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WWYD: trainer using spiked poles?

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    #21
    I have seen and had them used in MANY barns I have been in over the course of my life. I don't have any at my barn, but I do use 4x4 rails.

    It's so entertaining because honestly no matter what methods people use, the horses are only going to improve their form as much as the rider and their aids work with them to improve things.

    I think the things that shock and horrify people now gives us just more proof that horses have survived and improved over the years. With or without the things that scare the humans.

    Em

    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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      #22
      endlessclimb Hard plastic.

      I have not seen them used recently but I can’t say whether that means they’re used less now, or whether I’m just not seeing them at my specific barns/programs.

      When I did see them used, it was in very controlled circumstances. Never with a green horse still learning what jumping is. Never with a rider that might miss a distance. Never at the top of a horse’s scope. Never in a complex exercise. Etc.

      It’s certainly within anyone’s right to say that they don’t want to use them. But I agree that it’s a little arbitrary to say that that extra heavy poles or poles with edges are totally fine but tack poles are beyond the pale.

      (I assume that at least some folks posting on this thread are opposed to heavy/edged rails as well.)

      Comment


        #23
        I've seen them made with the plastic mats you put under a desk chair on carpet. Not nearly sharp enough to cause any damage and certainly hurts less than a solid whack on the top of a box, coop, or any type of cross country fence.

        Comment


          #24
          I've used them....with the office chair mat plastic. *gasp*

          People can cast stones all they like, but I had a horse who would just fairly lazily clunk rails here and there. I am decent with my distances, I don't often miss to a fence, and the horse was not ridden poorly to them (meaning he wasn't chased at them or made to hit the fence artificially via a selectively poor distance or poor line setting).

          It helped my horse a bit. He never bled or wounded himself on the poles....even if he clunked them fairly hard. And he would always jump harder the next time (and get rewarded/be done).

          This is the type of thing that could have so many reasons ranging from innocuous to bad training. If I was in a barn like this I would probably ask my trainer who needed the tack poles.

          And I agree with others....really not much different than "cement poles" or heavy 4x4 square poles (which I also have many of). Just about every trainer I know has *something* for the horses that get a bit lazy even when ridden well.
          __________________________________
          Flying F Sport Horses
          Horses in the NW

          Comment


            #25
            As a VERY outspoken animal advocate/activist and not afraid to ask questions and be a voice for the animals - I would ask about them. I think anyone boarding there that sees them could certainly assume the worst just based on them being there. I know they have been used very secretly and even at very early hours or late hours. I'd want to know the reason and the history and the plans for them. It's not about being a boarder, it's about speaking up for the horses that could be suffering abuse. Putting one's head in the sand is pretty cowardly IMO. I've never let courtesy or political correctness dictate my mouth.

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              #26
              The ones my boss had were the metal carpet tack strips, that carpet installers lay down first and attach the carpet to. They're wooden lath strips run through with dozens of tiny nails. Tack strips. You tack the strip onto the pole pointy side out.
              Power to the People

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by StormyDay View Post
                Can you describe the spikes in more detail? Are they long, short, etc?
                I would say half-inch spikes (at an estimate) and will clarify they are plastic and not metal, but definitely for use of jumping & sharpening a horse up rather than anything else. They probably weren't sharp enough to physically cause damage, but would definitely scratch if hitting them hard.

                It's really interesting to hear peoples perspectives and opinions on 'harsher' training techniques in general and where you draw the line with stuff like this, as I know I'm guilty of treating my horses very much like pets and so to hear from others who have maybe trained or jumped at higher levels is super informative. Of course they are a quick fix and I'm assuming since they sell horses as well, its probably a nice sharpener before sales videos etc.


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                  #28
                  OP is not a boarder, she’s an employee who also boards a horse and since she’s never seen them used and unless she’s got another position lined up, would be wise not to jump to conclusions.

                  The plastic office mat/carpet runner type mats with protruding, rounded nubs or rounded, very dull “spikes” are pretty common in serious jumping barns but seldom seen because they don’t use them all the time and sure as heck don’t use them in client lessons, with Green horses or even with every horse. Used occasionally they can sharpen a seasoned horse. Used more often, the horse just learns to not care and it doesn’t work. Used when bad riding or physical problems are causing the rail dropping, they don’t work and can get a horse stopping.

                  I'm NOT talking about the strips of wood with sharp metal nails called carpet tack strips. I saw one of those, I be outta there in a heartbeat. Even the plastic mat wraps, if I saw them out in the ring all the time with many working over them, I’d be out PDQ. Laying around in the back only used occasionally, ? Doesn’t bother me.

                  It’s a way to “get them a rub” without harassing or hurting them. As the jumps get higher and the horse more seasoned, that’s a tool for appropriate, occasional use. As are heavier, squared rails. Of course Eventers have no need for keeping their horses neat and tidy over fences, their CC fences are solid and keep the horses interested. Losing focus there is more then the thud of a falling rail.
                  Last edited by findeight; Feb. 10, 2020, 08:47 AM.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                    #29
                    Originally posted by BritishEquestrian View Post
                    Of course they are a quick fix and I'm assuming since they sell horses as well, its probably a nice sharpener before sales videos etc.
                    What do you do as a working student there?!

                    If they were using this pole, wouldn’t you know it by now ?

                    Can’t you just talk about it to the trainers you are working for?
                    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                    Originally posted by LauraKY
                    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.

                    Comment


                      #30
                      OP as you call yourself British Equestrian, are you in the UK? British Showjumping (BS) explicitly prohibits any training methods that are abusive or cause fear. It is clearly written in the Animal Welfare section of the members' 2020 Rule Book. If you do find that the poles are in use, consider approaching the governing body of the sport.
                      "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                      Comment


                        #31
                        What Findeight said. In the scheme of things how is everything else being done at this barn. Are there other things that have made the OP pause and think? If so, then maybe time to re-evaluate their situation.

                        Comment


                          #32
                          Originally posted by BritishEquestrian View Post

                          I would say half-inch spikes (at an estimate) and will clarify they are plastic and not metal, but definitely for use of jumping & sharpening a horse up rather than anything else. They probably weren't sharp enough to physically cause damage, but would definitely scratch if hitting them hard.

                          It's really interesting to hear peoples perspectives and opinions on 'harsher' training techniques in general and where you draw the line with stuff like this, as I know I'm guilty of treating my horses very much like pets and so to hear from others who have maybe trained or jumped at higher levels is super informative. Of course they are a quick fix and I'm assuming since they sell horses as well, its probably a nice sharpener before sales videos etc.

                          Anytime we jump a horse we are, let's face it, placing it at some risk. They can hit a rail and bang themselves - or worse. Hitting a rail is going to sting, whether it's a plain rail, a 4x4, or a regular rail with these plastic nubs.

                          As noted above, using these types of things in an abusive way is going to get a horse stopping, not jumping better. Most pros know this and use such things with the appropriate caution. They are not at all useful with green horses or those with any kind of confidence issues. I have seen them used with some of the heavier types, the ones that don't seem to notice much or care if they hit a rail due to lazy technique. They bump the tack rail, think, hey, that wasn't comfy, better pick those hooves up a bit higher next time. They rarely hit it more than once.

                          Unlike poling, which tricks a horse into thinking it did not jump high enough, this is a completely passive device. Up to every individual to decide if they are ok with it or not. Certainly it is a matter of degree; if you are OK with jumping a horse over any kind of rail at all, there is a risk the horse will hit it (and that's going to smart.) A tack rail is going to sting a bit more than a regular round rail, but probably not more than a heavy or square variety.
                          **********
                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                          -PaulaEdwina

                          Comment


                            #33
                            Reading some of the responses rationalizing and making excuses for their use is very sad and still a form of abuse. Maybe the horse you are using these harsh methods on just doesn't want to be a jumper or hunter. I don't care how
                            they are bred - find another occupation for them that doesn't require such extreme methods for success. They are in our care, good or bad and I can't condone any method such as this for any reason. I'm sorry for those who do -- very revealing!

                            Comment


                              #34
                              Originally posted by TKR View Post
                              Reading some of the responses rationalizing and making excuses for their use is very sad and still a form of abuse. Maybe the horse you are using these harsh methods on just doesn't want to be a jumper or hunter. I don't care how
                              they are bred - find another occupation for them that doesn't require such extreme methods for success. They are in our care, good or bad and I can't condone any method such as this for any reason. I'm sorry for those who do -- very revealing!
                              Ok.... God help me for being the one to ask but...... if you consider these things abuse, can you expound on other things used in Hunter/Jumper/Eventing/Dressage training that qualifies as "abuse"?

                              I am just a little surprised by the depth of your passion against plastic nubs. Metal tack rails I get, but this plastic stuff... I mean I just don't see it.

                              Em
                              "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                              Comment


                                #35

                                If a regular COTH person posts about a horse consistently hitting rails, someone who get roasted alive if they responded "have you considered poling him" or "stop by your office depot and look for the office mats with the 1/2" plastic spikes on the bottom". The understanding is that horses are by nature pretty darn honest and hardworking. If a horse is consistently rubbing rails there's probably something going on: pain, lameness, burned out, maxed out, discipline change needed, etc.

                                To me it is less about whether a 1/2" plastic spike will inflict serious pain and more about, is this really what it takes to be at the top of your sport? At what point do you not flinch when a horse gives a good effort and cracks the edge of a 4x4? Do you just shrug and drag out a tack rail and think "this is what it takes to get a blue ribbon"?

                                More than anything I'm taken aback by very reputable posters acting like this is a non-issue. It feels a bit like hearing a bunch of FEI dressage riders say "well sure, we use TWH training chains from time to time, it isn't like it is going to hurt them, but of course only behind closed doors".

                                Comment


                                  #36
                                  Honestly.....a pole with the bumpy plastic on it, only used occasionally if at all...would bother me far less than a farm that regularly uses draw reins.....just because I’ve seen that bit of equipment abused far more. But they are tools...and ones that not everyone agrees with and certainly not a required tool for any farm. (There are none at my farm)

                                  You are there to learn. Make sure they don’t use it on your horse. But find out why this trainer uses them or has them. For what purpose....that is their system. Learning is about understanding people’s systems while you develop you own. There will be things you agree with and others you don’t....this doesn’t have to be a major drama. I worked at top SJ barns that had a pole or two like this...this was 30 years ago. For use on only certain lugs of horses and honestly, I never saw them used....they are not a very effective tool....and that is one reason most do not use them. You would see them used more often in free jumping situations more than when a rider was on board. But I would us this to expand your own knowledge base. It’s important to understand things even if you don’t plan on using them.
                                  Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Feb. 12, 2020, 08:05 AM.
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                  Comment


                                    #37
                                    Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                                    Can I be ignorant for a second?

                                    First off, I've never even heard of these poles with carpet runners on them.

                                    That said, what is the fundamental difference between using a REALLY heavy rail (lots of trainer do that), or a 4x4 with barely rounded edges (a facebook "god" with the initials D.E. has many many 10' poles like this that are heavier than sin), and a pole with plastic spikes on it? The spikes will hurt (so will an ultra heavy rail, or one with an edge), but won't actually injure the horse (like a really heavy rail, or one with an edge).


                                    ETA: Wait wait. Are these plastic carpet things, or the metal ones? That would TOTALLY change my thought process, as the metal ones can actually do damage.
                                    I've cleaned blood off the legs of a 1.40m horse from the plastic spikes. Not gushing blood, but blood. Clipped legs can't take very much.

                                    Yes, I left the barn shortly thereafter. The spikes were part in parcel. They alone did not fully horrify me when I saw them first, but then when I had to clean up the one horse they were used on when I was working I got a little more adverse. Because it didn't do a damn thing to help or correct him. He was maxed out, and now had sore legs on top of it. I rationalized that at least they were not throwing poles into his legs at the time, but I can still picture the red flecks on his white socks. I was there not much longer and in that time, I saw several more shortcuts.

                                    Maybe in some cases it can be used strategically? But after my experience I think it's a pretty narrow maybe, and what else might they be willing to do.

                                    However, for the OP, some people are lazy, and maybe they havent removed them from the lot they bought yet. Thats a genuine possibility.

                                    Last edited by MaritimeH/J; Feb. 11, 2020, 12:34 PM. Reason: more info added

                                    Comment


                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                                      If a regular COTH person posts about a horse consistently hitting rails, someone who get roasted alive if they responded "have you considered poling him" or "stop by your office depot and look for the office mats with the 1/2" plastic spikes on the bottom". The understanding is that horses are by nature pretty darn honest and hardworking. If a horse is consistently rubbing rails there's probably something going on: pain, lameness, burned out, maxed out, discipline change needed, etc.

                                      To me it is less about whether a 1/2" plastic spike will inflict serious pain and more about, is this really what it takes to be at the top of your sport? At what point do you not flinch when a horse gives a good effort and cracks the edge of a 4x4? Do you just shrug and drag out a tack rail and think "this is what it takes to get a blue ribbon"?

                                      More than anything I'm taken aback by very reputable posters acting like this is a non-issue. It feels a bit like hearing a bunch of FEI dressage riders say "well sure, we use TWH training chains from time to time, it isn't like it is going to hurt them, but of course only behind closed doors".
                                      Are you suggesting there are no horses out there that will drop rails just because they are lazy or not careful? There absolutely are. They take down rails because they can. No one here is suggesting it as a fix to horses who are lame or scoped out.

                                      Whether or not you agree with tack rails is one thing, but suggesting that horses will never be lazy is entirely another.

                                      Comment


                                        #39
                                        Of course horses will be lazy sometimes. That doesn't mean employing a "tool" whose entire purpose is to cause pain is the answer. Jumping requires more than just scope, it also requires the right brain and work ethic from the horse. Barring any physical issue, regularly lazily dropping poles is a horse with a poor work ethic, or one uninterested in its job, or one who is not properly conditioned for what's being asked of it. If a horse is consistently lazily dropping rails, maybe it shouldn't be a jumper. Or maybe it should go down a level. Just because the horse is physically capable of doing a job and/or bred to the nines, it doesn't mean that job is the best choice for them.
                                        Last edited by mmeqcenter; Feb. 11, 2020, 07:34 PM.

                                        Comment


                                          #40
                                          Yeah her point went way over your head. The point was if the OP came on here and said my horse always hits the rails and is lazy, no one (well maybe someone) would suggest a 4x4 or a tack rail. Those same people who are suggesting it has its uses, wouldn’t suggest it. They would say everything but. It’s still considered a dirty secret. Tucked away. “Only for certain special cases.” The same people saying that and who use things like that would never suggest it. That’s the point

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