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Drugged lesson horses?

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  • #21
    I doubt it's the norm. What I find mostly disturbing about this (if true) is the fact that lesson horses are frequently geldings - and ace can have some pretty nasty side effects for geldings & stallions.

    And no, ace is not commonly used for people to show on (at least not at rated shows) - it's one of the first things they test for and is extremely easy to detect. When chemical assistance (I liked "liquid lungeline" ) is used, it certainly will not be with something testable

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    • #22
      I used to be at a lesson barn that used a cocktail quite often. It was awful watching these people try and move these horses forward when they are literally drunk! and jumping too....Instead of training them or using the correct equipment or buying REAL lesson horses they just drugged them..It also gave a lot of false confidence so when they moved on to other horses at other barns or bought their own they were in serious trouble....I left that barn and still think about those horses..But If my horse were at a barn that he had no turnout he would be nasty and impossible to ride...turnout is important to the psyche of the horse. Just because they have survived without it doesn't mean it has no effect on them...
      Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
      Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
      "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"

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      • #23
        I would say also that this is probaby not the norm, but I've seen it.

        I understand the reasoning lesson barn's use to Ace their schoolies. I do. As a kid I didn't know such a thing as drugging a horse to make it quieter even existed, as a teenager I knew about it and was often led to believe that it's perfectly fine. As an older and wiser adult I think it sucks. But I get it. Lesson barns don't want kids falling, or getting run off with, or getting sued by crazy parents. Yeah I know, barns usually have that Equine Liability blah blah blah sign showing, but I don't think that would hold up if a kid got really hurt or killed during a lesson. And we live in a sue-happy world. I think a lot of the cocktails are to keep their own asses safe, but it doesn't make it right.

        Ace has a place. When bringing a horse back to work after a long layup, a little meeting with the needle can mean the difference in surviving the ride or not. Especially when the horse has had 8 months of handwalk, no turnout allowed yet, and you're supposed to get on and w/t. On a ticking timebomb. Yes, please, bring on the needle.

        But for every single lesson? No. I've seen that and I hate it.

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        • #24
          In my world if you gave riding lessons using an inappropriate drugged horse you'd get your ass sued off!

          If you're worried about folks falling off, then you don't have a riding centre.

          If your teaching novices then you get horses that novices can learn on.

          If you're teaching advanced riders then you get horses that will respond to rider aids.

          If someone wanted a numpty horse acting as if it was tranqu'd then why the heck would anyone want to waste time and money and effort drugging horses for lessons..... Just go buy a quiet, lazy, old horse.

          If the OP knows that a barn was genuinely drugging horses for lessons and competitions then blow the whistle. Its dangerous for horse and rider!!!
          Last edited by Thomas_1; Jul. 17, 2008, 09:23 PM.

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          • #25
            I was a non-believer, but it happens. I can't get my mind around it, but I've seen it firsthand. We do a good amount of sales and purchasing.

            One time in looking at a pony for a young client- a repuatable pony barn in the area showed us one. We were pulled aside & asked if we'd like to see it with or without a cocktail. We said without. Trainer got on it, it bucked around the ring. We said it wouldn't work for our client; they countered that the pony was great for teaching kids on 2ccs of ace, though.

            I was at another barn looking at a jumper schooling in a lesson. The horse was up- not out of control by any means, but fresh and forward. Halfway through the lesson, trainer says stop, hop off your horse, gives him a cocktail, they stand there for 10 mins to let it kick in, then procede to finish the lesson over fences, the horse with a dull look on its face. Yuck.

            ...and these 2 cases were otherwise reputable people who felt no shame in making it blatant in front of an "outsider" (albeit someone also in the industry). Makes you wonder who might be doing it without telling.
            www.PinehurstStables.com

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            • #26
              I am not a law suit kinda gal, but I gotta tell you what would change my mind! If I had my kid at one of those barns and the trainer drugged my horse before my kid got on it without telling me. Then my kid proceeds to go out and do a jump course, but gets hurt in a fall because the drunk horse couldn't save her over a jump
              Would you ride drugged? And yet we expect our mounts to carry us around that way?
              Very scarey

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              • #27
                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                • #28
                  $

                  Wouldn't drugging every lesson horse get kinda pricey and hurt the bottom line?

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                  • #29
                    I don't think it's the norm to ace lesson horses. I've never seen it anyways. Just at shows and sometimes when people want to seal the deal in a sale.

                    You'd think it would be cheaper and benefit them more to get barns rats riding the horses. The horses would be fitter, more schooled.. and the kids would learn more, and faster.

                    People have strange ways of thinking. I would NEVER drug my horse to make it a quiet ride.

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                    • #30
                      I don't like it, I have never done it, but I'd theoretically rather ace a horse who requires an intermediate rider than make the 30 year old lesson pony work when she says she doesn't feel up to her second lesson of the day. Unfortunately, very very few horses are cut out to behave themselves with rank beginner riders on a permanent basis. Those who can are generally older and thus not able to work too much. Those percious youngish horses who are sound and can tolerate being a schoolhorse are few and far between and generally too expensive for a lesson program. It shouldn't be a permanent thing, but I think it's better than making an older horse work more than they need to or having a kid bucked off because their mom called after the nice horses got booked.
                      -Grace

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                      • #31
                        MANY trainers are scientists and are great at knowing what to give each horse for each occasion. Often the riders know nothing about any of it. The cost of the drugs is built into trainers' fees. In so many cases the owners expect their horses to win and the trainers are under so much pressure to make that happen as often as possible.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Figment View Post
                          MANY trainers are scientists and are great at knowing what to give each horse for each occasion. Often the riders know nothing about any of it. The cost of the drugs is built into trainers' fees. In so many cases the owners expect their horses to win and the trainers are under so much pressure to make that happen as often as possible.
                          That's a poor excuse for such behavior.
                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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                          • #33
                            Jeez, I guess I must be an "awful" instructor then to make my kids learn how to deal with the sillies on the rare occasion our lesson horses get them! I can honestly say I've never aced a horse for a lesson. Like someone else mentioned, having suitable horses is a BIG part of that! And to think I feel like I'm jipping the kids of a learning experience for OCCASIONALLY lunging a horse first! no wonder I don't make the big bucks (literally and figuratively!)
                            Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by TheOrangeOne View Post
                              I don't like it, I have never done it, but I'd theoretically rather ace a horse who requires an intermediate rider than make the 30 year old lesson pony work when she says she doesn't feel up to her second lesson of the day. Unfortunately, very very few horses are cut out to behave themselves with rank beginner riders on a permanent basis. Those who can are generally older and thus not able to work too much. Those percious youngish horses who are sound and can tolerate being a schoolhorse are few and far between and generally too expensive for a lesson program. It shouldn't be a permanent thing, but I think it's better than making an older horse work more than they need to or having a kid bucked off because their mom called after the nice horses got booked.
                              I understand what you're saying and absolutely see the logic. HOWEVER, in my book, it's called scheduling, or rather, not overscheduling. I agree, those horses that will tolerate a rank beginner are FEW and FAR between. Hell, that's why I don't have a lesson horse in the barn under 12. But you vary the schedule enough to make sure the horses have a break and don't get overworked. It's really not that hard.
                              Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

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                              • #35
                                I think it's a questions of figuring out exactly what sort of lesson horses would work for YOUR program, and then aqcuiring them. If you have no turn out (I'm currently at a barn which has limited turn out only in the 4 riding rings), then you have to FIND lesson horses that are going to be OK with limited turn out, not try to force an unsuitable horse into the program. We're very careful about keeping our horses happy with how we do things, and if a horse/pony just isn't going to be a good fit, we send them back and try again. Likewise, there are some horses/ponies out there who are prone to founder, or don't really have much energy, who are perfectly happy with limited turnout and do fabulously at our barn. It's about being knowledgable about your own program, and stocking it accordingly.

                                Which doesn't mean I'm against ace on occasion in certain situations (believe me...in some situations I'm VERY pro ace). But to regularly drug a horse to get it to do its job? Chances are, it's not the right job for the horse.

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                                • #36
                                  I have - so far - drugged a lesson horse one time. It was at a small schooling show, my student's very first show, and the lesson horse's first show in a looong time (he's a 25 year old saint)

                                  Before giving the shot I thoroughly explained to my student why I was giving it to him, when the appropriate times are to Tranq. a horse, and when you would not want to tranq. one. I gave only enough to take the edge off - 1 cc in the muscle, 1/2 cc in the vein - and explained that to my student as well. At the next show he didn't need anything.

                                  I just can't wrap my brain around the concept of tranqing lesson horses daily.
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                                  • #37
                                    Most of the lesson horses at my barn just get a good turnout or lunging, proper schooling from an experienced rider a few times a week, and cotton in thier ears if they need it. Ace has its place, but not daily on a lesson horse.

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                                    • #38
                                      no longer relevant
                                      Last edited by Seven-up; Nov. 3, 2008, 11:26 AM.

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                                      • #39
                                        I did not know you could give tranqs in pill form - is this still done? Call me naive.
                                        Love my "Slow-T T B"
                                        2010 OTTB, Dixie Union x Dash for Money

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Freebird! View Post
                                          I have - so far - drugged a lesson horse one time. It was at a small schooling show, my student's very first show, and the lesson horse's first show in a looong time (he's a 25 year old saint)

                                          Before giving the shot I thoroughly explained to my student why I was giving it to him, when the appropriate times are to Tranq. a horse, and when you would not want to tranq. one.
                                          Sorry but any show, even a small schooling show is never, IMHO, an appropriate time to drug a horse. I am not sure you taught your student the lesson you thought you did.
                                          Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                                          Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

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