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Anyone see 'Horse Torture' Letter in COTH?

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  • Anyone see 'Horse Torture' Letter in COTH?

    Feb 5th issue, page 180. To summarize, the author relates mane pulling to water boarding performed by the CIA. The letter was a response to an article in the Jan 22nd issue, page 32 entitled, 'How to Create a Perfectly Pulled Mane.'
    "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."

  • #2
    I can see where stopping water boarding, and ripping out chunks of the terrorist's hair instead, might be effective, to get info from them... I'd even offer to twitch one if it would help.

    Did the person complaining about torturing horses sign their letter with "x" PP Level 2 student???


    • #3
      I've never had a horse that really minds it, I've seen horses that HATE getting their mane's pulled and the owners find other ways to make them look tidy.

      I don't like when people drug or man-handle horses that are super sensitive to mane pulling.. there's just other ways to go about it than that.. it's just hair!
      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


      • Original Poster

        I thought I'd re-type for the non-subscribers... (sorry for typos)

        Horse Torture?
        Wow! What a shock to open the placid cover of a seemingly genteel horse magazine and come upon an illustrated manual of torture methods used by humans to immobilize horses in order to better rip out their manes!
        Is the CIA or the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security aware of this magazine? It might be a good idea to send the article "How to Create a Perfectly Pulled Mane' (Jan 22, p. 32) to them to provide the popular methods that could be used for enhance interrogation of terrorists.
        The rationale would be, "Since water boarding of terrorists is deemed as torture, here are some methods that horse lovers use on their beloved horses in order to make them more cooperative while their manes are being ripped out."
        Our goal is to clean up the subject (horse or human) by pulling out his/her hair, clump by small clump. Now if a horse can tolerate that, so can a human, right?
        If the subject balks at the pain and becomes unruly because of our actions we just clamp a large blanket clip or some other pinching device onto his/her neck. (The action is similar tot he toe and finger screws popularized during the Spanish Inquisition).
        If the subject continues to resist the seemingly endless hair extraction, a chain can be run between the upper lip and the upper gum, and an assistant can be used to crank it down onto the gum tissue if the subject moves. If place of that, one could grab the upper lip of the subject, and put a rope, chain, or clamp around it, and the assistant can twist it until the subject "gives."
        If there's no assistant available, we can improvise and attach a bungee cord to either side of the head collar and then thread the cord between upper lip and gums. Being elastic, it will exert its own pressure over one of the most pain-sensitive areas of the subject's mouth, and the neat thing is that we can in crease the pain by tightening the bungee, because the pressure will increase as the elastic stretches.
        If the CIA doesn't embrace these more "humane" methods for eliciting cooperation (but why shouldn't they, since horse lovers all over the world use them), I'm sure Al-Qaeda would be happy to the receive the horse lover's magazine of tortured techniques.
        There are certainly even more ways we humans can think of to torture a horse so we can have it comply with our idea of beauty. However, maybe it would be better for us humans to abolish centuries' old tradition and come up with more humane methods for making our horses appear more beautiful to us.
        There are myriad hair products available to tame unruly manes and there are many other braiding or banding techniques that can be applied to thicker manes. More radical yet, what is wrong with the long flowing manes that so attracted us as children to the horses in the first place?
        Well, I'm sure that there are many ways to beautify a horse's mane without having to abuse the horse in order to accomplish the feat. And I will admit that being a rather old person, I blindly followed for a while the hand-me-down tradition of pulling horses' manes in order to braid them for shows.
        The light finally came on for me, however, when an incident occurred with my horse and the groom who had pulled his mane. The horse, affectionately known around the barn as the PhD, because he is smarter than most humans, was being led out to the pasture by the groom who had just finished pulling his mane (without torture devices I might add). The horse appeared to tolerate the plucking. However, as he was being led out of the barn, he suddenly, and with surgical precision, nabbed a shock of long, blond hair from the groom's head and ripped it out for her. Tit for Tat.
        Please know that horses feel pain as well as humans do, if not more so. Why should we continue to torture them for the sake of our vanity? Would it not be better to simply change the vogue?

        Sherilyn Allen, VMD
        Boyertown, PA
        "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."


        • #5
          Good heavens, that's taking it a bit too seriously I think. I'm sure PETA hasn't even made the connection. Sheesh.


          • #6
            Easy to solve problem....scissors!


            • #7
              Some horses definitely react to mane pulling like it's torture. Mine being one. I used to drug him and such to get it pulled. The hairs that were pulled have grown in white, which I understand indicates follicle damage, so I can see how it must be painful to some degree.

              But that letter is nuts, I"m surprised they published it. Equating humans and animals, just for starters.


              • #8
                I can't believe COTH printed that. Talk about a lot of mental energy expended on a non-issue.

                Anyone remember how it felt to pluck their eyebrows the first few times? And does it still bother you? Sheesh. For a vet, she is not very observant (or maybe she has to leave the barn when someone is making like Torquemada with the pulling comb) because a huge majority of horses don't mind it at all.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  I think they can suffer for beauty actually all of mine like it but I've had some who don't. You learn to get quick and dodge the bites and kicks.

                  I hate long manes so much that I'd cut them if I had to. I have a horse here with a "long flowing mane" as is part of his breed standard and it is UGLY. Bleached out, ratty, frizzy and gets in the way when you are working with him. The only horses I have ever seen w/nice long manes live in a stall 24/7, too high a price to pay IMO. Cut it off or pull it out, already!
                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                  • #10
                    My Dutch horse wrote that letter under an alias. The TB mare contributed to the sarcasam.

                    They both require chemical and physical restraint to pull their manes. I simply don't do it.


                    • #11
                      PETA Protested Hunter/Jumper Shows

                      I was at one show, a number of years back, where PETA folks showed up to protest the world of Hunter/Jumpers. They felt it was cruel to make the horses jump, live in such small indoor spaces as stalls, etc.

                      I had to laugh. Many horses seem to love jumping over things, rider or not. And while stalling a horse at a show up to 22 hours a day is bad alot of those horses go home to wonderful farms with beautiful grassy turnout.

                      Not to mention the fact that most of the horses we encountered at shows lived better and got better and more doting care than much of the people in America. (And don't say that you can't get "anal" over your horse's slightest limp or stiffness, worry about his nutrition, fight for the best turnout's grazing).

                      They can handle a little mane pulling. And if not, I agree with scissors.


                      • #12
                        Actually, it seems really simple to me. Horses are not deceptive (keep in mind I am not including ponies ) or passive aggressive. They are very direct.

                        I have one horse who happily stands dozing while you pull his mane. He also doesn't seem to care about shots and is in general a sturdy soul with a high pain tolerance. I pull his mane without any worry that I might be torturing him.

                        My old Irish horse ABSOLUTELY hated it. No one within 50 feet of him would doubt this. So, no mane pulling. The solo comb was our friend. It is, after all, cosmetic. I don't see the point in doing something painful for looks if there is another way to get close to the same look..

                        My big expressive horse would also tell me if he had an issue...but he has no mane, just a few wisps. If I pulled it he'd be bald. Solo comb, again.

                        I do see the argument that since it is cosmetic, why drug or otherwise coerce a horse who clearly finds it very uncomfortable. I agree with that.
                        But some do seem genuinely not to mind.
                        The big man -- my lost prince

                        The little brother, now my main man


                        • #13
                          My OTTB falls asleep while his mane is being pulled. He must like it. Another doesn't mind the pulling, but hates the back combing. So we use scissors. But he doesn't have a very thick mane.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                            I can't believe COTH printed that. Talk about a lot of mental energy expended on a non-issue.
                            I skimmed through that letter a few days, and all I could imagine was someone in the Chronicle's office opening mail/e-mail and saying "Hey everybody, get a load of this letter!" ... followed by much giggling and then the dangerous suggestion "how about we go ahead and print it?" which was immediately followed by the office pool on how long it take before it became a hotly debated topic over here.

                            Or that's how it would have played out in almost any office I ever worked in.
                            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                              I can't believe COTH printed that. Talk about a lot of mental energy expended on a non-issue.

                              Anyone remember how it felt to pluck their eyebrows the first few times? And does it still bother you? Sheesh. For a vet, she is not very observant (or maybe she has to leave the barn when someone is making like Torquemada with the pulling comb) because a huge majority of horses don't mind it at all.
                              Eyebrow plucking, hell- how about a bikini wax? We should call the CIA and suggest it as a torture technique.


                              • #16
                                While I think pulled manes look stupid for the most part (yeah, I'm a long, flowing mane kinda gal)- I really doubt that it's torture
                                "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                So you might as well have a good time"


                                • #17
                                  What a weirdo. I have no problem sedating a horse that is sensitive to mane pulling. There's nothing wrong with it-little bit to relax them so they're not nervous and little bit to take away any possible pain, it's like a human having sedation dentistry.
                                  Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
                                  Sam: A job? Does it pay?
                                  Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
                                  Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.


                                  • #18
                                    She's into animal communicators so she shouldn't have needed a horse to rip out her hair. She should have been able to use her mental powers or the Vulcan Mind Meld or something.

                                    Animal Communicator - FAIL
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling


                                    • #19
                                      Lesson Junky's Dutch horse must have consulted with mine. The DWBs are a union breed who don't like to take crap from management.

                                      However, deals were made and now mine likes having his hair ripped out. Sometimes he scores mints and dedicated scratching near the roots of his mane. You can't get those things just anywhere and any day, so it turns out that pulling is a prelude to better things.

                                      Good thing this gelding is such a hedonist. He'd make a bad terrorist.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat


                                      • #20

                                        I thought it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

                                        I have to admit, I think the torture-for-beauty thing is a bit overdone. If a horse doesn't mind it, fine; but if they do? Well, there are alternatives. They may not produce a MSG-perfect braid job, but, geez ... sometimes, I think we do go too far in the interest of conformity.

                                        Bear in mind, this comes from one of those fat ladies who keeps horses at home and doesn't even do bridle paths or trim whiskers any more. Not because I'm lazy, I love a good spa day with my boys as much as the next person, but because it really, really ... just isn't necessary. My horses perform just as well fuzzy, but, then, I don't go out and pay megabucks for others to make judgements about their performances any more, either.
                                        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                        Spay and neuter. Please.