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The tack room

Feeling a bit disillusioned...

17 replies

Byecklove · 07/08/2012 15:17

With the Olympics. Don't get me wrong, the standard is unbelievable but I just can't get over how heavy-handed a large proportion of the riders are. I had to stop watching at one point during the showjumping phase of the eventing. The horses' heads in the air, riders' hands sawing away. And don't get me started on the dressage riders. Reading about the crank noseband controversy hasn't helped but what happened to working together harmoniously? Trust me, I know what it is to ride a strong horse (having learnt to ride on ex-racehorses) and I've never ridden in anything like that environment but it just looks awful. Maybe I've gone soft, post-baby. Haven't ridden since before having children (moved country but have found lovely looking stables nearby so hoping to start up again soon - am mad?!) so maybe I'm just over emotional but it really doesn't look pretty half the time. Not what I aspire to anyway. Compare that to videos of natural horsemanship. Piaffe and passage without a saddle or bridle...

Sounds more like a horsey AIBU! So, am I?

Anyone else or is it just me?

OP posts:
Sockitandsee · 07/08/2012 15:22

I dunno, on the flat I can ride my horse on the buckle end or in a headcollar, no problem, easy as you like. As soon as we see a jump though i am having to hold her as tight as possible! She loves to jump and gets very headstrong as do the horses at the Olympic level but ten times so.


I saw lots of beautiful, quiet riding yesterday, Marcus Ehning for one, Ben maher, Edwiner Alexander to name but three.

horseylady · 07/08/2012 18:30

Is it not like everything though lots of good riders but some that are just cringe worthy!! I watched the xc live and didn't see much horrific riding. Strong excitable horses but most riding looked ok. Dressage some looked better than others but some horses were much more relaxed than others!!

I competed this weekend and wanted to pull some riders off their horses!!

Hard isn't it?!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 07/08/2012 22:28

I do agree to a certain extent, but the majority of the horses looked like they were having the time of their lives! Some of them are HUGE, and they Are excited. They need firm handling! Ben Mahers horse Tripple X was ridden in a basic d ring bit. He's probably fairly sensible anyway. When you see the show jumpers in huge gags or curbs, it's easy to imagine that they are nutters! The dressage horses are hugely contained. All that power trotting on the spot!
I'm more upset when I see an eventer or show jumper jiving a horse a wallop for fluffing a jump TBH!
I've been to Hickstead, and seen the flipping mental animals hurling themselves off of the Derby Bank, with a whitefaced rider straining to keep the bugger under control! I'd be sawing like mad too!
The dressage Horses were thoroughly checked for mouth injuries and spur marks when they left the ring.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 07/08/2012 22:32

I find many aspects of showing more unpleasant TBH! Little ponies seriously overweight, lashed into side reins, ridden in for hours by large grooms. It's swings and roundabouts. There are many ways of harming horses other than inflicting pain!

DolomitesDonkey · 08/08/2012 05:31

I wondered if this is why there seemed such a transition to hackamores with verrrry long curbs... lots of control without it being "too visual".

As far as Natural Horsemanship goes, my favourite is Richard Maxwell (perhaps slightly more modern-leaning than Monty Roberts/Kelly Marks/Pirelli) and whilst he does obtain wonderful results - jumping without tack etc. I'm not sure he'd be able to jump against the clock.

And, until we start seeing more people competing without shoes, without bits (and I don't mean with enormous hackamores!) then we've still a way to go. The high-end competing world has changed in the last few decades and there is more of a promotion and appliance of "working together" rather than "you will". We'll get there in the end.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 08/08/2012 09:51

I'd quite like to see an intelligent horseman jump bareback round Hickstead against the clock! Hmm
I think that the people that we see on tv, are probably not the horseman we need to worry about. There is cruelty everywhere, yes, but I think in general, it takes a damned good horseman to get that level of performance and enthusiasm out of a horse. IMO its the wannabes who need more scrutiny! The faddy bitting, training aid using, feeding for a top line hopefuls who have ambitions above their ability. You just need to take a trip down to my local equestrian centre to see a few of them on showjumping night!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 08/08/2012 09:51

And don't even get me started on my local pony club!

horseylady · 08/08/2012 10:28

Don't get me started on parelli!!! Or some pony clubs!! Trailblazer showjumping finals were eye opening enough!!

Dressage riders HAVE to use a double bit. I too would love to see pat parelli going round hickstead or any showjumping course!! The two just don't together!!

dappleton · 08/08/2012 11:42

mmwwwhhh...bit on the fence on this, only saw a couple of rides I thought were shocking, the rest seemed fair.
Re: Parelli, I get the whole natural horsemanship thing for problem solving, would prefer a horse learns to go in a trailer than getting whipped into one, just for example. But if I see one more bored-to-pieces horse being 'massaged' with that flipping orange stick thing i'm gonna cry! I think the event horse's were having much more fun.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 08/08/2012 11:56

IH in theory is useful. But IMO, you cant beat good oldfashioned horse lore. The resason so much of horsemanship is so set in its way is because thats how what works. What seems cruel or outdated now, is the end result of centuries of experience, to find the safest, most humane way of producing a horse who is a useful member of equine society.

Callisto · 08/08/2012 14:04

I don't have much time for natural or 'intelligent' horsemanship. I totally understand why Monty did what he did, and in general I respect his way of doing things (and much of what he does is common sense with horses). I think Parelli is a joke tbh, and I saw some natural/intelligent horsemanship bloke working an Andalucian stallion in a tiny round pen at the Cotswold show this year who I thought was awful - and the horse nearly took his head off when he double-barrelled him at one point (was Shock but the rest of the audience didn't seem to notice).

As for the Olympics equestrianism, I think it has come on leaps and bounds in terms of animal welfare. I thought the Saudis (traditionally quite 'hard' on their horses imo) rode beautifully and sympathetically on some very highly strung horses. Dressage does get a bad press, quite rightly in some cases (bloody Anky springs to mind) but in general, we didn't see rolkur or massive spurs. And, although I am not a fan of double bridles, the size and strength of these warmbloods need a strong bit just to get them working correctly. Would love to see Grand Prix in a snaffle though. And I used to ride a Grand Prix level horse in a very mild hackamore - he was old with bad teeth so couldn't have a bit in his mouth. Even so, I could get him to tempi tempi, piaffe after a fashion and get some fab trot work out of him.

And if you want cruel you should check out some of the showing in the US. One of the pacing horse breeds (can't remember which one, possibly Tennessee) are shown in hoof risers on their front feet, around 6inches high at the top level. They are trained with chains around their fetlocks to get them to gait correctly. It's called soring - nice huh?

DolomitesDonkey · 08/08/2012 14:09

Yep, Tennessee walkers - I've heard about it, but I've never been able to look it up - sometimes you just don't want to know.

Isn't it actually FEI rules that you must ride in a bridoon + weymouth at that level for dressage?

I have a very mild bitless (Dr. Cookes) - I am a little peturbed by the length of the curbs on the hackamores I've seen in the jumping... although in soft hands.

Callisto · 08/08/2012 14:10

I think it is indeed the Law.

horseylady · 08/08/2012 14:30

Yeah ih I get. Parelli IMO Is cruel I had a lady out to 'solve' my problem loader. After three hours of getting no where I asked her stop. In hind sight I should have said no after 20minutes. I'd had no experience of it previous to that and would never ever allow anyone near my horse again, it was horrendous. In fact I probably should have said no when she said left sided extrovert whatever that is.

I eventually got the horse to load quietly and calmly rather than creating a huge scene outside, frightening her and using the trailer as a 'safe space'.

There are always good and bad riders and handlers.

Double bit is the requirement in dressage at that level. Though I think you can now compete up to medium in s plain snaffle.

Sockitandsee · 08/08/2012 14:38

We have a tricky loader. After faffing for hours with feed etc and watching him get more and more distressed, he now laods stratight away with a lunge line nad lunge whip simply standing behind him, no touching, no fuss and no stress for anyone.

horseylady · 08/08/2012 14:55

Sock - sounds like mine! You don't touch her, but you have a method which works!!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 08/08/2012 18:00

Trailer as a sad space? Making a big fuss outside?? WTF? Some people are just insane! Shock Angry

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