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Who Needs an Upper Level Warmblood When You Can Have a Mule!

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  • #81
    Mares can be really expressive too. Its never been fair that breed showing felt the need to deaden tails to hide a flappy or lifted one. They too wanted quiet tails

    I feel like mares get the short end here because we all want such a perfect picture. Some of them are just plain chatterboxes with their body! Ears flicking, noses pinching, and tails swishing, and that is all just walking to the arena! Lol

    Thank goodness our judges are able to see tensions vs these other things.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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    • #82
      Originally posted by mvp View Post
      I know the mule and rider. I'll ask if he "just does that" with his tail. Otherwise, Porter has a good mind and a fantastic work ethic. He's also sensitive and takes his job seriously. The flappy ears are probably the best indication of his opinion about how the ride is going. His rider looks for that.
      Yes, the ears. I scribed for a European judge and a gal came into a 1st level test on a buckskin paint mule (gorgeous!). The judge smiled and commented, as he watched the flapping ears, "I wish some of the horses would show that much relaxation!" (The mule scored in the mid-60s and placed 4th against some pretty fancy WBs and Friesians.)

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      • #83
        Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
        Maybe we need a new thread about tail swishing?

        some horses swish out of enthusiam, not stress. (someone correct my spelling please). I have one.

        Remember Nautical?
        I do remember Nautical, and if I'm remembering correctly he flipped his tail when he jumped, which could have been from stress as I'm remembering that he was competing over big jumps. If it was, it could have been an indication of physical rather than mental stress (the oomph of pushing off), because I don't recall that he flagged his tail throughout the ride--although that was a number of years ago so I may not be remembering that correctly.

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        • #84
          Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
          I think there's got to be a difference between tail swishing and tail wringing and you can't simply look at one thing on the animal and decide he's stressed.....

          So context I think is important.
          True, which is why I looked at the use of the spurs to see if there might be a connection to the tail swishing.

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          • #85
            Remember that Porter also had balance issues as he was growing -which makes their accomplishment even more awesome IMO - so maybe the swishing wasn't tension it was balance?

            Paula
            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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            • #86
              not a dressage mule expert but I do work with a lot of donkeys. When they are stressed they do wring their tails but it is a distinct short, fast, sharp movement - not a big loopy swish, and their ears will be rigidly pinned - if the ears are floppy they are content.

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              • #87
                Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                Right. Horses must just love the tight reins and spurs poking them in their sides....

                Not that I have a problem with horses having jobs, but neither do I feel the need to pretend that they enjoy the jobs we impose upon them.

                Now that I'm getting more used to to the way horses are ridden at the upper levels, I went and looked at one of Blue Hors Matine's freestyle performances again and watched the whole thing. She did stop switching her tail some during the walk, but the majority of the time she was wringing or switching.
                Blue Hors Matine also had floppy relaxed ears and a nice closed chewing mouth. You can't reach conclusions based on one isolated thing -- you have to look at the whole horse. It's just not that simple.

                IMO, sometimes mares have worker-bee personalities, they have places to go and things to do and put a lot of effort in to their job, and tension can come from that rather than from simplistic stress from poor riding.

                I also agree with whoever said sometimes mares are just more communicative with their bodies. My mare has the most relaxed, squishy, tension-free back you will ever sit on, but she is also super communicative. It's among the many reasons I love her.

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                • #88
                  I'm pages behind what I want to comment on, but I think it's GREAT. I think it's great that it isn't a horse and they are out there doing it, instead of commenting on other people's rides. I think it's great he's a mule. I think it's great for people who can't afford something pre-programed, or perfectly bred to see someone who is having success on something that isn't perfect for the sport. I remember my similar joy at reading about a QH doing grand prix. Is he going to the Olympics as a team animal, probably not. Is the test 100% perfect, obviously not--don't need it pointed out to me though.

                  I'm sorry if I sound b*tchy, but I get annoyed at people ripping on other people from their anonymous computer screens. You know the rider will probably see this, right? At least post video of your own test 4 to draw your comparison from.

                  *sigh*

                  I think I'm just cranky. Time to go see the flesh and blood ponies.
                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                  • #89
                    Getting to fourth takes hard work regardless of what you ride. Good work, team.

                    However, I do notice a double standard on this board: Apparently if a person rides an off-breed (or a mule) it's only acceptable to say how positive everything is. If the rider is on a warmblood then it's okay to nit-pick and criticize.

                    Why is it that a person's choice in mount either shields them or targets them for criticism? Lame.

                    Comment


                    • #90
                      Personally, the only riders I critique are those who are performing publicly at an international level, usually representing or competing to represent a team. Like any top-level athlete, their performance is fair game for criticism as far as I'm concerned. The only other time I offer (hopefully constructive) criticism is when riders post videos of themselves or their horses and ASK for comments.

                      Keep in mind that the loudest and most prolific voices are not necessarily the majority.
                      Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

                      Comment


                      • #91
                        Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                        Yes, the ears. I scribed for a European judge and a gal came into a 1st level test on a buckskin paint mule (gorgeous!). The judge smiled and commented, as he watched the flapping ears, "I wish some of the horses would show that much relaxation!" (The mule scored in the mid-60s and placed 4th against some pretty fancy WBs and Friesians.)
                        Wow. A buckskin mule. I'd looooove to see that.
                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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                        • #92
                          Blue Hors Matinee only swished her tail during certain moves, and I do think it indicated a lack of relaxation, she was ridden with a very short neck. She also had leg issues, that had her retire early and die after breaking her leg in a pasture accident ( she was pregnant at the time).

                          I think her wringing tail indicated discomfort, and as usual everyone was, " oh, she is just a mare", but her history shows different.

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            Originally posted by TickleFight View Post
                            Getting to fourth takes hard work regardless of what you ride. Good work, team.

                            However, I do notice a double standard on this board: Apparently if a person rides an off-breed (or a mule) it's only acceptable to say how positive everything is. If the rider is on a warmblood then it's okay to nit-pick and criticize.

                            Why is it that a person's choice in mount either shields them or targets them for criticism? Lame.
                            I don't think this is a double-standard. I think that people are just appreciating someone getting an animal certainly not bred to be a dressage horse to this level, to an acceptable/good 4th level. And apparently it's first time competing at that level. Not a perfect 4th level. No one is immune from criticism, but to look at a video of a decent 4th level test by a mule and declare it's bad because the mule switches his tail, though his bit acceptance and relaxed ears indicate he's not particularly distressed or resistant, isn't very nice.

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                              No one is immune from criticism, but to look at a video of a decent 4th level test by a mule and declare it's bad because the mule switches his tail, though his bit acceptance and relaxed ears indicate he's not particularly distressed or resistant, isn't very nice.
                              But may in fact be nice to the mule, and to all the horses that are trying to tell their trainers that they're unhappy while the trainers happily ignore the signs and press on with their own agenda.

                              What I don't understand is why anyone would take the side of the human when there's any doubt, when it's the horse who needs to be heard. The humans have the option to opt out at any time, while the 4 legged guys on the bottom can only cope with what the humans decide is reasonable and good.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                                I don't think this is a double-standard. I think that people are just appreciating someone getting an animal certainly not bred to be a dressage horse to this level, to an acceptable/good 4th level. And apparently it's first time competing at that level. Not a perfect 4th level. No one is immune from criticism, but to look at a video of a decent 4th level test by a mule and declare it's bad because the mule switches his tail, though his bit acceptance and relaxed ears indicate he's not particularly distressed or resistant, isn't very nice.
                                I was referencing the COTH dressage forum in general. From my observations warmbloods are open for critique but anybody who finds fault with an off-breed is being mean or has breed bias.

                                And I agree that people criticizing the tail are being pedantic... there were plenty of bigger issues present. Personally, however, I think it's pretty cool that somebody got to 4th on a mule. Nice work.

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                                  But may in fact be nice to the mule, and to all the horses that are trying to tell their trainers that they're unhappy while the trainers happily ignore the signs and press on with their own agenda.

                                  What I don't understand is why anyone would take the side of the human when there's any doubt, when it's the horse who needs to be heard. The humans have the option to opt out at any time, while the 4 legged guys on the bottom can only cope with what the humans decide is reasonable and good.
                                  Goodness, then don't ride horses at all! I have yet to meet a horse, pony, mule, camel... that saddled itself and asked us to get on and ride him!
                                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                  Comment


                                  • #97
                                    Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                                    Goodness, then don't ride horses at all! I have yet to meet a horse, pony, mule, camel... that saddled itself and asked us to get on and ride him!
                                    I guess you've never met a clicker trained horse then. They do want to work, because 1) it's not work, and 2) it's all about reward rather than avoiding aversives. It takes a shift in focus though, because not everyone (including me) is willing to settle for what they can get with CT alone. Spending some time with it however, does tend to change one's ideas about a lot of things, including how much is too much, too soon.

                                    Comment


                                    • #98
                                      Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                                      But may in fact be nice to the mule, and to all the horses that are trying to tell their trainers that they're unhappy while the trainers happily ignore the signs and press on with their own agenda.

                                      What I don't understand is why anyone would take the side of the human when there's any doubt, when it's the horse who needs to be heard. The humans have the option to opt out at any time, while the 4 legged guys on the bottom can only cope with what the humans decide is reasonable and good.
                                      What a slippery slope for a horse owner to take!

                                      Comment


                                      • #99
                                        Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                                        I guess you've never met a clicker trained horse then. They do want to work, because 1) it's not work, and 2) it's all about reward rather than avoiding aversives. It takes a shift in focus though, because not everyone (including me) is willing to settle for what they can get with CT alone. Spending some time with it however, does tend to change one's ideas about a lot of things, including how much is too much, too soon.
                                        Please post video of your clicker trained horse saddling itself, this I gotta see!

                                        Horses playing games via clicker training are not asking to be saddled and ridden. I am sure most horses would prefer to be ridden without a saddle or bridle and be allowed to wander at will, is that how you ride?
                                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                                          I guess you've never met a clicker trained horse then. They do want to work, because 1) it's not work, and 2) it's all about reward rather than avoiding aversives. It takes a shift in focus though, because not everyone (including me) is willing to settle for what they can get with CT alone. Spending some time with it however, does tend to change one's ideas about a lot of things, including how much is too much, too soon.
                                          That's fine. But what's the maximum one can get from clicker training? Can you train a horse to be ridden to the utmost of his ability using that? If not, what do you do? Do you give up riding them for moral reasons? Do you still ride them, knowing that you are treating them badly?

                                          I don't agree that we have to only teach an animal (or a person for that matter) what he is born wanting to know. For horses, that's usually damned little. Having taught both species professionally (and people at the college and grad student level), I can assure you that the desire to be taught and improved can itself be cultivated.

                                          So I don't care if a horse is born never wanting to do one tempis under saddle. If I can teach him to find joy and self-esteem in the training process, that's morally good enough for me.

                                          If you aren't a good enough trainer that you can do that-- make a student see the value of learning-- then it might not be that all teaching is morally corrupt. It might be that the teacher sucks.
                                          The armchair saddler
                                          Politically Pro-Cat

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