Stallions must be gentlemen in public.
That’s a given for those who ride, show and work stallions around other horses and people.
A stallion’s natural instinct makes him more attentive, especially as seasons change.
Certain stallions of modest demure combined with appropriate management never act differently than other horses. Percentage-wise that’s likely a minority.
Discipline techniques for stallions vary widely as do training methods from cowboy to cowboy. Typically, there are “barn secrets” kept at home.
That certainly came to light when a longtime prominent horseman publicly disciplined an ornery stallion.
News sources reported witnesses seeing Tommy Manion, Aubrey, Texas, shoot a tied-up unruly stallion with a BB gun at a cutting horse show.
Reportedly, one witness at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) event, July 15, 2017, in Whitesboro, Texas, had a video. It was turned over to the NCHA.
The video showed Manion had a pistol under a jacket draped over his hand. He dropped the gun and bent over to pick it up, according to news affiliates.
An attorney for Manion, breeder of horses with $6 million in earnings, disputed claims the action was cruel. Manion supposedly believed it was a necessary action to protect people from the dangerous and unruly stallion.
The horse, according to reports, was shot three or four times within five minutes. No criminal charges resulted, and veterinarians did not find any injuries from the BB gun shots.
Smooth Maximus, a son of High Brow Cat and out of Shes Pretty Smooth by Wheeling Peppy, was listed for sale on the Manion Ranch website before and after the incident. It is reported that the horse has now been gelded.
NCHA sanctioned Manion for animal abuse and non-compliance with the association’s recently implemented Zero Animal Abuse Policy, publicly released news stories indicated.
The Zero Tolerance Policy prohibits NCHA members from inhumane treatment of a horse, which includes “any act which the general public would perceive to constitute inhumane treatment or abuse of a horse.”
It covers activity on show grounds, including the warm-up area, practice pen and other locations on the property.
Cited in the NCHA disciplinary process, Manion was suspended from NCHA for two years, then five years’ probation and a $15,000 fine.
Manion responded by filing a civil petition claiming the NCHA committed breach of contract and also violated Texas law, his rights to due process and its own rules.
The petition sought to have the NCHA’s disciplinary action voided and more than $1 million in monetary relief.
However, it didn’t take long for Manion to drop the lawsuit and apologize to NCHA officials and members. An open letter was published on the NCHA website.
Evidence was apparently overwhelming that Manion had violated the NCHA Zero Tolerance Animal Abuse Policy.
More than likely, Manion could not have won the lawsuit, and it certainly had to be becoming very costly.
Manion’s now-public letter to NCHA states: “All issues with the NCHA concerning the events July 15, 2017 have been resolved. When I observed the unruly and aggressive station, I became concerned about the safety and welfare of people in attendance as well as safety and welfare that of the horse.”
He said, “I regret that my initial attempts to control the horse were unsuccessful. I am sorry that the method I subsequently used caused such controversy. I deeply regret that this event took place.”
Furthermore, Manion said, “I am committed to the NCHA and will endeavor to conduct myself in a professional manner for the remainder of my career. I take a strong stance against animal abuse, and in protecting the animals we all love so dearly.
“I appreciate the NCHA’s continued commitment to completely eliminate abuse in our industry,” Manion’s signed letter concluded.
But, Manion didn’t get completely off the hook
Rulings from the NCHA include: suspension of NCHA membership for six months beginning August 9, 2017; NCHA membership probation for one year thereafter; fine payable to NCHA for $10,000; and the letter to the NCHA membership
NCHA officials said they are pleased with the settlement and the NCHA remains committed to its Zero Tolerance Policy.
Interestingly, Manion has had other lawsuits involving handling of horses.
In 1988, Manion, then a leading exhibitor of halter horses, was given a one-year suspension and fined $2,500 by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) for fraudulent practices, records indicate.
AQHA officials, then said, Manion, was suspended after it was found that he inserted an artificial prosthesis as one of the testicles of a Quarter Horse stallion, The Exclusive One.
Action was taken by the AQHA’s executive committee, making Manion ineligible to compete in AQHA sanctioned events from March 21, 1988, through March 21, 1989.