The Dark Side of The Horse Industry:
Some choose to turn away from the dark sides of the horse industry and pretend they don’t exist. Others embrace them and use the techniques, all to win a piece of ribbon, a medal, a trophy, or money, with no regard to the horse.
Problems do not exist in only one or two disciplines; problems exist in nearly every discipline when the human desire to win outweighs the human conscience. Examples include: polling, soring, gingering, rollkur, denerving, and cutting of ligaments.
Polling: Seen most often in the hunter and jumper disciplines, involves using a pole to smack the front legs of a horse to ‘teach’ them to fold their legs under them to look fancier and avoid hitting the bar of the jump.
Soring: Seen most often in the gaited horse show rings, caustic substances are used to create sores and tenderness in the legs. Which cause a horse to snap his legs off the ground as though they were on fire, used to make them look flashier in the arena, sometimes also used in conjunction with heavy chains and extremely tall shoes which can create a long term defect in the feet, causing a pencil thin frog and crushed heels.
Gingering: Again seen most often in gaited horses, Arabians in particular, gingering entails applying ginger, a caustic substance to the anus of a horse so that it is uncomfortable to place its tail down in the area. Used many times to try and maintain a flashy tail flagging height.
Rollkur: The process used mainly in dressage horses, but also occasionally seen in other disciplines, includes the hyperflexion of a horse’s neck. It can cause abnormal bone growth on the back of the skull, and can teach the horse to avoid the riders aids by going behind the bit, while placing the horse severely on the forehand.
Denerving: The process of chemically blocking the nerves in the tail, used to avoid flagging of the tail while in the show ring, it permanently deprives the horse of the ability to swat at flies with its tail. Sometimes used in conjunction with tying the horse’s head high and keeping it in that position for a long period of time, so that when released the horse will carry it’s head low to be ‘fashionable’ within the show ring.
Cutting of Ligaments: Sometimes used in breeds that it is considered fashionable to have a horse hold it’s tail very high in a very exaggerated position. The ligaments are cut and then the tail is placed in a tail brace for an extended period of time so that the tail may be held in a high, exaggerated position during the time in a show ring.
There are many more issues to which I could address, the purpose of this is to bring attention to the darker side of many horse disciplines, so that they may be reviewed and stopped.
This is an informative article type thing I wrote to possibly put in my 4-H horse notebook, until I was informed I wasn't allowed to. So I'm putting it here.