I'm fighting with a girl at the moment who's threatening to call the RSPCA on me. She is actually ridiculous, but I find it kind of amusing :P
Apparently it "makes her sick" to "have to see" my "starving and abused" nags. Um ok. Monty's never looked better and the yearling is fat, and I just shared a wonderful moment with her today where she was laying in the rolling patch snoozing and I just went up to her, sat next to her, and pulled her head into my lap. She wouldn't have let me do that if I abused her. And Monty would be just plain dangerous, he was abused in the past and he can't cope with anything resembling it.
I have been accused by a few people now of abusing my horses simply because I'm not afraid to be firm with them and do what it takes to make them understand that I'm the boss and they are to do as they're told. These same people, of course, are the ones with the naughty ponies :P the girl who's threatening me with the RSPCA, I bought a pony off a few years ago, and found that he was REALLY naughty. To the point where when I upped the ante and wouldn't let him be naughty, he kicked me square in the chest. I was flat on the ground so Mum caught him and hit him a few times, hard, with the whip... he never thought about kicking again after that, funnily enough. He wasn't a pony you could be subtle with.
He was a bucker, when we got him. Not huge, but he'd buck every single stride of canter and it could get quite unseating. He would never strike off on the correct canter lead and he didn't know his changes so I could never make him change to the correct one. He always had this nasty habit of dropping a shoulder, shying, and THEN bucking that got me off every time but if he was in work and therefore fitter he did it less. He would not jump when I got him, and I had to beat him up to get him into a canter.
By the time I sold said pony;
Nary a buck in sight, except when we galloped or if I was riding bareback
Jumping 3' at home, 2'4" in competition, and we never came home without a ribbon
Walk,trot,canter and jump bareback in a halter - barring the odd buck or shy because he knew he could get me off easy without a saddle on
Pretty good ground manners, though we never really did get the nipping completely licked
Flying changes, not on command but he finally understood the concept of actually doing them
And I never, EVER had to use the whip, I just had to have it with me. He was the best pony by the time I was done with him!
We sold him to a beginner and when we got him he was so NOT a beginner's pony.
So which is better? "Abuse" by occasionally harsh methods, or abuse by allowing a pony to be so fat he had chronic sub-clinical laminitis, by allowing him to get away with everything, by not using whips when this pony CLEARLY needed one... he was certainly a much better behaved, better rounded pony after I had him!
This particular girl actually used to be a friend and then she saw the methods I used, decided she didn't like them, and I snapped at her mother because Monty was being a fruitloop and ex-friend's mother was basically telling me to make him even MORE excited and hard to control, in telling me to return to the lesson and join everyone else in their canter work. Apparently, you don't snap at HER mother, because HER mother knows everything. Her mother is actually considered to be a really good coach but honestly I don't hold a lot of faith in public opinion any more because the ONLY coach who saw what I was doing wrong with Monty is the one I'm now using regularly, and said coach, although popular and a bloody good one, was actually banned from teaching at the pony club for a season or two because some parent or another decided she didn't like him. Sean is amazing, why deny your kid that amount of knowledge based on the fact that he doesn't take well to parents interfering when he's trying to teach? Honestly!
Bwahahahah now I sound like I'm all worked up about it. I'm not, I'm actually laughing as I type.