No, Joe. I accept that your mind is set.
Haha, they thrive on peppermints because they are a treat. We crinkle that wrapper and they start POSING. Arching their necks, getting those excited pretty eyes. And we praise them for it. One of Dad's show colts he play with and "lead" him from his stall down the barn and into the crossties just with the crinkly wrapper. Oh boy do some of them get excited.
Why do people think it is okay to put huge pads on a horse's hooves? I've talking about SOME of the Saddlebred show people who seem to think it is okay to have extremely long toes, crushed under/under developed heels, heavy shoes with a pad... Don't get me started in the TWH issues. Now I personally love a TWH that is barefoot and can gait all day long, but what they do in the show ring is just disgusting!
Exactly. SOME of the Saddlebred show people. There is so much involved on this issue, that it isn't really worth getting into. There is too much variance in people, farriers, trainers, natural growth of individual horses' feet... I will agree with you that SOME saddlebred show people take horrid care of feet. We had one stud come in for training that was so bad his right front was over an inch lower at the coronet band than the left. And they wondered why he was going uneven. Bah. SOME people.
There is no way to justify or explain everything as there is just too much variance. I can say that not all are awful. Pads help give length when needed so you don't HAVE to grow the foot out(you could say that you don't have to anyway. Not saying you are wrong.) You see a lot of the horribly long feet in pleasure horses, where pads, even therapeutic pads, are not allowed. The whole pleasure horse thing is getting way to skewed as it is. I am pretty sure changes are in the works for the next few years on the whole thing. You don't see it as much in the highly competitive Five Gaited horses. It would really mess with ability to perform all five gaits. You really only see it with the three gaited ones.
Pads also serve as shock absorbers. Some horses need it with their jackhammer trots to keep from jarring themselves lame.
As for soundness. Well, our horses have to be sound to trot high. If they are in pain in any tiny bit, you lose motion.
And what is with the tail sets? How is it natural to keep a horse stalled 24/7 with something holding his tail up? How is that even comfortable for the horse? Maybe it doesn't rub the horse bloody but still doesn't look like a very happy horse to me! Plus the surgical altering of the horses tail? I just keep asking myself WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO DO THAT?
Please tell me where anything is natural in a human horse relationship. And please show me where you found a statement proclaiming that we are the most naturalistic of people.
How are tail sets natural? They are not.
How is it natural to keep a horse stalled, wearing a set or not? It is not.
How is it comfortable? It probably isn't, but we do our best to make it as comfortable as possible. We specially fit the sets to them, pad them to prevent rubs, make them loose and supple so the horse can move and lay down in them. I know my braces and then retainers were not comfortable at all, but in the name of fashion, I wore them.
Why would we do it? Purely for fashion. Gasp, I know. Way back when horses were the main mode of transportation, it had practical applications, but now, it is just for looks. The high tail balances the overal image with the high neck carriage. It is similar to, but much less traumatic than the cropping of ears on dogs.
How is it done? I will just copy from a previous thread.
Some are hand stretched, some are in "humane braces" where the high tail is just a piece of wire and a "cap" or wig, but most of them require a simple surgical procedure. They are put in a harness that is specifically fit to each horse. At first, several weeks before the surgery, they are put in a bustle which is a really thick crupper to help loosen the muscles and to ensure that the horse will even tolerate wearing the set(You don't want to find this out the day after surgery). After a few weeks of wearing the bustle and hand stretching, a vet comes out and does a simple procedure where the muscles that allow the horse to clamp their tail down with force are nicked. When they heal, the horse still has full use of his tail, they just cannot clamp down with force. It also makes the tail loose enough to be put in a brace do the show ring creating that aforementioned balanced look.
It is purely for fashion now. Not necessary, and they require an absurd amount of care during healing. Every effort is made before, during, and after the surgery to make sure the horse is comfortable and pain free in order to protect the tail. A horse in discomfort will rub his tail, pull his set off, of find some othe way to try to rid himself of the discomfort which will obliterate the tail and cause the horse greater pain. When this happens, often the damage is irreparable. They are pampered, and carefully tended every day until they are fully healed.
Once the procedure is complete, the horse does not need to wear his set 24/7. Show horses only wear their sets a week or two before a show. In the off season, the sets come off. So do the shoes.
And what is with the stretchers?
Stretchers are for resistance and strength training. They are for muscle development. They serve exactly the same purpose as the elastics used in many human fitness programs.
I really wish they would just put a ban in place- no more surgical alterations of the horses tail in any new foals, and get rid of the pads and go either barefoot or in regular shoes... We should no longer be living in the dark ages. Especially when there is more and more proof that the pads are harmful to the horses hoof structure/function. There is no need to do cosmetic surgery on a horse that naturally has a beautiful tail to begin with...
There are many in the industry moving away from the practice of cutting tails. Which is good. I love the look, but hate the care it takes. Luckily, it is legal to show a horse in any class/any division with a natural tail, and many shows, including the world championships have added classes specifically for natural tails. Our judges are our trainers, so we have some that are prejudiced and some that will tie a good horse regardless... And we have some that just play politics and don't actually judge. We are
making progress away from it, believe it or not. It is something the industry just has to get used to. Similar to odd colored horses in the ring. A lot of times it is difficult to place on a horse with too much flash or an odd color because he will draw the eye and his every movement and mistake is noticed. A horse with an unset tail sticks out a lot and he will have to be exceptional to place. We are working on it. More and more are seen each year and they are placing better.
As for chains. They are not abusive. They do not hurt the horse, when used alone. When the TWHs are sored, there are chemicals involved. You can't sore a saddlebred.
What they do is encourage the horse to try to step out of them. The feel of them, the movement of them, encourages the horse to step UP and OUT. Some horses react to them, some do not. My sister's QH wouldn't think twice about them. Put them on a hackney(those overly sensitive buggers) and they will hit themselves in the chin.(exaggerating there) That is also why they are not left on. Once the horse is used to them, they no longer have that UP and OUT effect. You will have some who will leave them on, thinking it will help, but really, the chains don't do that much.
I would say our biggest problem as a whole would be drugging. I am pretty sure that is where most of our USEF fines and violations are. We are not free of abuse, though what outsiders see/believe is not often what really is.