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JackSprats Mom
Aug. 7, 2009, 06:47 PM
ok so I've heard of most things being done (any time you show for a while or work in the industry you tend to see or hear of the most bizarre stuff), THIS however is new to me....this is from Robert Dovers blog:

"Once, I had gone for a lesson with one of the great classical trainers of our time and watched with my mouth open as, angry with something his horse had done, he took a hold of his ear from the saddle and twisted it until the animal fell to its knees. Classical?"

then one of the replies said

"I have trained with Dr. Klimke and H.Rehbein and know that sometimes you have to twist an ear."

So while I know of folks who will twist an ear on the ground is lieu of using a twitch (which I don't like) I have NEVER heard or seen anyone do it in the saddle and am bewildered as to WHY?

narcisco
Aug. 7, 2009, 06:58 PM
Frustration and anger. It really only serves to make a horse ear and head shy. It doesn't teach them much, as they can not draw a logical correlation between the previous behavior, and having an ear wrenched about. I mean, if we can't make the correlation how can a horse? It only serves to make the rider feel better.

Now if the horse were about to kill me, there is no part that might go untwisted.

slc2
Aug. 7, 2009, 07:09 PM
You know, usually I like reading Robert's comments.

Not this time. Something about that comment just really bothered me.

I recognize that ALL - ALL - of the 'great masters' and all the great people we admire and consider to be perfect, have flaws and make mistakes. That doesn't much bother me. I don't expect them to be perfect.

Willi Schultheis, according to Balkenhol, had him take a horse to a show, and the results were disastrous - Schultheis was wrong about the horse (or rider, or both) being ready for the show. Willi Schultheis still did a lot of good stuff. NONE of these people are perfect.

Do people who worked with the same trainers Robert Dover worked with, say they twisted a horse's ear and put the horse to its knees? Most bios of Robert don't mention any German trainers he worked with, they just list his medals or discuss his being gay and involved in athletics...one mentioned that til Athens, he was the lowest scoring team rider in every Olympics he was in.

'Angry at something his horse did' is a little general. I'd like Robert to say who it was and what the circumstances were.

But...everyone loses their temper from time to time. If someone has a fit once, they are being human, they screwed up. If it's a habit and that's how they react to the tiniest frustration, I ain't sympathetic. If Robert stayed with a trainer who chronically lost his temper and put horses on the ground by twisting their ears for months, over and over, shame on Robert.

RedMare01
Aug. 7, 2009, 07:29 PM
The only times I have seen "ear twisting" done was with a horse that would not hold it's head still for bridling and another time for a horse that would not stand still (and the people couldn't find a twitch). In both cases, yes the horse became very head shy. Duh. Have never seen it done to a horse being ridden.

Caitlin

twofatponies
Aug. 7, 2009, 07:40 PM
When I was in rural Brazil I remember seeing a horse in a pasture with a malformed ear. I thought nothing of it, figuring it was a birth defect, until I saw a second, a third, a fourth...always the left ear. It is a very powerful way to control a horse, but I can't imagine needing to use it unless the horse is in an emergency situation where it is utterly terrified and trying desperately to fight or flee. And if that situation is your bad training and handling methods, how about modifying how you work with horses so they don't need that kind of restraint!!!

It boggles my mind to see people use such harsh techniques, when gentle ones work so well. Really pathetic.

JackSprats Mom
Aug. 7, 2009, 07:55 PM
What are they intending to do though?

I mean I have seen poeple beat horses with whips (again NOT condoning) in order to get them to move...but what are they intending to convey by grabbing an ear? It seems to serve absolutely no purpose?

twofatponies
Aug. 7, 2009, 07:58 PM
What are they intending to do though?

I mean I have seen poeple beat horses with whips (again NOT condoning) in order to get them to move...but what are they intending to convey by grabbing an ear? It seems to serve absolutely no purpose?

Induce so much focus on the pain in the ear that the horse can't think straight and submits to whatever you are trying to force it to do?

rodawn
Aug. 7, 2009, 08:10 PM
Submission of the horse through force, abuse, pain, fear and aggression.

Utterly useless, all of it. The horse learns to do whatever by rote, with no spirit, no personality, no zest.

Continue to do it and you lose all hope of attaining any sort of expression from the horse.

Humans, boycott the bad, forceful, vicious trainers. The bad training methods continue to exist because people PAY to have themselves and their horses trained by such individuals. The almighty dollar induces many to use whatever means possible to get the horses winning in the show ring at all costs. Regardless of the damage to the horse's spirit, mind and body.

atr
Aug. 7, 2009, 10:52 PM
Absolutely right, Rodawn.

If you have a horse in training, you make damned sure you turn up at unexpected times to see what's going on when you aren't there. Have the courage of your convictions if you see a trainer is doing something that makes you uncomfortable to your horse, or to any other horse for that matter, and pack your stuff and get out of there. Don't continue to line the pockets of abusive trainers.

And they are out there--whether they get like that because they've reached the finite point of their real training ability and don't know how to progress and get frustrated, or whether they think what they do makes them winners in the show-ring (doesn't usually, in my experience) or whether they are just psycopathic b******ds who should be undergoing treatment in a secure facility, not being paid to get their jollies out of hurting animals.

Just say no. Stop making excuses and vote with your pocket book. There are capable, decent people out there training who actually like horses.

ThreeFigs
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:15 PM
I don't think it's a "Classical" method.

It's an "Assical" method.

Poor horses.

slc2
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:16 PM
Beasmon is i-ree.

Cindyg
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:24 PM
If I could get my hands on the moron who did this to my horse!! My horse has issues every day of his life because somebody, somewhere did this to him. When he pricks his ears forward, one is off, like it's broken, no doubt a result of some moron twisting it! I can't tell you the trouble this has caused him/me! Arghh!!

slc2
Aug. 8, 2009, 07:11 AM
'Earin' 'em down' is a very common and very old practice.

Please note when I say 'it's a common practice', I mean it's a common practice, I do not mean, 'it's great! Let's do it all the time while riding!' I mean it is a common practice, and that's ALL I mean.

There are a number of other ways a horse can wind up with an ear that's out of line, one is a nerve disorder (there was a horse at a barn I went to a month ago that had this disorder, so it's not rare). Horses also can get frostbite on their ears and so damage their ears, and one horse I saw had had his ear mangled when a bunch of dogs chased him and his dam and got him down on the ground.

Too, at the race track, I hear it's not so unusual for people to use an ear twitch and I'm sure it's used other places...once an old cowboy type told me he would fold a horse's ear and bite it to hold a horse still, say for first saddling or for vet treatment on a wound.

I can see doing whatever it takes, if it it's a matter of life and death, such as keeping a horse still while trying to cut him out of some wire. There are a number of 'not so pretty' restraint methods for horses, such as various techniques with ropes and straps, the 'shoulder roll', the 'ear twitch' for when one doesn't have the luxury of medication and time.

All methods of restraining a struggling, excited horse are dangerous, and all can result in unpredictable behavior. Hope that you never need it. You certainly don't need it to ride around a dressage arena, in fact, the idea is absurd, much like the medieval practice of tieing a cat to a pole and whacking it on the head til it's spitting and clawing mad, then thrusting it at the belly of a horse that is being nappy.

Rusty Stirrup
Aug. 8, 2009, 07:36 AM
Written by SLC "Too, at the race track, I hear it's not so unusual for people to use an ear twitch and I'm sure it's used other places...once an old cowboy type told me he would fold a horse's ear and bite it to hold a horse still, say for first saddling or for vet treatment on a wound."

SLC I usually give you the benefit of the doubt in your posts but race track people are not idiots. They are usually experienced horseman working with expensive athletes. They know that "twisting an ear" is not the way to go. Try putting a bridle on an 18h horse who wants to be tall because someone has made him headshy. In my years at the track I only saw this done once or twice usually by a gyp or green handler. A lip twitch or lead chain under the lip works much better in emergencies. It is unusual. Whoever told you that needs to go to a better quality barn. End of vent. Back to the discussion.

cloudyandcallie
Aug. 8, 2009, 08:00 AM
I don't know about ear twitching at racetracks now, but when I bought my 3 yrs of racing (plus one year of training as she was a late foal) and years of being a broodmare horse, Callie was extremely upset if her left ear was touched by anything but a bridle. I could not touch her left ear or put a halter on over it, but could easily put a bridle on over it. Took over a year to get her to trust me not to twitch that ear. OTTB mares are very smart and never forget an insult.
Maybe the person the OP is talking about worked at a racetrack at one time, or at a broodmare farm.

slc2
Aug. 8, 2009, 08:28 AM
"people at the race track are smart"

Of course they are. They also have to handle excited, half trained horses and somehow convince them quickly to get into the gate without getting themselves trampled. And they use ear twitches. I've seen 'em do it, more than once. At the starting gate, mostly. Not all. No. Nothing is 'all'. You can argue how common it is at the race track, and what percentage of the time it's used, all you want Rusty Stirrup, but that exercise will be done without me. The next post describes an ear shy horse, the left ear. An off the track horse. And I've seen that more than once, even my own little OTT horse was like that, you could mess with the bridle all you want, but stay away from that ear; a lot of them, you can't even put the crown over their ears, you have to unbuckle it. So it happens. How often it happens, what percentage of the time, whether there are 'good and bad' at the track, whether 'good people don't twitch the ear', carry on without me.

siegi b.
Aug. 8, 2009, 08:41 AM
... I don't quite understand why Robert would write something that inflammatory in his blog.... What's the purpose?

A long time ago I was at a clinic with a BNT from Germany and dear Robert had a session with said BNT. When he was asked to start with some basics he immediately told the trainer that he only wanted to learn the tricks, not the basics. At that point the BNT told him in no uncertain terms that there would be no sense in continuing with the lesson!!

I wonder why Robert didn't put that in his blog??? :D

Alexie
Aug. 8, 2009, 08:41 AM
"I have trained with Dr. Klimke and H.Rehbein and know that sometimes you have to twist an ear."

I've read some rubbish on horse forums over the years but that one takes the biscuit.

Is this thread taking us off on a trip to la-la land?

or are you just trying to yank my chain?

slc2
Aug. 8, 2009, 09:11 AM
The quote was from Robert Dover's blog.

His comment, that he has worked with Reiner Klimke and Rehbein, and knows 'I know that sometimes you have to twist an ear', is pretty disturbing.

First of all, I have a hard time picturing Reiner Klimke or Rehbein, making a practice of twisting horse's ears, in the dressage ring. I've never heard anyone else say, 'I was at Rehbein's, and he eared a horse down', for example.

Rehbein and Klimke BOTH were horsemen, extraordinary riders. I am SURE, no matter how good they were, they got irritated now and again or even lost their tempers. THey were human beings after all. And I'm sure people didn't always send them perfectly sweet little adorable perfectly trained horses.

People send problems to trainers, problems they are afraid to deal with. Trainers get put in bad positions. And yes, I can see, sometimes, having to do things that are not so sweet, to keep the horse from becoming dog food. Even very good trainers get very, very hard horses - Michael Barisone's wife told us at a clinic, that Mike was given an elite prospect that no one could get on! He had to press his knee onto the horse's side, then vault on and the horse got him off many times.

Even so, I feel most of the time, both of them would have no REASON to do anything like earing a horse, because they would have a safer-for-the-handler, more efficient and effective thing to do, even if they had no problem with doing it in extremis, I have a real hard time imagining Klimke earing a horse to the ground for not performing a correct pirouette.

Why? Because it doesn't make any sense. The rider would have to take himself out of position, reach forward and grab that ear. If he was having trouble with his horse, the LAST thing he'd want to do is lean forward, take his butt out of the saddle, and do something like that with his arm. If he had someone ELSE come up and yank the horse's ear, he would be doing something the horse would know wasn't going to happen in the show ring...in other words, ineffective and pointless.

I think you DO sometimes have to 'twist an ear', figuratively, perhaps, in the sense that horses weigh 1200 lbs, and people way a tenth or so of that.

And sometimes they try to run over you, or rip you out of the saddle and bolt, or buck like a son of a gun, or stand on their hind legs or try to scrape you off on a tree, or get very snotty when you want them to do something, usually because they're frisky as hell, cheeky or have no idea what you want, have been spoiled to death by some timid, ignorant rider, or are so confused and screwed up from their previous training that their reaction to any demand is to fight back, or somewhere, something is hurting them or they have some memory of hurt and refuse to try to do something they think might hurt again....and frankly, a healthy, young, active horse who isn't sore, hurting and miserable, BETTER be naughty some days, or you should go get a thermometer and call the vet.

But I STILL have a real hard time picturing what might happen in a dressage arena, that couldn't be handled another way other than literally twisting the horse's ear. And I have a hard time picturing a very skilled rider even needing to.

Years ago, my little pony was acting like an ass at a warmup. He was a very, very naughty pony.

The riding teacher came over, and put her jacket around his muzzle, and took ahold of both reins, I could not see what she did, but it sent a shudder through first one side of the horse and then the other, and sent me into the ring.

And that pony was perfectly behaved for the entire class.

My point is this. If an ordinary riding teacher can do such a thing to keep a kid safe on a pony for a few minutes, just about any skilled rider could do something like that, something that no one else would even see, that would make the horse behave himself and be obedient. He would never have to do ANYTHING as obvious as ear a horse down. He could very neatly fly under the radar.

Years ago I watched a well known trainer get on a big old lazy mush of a warmblood stallion who tended to be a sort of hard sided, very unimpressed sort of horse. He had spent the last 30 minutes dragging his unlucky rider around while she tried in vain to get him to - well - do some dressage.

She got on the horse, and just sat their, adjusting her reins and stirrups.

While she was doing that, every single vein on the horse's neck popped out, and he within that minute or two, started to get hives on his neck. They just popped up.

The horse went around the ring, light as a feather on the reins, perfectly quietly mouthing the bit like the best schooled horse in the world, responding from the merest breeze from her boot. She never had to even touch the horse with the whip. No bending and bending to try and lighten him...and this was a rather small lady.

She hopped off with a smile and I was standing there with my jaw on the floor.

'What did you DO', I said.

'I put my leg on him', she grinned.

Ear a horse down? Why bother when you can do that? I daresay a Klimke or a Rehbein wouldn't have much need to. But I also seriously doubt they apply such cathected emotion to a horse. I can't see them saying, 'oh dear, we can't possibly scold poopsie for taking a chunk out of the groom', or mimicking the recent post from the gal whos stable manager said the horse drug her and scared her to death when she was turning him out, the owner's reaction was 'well you don't lead him properly, and maybe poopsie was hungry, you need to give him more food'. If a horse was doing something dangerous or being totally nasty, I'm very sure they would have had no problem disciplining the horse how they saw fit.

CatOnLap
Aug. 8, 2009, 09:34 AM
an ear twitch, which is what the procedure is properly called, is a very useful technique to subdue an animal for emergency examination or treatment or to just plain make it safe for the humans involved. A common and humane technique in the right hands.

Just like a dressage "whip" is a very useful tool to emphasize a leg or seat aid, when used correctly. Neither tool is inhumane in and of itself. Get over yourselves already.

What I (and others) properly object to is the use of any of our training tools as weapons of abuse. I can't see the need to ever raise a welt with a whip or even to raise it high enough to cause actual pain. A touch, brush or tap is generally sufficient. Like the mosquitos, the stimulus for a horse does not have to be huge to get a reaction. And there is little a human can do to a horse in terms of correction that other horses cannot do bigger, with more force and damage.

But because we have all been there (and if you haven't, then you are either not being honest, are forgetful or simply haven't been training enough horses yet...or perhaps are being nominated for sainthood) to the place where we lose our temper.

No human, not even the ODG's are exempt from this human failing. Stones and glass houses and all that.

Dover and others mention particular instances of misuse, momentary lapses of reason and skill. if he has none, then more power to him.

meupatdoes
Aug. 8, 2009, 10:06 AM
But because we have all been there (and if you haven't, then you are either not being honest, are forgetful or simply haven't been training enough horses yet...or perhaps are being nominated for sainthood) to the place where we lose our temper.

No human, not even the ODG's are exempt from this human failing. Stones and glass houses and all that.

OK, but there is losing one's temper to the point where one somewhat snippily pops the horse with the whip once or twice or employs more of a halfhalt than one probably needed, and then there is losing ones temper to the point where the horse falls to the ground as described in the OP.

At some point a level of behavior is reached where it is not justifiable by, "Oh, well, we ALL lose our tempers..."

In my personal experience having ridden everything from grade horses straight out of the auction, otstbs, ottbs, show hunters and GP dressage horses, in programs from both sides of the Ocean spanning from horse rescue outfits to State Riding Schools in Germany to Olympic caliber show programs, I have never actually twisted an ear from the saddle or the ground.

Nor do I expect that my resume will eventually broaden to Has Twisted An Ear if I just wait long enough to lose my temper sufficiently. Interestingly the longer I ride, the more I learn and the more horses I meet the less I even get snippy with the horses, so I find that the math works the other way around.

To me ear twisting falls into the category of behavior that is just beyond the purview of "Well we all lose our tempers." I've gone over 20 years and hundreds of horses without doing it and think I can probably go another 20 years and hundreds more.

Horsepower
Aug. 8, 2009, 10:07 AM
It took me almost a year to get a poor rescue pony to calm down when tacking because he had been ear twisted by a prior owner. This nervous pony (both to tack and undersaddle) has become one of the calmest lesson ponys in the barn after a year of unduing the unnecessary abuse (in my opinion) by a prior owner who thought the pony untrainable. He goes in a perfect frame now and takes care of all the little kids (including one who is Autisitc) after a year of humane treatment.

Albion
Aug. 8, 2009, 11:19 AM
The quote was from Robert Dover's blog.

His comment, that he has worked with Reiner Klimke and Rehbein, and knows 'I know that sometimes you have to twist an ear', is pretty disturbing.

... And if you actually read the original source, instead of writing a treatise on what you THINK something said but couldn't be bothered to look at, you'd see that it was a comment by someone else (left in response to his original post) that said "sometimes you have to twist an ear," and was not in the original.

Ambrey
Aug. 8, 2009, 12:06 PM
I am going to guess that Robert Dover's point was that we should not idolize any particular school of dressage as perfect and humane, because all dressage training is done by human beings who are individuals and fallable.

I doubt that he was debating the benefits of ear twitching.

easyrider
Aug. 8, 2009, 01:48 PM
While I admire "outing" the abuse, if one can't bring ones self to out the abusers, methinks there's an agenda at work here. Fueling the classical/competitive debate by pouring a little gasoline on the fire. I wonder who decided the ear wringer was classical -- Robert, the ear wringer, the press? Several of the classical trainers I know reject the term, which is often applied by the competitive or the aspiring "classical" amateurs. Beyond that, a few BNRs are not afraid to name names when telling stories of the abuse of the "competitive" crew.

easyrider
Aug. 8, 2009, 03:07 PM
Nevermind. I should have read the original post from RD before putting in my two cents' worth. I see that we're pretty much on the same page.

TessaQ
Aug. 8, 2009, 06:43 PM
The ears are so sensitive. My equine Chiro does ear adjustments that really help release the poll some too. I wonder what additional discomfort those horses (such as in Brazil) endure. Nerves in the ear stimulate the peritoneal membrane (digestive).

Fortunately my guys love having their ears rubbed.

Bravestrom
Aug. 8, 2009, 06:54 PM
Having dealt with the consequences of ear twisting I have to say that it is a horrible thing.

My gelding was trained to drive before I bought him - and his training consisted of twisting his ear so that they could get the harness on him.

It took me 8 tries to get a bridle on this 17hh horse the first time.

He was 5 when I bought him. So I used to feed him on the ground and he couldn't eat unless he let me play with his ears.

It took about a year to solve it totally. I now can touch his ears whenever I want, can clip them with clippers - without him being tied up and he lowers his head to put the bridle on. He has a scar on his his ear from the twisting. Disgusting.

CatOnLap
Aug. 9, 2009, 11:23 AM
I do not condone abuse.
But proper use of an ear twitch as an emergency procedure does not produce the effects mentioned.
I would hazard a guess that many people here have never seen or been taught the technique- part of the arsenal of many old time horsehandlers.
I did not say that the brazil or ODG/Horsefallsdown examples were humane or proper. They are good examples of a useful technique gone wrong.

I too wonder about RD's agenda was in giving the example.

Bellfleur
Aug. 9, 2009, 01:23 PM
OK If you ever had to work with a horse that someone grabbed the ear on to control you would know why it had better be a last ditch life or death situation to put your horse in.

I allowed a young horse (3) of mine to go to a BNT (hunter not dressage) and the groom/training rider clearly had grabbed an ear to 'hold him down' to try and get on him. They finally sent him back and said "we cannot even get on him" Really, I cannot imagine why not!!!

By the time he came home he was bolting sideways when someone went to get on. It took me two months (and with a grain bucket in front of him and lots of praise!) to get on a horse that when I sent was easily under saddle with just someone quietly holding the side of the bridle when the other person got on. AND I am an old chubby rider too!!

We could not touch his ear for any reason for over two months and to this day he does not like that ear rubbed any longer. (now 4 and a half) All of my foals come to put their heads down and get their ears rubbed and scratched. I can only imagine how terrified my young guy was when he started fidgeting and someone tried to hold him down using his ear.

Lesson learned. None of mine are ever allowed out on trial any longer. I don't care how good the rider or the reputation is!!!

slc2
Aug. 9, 2009, 06:12 PM
The thing about it is that it's not only cruel, it's stupid. Even if a person cared not one bit for the horse's feelings, there is no point in using any method that makes the horse MORE dangerous to the handler, MORE erratic, MORE difficult to tack up!

kealea31
Aug. 9, 2009, 07:56 PM
Twisting a horses ear even slightly will break the hyoid bone. Ask any decent equine dentist or chiropractor. Ear twitching is a pretty crummy form of restraint IMO. If your horse is that concerned about something then ask your vet to tranqualize it, or spend the time to get the horse relaxed so that it does not need to be restrained.

As far as doing this while mounted, and bringing the horse to its knees - I guess there are some horses that will tolerate it, just like some horses tolerate their heads being tied to the saddle. My horses would probably flip over backwards or try to kill the person doing this. I think anyone that does anything like this is extremely abusive.

meupatdoes
Aug. 9, 2009, 10:06 PM
...Ear twitching is a pretty crummy form of restraint IMO. If your horse is that concerned about something then ask your vet to tranqualize it...

THANK YOU.

One (out of three) of my horses needs to be tranqued for exactly one thing: the dentist, and I would much, MUCH rather practice "better living through chemistry" than grab an ear and hold on.

It is far more humane to just send him to a happy place in the first place so that he doesn't have to fully experience the dentist if he really doesn't like it, and additionally far, FAR more humane to find a way around a physical restraint that is forceful enough to overpower his dislike of the dentist if he has to endure it fully conscious. Which let me tell you would have to be pretty impressively forceful and inhumane to make that horse put up with the dentist. (And, lest one think this horse is not trained, this is a horse who goes from his stall to the grooming area, to fully groomed, wrapped, and tacked up without use of a halter at any point along the way, regardless of whether new horses are trailering in or whether it is feeding time or whatever. He just hates the dentist and I feel it is ok for him to have one thing he does not like and to allow him to 'not experience' it as much as possible.)

I really feel if it is THAT much of a drama that you are considering an ear twitch, take a second to rub two brain cells together and stick it with some ace and offer a soothing pat instead.
"There there, buddy (*rubs and pats*).....there there."
Voila.

happyhaffiehaley
Aug. 9, 2009, 10:49 PM
I have never heard of twitching an ear while mounted, although I have to say I'm not surprised to hear that people may do that.

My advice? Never reprimand or restrain a horse by the ear unless it is literally a life or death situation. The consequences are not worth it.

Two horses I ride have had their ears mistreated. One is a 23 year-old lesson pony who was purchased by her current owner 20 years ago and has not been mishandled since the time of that purchase. However, to this day she does not like strangers handling her ears, and even if you are a familiar face to her, she will still flinch if you move your hand to her head too quickly. Why? She was with an abusive Amish trainer for the first three years of her life and she will never forget it. She went on to be a successful riding and driving horse but she will never forget that abuse, no matter how many good experiences she accumulates.

The other horse is now four and had colic surgery at three weeks. The students at the vet school where she was operated on used an ear twitch on her to restrain her while the tranquilizers took effect, instead of dosing her properly and waiting for them to subdue her. We literally could not touch her head with our hands for almost a year after that experience and as a result, one of her first interactions with people (outside of her owners) was a fight and for her first three years, much of which time was spent in training to overcome that issue and her mistrust of people, to fight was her first instinct when stressed. She is incredibly scared of all vets and strangers. In my opinion, the minute or two of quietness the ear twitch gave the vets was not worth this much trouble or a horse who will likely carry this emotional baggage for life.

Just my two cents -- this is an issue that hits close to home for me.

Haley

Boomer
Aug. 10, 2009, 12:33 PM
The only times I have seen "ear twisting" done was with a horse that would not hold it's head still for bridling and another time for a horse that would not stand still (and the people couldn't find a twitch). In both cases, yes the horse became very head shy. Duh. Have never seen it done to a horse being ridden.

Caitlin


I have a TWH that must've had her ears twisted terrbily before I got her. She was a rescue and had had a lot of medical procedures to get her patched up before she was adoptable... maybe the twisting occured during a procedure?

Anyway, the end result is that I can barely touch her ears when the halter is on. She was also very halter-shy but is much better about it now.

slc2
Aug. 10, 2009, 11:33 PM
My pony was so head shy it took a long long time to put a bridle or halter on him, and if you ever happened to accidentally move your hand near his face...oooh boy. Amazing what a little iny 550 lb pony can do to you when he wants to be somewhere else in short order.

Boomer
Aug. 11, 2009, 06:27 AM
My pony was so head shy it took a long long time to put a bridle or halter on him, and if you ever happened to accidentally move your hand near his face...oooh boy. Amazing what a little iny 550 lb pony can do to you when he wants to be somewhere else in short order.

Oddly enough my TWH is fine with the bridle... and I've gotten her to the point where she will tolerate a few seconds of ear touching before the head starts swinging around. She definately anticipates bad things with her ears, her body gets tense and her lips start pulling back..

Dressage Art
Aug. 11, 2009, 11:10 AM
race track people are not idiots. They are usually experienced horseman working with expensive athletes. They know that "twisting an ear" is not the way to go. Try putting a bridle on an 18h horse who wants to be tall because someone has made him headshy. In my years at the track I only saw this done once or twice usually by a gyp or green handler. A lip twitch or lead chain under the lip works much better in emergencies. It is unusual.yes. We have 3 race track exercise riders in our barn. They exercise race horses daily at 4 am before coming to our barn. Some work turning out horses and etc at our barn. I know those people for 2+ years now and never saw them twist an ear. I saw them to stand up to harsh riding though.

Just like in dressage, in racing there are some good horse people there.... but I'll ask them about the ear twisting to be sure.

Dressage Art
Aug. 11, 2009, 11:11 AM
Absolutely right, Rodawn.

If you have a horse in training, you make damned sure you turn up at unexpected times to see what's going on when you aren't there. Have the courage of your convictions if you see a trainer is doing something that makes you uncomfortable to your horse, or to any other horse for that matter, and pack your stuff and get out of there. Don't continue to line the pockets of abusive trainers.

And they are out there--whether they get like that because they've reached the finite point of their real training ability and don't know how to progress and get frustrated, or whether they think what they do makes them winners in the show-ring (doesn't usually, in my experience) or whether they are just psycopathic b******ds who should be undergoing treatment in a secure facility, not being paid to get their jollies out of hurting animals.

Just say no. Stop making excuses and vote with your pocket book. There are capable, decent people out there training who actually like horses.

ditto Rodawn and Atr.

I have to say that I never, never saw anybody twisting an ear in person. I think I would faint from anger.

I don’t support or do that myself but I heard that one braider would grab the skin of ear and twist the skin to hold the horse for forelock braiding – she swore it worked every time.

Sacred_Petra
Aug. 13, 2009, 02:56 PM
I'm glad to see so many people here against twisting a horses ear. I remember my horor when a trainer so casualy mentioned that my horse had probably been earred down. He was always fine with a halter and bridle, but eight years later I still cannot casualy touch his ears (although granted, I haven't seen the need to make a concerted effort to get him used to it). Even having taken several workshops on rescuing horses from extreme situations, I have a hard time ever justifying twitching a horses ear. Even in cases where it's too dangerous to tranq a horse, or we need the horse fully alert for the rescue, we want the horse as calm as possible, and it doesn't seem like twitching an ear would acomplish that.

Carol O
Aug. 13, 2009, 06:30 PM
Violence begins where knowledge ends.

Abraham Lincoln

sunkistbey
Aug. 13, 2009, 07:10 PM
I fired a vet on the spot when she grabbed my filly's ear. Her response was that it didn't hurt them if done correctly. My reposnse was "you're still fired. Get out of my barn now!"
Drugs work wonders for the tough ones and has been stated, training works best of all.

Dressage Art
Aug. 14, 2009, 01:31 AM
Ok, I've been told that jockeys (or their helpers) do twist ears of some race horses if the horse doesn't want to stand still in the gate - they let go as soon as the gate opens.