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!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Making life Missourable!

The Missouri Fox Trotter Saga

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know a whole lot about Missouri Fox Trotters. I know they are a nice, tolerant breed, with a rather interesting history. I know they make a great family horse and that they are known for their smooth gaits. I’ve seen a few in real life and admired what I saw. The horse below is a treat to the eye and he’s everything a relaxed, happy, gaited horse should be. He’s not wearing ridiculous pads, he doesn’t have his tail nicked or in a brace, his headset is natural and he has a kind eye and demeanor. He’s a far cry from a jacked up, in pain, head-cranked-back walking horse or saddlebred.

I would have gone about with this comfortable illusion if a reader hadn’t tipped me off to the rot in the MFT industry. I would have preferred to remain ignorant, but the videos are just too fricking much to bear. Exactly when did it become okay to ride a horse like a drunken idiot, wearing ill-fitting clothing, using western styles that have been dead for 20 years (buckstitching, really?) and jerking the shit out of your horse’s mouth? Well color me fricking surprised, but last year’s MFT Celebration seems to be the happening place for all of these things to happen.

To quote someone that was at the show:
In the open 5+ Performance, Entry #579 “Grand Central” with Thomas J Williams became “World Grand Champion 2010”. It will be forever a secret, how 5 judges could make it possible to place 1st this horse with this rider. A certain group of visitors was enthusiastic, screaming hysterical about the manner, in which “Grand Central” made his rounds with much animation, but the question remains open, how he could get such an evaluation in Walk, Foxtrot, Canter, Conformation and EQUITATION.

EQUITATION? Are you fricking shitting me? The rider looks like Quasimodo’s brother, after a serious bender, riding the most pissed of horse in creation. I SO wish that poor horse would just LOSE it and dump his hunched over ass in the dirt and then fox trot over his head!

I give WP and HUS riders hell all the time about their lack of equitation but this guy really reaches a new low. And I don’t want to hear SHIT about how “that’s how you ride a gaited horse.” Bullshit! The guy on the palomino doesn’t have his toes pointing at the ground! He’s not hunched over like he’s about to barf all over his horse. And that head nodding that is supposed to be so natural is being brought about by jerking hands and spurs. We can see with our own eyes that the horse that won the class was the LEAST suitable! What a load of horse shit! Shame on the MFT Celebration judges for placing this travesty of riding!
So after watching that 15 minute video I thought: Surely this is an isolated incident. I’ve never really heard of the MFT having the abuse and other industry problems that the other gaited breeds have. How wrong I was! (see it can happen even to me!) I searched youtube and came up with some more videos that made me want to hurl up my angrily chewed M&Ms.

Here we go again, same sorry-assed rider on a TWO YEAR OLD ( and we all know how that pisses me off!) and he’s doing the same crappy riding method!

WTF are you doing with that shank bit on a two year old? You abusive bastard! Get your big ass off of that horse and walk for yourself. You look like a caveman on a Shetland pony for Christ’s sake. And the judges placed this shit? It makes watching the Reichert bearable. I’d have to tune into the TWH Celebration just to get the images out of my mind!
( By the way Tom, the constantly jerking up and down of your hands makes you look like you’re beating off on this poor horse’s back. I’m sure you’re getting off on the ride, but no need to let the rest of us know how much you enjoy it.)

These are just “are you fricking shitting me” video moments! I had no idea that this crap went on. It surely can’t be the norm. So I looked further and found a few MFT videos that didn’t look like some un-evolved creature having sex with his hands on a horse’s back.

Here’s another case of the kids riding better than the adults. Can’t say I’m too crazy about the long shanked bits and buckstitch, but the equitation is leagues above the other guy!

And here’s an amateur class that looks many levels above the World Champion ride Mr. Tom “Let’s jerk the shit out of my horse” Williams turned in.

I could ride one of these stalwart fellows all day (minus those shitaceous bits) So why can’t the pro trainwhores figure out how to ride and make it look natural? Why does every pro make riding seem like it is such a chore? Just to clear the bad taste in my mouth out I went and looking for some more natural MFT videos and found this one:

What a nice horse, what a nice ride. Kudos to Far West Fox Trotters for riding in such a relaxed manner. Why can’t the pros figure out that THIS is what it’s all about. Not that jerking, spurring, hunched over and making the horse Missourable.

This year’s MFT Celebration is going on now, if you get interesting video let me know and I’ll do a follow up blog. Missouri Misery loves company!


sahara4d said...

What's up with the canter work? It looks grotesque. I have to tell you that after watching those videos I would not want to own a Fox trotter, for riding a gated horse there sure was a lot of bouncing going on in the saddle. I'm sure that it wouldn't look so bad if they rode them in a loose rein and let the horse go as it should. The last vid was nice and there was a link to another one that was showing a trotter learning to canter that looked so much better than the show horses.

cattypex said...

Is Entry #579 even ALIVE? He looks like he is kind of propped up in the saddle like Grandma on top of the car in the movie Vacation. Seriously, maybe he has severe cerebral palsy? I think he needs this saddle: http://www.grayscustomsaddlery.com/Devin2008.htm (Actually I know this kid, he's very cool. And he could ride circles around #579.)

All those other riders never heard of "Heads Up, Heels Down," either, which I always figured was universal.

Gah. Such nice horses, too.

Wolfie said...

I am no expert, but when I watch any kind of competition, I like to see the connection between horse and rider. I want to see them "dance" together. With the exception of the last video, there was no dancing in these competitions. The horses looked stressed and in pain and the riders slouchy. This combo was not very appealing to me. Frankly, I wonder how it can be appealing to anyone....

samihob said...

Great blog! Why not come and join http://hay-net.co.uk/ where you can post this blog for other UK horsey lovers to read?

Kristin said...

WTF??? Leave it to humans to take a natural trait, like head bobbing in MFTs and tail carriage in Arabians, and use inhumane means to turn it into a caricature of itself. #579's rider is proof that you don't have to be a good rider to be a professional trainer.

cattypex said...

(on a side note, is it somewhere in every gaited horse registry's rulebook that you MUST have a Hammond Organ at your big shows?)

Trojan Mouse said...

Cattypex, that's so the people won't hear the groans of agony from the horses.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mouse! I'm the one who continues to work against soring...I own the For the Tennessee Walking Horse blog. I just met your sister Tuffy via Facebook and email! :)

Ironically, Miller Ranch (who posted that video on YouTube) and Far West Foxtrotters are right here in my state! I have seen their horses in person and they are wonderful animals with REAL fox trots. I had heard it is getting bad in the MFT world, but I didn't realize it until seeing these videos. I am absolutely astounded that they have not learned from the TWH industry. They're going down the same road--ruining the gait, horrible equitation, and making themselves look like morons. They also have started soring their horses--they have DQPs at their shows now and I know some were found sore this year.

It sickens me that the gaited horse community continues to lower themselves to being no more than backwoods hillbillies with no respect for the horses or themselves. It's no wonder people are going away from showing, after seeing this garbage. God help the horses. And thank you, Mouse, for helping expose it!

Craig's said...

go hug a tree on a breed you know.

Craig's said...

and the horse you said was "natural" go see a real natural fox trotter. a natural fox trotter would have head shake and rythm none of which did i see in that video. the man looked like he may have experience on TWH rather a fox trotter.

Epona's Chosen said...

A note on Foxtrotters: They are indeed supposed to have a head nod, but the artificial flipping really needs to go, and while their ears will flop and their teeth will even click when fully relaxed and nodding, they aren't supposed to look like they are seizuring or functionally being ridden while in the throes of Headshaking Syndrome.

There was a recent stink about the the showing and the Foxtrotter Celebration-- a long time breeder and Foxtrotter advocate released a video, in slow motion, with details, that showed beyond a doubt that the judges were currently rewarding horses that were NOT exhibiting a true fox trot. The evidence was incontrovertible, and boy did the ...er... dirt... hit the fan.

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Paul said...

Just to let you know the far west horse is not foxtrotting. Its a pretty good running walk though. The head shake is natural and it increases with stride, the greater the stride the greater the head shake. Can tell you that I am not happy with the way the horses are traveling these days. Riders do look like crap and they should sit the horse properly and be judged as well as the horse. I Love to ride a foxtrotter there is nothing like it on earth. But there are two kinds of foxtrotter, a show horse and your everyday run of the mill foxtrotter. I enjoy both and have trained both. If done correctly there is no pain involved training the show horse but there is a big difference in breeding between the two and training between the two. The more everyday foxtrotter is a more square going horse that has a shorter stride. They usually have three gaits. A walk, foxtrot and canter. Some may running walk or pace a little but not much. You can extend the stride some and get a better head shake and rhythm by working on a good solid flat walk. This will increase the stride which will increase the head shake. The show horse is a much looser horse and has many different gaits. These types of horses are not easy to keep in a foxtrot. They will come by it natural, say if your out on a trail ride and if you let them go and they get tired the gait they settle into is usually a foxtrot. But these horses can running walk, single foot, pace, and foxtrot. Due to being looser their stride is going to be longer and the trick for the great head shake is the same as any great human marathoner. Keeping relaxed in the stride while getting the longest stride you can at all times. So when a foxtrotter is at their best and doing all they can do, it does not mean they are stressed. Some may be because they are being pushed out of shape. But believe me when I tell you, if you truly love these horses as I do. You know one thing. They are athletes, some of the best athletes you will ever meet and they truly love giving their all. When treated correctly and trained properly some of these horses have a very natural looking gait and can foxtrot at speeds over 10mph reaching a foot over their front foot track. This breed is not into fancy silver, buck stitch is still in and western saddles are ridden due to the other work the horses are capable of, such as everyday working of cattle. They were bred to be a surefooted animal to use on the farm. Pull a plow, pull a buggy and also ride to town in a western sadddle or english if you prefer. Maybe you should go out an see a celebration. You might find it to be enjoyable. Yes the big head shake and what you see in the show ring is somewhat if an illusion, but it is nothing more than an athlete trained to the best of his ability. Yes the riders should be judged in their seat. Some do look pitiful.

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Mandee Daly said...

#579 looks like he has the flu, a stiff neck or talking on his cell phone, and maybe it was his first or 2nd ride in a saddle... Just horrific!! I'm nowhere near the best rider in the world but at least I know to keep my heels down, head up, sit up straight, and give my horse a loose rein!!!