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I have noticed that the definition of abuse varies greatly from person to person. Some think that using a twisted wire snaffle is abuse. Some think that it's a tool.

Some think that striking a horse anywhere is abuse and some don't think it's abuse until there is blood.

Some people think it is abusive to stall a horse and others think a horse should never be left out over night.

Where is the line where abuse starts for you?
 

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abuse to me is pure neglect or stupidity. Ie a horse in the freezing rain in 20 degree weather with no shelter and no blanket.

abuse is some one riding their horse into the ground past the horses durability, so to say.

abuse is some one who has a horse and NEVER spends time with it other than to ride it when they feel like it. in this case i call it abuse b.c the animal has no affection given to it and is just used to be a fun ride.

abuse is some one feeding their horse once a day or once a week for that matter.

abuse is no shelter and no blanket being outside 24.7 (not a horse being out 24.7 in general every one that has their horses out 24.7 (normally) has shelter and a blanket or one or the other )

abuse is some one beating their horse for refusing a jump b.c the rider didn't ride up to it properly

abuse is some one who ride's their horse in an ill-fitting saddle and knowing it dosent fit.

the list can go and go and go lol
 

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When it becomes more than discipline and stems from anger. I'm sure that's still a very vague answer but here is an example. And please keep in mind that previously abused horses are a different case, and require more trust building exercises than anything else. In my scenarios, I'm talking about my personal horses or horses I come in contact with fairly consistently.

If a horse bites at me, I will smack it in the muzzle. It needs to know that biting is a definite NO. Then I will do what I can to figure out what made it bite me in the first place and fix the problem. Abuse, in that situation, would be hitting it several times, even after the horse has already retreated out of your space. It is also unfair in this case, as in all of them, to continue to be angry at the horse. It is necessary to move on and start on a clean slate immediately after the horse backs off.

When I taught my at the time 8 month old filly to crosstie, I tied her solidly to one tree, and wrapped a rope around the second, and I held the slack tight enough to be a crosstie but was able to release her if I needed to. Once she got over that bucking fit and decided to stand still, we started addressing crosstie manners. Meaning to stand still in the middle of the crossties. I put her in the barn crossties, stood in front of her with her lead rope clipped up with a dressage whip in my hand. When she swung her butt to the side, I'd give her a tug on the lead with a firm "Stand!" and tapped her butt with the whip, increasing the pressure until she moved. The process continued until I was able to stick an arm out and she'd move over. I spread all this over a month, and now she steps over with a wiggle of my fingers. This is not beating a horse while it is in the crossties for pooping. She was given the pressure she needed to move off, and I was putting the pressure on the offending object; her rear. I didn't hit her in the head or neck or shoulder, because it wasn't the head or neck or shoulder that invaded the no-occupancy space.

A couple weeks ago, I was out in the pasture, fooling around with the "herd." My friend's horse seemed to think it would be cute to rear up at me. I leaped up and smacked her horse in the side of her face, between her muzzle and eyes. She came down, looked at me all offended, and went about her business. I can still walk up to her, fuss with her face, do whatever I want with her, but now she knows not to rear up at me.

Discipline is just that, discipline. And it needs to be given in the right dosage, at the right time, in a way that the one being disciplined will understand. We can't give a horse a talking to, we must play the role of alpha in the herd, and the head of the herd will kick or bite a horse that is doing something wrong. How can you say it's wrong for us, as the owner, handler, and boss to do the same?
 

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i just want to add to ricci's post

i dont advise hitting a horse in the face EVER even on the nose. this is the #1 cause of head shyness. i always always aaaaaalways smack on the neck. never the face. sorry but thats IMO
 

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abuse to me is pure neglect or stupidity. Ie a horse in the freezing rain in 20 degree weather with no shelter and no blanket.
I dont think that is neccesarely abuse. Horses were made to be outside and most of the time if not all of the time horses will not go in the shelter when it is cold and raniy but will huddle together as nature intended, with there backs to the wind.

Abuse of horses to me is when people fail to learn. They dont understand about horses and either go to far with keeping there horse humanized or dont do enough to help the horse out while letting them be as natural as possible. To me abuse doesnt have to be "neglect" it can also be to much overzeolous protection.

Also the obvious lack of care both physical and mental. No food. Carelesness in riding and tending to the horse. All that stuff.
 

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I have noticed that the definition of abuse varies greatly from person to person. Some think that using a twisted wire snaffle is abuse. Some think that it's a tool.

I think abuse is ANYTHING that causes unnecessary pain or stress to the horse. I don't personally think a twisted wire bit is a tool, except on short and very rare circumstances. It is a substitute for good training, IMO.

Some think that striking a horse anywhere is abuse and some don't think it's abuse until there is blood.

I use whips, but not to hurt. I use it to tap enough to reinforce an aid. I never strike in anger or frustration. Sometimes you just need to get off and start again another day, before you are tempted to revert to violence.

Some people think it is abusive to stall a horse and others think a horse should never be left out over night.

Where is the line where abuse starts for you?
I think the line, for me, is drawn over whether what you are doing is CONSTRUCTIVE or DESTRUCTIVE. I find other ways to get my point across than inflicting pain....always.
 

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Horses were made to be outside and most of the time if not all of the time horses will not go in the shelter when it is cold and raniy but will huddle together as nature intended, with there backs to the wind.
you need to remember this isnt the wild... horses cannot survive long if they are let to fend on their own with no other horses. ive seen people with horses in their back yards , alone , in 4 ft of snow no blanket no shelter makes me wonder if they even have water. i think thats pure abuse and in the state of NY it IS abuse and you can have your horse taken away.
 

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This really is a post with so many different views. There are some things that I consider abuse in one person's hands but not in anothers. I would be comfortable using a twisted wire snaffle for a short time because I know how to use it properly (though other people may not think so), though I choose not to. However, many people have no business with anything harsher than a french link snaffle in their horse's mouth. I agree completely with Ricci,
When it becomes more than discipline and stems from anger
. I personally believe that some horses do occasionally need a firm smack to regain their respect. I have smacked a horse on the nose or pinched their lip for nipping me and it never resulted in them being headshy. I consider these things acceptable because it is the same way in a horse herd. An offending horse will be warned with actions and sounds, then physically reprimanded with either teeth or hooves. I will warn with a firm "EH" or "NO" and make my posture more assertive before taking it to a smack. There are certain things that a horse should never be punished for; being afraid, or showing pain or uncertainty, or being "stubborn" about picking up a new thing that I am teaching them. After they know what is expected, it might be a different thing. It is a case by case basis for me. Dobe might do something and I smack him on the shoulder whereas Denny would do the same thing and I just back him out of my space for a few feet. It all depends on the horse, the circumstances, and the environment of the situation.

However, there are certain things that I consider abuse no matter the situation or circumstances.
-leaving bloody sides from spurs
-leaving bloody mouths from bits
-hitting a horse out of anger for any reason
-hitting a horse for no reason; ie, when they haven't done anything wrong
-leaving a horse with no food or water
-leaving a serious injury untreated when it is known about
-tying a horse with his head in the rafters (seen it happen)
And there are some other things that I can't think of right now but my ideas of what is and is not acceptable treatment of a horse are pretty black and white.
 

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Abuse is doing damage that cannot be fixed or easily fixed, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally.
 

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i just want to add to ricci's post

i dont advise hitting a horse in the face EVER even on the nose. this is the #1 cause of head shyness. i always always aaaaaalways smack on the neck. never the face. sorry but thats IMO
If a horse bits me he will get it as hard as I can right in the mouth. If I have a brush in my hand at the time he lashes out with me I will try to jab it into his mouth. The more I can hurt him the better but then it is done. I don't continue to yell at him, I just carry on.
To me that is not abuse. I watch horses play fight and kick each other really hard and do you think they think it is abuse??
The way alot of you guys handle your horse to me is abuse. You are creating monsters with your love taps on the neck.
Head shying is not a problem. Horses need to know the rules and they also learn to stay within guidelines and they will not be smacked.
 

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You are creating monsters with your love taps on the neck.
my horses have never bitten, kicked, reared or done any dissrespecful movment/ action since my 'love tap' so , sorry if you think its creating a monster . they sure listen to me i guess that makes them monsters.
 

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I have noticed that the definition of abuse varies greatly from person to person. Some think that using a twisted wire snaffle is abuse. Some think that it's a tool.

Some think that striking a horse anywhere is abuse and some don't think it's abuse until there is blood.

Some people think it is abusive to stall a horse and others think a horse should never be left out over night.

Where is the line where abuse starts for you?

Great question Kevin,

Abuse is up for such broad interpretation.
Like many terms around horses I feel that it is overused.
A twisted wire snaffle is not abuse,but it can be.
A smack is not abuse,but it can be.

I would say that there are many training subjects that can be handled in a softer fashion than they are.
It really goes to the presentation of the subject and how the handler support the horse.

We all know that the auctions are filled with the failures of many and yet people find nice horses at these auctions at every sale.
Willing,working horses.
Why didn't they work for the last people?
Why were they dumped in many cases for pennies on the dollar?

Not always,but in many cases the people were not equipped to deal with very simple problems and the horse lost in the end.

This forum and many others like it hopefully help a little.
I personally doubt that there are many belly kicking,2x4 smacking,and mouth ripping trainers on this forum,but people do run out of ideas and get darn frustrated and maybe solve problems a little rougher than MIGHT be necessary.

I feel that neglect is one of the greatest abuses.
 

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We all know that the auctions are filled with the failures of many and yet people find nice horses at these auctions at every sale.
Willing,working horses.
Why didn't they work for the last people?
Why were they dumped in many cases for pennies on the dollar?

=D lovvvve that quote. ive pulled 4 horses from the kill pen. and each and every one of them had BIG issues . and were ALL fixed with 4 months of love and correct training. its such a miracle what a little bit of love does.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think there are two types of abuse.


Neglegent abuse includes things like leaving the halter on a horse that's turned out or still growing. Letting a horse become so disrespectful that it can't be safely handled or ridden, improper feeding and care (too much or not enough), and poor hoof care. I also think that allowing horses that are crippled or blind or otherwise incapable of living a usefull life alive is negligent abuse. Horses that have had several colic surgeries are another good example. Sometimes "saving" the horse from slaughter is not the best thing.

Active abuse is easier to identify in some cases. Someone that inflicts pain on a horse without any expectation of a positive outcome is an abuser. People that embrace thier ignorance when it comes to training techniques are on the verge of becoming abusive. I rode with a lady that would allow her very well trained horse to stop whenever it wanted in the trail was not yet guilty of abuse but when the horse developes worse bad habits then she may be. People that buy a two year old horse for thier ten year old child so they can learn together is guilty of abusing the horse and the child. The well-meaning folks that "rescue" horses and have no idea of how to train them are also bordering on abuse. Nagging a horse constantly is worse than using more force and getting the response that you require.
 

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abuse is some one who has a horse and NEVER spends time with it other than to ride it when they feel like it. in this case i call it abuse b.c the animal has no affection given to it and is just used to be a fun ride.

abuse is some one feeding their horse once a day or once a week for that matter.

Abuse is not the same a neglect. They can be the same but neglect is usually lack of care and abuse too much negative attention. People who board sometimes cannot come out to see their horses alot. Maybe they are sick or chronicly ill. I think alot of owners would fall into you category of abuse in the winter. Alot of people I know usually feed, and also ride on occasion, but thats it because it is so cold, it can be dangerous. I was away at school and didnt take my horse the last year so I could take all my difficult accounting classes, that in no way makes me an abusive person. My horse had food, water, saw the vet and farrier while I was away.

Feeding once a day is not abuse. Its a little narrow minded to say that. My horses get grained, a small amount once a day they watered and hayed. In the summer they eat grass all the time and get grained and watered once a day.
 

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Neglegent abuse includes things like leaving the halter on a horse that's turned out
Thats what a breakaway halter is for. Some people even keep halters/id tags on their horses so they can be caught if they are loose runing wild.
 

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I agree with Kevin.

I see abuse a couple ways, one is willfull neglect. I don't think it's fair that when someone that is new to the horse world or inexperienced does something on their own, or something they read in a book, or something that someone told them to do and are accused of being abusive. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. Sometimes people really think they are correctly feeding their animals, sometimes they don't see the hip bones and the ribs and realize their horse is underfed, sometimes they honostly don't know that a every horse should have their feet done. I remember when I first bought my horse, I was told that you didn't need to worry about their teeth until they got sloppy with their feed. He was a neglect and abuse case, had I not listened to that person and gotten his teeth fixed years earlier, he'd probably be able to chew hay today. Was I abusive? Nope, just ignorant, I was 15 and owned my first horse, and did not come from a horse savvy family. My advice was coming from other 15 year olds. Had someone told me I was abusing him, I'd have been devastated. Another issue with him was that he had been abused, and I don't mean he had a rough handling owner. He had teenagers that sat on their porch and shot him with a beebee gun just to watch him buck, he had people that would put him in the stall and feed him Monday and then not come back for three or four days. He had owners that watched a hose die of colic in their back field. He had owners that chased him and beat him with a 2x4 when he got into the corn. So... knowing I had a previously abused horse I went completely the other way, I don't think it had a label back then but it does now... natural horsemanship. I made so many mistakes with that horse by never discipling him that he's a mess. At 25 anyone should be able to ride him, but I'm the only one...

When it comes to physical abuse I think there is a line. I believe in a smack or a jerk. I see nothing wrong with it. I don't think it's fair though when a twelve year old posts a picture of their horse and they are accused of being abusive. heavy handedness is something that stems from a riders own fear. Oh well. My rant has gone to far. I'll stop now.
 

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every one one is diff. but i dont care how cold it is im still out back, wether its 100 degrees out or 10 below, caring for my horses and spending time with them.
 

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is kicking a horse in the under side of the belly abuse? like keeping you foot bent back so it even with your leg?

To me abuse is drawing blood with spurs, double wire twisted bit, chain bits like a bike chain(Bicycle Chain Draft/Mule Bit Weaver Leather (Equine - Horse Tack Supplies - Bits - Working))
beating a horse for no aparent reason.

NOT Abuse to me is smacking a horse when it acts up. smacking it when it bites a person, useing spurs and/or a whip. kneeing a horse in the belly is not abuse. its like a kick from another horse.
 
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