearly and into the microphone and 4) avoid side conversations, phones and beepers.


Electronic devices shall be silenced and video and voice recording shall not be permitted in any meetings. There will be no voting by proxy and committee members may not join meetings through digital mans. All meetings of the board will be held in executive session, unless otherwise noted. Non members of committees may attend the meeting except portions conducted in executive session. For committee meetings held in executive session, anyone who is not a member of the committee that does not have express consent of the Chair to attend, will leave the meeting until that portion is concluded and cannot speak unless allowed by the Chair.

The rules of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern all NCHA meetings.


If you haven’t registered, late registration after June 15 is $175. The Hall of Fame Banquet is $50; however, the deadline was June 15.



NCHA finances will surely be brought up at the Convention since much was made of the fact that the NCHA Futurity was basically a “jackpot.” For years the NCHA has been receiving millions of dollars from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund but if this state money is lost, it more than likely will not be NCHA’s fault (unless they have misused the funds) as there has been much political chatter about the auditing of this fund (see links below) and so it was moved from the State Comptroller’s Office to the Governor’s office starting in 2016 – hopefully so it can be better overseen  – and the rules of the game may change.


The financial records of the Major Events Trust Fund, which is now called the Major Events Reimbursement Program Fund (MERP) and operated by the Governor’s office, are open records and can be found on the Internet. The most recent records published by the Governor’s office are for 2016 events and do not mention any of the NCHA Triple Crown events. (The requests must be made 120 days prior to the event and not more than a year). Also, the records from the Comptroller’s office are no longer on line. However, I requested last year’s records for the NCHA, which I have linked to in this article, along with some articles regarding the Major Events Trust Fund and the reason it was moved to the Governor’s office. Click below on the Major Events Reimbursement Program 2016 and it will download onto your desktop.

Click for Major Events Reimbursement Program 2016>>

Click for Audits Scant-Texas Tribune article>>

Click for 2 State Trust-Dallas Morning News>>

Click for State Audit Report>>


The missing figures were e-mailed to me and showed:  2014 NCHA Futurity, state paid  $993,203 on Feb. 19, 2016; 2015 NCHA Super Stakes, state paid $1,033,426.42 on March 4, 2016 and for the 2015 NCHA Summer Spectacular, the state paid $481,302.00 on Feb. 19, 2016, for a total of $2,507,931.42.

Click for 2015 METF figures>>


The NCHA had requested $981,258 for the 2015 NCHA Futurity (part of the 2016 Triple Crown), $698,838 for the 2016 NCHA Super Stakes and $553,308 for the 2016 NCHA Summer Spectacular, for a total of  $2,233,404. However, the Disbursement Request Date, Disbursement Paid Date, and Total Amount Paid all said N/A. Note: (probably the reason for the jackpot – they hadn’t received their money in time to pay out at the 2015 NCHA Futurity)


According to the NCHA, they apply for the Texas Major Events Trust Fund as the “Triple Crown of Cutting” for all three events together. The reimbursement for approved expenses occurs after each event is held. To be reimbursed for expenses, participants in the MERP submit approved expenses and attendance reports that are reviewed by the governor’s office. As a general rule, that process has taken four to six months after each event before NCHA receives funding once all of the items are submitted and is true for all participants in the Major Events Reimbursement Program (MERP).


The 2015 Futurity disbursement is within the normal process and time period. NCHA staff completed all of the documentation for the 2016 Super Sakes and submitted, so that paperwork is in the normal timeframe. Finally, NCHA cannot submit the reimbursement request to the City of Fort Worth and the governor’s office for the Summer Spectacular until that event is completed.

NCHA’s application for the next Triple Crown series: the 2016 NCHA World Championship Futurity, 2017 Super Stakes and 2017 Summer Spectacular is currently being prepared and will be submitted prior to the deadline.


The lesson learned here is that the NCHA needs to budget expenses for aged events, without depending on the money from the Major Events Reimbursement Program Fund, as there is a deadline on how long they can receive this money (which could be coming up soon) or if they are okayed to receive it, it’s obviously not written in stone when it will be received.




Terry Bassett

According to an article in the Chatter, Terry Bassett, Colorado Springs, Colo., has been named the association’s new Chief Marketing Officer. Bassett will serve as the lead business development officer of the association, develop strategies that will improve NCHA’s bottom line, grow its fan base and add new members and participants.


Prior to joining the staff of the NCHA, Bassett spent five years as Executive Vice President of Sales and Partnership Marketing at the Professional Bull Riding Inc. (PBR). Prior to that, he held senior marketing positions in the automotive racing industry and with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins.

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☛ Dakotah Harrell arrested for felony theft 6-16-16




By Glory Ann Kurtz
June 16, 2016
Corrected June 17, 2016 


Dakotah Lindsey Harrell, 28, Whitesboro, Texas, was booked into the Cooke County, Texas, jail on March 10, 2016, and arrested for theft of up to $300,000 on a warrant filed by Miller Wade Smith, Geary, Okla. With bond set at $50,000, she was released on March 11 after bail was posted. (see links at end of this article)


Harrell was charged with systematically stealing money from Smith’s bank account through Internet transactions over the past four years with Texas Statute 31.03(7) a felony of the first degree if the value of the property stolen is $300,000/$200,000 or more. The arrest requires a grand jury indictment, which was originally scheduled for May 11, 2016, with Assistant District Attorney Lisa Decker. However, for reasons unknown, the grand jury hearing has been put off until Friday, June 24.


Smith and his wife, Tresa, are involved in the cutting horse business, with Smith showing as a Non-Pro in NCHA competition. Also a vested-interest partner in the business is Wade Smith’s mother, Jimmie Miller Smith, also of Geary.


The Smiths breed, buy and sell horses and have cutting horses trained and shown by various trainers, including Merritt Wilson, Whitesboro, Texas, where, according to Harrell’s Facebook page, she was employed at the time of her arrest as an assistant trainer. She also stated she studied Equine Science at Redlands Community College.


I was alerted to the fact that a freelance writer and contributor to author, Risk Analyst and Risk Manager Rick Dennis, the managing member of the Wind River Company LLC, was hired by Jimmie Miller Smith to evaluate this incident and establish a Risk Management Program to prevent future thefts of funds from their bank accounts.


When I reached out to Dennis for comment, he declined stating, “This case is a continuing and ongoing criminal investigation by Sgt. Jimmie Harp of the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office.”


However, Rick did state the case is in very capable hands and the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office has done a very fine job in this matter.


With this being an ongoing case and the fact that a grand jury hearing is now scheduled for June 24, keep watching this site for updates as this case could easily go in several different directions and also involve other individuals.

Click for copy of Harrell’s arrest warrant>>

Click for copy of Harrell’s book-in with photo>>

Click for copy of Harrell’s Facebook page>>

Click for additional copy of Harrell’s Facebook page>>



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☛ Wrongful death ruling empowers farriers 6-15-16




Almost all of us hire farriers to trim and shoe our horses and sometimes there is a struggle with either the horse or the farrier getting hurt – or both. However in a recent court California Court of Appeals case, where the farrier was hit by the horse and fell, hitting his head and died, the court decided it was the owner’s fault. This is one we all need to read.


The following is a reprint from an article in the American Farriers Journal, written by Jeff Cota and posted on June 4, 2015 and posted in Education.


On a fall Southern California day in 2009, Pat Barrett set out to do what he had done thousands of times over more than 45 years — trim horses’ hooves.


Armed with a halter, Barrett and his assistant entered an exceptionally rocky corral to secure a horse. It was something that Barrett had done since he started working on James Leech’s horses. This day, though, would have a tragic outcome.


“In attempting to secure one of the horses for hoof trimming, Patrick was hit by the horse’s chest or possibly the horse’s face, which caused him to fall and hit his head on one of the rocks that covered the corral,” according to court documents. “As a result of that fall, he suffered serious head trauma. He later died from the injuries he sustained.”

There was a great deal of interest in the industry when it was learned that a California Court of Appeals dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit that was brought by Barrett’s widow Nancy, and for good reason. Mrs. Barrett asks some very important questions — not only on behalf of herself and her late husband, but for each and every one of you who gets under a horse.


  • Whose responsibility is it to secure and restrain horses?
  • Whose responsibility is it to determine whether the conditions are safe to work on a horse?
  • Whose responsibility is it to determine whether the horse is too volatile in disposition and temperament?


In its 15-page decision, the court details its position through case law that the responsibility rests entirely with you – the owner.


It’s not a popular ruling. After all, a man lost his life. A wife lost her husband. Six children lost their father. Grandchildren lost their grandfather.


It’s incredibly difficult to separate the emotional elements from this horrible accident. Yet, it’s important to consider the very specific language when reading the main points contained within the ruling.


Perhaps the issue that sparked the most discussion within the farrier industry involved the court’s opinion on securing horses.


While Mrs. Barrett argued that the horse owner was liable for failing to secure or restrain horses for the farrier, the court disagreed.


“Securing the horses was an essential part of the job for which the farrier Patrick was hired,” according to the court documents. “The owner had no duty to secure the horses once he gave up care and control to the specialist.”


The key to the opinion is contained within the second sentence:  “… once he gave up care and control to the specialist.” The court is being very specific. It’s not saying that it’s the farrier’s job to fetch horses. It’s not saying the farrier should accept unsafe working conditions. Yet, what it is saying is that once the farrier accepts care and control of the horse, the owner is off the hook. You are now responsible.


Although some farriers are criticizing the ruling as a blow against the industry, it actually empowers you. The court is telling you it’s OK to say no. You have the right to walk away rather than put yourself in unnecessary danger.


There are going to be clients who don’t understand your decision. Some will be angry. Others will fire you. The courts are very clear — the client will not be compelled to pay for your hospital bills, cover your lost wages, pay your funeral costs or take care of your family if you lose your life.


It’s OK to say no.

- See more at:




Fifty-two organizations now support code

(Washington, DC)- The American Farrier’s Association is the latest organization to endorse the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Welfare Code of Practice.


The AHC Welfare Code of Practice is a broad set of principles designed to establish good welfare procedures for organizations to follow to “Put the Horse First.”  The code outlines in broad strokes what principles organizations are committed to in breeding, training, competing, transporting, enjoying, and caring for their horses.  The code encourages everyone to consider the health, safety, and welfare of their horses in all aspects of their activities, including the social and ethical issues.


“The American Farrier’s Association strongly supports the principles of the American Horse Council’s Welfare Code of Practice. Our mission statement clearly indicates the AFA’s commitment to good stewardship of the horse, and our support of the AHC Welfare Code of Practice is a natural extension of that commitment,” commented Beth Daniels, Executive Director for the AFA.


The AHC’s code is not intended to supersede an organization’s rules or regulations.  Any organization’s more specific rules still govern activities sanctioned and regulated by the organization.  Rather the code is a compliment to any such rules and restates the principles to be followed by breed registries, trade associations, various disciplines and the horse community as a whole in pursuing their equine activities.


To review the AHC Welfare Code of Practice, a list of the 52 organizations supporting the code, and a FAQs page, please visit the AHC Website.



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