Friday, March 16, 2012

Strap 'em down!

Taking "hold your horses" to a whole new level...

Training aids. Such a euphemism. Most of them are more along the lines of training coercion. A little whip, the occasional properly-adjusted side reins session (that should be quite short in time length), a properly-adjusted running martingale, or the occasional nudge of a mild spur: yeah, that's pretty good right there. It's justifiable when needed.

But German martingales, draw reins, crazy nosebands, and 3-ring gag bits............. all at once? I get that some horses genuinely need one of those devices, some horses, but certainly not all of these devices at the same time. That means it time to go back to square one.

Horse rushing at big fences? Before you strap him down with useless gadgets: is he in pain? Is he being overfaced? Is the rider being faulty? It might be time to just pop over crossrails for a couple of weeks and go back to basics. Sometimes for the horse, sometimes for the rider. Trotting at two-point over a crossrail, as noobish as it looks, can have it's benefits. Going through the basic gaits in two-point as you warm-up does fantastic things too. I learned that from Issy King. And I'll take her word for it. It's the basic things that can work very well the farther you go.

Horse being hollow? Before you strap him down with useless gadgets: is he in pain? Did you just never really teach him how to be round? It might be time to do some training level work until he can actually stretch to the bit. You can't run around doing passage when the horse is broken at the poll and has his hind end parked out a million miles away from you. That's not real. That's quite fake.

"But that's what wins!" Yeah, you know other fake junk wins? This bovine excrement:

So fake.

Did you learn how to read in a day? Don't you still have to go back and re-read sentences and look up words to make sure you fully understand something? I've read the same book ten times, plus several essays written about said book, plus did extensive research on various literary elements in said book, all before I felt comfortable enough to write a good essay on it in a very hard college-sophomore-level literary analysis class in high school aka AP English IV (oh the cute names they come up with for these things!) Got an A, passed the course, received a nice little note from professor. The skills I learned there have helped me a lot in real college. Also, I didn't have to retake it and that means lots of money and hassle saved in the long run.

What's that? Do it right the first time and save lots of money, hassle, and heartache in the future?

Some things you just can't bypass.

What caused me to gripe about this?

Sorry, but this is not a round horse. That, my friends, is a horse evading the bit and will need to go back to Dressage 101 before he can do much of anything else properly. Good luck getting him to accept or respect the contact and stretch to the bit. Good luck jumping him. Good luck keeping him sound and sane.

But dangit, it will probably win.

That's all. I'm going to go back to organic chemistry homework (shoot me) and pop some more allergy pills (shoot me again). Cheers!

EDIT: so that video just got taken down. Anyway, it was your typical strapped-down horsey (draw reins, German martingale, basic gag bit, AND a flash noseband so he can't protest too much). And not once was his nose at or ahead of the vertical or his shoulders in front of the rider. And the trot look unsurprisingly stiff. You know what I'm talking about.


  1. sad the video got taken down.
    BTW...I LOATHE saddleseat. For that ^ reason exactly. Disgusting.

    1. I can't say I loathe saddleseat, just the dang soring practice. I still think saddleseat is kind of pointless and useless and easy, but I can't really talk because I don't know much about it much less tried it, and I thought the same about dressage until I tried it haha.

  2. I agree with you, I'm not a gadget person either. If people feel the need to tie-down their horse, then they need to go back to basics in their training. I am also about horses looking natural, in that picture of the saddle seat horse - it looks awful. I like seeing happy horses who enjoy their job undersaddle, not in pain or forced into a frame. There are two Tennessee Walkers at my lesson barn and they look WAY more adorable when they move naturally compared to the awful training that makes them reach their legs up higher - what's even the point to it? Sadly, there will always be those "shortcut" idiots.

    1. I love gaited horses for their NATURAL gaits. Not that perverted carousel horse nonsense that wins for some reason.

    2. Reddums agrees with your assessment of gaited horses. ;)

    3. And tell Wee Reddums... er, I mean FEARSOME WAR PONY REDDUMS that I love his little gaits too :)


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