<SNIP>.and wacking them in the head when they even consider coming off the ground does tend to help in many cases....
"when they EVEN CONSIDER coming off the ground" (emphasis is mine)
oh yeah, especially and particularly with a stallion. They need immediate response, and if they insist on upping the ante, you must rise to their occasion. Respect is all of it. A whack across the ears with a crop handle is not likely to be hurting him much, but it will definitely make him think about not doing it again - though it sounds like in this case, he's come to the trainer to solve an already ingrained problem. Those who have not had to deal with a rearing horse don't get an opinion, in my book, on handling it.
Sidereins on the hotwalker..... that's interesting. I'd ask first why the sidereins? Does he try to chew or tear down the walker lead? or does he try to flip over and do other stuff that the sidereins don't let him do? Multiple possible issues on this horse, from the OP's description.
I would definitely do another visit when the BNT is back - and gently ask HIM (or HER) if the young stud you saw on your first visit is coming around, as he's SUCH a good-looking horse. See what the story is and have more info to make a decision - all "assistant trainers" (or working students or whatever) are not created equal.
Ditto that. The smack on the head wouldn't bother me, but the hot-walker thing definitely would.
GAH I had a reply typed and all that came through was the first line...
Anyway i had said that the crop doesn't bother me - but if the horse is still rearing and responding to the bop on the head with a bolt, I'd question the training issues. Furthermore, if the BNT is away and left this Asst. Trainer in charge, it's STILL the BNT's responsibility for what's going on. Certainly worth still talking to the BNT, but I know any of my students have strict instructions on what to work on with any horse in the event I am not there. Not that means that the Asst. Trainer can't ignore them...
Regardles, all night on a hot walker is awful. She's lucky the horse is just rearing right now, and bolting. If I was that horse, I'd be diving over on her (and yes, I've had horses do this to me based on past abuse before I got them and it's SCARY). Bopping on the head can correct rearing, and I HAVE done this, however in this case, the bolting leads me to believe there's a pain issue of some sort going on that he's reacting consistantly with a fight/flight response.
Even if he is a rank rearer stud ... aren't there other ways to train this out of him without being so harsh?
I don't think it sounds good and I'd be on the same page as you... somewhat sickened.
I don't nec. think that whapping him over the head if he's going to do something that could potentially KILL you and him is harsh. I've seen trainers who just like to whap them on the head for no particular reason, and yes, that sickens me a bit. But like many posters have said, drastic behavior problems sometimes calls for drastic measures. It doesn't hurt them forever, and hurts them MUCH less than flipping over would.
I think that what might have unsettled the OP, judging from the girl's comments, is how much she might have seemed to be ENJOYING getting in a fight with him. If you're going to discipline like that, you have to keep emotion OUT of it, so that the crop is really no more than an objective board over his head that he keeps hitting if he rears up. After the episode is over, ignore it until it happens again, and then be just as neutral in your crop-over-head reaction.
That sounds bad, hopefully some other trainers can say it better than I just did. Again, I wasn't there and I don't know who the asst. trainer is, but some people really ENJOY getting to do that sort of stuff, and that's where I think the ick factor comes into play.
As for the hot walker, I agree with it being probably an exaguration. No BNT would put a valuable young stallion literally ALL NIGHT on a walker. At least I hope not!
Makes me glad my 5 year old is safe and sound.
For what it's worth, I have also heard about the egg trick and been told it works. No experience either way. The whacking bothers me but I would have to defer to someone with real experience working through a rearing issue. Perhaps if that is truly the only way it is better than the alternative. Seems VERY easy to overdo, though, and create a whole host of new problems.
I agree with others -- go back when BNT is there, inquire about stallion, see if you can get a sense of whether this was routine.
I really hope she was exaggerating about all night. That IS abuse, plain and simple.
For those of you advocating NOT using a crop on the head of a horse that rears... what would you do instead? And have you ever worked with a chronic rear-er?
It is a case per case basis, b/c not all horses rear for the same reasons. I will never be stronger than horse but I can be smarter, so you have to figure out what is the problem or the root of the issue, then address those. It does take time and patience, that is a definite!
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I agree with what seems to be the basic trend on this...the crop on the poll bit can be acceptible in a case by case basis ut all night on a hot walker is excessive and unnecessary. What could the horse possible learn from that. I have ridden a couple of horses that have reared out of fear on lack of understanding and those I have sent forward and put to work with a simple task like a figure eight, really keeping them forward. One horse, my own actually, who is an ex-stallion (not the same as a gelding as I've come to find out) used to rear with some frequency when he was feeling frisky and he got a smack on the poll when he would go all the way up, otherwise he just was made to work with lots of lateral work. Another case was a mare that objected to her friend leaving the ring. She also got a smack on the poll and then we just stood and watched the horse go away and I politely asked her to walk in a circle then we went in. She never did it again.
Overall I think the point is that each situation is unique and you never know what precluded the girl hitting the horse. From the discription though it sounds like she did almost enjoy the fight, which is never called for. Correcting a horse should always be done with the goal of changing the behavior or creating a new, more adaptive behavior, not a punishment for the sake of punishment. From a professional standpoint, when someone is looking at my farm or my riding and judging whether they'd like to work with me I'd probably tone it down a bit.
I'm a little confused, but wouldn't a horse who was literally out for 8+ hours in a hot walker in a bitting rig not have a whole ton of energy to bolt and rear? I'm asking honestly, because while I'm not questioning what the OP says she saw, I have the feeling that this really was an assistant trainer who was exaggerating a lot.
As others before me have said, the smack between the ears is actually a pretty effective way of curing a rearer. An egg broken between the ears also seems to work on some horses, but it is messy and gross and full of salmonella.
The bitting rig on the hotwalker is, imho, abuse. While I agree the 'all night' statement was a gross over-exaggeration, even an hour would be a very poor display of horsemanship as far as I'm concerned, any more than that would be abuse. Bitting rigs are useful tools when used sparingly, and by that I mean MAYBE 30 minutes. I try to keep it to 15-20. The are hard on the horse by their very nature - they force the horse to engage himself physically completely, and do not allow him to relax, stretch or wiggle out of it. Yes, that's very useful in many instances - making a horse tired in a short period of time, or using one for brief spurts on a horse that is under-conditioned and needs to work and build up strength, or even teaching a horse how to collect and carry himself properly without a rider interfering. But to put a horse in a bitting rig and make them work continuously? Or even just stand in that frame for hours on end? Abuse.
Last edited by 00Jumper; Aug. 1, 2008 at 01:35 PM.
Reason: spellz lawl
i agree with some posters that said i could have just been the younger girls bright idea.
I have been told that if you have a horse that rears and time it right, you crack an egg on their head. they feel the dripping like blood and never do it again... it actually worked on one off track gelding i know that was a very bad rearer. anyone else ever hear of this?
I would talk to BNT when he or she gets back from europe. and judge things in a different light once you have also met them.
Yes, I have heard of this before. Seems like a pretty neat method, and I've also heard it works well.
I wouldn't judge too harshly until you see what the actual BNT is made of. Sometimes people (especially people are not used to having a position of authority) over-exagurate to make themselves seem more advanced.
Maybe the asst. trainer is just on a power trip for being there alone. I have definitely seen some people elaborate on the truth, especially with horses, to make the horse seem worse and then them seem better (which is rarely actually effective). Maybe she said "all night" and the horse was on the hot walker for a few hours? Who knows...
As for the head smacking - you never know how bad the stallion actually was and if the day you saw was an improvement or if the girl really was over reacting.
I would stay cautious but go back when the BNT is there and operations are back to normal.
Yeah, I would judge the BNT, not the "mice who play when the cat's away". He may not know about the walker thing. He's probably heard about bapping a stallion over the head if he thinks about rearing, if I had a stallion, his front feet would come off the ground exactly once, and the end of my bat would keep him from formulating a plan to do it again. Rearers are deadly, and a stallion who thinks rearing is good technique risks being put down. You have to keep your ante upped over his, constantly.
Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.
My initial impression from the OP is that the assistant trainer gal might have been trying to "impress". I would first tend (hope) to think the "on the walker all night w/ bitting rig" was an exaggeration. I'm not too keen on wacking horses anywhere on the head - althought I did pop one in the mouth after being bit one time - but stallions can present another set of rules. I personally have no experience w/ stallions so cannot comment other than to say they can certainly have behaviorial issues. I was at Upperville on the Breed day and my my there was alot of 2-legged action going on.
I would maybe suggest another meeting w/ BNT when they return from shopping spree (good for them to have clients who are willing to convert US dollars to EUROs ) and see what you think - I would also find out if you worked w/ BNT - how often they would be available to you vs Assistant BNT Wannabe
I too have heard that the egg thing works. I've always wondered how exactly you would do it though? I would assume that you would know that the horse is a rearer, hence the plan, but I can't imagine trying to ride around on a horse I know has issues holding eggs! I'm not sure I'm co-ordinated enough to pull that one off :P
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Well, yes you should be disgusted, and no- I have been to several farms where everyone thought 'interesting' methods were normal so there would be no need to hide them. Being on the walker in a bitting rig is bad- all night is abusive.
I think there is a place for one light swat behind the poll when a horse rears (though its not my preferred method). I would never take a full out hit anywhere in front of the saddle- muchless on the cheek or poll.
never heard of the egg, but I have heard of a water balloon. I don't agree with the whip- and it sounds like this is doing nothing for the horse, if anything making matters worse. I would have been horrified by that situation, and think the bitting rig on the walker is abusive. Whether she did it or not, it is not beyond her--which I think is scary in itself. It is no wonder this horse stands in the corner and rears in competition- he feels completely claustrophibic from the bit -- poor guy
Yes...on a case by case basis, perhaps a crop is appropriate.
But having a rearer/flipper, I have to tell you--there's usually a REASON. And it's often pain or bad training.
As for the hot walker...if it truly happened as described, that's crap too.
Big picture though...you're not looking to board your horse there. You're not looking to leave your horse there for training. You're looking for instruction. So I would be of the mind that as long as I'm comfortable NOT doing something a trainer recommended if I felt that it was inappropriate/abusive, then my horse has nothing to worry about.
I too would be inclined to visit again when the BNT is home. I would also be pretty inclined to mention my visit with the student on the off chance that BNT doesn't condone such stuff. If BNT acts like it's no big deal, I probably wouldn't give him/her my business though.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I am really appalled at this, but not shocked. I have seen a lot of REALLY nice (and therefore VERY expense) horses be put through horrid "training" teqniques. Beating a horse around the head and over excersising them is a quick fix for treating the symptom of rearing, but not the actual issue of the horse having a bad attitude. Sometimes BNBs and BNTs have so many clients, and the horses are all worth so much money, that there is alot of pressure to turn them into amazing horses in WAY to short of a time period. I do agree that one poster, you shouldnt judge the BNT until you actually see them approving of this. That girl may also be under alot of pressure to have him "fixed". That is still no excuse for an obvious lack of horsemanship on her part!!!!