As for how to approach the subject, it's usually helpful to depersonalize it so that it's not Person A saying "Wow, Person B, you are doing something BAD!" It can be effective if you can point to a magazine article on the subject (I'd point you to one I recently wrote, but it won't be in print for another few weeks) or to the rules and regulations governing trail ride associations, or trail classes and "trail trial" classes at many shows. Many of these specifically disallow tie-downs and other martingales for reasons of safety. I believe the AQHA is fairly specific about this issue, too. And a very recent piece in THE HORSE talks about the drowning issue and describes a situation in which a young horse wearing a tie-down drowned in about one foot of water - I wish I'd seen that one before submitting my magazine article as I could have included a link.
This is the sort of thing that you can bring up in a friendly way to begin a dispassionate, fact-based discussion... and YES it's worth trying, because you may save a horse's life by doing it!
Beverly, yes I've read what you've written.
You don't wanna get knocked out. Fine, I get that. I don't think anybody does. But why you seem willing to forgo any thought of what is actually causing the behavior (discomfort, pain, ill-fitting tack, a training issue) to satiate your desire to ride? I don't care if it's a borrowed horse. If the horse *needed* a tie-down I'd be wanting to know why and I'd feel like an asshole if I thought I was getting on a horse that potentially has a pain issue. If the answer to "why" is because, well, just because I'd be asking if I could remove it. If the answer was no, I wouldn't ride the horse. Not saying that's what you should do, we've got a different way of looking at things. I value mine and my mount's safety, and I've got ethics regarding riding a horse that could be in pain.
You don't see it as a problem. Maybe after you've had the pleasure of witnessing a wreck or two, or maybe a drowning you will.
You'd be pretty hard-pressed to find too many die-hard trail riders who make their and their horse's safety paramount advocating tie-downs.
So far everything you've said points to "it's not a big deal, accidents happen". That's how you wanna see it but the fact of the matter is there is no reason to not try and mitigate some of the risks especially with a piece of equipment that serves no purpose for increasing performance and actually HINDERS a horse's performance and safety in this particular discipline (trail riding). Add to that there is NO EXCUSE whatsoever other than sheer laziness and not caring about the comfort of the horse to try and get to root of the problem if a horse "requires" a tie-down, if you happen to be the owner or caretaker of the horse.
When you can tell me the benefits of trail riding in a tie-down then I'll rethink my position. But when your only argument is meh, no big deal it does nothing to prove your point and it's stupid, irresponsible advice to dole out to other riders who may be on the fence about the issue. There ARE risks and they should be considered. And BTW, "I wanna ride the borrowed pony so if I've gotta do it in a tie-down I will" is not a benefit. I'm talking actual, proven benefits that increase the safety aspects for horse and rider.
I have taken a standing martingale off of a borrowed horse cause I didn't want to use it. Nothing happened. I think most horses who wear them do so for no real reason- lots of the "ring hunter" crowd grow up using them in hunter classes as fashion accessories and continue to use them just because that's what they are used to, and I'm sure many of the western game people use tie-downs simply because other people do, not for any real reason.
How many horses go around throwing their heads around so much you're in danger of being knocked out? I've never met one, and I would think there was something really wrong with the tack or the rider's hands if I did come across such a horse.
My responses to excerpts from your last post, above. And then I am done, you can go on fussing and fuming if you so desire.
1. Riding horses is a generally dangerous activity. As stated in my first post, the subject of the risks and dangers in the context of the scenario described by the OP is overdramatized and unduly emphasized, and I would add here, I think the opinion is formed on the whole by folks who have little to no practical experience on the matter.
2. You are making a completely false statement based on your completely false assumption here.
3. I can only conclude that you don't have a lot of experience riding others' horses, or retraining spoiled horses, as I do. You might also read Fillabeana's take on the matter.
4. Utterly irrelevant to the discussion, except where you missed my statement that it's easy enough to disconnect a tie-down to cross water, if necessary. You probably also missed my caveat that it is important for tie downs/martingales to be properly adjusted, as well. Same holds true for all other tack and equipment (which, oh by the way, speaks to a large part of the pain issue that you seem to think, erroneously, that I don't consider).
5. My opinion is based on a half- century of experience, including observing plenty of wrecks of all kinds. And hundreds of water crossings while hunting in horses wearing martingales, in the company of hundreds of other horses who negotiated even deep water without a problem. Likely far more experience than you have, judging from what you've posted.
6. I happen to be a die-hard trail rider who makes my horse's welfare and everyone's safety paramount.
7. Where, exactly, do you think you have seen me advocate for the use of tie downs on trails? You are again leaping to conclusions. And I honestly don't care what your position is, because based on what you've written here, I don't particularly value your input. Nothing personal, mind you.
8. And where, exactly, have you seen me say, don't consider the risks? As a matter of fact I made express statements regarding assessing risks and benefits- which apparently you didn't read.
If it helps to clarify my communications on this thread, which you alone seem to not understand, my responses have been, in context, in response to the question posed by the OP. The OP has had no further questions of me, and I really don't have any personal need to engage you in further dialogue on the matter. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine.
Drama llama? No. Just stating my opinion. Same as you are stating yours.
You said and I quote, yet again, "If a horse requires a martingale to keep from breaking my nose or knocking me out, that for me outweighs the remote possibility of drowning in a stream (though I can always disconnect the thing when crossing a stream if there's any question of depth)."
Why would you not question why the horse tosses its head so badly in the first place? Why wouldn't you want to know what the cause of the problem is before getting on said horse? And if it were possible the horse were in some sort of pain or discomfort, if you would still ride the horse anyway, why? From your statement it can easily be inferred you'd ride a horse with this problem so I'm curious as to why.
And this: Because, GaitedGloryRider, sometimes, when you are borrowing or renting a horse, and it 'comes' with a tie down or martingale, you just don't have time to do all of that. You get on and go participate in whatever you borrowed or rented the horse for. Has not been a cause for concern for me yet."
Your attitude is very casual about them. Yet it is a matter of fact that they can very easily escalate a dangerous situation or accident on the trail. Even a well-adjusted one. Just because you've never witnessed an accident that was compounded by the use of a tie-down does not mean it will never happen or the danger is not present. No, your not telling everyone to go out and ride in a tie-down but you are rather casually throwing it out there that it's no big deal, you've never seen a problem happen with them and so people just shouldn't worry about it.
Just because riding is a dangerous sport does not mean riders should throw caution to the wind and take unneccesary risks. Tie-downs pose an unnessecary risk when it comes to trail riding.
You may consider yourself to be a die-hard trail rider who makes my horse's welfare and everyone's safety paramount. But you've still yet to validate your argument as to HOW exactly a tie-down presents any sort of benefit to negate the risk they pose out on the trail. Please, inform me. I'm dying to know. Please don't use the head-tossing argument because frankly it's bunk. Head tossing should be dealt with at the root of the problem, not just covered up. Or don't, frankly I do not care.
The OP seems to understand the potential danger they pose and really that's all that matters. Keep doing what you do and hopefully you'll never have to watch a horse go down with one of those things on because let me tell you it's a nasty, scary thing to watch.
I'd take my quirky barrel horse on trail rides in his tie down all the time. I had the easy clip on the cavesson, so I could simply reach forward and unclip it. I'd leave it unclipped for 90% of the ride, but he'd always get hot on the last mile home. As a shorter rider, his head does come awful close to my face when he gets light and frisky. We were able to work with him enough to where he'd walk (as fast as he possibly could without breaking into a trot, because he learned that was a no no), but he'd still get light and prancy.
There is a lot of useful information in these stories and people's experiences - therefore it is up to each of us to take away what we want from this, no excuses for being ignorant.
On the trail could mean almost anything. Some trails are extreme and others extremely tame; only an experienced trained horse should be on the extreme trails, one with the sure footedness to handle it, and one who is beyond throwing its head up into its rider's face, surely.
There are outfitters up here who would not allow you to bring your own horse.
However, little point preaching to the choir and non so blind as those who will not see.
I would say you suggest to her to stop using it, and list the things that are bad about it. Don't bash her head in, but make her think it's *her* idea to stop.
Honestly, I wouldn't be riding with her because it's a huge liability to *me* and *my* horse.
I bought a horse that had apparently been broke and ridden in a very tight tie-down. At six, it was a hard thing for her to break. The poor dear wanted to balance her face against it so badly that it was nearly impossible to ride her without it. We did take her on a few (short and tame) trail rides with it on, but just every ride she got it loosened a little more and then a little more until she didn't need it any more.
I guess I've never had, or even seen a horse that flips its head so badly that it will hit you in the face. I have trouble seeing how that can even happen but apparently it does! Not doubting anyone, just my own limited experence. I've only been hit in the face by one horse and it was because we had fallen in a ditch backwards (she spooked at... A TRUCK! That was PARKED!) and when she scared herself more from falling in the ditch, she made a dramatic leap to get back out just as I leaned forward. I had a very sore chin for a couple weeks, but I think that situation would have been made a lot worse with a standing martingale/tie-down.
I saw one woman get her nose broken when the horse flipped its head so hard he ripped the dee the tie-down was attached to out of the girth and nailed her right square in the face. That was ugly. It was her father's horse and he didn't believe in dental care. She called a vet out to check the horse's teeth later on and told me the vet said they were some of the worst he'd ever seen. Dunno if a good floating solved the problem (she was more of an acquaintence and I lost touch with her) but I'm sure it didn't hurt.
I will agree that some of this depends on what you define as "trail riding."
For some people, a "trail" is basically a wide, well-groomed path with plenty of gentle switchbacks on larger hills and very simple obstacles (if any at all). Maybe in those cases it would work out to use a tie-down if the horse really needed one. . .or maybe use that ride as part of training to wean that horse out of the behaviors that cause it to require a tie-down.
But if you're going out on a "goat path" type of trail, where your horse will have to scramble over logs, roots, or rocks and cross through streams, or on narrow or steep trails. . .I would leave the tie down at home. And if the horse absolutely cannot function as a riding horse without that kind of equipment, then perhaps it's best to work those issues out in an arena or on an easier trail.
:eek::eek:DON'T DO IT!!! ...horses can and do drown in water. I know of one that tripped and fell into chest high water, couldn't get head above water, panicked, thrashed - it was an ugly scene and rider was hurt too trying to save horse :no: Owner decades later still can't get the image of her dead horse out of her mind!
Nothing that will interfere with my horse's balance. Personally I am a minimalist when it comes to riding and often see these types of equipment as tools to control a training issue. That is my bias. But no I would never use that kind of equipment on a trail ride because it is dangerous.
I think it's funny that anyone on this BB would question Beverley's horsemanship. It's just laughable.
For the record, she probably knows more about horses and horsemanship than the rest of you put together.
Carry on with the histrionics, all you "experts".
On the trail I ride my half arab with a running martingale. He will throw his head if there are ANY bugs in a 10 mile vicinity of His Highness. Also, every once in a blue moon (like twice in the four years I've been riding him), he gets frisky and if you ask him to slow down, he pokes his nose straight in the air and ignores you completely. So, we have a running martingale. It's loose, it doesn't come to play unless he does something silly, and it keeps him from slamming me in the nose should a bug look at him.
Not really a training issue really. 99% of the time he's an awesome ride...except for those darn bugs.
I respect Beverly as much as anyone but in this thread I think it would have been best to let "riding with a tie down" remain on the "do not do" list.
I trust Beverly to have good judgement but as a rule I think the PSA should be don't do it.
I don't think you have to be drunk to make a mistake like that, horse or rider. You can be ignorant, or on a stumbly horse, or have the unexpected happen and not be able to handle it.