Friday, April 30, 2010

Yep…that’s broke

In a post titled 'Yep…that’s broke' FHOTD writes, "But putting the equivalent of an emergency brake in his mouth truly isn’t the answer. It works…for a while. And then he gets pissed and sore and starts running through it….Um, if you are THAT out of control, YOU ARE NOT READY TO JUMP!" Accompanying the article is a photo of a woman competing in jump class with a heavy bit and the horse flinging it's head in the air. The assumption of the article is that this is unnecessary and the horse can be retrained when she states, "I’ll tell you right now, there isn’t any way in the world that both you and your horse won’t get better at whatever it is you do by spending time with less artillery in his mouth." My answer to this is yes and no.

The determining factor is the level the horse is competing at as it dictates how the horse is trained, the amount of time spent in training, and the type of personality selected for training. In Grand Prix and up usually a more aggressive and hotter personality is selected for the advantages it gives to enhance the competitive edge. Often, upper level horses are shown in all types of contraptions to try to get the horse under control quickly during competition. There are horses shown in the hackamore and harsh bit combination. The reason for this isn't because the trainers and rider are incompetent or unknowledgeable, but that the horse is being trained "go for it". In most upper level competitions you could take a similar photograph of a horse flinging it's head etc. and it would not be considered an example of incompetence.

The above photo is of Eric Lamaze and Hickstead who recently won gold for Canada in the Olympics. Hickstead is wearing a strong bit, noseband, and martingale frequently found in show jumping. Hickstead, like many show jumping horses, avoids the bit by opening his mouth and tossing his head. He is by nature and training a difficult horse to slow down. At the upper levels there are no simple answers to running through the bit.

Similar situations can be found in racing and polo. A race horse is never trained to relax and have a quiet mind because it interferes with the horse's performance. Equally, polo presents the same training issues as racing and show jumping. Polo ponies wear a variety of noseband and bit combination in an attempt to control the horse and martingales are the norm. Why do polo players and upper level riders get a break for using such equipment?

A trainer of upper level horses would avoid training that would teach the horse to relax and be quiet as it would reinforce behavioural traits that are undesirable for competition. So, it depends on what your long term goals are. If you wish to have an all-around-horse then by all means train the horse to have two mind sets. The first is the quiet, in-hand mindset that is trained through classical dressage and the second is a 'go for it" mindset for competition. The earlier in the horse's life the training begins the better.

As for the woman featured on FHOTD, I'm sure she doesn't appreciate her picture plastered all over the web with an accompanying article suggesting incompetence. In truth, it's impossible to tell from the picture what is happening. The photo could be taken during an unusual hot mood for the horse or a shy where it is not a typical representation of the riders skill and the horse's training. When discussing quiet mind set training the author needs to consider all levels of competition and similar equipment used in polo. If the author suggests that this type of training is the only answer then she also needs to address how she would get horses like Hickstead over a course with a winning performance while solving the running through the bit problem. This scenario is complicated and has no easy answers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Low Level Accountability

Buck joins the circus

by GD
There's been some talk on the blog about financial accountability if
you're an individual taking donations for a specific horse, rather
than a recognised non-profit.

Accountability is pretty easy to meet on the informal level. First you
need to show how much you received in donations and then you need to
show how those funds were spent.

Accountability in funds received is easy. Ask each donor how they wish
to be recognised on your list of donations that you plan to post
publicly. If they do not wish to be identified by name or initials,
you can identify them as "anonymous" with their check number or last
four numbers of their PayPal receipt (without a lot more information
to go with it, that information is not enough to compromise anyone's
privacy). By publishing the list of donors, it provides proof of funds
received, particularly if the list is published in a forum where
people can respond with "oh, you forgot mine!"

Accountability for funds spent is also easy. Publish a list of
expenses, including vendor, date and price. Most people will be
satisfied with that but if you want to go an extra step, scan receipts
and place them on a website or offer to email them on request. If you
don't have a scanner, you can fiddle with your cell phone camera and
get pictures of them (light from the side is often more effective than
light from directly above in illuminating what is written on the

Every donor should receive an immediate acknowledgement of their
donation via email and a follow up thank you with a copy of the
scanned receipts (will usually fit onto one or two pages).

None of this requires much in the way of time or resources! It's very
simple to do but provides enough information that the situation is
clear to everyone involved.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Percheron Going Grey

In a recent post FHOTD made seven points on how to find a trainer. What are your thoughts on the points and can you add to the list?

1. See the horses trained by a potential trainer. Look for sound, happy horses
2. Review the trainers barn policies and make sure that you have access to your horse.
3. Research the trainers history to see if they have been disciplined by an association or if they have a bad review online.
4. Go to the barn to see if the horse there are health and happy.
5. Watch how the trainer treats their clients and horses at shows and under pressure
6. Don't expect results if you trainer-hop
7. It's cheaper to buy a fully trained horse than to a hire a trainer for inexperienced horse.

Kaede made an excellent suggestion where she states,

"…she doesn't seem to take into consideration the riders skill and innate talent.

One Saddlebred Show trainer I know spends a great deal of time bringing a horse down to the level of their rider. Taking a Park horse down to country pleasure type thing. For you huntseat folk, it would be like taking an Rolex eventer down to HUS. This does the horse no harm,and hopefully the rider and the horse can be retrained together."

She's correct when she points out that they trainer must understand the skill level of the rider and thoroughly understand who they are training for.

One approach that I do agree with is that in classical dressage the trainer trains the mind of the horse as well as the body. The end result should be a highly responsive, healthy, athletic horse with a quiet mind. We are often taught that we should adapt to the horse's personality and ride what's there. But, I feel that the majority of riders need a trainer that understands the development of the quiet mind. There is a great deal of skill involved in developing a solid trail horse. I think that the majority does not want to fight and manage difficult behaviour on a regular basis. Any thoughts?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Adoptable

Since we seem to be on a draft horse kick around here, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. The horse to your left is maybe appropriately named Bertha. Hopefully the $1,800 tag still isn't too much. If you compare her to last month's, I'm sure she'll look really affordable.

Bertha is a 17.0hh, 1995 model with a docked tail. Apparently she has been used mainly for trail riding and has a fairly laid back attitude. While it is stated that she does have a tendency to be a bit slow, I'm sure somebody with some meaning behind their oomph could ellicit a canter quickly with no issue. She stands quietly for the farrier, loads, clips, and loves baths. If you are in the Port Deposit, Maryland area, she may be worth looking at.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Conspiracy Theories

A number of readers have mentioned that Fugly is making excuses for breeding her horse while not having a show record or prizes. I sincerely doubt that any one showing or judging horses knows who Fugly is as experienced equestrians tend to read sources that have more detailed and knowledgeable information. Considering that someone else is showing her horse for her then how is it possible that anyone knows that this is her horse and that there is a conspiracy against her? Like many others, I believe that she's making excuses for her imminent failure.

Conspiracy Theories
by Anonymous
And here we start with the justifications about why she will stud out BYC when he doesn't have a ROM.

FHOTD said...
I’ve already been informed, through intermediaries of course – (pussies!) – that my horse WILL NOT be placed because I DARE to speak out about those who do wrong in the show ring.

FHOTD said...
"My horse really is that good, but it was politics that kept him from winning. Therefore I am justified breeding him even though he doesn't meet the qualifications I expect everyone else to meet before they breed their studs."

It would be sad it it weren't so freaking predictable.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Canadian Slaughter Plants

FHOTD recently commented on Canadian Slaughter Plants. I would be great to get an opinion from someone with experience in a Canadian slaughter plant. (drum roll) Take it away sunshine and butterflies...

by sunshine and butterflies

She has never stood on a Canadian kill floor. I have.

She has never watched animals load ONTO a Canadian kill floor. I have.

She has never watched the butcher's wife LAY INTO a farmer for transporting his cows in a less-than-adequate trailer and refuse to take any more of his stock until he shapes up. I have.

She has never recovered the carcass of a 4H cow, sold legally at auction, off the railroad tracks after some Animal Welfare Advocates set it free. My husband has.

She clearly has never pet a tame horse, wearing a smock covered in cow blood as it entered the gates, NOT panicked by the sight or smell. Been there too.

She has never reviewed the published Canadian slaughterhouse/abbatoir regulations, and discussed each point with a real, live slaughterhouse owner. I have, cover to cover.

She has never studied the mechanics of a captive bolt gun, nor observed it in use. Real scientists have, and their results differ from the "studies" released by non-scientists at Animal Welfare groups.

She has never, EVER visited slaughterhouses that use rifles at close range to kill animals, because if she had, she'd shut up about the captive bolts...they AREN'T THAT POPULAR, even at factory slaughterhouses.

She has never spoken to a butcher about the few times a kill failed. In his 30 year history. That he remembers, each and every one. Heard about how critically dangerous it is when that happens and how IMMEDIATELY it is resolved...

I could go on. I like a lot of things about fugly, especially how she is a real rider, about on par with where many of us are (if we are honest about our own flaws) and she has the common sense about a lot of horsey things that people like me appreciate. WE DIFFER SIGNIFICANTLY in our knowledge and opinions on the Canadian slaughter industry.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

That would have paid Hercs board!

Andalusian of the baroque type

by Justsayingfubb

This was the one that pissed me off... Fubbs was told over and over this mare wasnt in foal but noooo "SEND MONEY SAVE HER" she cried...and now this update....
I have to include an update/brag about Exclusive Report, aka Hope. You will remember her from this blog entry. I saw her in the kill pen and flipped out because she just screamed quality and you all know how I am about red mares. Oh, and we were all sure she was heavy in foal – it actually took two separate vets to convince us otherwise because she has major broodie belly! Anyway, so this gorgeous mare whinnied at me and said, HEY, get me out of here and with the help of some very kind donors, we did.

2 Vets to convince you? That would have paid Hercs board! Fubbs put your money where your mouth is.. You bitch about CBER and yet you defend SOS who lets ABR bail the horses then lets them sit for years now in 12x12 mud pens, adopts sick and lame horses as children's mounts when they have been assessed in a alleyway bareback w/ halter WTF is the real story there? Oh yeas they pay you for ads.
Remember your mantra if you adopt a horse dont cry for $$ after you adopt it? Why is it OK for you? And who the hell is "we" you have no cred with SAFE or Ponyup so who is WE???

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Vanners, Fluff, and Fatties on gaited horses

FHOTD back in: See, I tell you, there is something with all those baroque breeds that is just a magnet for crazy. Gaited horses attract obese people who want to ride the crap out of them as 2 year olds, and baroque breeds attract pretentious, crazy women! I’m not saying you’re all crazy, but folks, Friesians and Vanners have a magnetic force field that attracts loonies like Wal-Mart attracts people with interesting fashion sense. 

Later that same day...
fhotd says: April 4, 2010 at 2:40 pmSometimes I really feel like I need to present a venn diagram with my post for some of you:

Just because type of horse A attracts type of person B does not mean that is ALL it attracts.

Obviously, some of you are perfectly sane. But it is a fact that whenever I encounter a story like Genevieve’s, dollars to donuts the person is going to be involved with one of the following:

1. Friesians
2. Gypsy Vanners
3. Something else with a lot of mane. I.E. Arabians

Whereas every time I encounter a story where someone is more just shady and evil in a business sense – sane, but rotten – they are likely to be involved with a stock breed or Thoroughbreds. 

I am fairly certain that if I made a chart from the beginning of this blog, we could show this pattern. I am not picking on anyone’s breed in particular, or anyone’s discipline, as you should all know by now. I’m merely stating that every breed has its cross to bear and fluffy horses tend to get delusional women whose don’t live in reality and whose web sites includes a lot of talk about their dreams and magikal horses and associated claptrap.

So, if you’re a sane person with fluffy horses, obviously this does not apply to you so why would you be offended by it?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Aggression and Dominance has a special online edition addressing dominance and aggression issues. It covers the full range of origins from personality, learned behaviour, insecurity, hormones etc. and how to deal with them.

Rescue Guidlines

Grey Percheron

by BrownEyed Cowgirls
Here is my issue with rescues...

Especially when they take on horses like Herc...

This is a horse that probably is (according to the comments made about him and repeated here) a dangerous horse. Yes, he can be nice. But then he flips. Those are the kind of horses that will hurt someone, long before something that acts poorly all of the time.

If rescues truely want to show people the kind of responsibility they are 'supposed' to have, then they need to start making a lot tougher decisions about the horses they rescue.

The fugly commentor mantra is breeding regulations. Okay, so if breeders need to be regulated, then rescues need to be regulated too.

No more emotional drama surrounding 'saving' this horse or that horse.

Rescues are welcome to take in or 'save' any horse they chose, but...

If they rescue a horse that ends up being permanently crippled and must be euthanized irregardless of how young or old it is. Twelve months is plenty of time to determine whether a horse is ever going to be sound or not. Hey, if we want to be kind, we can give them an additional 12 months to try to adopt the horse out. Failing that...buu-bye.

Horses over a certain age, say 20 or 22, and have been starved and/or require more than basic medical attention and/or are probably permanently crippled...must be euthanized immediately.

Any horse rescued over the age of 3 must go into training-within 6 months if they are sound or at the end of 12 months if they are not sound at the time of rescue.

Any horse deemed dangerous or unrideable must be euthanized. I would say that giving the horse 6 months to perhaps adjust to better treatment, but then they must go into training from 6-12 months. At the end of 12 months and they are not better..buuu-bye.

And for god's sakes...Stop with the heroic efforts...begging for money for broken legs, massive injury or stupidly expensive surgeries? Enough already! That money is better spent on actually saving something that has a more probable future.

Here is the way I look at it, Herc's owner never should have been 'outed'. She did not do anything illegal. The horse was not starved and it was obvious an attempt had been made to correct his lameness issue. The owner tried to sell him, tried to give him to a rescue and obviously did not feel the need to lay the horse to rest on her property. She is NOT the one who labeled the horse 'kill only'. His buyer did. Of course, fugs came up with the ridiculous assertation that the whole reason Herc was mean was because he had had a shock collar used on him. Pulled that one right out of her ass, I'd bet money on it.

Irregardless, the horse was purchased by a rescue and they didn't even have $500 to have a few x-rays run on him and they have been begging for money for the damn horse every since? How are they any more responsible than the previous owner? Now they want to farm him out?


How about they start showing some responsibility here and just put the horse down?

He's mean, he's lame and now they want to pawn him off on some poor sob to take care of for the next decade or so?

Nope-they 'rescued' him. They need to be responsible for their decision. He is not a suitable horse for the average owner and trying to place him is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

APRIL 2, 2010 9:41 AM