I don't understand - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-29-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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I don't understand

I don't understand how people can call it training when after a session, the horse is left bloody.

When I went to the stables today, I saw the guy who helps keep the place running working on training some horses. He's been working on these horses for nearly a month now. Anyway, I went to return a wheelbarrow and when I went into the barn, the horse he'd been working with was tied in the alleyway that I had to pass through. First thing I noticed was that the armpit area where the cinch goes was quite pink/red. At first I though he'd sprayed something there but when I got closer, I realized the horse was raw and nearly to the point of bleeding and this was everywhere the girth would be resting (not too sure about the belly part as I didn't look under her, but you can't miss the pink/red of the raw skin starting to bleed). The corner of the horses mouth where the bit sits was also bloody. And no, it wasn't blood from the mouth, but from her lip where the bit had been digging in and tearing at the flesh.

I understand there are times you have to be very direct with a horse and get after them when they do something bad/dangerous, but I don't see the point in training to the point where the horses is literally bleeding.

I also noticed that when I went over to yield her hindquarters to be able to get by, she literally had no clue what I was asking and was very "dead" to any pressure being added. I managed to get her to take two tiny steps sideways and that alone resulted in her licking and chewing, showing she was learning a bit but still just was "dead". So I went to to the front and grabbed her halter/lead rope to encourage her to take at least two steps forward so I could get by. Well, again she was "dead"/dull to the pressure and I barely was able to get her to take one and a half steps and even after that, she was doing more licking and chewing.

Honestly, it's like I was working with a horse that was 100% truly just shutting down to everything and figured the best thing to do was to just stand there and ignore any pressure.

Then, when I went back in later, he had one of his own horses tied in the alley. I just reached out to touch his hip/butt to run my hand along to go behind him, but as I reached for him, he was literally flinching and tensing away from me. As soon as I touched him and rubbed his butt a little, he relaxed as he realized I wasn't going to hurt him. He did this both times I passed him.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Is there some chance I'm over reacting with thinking that there's something wrong going on with his training methods? I know he's very much the old cowboy type trainer but even so, I don't normally see the horses come away bloody like this mare did. And this mare and a stallion were sent to this guy for training (from my understanding anyway). But seeing this just sealed the fact that I highly doubt I'll ever be getting his help with my horses.
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-29-2020, 09:52 PM
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Mouths rarely bleed under 'normal' circumstances - unless a horse bites it's tongue or lips. At the corner of the lips, it is human-caused. The only time I ever saw blood at the corner of a horses mouth is when it got loose while being lunged with the line going through the bit, and stepped on the line.

Cinch areas can bleed if the wrong material cinch is used on a sensitive skinned horse, BUT that should be noticed, and corrected. I'd guess there was already open wounds from the cinch, and they are continually getting re-opened by continuing to ride the horse without allowing the wounds to heal.

No, this is not normal, this is cruelty.
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-29-2020, 10:17 PM
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I let Teddy get a girth sore once. Once. I didn't realize at that time that he basically becomes bald down there for about a month when he's shedding his winter coat. I spent the next few months beating myself up over it and trying multiple girths before I found one that didn't hurt him, so that would never happen again.

I don't know how someone could work a horse to where its lips became bloody and not realize that. Either this guy knew but didn't care ("gotta show 'em who's boss!") or didn't even notice ("Oops, I let me horse get bloody in several places, oh well"). Neither of those are good things.

Do you own horses out there or just ride? Either way, if it were me I'd be keeping my eyes open for anything else like that, and if I saw it I'd be out of there. I wouldn't want to take the chance of this guy interacting with my horse or any other horse I was going to ride.

Also, I agree that there are times when firmness is really needed with horses, but if someone is being "firm" to the point where their horse is bleeding, that person needs to take a step back and consider what THEY are doing wrong, not what the horse is doing wrong. IMO.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-29-2020, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ClearDonkey View Post
Mouths rarely bleed under 'normal' circumstances ... No, this is not normal, this is cruelty.
Good to know I'm not the only one that thinks so.

Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
Do you own horses out there or just ride? Either way, if it were me I'd be keeping my eyes open for anything else like that, and if I saw it I'd be out of there. I wouldn't want to take the chance of this guy interacting with my horse or any other horse I was going to ride..
I do have 1 horse out there, a yearling filly but I did ride there for a bit. He doesn't work with any other horses other than the 3 him and his wife own, plus whatever horses get sent to him for training. And I do try to be there whenever something involves my paddock or such so that I can handle my horses since I'd rather not have him doing anything with them due to a previous experience I've had/seen him do.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-29-2020, 10:40 PM
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My stepdad once sent his old QH to a local reining/cowhorse trainer to have 60 days added to him. I hadn't watched him work with other horses until my stepdad brought me and my half-Arab gelding to him for a lesson. What an eye-opening experience to the cruelty that some view as 'normal' training.

My gelding could be ridden bridleless at this point, and was a successful all-arounder. The first thing this trainer had me do was put on spurs, change his bit to something stronger, and immediately have me begin forcing my horse to contort his body in ways that were completely unnecessary. He couldn't believe how my poorly trained horse could ever be successful in the show-ring. He got on to show me how it is done, and spurred my poor, overly-tolerant gelding, while nagging and yanking his mouth. Well, when that wasn't enough, he got off, attached side reins to my horses shanked bit, attached the side reins to the saddle to the point my horse had his head cranked around, and forced him to canter around. That's how you get a horse to be supple, right?

Ended this all by untacking my horse, connecting him to a trailer tie attached to the wall, and hosing him down very roughly as my horse fought against the wall.

I was a child at this point, and was by far too quiet and scared of authority to say anything to help my poor gelding. It took a long time to have my horse go forward, confidently again, and especially work laterally, correctly.

My stepdad's QH gelding? Absolutely terrified. Easily overwhelmed under-saddle. He would just totally break down if I asked too hard for something after this trainer had him. Softness didn't quite mean as much to him either after being treated so roughly. This 'trainer' ruined him, and as far as I know, his new home is still struggling with getting him to totally relax, even in a totally different job. This is at least 8 years later.

And the kicker? This trainer is very well-known in my area, and is listed on the NCHA website under the trainer listings. I don't think he does much good for these horses, but hey, at least they can earn a ribbon in the show ring.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-30-2020, 02:36 AM
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Ditto to AC & Donkey - that's not 'training' but cruelty. The raw girthline is nothing to do with training per se but it's likely the mouth was bloody not just from 'wrong material'(eg rough/corroded bit) but from the guy being rough with it too. Poor horse!

When my kids were babies & I had too little time, I sent my young horse to a trainer, who, after much research, I thought was good. They weren't going to use a bit with him, but after only a week(he was booked to stay for a month) I went to see him & he had sores at the corners of his mouth from the bit, sores on his nose from a badly fitting halter left on, he was uncatchable(previously very friendly with people), headshy and terrified of men! Took him home then, but to this day(around 15yrs later), he is still nervous of men & 'gapes' his mouth & throws his head up, when you go to take the halter off, if he's stressed about anything. Oh & he became frightened of stables & insecure about being left alone after that one, single week too. Oh and I only discovered about 6 years ago, this almost(otherwise) unflappable boy was quite frightened of being in an indoor arena - that week 15yrs ago was his only previous experience in one...
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-30-2020, 01:21 PM
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Licking and chewing is NOT a sign of learning.
It is a sign that the horse was stressed in some way and is now trying to calm back down.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-30-2020, 02:57 PM
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This was a reining barn/trainer? I've only seen two reining horses trainers in action, outside of Youttube videos. Both were very harsh on the animals, and the horses seemed very robotic.

It's not that rare for a girth gall to develop, it's mainly indicative of illfitting tack. but the lip bleeding? that's indicative of really harsh hands.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-30-2020, 04:12 PM
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I worked for a reining horse trainer, a real trainer not a monster in disguise.
The man I worked for worked his horses, but never, never did a horse return with bloody lip or mouth.
I am positive of this cause it was me who brought the horses back after a training session to clean, groom, bathe and take care of them, so I had first look at their body.

Did cinch issues happen, occasionally and they would happen quickly when the animal was ridden for an hour and it was hidden under the cinch..
A bad reaction to the material of the cinch happens...just like humans can have allergic reaction to certain materials so can the same thing happen to a horse. You address it immediately and properly.
To continue to ride so it is now a raw, weepy and soon bloody mess is inexcusable and cruel to the animal.
He is no trainer if he subjects his mounts to such treatment as is shown by how the horses react to him.
Shut down is a good term...reactive is a good term and at some point reactive and explosive in reaction may also become a good description.
Please make sure you stay safe and the animal know it is you if you touch him...speak to them cause they know voices and know kindness and who is cruel and hurts them...at some point this "trainer" shall reap what he gives in return by his mounts...

Make sure your barn owner is absolutely clear that this "trainer" is to never handle your horse under any conditions, ever!
If the B/O asks you why, tell him what you have seen... Facts only, no embellishing of facts needed.
The facts are damning enough.
No one can go against what your feelings are with what you have seen and now know is truly wrong, unneeded and a better way to communicate with your partner does exist.
If this was my barn and I was alerted to this treatment of animals on my land, I would be having a discussion with said "trainer" about changing his training practices or he will no longer be at my barn...get out. Watching him closely would now be part of my daily routine...a barn owners responsibility and right.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-30-2020, 05:23 PM
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I bought a mare four years ago who was completely shut down. Her past life included being wrestled to the ground by the head, being hobbled during desensitization training so she couldn't get away (this I found out from a former owner, not the seller who told me she was "dead broke"), and going over backwards probably more than once (this from my chiropractor who found injuries in her neck that are typically caused by this). She has scars on her face. It took her two weeks to unclench her jaw when I brought her home. I did tons of work with her and she's no longer shut down, but still, she's always on guard. At least she has bonded with her new humans, but it took a very long time. However, she can go into full-blown panic mode in a split second. The fear is always there, just simmering on a back burner. In other words, she is likely ruined for life. She's not ridden much anymore because I don't feel like falling off her again and again when she explodes. I can't really, in good conscience, sell her either.

There are better ways to train horses than what this man is doing, and he needs to move into the 21st century. This is abuse.
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