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  1. #1
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Default Has horse training become "Politically Correct"?

    There is a thread is the Dressage Forum about flash nosebands (see link below) that raises an interesting question:

    Has the general consensus about how you train horses changed from "Yeah, please him well enough but get the job done" to "You will only get the job done if you please him" or even "The training process might not please the horse at all. We should worry a lot about balancing our priorities and his."

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=293060

    In the flash noseband discussion, people are arguing for and against based on a different set of criteria.

    When I was learned about training horses when I was a kid, there was more emphasis on getting the job done, but stopping short of hurting the horse. It was acceptable to make him angry, so long as the conclusion included some kind of truce, or acceptance on the horse's part. (Heck, even dressagers talk about "submission" as a valuable quality).

    On this forum, there is a lot of talk about seeking a physical cause for a behavioral problem first. And the diagnostics recommended for that often have a pretty big price tag. When I was a kid, people tended to ask about physical and mental causes of problems at the same time.

    We do know/talk a whole lot more about things that can cause pain-- ulcers, saddle fit, tendons and ligaments that aren't officially torn except on ultrasound, subluxations in the spine.

    But sometimes I am surprised or a little frustrated by the people who will never quite tell a horse that he just needs to Man Up, Punch His Time Card and accept the inconveniences that come with having a job.

    I assume people still do their share of telling horses to Just Deal and "offer submission." Maybe they they just don't say that out load so much any more?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  2. #2
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    Default

    Ghazzu said it best in a recent post.

    More riders and fewer horsemen.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling



  3. #3
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    Feb. 8, 2007
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    Default

    I spent 2 years leasing a horse and trying to figure out what physical problems could be contributing to her horrible behavior under saddle. While I did discover a couple of things, after my friend/coach worked with us a few times, we came to the conclusion that the horse was just a bitch under saddle. Life is too short. I gave up the lease and haven't looked back or been happier. Someone else can deal with her nonsense.

    Like most anything else, I think there's a happy medium. I've had people tell me that I'm too hard on my horses in demanding appropriate behavior from them whether on the ground or under saddle. I don't think that I am. In fact, most instructors I've had have told me the opposite - that I'm too nice and that I need to be more practical. I usually tell these "well-meaning" people that "I'm sorry, but my horse outweighs me by hundreds of pounds. You think I'm going to let them walk all over me and get by with that b.s.? I don't think so."

    I grew up with a farm full of horses, and not one of them was ill-behaved. Why? Because my father demanded respect from them, but he also gave it. I can honestly say that until I moved to the Mid-Atlantic almost 10 years ago, I've never encountered so many horses with obnoxious behaviors and vices in my life. In boarding at barns with people who have multiple horses, it astonishes me how many of those people have horses with nasty personalities or behaviors. You can easily tell who the tough but fair owners are vs. the ones who just let Dobbin walk all over them.



  4. #4
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Of course! Only snaffles are acceptable bits. Every horse is a "rescue." Anything other than a perfect round is horse abuse. Anything other than what you would do yourself is horse abuse. Everything is caused by pain. Every horse has ulcers. And most important, we must ALL WEAR TS.

    I take it all with a grain of salt and just do my best. My horses still get a spanking when they are naughty. My TB accidentally bit me, not hard but enough to get teeth around my leg, last night when I was putting his blanket on (which he's never done before in the 3 years I've had him). I gave him an attitude adjustment he won't forget anytime soon, a big growl and a couple hard smacks to the belly. He stood stock still in the corner of his stall while I then calmly finished putting on his blanket and patted him. He knew exactly what he'd done and that he deserved what he got. He was calm and fine afterward, but didn't so much as start to lay back an ear for the rest of the evening.

    I don't give a flying flip if he did it out of pain or didn't mean it or whatever, it's not OK. What he "accepts" is not a consideration. My barn, my rules. Same with riding -- I don't care if he's in pain, in the short term he is not to buck or rear or otherwise act the fool. If he does, I will still punish him for it. At the same time, if he exhibits these behaviors I seek out physical causes to eliminate the source because usually behaviors like that do stem from pain.

    If you don't, what starts as a physical problem will soon become a training issue. I don't see why so many people don't get that, they let terrible behavior go because, "oh, he's hurting." Call me callous but I don't think that's an excuse. Work on the vet side, but if you can't punish the horse for bad behavior, don't ride it.

    I don't generally care for flash nosebands, though, I think most horses don't need them. I've used them in the past but my horses go the same or better without. If one of them went better with, I'd use one.



  5. #5
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Default

    I only skimmed the thread in the link, but the thrust of that one seems to be how one's relationship to one's horse affects their relationship with their SO. I didn't read it through slowly to see the connection here.

    I think training has been PC for as long as people have been training horses anywhere around the globe. Too many people just seem to know that the trainers within their own circle are the only ones who have the best answers. In the USA, eastern riding training methods have always compared to Western training methods, with the latter held to be inferior. If the horse won't behave for its owner, they come on here and brag about sending it to the cowboy. So insulting.

    Over the past two decades I have seen first hand what Ghazzzu once said, and I agree. Too many riders, and not enough horsemen.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/



  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chief2 View Post
    ...Too many riders, and not enough horsemen.
    I'd amend that to "Too many riders seeking instant gratification..."
    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
    Winston Churchill



  7. #7
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    Default

    I wonder if it isn't just a matter of a lot of middle-aged timid ammies who don't have any experience getting tough with anyone or any animal. And by getting tough, I mean, firm and assertive, not crazy angry abusive whatever.

    I have definitely had to learn how to not accept minor naughtiness from my very gentle horse, and it was a major mental realignment. Maybe I read Black Beauty too many times and came away thinking that a firm smack with a crop was animal abuse.

    I think that using our brains to understand all the variables (need teeth done, saddle fit, whatever) is worth doing, and I've seen those kind of fixes definitely improve a horse's cooperativeness and attitude. But at the end of the day, my horse has the most ridiculous easy job in the world, and she's going to have to do it.

    I also think that the day you decide that you have to make your horse trot 2 more circles each way, or jump the gymnastic one more time because they are acting like they are done, but it's not their call to make, is a day that you the rider have to be ready to ride out a buck or a little nappy fresh behavior. And if you are 40something, didn't ride as a kid, and are aware of your skill limitations, maybe you don't always feel up to making your horse do their job.

    Which is why people like me should always have a trainer, to remind them what should be done, and to help them do it when it's over their skill level to execute.

    Book over.

    So, MVP, I'm not sure it's something you can characterize as political correctness, but maybe more reflective of a world full of riders who aren't as skilled or experienced as they should be.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  8. #8
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Default

    40 years ago we used to buy, yes, horrible I know, buy TBs directly off the track, understanding they needed retraining, were not "mistreated" and didn't need to be "rescued".

    Today, every OTTB is a rescue and people are heroes that buy one and retrain it.

    Same song, different verse, maybe more emotionally geared to the person than pragmatic and so with problems of it's own, like where to set proper, safe boundaries between a horse working with you or a pet walking all over you.

    Those kinds of owners are getting to be the majority and many trainers have learned to cater to them, I guess no example is necessary.

    I wish, for the horse's sake, some of those people would get Furbies, not real, live animals:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furby



  9. #9
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    Sep. 24, 2008
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    Default

    But sometimes I am surprised or a little frustrated by the people who will never quite tell a horse that he just needs to Man Up, Punch His Time Card and accept the inconveniences that come with having a job.
    I agree with this. I see many horses who just don't know what the right answer IS because their riders/trainers are so flippin' wishy washy.

    NJR
    Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.



  10. #10
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    Jan. 31, 2003
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    Default

    Absolutely.

    Its a big reason i tend to keep my responses to one or two liners now. And see my signature? I am tired of having to qualify every statement... There was a low point here where on the horse care board, a certain group of people decided to reprimand anyone giving out advice. Ummm, thats what its for... Things have improved but the days of free thinking and public exploration of ideas and concepts are clearly over. A lot of those people are just gone.

    Anyway IMO its indicative of a much large problem, but the symptoms have even infected COTH.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank B View Post
    I'd amend that to "Too many riders seeking instant gratification..."
    No, I'd like to say that, but from what I've seen over and over again, I have to stick with Ghazzu.

    Frank, some of these people can go for years like this, with horses that would only benefit from training from a different point of view, however brief it would be. They get into this headset, and that's it. The only training they find to be worthy comes from the trainer(s) within their own discipline, and that's that, regardless of whether or not it is even working for them. They just keep traveling down that same tunnel, insisting that it is the only thing that must work for everyone, even if for them, it really doesn't. Anything (or anyone) else is inferior. Not at all the open perspective needed to become a good horseman.

    Good training and horse ownership, to me, comes from a variety of good teaching and influences across the spectrum, and is available to anyone over the span of their own lifetime. To turn a blind eye to it all and only have respect for a one-sided viewpoint of it is PC thinking to me.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/



  12. #12
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    My horse is generally very well behaved. (I expect good manners from them no matter who is handling them.) People who are clueless are always commenting on how wonderful he is. All my other horses have been the same way. Even a real rescue that didn't like people for a while. He was a super trooper for everything.

    With that said, the few times I've yelled or swatted him on the shoulder or neck with my hand have brought collective gasps and glances of condemnation. How DARE I hit such a well behaved horse! Um, because, he was not behaving very well and it was NOT something that was hard for him to do or handle (he's done it a million times) and he was just pitching a minor fit about it. The whole reason he DOES behave is because there is a line he knows he's not supposed to cross. He gets verbal warnings when he's close to that line, and by the time he crosses it, he knows he's already in trouble. If I didn't correct him, he'd be as obnoxious as their horses.

    Okay, that's my rant. I believe in firm but fair. If you aren't that way with them, and you don't have high expectations that they will behave themselves, you'll get what you deserve--a spoiled 1,200 pound animal that is a menace to all who are around it.

    And yes, it does carry over to under the saddle as well, but since I like a bit of a personality and not a trail horse, a little bit of a discussion now and then doesn't bother me. Neither does a strong objection on their part if they are frustrated or just having a bad day and I'm too focused to notice. Not their fault in those situations. If it's objecting because they are lazy, that's a whole different ball of wax and is not allowed. But if you curb their enthusiasm and personality too much under saddle, you lose the brilliance. On the ground, who wants brilliant? I want sweet, kind and trusting. (Under saddle that's nice, too, but like I said, I'll accept a bit more talking back. Guess that comes from OTTBs who generally love to do that. )
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  13. #13
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    Feb. 8, 2007
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    I agree with Velvet's post 110%.

    I board at a facility where we have self-care boarders who assist in doing the feedings. Last year, we had one girl who simply could not handle some of the horses. Horses aren't stupid...most of them know who they can walk all over and she was one of those people. There would be times when she wouldn't take my friend's gelding out because she was too afraid of him. He's not a bad horse and nobody else had issues with him or was afraid of him. But he's a giant which makes him more intimidating to a non-experienced person. He was really only bad with her, because once she let him get by with something and not disciplining him, she was toast. Thankfully, she's no longer boarding there.



  14. #14
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    Apr. 4, 2007
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    Default Yes -it has become PC

    The fact is that if you say: you "broke" your horse to ride (instead of "backed"), you get sneered at by "real" trainers. Doesn't that sum it up?
    Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    I wonder if it isn't just a matter of a lot of middle-aged timid ammies who don't have any experience getting tough with anyone or any animal. And by getting tough, I mean, firm and assertive, not crazy angry abusive whatever.
    I have my issues as a re-rider, but I definitely think that growing up with dogs in the house who were reasonably trained went a long way towards helping me develop a certain mindset when interacting with animals - yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that what you're doing is not harming them or causing them discomfort (unless it's necessary for their well-being, like vet care) but at the same time, they, like little kids, have to learn that they don't always get what they want - if it's something that needs to happen, too bad, so sad for you.

    This is nice and clear cut, of course, with vet care - if an animal needs a vaccination it needs the vaccination, and that's that - but it applies to other things too. Sure, maybe the horse would rather run on ahead or bounce around on the end of the lead rope instead of walking politely, but you know what? It's not safe for me, so tough cookies for the horse. He can suck it up and deal, it's not going to deeply mentally traumatize him to have rules for good manners as long as they're applied consistently and fairly.

    (What's way worse, imo, than an animal who hasn't been handled properly at all is one who's been handled erratically, because they're generally a LOT more brain fried when it comes to trying to teach manners. One that hasn't been handled properly at all is likely to test you a bit, but as long as you're consistent, they generally settle down. One that's gotten erratic or inconsistent handling, on the other hand, has to learn to trust that YOU are going to be consistent, and depending on previous experiences, that can take a long time.)

    Plus, with properly raised dogs, you do learn The Voice Of God pretty effectively fairly young. (My dad is still way better at it than I am, though. ) That's a powerful tool with most animals - it's not yelling, it's not screaming, it's just firm and confident and says 'I mean business' and most animals respond to it.

    I wonder also if maybe some things might be down to the type of horses people have learned on. Most of the schoolies I rode had a certain amount of personality; they weren't unsafe, but they had their own ideas about things and would occasionally try to go with their idea instead of yours. (Perfect example being the one who had a little internal clock that ran a bit fast, and if he thought it was time for the lesson to be over, he'd try his very best to blow through the aids and head to the center of the arena because that was where we dismounted most frequently. Wasn't anything wrong with him, he just thought he should be done with work - even if it'd been a walk only lesson on a rank beginner so it wasn't any effort for him at all.)

    So riding those sorts of horses, you had more opportunity to learn the difference between 'something really isn't right' (like if the horse was off) and 'the horse is expressing his opinion, which is fine, but it is time to let him know that in this particular instance, he does not get a vote.'

    I don't know what most school horses are like now, but I wonder if some of the ones I learned on might not be used these days for liability reasons. (Not that they were nasty, but like the one who was afraid of deer - I could see someone trying to bring a lawsuit if they fell off because he spooked at a deer during the season when they were out most, because the stable knew about the problem and used him anyway. Even if the case didn't really go anywhere, it's time and money spent dealing with it.)

    And I did, back in the day, take trial lessons on a couple of horses who were much more push-button - if they developed issues, I don't think they were schooled by the lesson riders, I think they were dealt with by the working students or the trainer. So the lesson riders never really had to deal with anything other than a perfectly cooperative horse. That, to me, seems like leaving out a big part of general horsemanship. (To be clear - if the horse has a DANGEROUS issue, that's one thing. But if he's just being a stubborn sod about something, like trying to suggest the lesson end early, imo that's a perfectly reasonable issue for any moderately competent beginner to address. You put leg on, maybe use a whip to reinforce things, and make him go. Not rocket science.)



  16. #16
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    I leave the flash off. If my horse is fighting it, then it's because my hands suck and I need to fix that.

    You know, for the most part, and unless people have made it so, horses are pretty honest. What you see is what you get. You just have to see it.

    I will give you an example. My horse was on stall rest for a period of time. He is usually out 24/7. When I started to work him again, I would, as usual, put him in a stall with hay and water while we groomed. He didn't want the hay, circled, pinned his ears.

    And then I realized that this stall was enclosed, with limited visibility (well, hey, they're used just for feeding and tacking up if you don't use cross ties). The stall rest was done in a larger, open pipe stall where he could see his buds.

    So I just took him out, put him in cross ties, where he could see everything going on and not feel shut in. Voila. No issues.

    If that's PC, so be it.
    www.specialhorses.org
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  17. #17
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    Just this morning I was thinking about how some mares are always pushing the envelope to test the hierarchy and how you cannot let them get away with anything. ever. Firm hand in a mink glove.

    I've often felt that my work with horses has carried over quite well to raising my children.

    On the other hand, like DressageGeek, I think problem solving can go a long way. I have a young mare who adores my husband and was getting really pissy about my husband taking his riding horse out and not her. When I would go to get her (I'm riding her), she'd sulk and be crabby. So now, I get her first before my husband goes to the paddock and she is fine. Just lovely the whole time.
    "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

    "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    I wonder if it isn't just a matter of a lot of middle-aged timid ammies who don't have any experience getting tough with anyone or any animal. And by getting tough, I mean, firm and assertive, not crazy angry abusive whatever.
    In this country, the preferred past-time seems to be judging others. So one person's "firm and assertive" is another person's "crazy angry abusive." I am not disagreeing with you in any way, I believe that a lot of people are too soft with their horses and it shows in their ground manners. I used to work for a trainer in California who had a huge variety of horses in training. She was one tough cookie. She didn't take crap from any horse and it really showed in their behavior. The worst ones to handle were the ones fresh from their owners.

    The other day, when I was feeding, my gelding decided to push into me and try to snatch the hay out of my arms. He was horribly coddled from his last owner and we are still working on respect a year later. Anyway, he weighs 1300lbs, I weigh 160lbs. He got really rude, thinking he could do what he wanted, my arms were full of hay, so I kicked him in the belly.

    Yes, I kicked my horse in the belly. He went "ooof" and backed off and was well behaved after that. Anyone watching would have probably called AC or posted about me on CoTH. But, he is a lot bigger than me and I will not be walked over by the big galoot, and that's all there is to it.



  19. #19
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    Maybe not so much "political correctness" as a headlong descent into "malignant anthropormophism."

    Horses are chattels that we humans hold because we want them. They permit us to accomplish goals (even if it's just having something beautiful to look at in a pasture).

    Horses to not have "rights" but humans have responsibilities. If you want to accomplish your goals in the most efficient manner possible you have to take into account the needs of the horse. Every horseman knows this; some riders do; the anthropomorphic crowd hasn't a clue (and probably couldn't buy one).

    Treat your horse as it's due and you'll be fine; overcomplicate the matter and neither will be fine.

    G.



  20. #20
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    I find this so interesting...horses are herd animals as we know. I wonder how many people who are complaining of abuse, have taken the time to watch the horse out and loose in a herd. Actions happen, and there is discipline by others to that action.When humans are introduced to the horse there is also the same pecking order, and I can guarantee you that I am number one in that order, action causes reaction.!
    I am a big believer about getting inside a horses head to figure out why he is acting a certain way, but along with that, he must respect the human...ALWAYS! Fair but firm assertive treatment is not abuse,IMHO, but rather a safety, and respect issue.Alot of horses are lazy and when pushed to work harder throw a hissy fit, just like a teenager who has to do what they are told by their parents...but don't WANT too...Life is difficult, and comes with rules....cross the rules and expect consequences...
    Case in point....I was working my comming 3 year old yesterday. He has always been a calm, easy going kind guy.Until yesterday, he was on the lunge line and within 30 seconds was stopped turned and looking at me. When asked to move forward he revolted and stood up reared and struck out at me....or sooo not acceptable, and he found that out. It took alot of patience and work to set him up to succeed to eventually finish the exercise on a good note, and he finally realized that no matter how much he objected, we would work it out until I was satisfied with his attitude about it all. Took maybe 15 minutes....but I had my calm, easy gelding back, and he seemed happy to be worked with by his mom again11



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