The International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association has a reputation. After the spur incident at the 2011 national show, numbers have dwindled both in spectators and exhibitors. This year, the annual exhibitor party and extravaganza was a bitter disappointment.
For those who are unaware, in 2011 a top trainer from Haras Dos Cavaleiros injured his horse with his spur during the stable’s performance. He had been using spurs made in a style similar to the traditional spurs used in and around the Renaissance era. Those spurs were particularly sharp and pierced the horse’s side. The video attached is of the performance in question. The blood becomes noticeable around the 9:00 to 9:10 mark and is on the horse’s right side under the rider’s ankle area.
After that incident, the IALHA and Haras Dos Cavaleiros came under fire for cruelty to animals. The IALHA chose to save face and take the stable’s side, despite the video proof of the incident taken by a member of Haras.
Unfortunately, little has changed. Horse abuse seems to be a “norm” at the extravaganza, and this year the stable coming under fire is none other than the Dallas Medieval Times. Despite two breathtaking performances by the horses and riders—one on the ground and one under saddle—I noticed while waiting at the stalls to snag an interview (one I did not get) that one of the horses had severe damage to his front hooves. There were cracks running from the coronet band to the end as well as a large hole in one, and that was all I could see. When one of the handlers came in to check the horse, he made quick work of going in and out of the stall.
Horses are delicate animals. Their hooves are easily injured. It would have been one thing if the horse had staples in his hooves to keep them together or if they had been bandaged. As they were left bare, I am left wondering why. On top of that, regardless as to whether the horse had actually been used in the performance or not, he did not need to be there.
Much as it pains me to say, I will not be returning to either the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association national show or the Dallas Medieval Times.