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The tack room

Feel so sorry for him

22 replies

Eve · 23/10/2012 20:19

Totilas, best dressage horse (in some people's views) in the world to this:

that picture is awful, his mouth being yanked in so hard, you can see the force being used from the tension in Mattias Rath's arms and expression on his face,

OP posts:
frostyfingers · 24/10/2012 09:26

Well I totally disagree with rollkur but in defence, how many of us who ride have not always got the most perfect position with our hands, or occasionally over react to something. I'm sure if a photographer spent time with me he'd get a picture which showed something looking bad - not that I yank my horse about, but we do not always make the most harmonious outline.

I'm not condoning cruelty, and loathe the way a lot of these dressage horses are kept (Carl H & Charlotte D's have a lovely life, which is how it should be), but one picture doesn't tell the whole story.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 24/10/2012 14:07

My friends warmblood was bred for dressage and kept a stallion. He is 18hh. Until being sold into the UK, he was kept in a 10x10 stable. When she got him he was in a real mess. Rollcur aside, isolation and containment is cruel enough. Our boy now lives out, with a mixed herd. He doesnt injure himself. He still has problems though, caused by his upbringing.

rogersmellyonthetelly · 30/10/2012 21:03

Horses should be horses first and foremost. That means socialising, free exercise/grazing, regardless of whether they are entire or not. If you haven't the facilities to turn out a stallion you shouldn't have one it's that simple. I loathe the dressage way of life simply because i think it's cruel and IMO unecessary. I see stallions regularly competing in endurance competitions at the highest level, and often see them corralled overnight at competitions rather than stabled. This means electric fencing off a small grass area and turning them out to graze. They aren't testosterone fuelled monsters, just horses that need a little extra consideration is all.
And don't even get me started on the artificial outline business, you only have to look in the pages of h&h at the dressage photos to see problems in the making - novice horses being ridden with flash/crank nosebands, mouths strapped shut and a heavy handed contact. No horse which goes truly forward and lightly into the contact needs its mouth strapping shut, it's forced submission and nothing more. If the horse is resisting by opening the mouth, then bloody well work out why and sort it, using a flash or crank will only compound it and the resistance will resurface elsewhere. There are no shortcuts in training a horse!

Pixel · 30/10/2012 22:01

Roger when I first had dhorse he was always fussing with his mouth, getting his tongue over the bit etc. I was browsing the bits in a trade stand at a show, wondering what else I could try instead of his french link snaffle as he clearly wasn't happy with it, when the stallholder asked if she could help and I explained the problem. She said "put a flash on him" so I replied that he was young and I would rather find out what the problem was so she walked away! She didn't get my custom for being so rude and giving crap advice and we eventually worked out that he hates jointed bits. He's got a pelham now and loves it.
Anyway, point is, if young riders are being given advice like this from so-called 'knowledgable' people it partly explains why there are so many poor horses strapped up as you describe. That and the fact that it is quite difficult to buy a bridle without a flash, it took me ages to find one with a plain cavesson. Seems to me it should be the other way around [hhmm].

tazzle22 · 30/10/2012 22:14

well done pixel !!!!!!!!!

def agree its hard to get a bridle without a flash ......... and I have over the years occaisionaly sampled various horse mags and counted just how many of the pictures of horses ( not just "dressage" ones) had flashes on. On one it was every single ridden horse in the mag.... and never less than 80 % in all of them. Sad that ......... no more than sad !!!!!!!!!

I not only ride my horse bitless she is also driven that way......... and has done driving trials ( exciting stuff lol) that way.

My friend has a tack shop and she sometimes loses customers cos she wont supply certain bits .... . often "prescribed" to riders by instructors ..... as she thinks they are far too severe. Too often its the shortcut instead of proper training / time taken to get the horse and rider communicating with each other !!!!"

ScabbyColdCrustyCatPuss · 30/10/2012 22:18

You should try our local pony club! We've had several reject ponies, perfectly good once you've removed the 3 ring gags/jointed pelhams/flash straps/martingales, given them a holiday and given them a snaffle or even a bitless bridle.
A lovely friend of ours, has just cleared out her tackroom. We did an equestrian boot sale for her. She had every piece of equipment you can think of, in triplicate! and lots with the labels still attached The pony club tell them the equipment they have is the wrong colour/dirty/not right, so DD makes her buy another.
The ponies arent big enough/cant jump high enough/too forward going/too slow/not right for competing, so they get something different!

I adore her and the pony club has put the poor woman through hell via her DDs. My DD went to one rally. I got so fed up with being told that Dpony needs daisy reins/a different bit/shoes on/selling and replacing with something bigger/faster/more expensive, that we never went again! Id like to knock heads together! Sad

ScabbyColdCrustyCatPuss · 30/10/2012 22:21

I talked someone out of buying a gag bit at the boot sale, she wanted it for her sons pony, who was hard to stop, to replace its french link snaffle! I told her about the dozens less dreadful bits in between the two, and her son was insistant that he liked his pony just the way it is! She wasnt happy! Grin

Pixel · 30/10/2012 22:46

A girl at our field very kindly lets me borrow her 12.2 for ds to ride. This pony is an angel (or I wouldn't put my disabled son on her believe me) and the owner's two year old daughter is safe on her too. Imagine my horror when I fetched her bridle one day to find a gag on it, because the other (sweet but quite novicy) girl who borrows her had said she was a bit strong!

ScabbyColdCrustyCatPuss · 30/10/2012 22:48

There is so much choice before you ever need even consider a gag! And nobody EVER uses them properly! (with two reins)

Callisto · 31/10/2012 13:39

Hate rollkur, hate Anky and hate Euro-dressage in general. Unfortunately PETA are a bunch of barking-mad anthopomorphising idiots who really don't know shite about horses, or any other animal. It is bull that horse can't make sounds of pain, and PETA do themselves, and the animals they are trying to protect, no favours with their hysterical and inaccurate attacks.

And dressage isn't the only dicipline where horses are kept in such an inhumane way. Unfortunately, where animals are used in competition and to win glory/money, they will always be mistreated. I don't know what the answer is. Sad

rogersmellyonthetelly · 01/11/2012 19:20

I won't mention the showing world then. Massively overweight horses, corned up to the eyeballs to give them presence, or doped so they don't ditch the rider. Steroids are quite common with certain producers, and the methods for getting a horse to measure in make my eyes water. Lame horses not being sent out (saw one in the coloured class at hoys the other week which was nodding lame in trot and it got placed in the last 10) Shaving eyelashes off to give a bold eye, So many cruelties in the discipline that it really needs a complete overhaul.
Endurance is by far my favourite discipline, the horses are so naturally kept and all in favour of bitless/minimal bridles and everything done for the horses wellbeing and comfort. The main reason for this is the utterly bloody ruthless vetting they have throughout the rides. Vet at the beginning to check they are fit to start, vet checks at regular points throughout, and finally at the end, they have to not only be sound and well, but judged fit to continue on to a further distance.

ScabbyColdCrustyCatPuss · 01/11/2012 20:01

God yes. And the "lead rein/first ridden" ponies ridden into the ground by an adult before a class!
I stood at the collecting ring at HOYS a couple of years ago, watching the M&M LRs preparing. One in particular, which was up for sale, was ridden in at flat out trot for 20 minutes! Some poor parent could well buy this HOYS level pony for their child, put them on board and get them seriously injured!

tazzle22 · 01/11/2012 20:05

agree totally with your post roger ..... I only did low level endurance riding but found it such great fun as well as fitting in with my ethos of management and treatment of my horse. I have no doubt there will be some facets I dont know about that are less than ideal but less so than the other major disiciplines. I did driving trec which again is about having a safe , reliable , versatile and brave horse that the whole family can enjoy. I did not see any of the more unpleasant side of competition in that discipline ..... maybe its because these sports are not as high profile ????? dont know really either.

rogersmellyonthetelly · 01/11/2012 20:11

Yep, someone I know did buy one such and then spent the next 4 years with her child petrified of the pony and by the time she was competent enough to get a tune out of it and ride it in the ring she was too bloody big altogether.
Lovely pony but totally unsuitable. She ended up doing workers with it, in the workers she got away with it looking a bit keen, and since it jumped like a charm all she had to do was point it at the fence and it would do the rest. The jump mark always made up for the lower show mark, and since it was hoys quality it's confirmation was spot on so they did rather well.

tazzle22 · 01/11/2012 20:22

I have never been into showing but went along to a local one as it was in aid of a cancer charity. I entered the family pony comp thinking we had a flipping good chance with a 14.1 quiet welshie that was ridden by three generations ... me as granny, my daughter and my grandchildren... she also was driven and worked with people with learning impairments..... and did all this bitless.


competition were two laaaaarge cobs ridden in double bridles that belted round the arena ...... and at no point did the judge ask whether any of the equines were indeed ridden by other members of the family ..... which in conversation with the riders before I knew they were not !!!.

and was def not prepared to put "condition" on my endurance fit welshie in order to get a showing rossie !!!

ScabbyColdCrustyCatPuss · 01/11/2012 20:26

Tazzle, that happened to me. Apparently my traditional shetland isnt a family pony. Hmm Regardless of the fact that she has been ridden by DD, DS, DP and me and can carry 12 stone happily, has a 2ft jump and can be handled by toddlers!

fait · 01/11/2012 20:52

Roger - you are quite right - there was a horse that appeared lame in one of the coloured classes that was well placed. However, I do hope that you will not taint ALL show horses with the brush of being overweight and lame. We strive to ensure that our own show horses are fit (they all go to the park regularly and work properly for 2 hours on the tracks), and definitely not fat.

Our horses go out in the field at least 4 times a week (more, if this is what they prefer - less if they would rather be in the middle of the action), they have a 3 month holiday where they can just be "horses" after HOYS, and during the showing season do lots of hacking, jumping and socialising with other horses and very little schooling or just standing in a stable. I think you would be able to see the enjoyment that our horses display in the ring and would not associate that with steroid abuse (disgusting), doping (unnecessary), overweight (again, unnecessary)

Not all producers are evil people you know!

Callisto · 02/11/2012 08:21

Absolutely Fait, unfortunately too many producers do use these methods and get results. It is endemic in showing, but some of the stories I've heard on the racing circut are equally if not more awful. Then there is the vet I know of who dopes her polo ponies before competing them (too fizzy for her otherwise Hmm) who works for an extremely well thought of clinic.

I think though, that the showing world would benefit from better more consistent judging. After all, the only reason obese horses are being placed in show hunter is because that is what the judges are looking for. I am quite horrified that obviously lame horses are allowed to compete though. It just makes the whole dicipline a joke.

rogersmellyonthetelly · 02/11/2012 13:27

No, absolutely not all producers use these methods, I'm sending my own horse to a producer next year whilst I'm busy having a new baby, I wouldnt do that lightly or if I wasn't absolutely sure of their integrity.
Sadly there are some producers whose horses are overweight/on steroids or are doped etc, and sadly many amateurs will follow their example as they get results. Showing will never change until all horses are vetted and measured on arrival at big shows, overweight horses are placed down the line, and this is done consistently. Only when there is no advantage to the horses being overweight or overtopped, or there is a penalty involved, will the abuse stop.
I have seen a gradual reduction in the number of grossly obese animals at bigger shows, partic at hoys I didn't see anything really huge except the coloured trads where there were a couple of horses who could have done with a diet. That said I saw a pic of a coloured champion in h&h earlier in the season and it was the fattest horse I have ever seen, and after 15 years in showing I've seen an awful lot! How this horse had been placed champion is entirely beyond me. You couldn't see confirmation anywhere north of the knees/hocks

fait · 02/11/2012 21:47

I hope it wasn't my horse you saw in H&H! He was mega fit this year!

Some of the traditionals try to disguise their conformation with extra weight - and this will continue until they get their own class and don't have to compete against the cobs. They are a completely different "type" and it is not really fair that they have to compete against true ridden types.

THis year at HOYS the hunter ride judge gave 0 marks to those horses which he thought made a noise - whether this was due to being overweight or anything else, who knows - but they certainly were NOT rewarded for it!

There is no such thing as a short cut in showing - lots of people may think they have achieved one, but in the long term, their horses don't come out for 5 or 6 seasons looking better each year ...

rogersmellyonthetelly · 04/11/2012 00:01

I don't know, it's not that different to a mixed highland/Connie class,
It should always be a case of is that a better example of a traditional type than that is of a cob. If that isn't how it's being judged, then it should be the judging we change, not necessarily the class. Basic sound conformation is the same no matter the breed or type, good flat bone, leg on each corner angles all correct in the limbs and straight movement And temperament suitable for its type/job. I like to see a horse that moves with power from the hock and freely from the shoulder, no matter the breed.

fait · 04/11/2012 22:06

But a traditional is not necessarily bred to be a ridden horse - they are naturally a bit more tubular with rounder bone. They are unlikely to give anywhere near as a good a ride as a cob (for example) in the same way most cobs don't give as good a ride as a good plaited (although there are a few exceptions!)

If you look at the large cob/trad/native results at HOYS, there are rarely more than 1 or 2 traditionals/natives placed in the top ten - and a few years, every single horse in the top 10 was a cob.

They cannot really be judged against anything other than eachother - so if it is a ridden class, then a good cob is generally going to give a better ride than a good traditional. It cannot be judged any other way as they are a type rather than a breed - so cannot really be likened to judging connies and new forests, for example, where there are specific breed guidelines.


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