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Equitate.
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:16 AM
So, this may be a really ignorant/naive post to make, and by no means do I want to stir up any trouble, but here goes:

My trainer keeps bringing up hitting my horse in the leg over the fence with the top rail to make her jump better. I tell trainer no thanks, but trainer doesn't drop it. Says that everybody's doing it, thats how horses X, Y, & Z (who often beat me or are winning elsewhere) win. Again I say no thanks, trainer drops it, but has brought it up in the past 3 or so lessons. Trainer has even gone so far as to bring it up in public at a horse show where others were definitely in earshot.

Maybe I've just been sheltered from such practices, but regardless of whether it's "ok" or not, I don't want any part of it.

Ugh. I love my trainer to death, but not this.

I've just been dismissing it every time, but trainer hasn't let it go.
WWYD?

minnie
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:27 AM
I'd get another trainer.

Dirty Little Secret
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:28 AM
It's called poling. Hard call but you have to make the decision as to what is right for you and your horse while weighing that you pay for your trainer's opinion. Might get a second opinion or discuss with your trainer other options for making one jump better (gymnastics, etc.).

2DaPoint
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:45 AM
Heinous though it may be, "Poling" is a regularly used training technique to keep horses from getting "RUBS" in the show ring.
I am fairly certain that it is strictly prohibited AT the horse shows, but just having the trainer standing near the fence after any regular poling at home can usually do the trick.
I wouldn't continue to let your dislike at the thought of this practice go unspoken.
Next time he brings it up, tell him you understand what he's saying, but ask if there isn't some other way you can get the same result. If he says "no", then tell him you'd just rather continue to place second to those others........
There ARE other ways to get the same result.
KD

Giddy-up
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:45 AM
Tell trainer it's not something you want to do & what other suggestions do they have. If they won't drop the issue (insisting poling is the only solution) then perhaps you need to start shopping around for a trainer that has a wider knowledge of horse training.

ImJumpin
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:53 AM
Does the trainer want to pole your horse or for you to purposely get to a bad spot and get your horse to get a hard rub? It is difficult to tell from how you describe-- hit the top rail-- as poling you'd physically lift a "pole" to hit the horse.

Ask the trainer to clarify. I suppose you might not be comfortable with either, but perhaps you'd be okay with a hard rub if that's really what the trainer is suggesting...

mrsbradbury
Apr. 24, 2009, 10:01 AM
I know that the practice is not uncommon, and it does get results. I do not use it. It also scares some horses, and can have dangerous results.

I use gymnastics and cavaletti to teach them to be rounder. I have ridden with a couple different upper level trainers that have successful jumpers that also do not use the practice.

I would firmly stick to your belief that this "method" is not for you. If you ask you will hear as many accident stories, and you do "it works" stories.

If you have a good relationship with your trainer, they should respect your wishes. It is never appropriate to discuss sensitive matters in a public setting; trainer drama including.

If your horse is consistently rubbing and having rails; it may a bit overfaced, this is something to decide with your trainer in a safe and cooperative manner.

findeight
Apr. 24, 2009, 10:08 AM
It is customary to allow the horse to get a hard rub OCCAISIONALLY to sharpen them up. Usually accomplished by schooling a swedish oxer, something square or offsets, dropping them to let them figure it out on their own. Maybe the heavier jump poles alone (as opposed to light ones or PVC) Just something to get them thinking and a little more tidy with the feet.

BUT BUT BUT that is NOT why these other horses are beating you. You do this stuff too much and you get them stopping.

So, yeah, it is a training technique that is helpful when properly used and see nothing wrong with it-even set small, square oxers with the heavy poles or a swedish with my old Hunter so she reminds herself to pick the feet up.

But your trainer is an absolute idiot to be blabbing in public and berating you for not caring for this. In the first place, it is best done at home or just one little rub right before going into the ring. In the second place, trainers who criticize clients in public (other then routine coaching) are unprofessional to say the least.

If she vocally and publically advocates this as the only way to get you better and allow you to pin better, you either need another horse that can actually clear the jumps or a new trainer.

I vote new trainer. Again, it's not getting the rub, I am OK with that. It's blaming not getting them on you getting beaten and harping on it publically. That's bullshit.

I'm sorry, that just rankles me. Like fingernails on a blackboard.

zahena
Apr. 24, 2009, 11:02 AM
We've all heard our moms say this right? "If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?" Someone needs to say that to your trainer.

The advice here is sound. Good for you for just saying "no" to the poling if you feel your horse doesn't need it. There are other ways, the gymnastic was a good idea.

If you are trying to sharpen up the front end you can always put a V of poles on the jump and make it as wide or as narrow as you want and it will make them snap their knees more. I've done this with some of our horses without snappy knees but I'm the trainer. I would NEVER ask my kids to do it.

And it helps with run-outs. I have used it with a horse who pulls out. But its been very wide. something like standard / \ with a jump pole in the middle.

Not sure I vote for another trainer if you like this one but I encourage anyone who rides with me who is serious to seek out another trainer in addition to my instruction.

gg4918
Apr. 24, 2009, 11:03 AM
Works wonders on my horse. I would be one to vouch that its why my horse goes clean in the bigger classes. Go to a show without a rub-we usually will have a rail, Go to a show WITH a rub and we'll go clean every time. If done correctly and appropriately then it works.

Also keep in mind that people know who your trainer is.

Hauwse
Apr. 24, 2009, 11:21 AM
Sounds like your trainer thinks your horse is lazy and wants a quick and easy answer. While poling certainly does work for the most part, and if done properly is not cruel or inhumane, etc. (if hitting a rail was either of the aforementioned the whole sport would be condemned). However as mentioned it is a sketchy practice, and in my opinion is just dishonest. I do not like lying or tricking a horse, and nothing is trickier than a rail that can jump!

There are lots of ways, better ways to get a "lazy" horse to use themselves better. As mentioned schooling different types of fences, heavy rails, etc., but really there are plenty of gymnastics that can help a horse become of the mindset that I need to try harder. By default I like to allow the horse comes to this conclusion without intervention as it tends to stick.

A simple, simple gymnastic, without employing fence types that the horse is unlikely to see in any competition is a ground pole a stride out and an oxer. Trot in and jump it, period. Keep raising and spreading the oxer as you progress. This is a technique as old as the hills and never fails to work on horses that want to be a little lazy. This also is a technique that can be used as a refresher at home or at the show, and there is nothing illegal or tricky about it. The horse simply gets in the mindset that I have to try because I do not know where the heck that rail is going to be from one fence to the next.

I would not hold it against the trainer because as I stated poling is common as dirt and many of the horses you admire perform as well as they do with the help of some poling. However if you are uncomfortable express to your trainer that you want your horse to perform better too, but do not want to pole them, and challenge them to come up with a better method.

If they are worth their salt they will probably dig down and come up with some schooling techniques that you are comfortable with.

Thomas_1
Apr. 24, 2009, 11:31 AM
Go find a decent trainer.

Poling is indeed something that is pretty much disgusting.

It's just a method of forcing a horse to jump by smacking his legs.

Some folks carry it to the extreme and use such as smacking the horse with a stick just above the coronet band as it jumps or putting tacks into its boots.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

And a great way to get yourself banned from competition if you're caught doing it.

Just as that low life McLaine Ward with the scum bag father who killed horses for insurance money: like father, like son!

gg4918
Apr. 24, 2009, 12:26 PM
Go find a decent trainer.

Poling is indeed something that is pretty much disgusting.

It's just a method of forcing a horse to jump by smacking his legs.

Some folks carry it to the extreme and use such as smacking the horse with a stick just above the coronet band as it jumps or putting tacks into its boots.

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

And a great way to get yourself banned from competition if you're caught doing it.

Just as that low life McLaine Ward with the scum bag father who killed horses for insurance money: like father, like son!

UMMMM WOW????
I really have no words for the hate and anger that was put into that post. There have been countless legendary horsemen that have used poling appropriately to improve a horses performance without having it be cruel or scaring the horse. It only received a bad reputation because trainers that were incompetent used the method dangerously and inappropriately.

Also, if you're going to harp on one of the world's greatest equestrians, at least spell his name correctly! Its Mclain not Mclaine. And he's done a tremendous job of rising up beyond his father's bad reputation and becoming one of the most successful equestrians of our time!

I would say more but then I wouldnt be able to stop.

MILOUTE55
Apr. 24, 2009, 01:17 PM
Just as that low life McLaine Ward with the scum bag father who killed horses for insurance money: like father, like son!

there were 36 people involved, McLain was not one of them.

Wanna talk about that? Go pay a visit to Tommy Burns, or should I say Tim Ray, down in Florida.

Barney Ward has paid his time in jail and McLain is one of the best, most respected top riders... the association "like father, like son", is just a stupid saying which doesn't make any sense.

zahena
Apr. 24, 2009, 01:21 PM
You know, I have Frank Chapot's book and he talks about "safe" poling. Poling is as old as the hills. While you should not be doing it at a competition, I've heard many show jumping riders talk about jumping their horse in warm-up because they knew they were needing to "take a rail" and making them jump in warm up until they did so they had a clean round in competition.

Wow, yeah. When did this become bash McLain?

lonewolf
Apr. 24, 2009, 01:30 PM
Poling is a pretty common technique. Although neither my trainers or myself have ever used it, I think it can be ok when done properly (which it very often isn't). However, the problem here is that your trainer is not respecting you. Poling is controversial, and you have a right to say no, and she absolutely needs to LISTEN to you.

If I were you, I would call her up and find a time to sit her down before your next lesson, when she is not busy with other things, and there are no other distractions. You need to tell her very clearly that you KNOW a lot of trainers use this technique, but you are NOT comfortable with it, do NOT want it used on your horse under any circumstances, and that you do not want it brought up to you ever again, or you will be looking for a trainer who does understand. If she can't coach you without bringing up poling ten times a lesson, she isn't the trainer for you.

Does this trainer school your horse while you are away? If so, I would also stress that nobody is to pole your horse ever, including while you are away. She sounds like the kind of trainer who might do something like this behind your back.

You need to get tough about this.

Thomas_1
Apr. 24, 2009, 01:42 PM
and McLain is one of the best, most respected top riders... the association "like father, like son", is just a stupid saying which doesn't make any sense. Yeh right!

So tell me then when his father Barney pleaded guilty and went to prison for being involved with killing horses for insurance money he was just having a laugh?

Presumably the reason why he didn't go to Hong Kong to watch his son was that he just didn't want to be there? All that bleating about just wanting to see his boy was baloney! Nothing to do with the lifetime ban he's got for attending ANY event?!

And when McLain was banned for putting plastic tacks in his horses boots to make them jump better it was just a silly mistake!? He didn't really intend to cause them pain! I bet the federation were just picking on the poor lad!

Respected ! Phooey!!!

McLain/Mclaine. Still a low life cheat with a poor upbringing no matter how you spell it!

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 24, 2009, 01:44 PM
since the OP said "hitting the top rail".....her trainer is NOT NOT NOT suggesting poling. Poling is is done with a wrapped bamboo or other flexible pole....not the rail on the fence...and isn't allowed at the show.

Getting a rub either in front or behind in the warm up before going into a class is VERY normal and not cruel. It is just a WAKE up to the horse. Now crashing a fence or really aggressively doing it....that is a different story. But jumping a jump and giving your horse an opportunity to be a little sloppy in the warm and remind them that you are not perfect and darn it, they need to help out too and hitting the poles is not something they want to do......is perfectly normal and not bad training. Not all horses need this...the super careful ones really don't...but most of your average horses don't care too much if they hit a rail or they need a reminder that they don't like it before the big class. If they don't nick the fence in the warm up...well then they are jumping very well and you don't need to keep asking. But giving them the opportunity to rub isn't a big deal....and I have more than once stopped my warm up with a rub (whether I was trying or not) before going into the ring.


A lot of a horses will get a little blasie about the jumps....and sometimes need to sharpen up. At home, you can do it by setting bounces, or more difficult combinations, or scary filler....but at a show in limited warm up...you don't always have that option.

I think that the OP...and lots on this board and making a mountain out of this for no reason.

Equitate.
Apr. 24, 2009, 02:22 PM
Thank you for the (relevant) responses. My trainer definitely suggested poling, even bringing up the use of bamboo. This is FAR from suggesting that I get a rub before going into the ring.
The horse jumps fine and comfortably, if anything is underfaced, and this is not a training method that would suit her, even if performed "correctly".

It's gotten a bit off track, so no further responses are necessary.
Thanks again

-Eq

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 24, 2009, 02:47 PM
Thank you for the (relevant) responses. My trainer definitely suggested poling, even bringing up the use of bamboo. This is FAR from suggesting that I get a rub before going into the ring.
The horse jumps fine and comfortably, if anything is underfaced, and this is not a training method that would suit her, even if performed "correctly".

It's gotten a bit off track, so no further responses are necessary.
Thanks again

-Eq


If they have suggested Poling and you don't want to do it and don't think it would suit your horse...then just tell them no each time and explain WHY you think it will not work for your particular horse. It might lead to a learning experience for both you and your trainer. I would also suggest another training technique that would be better for your horse if you know of any to address the issue your trainer may be seeing. Jumping through some bounces or good gymnastics would be what comes to mind to me right away.

ideayoda
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:18 PM
One can pole w/o lifting a pole to the horse, but rather using a different color pole, or have a more solid fence. But traditionally (jumping) technique is changed by proposing different questions with gymnastics/different types of fences/caveletti, and getting the rider to ride the fence differently.

used2
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:30 PM
I've watched an old pro do the manual poling on a couple of horses at home - it didn't seem to help. The potential for misuse or abuse are self evident.

I've read about offset poles, thin bars, string or wire that aren't solid but might give a bit of a rub. Has anyone used this method?

I've also seen metal bars added to a plank or rail at home to reinforce the touch. It seems effective but may be a tad harsh and can only be used at home.

Allowing a hard rub seems to be effective, legal, not harsh and can be used anywhere even the warm-up ring at the show.

Release First
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:43 PM
.....My trainer keeps bringing up hitting my horse in the leg over the fence with the top rail to make her jump better....

To me this says that the trainer is hitting the horse with the rail not that the trainer wants the owner to ride so the horse might hit the rail. I have seen people pole with the top rail and not a bamboo pole. A great way to break a wrist.

Poling, by the way, is illegal in California whether you are doing it at home or at a show. It is illegal to do at a recognized show no matter where you are in the states.

As it has been pointed out there are many other ways to sharpen up a horse and probably most of them would be considered better horsemanship. If you have poled a horse enough so that just standing by a fence in the warm-up ring makes them jump higher you have definitely done it too much and I fail to see how this helps the horse in the ring where a person can't stand by each fence. I always feel sad when a person asks me to move away from a fence in the schooling ring because their horse won't jump with a person standing there. It certainly is a technique that can be taken to the point of abuse although I personally don't feel that it is always abuse it is causing a horse pain when they have done nothing wrong. That is why poling will always be a controversial issue.

Lucassb
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:57 PM
Thank you for the (relevant) responses. My trainer definitely suggested poling, even bringing up the use of bamboo. This is FAR from suggesting that I get a rub before going into the ring.
The horse jumps fine and comfortably, if anything is underfaced, and this is not a training method that would suit her, even if performed "correctly".

-Eq

Whether or not the practice of poling is effective, would work for your horse, or is even ok from a moral standpoint is really not the issue.

You are the owner, and you've indicated you are not willing to pole your horse. Once you have communicated your stance to the trainer in a polite and respectful way, that should be the end of the issue. If I rode with someone who couldn't or wouldn't respect my wishes over something like that, I'd have pretty limited patience for additional discussions. If I really, really liked everything else about the trainer, I might do one round of, "I appreciate your opinion, but in this case my mind is made up. Please don't raise the issue again," at which point I would expect the matter to be closed.

goeslikestink
Apr. 24, 2009, 05:31 PM
cheats way matey and doesnt work all it does is cuase the horse pain in which he learns to jump higher only thing is he will more than likely turn out to be a dirty stopper as wont want to jump with his heart

horses when taught correctly are taught using ground poles and then small grids and then small courses building up the horses confindence so horse and rider become balanced and focus and so they leearn to see there strides when to take off and when to land and where to be for the next fence or group of fences
pole wrapping or tack in boots whatever doesnt do it for ahorse
and the basics of all baisics is flat work lenghtening and shorttening the horse making him use himself from butt to poll to a relaxed yaw using the half hal ts stride and independant seat secure leg light leg and soft hand ask politely and you will get

findeight
Apr. 24, 2009, 05:52 PM
Well, OP is out of this since it took a detour and was talking about poling, not getting a rub in.

I just have a problem with the part where the trainer openly rags on her at the show in front of people because she will not pole her horse and that is what is costing her as everybody else is doing it and it makes them better.

I got news for that trainer, "everybody" does not routinely pole, poling is not allowed at the shows so is very limited in usefulness and it takes even the dumbest about 3 jumps to realize a person standing next to the fence is bad. Give them another three raps and they'll start stopping 30 feet away from any fence with a person anywhere near it.

I've watched some pretty top names school some less then talented horses and they arranged the rubs to sharpen them up-if they ever resorted to poling, they kept their mouths shut about it and did not broadcast the fact to one and all. Plus you could stand by the fences when they jumped.

Certainly not everybody...and you can sure tell when that GP horse won't go near the ring crew:no:.

This trainer needs to watch her mouth and where she runs it off...and listen to the person who is paying her.

minnie
Apr. 24, 2009, 06:26 PM
I'm actually quite amazed at the number of people who think this is an acceptable training tactic.

Penthilisea
Apr. 24, 2009, 06:45 PM
Poling is, IMHO, a quick fix. It does work in the short term, as most quick fixes do. But over time, the horse can become a stopper, or worse, can flip and hurt the rider- quite badly.
I think thusfar you have done a terrific job standing up for yourself and your horse. If your trainer is unwilling to listen when you calmly explain and ask her to stop, then she is the wrong trainer for you.
Today poling, not such a disaster, but what other ethical rules or boundaries do you disagree on? What is she doing when you are not around- does she school your horse? Medicate horses before shows without owners knowlege? I'v seen so many bad trainers who rely on short cuts and quick fixes to win, when in fact building a durable long term athletic partner requires non of these.

Chef Jade
Apr. 24, 2009, 07:43 PM
All poling will do is teach your horse to try harder when youre trainer is standing next to the jump - it isn't going ot help you in the ring. Trust me, your horse probably MUCH smarter that your trainer and will figure that trick out pretty fast. Gymnastics are a much more effective tool to teach a horse to pick its front end up faster. If done used properly, they will teach your horse to be rounder, tighter, more confident, and build the muscles and muscle control he needs to jump better. All poling will do is get the horse ot jump higher in some situations. Its a "quick fix" with no long-lasting effects.

gg4918
Apr. 24, 2009, 08:28 PM
I know this trainer personally and I know that he has NOT blabbed about this in public. Maybe under his breath but he does NOT announce it to the whole wide world. Please do not get that impression from the original poster.

Equitate.
Apr. 24, 2009, 08:38 PM
Again, I thank you all for your two cents, and no further post are necessary.

ILuvmyButtercups
Apr. 25, 2009, 09:46 AM
cheats way matey and doesnt work all it does is cuase the horse pain in which he learns to jump higher only thing is he will more than likely turn out to be a dirty stopper as wont want to jump with his heart

horses when taught correctly are taught using ground poles and then small grids and then small courses building up the horses confindence so horse and rider become balanced and focus and so they leearn to see there strides when to take off and when to land and where to be for the next fence or group of fences
pole wrapping or tack in boots whatever doesnt do it for ahorse
and the basics of all baisics is flat work lenghtening and shorttening the horse making him use himself from butt to poll to a relaxed yaw using the half hal ts stride and independant seat secure leg light leg and soft hand ask politely and you will get

:confused: How is any one supposed to take anything you post seriously if you won't take the time or effort to proof read your own comments? Ever hear of using capital letters to begin sentences? How 'bout reasonably proper spelling and grammer? Ever met a punctuation mark you liked, such as periods, commas, or apostrophes? This scribble looks like it comes from a first grader, in sped-ed no less. Endeavor please, to garner some credibility. :eek:

findeight
Apr. 25, 2009, 10:20 AM
Buttercup, and other newbies...stink has a medical condition and has had it all her life. Not a secret so I will share that.

We have a few other posters who have had strokes, are partially disabled, mentally challenged or are on heavy meds for serious conditions. You should have seen some of my own posts when I broke my right wrist and had to type left handed. Not pretty, couldn't hit the shift key.

They still enjoy posting on here and have a lifetime of experience to share even if their communication skills are compromised by their conditions or they seem "slow".

Try to keep that in mind when reading, try to just ask why instead of the snarking...I am sure stink would rather she did not have to deal with this condition... If you looked you would have seen she has been on here for over 4 years and has 10k+ posts, that would tell you it's not some kid in textspeak.

bumknees
Apr. 25, 2009, 10:44 AM
Buttercup, and other newbies...stink has a medical condition and has had it all her life. Not a secret so I will share that.

We have a few other posters who have had strokes, are partially disabled, mentally challenged or are on heavy meds for serious conditions. You should have seen some of my own posts when I broke my right wrist and had to type left handed. Not pretty, couldn't hit the shift key.

They still enjoy posting on here and have a lifetime of experience to share even if their communication skills are compromised by their conditions ot they seem "slow".

Try to keep that in mind when reading, try to just ask why instead of the snarking...I am sure stink would rather she did not have to deal with this condition... If you looked you would have seen she has been on here for over 4 years and has 10k+ posts, that would tell you it's not some kid in textspeak.

TY findeight..
This is exactally why my post count is low dispite how long I've been a member here. Not that I have encountered it here but on some other boards it seems that the ability to type somehow is connected with smarts.. IIRC Stink and I have close to if not hte same disability and I have never been able to type my way out of a wet paper bag...

findeight
Apr. 25, 2009, 10:59 AM
There is a difference between an honest attempt at a post and mYpoNIS BetRTHn Yrz posting yet another version of "iz nut Fare the rish kidz canut riiid".

A little thought about a post should tell most what the situation is. Read for content.

magnolia73
Apr. 25, 2009, 11:14 AM
You pay the trainer for their advice, you can choose to take it or not. Are you complaining about not winning? If so, your trainer is probably trying to put some tricks in your bag to be more competitive. Poling is a trick to make horses jump better- if it didn't work, people would not do it. Kind of like longing for hours. I do know that not everyone approves of tricks that could hurt or scare a horse- totally relevant opinion. People have ideas of "cruelty" that range across spectrum. Some have a problem even getting on a horse carrying a crop. Some are OK with any method of performance enhancement.

I'd take your trainer aside and say- "Hey, I'm not going to let you pole my horse or set him up for rubs. I think it is unfair and not my way. Are there any other alternatives that we can try?"If he says no... then you find a new trainer, drop down a division, buy a more competitive horse or be OK with not winning.