I think I get what you are saying and it raised another issue for me.
Example...Double Decker trailers were recently outlawed for the transport of horses. The majority of the horse community was relieved. The transporters couldn't understand what all the fuss was about...we transport other slaughter animals in these trailers all the time...why not horses?
Since I have in no way, shape or form ever trained a jumper, I can't say for a fact whether I believe that "rapping" or the use of bamboo poles is either beneficial or abuse. Were I going around a course of fences taller than me on a 1500 to 2000 pound animal, I may want to use those practices in training to ensure that whatever I'm on knows that he better pick his feet up over the fences for the safety of both myself and the horse.
As Tin averted to, the question lies in whose standards are being applied. As in the case of double decker trailers, some people thought that they were a means to an end..they got the horses where they needed to go, and had been used forever for the transport of other animals. other thought they were a cruel and unusual means to an end. How do we decide who is right and who is wrong in any situation?
with memories of McLain, I helped him put his shoes and socks on in the mornings when he was about 2 or 3. I parked my camper next to his at Ocala and he liked playing with my two cocker spaniels (Emily and Charlotte -- the Bronte sisters) so much that Barney parked next to me at the Jacksonville and Tampa shows.
Glad you finaly got the hang of it on your own, Cain. LOLOL
You wuz a real cute kid! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] It sure makes me feel old to see all you guys grow up. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]
(Sorry to sound so formal, but I was raised to address people as "sir" and "ma'am". Old habits die hard, and to this day I have difficulty addressing people immediately by their first name, as is customary in the horseworld. Obviously I need to loosen up! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )
First of all, welcome!
I was wondering if you could comment on the use (or possible abuse) of drugs administered to the horses at the top level of competition. Judging from the active discussion and level of concern about the topic voiced on this board before, I am sure that your input and observations would be of interest to many BB'er's. Myself included!
First, I want to say "welcome" and next Thank you.
I think it is wonderful that you have posted here under your real name. Geez-look at all of the posts!!!!!!
I have been around the level at which you compete-not as competitor , but as wife - of a former CET GP rider. I have seen McLain for a while & remember 11 years ago in Tampa, being amazed at his abilities. I knew who he was because of who his father was. This did not , and still does not influence my opinion of MW.
The ways in which GP horses are treated, leaves me wishing that I was one. The training and schooling that is done at that level is of the utmost importance to the well being of the horses. The tricks and gimmicks only work for a VERY short while, and if that is the only way of insuring clear rounds, then it WILL catch up with those people who use them as a replacement for good old fasioned training , and conditioning.
my husband and I were with Ian Millar for 2 years. My hubby had been there before, but it was my first exposure to that level of riding. I was and still remain in awe of the training methods and the paradox that I found . The training goes back to the basics- read George Morris' Teaching Beginners to Ride, yet pays attention to the most minute detail & intricacies of the horses' gaits & form over EVERY jump.
Yes, poling is used at that level, BUT only in a manner which will enhance the horses' jump- not scare it or hurt it. AND it is not used on all horses.AND it is not used often. When you are competing for $100,000, you want to go out there KNOWING that you CAN win on that day.
Anyone can enter these classes, but it quickly becomes apparent who should be there. These people will be the ones whose rounds are (for the most part) ridden like a modified eq round. Watch McLain, Ian Millar, Joe Fargis and the like. They are riding very technically correct rounds. Yes, form gets lost on occasion, but usually in the jump off. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
Sorry if it seems like I am rambling, but here in NC, there seems to be a whloe contingency who think jumpers are dangerous and cruel.
Done correctly, they are neither. I personally find it MORE cruel to LTD (lunge to death)and to founder horse for the sake of "quietness". I think that hunters showing witbeing ridden by inexperienced riders probably have more frequent contact with inanimate objects than any Grand Prix horse. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
Again, thank you McLain for posting here & I look forward to your input on many subjects in the future!!!
It\'s a pity life ain\'t got no warranty for times like now...
someone when the judgement is based on the actions of another. To judge McLain for his father's actions (and to further insinuate that he should in some way be held accountable for them, particularly when one considers McLain's age when these events were transpiring) is doubly unfair. Standing by a family member through hardship is a commendable act, and a courageous one on McLain's part, and should certainly be praised rather than criticised.
jumpsalot, thank you. I am only a dressage rider. As you mentioned there is a different way of thinking in NC. Not only in GP jumping but in Competitive dressage as well.
I have been lucky to ride with a big name. Believe me, my big name trainer has the BEST interest in mind of the horses in his care. If not, they would not be as good nor as happy.
It is a different world at the top. It is easy to be an armchair critic, and easy to dis or critisize that which is not understood or even really known. These big names put themselves out there. They are in the publics view, it's easy to be harsh with them and about them.
These professionals such as McLain are so much better riders, for the most part, than the average joe. Their response time is quicker, they are sharper, they have had hours of the best instruction, they have riden probably 1000's of horses and many I would guess are naturals. They can think like horses. They may know what the horse is going to do before the horse.
I guess with all this rambling, I think everyone has to find what works best for them. It never hurts to learn of other training techniques and if they don't work for you, fine, file them away, there may come a time when you may need or want to try that techique. It's Knowledge.
I, for one, am very impressed with both McLain and the rest of the posters for demonstrating that we _can_ discuss a controversial topic civilly, and hopefully educate one another a little bit in the process.
I think what this thread hits on better than any other, and what is the crux of so much disagreement, is that I really believe that everyone believes they have the horse's health and well being in mind. (The same way that pretty much everyone believes they are a good driver). This is why it is so hard to have a conversation about this sort of thing. There are no clear lines that everyone can agree on about what is abusive or cruel treatment... it's like pornography... people say they recognize it when they see it.
I recently read a book which disturbed me, and I've been meaning to post about it for a while. It's called "Dark Horses and Black Beauties" and purports to be an exploration of the passion people, especially women, have for horses and riding. There are parts that are very good, but the author's fundamental point, which I don't agree with, is that having sport horses at all--riding them, keeping them in stalls, forcing them to jump over artificial obstacles--is cruel and unnatural. I don't agree with this, but it made me think about how arbitrary the lines are that we draw to determine what is cruel and what is not.
All that is not to say that I have not witnessed training methods that I thought were cruel, perpetrated both by high level riders whom I respect, and by others of lesser caliber. I walked out of a barn where I had started to take lessons because the "professional" was treating the horses in a way that turned by stomach.
I guess all I'm trying to get at is that at the end of the day, as McLain says, every rider and trainer has to decide for themselves what methods they are comfortable with that will let them sleep at night, with the understanding that it is very likely that there are many people who may disagree with their decisions. For the amateur, I think the trick is to respect those with more experience at the higher levels while also keeping their own counsel about what lines they want to draw in terms of the treatment of their own horses.
And to McLain: I had pretty much reserved judgment on the controversy surrounding you, but your posts here definitely gained my respect. You have had a hard road to travel, and I am impressed with your determination and poise. Best of luck to you.
Just a few thoughts to add, along with a greeting!
Many of us have witnessed the brilliance, talent and poise demonstrated in your competition--but few have had the opportunity of hearing your "voice"--which now reveals the poise, self-realization--and the personal identity to which you are entitled. It is this personal identity to which I am drawn, as it is indicative of a caring, dedicated and self-possessed idividual, quietly confident within himself.
It is evident that you have learned to achieve what many may spend a lifetime searching to attain--the ability to know who and what you are, in your own right, regardless of whatever storms may swirl about you. It is a credit to anyone--let alone one of so tender an age--to be able to keep their spirit inviolate from the outside forces that seek to diminish us.
Your strength of spirit is admirable. Please continue to let your "voice" be heard here, as it is a voice that rings true of the man behind it.
I must say you have guts-to not only post here under your real name but to jump the huge fences!
Welcome to the BB. This site will make you laugh, cry, get angry, and make you say "I didn't know that!"
I would like to thank the many of you who have had such kind words to say. I understand that some of you have mixed feeling regarding me and that is your choice but I am glad to see all are able to keep an open mind.
To respond to checkers I can only say that I am truly sorry that your views of me are so strong. I respect you for having your own opinion but it is wise to back your opinion's up with knowledge or if possible facts. The horse rider combo's you mentioned like Big Ben and Ian and Milton and John were great and lasted for a long time that is true but did you know that Ian started with BB when he five, John with milton when he was seven, Peter (a dear friend) with Legato when he was a yearling and so on. In till Rio the youngest Gp horse I started was twelve so for their careers with me to last five or six years was quite a long time. I am also a horse dealer first not a rider, which means often I have to sell my horses in the middle of their career's. Crazy you by the way was always a great jumper in Europe but her riders were haveing trouble getting between the fences because she was bucking so often. That is how I was able to buy her. If you watched me ride her than you surely realized that I did not even use spurs with her to try and keep her calm. She bucks and rings her tail because she is hot and marish not because of a "red flag" showing unorthodox training.She has been sold back to Europe so it is true Checkers you won't be seeing her again, but don't worry she is in good hands.
To answre one question put forward by Whistle Jacket I do have views on drug use in horses. I believe strongly that the regulated use of Bute, and Banamine in horses is not only safe for the horses but is also keeping our sport in this country much cleaner than the no tolerance drug testing in Europe. We know the side effects of these drugs, it is similar to us using asprin or a mild pain killer. After a hard workout how many of us take a few Advil with no long term damage, Basically all of us. These drugs used in regulated amounts certainly help a horse but will in no way mask major injury or pain. They help a horse who has had a paticularly hard workout or compition and will prolong the career of an older horse so that many of us including myself have a chance to compete at showjumping even though we may not be able to afford that great seven year old who vets without problem. In Europe today the sport has a dark side because of no tolerance. Horse trainers are using drugs which give the desired effect yet are untested and little is known about their side effects. The reason they are using these drugs is because they don't test! To be honest with you this situation in Europe is touching the abuse line for me and many riders here and abroad are pushing for the F.E.I. to look at these problems and allow regulated use of known meds so that the use of exsperimental drugs is stoped.
One of those city that are big towns, real big!,San Antonio TX
A quick question do you think that even if the FEI allows regulated meds back in the euro market, knowing what the euros know about drugs do you think that they will switch over to the testable or continue useing the black lable drugs since they know that they can use it with good effects. Just curious to know what you think.
\"I\'m going to go see a horse about a man\" - Unknown
Interesting observations regarding experimental drugs. What is your opinion on the nutraceuticals such as Chondroitin and Glucosamine?
Little side note: remember when it came out about eight years ago? I think Springtime Feed Company was one of the first selling it. It worked great, and I looked forward to it coming into the "people market" for those with arthritis. Then joint injections, especially the hocks, were big, then Adequan and Legend. So now, guess what, they are doing "hock injections" for people in the knees. And it works great!
Sorry to sidetrack, but I thought it was nice to see nutraceuticals having a strong plus in at least one type of ailment.
probably about your father's age! *G*) You echo a sentiment expressed by a friend of my who has competed at high levels of dressage (not GP jumping), who once said, "I think they must have drugs in Europe we've never even thought of...."
That said, I think it's one thing to liken bute and other NSAIDS as the equivalent of aspirin after a strenuous effort, another to so medicate a horse IN ORDER TO COMPETE. Regulation is, indeed, the question, because my attitude has always been (and I've been primarily an eventer in the past, and done some H/J up to 4'6") if my horse cannot compete WITHOUT bute - then I don't compete him. Then again, my horse is not my "business," but I am uncomfortable with the idea of medicating in order to ride/compete. It's one thing to lightly bute a slightly arthritic hunter pony or A/A 3" horse, another to do it in order to do a GP class. That is why, I am sure, there is the controversy regarding NSAIDS, and why under FEI rules they are not permitted.