Day Twenty Six: 30 Day Challenge

Day Twenty Six: Your biggest riding pet peeve

I have one general pet peeve when it comes to riding and that is people who do not treat horses with respect.

I hate, hate, hate that. Horses are living breathing creatures with hearts, minds and opinions. They should not be abused or tortured…ever. Watching a rider take out their bad temper on a horse. Trust me, there is someone reading this entry right now that can attest to the fact that it makes me loose my mind. I snap when I see a horse with bit rubs, spur marks and whip scars. There is literally never a reason to need to use that much force. EVER.

I hate modern dressage because it encourages the use of short cuts, which often leads to cruelty in my opinion. I feel that you can look in to a horses eye and see if they are unhappy, and that is not a look that I think should ever be allowed.


9 thoughts on “Day Twenty Six: 30 Day Challenge

  1. I hate watching people ride horses on tv and movies because they alwsys are open mouthed and hollowed backed when they stop or turn. The best tv rider I’ve ever seen was January Jones on Mad Men. Her horse always stppoed lightly and rounded.

  2. I totally agree with you, but its not only dressage. You get things like rapping poles in jumping, and that thing they do with the gaited horses’ feet… I can’t remember what they call it, but dressage riders aren’t the only cheaters by any estimation.

  3. Have you ever felt like your horse looked like that first picture? I was riding my horse on a day all he wanted to do was take off; sideways. I harnessed the energy by holding and using leg to keep him from taking off sideways. I was SURE he must look like that first pic from the hold I had on the reins.

    Nope, I had my eyes on my ground tell me how he looked, and she said he had a lot of suspension and his head was right at the vertical. I don’t even understand what it TAKES to get a horse’s head that far in, or how absolutely awful it must take! That day I was just riding my horse with more energy than he has the strength to sustain through a ride yet – so I cut it short once he behaved, got off, and let him RUN. And yes, he was very happy afterward!

    My horse is a very happy horse most of the time – and apparently didn’t used to be. I’ve had many people tell me this, and it’s my proudest accomplishment so far, beyond things like half passes and half steps from half halts on my horse who was very dressage-green when I got him.

  4. Abuse of horses knows no discipline–it is the riders or trainers (the PEOPLE involved) who use the shortcuts and create the sorry, sad pictures of horses such as those you have shown above. There is the Western trainer who is so abusive horses in training are sent back to their owners with injuries including broken ribs–the case against him included the bone fragments removed from the horse.

    There is the FEI-level dressage rider who warms up for 90 minutes before going in to compete for the world champion titles. (I was scribing for a judging program last year and the judge candidate said to me regarding one of this rider’s two horses, “I just feel so sorry for that horse. He has such unhappy eyes. He looks like he’d rather be doing something else”).

    There is the former junior dressage rider who has such an abusive sitting trot–lots of air between her butt and the saddle at every stride–I have always thought her ovaries should be up somewhere around her ears. Her horses never look happy, either. She’s now riding PSG as an adult and comments on her tests (again, from the candidate I scribed for) included repeats of “behind the leg.” A horse should be in self-carriage, certainly, by PSG, eh? She has a lovely mare I want to hug after I watch them compete. The rider has no balance, uses her hands a lot, and is just a mess–but her parents have supported her career and rather than focus on the basics, she has bought better and better horses. That PSG-level mare is a plugger and does as she is asked–as best she can.

    I’m as appalled as you are by anyone who mistreats any animal. Dumping dogs in the desert is another real peeve of mine. There’s an elderly lady who runs a dog rescue east of where I live–out in the middle of nowhere, really. She went out one morning to her kennels and discovered someone had dumped more than 20 dogs over her fence. Disgusting.

  5. Cutting corners for instant results is the American Way! So many people don’t want to put in the time(money) it takes to have a properly trained horse in all disciplines but I agree dressage seems to have some of the most extreme examples, especially the rollkur and this is compounded (and extremely frustrating for people who will not go for the “quick fix”) when this type of training is rewarded in the show ring. But it gives me hope to see people who refuse to bow to this fad and continue to develop quality horses through a humane training program.

  6. I want to echo all the thoughts above. I’ve done quite a bit of scibing and I know judges get a bad rap for rewarding flamboyant rather than correct movement but that isn’t what I’ve seen. All of the judges I’ve scribed for (many) have had the horse’s welfare, comfort and happiness first. They do make comments under their breath about unhappy horses or abusive riders. I had one judge ring the bell and send the rider out for being abusive – during the test! – and she is a big trainer! Yay judge!!!

  7. I just hate that those who take shortcuts still get rewarded by winning. Aren’t judges trained to SEE that difference? The diff btw a WELL trained animal and one that is FORCED to do something? Ugh.

  8. I agree with all of the comments. Especially Annette! I have often wondered how they get the horses chin to its neck like that. I could never yank or pull my horses chin in like that. How hard must they be pulling? What kind of pressure must they be exerting on that horses mouth? I don’t get it!

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