How to Handle Agressive/Abusive Handlers?
So last night I went to my cousin's barn to watch her ride. Her lesson went great and I was waiting for her to come inside after she let her horse out.
Well, I was standing near the tacking up area's talking to one of the girl's mom (new to horses). While we were talking a lady (20-25ish) was clipping her horse. The cord managed to get between the horse's back legs (about pastern height) so when the horse started getting anxious and took a step back, he unplugged the clippers. No big deal, right?
Well apparently it was. The handler then hit him in the flank area. Horse started panicking more so she untied him. New Horse Mom and I move so we won't get hurt. Well, horsey starts prancing around as soon as the handler plugs the clippers back on and turns them on. So she kicks him in the stomach HARD about four times. The horse flips his head up (he's pretty tall probably around 17hh) and smacks it on the heater (which was off) and starts flipping his head and prancing around. So, she jabs him twice with the clippers. She smacks him a few more times and then ties him up again. My cousin got back and we had to go.
Now, I would've liked to say something but I didn't really feel it was my place. Also, I've found that people tend not to take me seriously because of my age (being a teenager).
So, my question is. What can I do in these types of situations? I understand that horses need to be punished sometimes but jabbing your horse with clippers and kicking him in the stomach? That's too far.
Honestly the best thing you could do IS say something. You might think that your opinion matters little to adults but saying something clearly in public will usually scare someone into rethinking what they're doing. When you keep silent people just continue doing what they do, maybe without realising what they do is wrong. Just don't get into an argument, say something like, "Hey! You are being way too rough with that horse!" and leave it at that. If she tries to argue just shake your head and walk away.
It is so hard to know what to do. But I guess I might have said something. It's ridiculous for the handler to punish the horse for stepping and pulling the plug out, let alone the other things she was hitting on him for. She'll reap what she's sown, one of these days.
I dunno, some peops, if they are aggressive with their horses, might just be aggressive towards you. So if she barks back at you, what are you going to do? Get into a fight with her? Or do you think she would say, oh yes, you're right, I shouldn't kick my horse in the stomach, thank you for pointing this out? No, you report her to the barn owner, who has the authority to talk to her or not, their choice. Personally, I would say something to her, & if she wants to fight, she picked the wrong person, hehe.
That's the exact thing that I was worried about. Once I say, "Hey, you're out of line." what next? Her response is most likely going to be negative. I have a VERY short temper and would probably end up yelling at her or something. Which wouldn't do any good.
My Mom took this course about gaining confidence and being the better person (or something along those lines) and while I agreed with most of the stuff in there, it said to avoid all conflict. Well, sometimes you have to stand up for something/someone, right? It's all so difficult. Not only am I shy (I'm working on that) but once I get mad enough it's like I'm a completely different person and I'm not afraid to say exactly what I'm thinking.
Thanks for suggesting the BO thing to me.
The lady obviously has an anger management problem. Her problem will be self-limiting because she will never get much done with horses.
You are not going to change her and she would probably just take it out on the horse, anyway. You could say something to the BO -- but chances are he/she already knows that said person is an a** h***. The customer taking the lessons (your friend) would be the appropriate one to say something.
There is probably not much to gain from anything you would do. If a person with an anger problem is handling horses, it is kind of like telling a alcoholic that they should not drink. THEY have to decide they have a problem and THEY have to take the initiative to change it. Hopefully that will happen some day.
A friend saw a man beating a horse with a whip because it would not get into a trailer. They said he was hitting all over including its face. They were afraid to say anything so they went to their truck and got the camera they happened to have. Said he stopped immediately and walked off to get someone to help him 'drag' the horse in with a butt rope. Not much better but at least he wasn't beating on the poor horse's head.
I wouldn't be jabbing with a clippers though.
All in all - none of your business.
I would walk to the side of the horse, about 5-7 feet away and say in a calm voice, "Easy now". Once I got the rider's attention I would comment that he looks pretty spooked and would they like some help? Sometimes knowing there is an audience stops bad human behavior. It she didn't stop I'd encourage her to calm down as she is spooking the horse more. What ever you say, I don't think it is enough to tell the person to stop. What might work better is to tell the person what they can do instead.
So are you saying that if I see someone being unfair to their horse and causing harm to them I should just walk away?
I'm sorry, but I don't think I can stand for that. I know that I didn't do anything in this particular situation but I didn't know what to do. If I see this again, I will talk to the BO and voice my concern. I don't think that it's fair to the horse to just walk away.
You have to remember that one person's judgement of abuse Is just another person's use of ineffective discipline or poor skill. I see an unskilled rider hanging on a horse's reins and I see abuse. Unintentional abuse is still abuse. Do you think a person should butt in there, too?
No one should lose their temper and lose control when working with a horse. But, I am smart enough to not butt in unless actual injury is going to occur (like blinding a horse or crippling it.) Butting in may not be the safest thing to do, may make the abuse escalate and could make the wrong person turn on you with whatever is in their hand.
I disagree with how a lot of people 'train' their horses, but you cannot become the 'barn Nazi'.
You cannot argue with a drunk or an angry person any more effectively than you can train an excited or mad horse that is in a 'reactive mode'.
Anybody that has lived with an abusive parent or spouse or an alcoholic one can tell you that interfering with that abusive person when they are mad, can result in worse abuse and a greater chance of injury. That is what butting in can get you.
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