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!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Two is too young!

I’m going to address something that affects all breeds, although we hear about it the most in racing and the show ring. For some reason in the not too distant past, greedy assed people decided a two-year-old horse was capable of racing at high speeds or carrying a rider for endless circles in the show ring. If I could take a time machine back to the point when this idea took hold I would kick these people in the ass, flatten their heads with shovels, and bury them in the desert.

There is no really good reason to ride a two-year-old. They are not mentally or physically mature enough the handle the stress. I don’t give a shit if they are 17 hands tall, 1300 pounds and calm as a coma patient. They are still not ready to deal with the stress of a rider, nor the repetitive training that the show ring requires.

Racing destroys the lives, and legs, of many horses every year. The greedy bastards have bred delicate-legged, speed demons and then employ a pharmacopoeia of drugs to keep them going. I think every state should ban two-year-old racing and make it that a horse cannot even step on a track for training until he has past his actual second birthday. Not the January 1st birthday that puts some horses on the track at 18 months of age. I mean the actual birthday that occurs 730 days after that horse is born. I can understand the need to create uniformity in racing ages, so that a horse doesn’t race one week at one age and the next week at another. But they should have started the age limit at three, not two. In the 1700s and 1800s it was practically unheard of to race a two-year-old. Horses weren’t even started under saddle until their late three-year-old year, although four years of age was the norm.

Of course the racing industry knows about the damages of early racing. They’ve known for years.


Face it; the race industry is controlled by greed. We know it, and they know it. As their horses break down more often they approve more drugs to allow the horses to stay on the track. It’s a vicious circle. Of course the greedy jerks try to justify it by saying it’s too expensive to feed and train a horse until it’s three-years-old before it can race and earn its keep. Right! How much more expensive is it to pay for those vet bills and drugs after your two-year-old bucks his shins?

The death of Eight Belles this year was just another example of a young horse that was used up and wasted by a greedy industry. She raced 10 times in her short life, five of them as a two-year -old. Her first race was in April 2007, a mere 60 days after her second birthday. This tells us she had been started in training months before she actually turned two-years-old. She broke down and was euthanized a little over a year later. Surprised? Not even.




I doubt we can bring about immediate change in the racing industry. There is simply too much money, too many lobbyists and way too much corruption. This doesn’t mean we can’t start to turn around the show horse industry. In fact, the tragedies in racing should make cleaning up the show horse industry imperative.

Why ride a two year old? There is no good reason to get on a horse that immature. They are not structurally mature, they are not mentally mature.
Dr. Deb Bennett has a very good article on Skeletal Maturation and every single horseman in the world should read it.


I’m going to point out right now that I am not bashing the horses in any of the featured videos. They can’t help the fact greedy idiots that have no clue about a horse’s physiology ride them.

Let’s start with the worst section of the equine show industry: Tennessee Walking Horses. Not only do these sorry bastards ride their horses too early, but they put pads on their feet and ride with bits that should be made federally illegal.
Look at this sad video. These poor colts are not only in that thin gawky stage, but they’ve got some big ass human on their back, with a bit that has shanks you could pole vault with, and pads that weigh a ton on their feet.


Sorry assed doesn’t even cover it. WTF are they doing abusing a young horse like that? Why is it allowed, even worse, why is it approved of?

Here’s an American Saddlebred being ridden by a complete piece of shit. Can you believe the seat and hands on this person? Look at the immaturity of that horse!


It’s bad enough in the gaited horse industry, we expect abuse from any group that would pad up a horse and ride in bits that should only be used as toilet paper holders.

To my everlasting shame the stock horse industry has turned showing two-year-olds into a pre-requisite for making a name for yourself in the pleasure industry. Just once I’d like to see a big name trainer flat refuse to show in two-year-old classes. It will never happen, because like racehorse trainers and owners the two-year-old show industry is run by greed and greed alone. It does not benefit the horse to any degree to be ridden as a two-year-old. It doesn’t make him happier, healthier, smarter or better able to cope later in life. In fact a whole lot of two-year-old show horses burn out early and become ring sour. They end up being dumped and, provided they don’t have to many stress related injuries, they become someone’s trail horse. I can already here the proponents of riding two-year-olds calling me uninformed and bitter and other such bullshit. Sticks and stones right back at you, dipshits.

Two-year-old Western Pleasure


Two-year-old Hunter Under Saddle


Go search dreamhorse for 2 year olds. I found 1850, the majority of which were started under saddle. It’s just crazy.

Two-year-old reiner, already in training for five months.
Can you say complete dipshit trainer?


Oh look, another one! I remember when the reining people on one of my yahoo lists denied that anyone would train a two-year-old for reining. Must be our imagination.



Whoops another two-year-old reiner, sliding hard.

The only thing that pisses me off more than two-year-olds being ridden in western pleasure and reining is two-year-olds being worked for cutting. WTF is the deal with that?


Most of these horses are physically immature and they’re being ridden by guys that look like they swallowed a hay bale whole. Why? What is wrong with waiting another year and helping assure your horse stays sound? Don't you understand the damage to young tendons and bones that those hard stops and turns can cause? What about the spinal injuries from twisting and heaving their riders around an arena. It's stupid, just plain stupid.

Sadly the two-year-old show horse abusers industry is fueled by organizations that promote and condone riding horses that are physically immature. National Snaffle Bit Association, American Cutting Horse Association, all the stock horse breed associations, most of the gaited horse organizations, all promote riding and showing two-year-olds. I’d bet there is a direct correlation that shows that the increase in two-year-old events is related to the approval of more and more drugs. There is no way that these show horses can be started so young and perform soundly year after year. Nerving, hock injections, special shoes, pads, all these things are commonplace in an industry that used to look down its nose at anyone that showed an immature horse.

Now trainers brag about riding two-year-olds. Sorry, but I’m not impressed. If you want to impress me then show a sound, sane fifteen-year-old, without drugs. I’m looking for longevity, not short-term gratification.

With all the bitching about the show industry here’s what I don’t see; two-year-old dressage horses or two-year-old jumpers. Which is not to say that some uneducated idiot hasn’t tried to make a two-year-old piaffe or pop a fence. But there are no competitions geared toward horses that young in either event. Makes sense to me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ponies on Ice!

I’ve seen a number of different horse breeds and disciplines in my life, but I’m always interested in new experiences and I like to see exotic horse breeds. Growing up in the southwest we didn’t get to experience a big spectrum of horse breeds, simply because the heat was too harsh for most of them. We rarely saw draft horses, or the big thoroughbred hunter types. I don’t think I ever saw a padded up walking horse or saddlebred until I moved to Phoenix. I see them a lot more now that I’ve moved east, but that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten used to the abuse or creepiness of their showing methods.

I have to admit to a certain lack of knowledge regarding gaited horses. I understand that they move differently than non-gaited horses. I get that most of them are born knowing how to gait. What I don’t get, as an observer, is why the riders do some of the stupidest shit I’ve ever seen in order to make their horses gait. If it’s a natural gait then why all the thumping, pumping, hunching, mouth ripping, leg flogging and over all unpleasantness? If I didn’t know better I’d say it was like watching a low rent porno moving, with an even worse script than usual.

I’ve recently discovered the horrors of the Icelandic Pony show ring. To me Icelandics always seemed to be the “untouched” pony breed. They are cute, shaggy, tolerant and unfettered by our glossy, and sometimes a little too glamorous, American show rings. Little did I know that they suffer abuses that would send most horses over the edge. They must be one of the most tolerate and forgiving breeds out there because I can’t imagine an Appaloosa or Arabian putting up with this kind of abusive shit.

Let’s examine the tack. They use long and narrow saddles (called Dig n Pinch) so that they pinch the withers and dig into the loins, causing hyper-flexion of the neck, so that the horse will gait. They add heavier shoes to these ponies, along with a set (or maybe a double set) of *protection* boots on the front legs (sound like the beginnings of the TWH world?). Besides adding weight, the protection boots do protect the legs because sometimes the legs are so crooked, they might cut off a foot with another leg. With the saddles digging into the loins, if the horse isn't gaiting well enough, the rider will sit on the cantle of the saddle. Oh, yeah, we're sure the ponies really love this. In case there's not enough speed to this gait, they tighten the noseband down really tight so the horses can't breathe well, hello! Welcome to a rush of adrenalin.

The big bits dig into their mouths with the tight nosebands, adding insult to injury (or injury to injury), as the riders brace in the stirrups, sit on the cantle, and put their full weight against the reins.

Here’s our first shining example of just how screwed-up a particular section of the horse world is. Welcome to the world of Icelandic Ponies. Unfortunately for these poor fellows they have fallen into the hands of some of Satan’s minions and are being abused all in the name of stepping higher and faster, as well as keeping the Piece of Shit Bit Industry going.

WTF is the idea of putting a flash noseband on a curb bit? Isn’t that a federal offense? How fricking cruel do you have to be? Look at the edge of this horse’s mouth? The last time I saw stretch marks like that was when Britney Spear’s showed her naked hoo-hoo to the paparazzi when she got out of her car. The horse has the same look on his face that a horse does when it gets twitched. It’s a “this is such fricking agony, I wish I was dead” look. I personally think the rider’s hands should be cut off and he should have to hold the reins in his teeth. Maybe then the dumb son of a bitch would understand what mouth pressure is about.

Here’s our next darling pony being abused.This idiot is riding with a snaffle, but who knows what mouth piece lurks in there, I’m guessing something you could use to saw a off tree limb. Again with the dropped noseband and lip ripping. These assholes should have to give birth to a kidney stone the size of a bowling ball to understand how bad it hurts to have your lips stretch like that. It’s also evident this is a pony; as in a very short equine. It’s also apparent the rider is tall, much too tall for this pony. What’s the matter, too chickenshit to pick on someone your own size?

Here’s the same pony, same idiot. Is that fricking ice that he’s being raced on? Am I fricking crazy or is ice a hard slippery substance that can cause a horse to fall and possibly break a leg? Wtf is this all about?Can’t you find some nice soft surface to abuse your horse on? The only good point would be if the pony fell and rolled over on your dumb ass and killed you. And by the way, I’m not a horse dentist, I don’t need to see his fricking tonsils as you try to drag him to a stop.

Pain! Pain! Pain! There is nothing appealing or pleasurable about this photo. Why the hell would you jack your horse’s head back behind its natural extension? Didn’t you stupid shits read Black Beauty and about the “bearing reins” that held a horse’s head up? I bet this poor horse roars like an asthmatic moose. Again with the lip ripping and the nosebands! Have you ever heard of bitless bridles people?

Seriously this is Satan’s number one minion. Look at the fricking shanks on that bit. I bet even Tennessee Walking Horse trainers accuse you of being abusive. For those of you that can’t see it clearly that is a shank bit with a curb strap and it’s at a 45-degree angle to the horse’s mouth. Can you say leverage? Again with the long stirrups! You are too fricking tall for this pony! Get a horse, better yet get a motorcycle with a barbwire seat. What’s with the hoof gaiters? This is supposed to be a naturally gaited horse. Here’s another clue for you, hyperextension of the neck is considered a bad thing in all other equine events.

Now if the above photos don’t offend you enough (and if they don’t you’ve obviously got a tolerance level for abuse that would have made Mengele proud) here are some links that just scream “Stupid Humans Are Ruining This Breed”

http://womenministers.government.is/media/W_Gallery/xlarge/31.jpg We joke about riders needing roller skates all the time, but this guy really does. This link is from the Icelandic Government’s site. They promote this shit riding and abuse!

http://www.eidfaxi.is/Uploads/images/gudmartyr.jpg. This photo has a better look at that hinky curb bit. What a piece of shit. And what is the deal with sitting on your horse’s hipbones? Can you imagine what this poor horse’s kidneys look like? And you’re too fricking tall for the pony you asshat!

Is that a fricking leveler noseband in a competition? Are you kidding me? Does that horse even have a tongue left? And this asshole is way to big for that pony.

http://myndir.eidfaxi.is/myndir/pic_499.jpg Are you fricking shitting me with the contact here? I have never ridden a horse in my life with that much contact, even the old shitty rental string horses I knew growing up. I can’t imagine any horse that hasn’t been beaten to within an inch of its life putting up with this crap.

http://myndir.eidfaxi.is/myndir/pic_573.jpg Future Abusers Of Icelandic Ponies Unite! WTF? The guy on the end is practically touching the floor with his toes! The pony’s legs are like an X, probably from holding his big ass up. The second pony also has crooked legs! I can guess why looking at the size of those riders.

http://myndir.eidfaxi.is/myndir/pic_7972.jpg There is nothing right with this photo. You are riding a gaited horse on hard ground. You are sitting on the horse’s kidneys. You are tugging his mouth like you do your dick on Saturday night. Your horse’s neck is hyper-extended and he’s got a flash noseband on with a curb bit. The only merit I can see to riding around that track is that it makes it easier for a good marksman to pick your dumb asses off one at a time!

If the still shots don’t piss you off enough then the videos are going to enrage you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C_JM9fOnMk Fall on ice with a too big rider.

You need killing! I could see your horses gaping mouth even at high speeds and on a shitty video!

Hall of Fame? More like Hall of Shame. You should all be on wanted posters at the Post Office!

Here's a closes up of an Icelandic bit. Does this look like something you'd put on your horse? Look at those fricking shanks!

How about this beauty? Not only curb action, but also some nutcracker gag action! Whoo whoo, lets kill the tongue, chin, lips and poll all at once!

What the hell is this? A snaffle with a hard-on?
You have got to be freaking kidding me! I can't make this shit up. These are the bits used on the horses in the photos above!

I know the Icelandic is a good breed. I know there are people out there that love and respect the natural beauty of their ponies. Why the hell you don’t all gang up and kill the abusive bastards is beyond me. Clean up your industry, your ponies deserve better.