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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2008
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    832

    Default Is this abuse? or am I overly sensitive? (warning- ranting- really long!)

    Ok, so I am using an alter because this is a VERY sore subject for me. So there is this big beautiful new barn that was just built across the street from my little farm, it was built for a VERY BNT. the other day I decide to go over and introduce myself, I have decided that I want to have a lesson once a month or so with a good trainer, and this one is definately over-qualified. Now I do level 2 and 3 jumpers at some big A shows with my gelding, and some eq, and have been riding all my life, so by no means am a beginner in terms of horse knowledge. I am thinking, scope out the situation, maybe I won't have to trailer far for my lessons!
    Anyway, I get there, and the assistant trainer/rider who looks to be 16 but is probably 22, is riding a STUNNING stallion. She informs me BNT is in Europe buying horses, but she can help me. the stallion, annoyed at being made to stand, starts pawing, then hops off the ground, a little mini-rear. SHe, mid-sentence, turns her crop over (its a big one) and BEATS him in the top of the head. he takes off, she halts, and walks back over to me. she tells me, he is a five year old and at the last show after the first round but before the jump off he decided he didn't want to play, and just stood in the corner rearing and the BNT couldn't do anything about it but dismount. SO while Mr. Trainer is horse-shopping this girls job is to "fix" the problem. As she is telling me this at least two other times the stallion barely raises his head and she wacks him HARD in the head and cheek, after each beating he gallops around the arena wildly. he is SO sweaty and I say "he looks tired", and she says "he should be, he was on the walker all night in the bitting rig." So anyway, I said nice to meet you and left.
    Sorry this is so long: This is my question: Do you think my gut feeling (disgust) is appropriate? or, do you think for a really bad rearer these are okay "training" methods? I hardly saw anything dangerous from the colt, but maybe I was seeing him being really really good. I can see why such a young stallion could be dangerous if he wanted to, it just didn't seem like it to me at the time. And, do you think its weird that the girl who I just met was so open about this horses problem, and her training?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2001
    Location
    Colorado, a suburb of Los Angeles
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    6,660

    Default

    To be honest, the all night on the walker in a bitting rig bothers me more than wacking a rearer on the head.

    A confirmed rearer is a dangerous animal and sometimes you have to take drastic action.
    OTOH she could have been WAY over reacting to not much misbehavior on his part. Without knowing his history it's hard to tell.

    Putting a horse on a hot walker all night is abusive. It's not like it is 'teaching' him anything.

    I wouldn't be interested in putting my horse in their hands.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
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    5,822

    Default

    Well, yes you should be disgusted, and no- I have been to several farms where everyone thought 'interesting' methods were normal so there would be no need to hide them. Being on the walker in a bitting rig is bad- all night is abusive.

    I think there is a place for one light swat behind the poll when a horse rears (though its not my preferred method). I would never take a full out hit anywhere in front of the saddle- muchless on the cheek or poll.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2008
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    Alberta, Canada and South Australia
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    2,954

    Default

    The girl being so open to someone she just met is perhaps a little odd but some people do tend to talk with out thinking or when they get nervous and just keep talking.

    Having the horse on the walker all night i don't agree with. I have walked a horse for most of night when he was colicing but even then we had breaks.

    As for beating/hitting horse on head when rearing... have seen it done and does seem to work. But horse hasnt really been a chronic rearer so i guess depending on how hard shes hitting him and what not but definitly wouldnt be my first method of choice.

    Might be interesting to go back to barn when trainer is back and talk/see how things are when trainer is back. Give you a better idea of barn.

    P.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 20, 2005
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    3,504

    Default

    I wouldn't judge the BNT too harshly until you see him/her actually condoning putting a horse on a walker all night in a bitting rig. This may have been the working student's bright idea. As for the whacking in the head - it's pretty effective at stopping a rearer.
    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
    -George Morris



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2008
    Posts
    204

    Default question

    trying not to hijack... but to understand better, what is a bitting rig? i know what hot walking is.

    as far as hitting with a crop, i don't totally agree with it. i know someone that uses a REALLY soft foamy bat thing. they don't hit the horse but just put it above their pole. this way they figure out hmmm i rear and hit something... no a good idea any more. it seems to work in milder cases.

    overall, i would have to say, just wait until the trainer gets home. other than the "assistant trainer experience" how was the barn/atmosphere/etc.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2003
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    US
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    1,966

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BarbB View Post
    To be honest, the all night on the walker in a bitting rig bothers me more than wacking a rearer on the head.

    A confirmed rearer is a dangerous animal and sometimes you have to take drastic action.
    OTOH she could have been WAY over reacting to not much misbehavior on his part. Without knowing his history it's hard to tell.

    Putting a horse on a hot walker all night is abusive. It's not like it is 'teaching' him anything.

    I wouldn't be interested in putting my horse in their hands.
    Ditto that. The smack on the head wouldn't bother me, but the hot-walker thing definitely would.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2002
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    North Island, New Zealand
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    1,092

    Default

    Um..well....I think Im must be the only one who does not think its appropriate to belt a horse over or around the head when it rears.

    Never done it, never will.

    And as for all night on the walker....well, kind of says it all really.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
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    371

    Default

    I would go back when the trainer is there and see how things seem. It is very possible that the trainer does not condone/is not aware of some of the things that are going on. It could just be an overconfident "assistant trainer" who thinks that she knows how to do things.

    The overnight on the hot walker bothers me. Hitting the horse on the poll not so much, but it's hard to judge whether that's excessive or not without knowing the history of the horse. Maybe you're right and you did catch the horse on a good day. Having ridden a rearer once, and never again, it has to be taken very seriously IMO. At the time I wasn't experienced/comfortable enough to deal with it (not my horse, never rode it again) but I do know that a lot of people swear by a smack on the poll.
    CRAYOLA POSSE - Olive Green
    Champions aren't born. They are built little by little, day by day, with patience and love for the art. -Nick Skelton



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 25, 2005
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    Cazenovia, NY
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    Default

    Sounds to me, like there might be a little, to a lot of exaggeration, regarding leaving the horse on the walker all night in a rig. There are some crazy people out there, but I would imagine if they are going through the trouble to correct his behavior he must be of some value to them and leaving a horse on a walker all night in a rig unsupervised would more than likely result in a dead or seriously diminished horse.

    I don't know the horse, or anything about him, but I do know that rearing can be a very serious issue, and that at 5 he is no longer a colt, he is a stud, and while some studs are great, some are just pure nasty to work with, and concerning the later, it is critical that they learn to behave if they are going to have any type of career, including as a sire.

    I am not an advocate of smacking a rearer on the pole; I think there are alternative methods that work just as well. However I also know the smacking method does work, and is not nearly as traumatic as it may appear.

    I think the bottom line is, as much as we hate some of the practices, horses in our "environment" generally have to be able to do a job, and if they can't, the alternative can be much worse than the methods employed trying to achieve that goal.

    So I would reserve judgment regarding the stable, and the trainer, even the assistant, until I knew a lot more about their over-all philosophy.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
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    284

    Default

    Rearing is one of the most dangerous things a horse can do, and one of the hardest to really cure. I hope this horse decides to give it up. I would worry about his fate if not. Overconfident young trainer could well be the case in terms of her lack of diplomacy in your presence. Hot walker in bitting rig all not - definitely abuse.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    3,155

    Default

    As others mentioned, I would go back when the BNT is there. The assistant wasn't out of place smacking the horse in the head for rearing. It's a serious problem and there really isn't a margin (meaning some people might say that a horse that bucks only gets punished for an actual buck, but if he wants to kick out during a lead change, have fun...you can't say if he only hops up 12-24 inches, we'll let it go...)

    And my guess is by "all night" it was something more of an hour or 2 the evening before. If he is valuable enough to work on his rearing issue, they wouldn't just toss him on a walker, turn out the lights, and leave him there.

    We don't know anything at all about this horse. Maybe it is a chronic problem. Just because she only told you 1 story, doesn't mean that was the one and only time he was being a jerk. And as for his reaction to getting smacked, well yea he probably did take off running and get sweaty. He's pissed off. He's trying to do things his way, when he wants to, how he wants to, and now there is someone telling him no. My guess is tearing around the ring was a temper tantrum, not terror from him.

    Some horses need to be treated with a little muscle for awhile to learn they are not in charge. That's not all horses, there are plenty that need finesse and patience, and that should ALWAYS be the first and preferred method, but there is one in every crowd that needs a stronger hand to learn a little respect.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2007
    Location
    CT
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    150

    Default

    I have a feeling the statement "on the hot walker ALL NIGHT with a bitting rig" was probably a gross exaggeration...It's probably more likely he was on the walker in a rig for a considerable amount of time, but I highly doubt it was literally all night...but then again, WHO KNOWS!

    The smaking on the head does not bother me one bit for a confirmed rearer...that is an incredibly dangerous habit, one that could kill the rider and the horse ....and wacking them in the head when they even consider coming off the ground does tend to help in many cases....



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 29, 2008
    Posts
    80

    Default

    IMHO I have delt with this issue before and to be honest the head thing does not bother me one bit. A rearing horse is the equivalant of someone putting a gun to your head. If they go over you could be dead in the snap of your fingers. That being said the horse must be of some value to work through the problem. There are many other interesting ways to work on fixing that problem that are not as nice as a bump on the head.

    As for the walker all night long definitly a little extreme. I have left horses tied around for a few hours to think things over before, but all night seems like an exaguration.
    grand prix



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2008
    Posts
    97

    Default

    i agree with some posters that said i could have just been the younger girls bright idea.

    I have been told that if you have a horse that rears and time it right, you crack an egg on their head. they feel the dripping like blood and never do it again... it actually worked on one off track gelding i know that was a very bad rearer. anyone else ever hear of this?

    I would talk to BNT when he or she gets back from europe. and judge things in a different light once you have also met them.
    Courage. Confidence. Passion.



  16. #16
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    Jul. 9, 2008
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    724

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
    I wouldn't judge the BNT too harshly until you see him/her actually condoning putting a horse on a walker all night in a bitting rig. This may have been the working student's bright idea. As for the whacking in the head - it's pretty effective at stopping a rearer.
    Exactly what I was thinking.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2001
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    Glenns, VA USA
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    1,970

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    Quote Originally Posted by IfWishesWereHorses View Post
    Um..well....I think Im must be the only one who does not think its appropriate to belt a horse over or around the head when it rears.
    No, I agree with you, but very sadly, we do seem to be in the minority. I totally agree rearing is extremely dangerous for both horse and rider, but if that is all you have for training techniques then I would run NOT walk from that said trainer, b/c they don't have much depth nor patience which is a good quality in a trainer particular with babies.

    I am also amazed that no one seems to think her boss, the BNT, isn't responsible for knowing how and what she is doing to horses sent to be under his care and subsequently under the care of those he employs. It is HIS responsibility to BE SURE he knows what is going on, choosing to be ignorant isn't an excuse, it is a choice and does NOT limit your responsibility.

    JMHO
    www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
    Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
    "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    150

    Default

    Have you ever sat on a habitual rearer....? Ever tried to work with one...
    That is one of the more mild things that people do to horses that rear....Have you ever seen what a "cowboy" does to these types or horses that are sent to them???
    Many of these horse have NO sense of self preservation - there are many that infact DO kill themselves and kill or seriously harm their riders/trainers.
    Smacking them over the head with you palm or the bat (crop) is sometimes the answer - these are 1000lb animals that sometimes have NO idea how large they are and how much danger they are putting themselves in....I would rather pop one on top of the head a few times then stand there next to the horse dead on the ground or paralized b/c it reared too high one to many times and flipped...



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2008
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    804

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    For those of you advocating NOT using a crop on the head of a horse that rears... what would you do instead? And have you ever worked with a chronic rear-er?

    I personally have never ridden a horse that rears, and never intend to. As such, I can't really judge other people's methods - a horse who rears is NOT a horse with a good future. If a little muscle has to be used to cure the habit, it's in the best interest of the horse to do so. The key being of course if it *has* to be used. There might be better ways, but I don't know of any.

    I would definitely go back once the BNT is back, watch a few lessons and/or training sessions, and see if the overall philosophy seems to work for you. I would have felt uncomfortable watching the girl on that horse, too, but again - I'm not qualified to judge someone working with a horse that dangerous (if he really was).



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
    I wouldn't judge the BNT too harshly until you see him/her actually condoning putting a horse on a walker all night in a bitting rig. This may have been the working student's bright idea. As for the whacking in the head - it's pretty effective at stopping a rearer.

    I agree. If the BNT condones the hotwalker idea, then yes, I feel he/she is being abusive. Hopefully, that is not the case. The problem with rearing is its very dangerous. My attitude is a few minutes of discomfort caused by hitting the rearing horse on the head may be better than risking a horse that could seriously hurt others and himself. I've worked with a couple and this method does in fact usually work.



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