The shadows grow long as two men work out the final seedy details. A slide of the hand and the prized possession will be exported in the dark of the night. If it sounds like the criminal underground, you are only partly right. It is criminal, but it is a long way from underground.
Some horse trainers have found that “criminal” is a tough title to make stick when you take an improperly possessed horse across state lines. Law enforcement officials say this is because these matters are usually considered civil, rather than criminal. As a result, there is no reason to operate dishonestly “underground.”
Laura Hense lost her competition horse, Orion, doing what most horse owners do, trusting her horse trainer. Instead of returning the horse to the stable, her trainer arranged to have the horse shipped across the country to a “connection” without her knowledge. When Hense couldn’t find Orion she initiated a three-year journey to try to get him back.
How your horse can be taken is far less predictable than the people who may attempt to take it. For that reason Rate My Horse PRO (www.ratemyhorsepro.com) was created by a group of concerned horse owners and professionals. Rate My Horse PRO, which soft launched in early November, is an all discipline tool that allows you to add, rate, and review professionals you’ve done business with anonymously. Verified users can rate horse trainers, stables, farriers, and horse shows.
Rate My Horse PRO also offers several unique features new to the online ratings world including identity verification. Every user pays a $5 fee for the third-party service to insure each rating is unique, and to protect the validity of the ratings process. The goal of site is to enhance the horse industry by offering a new level of transparency and accountability, while facilitating the promotion of horse professionals who conduct business with integrity. The site is currently collecting information and ratings; all of the site’s ratings will go live at the Rate My Horse PRO Grand Launch in January 2011.
Once the “connection” received Orion, he was almost immediately sold and relocated to a third state. Hense did eventually recover about half of the money from the trainer’s “connection,” and has an outstanding judgment against her former trainer. The former trainer now lives out of state, where he has avoided payment, and successfully operates his business. Hense would never see Orion again.