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Saddlebreds vs. Walkers

This is a discussion on Saddlebreds vs. Walkers within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Stretchers for saddlebreds
  • Why put pads on saddlebred horses

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    10-02-2009, 07:06 AM
  #41
Zab
Yearling
Quote:
"The main difference between the show saddlebreds and show walkers, is that it is impossible to inflict pain specifically to enhance the performance/motion of a Saddlebred like it is possible with a walker."
Uhm..no. You can enchance all motions in a horse by pain, and pain in the legs would help the stride on a trotting horse as well as a racking horse, as you bth want the feet lifted high.
     
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    10-02-2009, 10:17 AM
  #42
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori1983    
Peaceful, I think that may be a TWH thing. :) My mare has clearly never had a harsh hand laid on her (in fact, she's a little spoiled :) but when I got her she was looking pretty bad, IMO. I know walkers and Saddlebreds both have a more slender build, so maybe that's it? But I have seen more skinny walkers than Saddlebreds for sure. But TWH's are more prominent where I live than Saddlebreds, so that might be why I've seen it more often.
Yeah I know that Storm will never have the build of our QH, Sarge (who is a big, muscled tank of a horse! ) but even taking into consideration the lean build, he was quite underweight when we got him. Ribs were showing like crazy, especially when he inhaled deeply.

Now he is much better, but you can just still see a faint outline of his ribs and he could use a tad more girth through his middle to even him out.

His mane and coat have gotten so much glossier in the six-ish months that we've had him, and when my husband went out and did a good grooming on him the other day, I tell you that horse's coat shined like the sun! He's looking so beautiful now!

But someone had really done a number on him weight-wise and pretty much neglected him before we got him. We were told this by the owners we got both of our horses from who had just picked him up at an auction as a rescue, but as I said, his personality is superb and we felt great about adopting him and getting him where he should be.
     
    10-02-2009, 10:42 AM
  #43
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyboy    
Sorry if this has been asked already, but since as you pointed out this colt/filly has a great natural stride, why would you then trim their toes long or put pads/chains on them when they grow up? I ask because I've never seen a picture of a saddlebred with normal length toes. I'm an Icelandic fan myself. Traditional Icelandic riding is abusive in some ways (mostly different ways from other gaited breeds), but the one thing they don't do is put extra equipment on horses that don't need it, even when showing. They advertise those horses as naturally gaited and charge more for them. The most prized horses are the ones that will tolt on a loose rein. My point is that at least they believe mechanically enhancing the gait is a last resort. Saddlebred (and Walker) fans seem to use mechanical enhancements by default.

I can understand liking the breed, because what appeals to us in a horse is not always a conscious thing. But just because you like saddlebreds doesn't mean you need to use traditional training methods on them and support those methods by participating in shows. Same thing for Walker people.

What "traditional" training methods do you mean?

Long toes? Saddlebreds have very different conformation when compared to most other breeds. Keeping their toe longer than other breeds does nothing to enhance their gait - it's just how they have to be trimmed because of the way they're built and the way they naturally move (which is also completely different).

Pads? Look again at the pictures I put in my first post. The Walker has the pads that you automatically think of when you hear the word. The Saddlebred has TINY ones on. The pads Saddlebreds wear are the same as the pads we put on horses with bad feet to help cushion them. How could that possibly be inhumane?

Chains? Again, the chains used by ALL Saddlebreds are extremely light and not used to cause pain. They are used because they help the horse lift his legs higher because he feels like he wants to step out of the chain. They also help him keep his trot balanced. I tried to find a picture of the chains Saddlebreds wear, but I couldn't find one. But they are so light that when compared to the size of the horse, it would be like you wearing a bracelet.

Stretchies? Stretchies are used to build muscle - just like side reins. It's just like lifting weights in the gym. If they are too tight, they break. They are not strong enough to hinder the horse's movement - they just make it a little harder for them.

Here is part of an article about Saddlebreds:

"While the arena in which the horse works is filled with soft cedar shavings and dragged repeatedly with a harrow to insure evenly soft footing, we discuss additional athletic equipment that helps the development of the show horse. The use of developers or stretchers is common in many training barns. Developers consist of two leather straps, covered with thick dense fleece. These padded straps buckle loosely around each front pastern, but not too loose as to fall up past the ankle, or down beneath the heel. These padded straps have a large ring on each, from which rubber tubing, cut to custom size may be snapped. Called "stretchers," because the tubing stretches easily with the horse's motion at the trot, this body building equipment helps the horse to develop his shoulder muscles, thereby freeing his motion in front, and aiding in his naturally even timing. Although stretchers or developers are not applied to the hind legs, the hind legs follow suit and timing is greatly helped behind as well. Developers are exactly like those used by human body builders and Olympic and professional boxers, as well as cross-country athletes. How does the horse feel about resistance, training? Just watch. The colt will either use them or not use them.

Developers offer low-impact resistance training to the equine athlete. The horse stretches them if he so desires, helping to develop muscle tone in his shoulders.

Developers don't force the legs to do anything. They only come into use if the colt chooses to use them. Most times, the colt will playfully react to this new toy, looking down at them, snorting and waving his tail, he stretches the tubing to the max. This is an important early indication of the colt's show horse desires. Sometimes a colt will not use the stretchers at all; rather he will simply trot around straight legged, applying no pressure to the rubber tubing. This colt simply does not reflect the characteristics of the breed. He does not have the athletic ability, nor probably the inclination to be a show horse. He is not a "bad" horse; he is simply not cut out to be a show horse, and no amount of developing is going to force him to be one. This type of colt, therefore, finds another career. While he is probably very attractive and kind, he makes a wonderful pleasure riding horse. For this reason of determining talent and desire from the lack of, developers are a vital aid."

Tail setting:

"Tail setting does NOT involve any "breaking" of bone, nor is any ligament cut, as is erroneously assumed. Rather this small lateral muscle is cut, making an incision so small that it looks like a pin hole. While a half-hour is commonly allowed for local anesthesia to take effect, the process of "tail cutting" only takes a few moments. The result is a freed-up tail, which can still move in any and all directions, but is no longer pinned down to the buttocks. Retired horses and broodmares in pasture that have had their tails cut still have full use of their tails and are able to swish a fly away at their choosing. While this process of cutting is extremely minimal, its misconceptions are dramatized by the aesthetic effect that a long, well cared-for tail has in the show ring. Many show horses wear a "tail set", a loose and relaxed fitting light harness which lays on the horse without any pressure put on him anywhere. While the set looks complicated to the newcomer, it is designed not to put pressure on any part of the horse, but merely to keep the crupper in place. The crupper, made of light aluminum, literally sets under the horse's tail, perpendicularly out from the hindquarters, and never straight up. Well padded, the set is removed every day along with the horse's sheet, the horse himself thinking no more of his set than he does of his favorite blanket. It's all just his nightgown to him. And, as we stated before, he's completely capable of telling us when he doesn't like something..."

Honestly, I think docking tails is way more inhumane than cutting them the way Saddlebreds (and Walkers?) do. Neither one causes any pain whatsoever and both can still move their tail in any direction (except the docked tail can't move straight up like the Saddlebreds), but the Saddlebred can swish flies and the horse with the docked tail can't.



Is there anything else about Saddlebreds you think is abusive? Do you still think any of the things I named are abusive?

Oh, and that is all what SOME Walker people do as well.... Not just Saddlebred people.
     
    10-02-2009, 01:27 PM
  #44
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zab    
Uhm..no. You can enchance all motions in a horse by pain, and pain in the legs would help the stride on a trotting horse as well as a racking horse, as you bth want the feet lifted high.
Actually no, Zab. A saddlebred cannot be sored because it is a Trotting breed and not a Gaited Breed. There are reasons that Saddlebred Shows aren't subject to the DQP(or whatever the checkers are called). There are other things that are marks against us, but intentionally inflicting pain in a horse's foot or leg to enhance the performance is not one of them.

A Saddlebred is primarily a trotting breed, just like a TB, QH, Arab, they just have a couple extra "gears".(ever see a lame QH walk. He doesn't lift that foot as high as he can because he thinks it'll hurt when he sets it down. He picks it up only as far as he must so that he can set it down gently) At the Trot, two feet are hitting the ground at the same time. If a horse is sore(not soreD) or uncomfortable, or in pain in anyway, he will NOT lift his legs higher. In fact you will get the opposite. I have worked with many American Saddlebreds, and have seen many more worked. That is the case 100% of the tiem. You could say that Saddlebreds CAN rack. But there is no division that doesn't require a trot. The trot is a jarring two beat gait. And with them picking their feet up higher at the trot, the feet are striking the ground with more force. They know this. I have seen sore Saddlebreds. They look horrid, and you can definitely tell that they are in pain.

With a TWH, the feet hit the ground independent of each other, which makes it easier to mask soreness or pain.

There are MANY ways to tell if a Saddlebred is sore, be it his feet, his legs, his shoulders, or anything.

Head bob, in motion with a front foot. Unlike TWHs, Saddlebreds are NOT supposed to have a head bob. And by watching this head bob, you can find which foot is hurting.

Uneven gait(aka picking up one foot higher than the other). This could indicate many things. Uneven shoeing, uneven training, or that the horse is sore in some war. It is usually the former and not the latter.

Severe attitude changes. Most Saddlebreds I know(I have 30 currently, and have had many more in the past). Do not have a high tolerance for pain. Our horses are supposed to look happy and expressive, aka "wearing their ears", or having their ears up. Like with the phrase "no horse will trot higher than he is capable of going", an unhappy Saddlebred, will not wear his ears. Being in pain is I have the perfect example, but don't have the time to see it. I have a filly right now, who is sore in her back right foot. She is a sweet little girl, until you go to pick up that foot, and then you have to be careful she doesn't try to kick your face off. Unfortunately, we have to pick that foot up to doctor it. We just do it VERY carefully.

A five gaited horse, that will try to cheat at the trot by racking. We had a mare who was not built the best to rack. The shape of her back feet inhibited her ability to correctly perform the rack. When she was uncomfortable or in pain, she would start mixing her gears and cheating at the trot to help alleviate the pain. By the time she left, she was sound, and the people she left with

For simply Scientific purposes, I invite you to try to MAKE them do it. I'll give you my colt! LOL If you could make him go level, I'd give you a prize. The simple truth is that with Saddlebreds, it is much easier to BREED for horses that can move like that than try to force them to do it. Breeding for that kind of motion is no new thing, and MANY breeders are successful at getting it in their foals.
     
    10-02-2009, 03:16 PM
  #45
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudsMystique    
Oh, and that is all what SOME Walker people do as well.... Not just Saddlebred people.
LoL, thank you for stressing "some." I swear, when I tell people that I have a TWH, I have to go through the whole rigamarole. "THOSE horses are so abused..." LoL, no, my horse is far from abused. In fact, she has been called a diva, princess, spoiled... And I have heard people give the same reaction about Saddlebreds, too. Just because a few idiots do something doesn't mean the breed should be discriminated against. Also, lol, while I'm on a rant, what is with people saying that TWH's and saddlebreds are hot, flighty, high-spirited...my mom said her saddlebred was the sweetest horse ever. Athletic, yes, but sweet. My TWH is a big baby. All she really cares about is affection. Of course, that's only two out of all of them, but I'm just not seeing it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyDreamer    
Actually no, Zab. A saddlebred cannot be sored because it is a Trotting breed and not a Gaited Breed. There are reasons that Saddlebred Shows aren't subject to the DQP(or whatever the checkers are called). There are other things that are marks against us, but intentionally inflicting pain in a horse's foot or leg to enhance the performance is not one of them.
DQP's were put in place to help maintain the grossly underfunded Horse Protection Act ($500,000 budget, annually). They are "Designated Qualified Persons," who are supposedly trained to regulate the industry from within. They are not USDA agents. The problem? They often have what can only be called a "conflict of interests", because they are often exhibitors themselves.

Saddlebreds and any other horse can be subject to a USDA visit to enforce the Horse Protection Act. They just usually go to TWH shows. This makes a lot of exhibitors mad, and they say that their industry is being unfairly picked on.

My take on this, honestly? The crap is where you smell it. Soring really mainly happens with TWH's. The numbers prove it. Sooo...lol, if you don't want to be "picked on," make the crap stop. And I would like to clarify once again that MANY people in the TWH industry want it to stop, and they try their best. But sored horses win.

I'm sorry if that was offensive to anyone. If you don't sore, it shouldn't be.
     
    10-02-2009, 03:30 PM
  #46
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyDreamer    
Actually no, Zab. A saddlebred cannot be sored because it is a Trotting breed and not a Gaited Breed. There are reasons that Saddlebred Shows aren't subject to the DQP(or whatever the checkers are called). There are other things that are marks against us, but intentionally inflicting pain in a horse's foot or leg to enhance the performance is not one of them.

A Saddlebred is primarily a trotting breed, just like a TB, QH, Arab, they just have a couple extra "gears".(ever see a lame QH walk. He doesn't lift that foot as high as he can because he thinks it'll hurt when he sets it down. He picks it up only as far as he must so that he can set it down gently) At the Trot, two feet are hitting the ground at the same time. If a horse is sore(not soreD) or uncomfortable, or in pain in anyway, he will NOT lift his legs higher. In fact you will get the opposite. I have worked with many American Saddlebreds, and have seen many more worked. That is the case 100% of the tiem. You could say that Saddlebreds CAN rack. But there is no division that doesn't require a trot. The trot is a jarring two beat gait. And with them picking their feet up higher at the trot, the feet are striking the ground with more force. They know this. I have seen sore Saddlebreds. They look horrid, and you can definitely tell that they are in pain.

With a TWH, the feet hit the ground independent of each other, which makes it easier to mask soreness or pain.

There are MANY ways to tell if a Saddlebred is sore, be it his feet, his legs, his shoulders, or anything.

Head bob, in motion with a front foot. Unlike TWHs, Saddlebreds are NOT supposed to have a head bob. And by watching this head bob, you can find which foot is hurting.

Uneven gait(aka picking up one foot higher than the other). This could indicate many things. Uneven shoeing, uneven training, or that the horse is sore in some war. It is usually the former and not the latter.

Severe attitude changes. Most Saddlebreds I know(I have 30 currently, and have had many more in the past). Do not have a high tolerance for pain. Our horses are supposed to look happy and expressive, aka "wearing their ears", or having their ears up. Like with the phrase "no horse will trot higher than he is capable of going", an unhappy Saddlebred, will not wear his ears. Being in pain is I have the perfect example, but don't have the time to see it. I have a filly right now, who is sore in her back right foot. She is a sweet little girl, until you go to pick up that foot, and then you have to be careful she doesn't try to kick your face off. Unfortunately, we have to pick that foot up to doctor it. We just do it VERY carefully.

A five gaited horse, that will try to cheat at the trot by racking. We had a mare who was not built the best to rack. The shape of her back feet inhibited her ability to correctly perform the rack. When she was uncomfortable or in pain, she would start mixing her gears and cheating at the trot to help alleviate the pain. By the time she left, she was sound, and the people she left with

For simply Scientific purposes, I invite you to try to MAKE them do it. I'll give you my colt! LOL If you could make him go level, I'd give you a prize. The simple truth is that with Saddlebreds, it is much easier to BREED for horses that can move like that than try to force them to do it. Breeding for that kind of motion is no new thing, and MANY breeders are successful at getting it in their foals.
Well-said... I agree with you 100% : ]
     
    10-02-2009, 03:34 PM
  #47
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori1983    
I'm sorry if that was offensive to anyone. If you don't sore, it shouldn't be.

Haha, I totally agree with this. People get SO MAD whenever anyone says ANYTHING bad about the TWH industry. I make sure to ALWAYS say that I don't think all TWH people abuse their horses... whenever I say anything about TWHs. So if you know that I think that, and you don't abuse your horse, why are you offended?!
     
    10-02-2009, 06:18 PM
  #48
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori1983    
My TWH is a big baby. All she really cares about is affection. Of course, that's only two out of all of them, but I'm just not seeing it.
Yep, this is how I always describe our TWH, Storm too: a big baby!
     
    10-02-2009, 06:46 PM
  #49
Zab
Yearling
A gaited horse lame on one leg doesn't gait better. No matter if it's trot or gait, you can make the horse lift the legs higher by inflicting pain. I don't really see why you think the leg lift would be higher in a rack than in a trot when the horse is sore.

Tensions makes the horse more reliable to gait, but doesn't lift the legs. Pain in the hooves makes the horse lift the legs if the pain is applied 'right'' and the riding is ''right'', no matter if it's trot, rack or canter.

Also, I'm not saying wether or not saddlebreds are usually hurt this way, I know they're bred for high leg action, but to say ot's impossible to sore a horse to lift the legs in rot isn't right. And ''bobing'' with the head isn't very obvous if both/all feet are sore and you have a harsh bit.
     
    10-02-2009, 08:06 PM
  #50
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudsMystique    
Is there anything else about Saddlebreds you think is abusive? Do you still think any of the things I named are abusive?
I never said they were abusive, I said they were mechanical means to enhance the gait that are used even when they're not really necessary. You claim that saddlebreds are bred to step high naturally - If that's so then why use gadgets on them? If you want to encourage good breeding isn't it counterproductive to allow those kinds of things in the show ring?

Tailsetting is abusive IMO for the simple reason that it's only done for cosmetic purposes.

Saddlebred conformation is similar to that of park-type Morgans and National Show Horses, so I don't know what you mean about their confirmation requiring long toes.
     

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