Friday, November 21, 2008

Death By Hanging

That should be their punishment. They must think it's super fun to not breathe. Almost like that trend of "self-strangulation" So close to death then they (sometimes) cut themselves free. Wow what a rush! Yeah, not for your horse asshole!

The Rollkur- it has made a lot of waves recently! But why??? Let me explain; Rollkur or over-bending your horse is causing them damage to their entire body. Over-bending inflicts acute pain, chronic pain and nerve pain (neuralgia). Its victims exhibit fear(because they can't fucking breathe) and mental stress (because they can't fucking breathe). In addition, by locking-up the neck, a horse is partially asphyxiated, unable to see properly and unbalanced. Over-bending increases the likelihood of accidents for both horse and rider. In the long-term, the practice probably causes permanent structural damage to many parts of the body, including the trachea, lungs and spine. Without question, it injures the bars of the mouth, teeth and skull. Boy that sounds fun!

The over-bent position of the head is the end result of a training regime based on persistent bit pressure without release, coupled with the horse's understandable efforts to evade the bit. Evasion of the bit is not a vice. It is a horse's way of avoiding pain. In the absence of release from the rider, the over-bending method trains a horse to provide its own release. Initial pressure results in initial flexion. Persistent pressure results in increasing degrees of flexion, until finally the horse's chin is on its chest and has nowhere else to go. The pain of the bit may have been temporarily avoided at each stage, only to become permanent at the final stage and be accompanied by neck and back pain.

You know when a horse has nowhere to go they'll panic and try to find a way out to safety they'll flip over, fall down, or collapse and let me tell you that I hope they kill you when they do.

OK, now when I see these "Trends" I often wonder:

A-Who came up with this lame ass idea?
B- Who thinks this actually looks good??
C- Who thinks this actually is helping you (your horse) in the long run or at all??

I found this off a website that is highly against the Rollkur. It's quite interesting, this is what they found as far as people trying to rationalize the Rollkur

Rationalization for over-bending (Hey TX here, rationalizing? They are douche' bags let's read on)

Three reasons are voiced, though there may be additional unspoken arguments

1. Proponents of the over-bending method of training for dressage maintain that they are suppling the horse's neck and 'rounding' the back(and breaking it). In practice, what I suggest they are doing - albeit unintentionally(oh it's intentional) - is soring their horse's mouth. Rather than suppling the neck and making it flexible, lithe and relaxed, over-bending is more likely to produce muscle strain, skeletal damage and joint injury. 'Rounding of the back,' achieved by dropping the head and pulling on the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments, is not 'collection,' which is only achieved after years of athletic training. True collection is the result of the patient development of a horse's overall fitness and, in particular, fitness of its back and abdominal muscles. The objective of such training is to enable a horse that is naturally balanced at liberty, to remain balanced (i.e. 'collected') when (unnaturally) carrying the weight of a rider. As a sore mouth, a stiff spine, and the imbalance of over-bending are not helpful preliminaries to athletic performance, a secondary purpose of this article is to explore what it is about over-bending that explains its promotion as a training technique.

2. Another reason advanced in support of over-bending is to produce a horse with 'brilliance,' 'expression' and 'drama.'(Pain is dramatic after all) Such an aim is in direct contravention of the FEI Guidelines that call for a calm horse but apparently this is not what the judges are rewarding. It seems that 'spookiness' is considered to add drama to a performance and is a quality favored by judges. If this is what is required to win, then causing pain and/or the fear of pain by soring a horse's mouth is, I agree, a most effective way to make a horse 'spooky.' Over-bending will undoubtedly make a horse nervous and apprehensive far more successfully than it will supple a horse's neck. An over-bent horse is frightened to stretch out its neck, as it has learnt that this will result in a severe pain in the mouth. A pain in the neck is the lesser of two evils. But a frightened, nervous and anxious horse (often unfairly labeled as 'highly-strung') is insecure, unstable, and unsafe to ride. The pain of a bit in the mouth or the fear of such pain rings an alarm bell in the brain. Why riders should want to do this is mystifying unless it is to satisfy a sadly misjudged and faulty standard of performance.

3. A third reason stated is that because horse breeders in the last decade have succeeded in producing such large and powerful horses, new and more powerful methods are required for their control. (It's because they suck ass at riding, they should go back to their S & M chambers) This argument, born of a misunderstanding of horse behavior and the belief that greater pain equates with greater control, is no more valid today than it was in medieval times when it was thought that in order to control the big warhorses that had been bred, larger and fiercer curb bits were needed. Over-bending has a long history. It is repeatedly illustrated on the Bayeux tapestry, embroidered c.1080. But successful communication between horse and rider comes from cooperation not coercion. We should be seeking methods of communication, not control. The smallest of horses cannot be controlled by a rider's force or by conditions that are incompatible with equine exercise physiology and psychology.

4. An unstated reason that may be connected with the one above is that 30 minutes of warm-up exercise in the over-bent position will cause fatigue and render some horses easier to control in the arena (Again you suck ass at riding).

That is truly torture like I've never seen! Now it IS against FEI rules, and also the racing and jumping industry is trying to put the kibosh on it, but it's a tricky thing to regulate when people school like this at home for hours... Trust me when I tell you that there is a VERY special place in Hell for you. And I hope you burn well there...


GoLightly said...

OMIGOD, you set off my RANT!!!
Oh, crap. Oh, yes. Chin to the chest is NEVER acceptable, people, NEVER ever, ever, ever.
Here's what I had to say about THAT, on Fugs.
"At the Christilot Boylen Clinic I went to tonight, tears came to my eyes, watching Christy working with a horse doing passage/piaffe transitions, softly, quietly, beautifully, happily. I was disapppointed that there were very few questions, so I finally got the nerve to ask her opinion on "roll-kur". I got her to explain it, and how it is never a thing to train into the horse. I already know this, but I hoped that the youngers might actually learn from the question. I see far too many horses "trained" to keep their chins on their chests. I got her autograph, and told her she was my hero growing up, which she laughed graciously at. (I was totally serious, though, I hope she knew it). I mentioned the Clinic that she and George Morris gave, some 27 years ago, that I learned so much at. She exclaimed, "Oh, yes, more of that kind of clinic is certainly needed, too.!" She remembered that clinc well. I will never forget it. It helped me, and helped the horses I trained, and the kids and adults I taught. My friend, who was photographing the clinic, took a picture of me with her. It's absolutely my highlight of this year. Afterwards, a french gentleman asked me if I'd asked the question about roll-kur. Yes, and we had a fascinating discussion, in which I found out he'd once talked to, and shaken Reiner Klimke's hand. I made the french gentleman laugh, by insisting he shake my hand several times. To me, it was an honour!"

I was really seriously disappointed that there weren't more questions. I mean, here's a frickin' MASTER of dressage. What, the other hundred people at the clinic already KNEW everything?? I think NOT. Dressage people (not all, I KNOW) are notoriously ummmm, what's a kind word, oh screw it, AssHoles!!! Too damn skeered to go over a fence, but oh, look, I can haul my horse's face to his chest, aren't I a HERO!

Anyway, oh, crap yes.
The go AND the whoa are in the HIND end, people. Both are in the HIND end.
SOOOOO many people seem to think the brakes are in the front, and the go is at the back.

Och, my god, heavy hands are a curse to the horses, bad training is just a CURSE!!!!!
SO WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!
Firm leg, light balanced seat, SOFT hands. WTF is so hard about THAT???
What, you think you can stop a horse with your HANDS??? I might just have to oh,oh here it comes, Caution swearing coming up.
FUCKing stupid riders I see, hanging on their horses' mouths, like it's a good thing or something.
Yanking and pulling, aggggghhhh.
Oh, my, I think there's a flame in my nose TX!

I rode one horse, badly broken before I got him, he'd been "trained" to over-flex aka roll-kur. Talk about next to impossible to train out of them. You are TEACHING them HOW to evade your aids!!!!!! I spent the next six months teaching him to go forward and poke his nose, and travel NATURALLY.... Poor horses.

Teach the horse to move off your leg & seat, stop spending all your time trying to stop them. Why do you RIDE, if all you want to do is STOP!!!!
Ride them forward, and they will find their beautiful, balanced way of going from THERE!! Not from the rider hanging on for dear life, with the heaviest bit they can find..
Oh, my TX you are a brat, I must work for a living, got 2GO.
How DID you know I'd light up at that??
GREAT post.

Anonymous said...

Really great post. It explained the physical problems as well as mental ones.

All I had ever heard about it was "ohhh poor horsie it's messing them up mentally."

Good to know there's more than one reason to freak out about this disturbing training aid.

Trainer X said...

Golightly I knew you would light up like the 4th of July because I did! LMAO!!!

GoLightly said...

roll-kur = BEHIND the BIT!!!!

Forgot to rant that..
You are a brat, TX!

Amanda Nicole said...

The first time I saw rollkur I thought- wtf? How can he see where he's going and doesn't that hurt?!?!
To me rollkur is the dressage equivalent of peanut pushing stock horses and big lick walkers. Every breed has those trainers that everyone else would like to just kick in the a**!!! Honestly it's just plain said there are so many horrible alternatives to just learning how to train, ride, and communicate CORRECTLY.

2toads2luv said...

WTF... Any person with a hint of horse sense would be able to tell that just looks WRONG.

And how could any person calling themselves a horseman honestly use a training device to put their horses head and frame in such an unnatural position?

I think I need a beer.

twhlady said...

I have always thought that horses thought this can not possible see very well. Think of it as trying to look past your eyebrows. It is nearly impossible to see anything and then when you can see just the littlest amount you get a splitting headache and crossed eyes.

Anyway on to something else...
You should check this out and tell me if you think this is just as impossible as I think it is.

twhlady said...

Personally I like my horses head up at a normal level because I want him to be able to see. There is a much smaller chance of him spooking at something if he can see it in advance like he normally would. But that is just my opinion.

Trainer X said...

WTF?!?!? There is no way that could be real!?!? It's just F-ing creepy!

2toads2luv said...

People who have time to put together a website have waaaayyyy too much time on their hands!

WBandPOA said...

Interesting, I just wrote an essay about Rollkur. Blah, the things people will do to win. It makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

WHY are people so cruel!!?? its not like the horses did anything to them first. oh how id like to make them have there chins on there chest and make them prance around all day.
Good blog btw
been reading for a while but havent commented ..until now =])

kestrel said...

I have no respect for the "do anything to win" crowd, but where the hell did the judges and ring stewards go, dammit! They are getting paid to uphold standards. I absolutely HATE (steam from nose! Snort! KICK) unnatural ways of going just to win a damn show.
Oh, and the rationalizations! It's not hard on the horse, we just do it to win, that bit's not THAT bad...shit.
It's all about the money. Then you get poor dumb shit amateur, who is honestly trying to learn by watching shows and emulating the bullshit....

lymie said...

Some cool work with photoshop!

cattypex said...

So.... is this in any way related:

Havocec said...

Good rant. I hadn't heard of the roll kuer until someone told my about FHOTD. We were always taught that the impulsion came from behind and the nose was not to come in to the chest past the vertical. Roll kuer is barbaric.

cattypex said...

I've said it before on Fugly....

A wise old horsewoman in our area used to say that "Everything behind the withers belongs to YOU. Everything in front of the withers belongs to the HORSE."

She was an Arabian enthusiast, too. A far cry from what we see today.

GoLightly said...

Amen, Catty!

Urgh, frickin' amateurs masquerading as pros. Like that Christine Wels "horses worst nightmare" "(trainer)" from Fugs.
GOD, I wish to beat her with a dressage whip, just for a minute or twelve. Did ya see her poor chestnut, with the side-reins cranked so far tight the horse couldn't have coughed without flipping over?

I've watched many great Masters warming up their horses. Suppling (How the heck do ya spell supple-ing, Google??) happens laterally (sides of the horse) and longitudinally (the back of the horse comes "up", allowing him to carry you more efficiently). You cannot supple your horse from the front to the BACK!
Can you see a reiner with that kind of head "set" (I HATE that term!!) trying to slide to a stop? I don't THINK so...

Easy, now, easy, now....

Och, it gets me mad:)
Could ya tell?
I can't even watch the ammies on TV, I want to kill them:)
A very expensive horse, with a very blonde rider at Spruce Meadows, young, rich, her horse did his best dragging her around clear, until the end, when he got tired of being yanked on at every single stride, started knocking down fences. She REEFED on him, at the end of her round, twice, before the camera cut away. She'd come into the ring in roll-kur mode. In a heavy bit.

snort! Ok, my fire is finally out!

Thanks TX, I always sleep better after a rant:)

kestrel said...

That just makes me so sad. I read Alois Podowsky's (sp?) books about training the lippezzaners, and I can guarantee he'd be jerking people out of the saddle for that insane bullshit.
The problem that I see with a lot of today's dressage riders is that they have never been around an actual HERD of horses. How can you refine natural behavior if you don't recognise natural behavior?
To refine natural behavior, the horse has to know how to behave naturally! Most of the problem horses I rehabilitate have to be retaught how to be a horse before we can proceed to training. Too many stall babies are seriously screwed up because they have no idea of who they are.
And no, the 'natural horsemanship' crowd doesn't have a clue. The 'games' are only games to the human. The horse thinks it's pressure. Monty Robert's halter is still a chain over padding. The carrot stick is a whip.
There is no majick way to leap to competency. Time and study folks.

cattypex said...

I know... and here I was, thinking that dressage was the "incorruptible" discipline.

Then I got re-acquainted.

I mean, it used to be that dressage riders were the geeks of the horse world, readin' all those old books and doing all these esoteric lateral exercises.

Spouting French terms.


GoLightly said...

At the same clinic, I wish I'd had the nerve to ask about the placings at the Olympics, of Christilot. I thought I'd probably asked the second most controversial question. Since I've been on dressage board around here, and got soundly chastised for my opinions, I thought I shouldn't.
That polite, Canadian conciliatory thing again...
I thought the dressage placings at the Olympics were a crock of crap. I think a LOT did. We had the honour of watching the Olympic Dressage with the commentary of a FEI "O" rated judge in Cara Whitham. Ya should have HEARD the sneering on the board. Oh, why won't she shut up, we ALL KNOW all that already. Um, no, you DON'T.
I hope that's what that FEI brouhaha is all about. The 1st/2nd winners had the most ugly, rank dis-obedience, in the most difficult parts of the test. The horses just said "F-K YOU!!". Not quite the ideal horsemanship...
I saw Rembrandt win his Olympics with two tiny spooks, the product of a very hot, brilliant horse. These mistakes were ugly. Unhappy horses should not win.
The Bronze horse was the clear winner, with his obedience, accuracy and brilliance, and oh never mind:)
I think that Anky's going into reining is hysterical. At least, the horses won't be so uncontrollable for her. I wonder how the reiners will take to her?
The QH's?? They are so much smarter than the "square-headed" warm bloods.
I'm all agog with anticipation..

Dinner Bell:)

To the horses.

Lachelle said...

Kind of off topic, but....



I am arguing with someone over this issue. Speaking of Rolkur and damage to their bodies. Look at these horses! And no, I don't CARE that this is another country and that they have different standards that we do. The argument is use your eyes, look at the horses, and tell me this isn't cruel.

[end rant.]

wolfandterriers said...

I do have one comment, as my favorite horse was trained in a way similar to Rollkur. His former owner worked him with his head tied to his side via shortened side reins, at a canter, so he could learn that he could "balance." He also had the reputation of being so hot that she could not ride him October-March. After she had showed him extensively, she could not sell him because of his explosive behavior.

Um, yes. No turnout, so I gave him a year to be a fuzz ball, with nice Weatherbeetas and all, but he could go and play outside.

Under saddle, we made the compromise of the Dr. Cook's bridle. I've used it to start my cuckoos, as I like to add one interesting component at a time. We decided on that, because he was simply no longer comfortable being bitted. He had a parrot mouth, which I think contributed to the bit set issue, but I think part of it was that he could not get over what had happened to him. In the bitless, he was lovely, and would do just about anything I could envision. And yes, he does have a variety of arthritic issues. However, if you check my blog, I rode him sidesaddle on my wedding day (he is 19, turning 20 this coming spring). Trainer X, I do note that my equitation sucks, 'k? Talk about jumping in a strapless J.Crew dress as an absolute absolute surprise!!! :) He was totally showing off.

Now, may I pleeeaaassseee have the buckskin? He is too pretty to be fucked up like that. When that occurs to their mouths and their brains, it really ruins any chance of having a "traditional" (note my quotes!) relationship through dressage.

He did teach me a lot though, in terms of soft, correct, sequential aids. He was not hot, just demanding of perfection. If that fools anybody!!

wolfandterriers said...

As I forgot to add, my NSH was 18 in my picture! Not enough Dr. Pepper yet...

Here's hoping! I finally finagled up the balls to write my Purpose Statement for my med school app (yes, I know, I should've/could've sent it in a few months ago). BUT I realized the source of my procrastination was the amount of emotion I had to get through concerning my grandmother, as she really made me "see the light" as to what I wanted to do! I paid the AACOMAS $155 fee and it's in the processing stage! Hooray and Thank God I'm in WV!

GoLightly said...

I only wish that someday horses say to themselves, ya Know, we could TRY being carnivores...
Lachelle, yup, sure looks cruel to me..
Oh, to horses, I wish they weren't such patient, noble, forgiving creatures sometimes...
Their "try" breaks my heart.

horsesandponies4ever said...

I completely agree. Who in the hell comes up with 'fads' and the like and why? I mean just because you see everyone jumping off that bridge, means you should to? Oh please. I'm tired of people over bending their horses. It looks rediculous and stupid. Please don't look like the other sheep, and just avoid trends. That's why their called 'trends'. Just like the spur stop was oh so popular, and now I don't think it is. Or the color of horse everyone has to have, when three years later everyone decides chestnut is in and bay is out...... Good golly, some people deserved to smacked. And I love it when people try to explain inhumane training techniques, nowing you can blow them out of the water. All I ask is, 'Would I like to be forced to do that? Have that bit in my mouth?' etc. I treat the horse the way I would want to be treated, fairly and firmly. I try to make them happy as I can, knowing that's the way I would want to be treated. That's the one reason why I'll put that icy cold bit almost next to my skin, in order to warm it up. Because I would want a warm bit, and not some ice cube in my mouth..... People are truely idiots sometimes..... Can we please gather them up and put them on their own little island where their stupidity only affects them?

Trainer X said...

Horse and ponies-Can we please gather them up and put them on their own little island where their stupidity only affects them? Can I get an AMEN!!!!!

GoLightly said...


Lachelle, tell the others that anyone can torture an animal into contortions, wow, nasty stuff on the vids.. They must have gone to Christine Wel's School of Sadism..

Make that a small, volcanic island;)

To your horses:)

boadicea1 said...

GoLightly Said:
"Their "try" breaks my heart."
No truer words were said.

When I first heard of this I thought they were talking about simple flexing, because, well really I couldn't fathom someone thinking this would be beneficial. If I was forced into a position like this for that period of time, yes I think I might very well freeze that way.

Trainer X said...

Like I said I hope they burn well...

SassyBrunette said...

What abusive training methods have in common is that they do not have a training purpose. It's just a shortcut to a poorly trained horse that probably still doesn't go well (and I'll bet violently HATES it's job).

For example, I really don't get the "wooden block" bridle. I'm not sure if this device has a real name, but it's a headstall with a very thick wooden piece, like a bit that goes in the horses mouth. They horse chews and chops at the wood while wearing the headstall and then when the "trainer" rides, the horse's jaw is so tired he never moves as much as his lip. And it just doesn't make any sense to me to torture a horse like this. A) Aren't you really making his jaw STRONGER so that he can grab and chew the bit harder in the long run? B) This teaches your horse nothing besides to hate life, C) Wouldn't a few hours of turnout perhaps improve attitude and decrease chewing at the bit while riding just as well? Maybe you should ask WHY is my horse chewing the bit and fix the real problem.

Rollkur is much the same. It is ugly as sin and teaches the horse nothing. If you can't get your horse to collect and bend into the frame you want you either need a vet or a trainer. Not an abusive training method.

littledog said...

What is this "Rollkur" crap? Is this an accepted way of Dressage training internationally, or just the latest fad here in the USA, where 1. We tend to be in a hurry and like shortcuts, 2. Warmbloods are "in", bigger is better, and every 5'3" Dressage Queen thinks a 17h Warmblood is what she needs to rake in the ribbons, and 3. Giving the latest fad a German-sounding name makes it sound "correct" (and gives rationalization to the 5'3" weekend rider that she is truly strong and experienced enough to steer around a green 17h truck?)

Didn't we all learn in our very first Dressage lesson (or even earlier, reading books about Dressage while still dreaming of our first lesson), that being able to ride our horse "on the bit" is a long process that starts with a secure seat, a long, strong controlled leg, a soft but steady rein contact with lots of releases, developing impulsion from behind, then engagement of the hindquarters, THEN (and only then) taking a solid contact to encourage the horse flexing at the poll to seek HIS OWN communication with the bit? And only AFTER reaching this stage should we add more than a gentle snaffle with one rein in each hand to his head. And/or then proceed to 10m circles, collection, and more complex lateral work.
Where the hell has real Dressage gone??? I know it exists somewhere, from some of your descriptions, like GL's.

I have my own pet theory--the reason why Event horses falling and getting hurt on Cross Country is increasing, is because their Dressage is more "drilled" than truly "trained", they are forced into a set frame instead of developing their own frame, every stride has to be controlled instead of making their own decisions, therefore when they get on Cross Country they don't know how to make their own decisions and are incapable of saving their rider from even the tiniest mistake.
Please tell me what you think, RANT ON, everybody!