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Good intentions, missing facts!

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  • Good intentions, missing facts!

    I am glad to see that some of you were willing to read my post with an open mind. I hope that it will bring further posts. I am not sure whether I will continue to join in at these boards or not but I want to talk about one issue on my mind before leaving. After reading many of the threads here in paticular the ones concerning GP riders I feel that many comments are well intended yet lacking facts or knowledge as it pertains to showjumping. I can promise you that every major GP rider here and in Europe care deeply for horses in general and have high moral standerds they stick to. There is no chance to make it to the top of this sport without the sympathy needed to compete under high pressure and have feeling between you and your horse. As I am sure many of you know horses have a strong mind of their own and have to want to be good and have to love competing to be GP level. I can tell you whether it is Twist or any other GP horse I have had the chance to ride they love the sport, the competition and perform because they want to, not because of some cruel and unorthodox training method. The more orthodox the training the better the performance is a standard rule. That does not mean that as time goes on we learn different methods an use them in our systems. The horsmanship ways of the cavalry are still the base for how we ride and teach today but we must stay current and realize that such things as draw riens used properly and converters on pelhems are tools that can improve the performance of our horses. Many of the greatest jumpers have been of diffacult charecter and if we only stick to hardenfast rules and never try knew ways then many of those horse would have never reached their top level performances. To name a few Diester, Touch of Class, Baluobet, Idile Dice, Albany, and Ratina. All of these horse have been ridden in or used some kind of modern training tool that may not have come from a George Morris book or the cavalry method. I am also sure that horseman such as George Morris will tell that even though his method may not use one paticlular piece of tack such as draw riens that in the right hands, Rodney Jenkins, They can be highly effective. Preperation or tooning is another hot topic. Yes every Gp rider in the world has tuned their horse, everyone. Any rider who says different is lying and you should question their honesty. I can say this because I grew up in this sport, I know all the players and have since I was born. Tuning stories are like rumors though they grow and become grander with every telling. Every rider and trainer has their own limit to what they will do and I have never found anyone at the top level to be cruel or abusive. Even the riders that I consider tougher than most will never put a horse in danger or use a training method that risked injury or pain that is avoidable. Saying that accidents do happen whether it be in the hunt field or in the showring they are a realality. There is risk in showjumping and we all are aware of it but the best horses I have ridden still go wild in their stalls when the truck starts up. I believe they love it. For the record this is MW not an imposter!
    McLain Ward

  • #2
    I am glad to see that some of you were willing to read my post with an open mind. I hope that it will bring further posts. I am not sure whether I will continue to join in at these boards or not but I want to talk about one issue on my mind before leaving. After reading many of the threads here in paticular the ones concerning GP riders I feel that many comments are well intended yet lacking facts or knowledge as it pertains to showjumping. I can promise you that every major GP rider here and in Europe care deeply for horses in general and have high moral standerds they stick to. There is no chance to make it to the top of this sport without the sympathy needed to compete under high pressure and have feeling between you and your horse. As I am sure many of you know horses have a strong mind of their own and have to want to be good and have to love competing to be GP level. I can tell you whether it is Twist or any other GP horse I have had the chance to ride they love the sport, the competition and perform because they want to, not because of some cruel and unorthodox training method. The more orthodox the training the better the performance is a standard rule. That does not mean that as time goes on we learn different methods an use them in our systems. The horsmanship ways of the cavalry are still the base for how we ride and teach today but we must stay current and realize that such things as draw riens used properly and converters on pelhems are tools that can improve the performance of our horses. Many of the greatest jumpers have been of diffacult charecter and if we only stick to hardenfast rules and never try knew ways then many of those horse would have never reached their top level performances. To name a few Diester, Touch of Class, Baluobet, Idile Dice, Albany, and Ratina. All of these horse have been ridden in or used some kind of modern training tool that may not have come from a George Morris book or the cavalry method. I am also sure that horseman such as George Morris will tell that even though his method may not use one paticlular piece of tack such as draw riens that in the right hands, Rodney Jenkins, They can be highly effective. Preperation or tooning is another hot topic. Yes every Gp rider in the world has tuned their horse, everyone. Any rider who says different is lying and you should question their honesty. I can say this because I grew up in this sport, I know all the players and have since I was born. Tuning stories are like rumors though they grow and become grander with every telling. Every rider and trainer has their own limit to what they will do and I have never found anyone at the top level to be cruel or abusive. Even the riders that I consider tougher than most will never put a horse in danger or use a training method that risked injury or pain that is avoidable. Saying that accidents do happen whether it be in the hunt field or in the showring they are a realality. There is risk in showjumping and we all are aware of it but the best horses I have ridden still go wild in their stalls when the truck starts up. I believe they love it. For the record this is MW not an imposter!
    McLain Ward

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your post, McLain! That was exactly what I was trying to get at with my "where do you draw the line" thread. I hope you continue posting here! Not everybody's a critic! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for your insight - I for one always like to hear from the real deal.

        There has been some discussion on the board in the past as to whether our GP's ought to run under FEI rules (no meds etc.) vs. the more permissive AHSA rules.

        From the perspective of one who competes at the highest level, what do you think?

        Sarah

        Comment


        • #5
          You raise some interesting points Maclain. Thank you for taking the time to give us your input. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

          One thing though that I'd like to point out, which is in reference to this statement of yours:

          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Every rider and trainer has their own limit to what they will do and I have never found anyone at the top level to be cruel or abusive. Even the riders that I consider tougher than most will never put a horse in danger or use a training method that risked injury or pain that is avoidable. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          You talk of "limits" that riders will go too, but I think you need to take a step back and appreciate that not everybody's "limit" is the same. What YOU or other riders might think is acceptable, will not be to others here, or in the real world. One thing about this board is the tremendous diversity it offers in terms of experience, personality, views and emotions - so while you may be disagreeing with some of what has been posted, please consider that there are people here from all walks of life - no matter what you say, people will think what they want.

          Another point that comes up here I think, is the difference between what is perceived and what is reality. One person does not see the same as another. This will follow with the idea of "percieved cruelty" - some people are kinder hearted souls, and will jump at ANY sign of what THEY consider harsh or cruel methods, so while you may say that a certain "tune-up" method it is not intended to be painful or cruel, others will see it differently.

          Like others here, I have seen some instances of what I would consider "over doing it" or even abuse by recognized GP riders in their schooling. I grew up down the road from Spruce Meadows and have spent many many hours there. Thankfully, these instances were far and long between. But I did witness them. That being said, I have no doubt that many would think what I saw was "normal" whiles others may run screaming to PETA! Unfortunately, not everyone in the equestrian world, or outside it, is "in the know" as you say.

          Basically, I think what I'm trying to say, after much rambling, is read the BB with a salt shaker beside you, [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] and consider how those of us who are not privy to the upper echelons of our sport may think of some of these more heated issues.

          and please continue to give us your input, as hearing opinions from an experienced rider, is one of the ways of learning. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

          [This message was edited by Jair on May. 23, 2001 at 06:19 PM.]
          You Strike Me Still

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Mclain, love having you around, heck, stick around! You've but some very flammable wood into the fire! I mean...oh forget it, I'm having speech-I mean, typing problems right now [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

            *Callin me mam' is like puttin' an elevator in an outhouse....it just don't belong.
            I must say, I\'ve met some horses whose feet smell far worse than my husband\'s.

            Comment


            • #7
              Id agree that there isn't a singular GP rider out there who'd willingly hurt or cripple their horse -- especially if one considers their value and the fact it is in the best interest of the pro to turn in consistently competitive rounds.

              I would question, though, the assertion that:

              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Every rider and trainer has their own limit to what they will do and I have never found anyone at the top level to be cruel or abusive. Even the riders that I consider tougher than most will never put a horse in danger or use a training method that risked injury or pain that is avoidable. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

              If training and tuning methods are to be left to the discretion of each trainer/rider, what remains is a wide range of subjective practises -- some of which will err on the side of caution, others which will prove, over the long haul, to be detrimental to the horse's health and sanity.

              And while it's often true that, 'unless you've walked a mile in these Ariats, you can't know what I've experienced and gained in knowledge', there are enough of us who have been around the pro barns and show circuit long enough to have witnessed unquestionably cruel training and tuning techniques.

              I'd also offer that some of us care more about the health and welfare of the horse over that of the pro; and thus much of what you responding to is the expressed concern of people who'd rather see a happy, sound and sane horse jump around a horse than one who does so out of fear.

              As an owner, and this will sound mercenary, but I can replace a pro; but a good, honest, healthy, competitive horse is harder to find.

              Comment


              • #8
                Jair, you make a great point.We all see life through different color glasses. I am sure there have been cases of abuse in regards to horse training over the years but in todays top level show world the horses are so good and the riders so perfesional that it is very tame. I have heard many stories of the old days when training was quite a bit harsher but times have changed. Certainly for the diehard riding itself could be considered cruel but then again I do believe it is PETA who blows up whole clinics with hundred of animals in them not to mention humans to prove a point. Who is the worse offender the testing clinic or the bomb maker? Do I consider a bamboo poll used properly cruel, no I don't and it does fall within my limits. I believe I can only state my opinion and back it up with as much knowledge as I can. Matters that I am not knowledgable in, not to worry I wont comment.
                McLain Ward

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am suprised to find you posting here, and find the wide range of experience from posters on this BB appealing. I enjoyed your input.

                  While I have seen you ride and doing it well, and never heard anything bad about YOU, I can't help but admit to feeling a little sqeamish when I think of your close ties to some very unsavory dealings regarding horses. I may get flamed for saying that, but I am sure that I am not the only one thinking that that kind of stuff does not occur under a family member's nose, and the other family member's aren't aware of it. I don't really want this to turn into that kind of discussion, so while I welcome your input on this board and admire your riding ability, and can learn from your posts, I on the other hand would love to have seen your dad and his friend's treated the same way the horses were. I am sorry but I can't read the name Ward and not think of that and feel phsically ill. I bear no ill will towards you and hope that you'll continue to post, but I can't get over the sqeamish factor. My reaction to this is my problem I know, but I will really try to view your posts not thinking about the above mentioned items.

                  Moderators- I truly did TRY to be diplomatic and hope that this came thru that way. But I am sure that I am not the only one to have these thoughts.

                  s

                  (Edited para marks � W.)

                  [This message was edited by Weatherford on May. 23, 2001 at 07:06 PM.]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's what it takes to ride in GP after GP and that's what it took for MW to stand up and be heard.
                    Jair brings up the issue of definition in a recent post. To some tuning is cruel. To others missing distances, hanging the horse in the mouth over the jump and other novice rider mistakes are cruel.
                    In either case, as long as the horse continues to HAPPILY do it's job, I would have to say no cruelty exsists.
                    By the way, the horses that come out of MW's stable ALWAYS look among the shiniest, healthiest and best presented. They do not look like uphappy or worried horses.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm so glad to see that a thread which could have turned very nasty in the past has instead sparked a thought-provoking discussion about the lines we all draw in the sand.

                      We all have our own limits- in the way we deal with our horses as well as in everything else. Jair and Heidi made great points about the different experiences and viewpoints of people here on the BB.

                      Everyone is naturally going to believe they use the best training methods for their horses, because of our great love for our horses and the sport in general. This means we may- and in all honesty probably will- get defensive when our methods are called into question. But, hopefully we can keep away from the backbiting and learn something from each other- isn't that part of the point of us all being here? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                      So, pick up that salt shaker Jair was talking about and stick around, McLain- it'll be fun having you around. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jetsmom, if a child's mother was released from prison, having done their time, would you condemn the child a few years later? Just a thought. JMHO, but it probably would have been just as easy to have refrained from sharing your opinion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jetsmom, I certainly think you could have been more diplomatic in your post. Personal attacks are not allowed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This is a great dicussion and we have the professionals point of view too.

                            I think that you have to train the horse the way you see fit. If your going to use draw reins or a gag then do it. If it works great for that horse then why should other people think different or question it! I hate it when people say things about what people use on their horse and they think it's wrong. "Well have you ever sat on the horse? Do you know how he/she rides?" They don't and they shouldn't make opinions until then. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] When will you be showing next M.W.?
                            I want to be like Barbie because that bitch has everything!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I just have to take the opportunity to say that I hope you'll stay and chime in occasionally with your ideas, insights, jokes, etc.

                              Hopefully after your initial post you won't have to explain yourself again. Pretty soon you'll just be one of the gang and everyone will be disagreeing with you over all sorts of things, just like they do with everyone else here.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I thought you handled saying what some of us were thinking very diplomatically - I'm sure if McLain has read other posts on this board, he has seen it said much more harshly. And I agree with you wholeheartedly that I, for one, could definately benefit from McLain's wisdom on this board and would love to see him chime in on many, many more threads.

                                Lily, I didn't see any personal attacks in jetsmom's post. I thought she said what she had to say with quite a bit of tact and it probably took some guts to bring it up. If that was a personal attack, I'm wondering why some of the other threads that broached this same topic with much less tact remain unmodified.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yeah, I feel as though I just have to thank you! You brought up some really good points, some that I never even thought about. And I second what dbtoo said-- I hope you'll stick around becuase you obviously have a lot of information, wisdom, and point of views to share! It really takes guts for somebody to just come out and 'speak' for themself like you did, and for that I thank you! Keep up the good work. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Miniwelsh, I wonder if you would still think that was tactful if it were directed towards you. I usually try to stay out of conflicts, but I find that difficult when comments are directed against people I like and respect. Jetsmom is certainly welcome to her opinion, but I really question her judgment in expressing her thoughts when the object of her criticism has absolutely no way of changing the circumstances to which she refers. Guts is posting one's personal thoughts under one's own name. Can we give McLain some credit for doing that, and focus on what he has to say? The rest of the posters are judged by what they have to say, not who they are, nothing makes McLain any different.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with Jair and the fact that different people view cruel treatment differently. I event my horses and I know many people who believe that eventing is mean and cruel to horses. Many people believe think that making a horse go though phases A, B, C, and D on endurance day is very cruel to horses.

                                      And I think what Jetsmom said was rude. What happened in someones family's past is the past, even if something horrible did happen. I'm sure Mclain has very good horsemanship. There is no way his horses would perform the way they do without completely trusting him. I just hope people could learn to judge people for who THEY are and not what they have heard about them.

                                      [This message was edited by eventer4 on May. 23, 2001 at 08:32 PM.]

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I thought both of his posts were very informative and hope to see more in the future.

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