What are people's opinions on Dr Deb Bennett?
Looking at her own forum I am gobsmacked at how condescending (and sometimes outright rude) she is towards anyone who may have a different approach from hers.
Interested in what you all think
I've never watched her work with horses or read much about her training, but I recently wrote a lengthy paper on the prevalence of conditions such as DMD and atrioventricular valvular refurgitation murmurs in Thoroughbreds started too young and cited her work several times. I agree with most of her work that I read.
I like some of the stuff she has done, and have quoted her several times on this forum. However, I think she also sometimes speaks in areas where she doesn't have any actual expertise, or draws conclusions that go beyond what the studies show. For example, she writes that one of the fundamental rules is:
"Total weight of rider plus tack must not exceed 250 lbs"
Using a typical western saddle, that means no man over 215 should ever get on a horse. Any horse. Anywhere. But that ignores the real world, where horses carrying cowboys manage to work and live and perform just fine even if the cowboy is over 200 lbs. At 180, it probably means I'm abusing Mia's 900 lbs every time I get on her, although Mia seems to enjoy getting together with me and doing something.
She is vastly more knowledgeable than I am, but she seems to draw conclusions that I think go beyond the evidence. Just IMHO.
I find her to be quite closed minded and condescending, and after asking for advice and getting quite a hauty, rude answer, have not gone back.
And then, checking her "qualifications" her doctorate is in Vertebrae Paleontology - meaning the classification of fossils. With some extra horsey stuff thrown in in "interests". She is not the queen of riding and dressage and knowing it all and after watching some of her videos and looking at pictures, has a really back assward view of "collection" and really no idea what she's talking about when training horses.
Dr Hilary Clayton is far, far superior in knowledge, application and not being a crazy person. And she has fun letters like BRCVS, PHD, MRCVS behind her name, which indicate actual qualifications.
"And yes, very many Western saddles are built so that the stirrups are hung 'way out to the front. Originally these saddles were intended for one purpose, and that was gymkhana events such as keyhole race, pole bending, or barrel racing, which are the "Western" equivalents of "English" jumping. These saddles, exactly like those meant for jumping, have the stirrup hangers far to the front because during the time the saddle is being used for what it it meant for, the rider stands or half-stands in the stirrups. When you stand or half-stand, you bring your hips over your feet."
No. Originally, stirrups on western saddles were out front because most western riders rode like this:
That was the almost universal western riding position around 1900. I have no desire to argue about the rightness or wrongness of that style, but it is pretty obvious why western saddles used to have stirrups hung forward - and it was NOT so they could stand up in the stirrups!