Originally Posted by Perfect Pony
Here is where I think we have a disconnect. A horse that jumps with its knees up to its eyeballs, and cracks there back to get over a 3'-3'6" jump is not athletic in my opinion. A horse that jumps 1.5-1.6m is. It is a matter of scale. Any horse can jump 3', it doesn't mean that they are athletic.
So when I state that they are drugging un-athletic horses, its because the un-athletic horses do well in the sport too. Frankly sometimes, the less athletic, the better they do because it makes it easier for the low level riders to ride them. I have been in tons of Hunter barns, and the vast majority of the line up isn't athletic, doesn't have any movement and is scoped out at 3'. Our young riders can't even ride that, they have to be drugged...that is what is sad.
To avoid this going off topic, I will state that the sports upper level competitors don't fit into this box I just painted. A good horse doesn't have to be GP jumper jumping 1.6m to be a good horse. I will state that the discipline isn't testing athleticism when they pin, which is why drugs that dumb the horse down work.
All disciplines should be drug free with the exception of NSAIDS which are for the horses comfort. All disciplines have bad drug use in them, but it is egregious in the Hunter world.
I guess we have to agree to disagree then, because at he barns I have ridden at and been to, the horses were drugged because of their athleticism. To jump and move the way they want horses to jump around the hunter ring to win, these horses are athletes. Sure, not "jumper" athletes but jumping 1.5 IMO is NOT the be all end all of being "athletic". I suppose dressage horses aren't "athletic" either? How about most race horses? A top reining horse?
Originally Posted by RyTimMick
And fwiw, many of the hunters I know of have jumped bigger jumps, especially the imports. But they had the movement and style of jump that made them worth BIG $$$$$$ as a hunter, so that's the direction they went.
Oh and the lower level horses being drugged for their AA riders? That just seemed to be a crutch, I chalk that up to our drug culture. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressants don't really do much either, it doesn't stop something like 25% of women from taking them! I watched these AAs pop their own pills, then drug their horses. It was a shame on all fronts. One of the horses didn't actually get anything, just a needle stuck in his neck, lol.
I agree with the above.
Originally Posted by RyTimMick
Perfect Pony, the ones you're talking about -- the decent hunters -- are athletic within their limited abilities. Many are overachievers, in that they do give their all, but the fact is, those horses aren't top athletes and couldn't compete against them in jumpers or UL eventing.
In eventing, we look for a different kind of athlete. Jumping 1.50m isn't required but you want a 1.30m-1.40m jumper for the top levels, perhaps not the cleanest around the painted poles but with sufficient scope, gallop and brains to go for 10-12 min at 570 mpm over varied solid obstacles. A horse that jumps knees-to-nose over 3'6" is not going to be that horse. I'm always happy to see my horses looking unimpressed and can't-be-bothered over those heights. Then I know they have a future.
Also, in Europe it is very often the case that there is as little, if not less, turnout than there is in California. Parts of Europe/UK/Ireland are so wet in the winter that the fields would be ruined if horses went out on them, and stables often suffer from excessive dampness and mold.
Maybe the eventers are better about giving their horses turnout, but it's quite common to leave horses in all the time once they become "competition" horses. It's actually nothing to do with keeping the ground nice, but more to the point of having less grooming time. When my mare was jumping I was quite adamant about her having turnout. Nothing worse than seeing young horses standing in 24/7 with only 1/2 an hour of riding. SJ people, not eventers obviously. I see more turnout of racehorses over here than SJ horses. And all the trainers I worked for that did turnout said the same. The ground can be sorted in Spring. But for mental and physical health, TO was important. Having said that this year has been brutal. If you don't have woodchip pens, fields are swamps. Yes it's Ireland, but I can't begin to describe the conditions here at the moment.
To answer Lynnwoods question earlier:
"RyTimMick your last numbered post brings up a good question to mind. Does Europe have similar issues where drugging is concerned ? How is it handled there and what is vs not permissible. Is it as prevalent as we find it here in the US? "
Europe follows the FEIrules so no tolerance for drugging. The germans have even launched a program for testing in the training ring.:
There´s only 5 horses at my barn. My mare (SJ 1,40), two 5 yo (SJ 1,25), a SJ pony and a 27 yo gentleman retired from SJ that still does 2-3 rounds hacking every week.
Originally Posted by Equilibrium
All of them are out in the field between 7 am and 4 pm.
We are lucky to be on mostly sandy ground so the water sifts thru and have quite a lot of acres for only 5 horses (we actually have 2 winterpaddocks per horse 20 x 40 to change between and of course (!) 2 summerpaddocks 40 x 100). The worst part is actually getting them there, the path is like a marsh at the moment, hanging to the fenceposts and trying not loose my boots.
I found this video at a swedish website. The opposite approach, keep horses healthy and showing without drugging.
It´s a study Professor Lars Roepstorff doing concerning the horse biomechanic. Professor Lars Roepstorffs is really big here on trying to find better footing, better training methods and so on from a scientific perspective to make the horses healthy and happy.
It´s really interesting and I hope they will publish a series of videos when the study is finished! Right now there´s 2 videos published and in it´s in english :-)