How ROUGH is Rough?
Long story - short question:
There is a new trainer/farm hand on the farm where I ride. Many of the younger girls are complaining about what they see in how she treats the horses. These girls are all experienced riders between 12-15 years old....and many have been on this farm since they were 6 or 7. When I ask if they tell the adults around them, they say - no one listens and none of the adults see what they see.
They are saying she loses her temper too easily and is quick to hit, that many of the ponies are now "afraid of people" and are not as quick to be caught and in some cases have gone from easy to difficult to catch. My daughter has come home more than once in tears over what she claims to be the misuse of the horses by this trainer.
I had a lesson with her the other day and 5 minutes before the end of my lesson she asked me to get off so that she could "school" this horse. She was really unhappy with the horse's behavior as she was giving me a bit of attitude.....which didn't bother me (the rider) at all - although I am a novice. She really "laid" into this horse and demanded immediate and complete compliance - she was MAD! It was a bit unnerving actually. She had little tolerance at all. Not being that familiar with training - I didn't really know what to make of it all. Maybe she was correcting a situation she felt was unsafe for me as a novice? Maybe she had to show her force with the attitude she was getting? She was mad the horse was giving any attitude at all....but at the same time she was explaining why....that because I was learning I was hitting her in odd spots and also perhaps leaning to far in on her head when I lost balance etc. making her shift her head oddly and giving attitude. Which as a lesson horse she should know better! I never felt afraid or out of control - even though she was moving her head forward.
So after her "schooling" this horse- she asked that I get back on and finish up the last few minutes of my lesson. Which I did. She apologized to me saying that the horse had not been ridden lately and that she may have had a bit too much energy etc.
The original philosophy on this farm came from the owner who recently had a baby and just can not be involved at the same level right now. The owner's philosophy is anything but "rough" and was always more total understanding than punishment.
I can recall a lesson I had with the owner once when the pony I was on just decided she wanted to kneel down and roll in the sand - with me, the novice rider still on top of her!! It had been raining out and she was a bit wet. Luckily - no crisis - the pony was pregnant at the time and moved slowly enough to the ground that my feet were free and I was able to get off before she began to roll. But, the owner didn't get mad at this pony at all - didn't punish - she just went with the flow and actually took the saddle off and let the pony roll to her hearts content. Then - quick brush and re-saddle - and up I went - and the lesson went on as usual. There was no scolding. No punishment. She just figured it was something weird the pony felt it had to do and best if she just did it and move on. It just seems as though the owner has a totally different philosophy than this new trainer. She uses patience not force.
Since the farm has never had a "rough" trainer on board it seems to be unsettling to the girls and some fo the horses....and even to me. The owner doesn't have a lot of options right now - with a newborn at home and good, inexpensive help is hard to find. I keep telling that to my daughter - that the owner just doesn't have a lot of options right now - maybe that's why she's not "listening".
So my question to you trainers is -
are we all too sensitive to this different approach? because the girls really grew up with a totally different philosophy as their model - is this just something that is out there and they are too young to know this? and it's not something evil or cruel but just simply a completely different philosophy from what they grew up with?
I don't know what to tell my daughter about the new trainer's approach. I know it's different but I don't know much else. I don't know if the girls are being overly sensitive or if their concerns are well grounded?
the new trainer is quick to hit, I know that for a fact -and she has a short fuse - around horses who are used to a different philosophy.
It'a a big change on a small farm. For horses and riders. But, is it wrong or just different?
"She really "laid" into this horse and demanded immediate and complete compliance - she was MAD! It was a bit unnerving actually. She had little tolerance at all. Not being that familiar with training - I didn't really know what to make of it all. Maybe she was correcting a situation she felt was unsafe for me as a novice? Maybe she had to show her force with the attitude she was getting?"
what exactly did she do??
i imagine it is very difficult for the kids to see something completely different from what they are used to . i think i would be upset also.
when i was younger, i was around lots of people that had no hesitation at all to pick up a board/strap etc., and beat the living daylights out of a horse for, not behaving the way they think they should, getting a good enough time in an event, or whatever. i have no tolerance for those kinds of people, at all!!!!! but as a kid, there was nothing i could do but complain to my parents.
if it was me, i would complain to the owner and maybe she could watch (from a distance so the trainer didn't know) to see what was going on. its better to be without an abusive trainer and maybe inconvenienced for awhile, than to lose paying customers that don't want their kids exposed to such behaviour. thats what i would do.
Sounds like you have experienced the far extremes of horse training. Somewhere is the middle is more healthy for the horse and rider.
To have a horse/pony roll with a rider on it's back is unexceptable, and dangerous. It is a lack of repect by the animal.
Too beat a horse to get it's attention does not teach the horse repect, but fear. It is considered the old cowboy way. It is effective to point, but in the long run not healthy for the horse or rider. Usually it is a lack of patience by the trainer.
The correct way in my humble opinion would be to build a foundation of repect on the ground, being firm, but not cruel. Then building on that foundation.
There is a time and place to get the attention of a horse, but it should not be done in anger. But rather pressure the horse to find the correct answer to it's behavior. EXample, This pressure may start off by spanking the horses hid quarters with a soft cotton rope to get it to dis-engage it's hind quarters, this physical action is more startling then scary, and soon enough you will only have to lift the lead line towards the hind quarters and the horse will dis-engage. Remembering that if you want the horse to find the right answer you will use only enough pressure, physcially or physcologically as necessary. The less pressure you use the better for the horse.
On the other end, to allow or assist an animal to make decisions that are dangerous to a rider, such as rolling with a rider on it's back is just a bad judgement. The use of a crop to tap or spank the horse once to get it's attention back on the rider would be more appropriate. Not to let it roll, causing the rider to bail off the horse.
As for the horse or pony not holding it's head correctly.
If the horse is not holding it's head in the correct position then there is a reason. Some horses are more forgiving then others with novice riders. With the head of a horse, that horse will always try to find release from pressure. We want the horse to have both lateral and vertical flextion, finding the release by tucking it's head slightly. The trainer instead of beating the horse may have been better served by having you turn the head of the horse from left to right until it became softer to the bit. Then continuing your lesson.
Good Luck and be safe
As a trainer myself, I would recommend you speak to the owner of the barn, or whomever is in charge. I agree with what WLD says about finding a middle ground, but the only way something may change is if you express your disapproval and discomfort about this trainer's teaching style. But perhaps you should keep the younger kids out of it and make yourself sort of a "spokesperson" so the owner doesn't think that everyone is 'ganging up' on the new person. And make sure you keep it professional! You don't want to create an impression that you can't get along. But if the owner is as laid back and friendly as you stated, I'm sure she would be appalled to hear that her horses are being hit into submission and handled roughly to create "respect".
-thank you for your replies - it really does help to hear your opinions.
I am watching this kind of people whole the time here in my place. This is a city club and many of horses are privat, but when I see how people treat them my heart starts to ache. That behavior what you have mentioned that trainer/farm hand have is unacceptable. That kind of person thinks that she knows a lot, but what she knows is ****(sorry). She can make only worse with that frustration and force. Many of riders has been taught that the force is answer to all problems. What you get with force is fear and something what is seen in many cases as disobedience. I would rather get rid of that kind of person. In my case I'm not depending from anyone so I can work on my own. I don't know for you?
Excuse me for sounding like a not so nice male, but....All too often, I have seen riders, especially female riders, decide that disciplining a horse is abusive. I attribute this to the nurture instinct. Nothing wrong with that. I would want the mother of my children to be nurturing. However......you have a 900-1200 pound (or more) animal being disrespectful to a 100-200 pound rider......The first priority in horsemanship should be the safety of the rider, with the safety of the horse a close but definite second. If the horse is being disrespectful, he needs to be disciplined. Perhaps the teenage girls need to learn this before they gte hurt by an ill-mannered horse that they have let get away with too much.
Eactly what she did I'm not sure but if a horse is not listening to maybe a less experienced rider the trainer getting on for a quick tune up would be acceptable. If they balk or don't listen to aids a firm tap with a crop behind your leg would be ok but not anything savage that would leave a welt as I've unfortunately seen before, but usually a horse misbehaving for a novice rider just needs more clear aids to make them pay attention.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING..... beating a horse senseless or constant whipping/ kicking whatever is pointless and doesn't achieve much. One or two solid whips behind the saddle at the right time is far better than constant half hearted taps.
These one or two whips... if she is train ing the horse... should after a few rides not be necessary (exceptions do apply), she should be working towards a softer aid each time.
1...I break/train/re educate horses and quite often after a horse has gotten a away with a particular vice for a long time a firm ride is required for a few days to let the horse know that it is no longer acceptable. Usually when you stop one vice ie spinning to the left to avoid going past an object, a horse will try a different approach to avoid the task... maybe a rear and a spin or a quick stop into running backwards or planting its feet and refusing to move. It is then the trainers job to get the horse to understand none of these options are accepatable... and the only acceptable option is to pass the object. This is possibly why it may seem as though she is really beating your horse. After a few rides with your trainer your horse will be less inclined to try new vices as it has not succeded for a few days on getting away with them. As i said earlier the severity should most definitly decrease after a few rides as your horse remembers lessons learnt from previos days.
2...i would be asking for details of her experience... try to get names to contact, without asking directly for their details and try to do some background work on her. My experience with horse people is that they are more than happy to share good... but particualrly bad experiences with trainers
3.... young teeenage girls can get on their high horse about new/different methods.... it only takes one of the girls to put the idea in to the others head and they will all join on in the b*%tch session... they thrive on it haha... so observe her and make your own opinion.
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