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CruceyMoose 01-09-2011 08:02 PM

The Shortcuts vs. The Training
This is meant to be an EDUCATED, CIVILIZED discussion. =) So no fighting please!

I believe in training. Shortcuts will come back and bite you later is my belief.

IE; My horse Sasha had SOME shortcuts taken with her. She was trained fairly well, but it's obvious at times that she had "corners cut." Sasha came with a 3 ring bit, and a super short standing martingale. She fought and fought with my trainer and I (and we NEVER rode her with that tiny little martingale!) for a week or so, but then we decided to put her in a French Link Full Cheek. Different horse! She still has her moments where she's a little witch (:twisted:) but it is becoming less frequent, and I've only had her for three/four weeks! Now, she did the 2'6" hunters quite successfully with her old owner so it's debatable, but I believe in training.

However: there are some barn in the area that I'm just WAITING for something terrible to happen with all the shortcuts they take.

THEY PUT FREAKING NAILS IN THE HORSE'S NOSEBANDS IF THEY ARE HEAD-FLIPPERS! NAILS! That's not only asking for a hefty vet bill or a horse with a broken nose and blood all over your equipment, but you are going to end up hurt! What if you do that to a horse and it freaks out? It will probably start rearing and spinning around. I know Sasha would! She would spin around and back up if I half-halted too hard in the 3 ring! They also strap the horse's noses down to their chests. They drug their horses at shows, but sadly, they win at all the "A" shows along the east coast and have medal riders. All for the sake of a ribbon. :-( :evil:

Now, I'm not against properly adjusted/properly used training equipment (except for a few, but that's not relevant.) But what do you think? A few glorious moments that may not be worth it later, or lots of pain now training a horse for lots of glory later? What are your "beliefs"?

Smilie 01-09-2011 08:57 PM

Training is just that-educating a horse and not forcing one through intimidation or short cuts
My standard-I seldom use any training devises, but rely on the correct feel:, knowing when to drive with leg, when to hold and when to reward and release
Basic training is done in a plain snaffle, until you have all the basic body control on them
If I use an artificial training devise like a martingale or even draw reins, it is done short term, to fix a specific problem, then go back to a plain snaffle asp
You go on to a curb once a horse has the basic education in a snaffle, not for control, but for increase finesse

Kayty 01-09-2011 09:15 PM

Although we appear to be in different disciplines, I entirely agree with Smilie and work in the same way. I will use a training aid if I feel that the horse will benefit from it short term, just to help give it the idea. For example using a market harborough or draw reins to give the horse the idea and confidence that it CAN be comfortable with its head and neck in a longer, lower position. Usually it is ottb's that benefit from these 'gadgets' as they lack the confidence and have no idea that they're allowed to lower their head and neck.
Once they get the idea, the 'gadgets' are removed, and there is no excuses for the horse refusing to lower as it now knows that it can do so without panicking.

I am a FIRM believer in establishing the basics to the best of my ability before moving onto the 'tricks'. This is particularly evident in my chosen discipline of dressage, where it is so common to see horses pushed far beyond where they should be, because the rider wants to do the 'fun stuff'. Yet all too often, these horses break down either mentally or physically within a few years, because they do not have the muscle strength and mental capability to remain at that level for long. Yes training the basics perfectly and solidly takes longer, yes the horse may be older by the time it reaches the 'higher' levels, but that horse will perform consistently for much longer than a horse that is just pushed up the levels so the rider can ride 'tricks'.

tinyliny 01-09-2011 09:34 PM

I think a lot of the crap you are talking about is a result of the whole horse show industry. It encourages owners to do whatever it takes to get their horse ready to show quickly and sadly, people are often rewarded for this behavior by winning!

Shasta1981 01-09-2011 09:35 PM

Crucey that is really sad. I believe in working from the ground up with correct training. I don't care how long it takes I'm very patient. I'm also not in it for ribbons. Sure doing well in a show is a great feeling and of course I would want to do well, but not that badly. Its more important to me to develop a respectful, close partnership with my horse.

Kayty 01-09-2011 09:38 PM

Very true tinyliny, you see it all the time. Where I am, there are a few participants in particular who push horses so quickly that they're training elementary/medium by 3 to 4 years old. Even in preliminary and novice competition, these people win by miles with horses that are stuck up in a tight, elementary/medium frame, clearly with no relaxation to speak of. I was under the impression that preliminary in particular, was intended to present horses that were just getting the hand of rhythm, relaxation, suppleness and the paces shoulder be free and forward with no restriction, without elevating the legs high from the ground towards collection.
Sad that many judges reward such incorrect work.

Shasta1981 01-10-2011 02:52 PM

Kayty thats terrible news. I have been training for dressage (used to event) and was hoping to compete once I have the time and felt ready. Is this what I can expect to find once I get there? I was really hoping for more technically-driven horse lovers. =(

Kayty 01-10-2011 04:28 PM

Shasta, unfortunately it seems to be the way among many locations and competitions. However it is not every judge and every rider that is as I described above. There are still many genuine riders/officials who are driven to achieve correct work, even if they do not place as well as 'flashy' work.
Personally I would rather take my basics very slowly and accurately, and I will ride my lower level tests very conservatively until I feel that I can ask my horse for a little more 'electricity', but until that time, I tend to place mid field just out of the placings because my tests look 'boring' but accurate and correct. Oh well, my horses will be going into their late teens while the current winners will be well and truly broken down, I find comfort in that thought while training!

tinyliny 01-10-2011 07:28 PM


And the word "dressage" means "training". Not winning.
Do you have any videos of you riding? I would love to see . IT's been so long since I did any dressage. I miss it.

Kayty 01-10-2011 07:36 PM

Exactly that tinyliny, but I think now that so many people lose sight of that and are out there simply to win. And if their horse breaks down at medium, so be it if it's brought them home a few ribbons and rugs. It breaks my heart seeing so many good horses wrecked in this way.

I don't have any recent videos of me riding, I did get someone to film me with my green horse last weekend, but the video isn't working on my laptop. I'll be out competing more frequently soon once I've got Bob going more consistently, so will put a test video up then

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