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  1. #1
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    Default for the sake of discussion- breed shows/in hand classes

    Ok-- Im not sure if Im going to get my thoughts out right..but I hope you all see where Im going with this... Id like to discuss something that was mentioned about the accident at Lexington Dressage, and something Ive seen and heard more and more often. Most of us on this board make our breeding choices with a lot of thought about what 'kind' of horse we want to produce, either for market or to retain.. Ive been wondering a lot about the horses we are seeing win at some of the bigger breed and/or in-hand classes. They seem to contradict the 'solid-citizens' or future riding partners many of us raise. Im not talking conformation and breeding-- Im talking brains, good manners etc. I mean how many of us when going to look at a mare to purchase as either a future riding partner/brood mare would take seriously a potentially dangerous animal? One that rears, strikes and kicks--or a stallion that is barely under control on the ground? So- I have a lovely yearling filly, sane, smart, correct and good manners-- one we can say in three years will do her job well... would she even place at some of these in-hand shows? I see horses I cannot imagine under saddle -ever- being rewarded with wins. It makes me think of the arab halter horses of the 80'-- the 'crazy' halter horses that were otherwise not useful for anything-- shouldnt we be looking for brains and a bid-able temperament when we choose the horse that reflect the sports ideal? I know we dont see this so much in hunter in hand- I see this more with the dressage/sport horse classes. Anyway-- thoughts?

    One more note: the horrible accident at Dressage at Lexington where the trainer was kicked in the face by the winning mare is not the first, nor second, that Ive heard of in the past month or so. I guess my point is, I dont care what this mare moved liked or looked like, she would never be in my barn- nor could I even think of selling her to someone-- but yet-- this mare won. At Silverwood at groom for another horse was kicked in the face busting out all his teeth-- why would someone bring a horse like that in public? OK-- done ranting



  2. #2
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    She can stay in my barn.



  3. #3
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    wehrlegirl, I am greatly offended by what I will say is an ignorant post. First of all, you have absolutely no idea what Sophie's mare is like or the specific circumstances under which this accident happened. In the other thread it has been explained several times that breed shows ARE dangerous and all the reasons why they can be dangerous, particularly at less than perfect setting facilities. If you've never been to a sport horse in hand show, you should go to one before you base your opinion on what you think you've heard. The electricity is almost palpable when the babies, mares and stallions are in the vicinity. There is almost always noise in the bleachers and arena area from non-horse folks not used to being around very young stock, and usually this is the first time the babies have been away from home. It's tough. It's difficult, and even the very best behaved horses can be a bit flighty and very highly aroused. When horses are presented on the triangle, sometimes a whip is used behind to get them moving and showing their gaits. This certainly can heighten the atmosphere to horses not used to being run behind with a whip.

    I also would take Sophie's mare into my barn for sure along with many others you would consider too spirited to handle based on what you've heard about their "attitude" at an in-hand presentation.

    On a personal note, I have a very large, old type hano mare that is quite imposing. When she thinks something just might threaten her baby she swells in size and is on high alert. In fact the second she walks into the warm up area her adreneline is pumping full force watching for anythig she deems unusual. Unless you know this mare, you would be very intimidated by her, just from her appearance. She's never reared or kicked out but she will certainly run all over someone to get to her foal if she thinks it's in trouble. When she's trotted on the triangle, there are only two people who have been able to match her stride and one has said she's the hardest horse they've ever presented because she's so powerful. Is this dangerous? Absolutely not....at least not to those of us who know this mare and those we trust to present her if we can not.

    Please don't make comments and public posts about horses you know nothing about. This was a tragic accident that could have happened to anyone who owns a horse of any temperament.

    And, by the way, the responsible breeders I know DO take mare and stallion temperament into consideration when breeding. It's a complete package to those who take pride in what they are doing and are trying to produce the best riding horse they can.
    Last edited by eggbutt; Jul. 13, 2009 at 08:14 PM.



  4. #4
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    First of all EggButt, you dont have to jump all over my ass. It was a discussion, I have no idea why you are offended-- that is simply you starting a fight. I mean who the ^%$%^ are you? I do know breed shows are dangerous.. which is my point.. if we are judging horses on the ability to be competitive/breeding horses then it does not make sense to score an animal that is acting dangerous. I know damn well it was an accident so I do not need to get scolded by you, this was never a target of one case or another. How would you know what I consider too spirited to handle ? You are projecting onto me something I didnt even write.. Im talking about dangerous.. not spirited.. horses being placed.



  5. #5
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    Horses are dangerous. Period. Accidents happen whether you are dealing with babies or seasoned show horse. While it is hugely unfortunate that serious accidents happen, it is part of the lifestyle we have chosen. All we can do is try our best to minimize the risk, but you will never totally eliminate it.

    I think when it comes to any sort of judged show, you also have to take into consideration who is judging. What I consider to be an unruly horse may not even come close to what you consider unruly. It really is the judge's personal preference. A lot of 'bad' behaviour at the breed/line shows is generally excused by horses being babies. A colt striking out at his handler, for some, might come off as the colt being playful.

    I don't think you can compare the arab halter horses and the sporthorse line horses. I've been in both worlds rather recently, and even the arabs now have sporthorse in hand classes. The traditional arab halter classes that you are referring to are no less crazy now than the 80s. Have you been to any Regionals or Nationals lately? They are still chasing those horses with plastic bags and amping them up so they are rearing, flightly and wide eyed for their class. I don't know of any sporthorse breeder specifically breeding for that purpose.

    I don't mean to start a fight at all. Perhaps it's a bit shameful, but I actually enjoy a traditional arab halter class. It's electrifying. It's a spectacle. Sporthorse line classes are more of a display of correct conformation and type.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wehrlegirl View Post
    I guess my point is, I dont care what this mare moved liked or looked like, she would never be in my barn- nor could I even think of selling her to someone-- but yet-- this mare won. At Silverwood at groom for another horse was kicked in the face busting out all his teeth-- why would someone bring a horse like that in public? OK-- done ranting

    This is what I found completely offensive. You make an ASSUMPTION either horse was dangerous with your comment "why would someone bring a horse like that in public"....my point is this type of behavior can happen to anyone at any time with the most dead broke horse there is with the most impeccable breeding for temperament as well as athletic ability.



  7. #7
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    Accidents that happen at breed shows have nothing to do with the temperament of the horse but everything to do with its lack of experience. A lot of times it's these young horses' first time away from home, and schooling at home can't prepare them for the electric atmosphere they'll encounter. You can have the most even tempered young horse in the world at home but you have no idea how they'll react when you subject them to things out of your control. Hauling, strange stalls and horses, loud speakers, dogs, kids, vendors, rigs rolling in and out, horses getting loose, horses loading and unloading, horses screaming, raging hormones, etc, etc.

    How do you prepare Little Miss Cream Puff for the 3yo stallion that arrived in the middle of the night and was stalled behind her who kept trying to climb the wall to get to her, or the hellacious thunder and lightning storm that came up over night with a raging river down the gutter just outside her stall or the loose stallion that almost broad sides her in the warmup right before she's getting ready to go? Stuff happens. The only way to get them used to this sort of thing is to keep taking them. By the time they're under saddle, they'll have "been there done that attitude," then people will be remarking what a WONDERFUL temperament she has!

    I would never completely judge a horse's temperament by what I see in at a breed show...



  8. #8
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    I would never completely judge a horse's temperament by what I see in at a breed show...[/QUOTE]


    I totally get that.. but as a breeder and competitor, I am concerned by what I see is a growing trend to place horses who seem more 'unruly' than others..this is why I bought up in a breeders forum.. it must be conflicting for all the work we do choosing matings that focus on minds as well as conformation, for aa as well as pro and upper level ability and furthermore, to work with our youngsters to be well behaved and witness a trend in everyone oohing and ahh-ing the 'energy and spirit' of a horse that is out of control. Ive seen it. Horses that were mean as hell. I bought up arabs because I grew up with that scene, I love them- really do, but was witness to (for many, not all) a separation between the 'halter horse' and the performance horse. The halter horse may be perfect type, but began a trend of lacking any real ability. I am concerned as a breeder to see this happen in the warmblood community. What are these shows telling us ..there seems to be a contradiction.



  9. #9
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    Dear wehrlegirl,

    I have a mare that consistently scores in the 80+ percentiles. She scored an 86.2 in materiale last weekend and an 83.5 in her mare class. She has never put a foot wrong in the last 3 years that she has shown in hand. She pumps up as soon as she's asked to trot, goes back to a flat footed walk when her handler walks and stands like a very imposing and alert statue when stood up for the judge. That is the norm for my horses.

    I do not believe that judges reward bad behavior. I do believe that some will overlook childish antics.

    Even though you did not mean to offend, you did identify a certain mare in your original post. A more generic post might not have riled folks up as much.

    Horses can do things that hurt people, even the best of them, when things go wrong. But I do not believe that the best sporthorse judges are rewarding fancy but crazy horse — not at all.



  10. #10
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    As I've said many times to many people, horses are potentially dangerous animals. Whether at home or at a show ... it only takes a split second. No matter how amateur-friendly, bomb-proof, whatever you might think, every horse has the ability to cause serious harm. We all need to remember that every day and never take for granted our 99% of the time sweetums - it only takes the 1% for things to go really bad.

    My very best wishes for Sophie to have a speedy recovery and for her lovely mare not to be ostracized for life.



  11. #11
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    I would never, ever, ever have thought it possible that my quiet, dull, 4 year old would rear up and strike out at me several times leaving the Fairhill Breed Show ring last year. I was flabbergasted. But the environment was super charged and he reacted. I took him to DAD breed show and he didn't turn a hair, like he had done it all his life. But I learned from the Fairhill experience to give him more time to adjust and hang out which may have been the difference. This is a horse that you usually have to really push at to get moving anywhere.

    I believe his horse brain got overloaded that day and he reacted instinctively. I wasn't hurt and he didn't come close enough to me for that but boy was that a wake up call to me to be careful and never take anything for granted. You think you know your horse and then you don't.
    *Every horse is a self-portrait of the rider....Autograph your work with excellence.*
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  12. #12
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    Werhle, I'm offended because I DID sell that mare. She was a lovely girl then and now, and I'm guessing that Sophie will find a way to say the same thing. She was a pleasure to show in hand and start under saddle. She WAS bred for a good temperament, as evidenced by her own accomplishments as well as those of her dam, sire, and siblings. She's earned regional and national recognition as a young horse and I believe is near the top of the nation with Sophie for the four year olds. This is NOT a crazy or naughty young mare.

    As a general discussion, your point might have some validity. However, I think you'll find that, as more breeders ring in, we generally have a plan in place. We EITHER breed professional types with the gaits and sensitivity to be competitive at the upper levels OR amateur types with more user friendly gaits and characters OR - and this is the hard one - something in between. That said, I EXPECT some of the in hand horses to be more reactive. We USE those baby shows to teach ALL the youngster how to funnel that electricity into positive things like brilliance and charisma rather than negatives like anxiety or misbehavior. I also disagree that judges always reward brilliance over steadiness. On the contrary, many will place a lesser mover with a steady, rhythmic go, or a more brilliant, but less stable one.

    Further, I say again that the environment at these shows is electric. To judge a horse based on an isolated incident like this is absolutely unfair. Even the most level headed horses can make bad reactions. Not to take away that she did make a VERY bad reaction with tragic consequences - because she did. But for you to specifically condemn her for it without further information is absolutely inappropriate.

    Sophie and our domestic bred Kara were out there making their mark. We are thrilled to have placed her with such a brilliant horsewoman and our thoughts are with them both.



  13. #13
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    I do still believe that the very best dressage horses are a bit "sensitive". They have to be. Yes I know that there are some who could probably give pony rides at the fair without turning a hair. But I still believe that the majority of breeders are producing great minds. When I see an in-hand class or an inspection I'm looking for that horse that could possibly be a great GP horse one day. I don't want him standing there asleep nor do I want him doing airs above the ground. Of course I know that's not what the OP wants either. It's just that it's such a fine line to have a great mind/calm horse without producing a horse that's not sensitive enough.
    I think that as a breeder you have to walk that fine line, breeding great temperments combined with sensitivity. This probably does predispose these normally calm, quiet horses to blowing up in an "electric" atmosphere. Especially when they are young.
    Oh & Marylou. Stanza CANNOT figure in on this. She's a freak she's so nice & you know it! Still waiting on clones of her!
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  14. #14
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    Listen, the horses may be very sweet at home.. but the issue Im bringing up ( and is obviously getting mixed up as some kind of personal attack) is WHEN horses behave badly... we know the judge is only looking at whats before them...the horses are being presented for type, both breed+sport ability, and so forth.. so why is it that these horses win.. not pulled from the ring or any such thing, but actually rewarded. This is NOT happening in hunters etc..just these particular sport horse classes. For example hunters, even the young horse classes... the horses are judged on type and their "potential" to do their job, which includes packing riders around the field/course. They have to be calm, because eventually its their job. Same with half dozen other breeds. So when we have sport-horse in hand classes , shouldn't the judge also be looking for stability of temperament and so on? Im NOT talking about just one person here...the earlier threads simply bought the topic up...Im talking about a trend and how BREEDERS feel about it..because I know in any other given situation horses acting this way would be rejected. And ..just to play devil's advocate..shouldnt this be a criteria? It is for under saddle- right? Im not talking about general accidents.. Im talking about representing truly what we breed for.. temperament, athleticism, etc. IMO-- and it is my opinion.. I see a lot of reward for hot headed behavior in these particular classes.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians View Post
    When I see an in-hand class or an inspection I'm looking for that horse that could possibly be a great GP horse one day. I don't want him standing there asleep nor do I want him doing airs above the ground. Of course I know that's not what the OP wants either. It's just that it's such a fine line to have a great mind/calm horse without producing a horse that's not sensitive enough.
    YES!! this is what Im talking about.. when we look at these classes that IS what we should be looking for.. so the criteria IMO should be that.. so sure some of the incidents on these threads may have been a once in a life-time issue.. but I have seen time and again horses placed that were literally so wired I could not understand HOW a judge could look at them and say "this is the future we want in dressage".. you see what Im saying? Im NOT talking about babies-- Im not a fool... Im talking about sport horse in -hand for mares and stallions. We are suppossed to be judging on this.. esp breeders.. we breed for the end result.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqeq View Post
    Not to take away that she did make a VERY bad reaction with tragic consequences - because she did. But for you to specifically condemn her for it without further information is absolutely inappropriate.
    Well, Im sorry you think its inappropriate , but I dont. I am sorry the trainer was hurt so badly.. and I believe you when you say this was a very sweet mare on any other occasion. My point is.. taking from another thread that she was acting up in the ring.. that during these shows.. now that we HAVE a consensus that 1. they tend to cause horses to act up and are dangerous 2. young horses are unpredictable and accidents happen , is it right these horses ( and Im not talking about just this one mare for petes sake, but 1/2 dozen cases + that Ive seen or have heard about) get placed. SHould we be taking temperament and (using from another post) 'sensitivity' more into consideration?



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Home Again Farm View Post
    Dear wehrlegirl,

    I have a mare that consistently scores in the 80+ percentiles. She scored an 86.2 in materiale last weekend and an 83.5 in her mare class. She has never put a foot wrong in the last 3 years that she has shown in hand. She pumps up as soon as she's asked to trot, goes back to a flat footed walk when her handler walks and stands like a very imposing and alert statue when stood up for the judge. That is the norm for my horses.

    I do not believe that judges reward bad behavior. I do believe that some will overlook childish antics.

    Even though you did not mean to offend, you did identify a certain mare in your original post. A more generic post might not have riled folks up as much.

    Horses can do things that hurt people, even the best of them, when things go wrong. But I do not believe that the best sporthorse judges are rewarding fancy but crazy horse — not at all.
    To me, thats perfect. I dont know why I never get to see that.. ever one Ive seen Im always completely baffled. And someone always gets hurt. I promise to work on my more generic posts as long as I dont get burned at the stake in the meantime



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wehrlegirl View Post
    I promise to work on my more generic posts as long as I dont get burned at the stake in the meantime
    No burning at the stake today....it's Tuesday and we're out of lighter fluid!

    Several of us were upset at your original post because we know what happened, who it happened to and who did it. That said, feelings are running high (just like a breed show?!!).

    As a rule I've seen the more brilliant movers show a bit of attitude in the ring. Not necessarily aggression or meanness, but spirit and energy. I think Janine judged what she saw as an outstanding mare good for the sport and obviously the best of the day with all criteria taken into consideration. I respect her as a judge and since she has credentials out the wazoo, I suspect she's following the judging criteria to the letter. By the way, this same mare with her owner on board also won the Materiale class earlier in the morning (I think -- could have been suitable for dressage or one of the others) so it was apparent that this horse DOES have a decent temperament under saddle and was effected by the atmosphere and was overly excited.

    I have seen horses not place at all in a breed class that had acted up so badly their gaits could not be presented. This is even after the judge gave the handler repeated attempts to show the trot and they are unable to due to misbehavior and antics. These horses almost always score low because their gaits were not seen. Judges do consider the environment and give the handler with an upset horse several attempts to calm the horse yet still get the most energy and movement from them. When that can't happen the scores reflect it. So, to answer your original question, I do think judges are looking for overall brilliance in gaits, conformation and temperament. Apparently what this particular mare exhibited positively was much more brilliant than others in her classes even with her antics.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wehrlegirl View Post
    so why is it that these horses win.. not pulled from the ring or any such thing, but actually rewarded. This is NOT happening in hunters etc..just these particular sport horse classes. For example hunters, even the young horse classes... the horses are judged on type and their "potential" to do their job, which includes packing riders around the field/course. They have to be calm, because eventually its their job. Same with half dozen other breeds. So when we have sport-horse in hand classes , shouldn't the judge also be looking for stability of temperament and so on?
    One look at the archives of this forum will reveal PLENTY of complaints about the temperaments of winning hunter breeding horses at some shows (including, but not limited to, potentially dangerous explosions in the ring, inability to get the horse to trot more than a few steps because it's on its hind legs, horses getting loose, etc). The only time I have ACTUALLY thought a horse was going to kill me was when I was holding a HB yearling after the class (and it was a horse that won its fair share) - nasty temperament before it was gelded & that sometimes came out in the ring. If you honestly think that HB horses are mild-mannered and the calmest are assuredly getting rewarded, you've not been to many HB shows, have you?



  20. #20
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    I really think that the OP doesn't have much experience with breed shows - hunter or dressage - and that's what making her say the things she does.

    A good dressage youngster has to have a "go" button in order to show off his gaits and you also look for that in a riding horse. This "go" button sometimes gets confused with "bad manners" by those that don't have a clue. As someone who has had many, many youngsters in the ring I want a horse that is awake and ready to go, not one that needs to be dragged around the arena.

    As somebody else stated, the truly poorly tempered youngsters are not rewarded by the judges.
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