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!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pick a topic

I've covered a lot of topics in the past year and most of them have been controversal.
Now I'm going to let the readers pick the next topic:

email me at tjamouse@yahoo.com and let me know what you'd like to read about on this blog.


cattypex said...

I posted this on the ASB lowback one, but...

We talk so much on this board about how people misuse bits, contact, devices etc. In fact I just went to a sizable open show this weekend & saw the usual disheartening headset crap & all the Wenglish folks winning the huntsest classes.

Well I finally got to my June Practical Horseman, & there's a nice photo essay featuring George Morris, with awesome commentary about how it's become so fashionable in all disciplines to overbend & compromise our horses' movement. He made a pretty big statement about how the beautiful gray horse he was riding had such wonderful collection & self-carriage, and emphasized several times about his nose being IN FRONT OF THE VERTICAL, and that's OK.

I could've wept for joy. Gorgeous horse too...

GoLightly said...

I love this site, the guy's hilarious.Yes, please, Trojan, blow the "head-set" word right out of the water...

Gawd, I hate that term.

Sorry if you've seen the site before. He says a lot of very funny, very true stuff.

cattypex said...

I HATE the headset crap!!!

And it's not just WP, AQHA HUS, and Saddleseat... Dressage just calls it Rolkur.... etc....

There was a time in the late 80s/early 90s when being "on the bit" was the elusive Platonian ideal - and being behind the bit was as bad as being above it.

All these 4-H kids who can't even get their legs under them or their heels down, seesawing on their horses or tying 'em down with ridiculous martingales and CURB BITS, because they see "trainers" doing it.

To quote a wise old lady, "Everything behind the girth belongs to you. Everything in front of the girth belongs to the horse."

I wish no one ever came up with the terms "frame" and "headset," because inexperienced people don't understand the nuance and believe that those are an indication of a "finished" horse.

Am I making sense?

I just get so fired up over this. ; )

GL, that's an interesting article.

Anonymous said...

Now now, ladies, Rolkur is the enemy, DRESSAGE is not. Proper classical dressage is what we all need to build a true base with our horses. The "modern" Rolkur method is merely another way to get to the end result without doing the proper work to get there. In our I WANT IT NOW society, gadgets and gimmicks become more and more used to achieve a desired effect.

I read Dressage Today, and I don't know how many times I've read articles in there written by dressage masters that talk down about Rolkur. It's really refreshing to read articles knowing that I am learning from people who know better than to fall into the Rolkur trap.

You guys will like this. This is the email I sent to Jean for suggestions for her blog. Sorry for not posting as HTML code--I can't find my code info for some reason!

What about things that aren't necessarily horse shows but still draw spectators, and most importantly, sponsors? I got the idea from Cathy's post on the Suicide Race. Here are some other ideas....

Dancing Horses:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68R2dJJjCmA (this one's the worst--I can only imagine what they do to this animal to make it do this)

Al Ragusin:
This prick was at the Festival of Horses out here in AZ in January. http://www.dancinghorseshow.com/ He is THE WORST person collecting money on horses that I have ever seen. The horse is so over-collected, and his portion of the Saturday night show was him riding his "dancing" horse while he sang songs like Mombo #5. He would sing four songs in a row while he just rode his horse around the arena, reaching out to touch hands with the audience. He was very high on himself and really spent most of his time flirting with the ladies. The bit in his horse's mouth was of course a curb shank, and his tie-down was attached TO THE BIT. And I LOVE his double reins--get collection in just a few hours when normally it takes months to achieve! Be sure to watch the video on his website--you'll see the false collection in his horses. It's very sad for them.


Anonymous said...

P.S. My "now now ladies" comment was tongue-in-cheek. Just didn't want to ruffle any feathers! :) Since were all bitchy hens in this henhouse anyway.... ;)

cattypex said...

Al Ragusin: OK I didn't have time yet to peruse his crap, but ... he looks like he should be featured on menwholooklikekennyrogers.com!!

People think that "collection" means "slow horse with overarched neck." That's why I loved the George Morris article so much, and he's not even dressage.

GoLightly said...

pick a little talk a little pick a little talk a little pick pick pick

Gawd I'm old.

Hey, you want to go to other countries?
Not me.
No thanks. Howzabout them farmed bear gall bladders. Yupper.

The horses are at least, well-fed.
Gorgeous critters. Did you see one of the comments "They are taught to be jittery from birth." Sadly true. You can train 'em to do just about anything.

To Honest Horses.
What they put up with!

Raggie guy makes me think of "The Electric Horseman" movie, only because there isn't any.
Electricity. Lovely horses.
Oh, well, as the article says..

Horse-people cringe, non-horse people ooooh and aaaaah and throw money.

I guess I can't crow, huh.
I haven't bought PH yet, CP!!

Waaah, you gave George's finale away!
Jim Wofford's awesome too.

Anonymous said...

"pick a little talk a little pick a little talk a little pick pick pick

ROTFLMAO!!! I LOVE that musical! I think that part is my favorite. I love singing that song.

Cut-N-Jump said...

So many times anymore I hear people speaking the terms but when you comment and respond they give you a blank stare.

I can't stand 'headset' or 'frame' either but then cadence and rythm get tossed around frequently and used with just as hollow the meaning behind them too.

Wenglish, just no words as to how deplorable that is.

Pretty much any class with the word 'pleasure' is anything but!

NH- need I say more? The marketing guru's and fanatics have driven away more people then they attract anymore.

Harsh bits, gimmicky mechanical crap tack to shortcut your way through resulting in mechanical movement (ie fourbeating & a shuffle jog) and the win at all costs crowd...

Halter- the bane and downward spiral of all breeds.

Lack of care or compasion for the horse.

I think so far either the Mouse has hit them all or else we filled in the gaps in the comments!

Keep it up TJM. And the posters too!

sandycreek said...

Headset Headset, I am SO tired of that word! My friend who just got her mare back from the trainer (just started under saddle mind you)wanted me to video her ride, said she was having trouble getting the right lead. Out comes this god awful two rein high port curb bit for this young mare! I asked, why are you using this on her? Cause my trainer told me to, my god why? To get the correct headset of course!
After the ride with that bit (which was ugly) she went back to a nice comfy snaffle, guess what, she got both leads and was lovely. I got the video to prove it!

cattypex said...

"Lack of care or compasion for the horse.

I think so far either the Mouse has hit them all or else we filled in the gaps in the comments!"

So true!!!!!

So is the AQHA doing anything about that headset bullshit at its shows?

I know there was a half-assed attempt to educate judges a while back, but.....

There was a girl at 4H the other night, had a LOVELY bay QH that moved SO pretty when she wasn't messing with his head.

I told her that if I was judging, I'd look for that excellent self-carriage, real softness & collection and nice movement before I EVER looked at where his head was pointing.

He really did carry himself so nicely, with a natural collection and an easy impulsion that really came from behind.

After I told her 1,749 times to quit messing with his head, she let him go on a loose rein and got a smoooth natural true jog (still slow) and 3-beat easy lope.

I kind of want that horse before someone fucks him up.

Anonymous said...

You go, sandycreek. You ought to post those videos on YouTube!

cattypex, I hear you on wanting to "save" a horse from a bad rider/trainer. There is a Gypsy Vanner stallion out here in AZ that is just being tortured. I know I've commented about him before, I think on here. He has a horrible attitude because his owner and rider have horrible attitudes. I wish I could save him, give him brain surgery, and then change him with proper work.

There's a good idea for a post, though: terms that are used too much and people don't really understand them. I understand what headset means, but most people don't. Some other terms I find that are misunderstood are collection, engagement, soft mouth, natural horsemanship, and control. A lot of them are overused, too.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sandy Creek- I don't know if you remember back in the posts on FHOTD...

A woman was asking Johnie Rotten (aka my hubby) about leads, and how to get the correct lead.

In his answer he told her to leave the horses head alone, it's not a 'headset' problem, it's a lead problem.

Long story short, leave their head alone. Use your legs, move their body into position and you'll get the leads every time- as did the person who asked him.

I'm sure you passed a few other tidbits of info along to your friend. Feel free to toss that one in there as well.


GL- interesting article, but it got a little confusing as the words seemed to go down both sides of the page with the pictures. Changing font sizes didn't help, but I got through it nonetheless.

A lot of truths in those written words. I guess the main point being- Humans have a way of fucking everything up.

Aren't we proud to be a part of this species? LOL!


CP- Good for you, speaking up for the horse. we see tons of that here too, on all levels- 4H, schooling shows, B rated, A rated, breed shows, discipline shows- reining, jumping, etc.

Yank, snatch, jerk, jerk, jerk, poke, jab, spur, whack, whack whack with the crop- all the while the horse has his chin to their chest in draw reins or martingales (Arab country, you know) sometimes both! or their nose to the ground as they shuffle/stumble along (QH's abound here too).

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- I doubt AQHA, ApHA or APHA will ever do anything useful about restoring the horses in the performance classes to anywhere near their original state.

ApHA did include in their rules that judges *can* ask for a "lope with an increase in forward movement." They can ask, but there are no guarantees they actually will. Even still, they asked and not much about the showing horses' way of going changed.

If the horses were actually LOPING, there would be no need to ask for this.

The judges did not ask for the increase in forward movement in ANY of the Eq classes we watched at the breed shows. Not the Western classes, Wenglish or what they are refering to as sport horse type classes. None.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- there is a Friesian that the 'trainer' rides at some of the not so local shows. She claims the owner doesn't get along with the horse, but they are quite the pair. At least in their world they are...

Anonymous said...


Well, the trainer is certainly right, but she's an awful trainer, too, with that horrible death grip on his mouth and extreme hunt seat forward position. MAN, does it make me mad! I just want to grab her and pull her off that poor horse and slap her and the owner around: STOP TORTURING THIS ANIMAL!

cattypex said...


I wish my immediate area had more h/j people - not that it's PERFECT, mind you, but at least *forward* is encouraged...

I also saw a lot of horses troping round the rail at about a 20ยบ angle. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At least my old friend on her gorgeous NSH placed OK in huntseat. He looks like a tall Anglo-Arab with fancy movement. Of course he lapped everybody else... Funny how the most correct (or least incorrect) Hunt Seat Horse out there was a National Show Horse.

I think one of the problems with the whole AQHA thing is that these people have no... taste.

Their winning horses move in a clumsy downhill shuffle. They have those massive saddles with too much silver. They wear those chunky Phat Baby boots, baggy-stacked jeans, etc. Nothing is about Elegance - at least the other disciplines have some aspiration to that.

This is a totally non-horse-related article:

But I love this quote about designing the SR-71 jet:
"All of us had been trained by Kelly Johnson and believed fanatically in his insistence that an airplane that looked beautiful would fly the same way."

Does any of this make sense?

cattypex said...

OMG... I just re-read that article and realized that you can substitute "Good Horsemanship" for "Good Design" in just about all of those bolded statements.

Morgan_Horse_Queen said...

I realize that it doesn't have much snark value, but how about a blog about things in horse showing that are done right?

Sport horse shows, maybe? We're going to the first one I've ever been to this weekend - I'm hoping that it will be a good experience. Will let you know.

Community shows?

Academy classes at Saddlebred shows?

Those are all I know about. Any other suggestions?

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat, CP, and MHQ- I just talked to our client whose daughter used our mare in 4H last year.

Kat you may have judged her at Finals???

Her daughter did well enough in English, tied for high point wih another child whose mother leaves plenty to be desired...

Then the following day in western they were only going to do showmanship. The horse acted up at the last show and they scratched so they didn't plan on doing any of the riding classes, until....

She went off pattern in showmanship. One of the other group leaders and a parent laughed at her. WTG guys.

So she was deemed 'no competition' and everyone thought that was it.

She went back to the trailer and with a stubborn determination told her mother (who was crying) she was going to ride. WHAT???

She came back in the western classes and was pretty much 'lapping' everyone as her horse was jogging and loping...

The stock breed set thought they had it sewn up as her horse was 'too fast'.

Damned if she didn't win, but the judge said her horse was 'perfect' for his breed (Morgan) and she had the most consistent rides she has EVER judged at this level!


Maybe things are starting to change. We can hope.

cattypex said...


We had a cool judge like that on Western day at our fair last year.

She knew her stuff about different breeds & types, and got very upset at the overbitted "bigshot" kids.

I thought she was the fairest 4H judge I'd seen in awhile. FWIW, she was a POA breeder & exhibitor herself, and related to us that when someone told her that her son would benefit by a stronger bit for more "whoa" on his pony, she said, "Gee, how about a stronger seat and better hands instead?"

Anonymous said...


Yep, I judged her and remember that horse. He was a nice one. I was impressed with that girl--she was very professional and did a great job.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat, so did you judge the western? I asked her mom if you had and she said it was someone of another name. So I figured you had judged the English classes.

CP- that's funny because this kid also rides and shows POA's when she isn't showing their own horse.

We can only hope the parents give good feedback to those in charge of the clubs, that THESE are the type of judges we want to show under! That is one way of creating a change.

cattypex said...

CNJ... Look at those adorable Cambells Soup Kids!!


Mighty sweet.

Anonymous said...

CNJ, No, I didn't just Western, only English. However, they asked me if I know how to judge western and if I would come back for more judging, and i said no problem. They were well organized and I was pleased with the turnout and the parents' support. That particular 4-H group is definitely one I want to help!

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant I didn't judge Western. I just started the training for my new transcription job so I am burned out on words tonight!

cattypex said...

Katphoti, please come to Indiana and judge 4H shows! ;)

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- I was telling JR about the whole western episode and he told me he had recieved a phone call that day to possibly judge next year for some of the shows. He has an idea who may have dropped his name, but he isn't sure if he will do it or not.

The mother of the other kid in the tie for high point would likely protest every and any class where her kids don't win or place where she thinks they should...

Oh the stories I could tell...

cattypex said...

UGH, another topic we've covered in here!

Evil parents!!!!!!

Someone I once respected got caught changing the high point stuff around so that her daughter with the $50K horse would beat the kid who was a better rider.

SO Klassy.

Anonymous said...

CNJ, Well, they used two judges for the English, so I imagine they'll use two for the Western...? I think JR should do it myself. I'm better at English than at Western anyway. Or perhaps it'll be both of us! :)

CP, Sure, I'll come to IN! Sounds like fun to me! I'm a real stickler and tell people like it is. Well, I guess most of you can tell from what I write in comments and on my blogs!

Cut-N-Jump said...

TJM- Can we do one on Show Moms?

I have a few I can post about. Oh, the stories I'm sure we can all scare... I mean share...

horsndogluvr said...

A little modified Gilbert & Sullivan:

"If you're anxious for to shine
In the horse and rider line
As a man of talent rare,
You must pick up all the germs
Of the equestrian terms,
and drop them every where..."

Patti said...

My pet peeve are the competitions to see how broke you can get a mustang or other horse [Craig Cameron] broke in 3 months. I think they are pushing these horses. If a show horse trainer was doing that their name would be mud, especially from people on this board.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Patti- the show folks do it all the time and are often the worst of the worst...

Cut-N-Jump said...

Patti- I should also note, you can get a horse good and broke and going well under saddle in 60 to 90 days, but the difference is how you go about it.

A rough and ready, wear and tear 90 days is a big difference from patient and consistent easy does it 90 days.

Anonymous said...

Patti, that's a good one.

GoLightly said...

Yeah, TrainerX will LOVE that idea.
She's doing it.

You can indeed get a horse broke in 60-90 days.

Not broke so they can do a grand prix dressage test.
But broke enough to ride and enjoy.
Training is for life.
Like forever.

Patti said...

Some of these horses are doing flying lead changes after 100 days. A good trainer will not do that in that amount of time. Getting a horse broke is different from putting one in competition in 100 days. And yes as CNJ says, it is how you go about it.

GoLightly said...

Some of these horses are naturally balanced enough to do flying changes. Some are not.
It is all in how you do it. It's also how balanced/well-conformed the horse already is.

I think trashing the "WildHorse Race" so enjoyed at rodeos, might be fun.

In those races, the horse is supposed to be broke in fifteen minutes.
Men get kicked in the head.

I'm all for that;)

cattypex said...

Is there anything egregious that we HAVEN'T thrashed out on here??

I'm always annoyed when horsepeople get overly cliquish. It just reinforces that "horsepeople are rich snobs" thing the general public sees.

The Wild Horse Race is pretty bad. *nodnod*

I think Redneck Chic has made a lot of cruelty "acceptable."

Git 'Er DONE! *shudder*

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- I HATE that phrase! Absolutely HATE it.

No I don't think there is anything we haven't trashed here yet. Except the Banshee trainers and Show Moms. You know- the kind that always have to win, scream at their kids, riders & clients from the rail and can be heard three counties away... *Massive*Eyeroll*

GL- I agree! If the horse is sound- the rest can be achieved through training. Proper training with the horses conformation in mind. Slightly downhill horses can appear to have more uphill carriage and more freedom in their shoulders through up and down transitions and learning self carriage.

Horses do flying changes while in turnout from the time they learn to go faster than a trot. They know how to balance themselves and just do it. Nobody taught them what to do or that that is what a flying change is. The trick in getting them to do it under saddle is teaching them to balance themselves, the tack and you.

You are the shiftiest variable there. A leg, an arm, a dropped shoulder or tucked chin- throws it all off and the motion is blocked.

A Grand Prix test, some movements may be attainable- depending on the combination of talent the horse and rider possess. But the muscling and development won't be what it should to maintain everything. It will fall apart, the horse will sustain an injury or become brain fried from too much, too soon.

The wild horse race- doesn't so much require the horse to be broke in 15 minutes, they just have to catch, saddle and mount a horse and complete a lap of the arena first to win.

The guys getting kicked, dumped and trampled- well you asked for it. No sympathy from me. Just like the people who choose to run with the bulls in Spain or stand on the streets as they go by.


Where are you when we need you?

Cut-N-Jump said...

Patti- Ya might just be suprised at what a good trainer can accomplish in 30, 60 or 90 days.

The operative words there- Good Trainer.

Pop on over to Mr Rottens Neighborhood for a look see, when you get a chance. He's currently just taking the first ride on a young horse.

Anonymous said...

I think another topic we haven't covered is Natural Horsemanship classes at shows. WHAT A CROCK. Let's go play with your horse for 2 minutes and waste everyone's time.

I also hate At Liberty classes. Okay, I know, so many of you are going to say they're so fun and neat and the horses are so pretty! No, they're an accident waiting to happen. What is the point of chasing a horse around and scaring him so he'll look pretty? I judged a small fundraiser show out here and they had an at liberty class. Freaking 17 horses in that fucking class, and at 2 minutes a piece, OMG, it was a nightmare. They stationed people around the arena before hand to chase the horse away when they got out of control, which they of course were assuming woudl happen. BRILLIANT. The horses would just run like madmen and then the owner would chase them to make them run more, then expect to be able to catch them. Several of the horses almost ran me over. THE JUDGE. Did the owners do anything to stop them? OF COURSE NOT! I would just stand my ground and the horses would think the better of running me over. I placed all the horses that the owners could easily control in the different gaits, that were respectful of my space, and that they could easily catch. What a stupid stupid stupid STUPID class!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Liberty is a joke!

In the Arabs they want the horses to trot. The handlers are Not to cue or otherwise control the horse. They are to perform to music. If none is provided by the entrant, something is selected for you. The handler and one other person are allowed in the arena and both can carry halter type whips.

What happens?

They lead the horse in, present them to the judge, take the halter off, the horse bolts, the music blares obnoxiously loud and the horse just runs ape shit crazy. The provided or selected music usually has no connection to the breed, the gaits or anything relevant.

I have seen horses try to go over the gate, through the judges gazebo and generally anywhere in the ring they don't belong.

The horses are supposed to use the whole arena- instead they stay at one end.

Handlers are to dress conservatively as if they were showing halter. Instead they dress like they are headed to a night club.

Liberty class is like one of those, drunken frat party ideas. It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but when you sober up and realize what you have done... The best you can hope for is someone else will do something worse and your 'mishap' will be surpassed by theirs.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- I gotta ask. Was that at Beat the Heat?

That's the only one I can think to blame it on.

GoLightly said...

Hey, Trojan, I left a comment on your sister's blog.
Someone else is using her stuff again.
let her know?

I hate plagiarism.

cattypex said...

Liberty classes sound SO SILLY. Just another way to cash in on clueless rich owners who don't know much about horses.

I mean, animals generally Do. Not. Perform. To. Music. unless you cue them!

If you can't control your halter horse, it's because you've either a) scared/angered the shit out of him or b) haven't trained him.

Or c) All of the above.

Most of the backyard redneck owners around here haven't cottoned to the NH stuff yet. They're still too busy playing Wild Cowboy.

GoLightly said...

CP, my puppy Blaze howllll-oooos to a certain theme song on HGTV.

Funniest thing I ever saw.

I knew another horse, he'd visibly brighten when he heard anything by the Rolling Stones. Smart horse.

Animals can and do respond to music.

Good music, anyway;)

cattypex said...

Oh yes... animals DO respond to music!!

But, like, to perform a routine, without cues?


I suppose you could condition a horse to trot when he heard a certain melody, but does your average trainer want to DO that?

Cut-N-Jump said...

Can we also trash trail classes? Please????

I'm talking about the absurd course obstacles usually paired with overall poor course design.

Who knew bridges had pigs on one or either side? I have also seen staked out goats in the arena. Great thing to get the horse tangled in their line... eyeroll.

Gates with a pole under the gate- not just supporting on either side. How about backing through a gate? A gate with said pole? Picking up a plastic bag full of pop cans?

The all time bestest accident waiting to happen- Walking under a clothesline with bedsheets hanging off it. Yep! The 'line' was set right at rider decapitation height too. WOOT!

Then there are the riders- low cross rails called a 'lopeover' are NOT considered JUMPS! Nothing even close to what they have in, well, jumping... It is not an oxer by any stretch of your imagination when describing it later to your friends. Your horse may take it as such because you failed to set them up properly or spurred them as they started over it.

Turning the horse around - all 4 legs going everywhere is not a pivot.

It might be shown primarily in western tack, but speed or lack of do not help or hurt your score. It's not a race, but it would be nice if you completed the course **sometime** today.

Three tries and you are done. Please leave the arena. NOW. You do not have infinite time to work on getting your horse over or through an obstacle.

If the class is held on another part of the showgrounds concurrent to other classes- please get your tukkus over there and take your turn. Do not wait until the end of the day and well after the 6th announcement that they are dismantling the course and then whine and pout because you didn't get your turn. Suck it up sunshine.

GL- our horses seem to prefer rock. Of course classical for 'down time' or soothing thoughts, works too. One barn I worked in, the owner routinely put on opera classics. Bad opera classics. Each piece seemed horrendous! An 'off' note was... just... there are no words.

Cut-N-Jump said...

cattypex said...
Oh yes... animals DO respond to music!!

But, like, to perform a routine, without cues?



Seeing as how you are working with 4H now- ever seen a horse 'patterned to death'? The kids practice the pattern over and over and over, until they can both do it in their sleep...

Put it to music and there you go. The horse will learn when the tempo changes you should be doing this _________.

Just like the over patterned horse, they anticipate the next movement and can do the routine without any cues from the rider.

Just like the horses who have been worked over and over on a walk/lope transition. Stop, walk, they anticipate the lope and become fussy.

One of our youth riders, broke from the breed show 'pack' and was working with us. We worked on different elements of the reining pattern for the upcoming show. One day was simple changes, the next day big fast, small slow circle transitions using your seat and body. Another day it was pivot one direction- lope off, find a spot on the rail and stop. Repeat.

Day of the show, we told her, you know how to do each element well, just put them in order out there. She won the class and exclaimed- "We never even practiced the pattern!"

The other kids and parents were visibly and noticeably pissed!

cattypex said...

Oh yes - overpatterning!!

If you ever decide that "today we're gonna work on Figure 8s," you'd better mix it up somewhere along the line, because... well. *blush* Do we all learn that the hard way?

I'm sure it's a very common problem in the dressage world, too.

The people who NEVER EVER practice anything but going around the ring on the rail always crack me up at shows where the judge mixes it up. They take it so personally!

That being said, when I showed over fences my biggest anxiety-producer was trying to remember my course. TOTALLY psyched me out.

But really... do big name Arab halter dudes actually TRAIN the Liberty horses to perform to the music? I'm asking this for real, having never seen a Liberty class in person.

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- you will rarely find a 'big name' in the liberty classes. The one trainer I worked under used to show his stallion in the class and was routinely beaten by this gorgeous steel grey who trotted the entire time. He literally

* f * l * o * a * t * e * d *

across the ground.

I can't remember the horses name, but that year his music was "Coming to America" (Neil Diamond? or ???)

Long thick mane and tail that he carried like a flag high and streaming out behind him.

He was a sight to behold.

It's no wonder Boo couldn't beat him. Boo was a western horse and lacked the presence and movement of the grey.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I bet there are a ton of Liberty videos on YouTube.

If you are so inclined to look.

Anonymous said...

cp, here is an At Liberty class for you at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse show last year. The horses freak me out because I keep thinking they jump the barrier to the stands.


And here's a mini one. I LOVE how this little bugger kicks at his owner when she goes to catch him!


Two minutes of BLECH.

I don't think the horses are "taught" to go with the music--they just go. The music should be appropriate to how the horse moves naturally.

CNJ, It was a late fall show for the Equine Eden horse rescue. www.equineeden.org. It's a big money-maker for them, so it's for a good cause. But they are really just a bunch of REALLY fat ladies (much fatter than me) with too much time on their hands. They rescue horses here and there and do find good homes for them, but are too fat to actually do quality work with them. Example: they have a pony right now that I just love--he was in the show I judged, and of course, he was one of the horses you couldn't catch in the At Liberty class. Honestly, he's very smart and has tons of potential to drive and be awesome at driving trials. They complain what a little stinker he is. Well, when you don't give him any attention or DO anything with him, of course he'll get himself in trouble! UGH.

I hate those stupid weird obstacles for trail classes, too. I was told by one woman out here how they would do their trail classes "back east" with TWHs. It was all stupid crap like that. One time they had a mailbox and they put a chicken in it. The damn thing would fly out everytime the box was opened, and it would scare the shit out of the horse and rider everytime. LOVELY. And of course, everyone thought it was hilarious. She tried to get me to do the pick up the bag of cans thing in a small show I held, but I wouldn't do it.

I have always hated doing trail obstacles that are nothing that you would really encounter on the trail. I did a Trail Trials once (the one in Wickenburg, CNJ), and at one point we had to sidepass up to a wooden cutout of a donkey with carpet and decorations on it and pin a tail on it. Yep, that's something I do EVERY TIME I'm out on the trail! Those endurance riders run into that all the time!

Arena obstacles I'm cool with, like going over a small bridge, opening a gate, etc. (Of course, I just spelled "gate" "gait" :) ) But the "car wash," clotheslines, crap like that...UGH.

Cut-N-Jump said...


In a mailbox?

I think you win. I am picturing this in my head, and it's hilarious. But not if you were the horse & rider.

When I rode the walker gelding for my friend we entered the trail class. (Kat- think P&M) One of the 'obstacles' were those big orange leaf/trash bags with Jack-O-Lantern faces on them in black, filled with newspaper. Three of four of them you had to weave in and out of like cones.

Butch took one look at them and did the splaylegged "Oh Hell No!" stop and spook in place. He refused to go near them.

Not likely to come across those on the trail, but you might see them in someone's yard.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- I had a look see at the website. It looks like they are doing what they can for the few horses they have.

Their show looks like fun, low key and a chance for learning. I'll have to check back for future dates. It would be nice to take our horses somewhere else once in a while- even if it is way across town- to show under other judges, in different arenas and with different riders.

Also looks like they lack the usual crowd of folks showing on the smaller show level who think it is Nationals! Those types ruin it for a lot of people.

I did laugh though at the expression on the boys face in the "English competitors" pic. Yeah, he looks happy to be there!
Gotta love it.

My daughter blurted out in a showmanship class once- "I know Pi. I don't like this much either!" Just as the judge walked behind her pony, and loud enough to be caught on tape. Golden! Especially as everyone in earshot was snickering and giggling. Even the judge!

Patti said...

Yes a good trainer can do a lot but when you make a competition on how much you can train a horse to do in a certain amount of time, the horses lose.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Patti- it's no different than people taking their horse to a trainer and saying I can only afford 30, 60 or 90 days worth of training. A lot of trainers do what they can for the sake of the horse. The rest will ram and jam that horse around as they rush through everything, trying to cram a years worth of training into what precious little time they have the horse.

Either they hope to create a finished horse the owner will be proud of- telling all of their friends what a great job you did with their horse, or they are pissed off you can't pay much but expect a lot, so they take it out on the horse. Another explanation is that they lack the knowledge to do things right, so they fake their way through, creating more problems so the owner has to leave the horse with them longer to resolve the 'new' issues- generating more money for themselves.

I have seen my share of these things over the years...

I think the competitions were designed to show what can be accomplished through patient, consistent and steady work. My understanding is that the trainers submit a video of their horses and skills, to be selected to be in the competition. The final performances consisted of reining patterns, lower level dressage tests, jumping a course of small jumps, mounted shooting, roping and i think there were a couple of trick riders. There were plenty of different avenues the horses were started for, so anyone buying a horse at the end sale had a couple of horses for their sport to choose from.

cattypex said...

Chicken in a Mailbox... are you sure that Punk'd wasn't there or something? ; )

We stick to traditional trail obstacles here, but not enough people train their horses properly. Except for the handful of super-serious kids of course.

Leg aids? huh? You mean I can do something besides KICK with my legs?

: P

Cut-N-Jump said...


One of the good things I can see about these competitions is length of time. They are 3 months or 100 days. At least they seem to be promoting a little longer with the trainer, as opposed to cranking out a bunch of 30 day wonders.

If the trainers can bring them that far along in 90-100 days, imagine how much more can be accomplished with more time- say 6 months to a year.

Anonymous said...

CNJ said,

"Kat- I had a look see at the website. It looks like they are doing what they can for the few horses they have."

Oh, they are, and they NEVER take in more than they can handle. It's just that they don't do any good handling and then complain about the horses they have. Their shows are TOTALLY backwoods and take FOREVER, so if you go, be prepared!

Yep. A chicken in a mailbox. Hey, that's a good title for a book. A Chicken in the Mailbox: How to Tell When Your Horse Show Has Gone Seriously Wrong.

You know, I don't train horses anymore as I don't have the facilities and we can't board where we're located. But when I did train, I told people that I will give you as much as I can in 30 days, and I will let you know where the horse is at after 30 days. If you want to take him home, no problem--I will be honest as to where his training level is at. But we can't expect him to be fully trained in such a limited amount of time. I also tell people the same thing if they want to send their horse to a trainer.

When I send a horse to a trainer, I say here she/he is--have at it. Do what you can in 30 days and we'll assess the horse from there. If I can't afford more time, then I will accept what you have given me and build on it. It's what I did with Sophie and the trainer I used, and it worked great. I'm tempted to send Red Hawk to her now since he's got so much TUNING needed. I won't sick him on JR, CNJ--he's 17 hands of doofus and can be very frustrating! :)

Anonymous said...

cp said,

"We stick to traditional trail obstacles here, but not enough people train their horses properly. Except for the handful of super-serious kids of course."

Very true. In our area, we have the same thing, only with TWH and showing. There aren't enough TWH owners that want to show, and a lot of those who do show are flaky and wishy-washy. They don't show at every show, and they get upset when they're beat by the better horses. They don't want to put in the training and time it takes to develop a good show horse. We have about seven very serious TWH show people out here, and that's it. I'm possibly getting a little show team together, though, and that will make mine the second TWH show team in the state!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- he can come on down. The bigger they are the doofier they can be, right? JR might even have you ride him and teach you how dressage applies with him and keep you both on the same page... That would be bad how?

I was lunging my pony and long eared TB mare last night. The neighbor was at it again. At least she hadn't tied the mare, instead she was in the round pen, but you could still hear the banshee.

I'm getting him back into a shape other than round. I may even drag him to EVAHA in the fall. I'm going to get him going at least to pull our arena drag. At least then we will have a smooth surface for the cart. We got a slammin' deal on a Meadowbrook!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Kat- about the rescue.

One of their foster homes is a place in Maricopa who frequently posts on CL. The place where 'training' includes their kids riding the horse.

There was a yearling TB colt for $350. Sounded promising, cute enough, maybe a h/j prospect with gelding of course. Guess where he's at/from. Yeah. There.

Still thinking about it.

Please stop me.

cattypex said...

OK, some food for thought on showing. Specifically Arabians, but his ideas for improving breed shows are very interesting:
(Johnny Johnston has been a photographer for freakin' EVER)