Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com

I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why write about the horse world and its dirty secrets? Probably because I can! Nothing like being a self proclaimed issue-bitch to free up the soul. I already run several yahoo lists that take stabs at the political aspects of different breed organizations. The thing is, I am finding these lists limiting. They keep the bitching within that breed, where the public doesn't know about it. This really doesn't serve a purpose, because the crooks keep hiding behind the skirts of their organization and committing their crimes with impunity. Their organizations ignore the poor behavior in the interest of getting money from the cheats. Cheating is well funded, and well regarded, in some sections of the horse industry. In fact, entire show systems are based on cheating and abuse.

This blog will hopefully shine the light on these abuses, and rain fury down on the organizations that allow it.

Bitch freely here. Bitch about judges, classes, training methods, breeding trends, horse dumping and anything else that pisses you off.

If anyone thinks that an organization needs to be added to the links let me know.

NEWSFLASH: For those of you that are going to get pissed off and ruthlessly try to search me out and threaten that I will *never* win in the ring again I'll save you the trouble. I don't currently own a horse right now. My gelding died a few years ago and I haven't replaced him. I'm also not a member of any horse organizations. Why? So I can bitch with impunity and not be threatened by some dickhead who wants to suspend me for telling the truth.
I have shown, and I have relatives that breed, raise, train and show their horses. I observe the horse industry daily and what I see sickens me. So threaten away, it's not going to faze me a bit.


Tuffy Horse said...

This should be interesting. Are you sure you want to rattle all those skeletons?

Knightcreek said...

Have a feeling that this will be a very interesting blog to visit and learn from.

carriegl said...

I have to say.........it's about damn time!!

Dead Tails, Hock and Fetlock injections, Cologen injections, Saline IVs...........oh man, the list just goes on and on

Why does the horse need to be a pin cushion to win?

If it can't compete w/o propping up, then get it home!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

I'm officially organization free too (let my membership lapse) and I don't think anyone outside of the state would recognize me.

I'm an outcast in the mule world because my mule performs like a horse- nice headset (NO martingales or tiedowns or mouth-sawing) nice stops (no sliders!) and lead changes, whole 9 yards.

Horse people don't like me because it hurts, apparently, to drop $20K on a horse and have it get beat by a mule.
Oh, and we've had bad shows where she didn't calm down because she's 100% natural, no ace, no weird nasal sprays, no riding for 6 hours to wear her out.

Trojan Mouse said...


When I was growing up in AZ there was a "mule" man that had some of the fastest barrel racing mules I've ever seen. They were smoking. He also had a pair of mini mules that he chariot raced. My sister was chariot racing at the time and she sure hated losing to those little mules.

carriegl said...

Statements I get from the "pro drug" folks.......

"Don't you want to help these poor old show horses?"

"Lasix is used in the Racing Industry, so why shouldn't we have it too?"

"Acetazolimide is not a masking agent"

Playing the "innocent" does not work with me. Get yourself a healthy horse, one that does not need drugs to be in the ring. And those Parents who put their kids on an HYPP horse in the ring....ah, maybe you could have found them a safer ride to begin with? Or was that what the trainer encouraged you to use?

And the Lasix issue.........why o why do we need this "unknown" commodity in our show ring.....also a drug masking agent.

You can make your horse go faster, slower, calmer and then deader using drugs.

sick, sick, sick!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Jackie said...

Glad to have found this blog ... it's much needed! My gripe is WHY do you have to put a curb bit in a horse's mouth for western classes just because it turns 5 years old if it is working just fine in bosal or snaffle?


carriegl said...


Not sure about what "rules" you are having to abide by, but it is my understanding that you don't HAVE to use a curb, you have to have a "shank".........there is a nice short shank snaffle assortment available from many bit manufacturers.

If your trainer says a curb is needed, then that trainer is not training!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

Emilie said...

The thing that drives me batty is, Lasix isn't even necessarily a proven benefit on the track! Yes, having lungs that don't bleed can help (you think you're working the horse too hard?), but there are low-level horses that race without it without any seeming negative performance.

Meanwhile, if you're showing? Your horse's lungs should NOT be bleeding, and diuretics should NOT be a necessary part of your training regimen.

Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

I use a curb because it's like whispering- I get a message across with barely having to use my hands.
I also properly trained her with a ring snaffle to yield her head, then we moved up to a tom thumb, then a correction. 3/4 of the time I'm not even using it, it just looks nice. Most of my cues are legs or seat. (no spur stops, for heaven's sake)
The way a mule's head is set into their neck, curbs are really better for signals. A ring snaffle sort of slides up and down in their mouth. That doesn't mean there's any justification to using an awful "mule bit" though. That was just made by some asshole who didn't bother to actually work with the mule.

If a person is dependant on that curb bit to get the horse/mule to "submit" then they need to (a) not be showing (b) have a couple more years of riding lessons at the hands of someone who knows what the hell they're doing.

Trojan_Mouse: : I think I know who you're talking about with the barrel mules, those people usually average 17-20 seconds and make everyone else look terrible. :)

Judy said...

We would LOVE to see some changes in the Icelandic Horse show ring. See this video:


It's supposed to be a *naturally* gaited horse, and there's nothin' natural about that!


Tuffy Horse said...


Do NOT tell me I am seeing curb and gag bits with figure 8 nosebands! That is just fricking cruel. How stupid are these people?

You know, I've never really thought about the Icelandics having abuse like that. I always thought of them as happy fat ponies. Thanks for showing the truth, I'm sorry it's happening to such a nice breed of horse!

Tracy Meisenbach
http://thehorsediary.blogspot.com/ (updated 4-30-2008)

Lisa Illichmann said...

More power to you, babe. I'm in Austria, and let's talk dressage. Bitch away. We're reading.

Julia Jensen said...

Yeah, I think a curb in the proper hands can produce some very elegant, non-peanut roller results.

read: "PROPER HANDS." and a horse trained to it. You've got to pretend the reins are silken threads.

It's really sad when you see all the shit that people do to horses. A nice essay: http://www.robertmmiller.com/andthcaushol.html

I read some really sobering Jean Slaughter Doty books as a teen that highlighted some of the awful things people do to their horses for the sake of winning... and for their kids to win.

Tuffy Horse said...

Julie wrote:

>I read some really sobering Jean Slaughter Doty books as a teen that highlighted some of the awful things people do to their horses for the sake of winning... and for their kids to win.

Me TOO! I liked her and Dorothy Lyons because they had horse problems that had to be solved with good common sense. I also liked Patsey Grey. I think two books that had an impact on me were Frog the Horse that Knew no Master and Keep A Silver Dollar. Both books dealt with rehabbing horses back into the sports they had been severely abused in. They certainly deepened my interest in polo and jumping.

Riding is such a simply concept and takes less effort to do right than all the abuse expands in energey and time.

Tracy Meisenbach
http://thehorsediary.blogspot.com/ (updated 4-30-2008)

MBRA518 said...

carriegl said...

Not sure about what "rules" you are having to abide by, but it is my understanding that you don't HAVE to use a curb, you have to have a "shank".........there is a nice short shank snaffle assortment available from many bit manufacturers.

If your trainer says a curb is needed, then that trainer is not training!

Carrie - if it has shanks it is NOT a snaffle, a snaffle is not a split mouth piece - it's a non-leverage bit and any bit with a shank is a leverage bit. Google "tom thumb" and you'll find many people that hate them.

I'm agreeing with Jackie on this one - if I can compete with my 7 yr old mare in a side pull or basic french link one handed and neck reining why do I need to get her into a curb or other leverage bit to show?? Sure require that the horses neck rein and the rider be one handed - but why a shanked bit?

I do not show 'the odd show' other than a little barrel racing or fun show type events because I don't use a leverage bit. I have one horse that puts his tongue over any bit I've tried (and doesn't freak out - or fight the bit while doing it) but works great and on a loose rein in a hackamore. It's taken me a while to get my mare to accept a french link d-ring (she prefers a side pull or halter and works well in each) she has a very sensitive mouth - I broke her - so it wasn't past abuse or anything either - opposite really - she's never had a heavy hand on her face (bit or side pull) and just will not accept it. I can't image the time it would take to get her into a show bit! Both horses neck rein and work on a loose rein. So why the need for a curb bit? - IMO it just forces these types of bits into hands that are not skilled enough to use them.

Igneous said...

good idea to create this...my 'bitch' is the fact that most people who have horses, shouldn't! They dont' understand them, they don't educate themselves about them...and they simply want an accessory...buy a handbag or new car I say.
Although there are so many abuses, my pet peeve is the intense discussion about bits, this one is severe, that one is better for a dry mouth, gives me 'microcontrol', better 'communication' (rot!) etc etc etc, ...ALL need to be gotten rid of. Its not a philosophical question, someone mentioned PETA etc looking at these blogs and needing science to back up claims?...well, here is a bit of science..there are more papers available, on ulceration, the infraorbital nerve, trigemenal pain, salivation and the link to pulmonary haemorrhage (thats why they want drugs...they ARE having lung bleeds in the showring/dressage etc...excess salivation is inspirated which causes unseen - to the naked eye- haemorrhaging in the lung), the parotid gland (ends up necrosed with false collection due to the prolonged and excessive pressure placed on it), tongues turn blue..., dentistry and the damage done to teeth by the bit...when we don't rip them out of course...Unfortunately the pics can't be put up with the text, so to read the article with photos (graphic) visit horses for life, it is viewable there...so...as a start...
The St Petersburg Study on Tongue pressure...

All the experiments were carried out together with specialists and experts of Forensic Medical Examination Office in St. Petersburg, veterinarians and journalists. The experiments were formally recorded and videotaped.

The anatomical model of the tongue was made from ballistin.

The material closest fits to the structure and density of living tissues in everything except flexibility since in forensic medical examination the ballistin is used to register the hit or pressure.

This is a report on the considerations of bit pressure and pain to the horse based on the experiments carried out by the Forensic Medical Examination Office in St. Petersburg, while you may disagree on the amount of pain that might be felt by the horse, we should all be aware of the astounding amount of pressure measured in this experiment from the pressure of the bit.

This kind of pressure results in injuries not just to the muscle and tissue of tongue and lips but can be seen in bone of the jaw itself.
(pic of horse skulls showing damage to the bane)

Next to injured jaw bone is the jaw bone with diastema of the horse who never knew the bits.

The next photo shows why the bit is placed right here.

(pic of cadaver of horses head showing Trigemenal nerve position)

Here in margo interalveolaris, in diastema the most sensitive part of trigeminal nerve is located (I pick it up by scissors in photo). There is no submucosal layer on the margo interalveolaris and the bit affects the nerve directly. The nerve is supersensitive.

The bit beats and presses right on this place.

In the course of recorded experiments it was found out that the jerk effort by the bit causes the press force of 300 kg per square centimeter. “An ordinary” typical effort by so-called “good hands”, is about 120-130 kg per square centimeter. That is 120-130 kg straight to the nerve.

According to descriptive adjectives the pain like that in the area of the nerve is called “especially acute, burning, paralyzing”.

(Perhaps the “jerking” pressure is in fact much stronger. But neither dynamometers nor special equipment of the Forensic Medical Examination laboratory, are able to measure the stronger efforts. The instruments returned an off-scale reading just because of the typical equestrian sport “sawing” and force tensions.)

All the experiments were carried out together with specialists and experts of Forensic Medical Examination Office in St. Petersburg, veterinarians and journalists. The experiments were formally recorded and videotaped. Thus, whether one agrees with outcomes of experiments or not, it is really “the matter of sight but not of belief”.

In the course of experiments emerged the traumatic degree of pressure on the tongue of the horse.

The anatomical model of the tongue made from ballistin was practically crushed by easy “good” effort of the hands of a thirteen-year-old boy.

(The material closest fits to the structure and density of living tissues in everything except flexibility since in forensic medical examination the ballistin is used to register the hit or pressure). The main pressure of the bit acts upon places where the lingual nerve (lingualis) plexus is located. The bit causes a pressure on the tongue of 100 kg per square centimeter (it is ordinary rein tension, which acts as a lever for the bit of course) and the jerk intensifies the pressure till it reaches 250-300 kg per square centimeter. Or rather on the lingual nerve which is supersensitive as well. (White branch on the model is a lingual nerve (lingualis), and yellow branch is a motor sublingual nerve (hypogrlossus).)

I believe there is no need to describe the painful sensation due to a pressure of 200-300 kg on the sensory nerves. The real tongue would take such pressure but, owing to super flexibility of living organic tissue, all of the more muscular tissue would reshape immediately. It would sustain an injury, but the pressure wouldn’t make such a mark on it as on artificial ballistin. Let’s continue.

Another branch of trigeminal nerves sustains a hit. This branch is located in the chin groove under which a curb chain runs. This place is almost out of muscular tissue, there are only skin, the branch of nerves and periosteum there.

What can the curb chain do, the very standard curb chain on a standard curb bit? The curb chain applies pressure to the bone and nerve of more then 300 kg per square centimeter. Except force measurement instruments which gave all these figures the degree of curb chain effect force were registered in another way. Another model of a horse head was made from material withstanding the pressure of about 100 kg till it breaks with its thickness of 3 cm.

TWO EXPERTS of various ages and constitution using two different models BROKE OFF the lower jaw just at once after first tension of reins, which confirms the instruments readings.

Clearly that horse bone is able to withstand much stronger pressure on this place, but we talk not on functional damages but on pain degree that horse feels which caused by using of standard sports equipment.

Now, let us consider THE HARD PALATE (palatum durum). Both the curb port and the central part of the snaffle cause equal effect on “gently rolled tissue”, on mucous of palatum durum. The only difference is that pressure of curb port is almost constant and the hits by the central part of the snaffle are more abrupt but occasional. The thickness of masticatory mucous is from 2mm (of grooves) to 6mm (of ridge).

Between this thin layer of mucous membrane and palatine bones the thick rete of palatine nerve (n. palatines major) is located. This thin layer of mucous membrane is unable to protect the palatine nerves against the hits and pressure of 180-200 kg per square centimeter caused by the bit. The hematomas under the mucous membrane, which can be perfectly seen on the dissection photographs, give an idea of the amount of pressure force (degree of pain).

These photos fix real thickness of hard palate mucous membrane.

We might continue talking about the impact upon the teeth and lips, or how they shove the horse’s tongue into its throat, about the injuries of epiglottis and so on, but many thorough researches are dedicated to it.

But we talk about the PAIN DEGREE only, or rather about how severe that pain should be to make the horse “forget” about the pain in poll and in the area of the parotid gland.

Performed experiments obtained figures which are easily converted to physiologic sensations. These provide unequivocal evidence that pain in the mouth is more intense, sharper, more “hypnotic”, than even such severe pain as pain in the decomposing gland and crumbling vertebrae. Therefore the horse “obeys”.

I have to confess when I saw the first findings of examinations I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t believe the experts. I didn’t believe the instruments. We changed dynamometers and electronic sensors twice. But everything repeated again and again. I didn’t realize that even ordinary “gentle” action of bit in the mouth is so painful.

I knew that the pain exists, that it is strong (I also used to work with the bit in the past), but I was not ready for figures of 100, 200 and 300 kg per square centimeter. It seemed to me that with the effect like that, the horse’s head would fall apart during the first training. But we deal with very strong, very buoyant flesh, with very powerful physiology and very substantial osseous system. So, 300 kg per square centimeter is not the limit yet. The head does not fall apart. This just paralyzes the pain.

By the way, the experiments were conducted on real cadaver horse heads. With the pressure of 300 kg the horse flesh really does not “fall apart”. Severe inner “paralyzing” injures are inflicted but there are no external damages. (The real horse mandible can be fractured after the effect of 450-600 kg, the “old School” curb-bits by S. de la Broue, D. Izvitti design ensure that effect).

Ordinary sports curb-bit, or the one that is used in classic, just crack the periosteum. They can exceed the pressure of 300 kg but just a little. The dilettante who wants to believe in the myths of equestrian sport, cannot see the severe injuries, they are not clear.

Veterinarians stay silent in a cowardly manner. They make a living serving the sport. 99% of their “client base”, profit, connection, and career ladder is in sport.

For many years sportsmen have been generating lots and lots of lies about horses. They consider the drilled, forced, openly “painful” movements which have nothing in common with nature biomechanics of a horse, “beautiful”, and they award the medals to each other when the horse shows these movements. The more there is a “pain component” and marionette in movements of a horse the higher the mark. It is a concern for either so-called “sport” or so-called “classics”.

However, it is a sentimental talk again. We have scientifically proven facts which dot the i’s at last.

Alas, there is such a science as psychology and it discovered everything long ago. It is known that it does not matter whether a person possesses the knowledge of what he does or not, he senses some feelings…about what he does. This is called sense perception, emotional knowledge.

The information, value and accuracy of this sense perception, containing dozens, even hundreds of sensations, nuances and instincts, can rival the scientific knowledge… But it differs from scientific knowledge quite cardinally… It is impossible to express. It is difficult to formulate and to note. But that doesn’t mean it does not exist. In short, a person who ruins a horse realizes what he does. Not on a scientific knowledge level, but on an emotional knowledge level.

The possibility to force, tear and pull about the flesh in its both deep and subcutaneous stratums, to triumph over the breather, by the name of HORSE, methodically via pain are probably the very feelings they look for in dressage.

Alexander Nevzorov.
Lydia Nevzorova.
Nevzorov Haute Ecole

So, that one article out there to be looking at. Of course, the die hard traditionalists who don't have true communication or thus control of their horses say 'bullshit!' but this and other studies like it are replicable, valid scientific experiments.
After reading it, and pondering on the fact the mere presence of a bit on the mouth is actually causing harm (other studies note this more clearly), cna you say tomorrow you are going to ride with a bit in the mouth? If you can't.....now you truly see that pain has been what controls your horse...not you or the communication between you.
I'm happy to post more articles here if people want to read them...in the meantime, yep...lets get some science out for other to read and think about!

BAD DOG said...

I have just found your blog...and have read it all beginning to end. I could write for days here...LOL...but I will just say "Applause to you!!!!"

Besides I'm sure you'll be hearing my comments here and there from now on...you go girl :-)