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  1. #1
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    Default riding & teaching while texting or drunk

    Spin-off from this thread about a texting instructor ...
    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=305240

    Statistics show that traffic accidents are up due to cell phone use in the car. Several studies compare texting with drunk driving. 19 states have passed laws on the use of cell phones, and others are considering passing laws.

    This one says that 28% of accidents are due to the cell phone - more than drunk driving. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...011202218.html

    This one says that texting while driving increases the risk of an accident by 23%. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10296992-94.html

    The reason is the loss of focus while using the cell phone -- with texting, the person is not even looking at what they are doing.

    Would we be ok with riders and instructors regularly performing drunk? If they were clearly riding or teaching while drunk, would barn managers, students, horse owners ... show management ... etc., say something to them? If not, why not?

    How about texting, or even talking on the cell? Would we handle that the same as we would handle drunkeness while riding or teaching? Especially texting. If not, why not?

    Do you text or talk on the cell while riding or instructing? If so, why, and how do you feel about the effect on the horse, the rider, other riders, the owner ... ?

    Just wondering at the greater tolerance for the cell phone than for drunkeness in riders & instructors. When statistics indicate drunk may be the safer option - well, depending, of course.



  2. #2
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    Texting/drunkeness aside...I would never use a cell/text while teaching and I would never tolerate it while being taught.
    Unless there is an *emergency* vet/doctor call...keep the cell in it's holder or you're not getting paid in full. Period. (that goes for me too)

    Harsh? I don't think so. People are always on here griping about how unprofessional so many horse professionals act. And it's true, there is a high number of paid pros in this industry that show zero business sense.

    Talking on a cell or texting during client time is one of those. Think about any other client related business. If you have face-time with an attorney you're paying for...and s/he is texting or gabbing on the cell? Even with another client? Extremely bad business sense.

    Your child is in a class at school and the teacher is texting or gabbing on the cell?

    I don't care if it's another client calling/texting. Or a farrier. Or a hay delivery. Or whatever. Your client time is your client's time and you return calls after that time like every other business does.

    A client pays for your *full* attention and not for you to conduct other business during their time.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  3. #3
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    The above!!!!!

    LBR
    I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

    R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed



  4. #4
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    I'm an amateur, so teaching is a non-issue. I will cop to texting while on horseback and riding after a drink and a half (I'm tipsy after about one drink and won't drive). The texting/talking on my phone have only happened when at home, while halted, in a very quiet ring, on a very quiet horse.

    The riding while mildly intoxicated was at the behest of my business partner who...and I quote wanted me to "stop riding like [I] have a {insert very vulgar object} shoved up [my] ass!" We had a very fancy, but very big-moving new young horse and I kept getting very stiff and stifling his movement. In the past, he's used other techniques to distract me from focusing too much on my riding (listening to audiobooks, singing, telling him a story, reciting the periodic table, going over organic nomenclature...anything that would use more brain power than riding the horse), but for whatever reason, I could NOT chill on this horse. So he took me to lunch, bought me two glasses of wine, drove me back to the farm, put me up on the horse and said "SINK!". And by god, I sank. I was malliable and soft and light and the horse moved through me beautifully. He cranked the jumps a few holes, told me to sit still, gave me a few placement poles, and by god if it wasn't one of the top ten schools I've ever had. And after that, I had very little issue with getting tight on that horse. Trouble is, I'm not much of a drinker and I don't enjoy being drunk at all, so now he uses this ride to threaten me into riding better/softer/lighter...but it seems to work!

    Do keep in mind that the above was done at our private farm with no one else around. My blood-alcohol was also very likely under the legal limit...I'm just a SUPER cheap date
    Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.



  5. #5
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    I've ridden and texted/talked at the same time. I usually only text at the halt or walk. But I've talked on the phone while trotting around (really good way to just go and not think about being tired lol).

    Now drinking and riding IMO just don't mix. So, no, never done that before!



  6. #6
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    I have only talked on the phone from a horse twice - once was a short call I was expecting that I thought might come while I was riding, so I brought the phone. Second was for novelty. Yeah, that was when cell phones were new.

    I haven't personally ridden after drinking, because I, like Punkie, am a cheap drunk. However, we used to have a few shows in wine country that always have lots of wine around. I'm sure a lot of people had a glass before riding, though when my friend did this, she went to mount for the bareback fun class and threw herself right over onto the other side of the (small) horse. She swore it was unrelated to the wine and more due to the horse moving as she mounted, and proceeded to ride just fine, but it was funny nonetheless.

    I have low to zero tolerance for people who text or talk on the phone while doing other things and wouldn't pay someone who did this on even a semi-regular basis. And if you repeatedly work while drunk... well, then you have a problem, and unless you're a real drag while sober, that won't fly either.
    If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal



  7. #7
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    Riding while drunk is NEVER EVER OK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. I don't care what your excuse or reasoning is. Accidents happen. Serious accidents.

    All I have to say on the subject.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  8. #8
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    Count me in the camp that says any use of cell phones while training/riding/hauling horses is pretty much unnecessary except under emergency situations. If you are spending time with/on a horse, your attention should be focused on the horse. I board at a barn that has a collegiate equestrian team, and it saddens me to see the students hacking the horses while they are talking on the phone. I just feel like the horses deserve more. Just because a horse is a packer doesn't mean it should not be respected.

    I'm not going to touch the riding while intoxicated topic because it really doesn't even warrant discussion.

    I have taken lessons with someone who has taken phone calls and read/sent texts and I will say it made me feel as if I were very trivial as a client. Fortunately, this only happened with one trainer and the trainers I have worked with since don't even have their cell phones with them while teaching a lesson.
    Last edited by jenm; May. 18, 2011 at 06:32 AM. Reason: added info
    Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
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  9. #9
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    Don't mention being against drinking and riding over on the trail & endurance forum! A few folks there think it's an OK thing.

    I personally do not. But, hey, that's just me.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dispatcher View Post
    Don't mention being against drinking and riding over on the trail & endurance forum! A few folks there think it's an OK thing.

    I personally do not. But, hey, that's just me.
    and some of us over there don't think it's okay at all.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj View Post
    and some of us over there don't think it's okay at all.
    Very true. Didn't mean to generalize.... I was just remembering one thread about it.



  12. #12
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    I've missed many an opportunity to ride due to this... Around here especially it's, "Hey, we're going on a trail ride, wanna come?" when what they mean is, "We're all gonna have a six pack in our saddle bags and ride to the beer truck and back, wanna come?" Um, no. I don't. I see nothing wrong with having a beer or two or a glass of wine or even a shot if you have the tolerance and then riding, especially if you're having a nervous issue. The first couple rides back after some spectacular accidents I've had a beer beforehand. But getting thoroughly buzzed or drunk? No freaking way. I have enough issues staying on sober!

    I have answered the phone once when riding. I always keep my phone in my bra when I ride in case I come off because there is rarely someone close by. But I was in the arena, at a halt, and I had no qualms about dropping the phone in the dirt should something have happened. Now that I have a fancy smarty-phone I probably would put it on silent as I *would* have qualms about dropping it!

    Totally unprofessional in an instructor or trainer to either be drunk or to use a phone during a lesson/session. I can understand if you're waiting for a vet or farrier call and you let me know beforehand, but normal business that could wait? Rude.
    Quarry Rat



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dispatcher View Post
    Very true. Didn't mean to generalize.... I was just remembering one thread about it.
    I know you didn't. I remember the thread and frankly I think Some of them were just trying poke the bears.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  14. #14
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    I viewed a lesson with a GP jumper rider(not a well known one), and she had a beer in one hand and a cig in the other. When she needed to hop on client's horse she handed beer to client, who was 13 at the time, and quickly finished cig, rode horsey a bit, stuck client back on, and got a fresh beer. Did I also mention that she has a "driver" so she isn't driving drunk!! How very responsible! She also had a 3yr old kid that was just let loose to do whatever at the farm she came to teach at. Thankfully he wasn't too bad,but I felt sorry for him cause he seemed used to this kind of life. Have to say, I was no longer interested in riding with this person, but I have to say, she has no shortage of clients with nice horses and lots of money to waste, which makes you wonder how many stupid people are out there!



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenm View Post
    I board at a barn that has a collegiate equestrian team, and it saddens me to see the students hacking the horses while they are talking on the phone. I just feel like the horses deserve more. Just because a horse is a packer doesn't mean it should not be respected.
    I think that's a little over the top. I very much doubt if the horse feels "disrespected" or even gives a damn if its rider is on the phone. I know my horse probably prefers it when I answer a phone call while on him - it means he gets to do nothing for a minute.
    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
    -George Morris



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
    I think that's a little over the top. I very much doubt if the horse feels "disrespected" or even gives a damn if its rider is on the phone. I know my horse probably prefers it when I answer a phone call while on him - it means he gets to do nothing for a minute.
    Agreed. I talk on the phone a lot while riding because I'm riding all day, and if I'm just cooling out or on a conditioning ride or something, it's no big deal. I don't see it as disrespectful to my horse at all, I'm pretty sure they don't care one bit. And yeah, I could make and return calls in the evening, but I already put in 10 hour days 6 days a week, I really don't want to add to that when I can multitask.

    That said, if I'm teaching a lesson or in a conversation with a client, I only take urgent calls and try to let my clients know beforehand that I might have to answer it. That situation is very rare, however. It's absolutely disrespectful to the student to be chatting away on the phone unnecessarily. Drunk teaching is also not at all okay.

    Drunk riding...well, I don't mind a casual ride after some alcohol. Heck, I've been known to bring a couple of beers or a bottle of wine (if the group is big enough) along on a trail ride. If you're drunk enough to have impaired motor function, though, that is really unfair to your horse. I don't care if you fall off and crack your head open, but don't make the horses put up with you.



  17. #17
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    Talking on the phone while riding is disrespectful to your horse. Are you truly riding while you're on the phone?

    Let me tell you what you look like, since you can't see it. Your horse is aimless and disconnected, he doesn't know exactly where he's supposed to be going. He drifts a little this way and that way, and you don't even know it. You think he does know where you want him to go - although you haven't figured that out yourself, because you're on the phone.

    Your horse's appearance, carriage and general demeanor while you are on the phone is very, very different. He figures someone must be up there because he can feel them, but they aren't really there - for him. Have someone use their cell phone to video you while you are on the horse, on the phone - when you don't know they are videoing so you aren't giving your horse more guidance. Compare with a video of you walking him on a long rein, relaxing, when your full attention on him. If you don't have the perception to see the difference, you shouldn't be riding. (Questionable in my mind if you have the commitment, focus or time to ride anyway, since you aren't really riding while you're on the phone, and you can't put the phone down long enough to ride.)

    Your horse has things he needs you to know about how he perceives and reacts to things - in the barn, under saddle, on a break, cooling out. But you aren't listening. You are on the phone. You don't know your horse as you should. He knows you as someone who is sometimes there, sometimes a blank space.

    Now, as the other rider in the ring, let me tell you how absolutely fed up I am with your horse wandering aimlessly into my ride paths, which he would not be doing if you were actually mentally present in the ring. How fed up I am with being forced - by you - to be the one to politely handle your inattention, while you ignore all politeness by creating this situation. How fed up I am with trying to determine a ride path and then trying to determine if your horse is about to drift left or right - because you don't even know this is happening.

    That's what you look like while you are riding and talking on the phone at the same time. It isn't attractive - it does lower my opinion of who you are as a rider and a person. And I am really tired of having to think of polite ways to deal with you, while you rudely talk on the phone or text, oblivious. My politeness may be running out.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
    I think that's a little over the top. I very much doubt if the horse feels "disrespected" or even gives a damn if its rider is on the phone. I know my horse probably prefers it when I answer a phone call while on him - it means he gets to do nothing for a minute.
    I second whoever agreed with this. If I know the horse I am on and have a reason to anwser my phone - I'm going to. You honestly never know when an emergency is going to come up. In general I only ride my two horses, and am usually by myself on the property so I need to keep my phone on me incase I fall off and get hurt. And I always stop the horse to anwser the phone/text back. I have taught my horses to stand still while stopped and it is good practice for them.

    Drinking and riding - there are so many shades of grey. Everyone handles alcohol differently, but I think we can all agree that if you shouldn't be behind a wheel - you shouldn't be on a horse. I think they qualify as "heavy machinary"

    Teaching is a differnet story: someone is paying you for your time. It is beyond unprofessional for you to deal with anyone else or anyone elses horses while not giving them your 100% undivided attention.
    Last edited by HGem; May. 18, 2011 at 01:03 PM. Reason: Added teaching info.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverandOnward View Post
    Compare with a video of you walking him on a long rein, relaxing, when your full attention on him. If you don't have the perception to see the difference, you shouldn't be riding. (Questionable in my mind if you have the commitment, focus or time to ride anyway, since you aren't really riding while you're on the phone, and you can't put the phone down long enough to ride.
    Alright then, I fess up. I should just dump my 4 years of riding, and pick up a hobby of...what, texting and walking? Driving? I would NEVER text or talk while actively working (I have actually seen someone whizzing around a course whilst talking on the phone ) but when I'm cooling off? Sure. If I hear my phone ringing, yeah I'll stop working and pick up. Maybe it's my ride saying I'm getting picked up early. My lease has actually learned to associate cool off time with phone time... I don't usually talk while I cool off, but I sometimes text, and he'll get visibily more relaxed, and just kinda amble around.

    I would also never text or talk while someone else is riding, I find that slightly disrespectful to the other rider, but I certainly don't find it disrespectful to my horse.

    Just my $0.02.
    Proud member of the COTH Junior (and Junior-at-Heart!) clique!



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverandOnward View Post
    Just wondering at the greater tolerance for the cell phone than for drunkeness in riders & instructors. When statistics indicate drunk may be the safer option - well, depending, of course.
    I don't think the thread was about the issue of texting and the issue of drinking, but rather why people seem to tolerate texting during a lesson when studies indicate that it is just as distracting as being drunk.

    The problem is, I doubt these studies support the statement quoted above, that texting in general carries as great a risk as being drunk. Those seem to be very specific studies that were conducted to find the relationship between texting and driving, and the effects of texting vs driving drunk. That is a specific enough study that the findings cannot be generalized. The finding "you are more likely to cause an accident while texting and driving than while driving drunk" does not translate to "texting has the same effect as being drunk while teaching a horseback riding lesson."

    Personally, I wouldn't be happy with either. I also subscribe to the theory that if I wouldn't drive a car while doing something, I wouldn't ride a horse doing the same thing. But unless I'm misunderstanding how those studies were conducted (very possible), I don't think they apply here, nor would I argue that people shouldn't text and ride/ teach based on studies about texting and driving.
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