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Went to an Open Show - Training or Abuse?

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  • Went to an Open Show - Training or Abuse?

    I went to an open horse show a couple of weeks ago and observed some horses being schooled prior to their class. Some of the training looked very heavy handed to me and I wonder if it crossed the line over to being abusive. For example, a couple of the participants were practicing their showmanship pattern. One individual in particular was very frustrated. She had a chain on horse which she jerked very hard every time she went through the pattern. Noticed a subtle jerk but a wham! This happened about eight times. Her friend was doing the same thing with her horse - jerking the chain too - her horse actually reared over and flipped over on its back. Move the riding classes. One individual was riding a greenie in a Western Pleasure class. The horse spooked at the end of the arena and as a correction the rider proceeded to jerk the horse's mouth side to side. Rider jerked horse's head side to side about five times. Another rider was frustrated with her horse's performance and when she left the ring she started hitting the horse with the reins.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    What do I think?
    There are a lot of ham-fisted morons in the world.
    It ain't discipline-specific.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
      What do I think?
      There are a lot of ham-fisted morons in the world.
      It ain't discipline-specific.
      I have never heard the term "ham-fisted" before, and I'm not completely sure what it means, but I fully intend to use it.
      As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Maybe I am overreacting - but I have never witnessed similar un-sportsmanship like behavior at local dressage or hunter shows. Maybe they do at home - but never at the show grounds. I really like western judged shows but I was somewhat appalled at was I saw today.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CrowneDragon View Post
          I have never heard the term "ham-fisted" before, and I'm not completely sure what it means, but I fully intend to use it.
          Want to see real hamfistedness?
          Go to some team penning/sorting.
          Poster child for that.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I volunteered at several three day events. They have extremely strict rules on what constitutes improper exhibitor behavior. Like hitting a horse more than three times behind shoulder, or front of the shoulder, excessive spurring, etc., rider becoming angry and taking it out on the horses. Any witnessed infractions the exhibitor is subject to be booted at the three day events I have seen.

            Comment


            • #7
              I saw similar behavior at local 4h clinic! Talk about depressing. One young lady was riding a beautiful 4yo ottb. She kept huffing and puffing and see sawing the fillys face off. Meanwhile the little mare was awesome! She was a bit of a stargazer but I think that was more of the rider not understanding that high heavy hands are not ideal. She was so frustrated and embarrassed by her green horse. Her mother sat by and coddled the awful behavior. I wanted to kindly ask her to dismount and return was she had regained her cool. But I was just a spectator and had no right. So I left instead. Blech.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry but it is really impossible to make a call based on your description and opinion. And no offense, but that is the kind of thing that goes around the world three times without any factual data and any subsequent corrections/retractions just don't undo the damage.

                There are two sides to every story and the truth is generally somewhere in between. No offense, but absent some video footage or input from 'the other side' it is in my opinion unfair to pass judgment. I've seen too many allegations of 'abuse' where it was nothing more than a horse getting a well deserved and well timed whack with a riding crop. Mind you I do know what abuse is, and if I see it at a horse show I'm not going to post about it- I'm going to take action then and there.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Two things you describe are beyond normal limits:

                  The fight with the horse that ended in it flipping over. That's a bad mistake at home and I can't think of anyone who would have the balls to get that far into it with a horse in public, or at a show where they hoped to be competitive.

                  The punishment that includes obvious rider frustration. I can kick a horse's a$$ for something like a dirty stop and never actually get mad.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Dealing with young riders taking their frustration out on their horses is NOT the job for a stranger they don't know. They will resent the intrusion and it only adds to their frustration. It has to be done by the adults and peers they respect. I find 13-15 year old girls especially vulnerable to melt downs. [Not excluding boys but most of my kids were girls.] As an instructor I intervene instantly but I also address the cause. A stranger preaching at them only aggravates the situation. The only ones who can address this behavior other than the parents and instructors are the show management.

                    Also what mvp said with the caveat that it is perfectly possible to be abusive without being mad if the rider doesn't have the knowledge to correct a horse humanely.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't know if I would call what you are describing abuse. But they are definitely innaproprate training methods! Unfortunately you will see stuff like this at most shows if you are paying attention. I was at an event last fall and saw a rider riding her horse in a rollkur position constantly. If he lifted his head she would yank his face back down. There are a lot of people that shouldn't br anywhere near an animal out there.
                      come what may

                      Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I volunteered at several three day events. They have extremely strict rules on what constitutes improper exhibitor behavior. Like hitting a horse more than three times behind shoulder, or front of the shoulder, excessive spurring, etc., rider becoming angry and taking it out on the horses. Any witnessed infractions the exhibitor is subject to be booted at the three day events I have seen.
                        yeah, I've been a fence judge and I like that they have specific rules. I reported someone once to the judge for abuse- she was E'd for horse refusing one X-C jump, and while walking her horse off the course she started beating it with her whip. She clearly thought she was hidden behind some trees, but I had a good view. No training purpose there, just frustration and abuse.

                        If you think what you are seeing might be abuse, REPORT IT.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Decades ago I was training a young girl (10) and her saint of a pony (4). I do not agree with this ago combo, but they came to me this way and I thought I could help them get better together. At one show, they went in a 2' hunter class. The girl missed a couple of distances and the pony saved her butt. She came out of the ring and was jerking that poor pony's mouth something terrible.

                          I took her by the arm and pulled her off the pony. Told her she was finished for the day and to go over and sit by the van and think about what she had just done.

                          Her (non-horsey) parents just stood there with their mouths open. I explained why losing her temper was never acceptable, much less on a poor pony who was trying her best. They still said nothing, so I walked back to the van and fully explained to the girl why I had done what I did.

                          Last year, the girl (now 35 years old) found me on FB and thanked me for being an incredible influence on her life. That day was a changing point, not only with her riding, but with her parents, who saw that letting her get away with unacceptable behavior was not a kindness to her.

                          Today she is a sucessful Western trainer and a specialist in starting young horses.

                          I could not be more proud of her. And she still has that saint of a pony who is now 30'ish and who will be the love of her life until the pony dies.

                          LSS: sometimes these kids do not know better, are out of control in other aspects of their lives and just need someone to "jerk them off their horse" and explain what proper behavior to ALL living things should be. If you see bad behavior, look to the adults who should be her role models. If I felt I should talk to anyone, it would be those people. They might get mad and yell at you for interfering, but what you say will soak in at some level. It just might be a turning point in all their lives.
                          "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                          Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Your observations dovetail completely with my recent thread on what I saw at an open show.

                            And what you describe DOES NOT need video proof and no input from the 'other' side could possibly justify this type of behavior.

                            I was in tears at what I saw and like you, I walked away. However, I followed up with an email to the show committee to tell them precisely what I found fault with and why. I was cordial and spoke clearly. Also told them that I would not be participating in any of their shows because I could not support this type of behavior. Not only one the grounds but in the show ring.
                            Ride like you mean it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lightlee View Post
                              Maybe I am overreacting - but I have never witnessed similar un-sportsmanship like behavior at local dressage or hunter shows. Maybe they do at home - but never at the show grounds. I really like western judged shows but I was somewhat appalled at was I saw today.
                              As far as dressage goes, yep, at home or look for spur marks and how tight the noseband's cranked. As far as hunters go, just check for sharps bins and needle tracks, or circles worn into the dirt where they were lunged and lunged and lunged and lunged..

                              Idiocy is not discipline specific.
                              Author Page
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                              Steampunk Sweethearts

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Many of these open shows have no regulations, and often show management either will not or cannot kick anyone out (the people running the show may be volunteers or not the ones "in charge"). This is especially true of smaller open shows. And often people are ignorant or are themselves undisciplined. There are assholes everywhere, and while they often need a kick in the pants, a total stranger might not be the best one to give it to them (especially if they are teenaged girls). I agree with the poster above that said it must be someone they know and respect. Judges have no control of what happens outside the ring, and cannot use it to influence their palcings. That would be unethical - but it puts the judges in a trap.

                                That being said, I have had horses flip over or rear up on me while practicing showmanship at a show. One flipped when a semi let its air brakes go twenty feet behind us, and another reared when the chain pinched her skin (drama queen). Both times I had gentle contact on the chain - but for someone looking at us front he side of the ring, it may have looked like I had caused it. Without video, I could not make a firm opinion about some things you described. I hate to falsely accuse, even if the evidence reads as indisputable.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It's really hard to say what's right or wrong with things like this. Like there are really obvious extremes but just tons of gray area. Equally hard to say exactly what you would do in any given situation. Hard to fairly judge through forum posts too. Poster can leave out one detail and it skews the whole thing. I usually ask myself "what would I want from someone if it were my kid or my horse?" I would not have found some stranger addressing my kids frustration helpful or warranted. I would've found it an intrusion. So as much as I wanted to say something. I walked away instead. For all I know the clinician and or parents or trainer may have addressed it the second I left. And it's pretty easy to lose your cool no matter who you are. Yesterday I found myself using deep breathing and counting to myself bc my ottb was having an emotional train wreck day.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    OP never questioned whether she should interfere or not. Her post was strictly an observation of what she saw and a question of whether this qualified as training.
                                    Ride like you mean it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There is a side conversation in this thread regarding addressing the situation or interfering as you say. And really that is ultimately the only legitimate reason for discussing the topic at hand. Yes you will inevitably witness questionable horsemanship. That's a given.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think it is a legitimate question about whether what she saw (and I, at a different show) is abuse or if in some circles it is considered training. I believe she was really wanting to discuss THAT....even if you consider these methods as "a given".

                                        Whether or not to step in and say something is yet another topic.
                                        Ride like you mean it.

                                        Comment

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