Let’s look at several of the last blog posts I’ve made and then review the responses. The Icelandic post has inspired comments from here to Siberia. There are entire forums in Finnish, Swedish, German, Icelandic and other languages just bitching about me. Of course they deny the photos show real abuse, and they are filled with indignation that the sight of straining mouths cranked down with dropped nosebands would offend anyone. Silly us, to think we’d be upset! We’ve had Iceland residents stop in and defend some of the practices, and we’ve had them stop in and decry the practices.
Doesn’t this little guy look “thrilled”? That gaping mouth, those shuttered eyes, the fact his head is rammed back into his neck. It’s tradition! So it must be okay!
One thing that keeps getting belabored is how “strong” Icelandics are, like being ridden by a big tall person isn’t a problem. I “get” that Icelandics are strong. They are a small horse and have a dense bone structure. But there is still no reason for a very tall adult to be riding a horse that is the width of a QH yearling. We can see the size of the horses in the pictures. Some of these horses are “not” the heavier draft looking Icelandics. They are thin, fine boned and look like they have giants on them. It simply makes no sense. I even tortured myself and watched Beowolf and Grendal, which had Gerard Butler in it. I would watch anything with Gerard in it, especially hot, sweaty, half-naked, draped in skins Gerard. The movie was filmed in Iceland and there were several scenes of these huge American, British, Danish and Icelandic actors just tolting along in their little short horses. It was embarrassing to watch. I’m sorry, but Gerard is 6’2”. He does not need to be riding a 14 hands tall horse; even if did make his manly parts jiggle appealingly. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402057/
The riding over the kidneys is just horrible. And despite claims that an Icey has a mysterious 19th rib ( by someone from Iceland), the fact remains that if you’re sitting right in front of the pelvis you are right on top of the kidneys! There is no excuse for the hyperflexion of the neck. There is no reason to be pulling that hard on a horse. If the horse were trained properly he would yield, slow down and collect. Instead these horses are taught to gait fast, without being taught how to work in the bridle. I see evasion in just about every photo. But it’s okay because it’s tradition!
The blog posts that brought howls of dismay from the prowlers were the drecquitation posts. People are mad that it was pointed out that top trainers ride like shit. Like it was a shock or something. Like someone just happened to catch the trainer on a bad day, when all was wrong in their world and they weren’t riding up to par. Bullshit. Trainers put these ads out with the crappy riding and in some case inspire copycat fads, like that leaning back crap the mechanics in motion guy does.
Some of the keyboard jockeys went so far as to spout nonsense about trainers not needing to ride correctly. WTF is that about? Of course trainers need to ride correctly. My favorite comment was “I’d rather be an effective rider than a pretty rider.” Wake up Barbie! If you are an effective rider then you are riding pretty. Equitation means more than the Stepford Wife robot-armed shit we see in the show ring. Equitation is based on the horse’s skeleton and musculature and how the rider has to react to them. It’s not about who has the most spangled shirt or who holds their hand the stiffest. Equitation is about “riding properly”. If you ride properly then good things will fall into place. If you’re riding like shit and still getting a good performance it is because your horse is good enough to compensate for your flaws. He’s forgiving you for your stupidity and making you look good. If he had a good rider on him he’d look even better.
Them: She hates stock horses.
Me: I grew up owning stock horses and love them dearly
Them: She’s never shown. She knows nothing.
Me: I’ve shown all my life. And when I started showing it meant you went in every class you could, not specializing in one single event.
Them: She doesn’t draw the shoulder lines right
Me: The shoulder lines are drawn “above” the actual shoulder to show the angle, and allow people to see the actual bone structure of the shoulder below. If you seriously thought I was putting the shoulder line to show where the shoulder actually was then you are dumber than dirt. If you look at where the gaskin and hock lines are you can tell the lines show the angles, not the actual structure. DUH!
Them: She’s hysterical.
Me: I’m in one spot, where anyone with a set of balls could comment. You, one the other hand, are running around, frothing at the mouth and having a conniption fit on various forums where all your similarly hysterical friends can back you up. You remind me of smart ass kids who talk big as long as they know a chain link fence separates them from the person willing to kick their ass.
Them: She doesn’t know anything about WP/EP/Iceys etc
Me: I’ve got the photographic and video proof on my side.
Them: I’m disgusted with her blog.
Me: But you’re still reading it and spouting off about it elsewhere.
Them: She cited Black Beauty so she has no credibility.
Me: Why don’t you just get a neon sign showing how ignorant you are? It would make it easier for anyone that meets you to understand you've never read anything more complicated than a comic book.
Black Beauty was written in 1877 by Anna Sewell. Prior to this time there were no animal welfare laws in England, beyond it being frowned upon to slaughter cows and pigs near a church on Sunday. Black Beauty brought an awareness of animal welfare to the general public and then to the members of parliament. Because of the public outcry, the Black Beauty Laws were put into effect, and equine welfare was finally being addressed. Black Beauty was instrumental in getting laws passed that abolished bearing reins(very tight over check reins), limiting the work days of the cab horses and making it possible to jail, or fine, someone that abused, or criminally killed, a horse. In other words Black Beauty did a hell of a lot more for the horse than any of the whining keyboard jockeys.
Them: She generalizes and makes us all out to be abusers.
Me: Get a fricking grip. Unless I specifically name you or use your photo I'm not saying shit about you. If your skin is so thin that nothing even remotely related to your life can be discussed then I suggest you order some kevlar for Christmas and learn to STFU. I can generalize abuse because we all know it exists. We know who abuses and we know who doesn't. If you're that bugged by me mentioning the shitty things that happen in the stock horse show ring then get off your ass and put a stop to them. Don't support the organizations that allow the abuse. And don't pretend that just because an organization has a rule against something that it is being enforced. Make sure the rules are being implemented and don't leave it to the organization to do the right thing,
What is really humorous to me are the little 18 years old know-it-alls that argue about breeds they show, but have no concept of the history. Seriously, shouldn’t there be some kind of test before you can own a horse? Maybe, something that requires that you know a bit about the breed, as well as how to handle it. I have never read so much uninformed shit in my life as I did reviewing the posts about this blog. Look in the mirror people; you’re why this blog exists. You provide me with an endless supply of material! This blog could go on forever and never run out simply because of the people bitching about it.
According to the polls most people think tail blocking and halter are problems. People seem confused that anyone would even consider putting a lip chain on a baby. Oh! It’s for safety! Yes, because it’s so much safer to flip your baby over and wrench his back and neck than have him fidget a bit. But then again a few wrenched backs might cover up the hideous conformation like this halter horse exhibits.
See here people, the line is “above” the fricking shoulder, but follows the angle. The back looks like something a snow boarder would like to take a try one and the neck makes me think of cinder blocks stacked on a horse’s body. Halter champions. Gotta love them.
It’s easy to see why this blog has collected some idiots. They rarely post here, being fearful of having their asses handed to them, but they do bitch, moan and whine on other forums. They are the reason this blog exists.
Now on to collecting horses. There are a lot of people out there under the false impression that a horse can collect himself with his head and neck lower than his withers. They are misinterpreting being in a frame, and being responsive, as being collected. Horses can be strung out like a Times Square crack ho and still be responsive. Just look at any barrel horse or open jumper. Collection is all about the skeleton and then the muscles. It is not about over flexing, bunching up the butt or hindering forward movement.
To quote Dr. Deb Bennett: “(1) the loins coil (2) the part of the back that would be under the saddle arches upward (3) the base of the neck is raised relative to the loins.”
If your horse’s head and neck are lower than his withers then he’s not collected. He’s in a false frame and he’s responding to your cues.
To further quote Dr. Bennett: “For the horse to go correctly "on the bit" or to "look through the bridle," he must raise the base of his neck. The scalenus and longus colli muscles, underslinging the base of the neck like a hammock, lift upward from below, raising the neck bones above. In a horse whose topline muscles are sufficiently relaxed, the uplifting action of the scalenus-longus colli complex comes to be aided by the coordinated contractions of the front part of the longissimus dorsi muscle, which pull the base of the neck upward”
Raise the “base” of the neck. So WP people, can you explain to me how a horse can raise the base of his neck when his chin is at his knees? He can’t. He is not collected. He may be responsive, he may be your personal dream ride, but he’s not collected by any means. I recommend everyone read this page and learn it by heart. http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/true_collection.html
Then have the balls to tell that trainer on the low-headed WP horse that it isn’t collected, it’s framed. And those of you insisting Icelandics must be hyper flexed need to read the part about gaited horses.
Here’s where the reality of the matter sets in. If you don’t like the blog then don’t read it. Going off to a forum and trying to defend the people that cause the offenses only perpetuates the problem. The show ring has some severe issues that will have to be addressed within the next few years for the horse industry to come out of the rut it is in. People see the show ring as a political arena where abuses are endorsed. People are tired of having to compete against fads, drugs, tail blocking, poor training, gimmicks and trainer/judges that kiss ass to other trainer/judges. So bitch about me if it makes you feel better, but it’s not changing a damn thing. I’d prefer to bitch about the problems and work on getting them fixed.