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!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

That horse won't hunt....

Foxhunting conjures up images of noble thoroughbreds, ridden by red coated squires, galloping across verdant fields, following tri-colored hounds and a sly red fox.

My guess is that these same squires would split their red coats laughing at the sight of what passes for a hunter in the ring today. When did the down turn happen?


I realize that the stock horse industry has altered and corrupted the entire concept of what a “bridled” horse is, but now it’s come over into the hunter ring and taking it down the same downhill trotting, head-dragging, stiff legged path. Where have all the good hunters gone?

A hunter is supposed to have movement based on what a cross-country jumping horse would need. Long sweepy strides, nice up hill movement, lots of impulsion, alert and focused demeanor. I’ve only seen a few real fox hunts, but I don’t recall seeing a single horse go past with his head at his knees, stiff hind legs popping and locking at the hocks, tiny front stride, and that hideous hunch/release movement that the stock horse breeds do at a canter. Watching the AQHA hunter under saddle classes is like watching a herd of caterpillars hunch along trying to reach the choicest leaf. It boggles the imagination to watch it. The rictus grins on the faces of the riders tell observers that the gait is neither smooth, nor enjoyable. These horses couldn’t out jump Fritz the Wonder Mini.


How did this come about? I know that those nasty Myler bits that pretend to be snaffles, but are actually bastardized curbs bits, are partially to blame. You can’t get good movement when your horse is over-flexed because his cathedral ported, and curb chained, dee-ring is digging into his mouth at every bumpy stride. Since when did putting English tack on a Western horse make a hunter? If that theory worked in every other discipline then there would be some big ol’ warmbloods in sliders winning reining, which will happen just as soon as the sport gets dumbed down to suit the horses and people that can’t really do those types of maneuvers.

Aren’t the stock horse exhibitors and judges embarrassed by how they look? I admit I’ve seen worse things, after all, I will watch American Idol on occasion, but this whole scale perversion of a sport in order to accommodate poor conformations and poor trainers is just unacceptable. It’s not like a good QH/Paint/App can’t move like a hunter. In their natural state, prior to being tucked up, jerked on and spur stopped into oblivion, they can trot and canter like a horse after the hounds. They round up, use their butts, and show the verve and joy that a good foxhunter does.

Maybe it’s the start of a new sport, Hunting by Hysteria, wherein the fox turns around, sees a herd of horses following him like a bunch of oversized inchworms and he falls over dead after laughing himself into an attack. No hounds are needed.

Why do the judges place this kind of crap? Don’t they realize that it simply points out their own ignorance of what a good hunter is? I know the argument will come up that they have to judge the horse in front of them, but I have personally seen a class full of head dragging, stump thumpers get placed and the one good true moving hunter get dumped. Why do judges do it? Is it fear, peer pressure, ignorance or stupidity? Is it worth playing favorites and appearing an unknowledgeable dork, in order to actually dump the good moving horse, that is in all likelihood ridden by an unknown (or uncorrupted non-professional) just so some poor riding professional can pimp his shoddy wares?

Help me out here people, tell me that I’m not the only one that thinks that stock breed hunters are a disgrace!