Yes, same thing. If overused/abused, it's not a good thing. My vet and my equine chiro are OK with it, they're both pretty opinionated dressage riders, so I have no doubt I'd get a whuppin' if they felt I was doing something to the detriment of my horse.
Also of note, Anna Sewell was writing of working carriage horses, on the streets and climbing hills, and checked up hard for long periods of time. When I show my horse checked, it's for no more than a quick warm up (if there is one) and the length of a class.
That said, I am still confused about why your vet recommended using an overcheck. Yes, the horse COULD balance on it, but I don't know why you would want your horse balancing itself by bracing on any bit.
I'm in a tough position attempting to defend my vet when I can't speak intelligently on OCs because I have no experience with them. Since my horse's lameness is so occasional and only for a few steps, I think she is thinking that an OC will give him a crutch for those few steps. Not to brace on all the time.
I think earlier in this thread I drew the reference to a barrel racer using its tie down. Not that I ever used a tie down when I barrel raced, so again I'm not speaking from personal experience, but to my knowledge a when a rider deems this bit of kit helpful for their horse, its not for them to brace into the entire run. The tie down gives the horse something to brace its head against while it collects and compresses its body ready to explode out of the tight turn. Its only useful for a moment in time.
Same way as when you're riding a bucker and he gets going, if you pull back evenly on both reins, you only enable him to buck harder by giving him something to brace on (know that lesson VERY well).
Again, please don't crucify me I'm not speaking from experience here (except for the bucking). This analogy is the best way to describe what I believe my vet is trying to tell me... but I am at the distinct disadvantage of not having used any of these bits of kit.
What I was hoping to accomplish with this thread is to see how logical this advice is, and if worth pursuing, the best way to go about it. Sounds like the question of pursuance is a resounding "no"
I have to say I appreciate the heck out of my vet. She thinks out of the box and isn't afraid to brainstorm with her clients. Creative problem solving is just one of the many things I heart about my vet. (praise like this does not come easily from me).
Whether its good advice or poor advice, I guess ultimately its up to the horse. Using an OC was simply ONE of MANY SUGGESTIONS.
I realize this thread has caused a lot of and I really thank everyone for not piling on my vet claiming quackery.
I have to say I appreciate the heck out of you all too. I have very few people I can turn to on this subject. In addition to being a collection of really great horsepeople, everyone here isn't afraid of being honest or hurting my feelings and I really value that. I realize that everyones intentions is ultimately for the good of my horse and I. Thank you all.
Originally Posted by JoanR
I hope you are able to work out your issues with the horse. I enjoy reading your posts about your driving experiences.
Thanks, I hope we can work it out too, but honestly I'm feeling a bit grim about it all. Its looking as if he'll be sound for trail driving only, no dressage, no tight turns. I'm super depressed about this.
Overchecks are not evil by themselves, it is when they are abused just like any other piece of tack.
I do both Standardbred racing and pleasure driving (I'm going to start Combined Driving with my OTSTB trotter next spring when we move back to Florida) and I use overchecks in racing and my pony gets a very loose overcheck to keep her from diving into the grass especially when my daughter is driving. When driving for fun I do not use an overcheck normally.
My pacers use overchecks to help them balance at the incredible speeds we go and trotters are getting so well gaited that a lot of them are using overchecks.
I feel that a properly adjusted overcheck, used in short periods of times is not a bad thing. It is when it is too tight and they make an artificial headset that I have problems with. A overcheck is not a crutch or a shortcut, but a piece of equipment that has a place when used correctly.