Monday, November 16, 2009

Warning: Stupidity May Cause These Side Effects...

One of the things that really gets me as a horse trainer is other trainers allowing their green, inexperienced students to do certain things and use certain equipment. Not only is dangerous, irresponsible and extremely STUPID, but it can wind up with someone or a horse getting hurt. Now, as a horse trainer, when I see these things I have to turn a blind eye to it. It's not my place to get involved or say anything, although damn I'd like too sometimes LOL.

Draw Reins~ not only do I try not to use them, but I'll be damned if I EVER would let a student of mine use them. You can very easily get your horse to flip over on you if you use them incorrectly.

Spurs~ Prince of Wales spurs or blunt ended spurs, hmmmm that's debatable, but spurs with an actual rowel, no way, never. Inexperienced legs can grip on a horse's side at any moment and if they're wearing spurs then OFF you go. Improper usage of spurs can lead to bloody sides and sores. They can make a horse dead sided and 99% of the time when a greenie rider wears spurs their horse takes off and then the rider falls off or they rip on the horses mouth and get upset or scared because the horse"bolted." Noooooo, the horse did what you told it too.

High Ported/Shanked bits~ Nope, wouldn't happen. Inexperienced hands with a bit like this is asking for disaster. Bloody mouth, rearing, evading the bit, hard mouthed, all products of inexperience. All products of disaster.

Whips~ Most bats or crops won't do too much, but longer whips and dressage whips if not used properly may lead to your horse bucking, bolting, diving to the side, they can leave welts and more. Emotions can play a big role too, you get peeved at your horse and haul off and crack him a good one *head shake.* Ugh, what more do I really need to say?

What a lot of people don't quite understand is that it takes time and patience to learn the proper ways to CAREFULLY use certain pieces of equipment. You don't just begin using spurs because you like the way they sound or you think you're a cowboy cause you're not, you're a poser who is endangering yourself, others and your horse. Time and patience... Always remember that you have to learn to crawl before you can walk and that's OK. We ALL started there. None of us popped out of the womb wearing spurs on our heels or a crop in our hands. Once you've learned how to properly and safely use certain tools, they can become extreme valuable, but do your time and your research first.


sandycreek said...

Amen to that, new riders think using gadgets will make them ride better, shortcuts and harmfull crap they don't understand, how many times have I seen this? Know it all girls who won't listen to you while they torture the animal. At least if they ride at my barn, I don't allow that sort of behavior.

Nicely dun said...

Ah yes.
YES. X boarder at our barn had a five y/o gelding out of "hollywood dunnit." She liked reining.

She LOVED her rowel spurs, and they weren't just ittty bitty little ones, they were probably 2.5-3 inches long. NOT KIDdinG.
Oh, oh yeah.

Her "correction" bit. Big ass shank thing with a nasty looking
port. My coach had her try a snaffle.
DId she Actaually OWN a snaffle?
No. It was a hackamore combo that looked like a freaking gag bit.
Could she use the dam thing? No.
She had her brakes on and her accelerator stuck on ALL THE TIME.
The horse was dead sided as anything, and shes only had him just over a year now. (AND HE IS FIVE YEARS OLD.)
(should I mention she had no idea she should put sliding shoes on his hind? yeah. No. The horse is going to be crippled by the time he's ten, if not already.)

Then she wanted to up his feed, becuase he wasnt responding to her KICKING (like, KICKING-as in-legs OFF the horse-legs BAM on the horses side) WITH ROWELS> HELLO?

Then she left, becuase she knew it all.

poor horse.

peaches1111_00 said...

I admit that I want the jingly spurs just because they jingle. But I've been eyeballing those clover rowl spurs with super short shanks.

And I don't actually own a horse right now. lol

Anonymous said...

On the flip side, though, I think students at a certain point need to learn how to use them properly and that they can be used properly. Otherwise they may get so built up as a "no, that's bad" item that it becomes an obsession.

I used to ride at a barn and they bought a super deadsided, deadhead mare who they could barely get above a walk. I hopped on her one day with my spurs and OMG you would have thought I was going to murder her. The BO had been touting anti-spurs for so long that they equated them to equine cruelty. I'd been riding with spurs for several years and knew how to use them correctly, and they were normal rowel spurs, but I still had one of the beginnery girls running after me, begging me to at least wrap them in vetwrap and saying she was going to "tell on me". :::eyeroll:::

Best Horse Gifts said...

You are right, too many trainers start students off on the wrong foot by allowing or even encoraging certain equipment prematurely. Especially spurs IMO.
I agree with forbucksbaby that at acertain point *correct* training with this stuff can be invaluable.

kestrel said...

And would tack stores PLEASE start educating their sales people?! I sent a student in for a mild bit, and back she came... with a torture device the salesperson said was 'kind.' Um, yeah. One of the shanked/snaffle twisty gag natzi war doctor things. I put the darned thing in the bend of her elbow and pulled on a shank, left a nasty bruise (bwahahaha!), and we went back to the tack store. The salesperson was shocked that we were returning the bit, and said that 'everybody' was using the wretched things. Hmm, wonder if that might be why I see such astounding blowups...

The stuff I see on bit walls just makes me cringe.

freezemarked said...

Preach it. I was actually required to purchase and ride with spurs in a college equine science program, and no matter how much I begged I couldn't get the instructor to give me ANY guidance in how to use them properly. (At least what sort of spurs I bought was up to me, other than that they HAD to be rowels, and I found the biggest, gentlest clover rowel I could find with a really short shank. And then I just tried not to use them.) If I chose to ride without them (which I intially did) I was constantly berated for not getting fast enough reactions because I didn't have spurs on. (My poor lesson horse was pretty dead to them, anyway.) I consider getting out of that program with my GPA intact a pretty huge accomplishment... I only lasted a semester. They were perfectly happy to skip over balance, position, how to properly execute cues and all of that boring stuff and jump straight to putting absolutely green riders to working cows straightaway. It was truly insane.

Of course, it was still better than the equine science program where none of the school horses could be given shots or even a basic physical exam without being twitched, or the equine science program that as it turned out had no horses at all.....

I could totally write a book. "Equine Science Programs in Western Colleges" with a subtitle "And How Each One Sucks, Specifically." Needless to say, I've since given up on finding any college program which isn't run by imbeciles.

I find it really disheartening how much a lot of the extraneous (and often cruel, the way most riders seem to use them) equipment seems to become a part of the culture and common practice. A nice horse in nice tack always looks good, but people these days seem to feel that their horse's "look" is incomplete if it's not wearing a tooled noseband tiedown or the biggest curb bit in the world or draw reins or martingales. In several of those college programs I mentioned, the rodeo team students would go around to the rest of their classes with their spurs still on, jangling all the way. I always wondered whether they realized that they looked really stupid wearing spurs in calculus class...

The Pale Horseman said...

Nice choice of subject. Too often I see snobby little people not bothering to use their legs or seat to move their horse and instead relying on the crop or spurs. Thankfully the latter is rarer here and I don't know many people who do use them. One thing I have used since my very first ride on a horse was a pelham bit with roundings. I always believed it was a fairly mild bit that was most useful for cobs. It wasn't until I started reading american blogs that I noticed a lot of people saying about pelhams being a strong bit and really bad when used with just one rein. I now use one on my own horse with roundings but am much more aware of its effects. She is ridden english but neck reigns so any use of the bit is little to any as I am also teaching her word commands. I have never used spurs and don't intend to - horses can be sensitised again. Crops are also only used as a last resort. I personally think that if you have to use artificial aids just to go for a nice ride then you arn't a particularly good rider.

kestrel said...

I've used spurs and correction bits, but only in very specialized circumstances, and after a lot of trying everything else first.

I do have a lazy QH, and we have pretty funny routine worked out. He'll dog it until finally I go get my blunts and hold them in front of his nose saying "don't mAKe me put these on." He'll looook at me and decide I'm really truly serious, and I put the spurs down and off we go. I actually had to use them on him for three rides years ago!

SpotMeSomeColor said...

It's hilarious how smart they can be sometimes; I got a nice beginner horse for my niece. Last week she decided she didn't want to get on the trailer to go to 4H. Ashley was doing everything right in marching up to the trailer, etc, not hesitating or looking at her. So I got my Dressage whip. And showed it to her. And she got right on. I didn't even have to wave it in the air. LOL.

autumnblaze said...

My boy just has to be shown I am carrying the crop and lo and behold his halo is suddely straight. :)

I've never worn spurs, never been shown how to use them so I never will (without being shown how properly to do so).

I had to be 'taught' to use a crop, but not because I was rough. My instructor was also the sweetest lady. However, my horse was very... smart and had my number. I didn't want to hurt him. HOwever one day we had a lesson on how hard I should wack him. I just didn't whack hard enough and truly I didn't. I'd lightly tap. :)

I still have a hard time kicking them or smacking them hard. Thing is I rarely need to...

GoLightly said...

Razor in the monkey's hand..

Great post!

Quoted from this site "Podhajsky's writings, wherein he clearly states that reading his book will do more harm than good to people that are not experienced in what he is writing about,"

It's the biggest drawback to a little knowledge, but no clue.

brat_and_a_half said...

Come to think of it, I don't think I ever used a whip in my first 2 years of riding, or use spurs until my 5th year riding actually. I did use draw reins once in my second year riding, with my coach right there giving me a lesson on a horse that knew what draw reins were all about.

I completely agree with these though. I hate seeing kids with their big bits and sharp spurs on their horses, and then they think bucking is just something horses do. >.<

Best Horse Gifts said...

We have a 3 yr old Arabian who came to us w/ a bucking habit. Noboday had ever ridden him w/o him bucking.
My trainer hopped on him for the first time and in under 3 mins had him trotting in a circle - no bucking - using nothing but her butt and legs. He hasn't bucked since. She's amazing - and if she ever saw me w/ a crop shed use it on me! :O

coloradobecs said...

Wow, amen! One of my biggest pet peeves is the use of equipment as more of a crutch, less of an actual tool. Draw reins are really what get my hair up, the moment a horse is slightly infront of the bit I see people toss on the draw reins, making the horse rely on those to literally hold them up, not actually carrying themselves, much less when a horse cannot figure out how to find the release and then flips. Ugh.

kestrel said...

Youch GL! Went to the site, got a little offended in spots, then had to admit that I got offended because some of it is way too true. It IS way too easy to overthink riding. Keep the theory consistent with the horse's reality and you're usually just fine.

exes blue eyed devil said...

I wouldn't trust a trainer that says 'never' to a piece of legal, and very common equipment. I am not talking a-frame bits and tack collars, but ROWELL SPURS puh-leeze give me a break.

I think trainers who "never" use things probably don't have the skill to use them, much less teach someone else to use them.

horspoor said...

Yup...every piece of equipment you listed has a time and a place. It is just the times and places are few and far between. While any piece of equipment has the potential to become a torture device...the potential for these far out-weigh the benefits in the hands of someone that doesn't understand the true use, 'the when, the why and the how.'