So, my hunter friends, tell me please: why do you suppose ear plugs are OK to you, but not to dressage riders? THAT's why I criticize their use. Call me a purist, but to me, your sport is too willing to cut corners instead of taking the time others sports take to develop the horse.
[I guess I've just missed being dissed. It's been a while since I posted offensive stuff.]
I have a question about dressage scoring before I can really consider Pwynn's question (good for you Pwynn for not being intimidated to ask such questions!). How do dressage judges deal with "behavior issues" that would count against hunters such as head play as someone else mentioned, or being a little "fresh" in the corners, etc.?
I think when it comes to today's hunters, some judges will score any display of "personality" as harshly as true behavior faults like spooking or bolting. This may account for the increase we've seen in ear plugs. My horse will not allow 'em near him so we just resign ourselves to being more "brilliant" than the average hunter!! (Yeah right, LOL)
I'll jump in behind you, pwynn - and totally support wicky's idea of revisiting the "ideal hunter". Someone (maybe prior to separating earbunnies thread from nerve lines?) supported the practice because they take 45 day old racetrack rejects to shows and the noise would be too exciting. I've worked for one of those barns (back in the days when 3'6" was the lowest fence outside eq classes) - and earbunnies are the least of what those poor critters need. How about another 6 months of training???
So what IS an ideal hunter? From what I see and read, what's showing today is as far from an ideal hunter as today's western pleasure is from a pleasure horse!
WHY is any movement condemned? If the ideal is dead but beautiful, then let's show robot-horses. Isn't there a difference between disobedience/resistance and slight movement?
Anyone from KY? Remember Ruth ?? and her dun horse, Claybank? THERE was the ideal hunter/pleasure horse..... The only thing he was lacking was beauty, but he MORE than made up for it!
If the rules say no artificial appliances, and we blatently ignore the rules, in spite of the fact that, as Jennefer Alcott has said, one AHSA employee has stated specifically to her that they are illegal, and quoted specific rules, why are we any better than those who use other artificial appliances. Also, what are we teaching our young riders? Seems to me we're saying "I'll follow the rules, as long as it's not to my benefit to break them". If you don't like the fact that ear plugs are banned, get the rules changed. Don't just blatently ignore them. Otherwise, you really have no right to complain when you see others using nerve lines, and other illegal devices. Yes, there's definately a difference in degree, but not in ethics.
Pwynn,is there room for two in that flame proof booth?
I'm very curious as to why earplugs might be illegal by dressage standards but legal by hunter/jumper standards. I know one of my horses was like Bertie's- he loved his earplugs (or at least understood their necessity) and would lower his head for them. We only used them at shows because he got nervous passing by speakers- using a small earplug eliminated the white noise and settled his nerves.
I hate the self righteous attitude of some of the posts on this topic, and to make a sweeping generalization on the training methods of the country's hunters and jumpers over a $.05 piece of cotton that cannot enhance a horses jumping ability or style or help him become a better mover is ridiculous. Will someone please post the actual rule prohibiting them????
Ok as stated earlier I'm a dressage rider AMAZED at the # of hunters using earplugs.
Dressage is all about submission, obedience, relaxation etc...... Someone asked how judges treat a horse being fresh in the corners etc.. Well that depends on the horse and the infraction.
Basically the way a dressage test is laid out for scoring purposes each required movement gets a score. In other words if you are to make a 20 meter circle in trot at C that is all placed in 1 box on the test score sheet and ONLY that movement receives a score - not the trot leading up to the 20 meter circle, not what happens afterward, ONLY the circle counts. Sort of like in jumpers - nothing matters except the fence itself.
Now comes the sticky part. At the bottom of the test sheet there are "collective" marks. This gives the judge the opportunity to score the "over-all IMPRESSION" of the test. There is a score given for Submission (here's where you'll lose pt's for those bucks, spooking, and the like)
So the long and the short of it are that dressage is still very subjective and if you make an over-all good impression on the judge and you have a little spook in the corner or a little buck into the canter it is not likely you will be DRAMATICALLY penalized. However, when it gets up to the international level any small bobble can cost you a top placing.
I don't think anyone here has found out if it is legal or illegal for H/J's. It is however, forbidden for dressage. It is listed under saddlery and equipment in the dressage section of the AHSA rule book. I'll try to get to the AHSA page and paste it for you but I know for sure it is there because I looked yesterday when the whole question came up. I looked for it in the h/j section and couldn't find a place where it states specifically "ear-plugs" as it does in the dressage section.
I too get sick of dressage folks thinking they are the only good horse people on the planet (and I ride dressage)but I do have to say in my experience there are a lot of methods used in other disciplines (not just HJ) that are questionable.
Will earplugs kill a horse, probably not unless he eats them [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] but isn't it possible to teach a horse to stay calm in various situations without artificial aids?
On this one I vote with wicky, pwynn and ccorinos. If the ideal hunter is "dead but beautiful," then some people will use earplugs, some will lunge for hours and some will resort to even less savory methods because the dead quiet ones win.
If, however, things were like they were when I first started showing in the hunters as a young teenager (mid 70s), some classes would be run on outside courses, the courses wouldn't always be the same, handy hunter classes would still exist, striding might differ from one horse to another without penalties being incurred, and 'brilliance' wouldn't be so severely penalized.
Hunters were more fun to ride and more fun to watch when there was some variety.
BTW, I too am curious about how dressage judges score for freshness, etc.
A dressage horse has to be obedient to the aids, to the point of focussing on the rider, not on what is going on around it. That's not to say that that always happens, watch any dressage show and you'll see plenty of spooks and inattention. However, anything artificial, that lessens the ability of the animal to be able to focus on outside interferance, acts as a crutch to the rider. The rider does not have to exhibit the skill and training necessary to handle the situation, were the outside interferences not artificially blocked.
Podhajsky(sp) stated in one of his books that, during WWII, they had to move the stallions from the Riding School to another facility, because of the danger. There was no transport available, so the horses had to be ridden, through all the noise and confusion of a war torn city. He was, of course, very worried that these horses, used to a stable environment as they were, would be panic stricken. However, due to their training, and the skill of the riders, they were able to move these animals with no problems, the horses focussed totally on their riders, as they would have done in any other situation.
That, I think, is why Pwynn is saying that there is no substitute for training. What if something unusual happens? You better have the skills, and your horse better have the training, to be able to deal with it, used to it or not.
At home, we hang flags from our arena, play the radio, encourage the dogs to play, set up an umbrella now and again etc... etc... to try to get the horses used to dealing with things. As a dressage rider, a BIG part of the training is about getting the horse to CONCENTRATE on his/her job. I constantly try to put my horse in situations that will help his self confidence - trail riding, crossing water, hand walking him within earshot of strange noises etc. I always laugh when someone inadvertently spooks my horse by doing something like sneezing - and then apologizes profusely!! The way I look at it is if the horse can't deal with a sneeze he's a danger to me and everyone around me. The more spooky things he's exposed to the better.
I want to make it clear that this stimulation does not make my horse a basket case. I've had 3 OTTB's and now have a QH - they have all learned to cope. I must admit one of my TB's was a tougher case and would sometimes jump out of his skin for no apparent reason but that same energy - when I could channel it - made him FABULOUS!!!!
[This message has been edited by inthesaddle (edited 04-13-2000).]
Personally, until they start enforcing this rule, I will continue to use earbunnies. I know that this may be wrong and unethical and may group me with those who break much larger rules, but my horse needs them. They do not affect how he jumps, moves, or anything. They just keep his attention. How am I supposed to accustom my horse to those buzzing lights without an indoor arena? And those of you who show in Raleigh have seen those young kids playing in the TREES outside the covered ring. My friend was PARALYZED when her OWN (fairly made) horse spooked while her son was playing in the woods (and YES she was wearing a certified helmet!) Now, if I'm going to have to deal with children swinging around in trees and shrieking, you can bet that I will have my earbunnies in. Just my opinion....Don't flame me too bad.....
I am whole heartedly for ear fuzzies! My last horse was poked with a cattle prod before I bought him to force him in to starting gates. The noise that a cattle prod makes is suprisingly similar to one that a humming speaker makes. He would literally flip out with that noise, and was very noise sensitive in general. After I discovered the fuzzies it was like riding a different horse! Even if there is a rule (that I couldn't find in my rule book) I would break it in certain situations.
OKAY.....just because I take race track horses and bring them to shows 45 days after they are off the track I get jabbed.....wait a minute....6 months of training.....I wish I could say....that I could keep these "babies" for six months and take my time with them hauling to shows month after month, and not exsposing them to the "loud" schooling areas and turn them into babies like my OWN four year old who has been going places with me since he was three months old...but I WAS NOT THE ONE TO PUT THEM ON THE TRACK AS A 20 MONTH OLD! HELLO!!!!!!! I took them off the track to HOPEFULLY grant them a better lifestyle, and if I can start taking them to shows to "HANG OUT" and let them regroup their own thoughts about being at a show...and let them form their own opinion about behavior and what we are expecting out of them...then YES I will stuff "ear bunnies" into their ears in hopes of softening the "blow" of the noises of our sport...and not to encourage a possible blowup and "a day at the races" instead of a calm, good introduction.
SO....to the person who made the "jab" about my reasoning....I sure as heck would rather be taking these horses out, getting local miles, and putting QUALITY time into them (while I have them) while not frightening the tar out of them....in the schooling ring from the craziness of trainers screaming...kids whinning and so on....Having to deal with learning the "dodge" of the schooling ring is ALOT on a young ex-race horse...That in itself is a nightmare for these "wild ones" to deal with...why not give them a break and let one thing at a time happen...seems to me that that will prove a calmer, more well rounded show horse in the end...that might or might not have to go around without ear plugs....
Also whomever made the statement about hunters being "condemned" for showing personality....I think you hit the nail on the head....at least in dressage they allow for this freedom....if a hunter goes around with a dead but yet alive look...he wins....but if he dare show a little spark in his eye of loving his job and dare display it...with a little hop or a twist of his head....he is being BAD! Personally I would rather have that "spark" then a dead man...packers have a place....we all need them every now and again....but the life in a young horse needs to be appriciated and not hindered and covered up!
I would like to address one more thing. I can see ear plugs taking a bit of spook out of a horse....but In my opinion...I would think that would make it worse....spooking is a different issue then a schooling ring with a dozen trainers screaming and kids hollering and a young horse trying to deal with all of this AND "listin" to his rider.... Maybe I should have been clear....we don't use them for "spook" issues...actually our trainer says the "spook" in a horse is part of his charm...use it (the spook) instead of trying to punish it......any way....we actually use the plugs to soften their exsposure in the schooling ring....occasionally we have to show one in them...whatever...I just wanted to be sure you all understood what i was saying....
No one needs to put on their protection vests....part of learning and changing is talking with everyone like this....no one is supposed to agree completly...stop and think about what everyone has learned from these boards.
Well I guess it really comes down to who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. I have one horse - I don't chase points - and I always try to remember this is supposed to be fun!!!!
I'm not a trainer, don't have to make my living from buying, selling, or showing horses so it entitles me to take all of the time I need to train my horse.
I think it's unfortunate any time we lose site of what we are trying to accomplish. I think people who choose to make a living with horses have to make tough decisions and are MAYBE (read that as I DID NOT SAY EVERY TRAINER IN THE WHOLE WORLD) more likely to tread into gray areas.
We have all seen horrible things done to horses to try to make a dollar. We have all witnessed abuse and unethical behaviour. Do earplugs fall into that category? I really can't say - I don't see them as abusive - IMHO I see them as a short cut that is not in the best interest of the horse or the owner.
I don't think it's HORRIBLE!!! Like using cattle prods and nerve lines.
Sorry, In The saddle, you are wrong on how dressage scores are given. Tests are divided into movements. The intervals leading up and away from a movements are scored within the movement. So A, enter trot- X halt salute - proceed trot , gets 1 score ; for the enter center line the transitions, halt and trot after the halt. next move, turn off the center line to the circle at "B" will get another score; not only for the circle but for the trot to the "B" marker and after, and for the quality of the corners.
Quality of bending through the corners is where many riders loose points on their tests. The hardest part for a lot of novice riders to get is to who to ride the whole test, not just the movements. There are a few movements that get a score for just the corner, I think one is in the GP Special.
Any disruption of the horse before or after a specific movement is judged within that movement box.
Most judges have a half way point where they consider one movement over and the next one starting. This is usually the center line, corner or through "X". Sometimes movements blend one to the next, such as the 2nd level shoulder in /circle /haunches in exercise. Three scores. Sometimes a score box will include several "movements" that only get one score.
The horse is being judged from the moment it enters A and until the salute at the end. I saw a FEI rider enter at A and get eliminated after 2 steps because she forgot to drop her whip ( when they could not carry them)
Behavior problems are weighed differently. The rules spell it out. Young ( training level) horses are usually permitted a minor "behavior" waver. Some will look out of the ring during the halt, some might shy at the judges booth the first time past. Judges are permitted to "ignore" a minor booboo. If they become persistant with in the test, however, points will come off within the movement score and below the line under the submission score and sometimes under the riders score.
Major blow ups, esp on a more advanced horse will not be tolerated. Any delay of progress of 20 seconds is cause for elimination. Once a horse is out of training level shys, spooks, loss of attention and other misbehaviors that are not obviously with reasonable cause ( that dog that ran into the ring, the judges booth door that blew open) are not well thought of. Points will be lost in submission.
Judges have the power to stop a test if a major disruption out side the ring causes disturbance to the horse. This happens rarely. When it does it is usually a loose horse cannoning around.
Moesha, reallly! You said: "...to make a sweeping generalization on the training methods of the country's hunters and jumpers over a $.05 piece of cotton that cannot enhance a horses jumping ability or style or help him become a better mover is ridiculous."
EXCUUUUUUSE ME? Are not hunters judged on MANNERS AND SUITABILITY as well? Is not freaking out when dirt hits the wall irrelevant to manners? Is accepting a variety of noisy, busy, DISTRACTING circumstances irrelevant to the traits of a good hunter?
Granted, hunters are hardly the only horse industry that chooses to redefine rather than re-examine and re-emphasize its roots. I've said it before, but I'll repeat that, IMO, hunters and eq are going the same way that western pleasure and gaited/park horses have gone: totally divorced from reality.
And I'd like to thank all the people who also don't hesitate to state their opinions frankly, on both sides of this issue.