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Incident at the barn last night.....

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  • #21
    I think you did the right thing for the horse, and for the safety of the other riders. Many people would not have had the guts to help that horse, and insure the safety of others, but you did.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    • #22
      Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
      OP: you did what I would have done, do not beat yourself up.
      Hopefully BO will realize a loose horse where others are riding is never a good idea.

      As an English rider new to observing WP I have seen:
      *Horses tied in their stalls w/head above level for at least an hour
      (ignorant owner in this case told me "pro" had done this to "teach him a lesson" Huh?)
      *Horses longed in endless circles with no apparent relaxation displayed
      *18mo long yearling U/S with less-than-lightweight (200#+) rider, ridden in tight circles with reinbacks
      *spur stops < can anyone explain this to me - how is spurring a horse in the shoulder useful in stopping him? Unless a reaction to pain is a useful training tool, I don;t see it working well.
      *jerking shanked bits < again: explanation please

      I realize any discipline has wingnut trainers - but excess is excess no matter what tack it appears under.
      This is exactly what I was seeing years ago and hated the fact that those were the trainers who were beating the pants off the good guys. I will NEVER understand the spur thing and the 5 million 6m circles to slow a horse down. I did know an alarming number of WP horses that were done (crippled or brains fried) by the time they turned 5. It happens in every discipline, but lucky for me (I guess) I have only really been around it in WP. It sucked.


      • #23
        Not okay behind closed stall doors and certainly even less okay in an arena with other riders.
        Good on you for stepping in!
        "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


        • #24
          You did good, OP.

          He sounds like a WP trainer in my area who often leaves horses fully tacked overnight with their heads tied up in the air. The theory is that they will be tired the next day and carry their heads low. *raises eyebrow* He does the tying to their cinch bit crap as well. Among various other 'tricks' that made me gag.

          You have received some good advice, I second bringing up the safety issue as well.

          Again, good for you OP.


          • #25
            2Dogs- The WP horses are ridden on such a long rein, and in the ring you don't want to have to pick them up to halt the horse, so they teach them spur stops. This was my understanding, anyways. I hate riding spur broke horses. Drives me nuts.

            The rein jerking up thing drives the curb into the top of the horse's mouth, encouraging them to drop their head to avoid it. The longer the shank, the more leverage. smh. Again, just my understanding. I managed a QH barn for a few years, and saw a lot of it. The hunter horses don't have it quite as bad, IMO.


            • #26
              Off topic a bit, but I think the BO missed an opportunity to demonstrate behavior that supports the 4-H pledge (I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world) to the club. The OP didn't state if the BO is a leader, parent or was a guest presenting information, but in any of those roles had she explained that there was a situation at home that she needed to attend to the kids could have seen loyalty, service, and clear thinking in action.


              • #27
                Can't speak to everything mentioned above as abuse. I agree, believe me. However one of my horses came with a spur stop. I've never seen anyone spur on the shoulder for a spur stop. Can't imagine it. But my horse will slow down with constant calf pressure and when I tell him to stop by saying whoa, if he wants to take a step I will touch him with my spurs and he basically says "yes ma'am" and freezes. I also ride him in hunter under saddle and eq classes, and when he's in my english tack he goes forward off of my leg, so he clearly knows the difference.

                I don't do Western Pleasure, so don't ask for that slow movement, but his ability to slow or speed up based on my leg and seat when doing Horsemanship, Western Riding or Trail is really helpful since in Western classes you ride with a draped rein.

                FWIW, my trainer doesn't do the head tying thing. Be careful not to paint all western or english event trainers with the same wide brush. There are abuses in every segment of the horse industry. Like everyone here, they make my blood boil. Be careful and you can find trainers who don't abuse their horses at all. And good for the OP for speaking up and taking matters into her own hands. I hope the BO handles it, but be prepared to deal with it if she doesn't. Some BO's don't want to go head to head with a trainer.


                • #28
                  Regardless of whether or not that training "method" is appropriate, leaving a loose horse in an arena with other horses/riders was completely inappropriate. Shoot, leaving the horse unsupervised (assuming no one else was there) would also count as inappropriate to me.

                  But focusing on the people standpoint, he put you guys at risk.

                  The BO probably didn't get a whole lot of your message since your connection was all breaking up and such so I wouldn't assume that BO is upset with YOU simply because you didn't get a call back. When you have kids at home, especially kids who are older and going to 4-H and other activities, getting alone time to make a phone call isn't exactly easy until it's so late at night that you don't dare call.

                  I'd have a chat with BO. But I think you'd also be well within your rights to tell this trainer dude that it's not acceptable to leave a horse unattended and loose in the ring with other people. Training method or not. Not cool. Especially given that he didn't ask you guys if you'd mind keeping an eye on the horse, or ask if you were okay with leaving the horse.

                  As far as the training method goes, I think it's a lazy method, a potentially dangerous method and one that I would not allow to be used on my horse.

                  But I've also seen it done safely and effectively. That said, if the horse can't get any relief, it's not being done correctly. Tying around shouldn't be punishment and it sure as heck shouldn't be getting done in a curb IMHO. Once you're in a curb, you're way beyond that.

                  Not all WP folks would allow that. It's not just a WP thing either. (not a WP rider anymore FWIW but did spend a lot of time in that world growing up.)
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                  • #29
                    Walking off and leaving a horse loose in the arena is bad horsemanship -- an accident waiting to happen. Tying the horse's head around is bad training. Neither is good, but the former endangered other riders.

                    Had I been in the arena in such a situation, I don't think I'd have waited more than 5 minutes to get the horse out of the arena, go find the guy and explain to him that arenas aren't places to park your horse.

                    OP, if you want your BO to address the issue, I'd go at it from the safety angle mentioned above. Squawking about training methods -- even ones as bad you describe -- won't get you very far.
                    "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                    the best day in ten years,
                    you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."


                    • #30
                      Agree with everyone else so far. I've seen a very successful reining "trainer" in much the same situation, training his horses in the indoor where my daughter was taking lessons. It was UGLY.

                      As for your BO and how her horses are being trained, I'd probably just say something along the lines of "you're aware he's tying their heads around and leaving them right? And you're ok with that?" and if she is, a raised eyebrow and a simple "hmm" can speak volumes without getting you any further into it.
                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                      • #31
                        You did the right thing! I am ashamed to admit I have witness similar “training” and did not have the courage to do anything about it. When I was a teenage working student, the H/J barn I worked at shared the facility with a WP trainer – one that did well on the AQHA circuit.

                        Bloodied mouths, bloodied sides, horses tied to rafters, and yes, on a daily basis horses left out in the hot sun in the arena, sweaty, miserable, with their head cranked around and tied to their stirrup.

                        Its sickening, its cruel, its wrong – and it resulted in wins for this particular trainer.

                        I am sorry you feel terribly about it. Understandable as well. I do not know what the answer is, because unless they are breaking laws. Horrible trainers like this won’t change their methods. Especially if these damned judges keep pinning horses trained in abusive ways.
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                        • #32
                          I think it is abuse, but I would hammer the BO about the safety issue. If the horse had flipped out just as someone rode by, there would have been one heck of a wreck. I would not ride in an arena with a loose horse. The trainer needs to wise up about the safety issue, if not the abuse.


                          • #33
                            OP, have you heard from the BO?


                            • #34
                              I agree with you OP. You did the right thing.

                              Good western trainers don't train like this. Good western horses aren't made like this. But from reading this thread it appears that most of you think they do. Please don't judge us all based on your limited experiences.

                              Here's a video of a horse that is pretty natural and has been properly handled;



                              • #35
                                Having horses that are bitted up or tied around loose in the main arena isn't that uncommon at breed show barns. But, it's one thing when it's the trainer's own arena and anyone riding is the trainer's assistent or trainer's clients.

                                In this case, with the trainer going to a boarding barn and using a shared arena, it was not appropriate to leave the horse tied around in the arena. The boarding barn customers did not sign up to play dodge-the-tied-around-horse while trying to ride.

                                Whether or not you agree with the training techniques someone's else's trainer is using on their horses, that's a secondary issue.


                                • Original Poster

                                  I texted the BO and asked her to call me. I explain to her everything that happened last night. I told her I didn't know if she was aware of the cruel and abusive "training methods" being used on her horse or the fact that the trainer had no regard for the safety of the other 4 riders and horses in the arena.

                                  She said that she will speak to the trainer about leaving the horse tied up like that unattended when there are other riders in the arena. She said that QH will "fake" spook at any opportunity to get out of work. She told me that she has tied horses like that in the past. He's too big and strong and will hurt someone if they don't get it under control. She said it was probably very shocking to see something like this but it is done all the time. I don't think she fully understands the condition the horse was in when I released him or how tight and hard he was tied. I should have taken a picture.

                                  I told her that when I went to release him he was a dripping steaming trembling pile of horse flesh that had no relief from the pressure. I told her that the 4 other people who witnessed this also had their eyebrows raised as to the trainers actions and were asking where he went.

                                  I asked BO if he had planned on leaving him tied like that the entire time he was going to ride QH #2, the horse he came back with. She said she didn't know and she was going to speak to him about it. She also told me she trusts him with her horses. I told her that I had been considering hiring him to help with trailer loading for my horse, but now I would not let him anywhere near my horse.

                                  I don't know that I can live with this. I don't know if I move to another barn it will be any better if there is a trainer in house or one that travels there. It is my hope that the trainer realizes if he treats horses like this in my presence, he will have a fight on his hands - because I would do it again in a heartbeat and will most likely call cruelty investigators.

                                  I need to get my own place.


                                  • #37
                                    OP, i think you were great to release the horse.

                                    Now make a full report of it to the owner of the horse, in writing. And send another copy to whatever QH organization the owner and trainer ride with.

                                    And move. Now.


                                    • #38
                                      The BO has basically told you: my horse is big and dangerous and I am afraid of him, so I don't care what methods are used to get him under control, and the ones your describe aren't that uncommon with this type of training.

                                      If you continue to push, be prepared to be pushed out of the barn in return.

                                      When you fight with people like the trainer, they will usually dig in harder. Step in when needed, but do it quietly and you will be more likely to see results.

                                      As an aside, I have ridden at two barns with breed show trainers. Neither thought anything of turning a horse loose while others were hacking. They felt it made the ridden horses get used to whatever else was going on, and it gave their horses time to stretch their legs (as they tended to be kept in stalls or tiny pens). Made sense but I doubt MY insurance company would agree!
                                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by gaitedincali View Post
                                        Having horses that are bitted up or tied around loose in the main arena isn't that uncommon at breed show barns.
                                        Really? I boarded at a breed show barn for 6 years and never saw that. There were a lot of other things I didn't like, but no horses left on their own in the arena. I'm so glad I don't show your breed.

                                        OP, you can fight with the trainer all you want, but you're not going to win. Sorry. About the only thing you can do is avoid the guy. Or go to another barn and hope you don't run into the same thing.

                                        We just recently got a WP trainer at my barn. I haven't seen her tie a horse's head around (yet). But watching her crank the horses into those shuffle-shuffle, god-awful gaits is bad enough. Ugh
                                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                        the best day in ten years,
                                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."


                                        • #40
                                          Yep... I would be looking for a new barn. There is no way I would want my horse or me to be anywhere near that.

                                          Good for you!
                                          Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                                          Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                                          "Once you go off track, you never go back!"