I think we have also lost sight of the fact that horses are individuals. I wish I could remember who it was, but I remember seeing an actor who has TERRIBLE stage fright. Most of the time, doing something over and over again deadens one to the newness. Not this guy. Twenty years on the stage and he is still in a cold sweat every night.
I 'trained' a 14 year old childrens hunter who had been around every block in the park. As long as he was showing right along, all was well. Give him a month off from showing and it was as if he had never set foot on a showgrounds:spooking at the loose paper, cups, jumps, horses, you name it. He had to show in all the warmups just so all the spooks would be gone by the time his tiny child showed up for the week-end. Now, according to the trainer who showed him in the pre-greens and first years, he had improved somewhat over the last eight years.<g>
I agree that most of learning to horse show is just being AT the horse show, but not every horse is the same. I had a pony we used to pack the grain to and never do too many classes because she would be too lazy to keep getting up the lines. If she did the under saddle in an indoor arena, she had to have her ears stuffed or she'd be a runaway.
We are all smart enough to know every one of these beasts is an individual. If they're not, why are there so few I can ride well? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
I too had an OTT TB, and he too reacted to other horses running up behind him UNTIL I worked with him in lot's of different situations and places. He used to take off running with me in U/S classes, and what did I do? I took him to clinics, I rode in group lessons where my instructor would use the loudspeaker to talk to us, I took him everywhere and exposed him to everything. I know not all barns are as well equipped as that one is, and I don't board there anymore but I still take my new horse out and about to get her used to stuff. It can be done, and I agree with pwynn that it is a suitability thing. Horses get used to their environment. They are not like a stage frightened human, they are condition/response creatures. The point to cross-referencig dressage and their rules about ear plugs is not to say dressage is better, but that if the dressage horses can cope with the sights, sounds and noises, and yes, the multiple rings going on and the crowded warm up areas, if police horses can have fire crakers explode at their feet and not spook, and be in crowds where riots are happening, then why do certain hunter's HAVE to have earplugs? I believe that a horse with earplugs should not be pinned over a horse without earplugs. Because to me, it's plain and simple, black and white. The horse with the cleanest round with the least amount of gadgets should win over a similar round maybe a little better but only because they had cotton in the ears. I would be really upset if after all the hard work I did training my horse to be the best he can be without ANY gadgets, but because my horse may have pricked an ear over a sound but the horse with earplugs won over me because it didn't prick it's ear. And as I stated before I don't use gadgets on my horse, she goes in a dee ring bit and a LOOSE flash noseband. No martengales, side reins, draw reins or anything. But I am training my horse to listen to ME and concetrate on ME and not what is going on everywhere else. As a result when I took her to that :gasp: team penning competition and worked her in another arena, she started to focus on me and what I was doing, and if she lost her focus I would make her get right back with me. No hesitation. Stimulus, response.
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An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse .
Dressage is different than hunters, obviously. I can understand why ear plugs wouldn't be legal in dressage. Your horse must be totally submissive and obediant to the aids. While this is partially true with the hunters, a good hunter, while rateable, "takes you to the fence. There is more decision-making power delegated to the horse in jumping, therefore giving the horse more opportunity to observe the world around him. While the ultimate hunter would not spook at anything in the field, and would be aware of all that goes on around him (other horses, footing, hounds, the jumps), the artificial environment of horse shows, especially indoor horses is more the test of a parade horse or police horse! Also, the rider does have a degree less control galloping around the ring in a half seat or modified half seat than a collected canter in a full dressage seat.
Folks, does this make any sense?
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Moesha: 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????<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I believe that are only prohibited on certain "spiteful" chestnuts!!!!
Good point, J. Turner, that we do have to hand over a bit (no pun intended) more control to our horses in the hunter ring, as they are expected to go around on their own and we just make minor adjustments. Can you imagine having to hunt a horse for several hours that you have to ride ride ride every step of the way? As the horse goes along in his training program, he learns to carry himself and balance himself so the rider only has to do minute fine tuning during a round. Are some of your best rounds the ones where you pretty much did nothing, just let your horse canter around? Your horse has learned to hold his rhythm and pace through the course.
Some of our best hunters and jumpers are race track rejects, and need ear plugs. I know TBs, and you can't always train the track out of them. Sometimes just getting them to go quietly around a course is miraculous! So what if they need earplugs? Should we expel them? Send them to the auction or the slaughterhouse? I think it is wonderful that these horses have been given a second chance to lead a healthy, happy and productive life.
Does anyone know of a nonTB that needs earplugs, or does this seem to be a TB realted thing? If it was simply a training issue, wouldn't horses of all breeds need ear plugs?
Many horses I know show in earplugs not because they actually need them, but because they might. Your horse might be the absolute quietest thing in the world but who can account for those once in a show noises. The ONLY time the loudspeaker starts spazzing, the only time a jumper in the ring 10' away crashes through a huge oxer...Your horse could easily spook at this and put you out of the ribbons (and prize money!). But maybe with those earbunnies in, his focus would be on his task instead of the squeaking speakers. Just a thought....
Why won't one of you address the "suitability and manners" aspect?
I'm not saying to send all TBs to the auction, but I AM saying that maybe all TBs aren't suitable show hunters--indeed, the warmblood craze attests to that fact.
Indeed, indeed, Flash, while you too make excellent points, between the lines of your statements you are still saying "This kind of horse isn't as good at it as that kind of horse, so we need to use something artificial so we can make up for that fact."
And as Devildog stated, that's somewhat unfair on those who DON'T need to do so (or don't want to do so for moral/philosophical/purist reasons).
I have a question re: crashing fences and squawking loudspeakers: WHY would anyone want their horse to be oblivious to these things? Now, before everyone jumps down my throat, I'm not advocating a wild and crazy reaction! I'm asking - what's WRONG with acknowledging that something isn't "normal"? Does the rider not look - or flinch - or become distracted for just a moment? Has anyone read Black Beauty recently? Hunters are supposed to be (well, there's that "what's the ideal hunter" question again!) safe galloping over the river and through the wood. Do you really want to do that on a horse with no reactions? Don't we want our horses to use their brains (or instincts)? I KNOW that horses can be trained to accept abnormal situations. For heaven sake, riding them is abnormal for them! I don't like the dead look in western pleasure and I don't like it in hunters.. Lucky for most trainers (and me, probably), I'm not a major judge!
Ah well, flame away....I'm sure there's more room in that suit of pwynn's!
Wow, I can't believe this thread is 3 pages long. A debate about the use of earplugs! As if their use could change a poorly trained or misbehaving horse into a winner. LOL! Yes Flash, I know of warmbloods that show with earplugs. Do they need them? I don't think any horse NEEDS them. They don't make that much of a difference.
Maybe we should start a debate about the use of fly spray at horse shows! I'm sure some of you that train the spook out of your horses could train your horses not to react to flies while in the ring... while the rest of us poor excuses for horsemen have to resort to something as artificial as spray.
Sorry -- I just can't believe that people are condemning the use of ear plugs!
LOL Bertie, I just got a mental flash of trying to teach either one of my horses not to react to flys. Talk about getting the "What are you, nuts" look from them.
I have been wondering what good stuffing something in a horses extremely sensitive ears is going to do. My suspicion is that it is an aid for the rider more than the horse. Rider thinks "My horse's ears are stuffed so he can't hear all of those awful noises." Rider relaxes. Horse relaxes because rider isn't tense. Horse goes better.
I stated this earlier, I'm going to restate it. Jennifer Alcott quoted AHSA rules prohibiting the use of artificial appliances, (appliances, devices, same thing different words, one just sounds a little better). She also stated that a call to the AHSA lead to an individual there stating that ear plugs are illegal. While I agree that they seem to be a fairly benign thing, I question, along with Pwynn, where you draw the line, and, who determines where that line will be drawn? I have yet to see that addressed. If you use ear plugs, knowing that they are illegal, because you think they help you win, it, IMHO, then becomes easier to justify moving to the next harsher appliance, and the next, etc., because, after all, they may help you win also. The point, it would seem to me, would be to win, while staying within the rules, thus keeping the playing field level for all participants.
This thread has 2 parts -- The first part is Laura's question in the very first post: Are ear plugs allowed or not? I've yet to see a horse eliminated for using earplugs, but if they're not allowed, let us know, and we won't use them. -- And if they're not allowed, I would wonder if gel-pads are allowed for horses with sensitive backs...
The second part is the part of this discussion that baffles me -- turning this into a moral and ethical question of horsemanship is, IMO, ridiculous!!!
[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 04-15-2000).]
I was not justifying the use of "aids" in other disciplines, I said I don't use any gimmicks or shortcuts to train my horse. Is it frustrating? At times, yes it is! But in my lesson today my mare was being so awesome and all the hard work I have put into taking the extra time to train her classically and not use any quick fixes is paying off. I strongly disagree with draw reins and would not use them, the same with side reins that are too tight. Is if I were to lunge in side reins, they would be VERY loose and just enough for the horse to feel contact when she stretches down. I don't like to see dressage horses cranked into frames as much as anyone. I am not advanced enough in dressage to address the double bridle issue, but I have used one on my old GP schoolmaster, but he already traveled in "self carriage" and so the slightest rein cues were all that were needed, no cranking or pulling, but quiet, subtle hands. And comparing a double bridle to ear plugs is a little odd because the double bridle is required in upper lever dressage, ear plugs are not a required thing. And a double bridle or flash caveson do nothing to inhibit a horses senses in any way. If the horse still shows "personality" and it "hardley affects them" then why are they used at all? I still stand strong to my opinion on how the horse with the least amount of gimmicks should win, even down to the ear plugs. I don't condemn it just because it is forbidden in my sport either. If it was allowed or if hunters was my main discipline, I STILL would have the same opinions. I do not jump on bandwagons. And I am still waiting ti hear from the AHSA. Why don't those of you who question the answer that someone called in and got pick up the phone yourselves or e-mail them and find out for yourselves? I e-mailed them and I intend to call right now and get an immediate answer. I will re-post in a few.
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An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse .