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WWYD: trainer using spiked poles?

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    I personally find it repulsive to use a form of force or pain to train. They are a shortcut and like a razor in a monkey's hands when used by those who have no empathy or then resort to more barbaric methods to get a result, which they rarely get. I'm not a big fan of draw reins or side reins unless used scrupulously as a training aid and not used to overbend a horse, particularly for a long time. To me, such methods are crutches which are forever necessary because the horse is not trained correctly - due to someone not wishing to take the time or lacking the skills. Horses are not relaxed and willing when force or pain is used and I prefer a horse that is learning and becomes willing and soft because the methods are correct. If I get off and the horse isn't more relaxed then I believe I have done something wrong and certainly not attained a result I wanted. You don't get a great result everyday, but you can back up and stop someplace where you feel the horse is not stressed. My beliefs won't change anyone, but it's just the way I feel about it. A happy horse is more important to me than a blue ribbon.


      An athlete may choose to endure training pain; a horse gets no choice. I think that whatever the tack strip pain may do to teach the horse to lift higher is probably lost in trust. I've handled spiked plastic mats; those points are painful at far less than the force of a horse's pastern.


        Originally posted by dwpc View Post
        I think that whatever the tack strip pain may do to teach the horse to lift higher is probably lost in trust.


          I have seen them used before, they are pretty common in hunter barns. I have never seen them used on a jumper before.
          They won’t work for a horse who is at the top of his scope or consistently smacks poles as a horse doing that is already feeling pain when they hit a pole. those carpet tacks aren’t gonna do anything.
          In my experience it is more for horses who rub jumps. In hunters, since that is a penalty, a trainer will use a carpet tack or office mat pole to encourage the horse to not skim the top of the jump.
          A less controversial way to get similar results is a jump pole covered in AstroTurf or a jump pole that is (or looks like) a log.
          In my opinion, these quick fixes last only a few jumps afterwards. They would have no lasting impact on a show and it is better to use other methods like grid training to encourage better form.


            I had to look up what the carpet runner spikes looked like, because what I had in my head didn't seem abusive enough for all of the comments against it.

            And now, seeing what they look like...I still feel like rubbing against one of those wouldn't hurt a horse much more than rubbing any number of cross country/fox hunting jumps. I.E., might be effective as an occasional reminder to the horse to pick legs up, but wouldn't do much if over used.

            I don't buy the "losing trust" thing either. Maybe for a green or insecure/sour/maxed out horse, but it wouldn't sour a strong, solidly trained jumper any more than cross country horses stop trusting their riders when they rub one of those stiff brush fences. I feel like it's another one of those things that can be considered abusive if used the wrong way, can be somewhat helpful if used correctly, not as effective as usual methods of proper training, but as we all know, horses are individuals and sometimes what works for 99 horses won't work for 1 and you need to be a little creative to help them understand. Would I use it? Probably not. Would I automatically leave a barn that I saw had one, but that I had never seen used, without at least asking about it? Nope.


              Heck no, I’d be out of there. There is zero excuse for drugs or abuse. ZERO. Personally, id make sure I had pics of it too. Then I’d keep my mouth shut and move out. Years ago many things were common like smoking and drinking while pregnant, when we know better we do better. Period.


                Idk as a trainer I think if I ended up with these poles by accident I would probably be very public about it so no one got the wrong idea.

                & just as a side note, while I’ve never witnessed “pole”ing of any sort in big show barns I’ve gotten a lot of nice fabulous horses from them who are suspiciously terrified of jumping if you are standing too close to the jump standards... a problem a horse I’ve personally trained has mysteriously never had.


                  Originally posted by Farosh View Post
                  Idk as a trainer I think if I ended up with these poles by accident I would probably be very public about it so no one got the wrong idea.

                  & just as a side note, while I’ve never witnessed “pole”ing of any sort in big show barns I’ve gotten a lot of nice fabulous horses from them who are suspiciously terrified of jumping if you are standing too close to the jump standards... a problem a horse I’ve personally trained has mysteriously never had.
                  I always wondered how people managed to pole horses more than once. My horses would catch onto that trick real fast. Seems like not a useful tactic


                    Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

                    I always wondered how people managed to pole horses more than once. My horses would catch onto that trick real fast. Seems like not a useful tactic
                    Yeah same, although one I have right now who never ever stops at a jump unless someone is standing next to it is a pretty unique contortionist, he never touches anything. Makes me wonder if that’s why. Maybe it only needs to be done once.


                      My old trainer used to have one skinny-jump pole wrapped in the plastic. I had the same thoughts as you and went and felt it. Yes it wouldnt feel good to hit, but no it wouldnt make a horse bleed, It was one jump that was used right before show season and I never saw a horse hit it (the hunters didn't train over the skinny). I didn't love it, but I didn't think it was like having nails or metal spikes either.


                        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.

                        I actually think it would hurt more to hit the corner of a 4x4 than the plastic carpet bumps. Neither of these in my mind are the same as poling (raising the pole as the horse jumps it), or nails/metal spikes.


                          OK...when have I, or others on here who attempted to explain, ever recommended them to random posters complaining of problems hitting rails? And it’s not because it a dirty secret we want to protect. It’s because it’s like a loaded gun with no training in its use, much more harm then good. Especially with novice riders on average horses, Its not something to pick up on the Internet to solve problems best solved with better training, riding and maybe a horse better suited to the job.

                          Silence on using these to solve rail problems is not because we want to keep them secret. It’s because they are not the answer and can cause far more harm then good. The Internet can help greatly or it can cause great harm so most us are careful about the options we advise.

                          But if somebody asks about them or why they might be considered appropriate by some in specific situations , I’ll answer. Without judgement. So don’t judge me because I know what they are and when they might get used. Never used them. Used the heavy 4x4s or jumped big logs outside but not everybody has big logs or can handle and move the 4x4s and the plastic mats can be used on less ponderous poles.

                          Still never used them, never saw them anywhere around my barns but somebody asked why not just use the big 4x4s.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.