Movie: "Down the Fence" - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 07-21-2019, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Movie: "Down the Fence"

Just finished watching this documentary on cow reining horses on Netflix, and was very impressed by the sport. There really appears to be an emphasis on horsemanship and camaraderie, unlike the sniping, backstabbing, and gadgetry that tends to permeate "other" disciplines. (Do correct me if that movie blew smoke up my hiney in that respect!)

It also gave me an appreciation for the Western saddle. I'm still preferring my English tack, but now I also have good reason for it: my little puttering on the trail benefits from a light saddle with lots of movement rather than the Western saddle that is designed to keep the rider in place under immense acceleration and deceleration. I know I've been talking about Icelandics, but now I also think it'd be great to ride a horse that, say, washed out of cow reining school because it lacked the drive or intuition to be highly competitive, but otherwise got some solid training.

And they say the Internet makes you stupid...
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post #2 of 35 Old 07-21-2019, 09:51 PM
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We think that our horse Moonshine did cattle work in her younger years, as she has injuries consistent with roping and with being gored by a cow (!). She is an amazing, absolutely bomb-proof, calm, child safe, but forward horse. Oh, and smart, too. Perfect manners on the ground. Somewhat opinionated at times, but then she's a grumpy middle-aged mare. She's a great horse, and if all ex-cattle horses are like her, then I would say go for it! She's such a good girl, with lots of get-up-and-go, but still calm all the time. The one caveat is that she does have a lot of old injuries that need to be managed, and her hocks are probably going to start needing to be injected in the next couple of years.
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post #3 of 35 Old 07-21-2019, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Hah, and a counterpoint: Sickening: even sicker the reiners that justify this as all good - Reining Trainers

And there I was thinking there's a discipline that is exceptional.

Anyway, now I'd really be even more interested in first-hand observations from the HF crowd. Seems like you can't trust anyone these days.
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post #4 of 35 Old 07-21-2019, 11:19 PM
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In my opinion many disciplines are just fine at the lower levels. Most every sport at the higher levels involves valuing extremes, to the detriment of all. This includes human sports where things like blood doping are tried. At higher levels of animal sports, it is no longer about the animal but about the competition and prestige or money. Yet many people venerate or revere people at the top of animal sports, when in all likelihood many of us would not agree with their values. That doesn't necessarily mean doing the sport at a lower level is bad or detrimental to animals.

I think in the reining video the riders were trying for the most extreme movement the horse could perform. There also may have been some component of fatigue after drilling or practicing that made the horses unable to manage the movements.
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post #5 of 35 Old 07-22-2019, 12:52 AM
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I haven't looked at your link, yet.

Keep in mind, "Down the Fence" is about Cow sorting / penning, not reining.

But, the older guy in that movie, the one in his 70's, with dozens of broken bones, he keeps winning at the sport! He is an insanely good rider!

I used to watch the so-called trainer work at a reining barn my friend boarded at. I had a hard time watching all the yanking and spanking and whirling and squirreling, and sliding and . . . . . . hiding (behind the bit).
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post #6 of 35 Old 07-22-2019, 12:59 AM
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Soo hard to watch! what a good horse will do for a human, and how he gets rewarded!

Many of those reining horses have hocks that are basically shot by the time they are 5. It's hock injections, and then they try and sell them on, but they will have trouble there now.

They are run so hard on their forehand. its really sickening.
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post #7 of 35 Old 07-22-2019, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I haven't looked at your link, yet.

Keep in mind, "Down the Fence" is about Cow sorting / penning, not reining.
Well, what they show is like "eventing": on three days, they do cutting, reining, and fence work, for a combined score. It may well be that their reining event involves less stylized extremes.
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post #8 of 35 Old 07-22-2019, 06:46 AM
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I don't know a lot about it other than I find reining hard to watch. Have never really watched cow penning.

As far as those horses being calm and willing, I'd just throw in that Kodak did some competitive roping and barrel racing in her previous life. Didn't make her a calm horse.
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post #9 of 35 Old 07-22-2019, 07:42 AM
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I loved that movie Down the Fence.

I don't necessarily like reining patterns, with the spectacular stops only possible without injury with special footing and boots, and the spins. But I love the cow work. You cannot train or force or drug a horse into controlling cattle. It is quite a bit like herding with dogs -- they are so much better at it than any human will ever be, not just because they are faster but because they know. Your job is just to tell them which cows go where, and then stay out of their way.

Short horse lover
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post #10 of 35 Old 07-22-2019, 08:39 AM
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What Ido know about filming is that the directors are usually use to an actor doing the same scene over and over and majority of those, making films do not understand it is not the same for an animal to repeat time and time again.

In the film 'The Champions', one scene they wanted at least twenty shots over four fences, this meant ten horses jumping the same four jumps twenty timed a total of eighty jumps. They did about six before owners and riders refused to do more.

They used the first shot.

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