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  1. #1
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    Default Watched an open show yesterday

    I am appalled by the cruelty I saw there. Maybe these were just uneducated masses but it was a show on a pretty well respected circuit. And these people learned their *technique* from someone.

    So much kicking in the ribs with sharp spurs...not gentle nudges but SHARP kicks. And then the YANK YANK YANK on the bits so that heads fly up, in pain and confusion. Abrupt stops and throw it in reverse. None of which explains the problem, offers a solution or teaches the horse.

    I can not abide the horrible head bobbing lopes. More than one horse had to throw his head in the air, enabling him to lurch his forequarters forward. Then the back end had to hop to catch up. The first movement of the lope started at the nose, not in the back end.

    And such bored expressions on the rider's faces. They reminded me of those runway models who slouch down the runway looking like they rather be anywhere by there. One girl even yawned as few times as she rode by.

    I was hoping to expand my showing, get out and about more but I can't stand to watch they way they treat their horses.
    Ride like you mean it.


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    I am appalled by the cruelty I saw there. Maybe these were just uneducated masses but it was a show on a pretty well respected circuit. And these people learned their *technique* from someone.

    So much kicking in the ribs with sharp spurs...not gentle nudges but SHARP kicks. And then the YANK YANK YANK on the bits so that heads fly up, in pain and confusion. Abrupt stops and throw it in reverse. None of which explains the problem, offers a solution or teaches the horse.

    I can not abide the horrible head bobbing lopes. More than one horse had to throw his head in the air, enabling him to lurch his forequarters forward. Then the back end had to hop to catch up. The first movement of the lope started at the nose, not in the back end.

    And such bored expressions on the rider's faces. They reminded me of those runway models who slouch down the runway looking like they rather be anywhere by there. One girl even yawned as few times as she rode by.

    I was hoping to expand my showing, get out and about more but I can't stand to watch they way they treat their horses.
    Seems that it has always been so, the lower end as just not polished and educated, but hopefully on their way there.
    You can see the same in any discipline or any we do with horses, from NH rope twirlers with discombobulated, scooting around pinned eared horses, to playday horses rearing and bolting, to jumpers with mouths of iron from the yanking.

    The higher up the levels you get, the more refined the training and riding gets, generally, although there real rough handlers may still show up.

    I feel the same way when some amateur band in a cafe sets up and start playing, ouch, it hurts your ears.
    At least there they are only misusing their instruments, not a horse.

    I think that, the more information gets out, the more people become educated, the less this will be happening.

    Try to find the people that are good horsemen and stick with them and try to teach by example.


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  3. #3
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    I sure hope you are right, although it's a VERY SLOW process. I fear many horses will live their whole lives with this subjective cruelty...it won't come fast enough for them. I couldn't help but think of slavery and cruel masters. Of course if the horse tries to give feed back, they will be punished even more severely.

    And the people didn't seem to be having any fun. The whole attitude seemed to be "bad horse, you'd better get it right"...and adversarial relationship at best.

    It feels like I'm letting the horses down because I won't participate in their show or support it with my $$$. And yet I don't speak up. I see stuff in the Morgan world that makes me cringe, too, you're right about that. But I've never seen stuff like this. I see overchecks that are too tight and horses having their hotness exploited. I don't see what goes on behind closed doors, before they get out in public.

    I'm also disappointed that it seems I'm stuck with breed shows. At least in the Morgan shows, I see an awful lot of love. No yanking and kicking when the judge isn't looking...it would be reported. NEVER have seen anything like this in the makeup ring or the show ring.
    Ride like you mean it.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    I sure hope you are right, although it's a VERY SLOW process. I fear many horses will live their whole lives with this subjective cruelty...it won't come fast enough for them. I couldn't help but think of slavery and cruel masters. Of course if the horse tries to give feed back, they will be punished even more severely.

    And the people didn't seem to be having any fun. The whole attitude seemed to be "bad horse, you'd better get it right"...and adversarial relationship at best.

    It feels like I'm letting the horses down because I won't participate in their show or support it with my $$$. And yet I don't speak up. I see stuff in the Morgan world that makes me cringe, too, you're right about that. But I've never seen stuff like this. I see overchecks that are too tight and horses having their hotness exploited. I don't see what goes on behind closed doors, before they get out in public.

    I'm also disappointed that it seems I'm stuck with breed shows. At least in the Morgan shows, I see an awful lot of love. No yanking and kicking when the judge isn't looking...it would be reported. NEVER have seen anything like this in the makeup ring or the show ring.
    What state are you in? Try the American Stock Horse Association. Very friendly and the emphasis is on good horsemanship! It is the only group I will show in! Any breed is welcome, in fact, one year the high point trail winner was a walking horse!

    www.americanstockhorse.org



  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestion. Nothing closer than a 10-12 hour drive. We're upper Great Lakes.
    Ride like you mean it.



  6. #6
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    OP, this is why AQHA started the Ranch Pleasure, which has worked as they wanted. What I mean by that is that every Ranch Pleasure class my friend (from the weekend videos thread) has entered over the last year has had no less than 20, and up to 40 entries in the open division, while the open Western Pleasure classes have 6 - 10 entries.

    I also proposed, at the AQHA Convention last month, that AQHA form a task force to implement a clinic program similar the the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program. My initiative was approved and a task force will be formed. The emphasis will be on understanding how to balance a horse, ride back to front, and the mentality of training in harmony with a horse, plus stable management. There will be some heavy hitters on the task force, so hopefully good will come of this.

    I simply do not watch the warm up pen or the rail classes any more.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com


    6 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    I sent an email to the club committee; haven't had a response. I was so happy to see your videos and know that it isn't just me.

    If this is what 4-H and/or local instructors are teaching...the yanking and jabbing...then there needs to be a serious overhaul of the system. These riders were angry in their responses and punishing in their use of aids. To my dying day I will not forget the horse that looked right at me, made eye contact, BEGGING for someone to help him. I felt such a connection to him. The pain and discouragement in his eyes made me cry. No animal or person should have to live like that.

    I was also happy to watch the video you posted to reassure myself that I'm not just breed blind. I loved the way your friends horse went: freely forward, balanced, HAPPY!

    Hopefully the people who are training these young kids will attend the clinics, learn the locomotion of the horse, understand their sensitive minds and be better instructors for the young equestrians.
    Ride like you mean it.



  8. #8
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    My friend's horse spent a year in the Western Pleasure mode with a different trainer, and developed a canter that had 5 - 7 beats per stride - I called it 'scrabbling'. Owner and horse are so lucky that the Ranch Pleasure class came along and the mare could be freed up.

    As long as judges reward the slow, crabbing moving horse, nothing will change. In all horse show competitions of every leve, judges are the only key to change. People train for what wins, and if they do not know how to train well, they get frustrated when the horse doesn't just do it right on its own. The show committee is helpless to change things; note who the judge is and send a comment addressed to the judge, through the show management.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    I was hoping to expand my showing, get out and about more but I can't stand to watch they way they treat their horses.
    I went to my first open show in a couple of years recently (with my mare and a horse that belongs to the rescue). Watching some of the stuff I saw drove me nuts, and some of the placings were a mystery to me. But I reminded myself that I can only control myself (and maybe my horses). I like to show, and I'll just ride my horses well, show people how it CAN go, and do my best. I cannot be responsible for other people.
    Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

    Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


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  10. #10
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    I know...I'm not responsible for other people either. I wish I did have some influence. All I can do is vote with $$ and take my business elsewhere...where pain and punishment are not inflicted nor tolerated.

    I can't help what people might do back at the barns. I can report when I see animals suffering.
    Ride like you mean it.



  11. #11
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    Mar. 14, 2011
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    Default

    I have found that the lower levels are where the less talented trainers take advantage of ignorant people, but you find that everywhere. It is just more apparent. There are a lot of politics in the open show circuit, but sometimes judges do make honest mistakes. It is kind of a crappy job, you know, standing 8+ hours in the dust and sun and wind looking at less-than-stellar animals with 1/2 hour to pee and eat, if you're lucky. Another thing - they can only place what is in front of them, and as long as blatant abuse is not happening in front of them, there is nothing they can do. It is not the judge's show, and they are being paid to judge, not police the warmup ring. Now, the show management is a different story. They may feel that they cannot upset the politics of the area by removing lock trainer X for her abusive techniques. This might mean that trainer X and her whole barn will no longer support that show, and will tell all their friends about it. In a small area, that could break a show or a facility. Right or wrong.

    Open shows are often full of ignorant people who just don't know any better. Education might help. It might not. But you find this sort of thing at all levels - I sometimes think at the higher levels people "school" more at home and know how to hide it better.

    You will have to go very far to find a show grounds where pain and punishment are not inflicted. There are always a few bad apples, no matter where you go. We like to think certain disciplines or breed associations are abuse-free, but unfortunately this is not true. And there will always be people you don't agree with.


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  12. #12
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    You nailed it, Sterling. I doubt the judge ever saw any of it...the exhibitors would look to see where he was looking and when the coast was clear they would "have at it". They knew what they were doing would hurt their chances, if seen.

    I was standing right outside the show office (indoor show) where the club officials were hanging out. This happened right in front of them. I hate to think they would tolerate this just to keep THEIR show going, at the expense of horses' welfare. But their vanity probably trumps that.
    Ride like you mean it.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Seems that it has always been so, the lower end as just not polished and educated, but hopefully on their way there.

    The higher up the levels you get, the more refined the training and riding gets, generally, although there real rough handlers may still show up.


    I think that, the more information gets out, the more people become educated, the less this will be happening.

    Try to find the people that are good horsemen and stick with them and try to teach by example.
    Unfortunately, the 'higher up you go' the just better hidden it is. Sorry to be so negative, and of course I'm not talking about EVERYONE, but I have been aware of some horrendous mistreatment from World and National champions, multiple lifetime achievement award winners. You just don't see it so much out in the open. But don't go backstage!
    www.ayliprod.com
    Equine Photography in the Northeast


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post
    You nailed it, Sterling. I doubt the judge ever saw any of it...the exhibitors would look to see where he was looking and when the coast was clear they would "have at it". They knew what they were doing would hurt their chances, if seen.

    I was standing right outside the show office (indoor show) where the club officials were hanging out. This happened right in front of them. I hate to think they would tolerate this just to keep THEIR show going, at the expense of horses' welfare. But their vanity probably trumps that.
    Smart judges stand in the corner - they can see most of the ring, and hear what is going on behind them. Any disruption in foot beat sounds behind them, smart judges will turn around fast, if they care. (And definately if someone they do not respect or like is behind them...Gotcha ! )

    This abusive training to win has been going on for as long as the horse show ante has gone beyone the fun hobby on the weekend, which is at least 20 years now. Most involved people have grown up with this as the normal.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com


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  15. #15
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    Nov. 15, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plumcreek View Post
    This abusive training to win has been going on for as long as the horse show ante has gone beyone the fun hobby on the weekend, which is at least 20 years now. Most involved people have grown up with this as the normal.
    I do local Open shows with my daughter... I hate them but she loves to go because her friend shows in them, and she thinks dressage is too hard.

    Anyway... the think that gets me is I see all the abusive riding, along with the extremely expensive tack, sparkly rail outfits, fake tails, etc., etc. And for what? A silly little ribbon? There are a few payback classes, but they don't pay much. All that cranking and spanking and money spent for a 50¢ piece of fabric that will be thrown in a box eventually. I don't get it.

    And with regards to the ante going up with the higher level shows... what do they REALLY get out of winning at the national level? I can't imagine any prize money earned makes much of a dent in all the expenses incurred to just be noticed. Back in the 80s when I boarded at a QH barn, the owner told me that in order to get noticed at a national show you HAD to take out a full page ad in the QH Journal. Really???

    Open shows are what pushed me towards dressage and eventing, where I was always rewarded for my performance, not how much I spent to get in the ring.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plumcreek View Post
    As long as judges reward the slow, crabbing moving horse, nothing will change. In all horse show competitions of every leve, judges are the only key to change. People train for what wins, and if they do not know how to train well, they get frustrated when the horse doesn't just do it right on its own.
    This in spades and pretty much across the board for any breed show as well.

    When judges stop rewarding a particular look/movement style, things change. Until then, often the horse that doesn't do "x" naturally suffers to keep up appearances.


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  17. #17
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    When judges stop rewarding a particular look/movement style, things change. Until then, often the horse that doesn't do "x" naturally suffers to keep up appearances.
    yep, when I showed in 4-H I remember watching people warm up and just thinking OMG wtf are they doing to their horses?!?! My mother, the pareilli string twirler she is now, was just like none of that will help you, if that's what it take to win than just loose and enjoy yourself, you're pony is something more important than any prize you could win. Oh and if I ever ever catch you treating an animal like that I'll strap on some spurs and beat you silly

    What's worse is the schooling that happens not at shows I can clearly recall on of my first years at 4-H camp watching a "hunter" with a big big freaking massively ported western bit in it's mouth and draw reins being spurred and yanked over and over by this 14 year old kid and being MORTIFIED. I immediately got ahold of every adult I could find and they all shrugged and said it's what her trainer wanted and she won all sorts of 4-h shows so that it was fine and one said that maybe I could work with her and learn something.... to which I replied something like what how to abuse your horse? I was unaware people would pay for that. So they essentially told me to shut up, mind my own beeswax and not mention it to anyone since she'd never been seen in a show like that and people didn't need to know how other people schooled their horses, as long as they could still show in a D-ring to this day I still have nightmares about it


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  18. #18
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    I've had Morgans for over 35 years and we trained our own youngsters. We ALWAYS let the individual horse tell us what he wanted to do and to what extent.

    I think these people start out with "love the sparkly outfits, gonna get me a horse". Then the buy a horse and "make" it western; whether the horse likes it or not.

    And the judge ARE responsible for the trends in breeding and showing. I remember when my daughter was showing saddleseat seat eq on our homebreds/trained. Another girl won a pleasure class with a lovely corduroy, red print coat. After that ALL the girls came out in red coats. And some of the coats won.

    Our hunt division has been taken over by above-level knee action. If you don't have a $100,000 park horse, you won't win hunt seat. In fact a teen girl we know just bought a $100k horse to show hunt seat. Suppose that's okay when mommy and daddy have the money but they are skewing the junior exhibitor classes now. And leaving the honest hunt seat horses in the pasture. No wonder the shows are losing money...how many can compete with THAT? We sit back and scratch our heads trying to imagine these horses trying to go the distance with that action. Every "seat" seems to have become a caricature of what the real job was.

    I think I will always remember the look in the big gray's eyes. He was CLEARLY making eye contact with me, CLEARLY communicating his imprisonment and wish to be rescued.
    Ride like you mean it.


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  19. #19
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    This thread is very interesting to me. As I've said elsewhere on the forum here, I had my first lessons as a girl riding western and learned from some of the old cowboys who had spent their lives riding herd here in the desert and elsewhere. I had always thought that a lope and a canter were just different names for the same 4-beat gait. My current instructor (who has NO experience in western riding-ONLY English, mainly jumpers) last Monday said something about western and English canter/lope were different gaits, and that really threw me.

    I see from this thread what she had been looking at in western classes, and not being a western rider, and what she was looking at placed, she thought the western gait was SUPPOSED to be with the extra beats. Now, I think I can tell her that they are just wrong.. Right?


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrowette View Post
    I see from this thread what she had been looking at in western classes, and not being a western rider, and what she was looking at placed, she thought the western gait was SUPPOSED to be with the extra beats. Now, I think I can tell her that they are just wrong.. Right?
    The only difference between a lope and a canter is cadence (speed or tempo) and possibly the amount of ground coverage.

    Lope = three beat gait.
    Canter = three beat gait.

    End. Of. Story.

    If a lope is anything other than a three beat gait, IT IS NOT CORRECT!

    (I have had this argument with people ad nauseum and I ride at a predominately Western barn -- just because it's slow does not mean it's correct!! It makes me super duper mad to watch a horse with a horrible, incorrect lope place over a horse with a correct lope just because it was slower. Makes me want to tear my hair out!)

    ETA: I love this video for many reasons, but primarily it illustrates what I wish judges would place (most of the horses still move a little "hitchy" for my tastes, but at least they're better than most).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVZfC-uGMOo


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