Cruising the internet and watching some videos on the television really got me to thinking about what I call "purists". When it comes to horses and then you mix them with people there just is no absolute. So how can being a "purist" benefit us? It does not, it limits us, in my opinion. I can be guilty of it as well and especially on here for the sake of an argument I get a purist attitude, so I am not leaving myself out.
Here are some recent examples I have come across....
I love old Vaquero style training. I think it is top notch and it takes a real hand to make a true bridle horse. Yesterday reading an article by Gwen Turnbull Weaver, who admittedly I am not all that fond of anyhow, about the spade bit. In the article she bashes any kind of ported leverage/curb bit. She touts that they are leverage devices that cause pain. What??? Really? Sure if used incorrectly they can just like any tool we use with horses. Just because she trains her horses traditionally does not mean that folks, including myself, who use any other kind of bit other than a hackamore/ halfbreed/spade are using pain to train...bull****. Get a clue Gwen. Nothing wrong with upholding tradition, but there is no need to bash others.
Watching a Clinton Anderson video about lead changes. He explains what the prerequisite manuevers a horse must learn in order to begin teaching the lead change. Then he goes off on a tangent about how you can not deviate from his method and get the results. Really Clinton? That is weird because I know of people that pluck ideas from his method and combine them with others and get pretty good results. Sell that BS to someone other than me, because I am not buying it.
Same Clinton Anderson video I am cringing watching every time he goes to pick this colts face and flex him the colt flinches because he is so fast and abrupt this his hands. He goes to explain that he does it on purpose so when he over cues on accident he does not scare his horse. Really you teach your devout followers that??? Did I miss something? I thought we were supposed to learn how to be soft even when things get fast. That is just good horsemanship.
I am not saying I want a horse that I have to walk on eggshells around, but I don't want so over desensitized that he is dead. I thought if my horse over reacts to a cue that is a signal to me that I need to tone it down.
The bit versus bitless debate. Why does it have to be one way or the other? One way is not the only way. You need to use what works for you, your horse and the situation your riding in. When the NH really went mainstream I got talked into going to a team penning. There was a gal there riding her horse in a halter. I thought to myself that gal must be pretty handy if she is going to go balls to the wall in a run and do it in a halter. Uh..no. Her horse ran off blew out cattle everywhere and caused a big wreck. Thankfully no one was hurt. Probably not the best situation to be riding in a halter. Seen her a month later at the arena just working the same horse in a halter, he was great, very nice horse. I had heard she caused several wrecks at local pennings because she refused to ride him in anything other than a halter. When you are putting you, your horse and others in danger, you need to rethink your purist halter views.
Some people who don't agree with bitless think that bits are the only way to go. And there are others that think that hanging bigger bit on a horse solves their problems.
Why couldn't you use both? There are trainers that use both, actually Les Vogt switches back and forth from the hackamore and snaffle. He says that sometimes you can fix problems that you have in a snaffle with the hackamore. And problems you might be having in the hackamore can be fixed with the snaffle. I think that is a great idea.
I guess the point of my long ramble is that the last few days of watching training videos and reading articles really drove home the idea about not limiting myself to one point of view/method or the other. I found that it can be hard to do in reality even though I preach it. Our previous experiences seem to shape our opinions and it can be difficult to see beyond them. I know that it is hard for me!
Just want to hear your opinions,what do you guys think? Do you find yourself being stuck in a purist rut on occasion? What are your examples or experiences?