"There's abuse in every discipline!" - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 09:32 PM
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First, I think "abuse" needs a fixed definition.

Are we saying that anything which is not BENEFICIAL to an animal is abuse? If so, riding in general could be argued to be abuse. (I'm not saying it is, just throwing it out there)

Are we saying anything which MAY be harmful in any way to an animal is abuse? If so things shoes, bits, spurs, whips etc. could be considered abusive. (And still not saying any of those things ARE abuse... Just more food for thought)

Or is abuse something else? Perhaps anything which causes pain (do we quantify the pain, or is it just any pain?)? Or maybe it could be something that causes fear? What about something which robs the horse of pride?

See the problem? "Abuse" is somewhat of a subjective term... We can likely all agree that things like purposely causing pain or injury, starvation, or neglecting basic good care is abusive... But beyond that things are going to become more grey and murky based on what we are taught and our personal experiences.

I'm not saying it is OK to be abusive, or use abuse everywhere as an excuse for it... Just saying it will be really hard to stop "all abuse" without first coming to a common definition for abuse itself.
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post #22 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 10:11 PM
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I agree with the last couple of posts.

About a year ago someone posted a video about a trainer loading a horse into a trailer that didn't want to be loaded with a plastic wiffle ball bat, ABUSE! In my eyes, no, it wasn't abuse. Could it have been done better? Yes.

Working for a trainer, I was saddling a horse in the barn, shoer trimming a yearling. Yearling being brat and trying to kick half heartily and pull her leg away, finally he smacks the yearling in the belly with the broad side of his rasp. Yearling quits. A horse owner watched the whole incident as did I. Next day said horse owner comes back red and swollen eyed from crying all night from witnessing the "abuse". I never gave it a second thought.
I realize the OP is talking about competitive sports, but these are examples of how the term "abuse" is subjective. I am no means condoning abuse(my idea of abuse). Someone used Big Lick as an example, I know NOTHING about it so how am I to judge if their training practices are truly abusive? Same can be true for the methods I use. I could only hope for understanding before judgment.
Like boots said it is too easy to see a small clip on YouTube and jump on the band wagon.
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post #23 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 10:25 PM
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I see a lot of people, who say they rider dressage, condemning those at the top of the sport for "abusive practices". Which I find really laughable.
Having ridden with some of these people, having spurs removed or exchanged for smaller ones, whips taken away, etc.. and really learning from them they have a lot of knowledge to offer and are in no way abusive. Two of my favorite moments are watching Robert Dover hop on a not particularly talented horse and schooling him in such a light way that he was dancing - it was amazing to see how his seat affected the horse. And watching Anky teach and really simplify things "How do you ride a circle?" she asked one rider, who rattled off a list of aids and Anky cut her off to say "You just ride the circle, ride the shape, don't think too much".
It really irks me to then see people harp on these riders, and others, when they themselves actually have no idea about dressage and would be smart to sit down and watch them school or teach before judging them.
Lets also remember that Rolkur has not been proven to be abusive or detrimental by science and studies by some of the worlds leading biomechanics experts have actually found the opposite to be true.
And re dressage horses not going outside, that is very normal in a lot of sports and breed show people across the board. That whole thing was PETA being stupid. TBs at the race track don't get turn out either. Nor do some jumpers, reiners, AQHA, Arabs, Morgans, Saddlebreds, etc.. etc.. etc..

Use your brain before accusing some people of abuse. What is abuse? We agree that riding in spurs and bits with a whip is not abuse. We agree that correcting a horse roughly for dominant or aggressive behavior is not abuse. We agree that starvation, not getting feet done, not getting a vet out for an injury, etc.. is abuse. But where is the line?
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post #24 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 10:34 PM
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I went back and looked at my posts again. I said nothing about abuse for that very reason "abuse" one mans abuse is another mans discipline. as far as competition I don't know what can be done it's sad what others will do just to win. The fact that some are that way shouldn't make us unwilling to compete. You are all right "abuse" is in the eye of the beholder but what else is there do we REALLY want the government to get into this issue any more then they already are?? I don't. I truly think the best way to help stop "abuse" is eduaction and truly open minded people willing to talk and share ideas. This forum is one of the ways we can help educate people on better ways to feed, train, ride their horses. What I found when I first looked at this forum was a very diverse group of horse people that respect each other (for the most part) and that is why I became a member. we can help to teach people how to be better horseman.
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post #25 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ponyboy View Post
You're right that it all goes back to competition. That's why I never competed (except in schooling shows).
That is *your* prerogative. Just because I choose to be a competitive rider does not mean that I'm abusive. Competition in itself is not inherently evil, though the drive for money can encourage the bad apples.
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post #26 of 27 Old 04-06-2013, 01:06 AM
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Can I just throw in that not all shows pay money!
I ride competitive Dressage, yes, that means I take my horse out in front of judges to compete.
If I have a good test and the judges are seeing what I'm feeling, then I'll take home a 5 cent ribbon.
State champs are on this weekend. Cost over $500 to enter, prize money in my tests is max. $100 for first place or product equivalent.
Dont go telling me that it's all about prize money!

As others have said, what one person thinks is worthy or calling PETA over, another thinks is perfectly normal.
Sure, there are people who think I'm terribly cruel for riding my horse is a double bridle with spurs and a whip. If my horse feels oppressed, he certainly doesn't show it.
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post #27 of 27 Old 04-06-2013, 07:15 AM
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I don't know if I can run with the idea that abuse and competition go hand in hand. IMO, there are likely as many backyard ponies at risk of abuse than there are horses stabled at top notch facilities. I understand that competition brings out the desire to be the best, and some people will cut whatever corners and do whatever they feel necessary in order to be better than somebody else - but it definitely is not restricted to them.

Nobody on here would condone the abuse of animals. I will freely admit that I have stated numerous times that there is abuse in every sport.. because there is. I work, am involved and have a passion for racing - I tend to get a good amount of "stick" for it and numerous times have been informed about how horrible us racing people are, and am told of all the horrible things we apparently do to our horses. The only times i have seen/said about the good and bad is because a particular disciplin/breed/trainer/owner/ect ect ect are being painted with the same brush.

If you feel that competition is the root of abuse - stay away from it, but don't assume anything about those who compete because you never know how close to home the issue may very well be.
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