"There's abuse in every discipline!"

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"There's abuse in every discipline!"

This is a discussion on "There's abuse in every discipline!" within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    04-03-2013, 08:20 PM
"There's abuse in every discipline!"

I am so sick of this excuse I just had to make a thread dedicated to it. It is a logic fail in every way possible.

First of all, this excuse implies that since the people in those other sports abuse their horses, it's okay for you to do so as well.

More importantly though, just because there is abuse in every discipline does not mean that they are all created equal. They are different sports! Here is how I decide on my general attitude toward a certain discipline:

1. How common are abusive practices in the sport? Is there one abusive rider/trainer for every 20 good ones or is it the other way around?

2. Have the abusive practices always been part of the sport, or are they recent developments? (Sports are subject to trends like everything else). If they are/were a recent development, how long did it take the sport to recognize that it had a problem? Has any action been taken?

3. How does the governing body of the sport handle outside criticism? Do they ignore it or keep insisting that people just don't understand them? (Or just keep insisting that they "love" their horses?)

4. What kind of rules are in place to protect the welfare of the horses? This includes banning certain types of bits, etc. How effective is the enforcement of those rules?

5. Are there more humane alternatives to the abusive practices in the sport? If yes, why aren't they being used?

6. How open are the participants in the sport to change? How educated are they about equine science?

I'm really not a fan of competitive dressage; I don't think the art of dressage was ever meant to be a competitive sport. However, it DOES pass this test. The majority of dressage riders are not abusive. It may have taken a while, but we did get action taken on rolkur. Totilas' trainer (I forget his name) has been widely criticized for not giving his horse turnout. I don't like Western pleasure either, but from what I've heard attitudes toward peanut rolling have shifted in the sport, so I have to give it some credit as well. My attitudes are based on logic, not whether I personally like the sport or not. (Speaking of which, I also think that one of my favorite sports, show jumping, currently has some major problems).

As for exactly what constitutes abuse, I have only two simple criteria:

1. Does the horse have the opportunity to make whatever is being done to them stop by doing the "correct" behavior? If the answer to this is "no," whatever is being done to the horse is abusive even if it doesn't cause physical damage.

2. Have gentler methods been shown to work to make the horse do whatever it is the person wants them to do?

I think most people would agree with both of those.

Yes there is sometimes controversy in every sport, but there are also reasons why some sports are more controversial than others.
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    04-03-2013, 08:39 PM
Super Moderator
The truth is there is abuse in every competitive discipline. It's reality. It happens in every sport.
    04-03-2013, 08:40 PM
Everyones idea of abuse is different even with the criteria you provided.
Muppetgirl likes this.
    04-03-2013, 08:47 PM
I don't think anyone here is using it as an excuse for abuse; rather, they're arguing against those that condemn an entire discipline because of a select few that do use inhumane practices.
    04-03-2013, 08:51 PM
In all reality there are ignorant, simple minded jerks everywhere......some of them just happen to come into contact with animals......
    04-03-2013, 08:55 PM
Green Broke
I agree to a degree. Some disciplines are based on abusive practices where a majority of participants and the governing body neglect the welfare of the animals. I also think abuse is too strong a term in most cases. Yes abusive training methods are used in a vareity of disciplines to achieve results in the show ring, there extremely few actual disciplines I would consider as widely abusive. Anytime you add competition, people are going to see winning over the welfare of their animals. Its a matter of ego.
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ponyboy likes this.
    04-03-2013, 09:01 PM
Your 'test' has one major logic flaw. And that is appearance.

Can you truly saw that you know precisely what goes on behind the scenes in every trainers barn before you accuse them of using 'abuse' to achieve their competitive goals?

It doesn't matter what discipline.

I believe that far too many disciplines are labeled 'abusive' because of their appearance.

"Oh my gosh, that barrel horse just took off as soon as it saw the arena. It must be scared out of its mind because they spurred it so much when they were training it. That's abuse."
No, that horse just knows its job.

Just like you said this thread was your opinion about what you see floating around this thread, that is my opinion.
Palomine likes this.
    04-03-2013, 09:23 PM
Originally Posted by Honeysuga    
I agree to a degree. Some disciplines are based on abusive practices where a majority of participants and the governing body neglect the welfare of the animals.

And which, in your opinion, would these be?

Maybe some people use shortcuts that are NOT beneficial to the horse....... but I do not think they are based on abusive practices..
    04-03-2013, 09:34 PM
Green Broke
Also you need to consider that people will see something done and then take it upon themselves to try it themselves.

Usually without a clue as how to do it, why to do it, or when to do it.

Then everyone doing this gets a bad name.
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    04-03-2013, 09:38 PM
Green Broke
I don't think your definition holds up.

So many other things can fall under "abuse" if you're using the following as a qualifying statement:

Does the horse have the opportunity to make whatever is being done to them stop by doing the "correct" behavior? If the answer to this is "no," whatever is being done to the horse is abusive even if it doesn't cause physical damage.

Using this, rugging is abuse, stabling is abuse, floating is abuse, shoeing is abuse, clipping is abuse etc, etc etc.

I don't think the statement bothers me in any way, there is abuse in every discipline. And there is abuse even when people don't follow disciplines. There is other animal abuse in every city in the world, in every society there is child abuse. It doesn't matter what you do, not everyone is going to do something the way you think is right. That doesn't imply that all people are abusers, and no one thinks that. Everyone is aware that not everyone in whatever they do is doing the right thing. That doesn't mean their behaviour changes. What is right or wrong doesn't change depending on what others around you are doing.

I don't think that statement allows others to abuse.

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