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!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

With a Knick-Knack, Gimmick Tack, the trainer is a bone...head: Updated

We’ve all got equine icons we admire. Trainers and breeders we grew up worshiping and following their every word. We read every article about them, loved their horses as much as our own and tried to ride, dress and train just like them.

Sometimes our icons remained icons our entire lives and sometimes they take hard falls and became the worst of the worst. Recently Cleve Wells lost a lot of starry-eyed hanger-ons ( he also kept of bunch of “completely in denial” idiots too). An even earlier and much harsher fall from grace was Barney Ward, who decided that electrocuting the Olympic winner, Charisma, was more profitable than giving the great horse his well deserved retirement. My family has never forgiven Barney for Charisma’s death. To speak his name is to then spit in disgust. Thankfully the USEF put a lifetime ban on the SOB so he can never compete again.

There are several other big trainers that a lot of us grew up trying to emulate. Who remembers Buster Welch and his balanced bits and how he broke reining patterns down into separate components so any good-riding kid could teach his grade gelding to spin like a tornado? How about Martha Josey and her awesome barrel times and spirited gelding, Sonny Bit o’Both? They were awe-inspiring. No one that has ever watched dressage can forget Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich or Hilda Gurney and Keen. We even got to see Rodney Jenkins jump out at the Pima Fairgrounds, and until Joe Fargis came along Rodney was the hot thing on a horse!

One thing I’ve noticed about the big trainers is that nowadays it seems they are more into merchandising than they used to be. Buster Welch sold a few models of bits, and the Foremans endorsed cutting saddles. Beyond that there wasn’t the wholesale merchandising that you see today. With this new merchandising has come the proof that big name trainers (BNTs) aren’t about the horse anymore. They are about the money. In essence they are market whores, selling their name to pimp a product, regardless of how harmful that product would be in the hands of a beginner. Let’s give these people a new name; let’s call them Trainwhores.

I won’t even go into one of the early Trainwhores, Monty Roberts. He wrote a book and sold a whole lot of lunge ropes and halters to gullible people that had no idea what to do with the horse after they “joined” up with it. Real horseman already knew about working a horse within a space and treating it like the prey animal it started out as. P.T. Barnum had nothing on Monty, except maybe his circus was a bit bigger, but the shit smell was the same.

I’m going to list some of the industry Trainwhores, ones that I respected at one time and now think they are less about the horse and more about the money.

1)Pat Parelli . I apologize to readers for not including this biggest of Trainwhores the first time. Pat, where did you go wrong? Before the mysticism and the communal carrot stick you actually made some sense. Then somewhere in the mix you developed a mysticism that made Gawani Pony Boy look like a complete stiff. ( Thank God you never opted for the loin cloth!) Now you're cradling horse heads and acting like an equine Dr. Phil. WTF? We've got Horsenality, rope "hackamores", ( when I was growing up we called those rope halters, but to each his own), and probably the most expensive reins ever made from leadropes. Your DVD collection prices rival the stuff sold in the back of Hustler, although they probably do have better dialog and plot, but still, education should not be just for the rich. $999.00 for a boxed set? I may be an old horse gal, but for that much I want naked cowboys, lots of chocolate, the finest wine in a box money can buy, and that damn carrot stick better not be the longest, stiffest thing in the video. Do I need to head over to Gawani's site to get my money's worth? Pat, you've got a following of middle-aged, starry-eyed, my-daddy-never-bought-me-a-pony women that would rival Englebert Humperdink's groupies. You've got to quit stroking their egos and teach them how to actually manage a horse in real life situations, in acceptable regulation equipment.

2)Richard Shrake . I used to love to read Richard’s articles. Then I saw an ad for this little gimmick and knew Richard had turned to the dark side. Torture Device He calls his methods “Resistance Free” but it amounts to nothing more than making it painful for the horse to move out of the frame. The war bridle restraint device is nothing new. I’m just surprised that any decent trainer would recommend this product to new horse owners. Anyone that has had a horse flip over in front of them knows how dangerous these things can be. And what is with the bits? Bits that suck . Wouldn’t you think that the higher level the trainer, the less severe the bits? That’s the mantra we were raised on. Good western horsemen knew bosals, snaffles, a mild curb, and if they were creating an equine aristocrat they could work in a spade, but that was just for showing off, it wasn’t the every day bit. It was for the ballet sessions. English people used snaffles and either a short shanked Weymouth with a plain snaffle bridoon or if you have a low palate horse a short shanked Pelham. Twisted mouthpieces, or weird ports, were for abusers and idiots. Looks like that line has blurred now. Rule of thumb for anyone selling stuff like this to the open and unregulated horse world: At some point your crap will fall into the hands of a newbie and make some horse’s life miserable. Unless you want to start a fund to start a retirement house all the horses ruined by this crap then don’t sell this shit under your name.

3)The Camarillos. When I was growing up the Camarillos were GODS. Whether it was Roping or Barrel Racingall of us speed junkies followed their every move and read every word written about them. Sharon and Leo article from 1975
So WTF happened? What the hell is this shit and why is it being marketed to an industry that has one of the worst levels of incompetence and abuse?
Black Beauty chain gag curb This is the bit of the month? Ironic label, since a month is all you’d need with this bit to totally fuck up your horse for all time. Seriously, look at this crap! How did the early cowgirls even survive without all this junk? Totally screwed up bits. The elevated ring snaffle is just a travesty. It not only has a rough mouthpiece, it has a donut ring joiner and if you slap a curb chain on it ceases to be a true snaffle and becomes a curb/gag cross. I can just see horses with their noses poked out, shoulders disengaged, concave backs and hocks popping as they evade all collection with this piece of shit. The hack-a-gags are just a sign that a Trainwhore is in the house. Anyone pimping these useless pieces of shit isn’t concerned with producing a long term, sound minded horse. They are all about the act of compelling a horse to work through pain. Seriously Sharon, why did you go down this trail?

4)Anky Van Grunsven I could spend an entire blog on Anky just for the rolkur shit. But let’s ignore that for now and talk about how Anky has gone from being a dressage ring innovator to a Trainwhore. Anky likes to use “crank” nosebands.
For those of you unfamiliar with dressage equipment a crank noseband doesn’t just fasten like a regular one. It fasten by means of a strap that flips back through a ring and allows you to leverage the noseband to hitherto unknown degrees of tightness. Imagine a set of handcuffs clipped over your horse’s nose. He’s not going to be evading that bit wearing one of these gizmos. Crank nosebands are notorious for causing mouth sores as the tender inner cheek it pressed against the teeth the whole time the horse wears the noseband. They also create resentment and with a severe bit you could find yourself between the horse and the ground, wondering how come you suddenly know exactly how much your horse weighs and how sharp his withers are. Anky also has a clothing store. Really Expensive Crap to Wear to the Barn Yep, because I want to spend $150 bucks for a vest I can get at Wal-mart for $30.00. Anky’s heavy hands and crappy lower leg already piss me off, but her pimping of equipment that tortures a horse just makes her a huge Trainwhore.

5)Cleve Wells . Aside from the fact he got suspended for his part in the abuse of Slow Lopin Scotch Cleve is a major Trainwhore. He pimps a group of bits that should never see the inside of a horse’s mouth. These bits should serve no other purpose than to be used as
toilet paper hangers in a bunk house. Totally Fucked Up Curb Bits Do we really want to see these bits in the hands of some starry-eyed neophyte? How about a youth class? No? Because I really think any parent letting their kid ride with one of these pieces of shit is simply insane. Here’s a clue Cleve: If you’re such a good trainer you could get great results without these gimmick bits. I don’t care how many championships a trainer has, if they got them using these bits then they won by intimidation. Anyone that has ever worn a retainer knows how aggravating having a something stuck in your palate is. It aggravates you all day, and unlike a bit a retainer doesn’t move back and forth. And if you think we hate high port bits then you should know we despise twisted wire snaffles. Snaffles for Dickheads Cleve doesn’t seem to share our view, because he has several nasty models for sale, with the implication that they are great colt starting bits. Cleve, you’re not a horseman anymore. You’re a certified Trainwhore.

There are more Trainwhores out there, selling everything from bits to riding underwear. For the most part their items don’t cause a great deal of harm and may even help prevent wedgies during that extended trot. But there is definitely a group that promotes bits and gimmicks that cause a great deal of trauma to a horse, and potentially harm to a new rider that doesn’t understand the mechanics of a bit, martingale or surcingle. Certain items should require some kind of test before you can even buy them. And other items, such as hack-a-gags and really thin twisted wire mouthpieces should get you thrown into jail for animal abuse if you attempt to buy them. Let’s call these items “stupid bait”. Catalogs could show these items and if you click the shopping cart symbol the company knows you’re stupid and sends a notification to the authorities to pick you up and haul you to jail. You obviously can’t be trusted to own an animal or be around matches or sharp objects. You fell for the bait, and another horse’s life is saved!

Now that I’ve vented about the worst Trainwhores I can think of tell me about the ones that really piss you off!


carobee said...

I hate Anky! People who emulate her are the reason dressage has gotten so bad. It is all about the "crank and spank"...I stopped showing because watching the horses in the warm ups was too depressing.

I would actually LOVE to see a whole blog on Ankys terrible riding and shitty training. Or bad dressage trainers in general...it is near impossible to find a good one, and that is a travesty.

ShameintheHorseShowRing said...

Anky the crank and spank rider.

All I can say is that the judges that place her method of riding need to feed their seeing eye dogs better.

Dena said...

Hey TJM my retailer brought me some bits to look at today.
The Mylers were okay. Liking the mouthpieces. But I don't train horses to run in gag bits.
He brought these 2 other bits because they were unusual.
That is a rule. I MUST see unusual.
These were weird. Broken snaffles, on a D, thinner than I like mouthpiece, and get this.
The ends swiveled on a ball head.
I still have the pinch bruise on my thumb to prove it.
And so does my retailer.hee hee
And they were heavy.
Look for them soon in every BNTs barn.(sarcasm I hope)
Saw some wicked correction bits at the tack auction too.

WiltedZebra said...

There is no way that I could figure out how to use one of those things to hang toilet paper on. At least not without ruining the roll in the process.

I'm ridiculed frequently for riding my horse in a loose ring snaffle with a fat mouthpiece. Horse is twelve and I guess most people believe that he shouldn't be working in what they consider a breaking bit.

I believe that if horse and I can't do things in a snaffle, I'm not a good enough rider to be attempting those things anyway. I also know that he can feel my fingers tighten on the rein, relax on the rein, gently feather the rein and pick up the rein.

All that said, I really want him feeling for and following my body, not my hand. He is a sensitive horse with a sensitive mouth and I would greatly prefer he stay that way. All of his short comings as a performance horse are a reflection of my inadequacies as a rider. I could over bridle him all day long and still not fix that. He is capable, it is me that falls short.

The peddlers can give me the sales pitch and the people who make fun of me can go right on ahead. Horse and I will walk the other direction, smiling, all too happy to go our own way.

Jennifer RP said...

I hate Anky.

I watched her Olympic performance, and that was *not* how a Grand Prix horse should react and carry itself. That horse wanted her *off*, and you could tell. I didn't know she was using crank nosebands, but it certainly explains it.

Personally, given the choice (And I ride a lot of OP's horses so I sometimes have to get on in whatever tack they have), these are my thoughts on bits.

ANY horse should be ridden, for every day riding, in one of the following: Single jointed eggbutt, single jointed loose ring, double jointed of the above, mullen mouth (rubber for horses that are very sensitive) or a full cheek. SOME horses cannot be ridden in a single joint...a narrow mouth and low palate causes the central joint to come up into the roof of the mouth and have the same effect as a nightmare port. For horses that tend to run away, I like to have full cheeks...which increase the effectiveness of a one rein stop *without* raising the overall harshness of the bit.

On curbs: I have helped rehab a horse that was ruined by being ridden in a kimberwick. Although I think kimberwicks *rarely* have their place (On a horse that's second cousin to the 9:05 from the steelworks to the colliery), I personally hate riding in one and only do so if it's somebody else's horse and they insist...and even then I'll campaign vociferously to get rid of the curb. Curb bits are for advanced work, *not* control. If you have an older horse that really is genuinely dead mouthed (that does not respond to any kind of mild bit) then how about taking away the bit altogether? That can work very well in these cases, although it's worth remembering that an English hackamore is as severe as a pelham...it has long shanks and a lot of poll pressure.

Continued in next post, gonna run out of characters here.

Jennifer RP said...

And also on the subject of bits.

Many years ago, I knew a little mutt pony. Actually a nicely put together horse, although he could have used more refinement to his head.

Riding him was a nightmare. That little horse would toss his head up, hollow his back, get the bit against his molars and just GO.

This is the horse that taught me two things:

1. If your horse is hollowing its back and running, *inside leg*. It's totally counterintuitive, because we think of leg as 'go faster', but the inside leg *alone* nudges the hindquarters under the horse, balances the animal and makes it slow down. Trust me. It works.

2. An eggbutt snaffle does not work on every horse. I eventually worked out how to ride this horse...add the inside leg, soften the rein, use it only in short bursts. Then my trainer sold it. The new owner switched it to a rubber mullen mouth...

The last I heard of that horse it was winning everything and hadn't taken off in months.

Sometimes, it's not a *harsher* bit you need. Sometimes it's actually a milder one.

Pilar said...

Has there ever been a bigger trainwhore than Parelli???

Pilar said...

Has there ever been a bigger trainwhore than Parelli???

cattypex said...


I see them all....the....time on repurposed WP horses that are doing HUS. Drives me inSANE.

Sad that a lot of average kid riders don't get the concept of the curb.

I missed my chance to talk to Mr. Myler at the Hoosier Horse Fair, but he was always surrounded by a crowd.

Remember in the 80s, those space age plastic snaffles with the little roller thing in the middle? Or the apple-flavored plastic bits?

My awesome mare came with a full-cheek Dr. Bristol bit, and she went very happily in it. It was a medium width, and she liked it that way. Of course I was always paranoid about my hands back then.....

The Classic Encyclopedia Of The Horse, first published in 1895 and now in facsimile, outlines a lot of training methods that the NH "trainwhores" promote, and seems to have been widely borrowed from in Walter Farley's novel "The Horse Tamer."

These are NOT new ideas, people. They're just ideas that really solid trainers have used forEVER, but there were few marketing venues for apples, longe lines, long sticks and soft voices.....

Golden Girl said...

You forgot the BIGGEST Trainwhore of all;
Pat Parelli !?!?!?! I've seen grown people follow him around like they were in some kind of trance... sorta drooling on themselves! LOL

I will never forget watching him ride one of David O'Connor's horses, and he had the nerve to jump him too. The pour horse was 'pullen poles' over 2' verticals! I felt sorry for the horse, and I bet David was wincing when he saw Parelli's nonexistent equitation. LOL

Cut-N-Jump said...

Mouse, Oh Mouse, how could you forget ol' Bob Hart Jr and his training halter marketed towards use on weaners?

WTF? People, do you have no clue? We don't need to ask about your ethics or morals. We know you have none...

And Schneiders- why the hell would you even consider carrying such a thing? I have seen other such items and I will go back for another look around.

Billy Royal- the fact your company manufactures and promotes it? Why would anyone even consider it? Obviously not about the horse- or even the eople who may purchase or use it.

The three of you can now hang your heads in shame and accept whatever the public has to offer as far as your punishment goes. Does the halter come with a waiver or release of all liability? You know so when someone buys it and gets injured when ther horse flips out while using it- None of the three companies or entities are held responsible for making it even available... Might be something to consider.

Is it too much to ask that someone at some point use their head and consider the horse?

Cut-N-Jump said...

JJ- We have a barn full nearby of what you desribe. C'mon over and we can have drinks and snacks while sitting in our lawn chairs and discussing "Just what's wrong with this picture?"

Cut-N-Jump said...

WZ- Well said.


Oh, I just noticed on the halter from hell- someone posted a review naming Kim Potts as using something similar to get results. Way to go!

horsndogluvr said...

T. Jean, you have exquisitely phrased things I've felt for a while.

“These bits should serve no other purpose than to be used as
toilet paper hangers in a bunk house.”

“Let’s call these items “stupid bait”.”

Can I use these?

And, WZ, you are a good rider, because all good riders know: "All of his short comings as a performance horse are a reflection of my inadequacies as a rider. I could over bridle him all day long and still not fix that." Can I get a big, fat AMEN?!

Shrake: I knew his assistant trainer, way back when he was a nobody. She was good. She thought he was an idiot. I was genuinely shocked the first time I saw an ad for one of his clinics.

Caramillos - DAWG. Anna Sewell is rolling in her grave. "Black beauty" bit? Barf. From the ad: "The chain mouthpiece lays comfortably flat across the horses tongue…” That's kind of like saying, "This tote bag has a comfortable chain handle."

Curb bits have their place. I've ridden in a double bridle, and it *does* give you more communication. And I've ridden many a western horse in one. But, of course, I use reins as a line of communication, not a steering wheel and/or brake.

And I've ridden a lovely old school horse who was trained "both ways." Ride him in a snaffle, and he had a nice long posting trot. Ride him in a curb, and he had a nice easy jog. But, of course, doing the training for that "wastes" time. Argh. (He was 27 when I rode him, and sound.)

Verbosely, as usual, Ruthie

ShameintheHorseShowRing said...

Wilted Zebra,
>There is no way that I could figure out how to use one of those things to hang toilet paper on. At least not without ruining the roll in the process.

You take the little collapsible bar that a toliet roll hangs on and stick it between the lower bit rings. Then hang the bit from the crown piece rings. It's standard bunk house decor.

T Jean Maus

ShameintheHorseShowRing said...

Horsndog lover,

I hope the terms Trainwhore and "stupid bait" will become common place amongst horse people and make people wince when it is applied to them.

And I do apologize for leaving Parelli off the list. He is undoubtedly the biggest Trainwhore out there.

T Jean Maus

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

"Has there ever been a bigger trainwhore than Parelli???"

LOL probably not, maybe we could make him an award for it.

What a bummer about Richard Shrake, I've always enjoyed him when he speaks at expos.

I agree TJM - the BNTs have a duty to teach and profess good things even the ignorant can't screw up too bad. IMO part of being a BNT.

That is why I like the Lyons' - I've never heard anything dangerous or abusive coming out of them. They seem to take on the responsibility of being BNT.

S. Lauren said...

I don't really like the horse industry because so many people seem to be in it for the small amount of money instead of it being about fun. I agree with the bits - I don't like it when people think using a more severe bit will help with control. I think people should work with a foundation before they get impatient and want results right away.
I used to watch the Resistance Free shows of Richard Shrake on tv, is it just me or were all the horses just like barbie dolls? It has been a long time ago but I don't understand why people would want products when the horses look like their crippled and the riders seem more focused on looking pretty than actually following the horse they're riding.
I wish that people would see horseback riding as fun and not a money deal and instead of always winning perhaps be fair to their horse at least.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

I agree SL - there's the saying anyway:

"If you want to make a million in the horse industry, start with two."

cattypex said...

Schneiders... that was always "where Arab people shop" when I was a kid.

In my immediate area, too many newbies aren't made to "pay their dues" by riding without stirrups on a longe, take apart & put back together bridles, etc. And instead of being greeted with "ohmygod you're doing it wrong" (either helpful or scornful depending on the situation), it's considered GEEKY and somehow a little big wrong to work toward being a truly educated horseman.

I think it's some Southern Bible Belt Redneck mentality...... the kind of thinking that will keep people doing things wrong in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I love the curb bit TP holder!!! You have to hang it up with baling twine/wire to get the full effect.

WiltedZebra said...

Thanks TJM for the explanation. I've had a good giggle at myself for not figuring that one out. I should be ashamed I guess, but nope, I'm just not.

Besides, changing up the dispenser system would ensure that I am the only one to change the roll.

Equus said...

Shrake - his bits weren't absolutely horrid...low ports (beneath 2'') do not typically affect the pallet and so can offer tongue relief without any discomfort (of course provided the horse does not have a small mouth). They are not a colt-starting bit though, because they do apply more pressure to the bars of the mouth due to the port.

Camarillos - wow. Black Beauty bit?? Are they making an attempt to imply that this bit is actually GENTLE?? Their bit list read like a list of torture devices.

Anky - when will people figure out that gimmicks such as crank nosebands only make for a sour horse who is not giving you its best? Same follows for figure-8's or drops. If your horse has his mouth open, solve the root issue! Why would you ever consider just strapping the mouth shut??! Maybe it's about time horses became less tolerant.

Wells - not to defend Wells, but I don't see where the twisted/wire bits were implied to be great for colt-starting. Those bits though should have no place in the horse world.

As far as selling some of these bits, some of them do serve a purpose. Case in point: a spade. It should only be used at the highest levels and represents the most intimate communication between horse and rider. In the wrong hands though, it is a horrid torture device. That doesn't mean we should stop selling it though. The higher level trainers still have the right to use it, and most are just trying to market something that can benefit others - from beginners, to colt starters, to high-caliber riders. On the other hand though, perhaps they should be clearer in their marketing how each bit is designed to be used. They should make at least some attempt to educate their buyers so that said buyers will purchase the right bit for their riding level and also their horse.

Jennifer, I could not agree with you more.
Curb bits too have their purpose - I currently use one on one of my higher level horses. I agree wtih many here tough that they should never be used for control (personally all horses I work with are started out in a plain rope hackamore - control is established there before even moving into a snaffle), and not for day-to-day riding. A curb bit offers a whole new level of communication and should be used for the sole purpose of refinement. In addition, the curb you use can still be fairly gentle. I get funny looks and rude comments at times too when others see me ride a clearly experienced horse in a snaffle for everyday riding, but I've learned to ignore it. I see no reason to use a bit meant for refinement when we're not working on complex, refining work.

As far as Parelli goes...I used to think he was quite the "trainwhore" at one time as well, but I have since realised that things are not always as they appear. He does not actually have much control over the prices of his equipment. Sometimes I feel like maybe he's gotten too much into the marketing end of things, but his equipment still beats all in quality, it really is designed to communicate more clearly to the horse (it truly does help, in my experiences), and he is still about the horse. I may not agree with all his marketing schemes (if he is indeed the one even playing any sort of large role in the marketing end of things), but his method still works, so I just have to shrug my shoulders. None of his equipment is designed to hurt, it is all designed with the horse in mind.


Me said...

I would LOVE to see a blog all about Anky & her bad riding. The way that people fall all over themselves for her is disgusting & shameful. It is extremely disappointing to know that the dressage world is becoming so clueless that they are simply looking at a name instead of the actual performance.

Can I mention when Anky took the young 5 year old (or some awfully young horse) to the Olympics & won gold??!! The horse was no where near ready to compete at that level. He freaked out in a corner & had various other major mistakes. But guess who still won .... Anky simplky because she was the "it" rider. It is repulsive & very disheartening for other amateur riders to see. It also teaches young equine athlete that it doesn't matter how good or bad your performance is just have the right trainer & you can win.

I'm glad to know that there are other Anky haters out there who realize just how bad of an equestrian she really is & know her true clolours.

carobee said...

Wannabe- I dont think you can compete GP with a horse younger than 8...which I think he was. And did you see her "halt"??? Im sorry but if you cant halt you have no business at the Olympics. I heard that she is lobbying to get the halt and walk removed from certain tests. Yikes!

phaedra96 said...

Seems the dressage world is heading the same direction as WP, reiners and all that. Correct me if I am wrong, but weren't horses in upper levels at least 10-12 years old? Since when was a six-year-old a "solid third level training fourth"? I guess that is where Anky and her Kranky come in; the horse is not ready but, by God and pass the ammunition, he is going to do it. Of course, someone else will take care of him when he is totally broken down by the time he is twelve.

cattypex said...


A good walk will separate the sheep from the goats EVERY time.

Me said...


Thank you for correcting my mistake. I wasn't sure of the exact age of the horse, but I knew it was young. Far to young to compete at that level.

Her halt was horrid to say the least. Looking at it you can understand why she would want it removed.

As for removing the walk from a dressage test, well lets just say it will be a sad, sad day for dressage it that ever happens. A walk shows a horses true colours. A good walk is hard to come by, a great walk is almost impossible.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Can I just ask why none of the trainers names are plastered on basic things like snaffles and such? They seem to congregate around the stuff that injuries, accidents and deaths are made of.

Maybe we should give the stuff blood ratings- this one gets two drops, that one is a lacerated artery and you will die soon after using it.

Might make more sense for newbies buying it as far as severity goes. But then there are people who would buy it just for that effect. Those people just need to excuse themselves from life.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Wannabe, JJ & CP- if they take the walk out of dressage, then everything else may follow.

Western horses, hunters, saddleseat horses, gaited horses, driving, etc. pretty much every level of competition in the show ring, with obvious exceptions of course, includes asking for a walk.

Whatever would become of the Walk/Trot or Walk/Jog classes? I can see it now...

Just bring them in and trot or jog around the arena folks. Reverse and keep jogging. Now line up.

Things are bad enough already.

JohnieRotten said...

As far aa BNTs that I like. Well Buster was one of the greatest horseman that walked on earth. However, behind every great horseman/woman, there is someone that actually does the work. That is not to say Bustee dodo not do the work.

Parelli is the biggest trainwhore I have to agree. A lot of theseem to come out of the pleasure horse industry and the natuaral horse industry. I remember watching a program on PBS and Monty Roberts was telling the interviewer that he created the language of Equus. If you wanted to learn it you had to buy his book.

I have often wondered when trainers strayed away from teaching amatures good solid horsemanship without the merchandising. When I was eleven, the old trainer that taught me how to start colts, along with my saddle handed me a bridle with a smooth snaffle on it and 8' wins attatched to the bit. He told me that is the o ly tool you will ever really need to train a horse. He was also the one that taught me that a soft horse is a great horse. He was right about the snaffle bit

Cecilia said...

Ow. That makes it worse - all the curb bits on Cleve Well's site are completely sold out! Poor horses!

iluvmygiraffe said...

Jennifer said:Sometimes, it's not a *harsher* bit you need. Sometimes it's actually a milder one

I completely, absolutely agree with you. I have two stories =] Yesterday I rode this rescue horse that went from 'A' circuit hunter that was bought by some asshats thinking he would be a quick sale despite the failing economy. Fail, fail, fail. This lady got him and now is in good hands. No longer is he all bones... anyways I rode him and apparently his previous owner was awful with her hands so when I tried to collect him up, even with the slightest contact, he was throwing his head around. I'm hoping to trying him in a rubber snaffle and I'll promise him I won't do what ex-owner did to his mouth =]
Also, my barn manager fixed this fabu hunter that was incredibly out of shape and incredibly heavy on the bit. He came to the barn with a corkscrew bit and still heavy and left in a rubber happy mouth and totally light.

People who use harsh bits are the people who don't know how to ride nor do they care to learn correctly. Any horse, I believe, can some point go in a rubber snaffle with enough training and commitment. I did it with my horse, my trainer did it, and so can everyone else!!

iluvmygiraffe said...

Oh and I also think Parelli are huge trainwhores.

C'mon, do we really need all that crap to train our horses??

I don't think so! xD you're not foolin me!!

WiltedZebra said...

I would love to go back to the days when I didn't feel my bum squinch every single time I looked at bits and how they are being marketed to solve problems.

I would also like to go back to a time when I could trust and respect professional horsepersons.

Really, they are pimps. Pimping themselves, the horse and the people who flock to them for help and direction. Maybe TJM should start sending all of them pimp of the year prizes that include stupid hats, feather boas and ridiculous faux gators.

Enjay said...

I'm not going to defend the trainwhores who hawk junk. But, I can't say that spade bits are inappropriate. I liken them to finely tuned race cars. In the hands of someone who is properly educated and controlled it's a beautiful experience. In the hands of an amateur someone's going to get hurt or killed.

ShameintheHorseShowRing said...

Wilted Zebra wrote,

>Maybe TJM should start sending all of them pimp of the year prizes that include stupid hats, feather boas and ridiculous faux gators.

Oh that is a brilliant idea! In December we will have the Shame in the Show Ring Trainwhore of the Year award, decided by polling our readers, and I'll make up a certificate and send it to the winner. In honor of your idea we'll have a zebra tricked out like a pimp as the watermark.

And WTF is this thing from Parelli?

$379.00 for a leather headstall, a pimped up snaffle/short shank curb, and a piece of baling string that runs down the face of the horse? All that is missing is the duct tape.

T Jean Maus

Anonymous said...

"Pat, where did you go wrong?"

He married Linda.

Anonymous said...

"Pat, where did you go wrong?"

He married Linda.

WiltedZebra said...

TJM, now that is a brilliant idea! My inner zebra is giving herself high fives while giggling like a mad woman.

cattypex said...

Enjay, that is a really good analogy.

Seems like most of the trainwhores who market to an unwitting cohort of newbies are Western-oriented or Aussie, or fake Aussie... and they all cultivate this Upstanding Cowboy/Bushman Man of the True Word Yet Still Very Virile image.

One of the things I've admired about George Morris (besides his bluntness) is that he's smart enough to avoid pimping himself like a Disney movie. He only endorses REALLY quality stuff, and NONE of it is gimmicky. In fact he goes off on a girl with a German martingale in this month's PH.

He is all about building a solid foundation, and makes no bones about it.

You won't see HIM in the middle of a ring on RFD-TV talking about how he's gonna break a horse in 45 minutes....

cattypex said...

Oh, and why do so many of those "training" bits have that extra thing inside the ring? Is it for a tie-down to clip to? Or WHaT?

Jennifer RP said...

I do think even the kimberwick *has its place*, but usually as a short term measure with an older horse that is genuinely not respecting the bit. Only then. Same with flash nosebands. A short term measure *while* the root cause of the issue is addressed (start by checking their teeth).

Another thing I think is key is to make sure the bit you use is appropriate to the individual horse...some horses simply *cannot* go in a metal bit. Some rare individuals cannot go in *any* bit. (It annoys me that dressage does not allow a bitless bridle even at the lowest levels, if it's indicated for a good reason such as a past tongue injury that means the horse cannot take a bit at all).

Apple flavored bits? I'd rather use a bit of molasses or apple sauce/apple flavored baby food on the bit, then the horse gets an actual reward. (This is a good idea for starting colts or for rehabilitating a horse that has become genuinely bridle-shy, usually as a result of over-bitting).

I would not say that *every* horse can go in a rubber bit in *every* situation.

My rule of thumb is 'The mildest bit that individual horse will respond to'. A rubber snaffle is the ideal.

I'm not entirely sure what a spade is...it sounds like something western people use instead of a double bridle. Can somebody link a pic for us clueless English people?

cattypex said...

Here's a good start:

and: http://www.modernvaquero.com/Tools_of_the_Trade.php Scroll down for a photo and an explanation.


KT said...

I've read the comments up to here. Am I right in that there is NO mention of Clinton Anderson yet? I audited one of his clinics last year and was frankly (and surprisingly) impressed by what he did with the several horses he worked with. I bought his lunging/dressage whip thingy and I really like it. He seemed to appeal to the men in the audience, too, which is unusual. Since that was my first experience with CA, I'd like to hear others' opinions.

cattypex said...

Actually I'd rather see a group of good vaquero/spade/bridle horse/whatever you wanna call 'em trainers & riders infiltrate the AQHA WP ring. There are some folks in the AQHA who do this, and they'd have enough cred. to at least get people intrigued, maybe....

SFTS said...

TJM wrote:
And WTF is this thing from Parelli?

- - - - - - - -

I have a client who bought one of these. It comes with instructions on how to put the thing on a horse! Jeeez. What a convoluted fricking just plain weird contraption if I've ever seen it.

CP, I posted that Modern Vaquero website over on the FiSH forum. :) I like it.

SFTS said...

WTH is this?


Do barrel racers actually use this sort of thing?

I'm thinking the good barrel racer folks wouldn't let something like this ever touch their horses' mouths (and noses). Eeeek.

cattypex said...

One of the Modern Vaquero guy's horses in action:

Look ma! No headset, real gaits, AND an unblocked tail.

The trot was not a riding gait until sometime in the 1600s or 1700s posting was invented.

So maybe trying to create a soft, comfy jog (as opposed to a sitting trot) is counterintuitive to horse biomechanics anyway? Just a thought.

SFTS said...

I would love to ride with a real vaquero horseman ~ one of these days I might book a trip up to Fallon. :) Maybe next Summer when we're in Reno a side trip could be thrown in! I'm betting that would be awesome educational.

horsndogluvr said...

WZ said: “Really, they are pimps.”

I agree. Let’s call them BPTs : Big Pimp Trainers.

These so-called “trainers” do the same thing pimps do: exploit one group of fools to get money from another group of fools. Only, the poor horses aren’t fools; just horses, and deserve better.

We wouldn’t have these BPTs if they didn’t have customers. Here’s a recipe:

20 lbs “valley girl”
10 lbs laziness
10 lbs lack of imagination
10 lbs inability to use logic
20 lbs impatience
10 lbs “Gucci trumps Wal-Mart”
30 lbs “blue ribbons prove you’re a good rider”
30 lbs “fame means you’re an expert”

Steep in TV until infused in instant gratification. Sprinkle with teenage hormones, bake, and decorate with three mottoes: “If a little is good, a lot is better,” “I want it NOW!” and “Winning isn’t everything – it’s the ONLY thing.”

Serve to the BPT on a bed of crisp $100 bills.

I think I shall dub these customers “Head in sand idiots.” Acronym: HISI. We can now speak of someone having a HISI-fit.

Wannabe said: “He freaked out in a corner & had various other major mistakes. But guess who still won .... Anky simply because she was the "it" rider.”

Also because the judges were German. I understand they got their knuckles rapped hard. And, yeah, if Anky was the only dressage trainer available, I'd stay away. Ptui!

Funny, too, that, just as I decided to become a rider again, the first thing I heard about Dressage was about stinky Anky and ugly Rolkur. I’m off to a good start, aren’t I?

Johnnie Rotten said: “I have often wondered when trainers strayed away from teaching amateurs good solid horsemanship without the merchandising.”

At about the same time that the cultural definition of “success” changed from the old Judeo-Christian ideal to “Having the most money and/or power.”


Impromptu said...

How about Clinton Anderson? I haven't been into horses but for a few short years, but a friend of mine who's grown up watching RFDtv said that Clinton used to be great. He taught great lessons with nothing but a lead rope and a rope halter. Lessons, that anybody could go out and do with their horse and get consistent results.
But now it's all about the money, about selling the merchandise, and even signature horses.
I have gone to the Wahl tour in Tunica to watch Clinton a couple of years ago, and it was great. The lessons he taught had a lot of insight to them and I learned some useful things. However, it was clear that selling stuff was very important, and there was one more, ironic aspect to Clinton's "show". He was working the female audience. He was saying all the right things, only picking women to ask questions in the audience, and making ladies blush with his jokes. Women were going ga-ga over Clinton. Most were taking close-ups of his tight rear.
Clinton had a clinic earlier this year in Clarksville, AR and the local horse bunch went to it. The lessons pertaining to the horse were still good, but Clinton's behavior got worse. At one point Clinton told one of the ladies that was riding her horse in the arena to scoot her butt forward in the saddle, then came right up to her horse, took his hand, stuck it palm up between the said "butt" and the saddle and physically moved it forward. In my book, that's "copping a feel". Clinton was lucky that the lady's husband didn't jump into the arena and beat the sh*t out of him.

Dena said...

I pay how much and Clinton Anderson will touch my butt?

Where is his next clinic?

There must be something around here I can sell.

runs off with stars in eyes accompanied by inappropriate fantasies.

Carson said...

LM-MF-AO! Well said! An article WELL over due! AMEN!

Tia said...

I saw Clinton Andersons Wahl Tour in Pasco, WA last year(pimping Wahl right off the bat!). He's charming, he's funny, but he's also amazing to watch work with horses. His corny cliche's actually get through to most people and make sense. He's a performer and entertainer, and no doubt makes a butt load of cash with all his 'stuff', but I'll admit I've bought a couple items, and are very happy with them. His book is cheap (compared to the DVD's), and is a great starter/refresher for folks.

Local sorta BNT Greg Eliel in our area is also really good.

cattypex said...

Heh... I remember seeing GaWaNi Ponyboy yeeeeears ago at Equitana....

He had some good commonsense but innovative training ideas.... and a really impressive 6-pack.

He also loved himself an awful lot, but he did have a pretty pinto horse that he was upfront about being a Saddlebred and not an "Indian pony"

KT said...

Olga: Pretty funny that you say that CA seemed to cater to the women in your crowd. I saw him in Milwaukee and it was clear he was playing to the MEN in the audience with his jokes and stories. The kind of stories you'd tell in a bar with your buddies, and certainly not with "the women" around. I thought he bordered on alienating the women in the crowd. But you're right, a bunch of us would forgive him because he is really cute, and that accent ....

As for the one poster mentioning John Lyons, there's only one thing that bugs me about him. Every one of his own horses constantly swishes their tail as he rides. I think it's because of his training method. Want them to turn their nose "pull one rein". Turn his head around "pull one rein", move his HQ "pull one rein", slow down "pull one rein"...

When people ask him how the horse knows the difference, he says that the horse will try all the responses until he hits the one that works. To me, that makes the horse anxious as he runs through all the things he's learned, wondering when he'll get that release. I don't think that tension on one rein should be able to do all those things ...

Impromptu said...

Sorta on the topic,
Mark Rashid - he isn't a BNT, most people haven't even heard of him. But I am so thankful for stumbling upon his name a couple of years back. He is not a great trainer - nowhere near as clear in his instructions as Clinton Anderson. But out of all the trainers who's stuff I've read, he is the most consirned with the horse itself. Mark is good with a pen and his books are a pleasure to read. They ask the reader to question their beliefs and to formulate their own horse philosophy. The biggest achievement of Mark's is to help people realize that horse is a partner whom the rider should trust. Mark has a handful of training videos, a few books, and as far as I remember, the only tack recommendation he gives is for the Rocking S snaffle bit.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty new to horses, and joined a site called "Horseflix." It's just like Netflix, only all horse videos!

A couple of friends of mine both recommended the Clinton Anderson videos (I think it had a LOT to do with his looks and accent), and I really like them. I was VERY intimidated by my horse the first couple of months or so. I worked with a trainer, taking ground lessons with him while she gave him a tune-up, but watching the videos really helped.

Obviously, he is out to make money (who isn't), but the exercises were easy for me to do on my own. A lot of the videos have actual student lessons, so you can watch what a regular person is likely to do. He can be pretty funny. The students are funny too. In one, the horse is rearing, and CA asks "You see this?" and the owner is about 30 feet behind him ducking and saying "Um,yeah,I see that." And it would not be a tragedy if CA touched my butt during a clinic!

I also rented one of the "Pony Boy" vidoes. It was kind of amusing because it would break into these little scenes from the horse's point of view (What is this guy doing? I wonder what he tastes like?).

cattypex said...

The problem with Pony Boy was that I kept getting distracted by the raven locks and supernatural cheekbones.....

Jennifer RP said...

*looks at the spade bits*

I don't think my hands are quiet enough to ride in one of those. I'm certainly not ready for a double bridle, so...

And when my trainer comes back, I'm going to get her to put some pressure on the person who actually owns the horses to get one particular horse out of the kimberwick. Yes, he's been taking off with people...but I finally worked out *why*.

He's been trained by one of those hunter people for whom 'lift the hands' means 'go faster'. Which means that every time he's ridden by somebody who doesn't keep their hands down...zoom. Good horse. He's doing exactly what he's been taught to do...he doesn't need a stronger bit, he just needs for the person riding him to be reminded to keep their hands down so they don't confuse the old guy.

Unknown said...

The only point I disagree on is the crank noseband thing. I am a dressage rider and I had a mare who despised my regular nose band. My trainer and I played around with a few different combinations and discovered she preferred a crank noseband. So maybe not all cranks are evil, maybe my horse was just weird, I dunno.

Trainer X said...

AWESOME TOPIC!!! I love john Lyons think he is a GREAT trainer and role model. And I stick to the "old fashion" rules of staying in the softest, lightest bits possible! I LOVE my bosals, or a simple small curb or snaffle... If I've done my job, the horse shouldn't NEED a tough bit!!!

cattypex said...

I wish that it was "legal" in all breeds and disciplines for horses to stick with a bosal or snaffle for life, if they go well that way.

An Amish friend was telling me about a colt-starting clinic he'd attended, since he was interested in a better method for the sensitive (and smart) Morgans he prefers. He couldn't remember the trainer's name, but he described the simple bosal/headstall the guy was using.... and selling for almost $200.

Kallista said...

Hi, everyone, love the blog, love the subject.

I have been to a CA demonstration and found it VERY helpful. I had three horses, one was a 2 year old (at the time) colt who was doing a bit of shoving and pushing, I knew it was wrong, I knew I had to do something about it, etc. I did get a halter,lead rope and stick thingie. CA has an amazing rapport with his audience, he is a good speaker, sticks to the subject, repeats things, tries hard to get everone to see and understand. I also got some DVDs and had his book previously. I refer to all of them regularly. The equipment is well made but I didn't see what the big deal was about the saddles there, I've seen just as good for about half the price. But the merchandising does make money and people were buying like crazy. Any one of us would do the same thing if we were popular as a trainer.
One thing I also like about CA is that on his newest programs, he says you can get results with other equipment but he really does hate the flat nylon halters. However, he does state that you can achieve success even using them. I like how he has things broken down into small bits for those of us really just trying to train our first horse.
I just wish I had more time to do so. Actually I can always make the time but what a crappy summer it's been in our state this year.

Vectormom said...

OMG!! I needed your humour today!! Thanx for the absolutely, raucous, belly laugh!! I once told a woman to shove her carrot stick up her 'grooved thing'...I cannot believe the amount of money people shell out for that crap!! Every paragraph of this post is just too damn funny!!! Stop it, lest I pee in my pants right here typing!!! ROFL!!! Thanx again!
Oh and my hero was always Lassie and RinTinTin which could both out train any horse that doesn't need to be whispered to....LOL!

Unknown said...

I have said this before on other sites when people appear to "go wrong" or make the decision to join the crowd and exploit the horse crowd. It is all THE BOTTOM LINE. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. Once these so called TRAINERS smell the money they will say anything to come up with a new gimmick, rope, nose band, carrot sticks, you name it and if they can make a buck from it that is what they will
promote even if it is bullshit.

cattypex said...

Jack, you're so right.

Unfortunately there's not a lot of money in horse training, so it would be pretty damn hard to resist the temptation of $$$$$$$$$$$$.

Anonymous said...

Clinton Anderson is the ONLY BNT that I listen to. The man appeals to the average rider, and his methods are logical, consistent, and most of all, EASY. The current horse world is based in I WANT IT NOW, and Clinton gets after people for that. He continuously points out that good training takes time, that we must gain respect with our horses, and that if you don't take the time to work with you horse then you shouldn't have one. He is no nonsense and isn't about puffing himself up. I like his products and everyone I know who has bought his stuff says flat out that they will never get rid of it. And he cracks me up--makes fun of himself and the average horse owner, and it makes him all that much more accessable. A trainer that I know met him and told him that he uses his methods and points them out to people in his clinic, and kinda "steals" from him. He said Clinton smiled at him and said "That's what it's there for, mate." THAT is a true BNT, recognizing that his methods are working and he doesn't always have to get a big fat paycheck everytime someone uses them for their own personal gain.

Monty Roberts is the one who taught me how to read a horse and understand herd behavior, and I did buy his driving lines because they are SO soft and smooth and easy to use because they are the perfect weight. However, I feel sorry for Monty because he has been dupped by the TWH industry, and he was ousted because of it. And that dually halter never helped me one bit, and really, "miracle" products rarely do.

cattypex said...

Heh... an apologist showed up on the WP thread.

Sounds like a teenager who's always trained with people who've drunk the Kool-Aid and never been exposed to saner training methods.

Or exposed to a good English teacher, for that matter.

Capilet said...

I second (to whatever power), the idea of a whole article on the Dressage Queen of Evil/Rollkur.

I too, have not shown much in the last several years due to the prevalence of the cranked down, behind the bit, 5-point harness saddle dressage that is preferred at the moment.

Oh, and how did I get a sane dressage trainer? She actually an Eventer.

Suzyn said...

A few years ago somebody gave me tickets to Parelli's infomercial extravaganzas....what a total con!

His demo was an 11 year old barely broke mare volunteered by a young woman who seemed to think that with only 7 rides under saddle, the horse was safe to ride bareback on trails alone. She fell off because the horse spooked and reared (saddle anyone?)so she had a "problem" horse. An ethical trainer would have told her to put more time into the saddle and to not trail ride solo until they both build confidence...very simple but this kind of advice doesn't sell $60 rope halters.

Parelli has her bring the mare into an arena with thousands of people, and of course she was a quivering mess. He tells her to run the terrified mare through a series of obstacles (stand on a tarp, put a giant beach ball on her back, jump over a barrel, etc.)within 90 seconds and to make sure they fail, he had his crew blast "Help" at ear bleeding volume which was a crowd pleaser. Of course they failed.

Parelli said the horse was "left-brained" and that he needed to teach her to use her right brain. He spent several hours lunging the horse next to the various obstacles settling her down to the point where he was able to ease her on to the tarp, over the barrel, etc. much to the adulation of the crowd who thought it witnessed a MIRACLE! During the break the sales area was mobbed with believers... I was so furious I stomped out of there.

On my way out I saw the lady with the green horse so I had to tell her what I thought of how Parelli set her up to fail. Her husband turned completely red and said that he had been trying to tell her the same thing but she wouldn't listen. After a few minutes she admitted that she had been thinking the same thing but just wasn't sure...

What is it about Parelli that makes people turn stupid???

cattypex said...

I was skimming through Deb Bennets stuff, and she pointed out a weird phenomenon about how people will tell you that you "don't have the right to know" things. I thought about it, and I wonder if that's how a lot of trainwhores undermine the confidence and common sense of so many people.... That and their overweening self confidence.

God what a crock! Gimme some Robert Miller or even Happy Horsemanship over that crap.

cattypex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Good on you, Suzyn, for talking to that woman and for her husband also recognizing the problem. I have also heard similar stories about Parelli, and it's sad how he preys on the weak.

I do have a friend who has known Pat for years, and he said he wasn't like this until he met Linda, that she's the marketing one and the person who pushed him into this.

I guess what it comes down to for me is I want a trainer to train my horse, not a movie star.

WolfCreekGuy said...

I have to agree with the general assessment that Clinton Anderson is the real deal. He is pragmatic and breaks things down so even beginners can understand. And unlike so many "natural" trainers, he actually encourages folks to be the dominant one in the horse/human relationship. DUH! Of all the current BNTs, he is the only one can I recommend. Yeah, he is easy on the eyes. Just like a horse, I like 'em good lookin'.

As for old timers, I went to colt startings at local ranches in the '70's (they weren't clinics, then) and Ray Hunt was absolutely mesmerizing. He didn't say hardly a thing, but wow his timing and understanding was incredible. BTW, in the early '80's, Ray held a couple of these at Pat Parelli's little place in Clements, CA when Pat was just a local, not very good, trainer, married to a woman who didn't speak with an accent. He is now a rich, not very good trainer, married to a woman who has the worst seat EVER and is a master marketer. Too bad Pat didn't learn more from Ray and stay with the first wife.

Anonymous said...

Big name trainers demand big bucks and people who send their horses to them expect big results in a very short amount of time.

These trainers consistently look for 'short cuts' instead of taking the time it truely takes to do the job correctly.

It is the owners who demand results and the trainers who are overpriced that are the root of the problem.

I fault the breed associations for promoting these trainers as well.

Most association's directors are these same individuals.. trainers and judges.

It is a huge conflict of interest when an organization is being ran by the same individuals who have the most to profit from it.

"Good ol' boy club" is about all they amount to. They legislate what is in thier own best interests rather than the organiztion and owners/ breed as a whole.

Clean up the breed organizations (who are 'SUPPOSED' be against these harsh methods per thier bylaws) make them enforce the rules and laws in their bylaws and you will be suspending half the directors on their boards.

Stop voting these people into positions on the boards.

cattypex said...

Heh... talk about a good seat and good hands:

Bits? We don't need no stinkin' bits.... or at least it looks like that first horse has no bit... and the other jumpers have what look to be plain old snaffles.

Also, who needs a crest release?!!? *sigh* She is quite the fabulous overachiever. Before I even knew who she was, I remember looking at the photos in my tattered copy of "School for Young Riders" and wishing I could ride like that kid.

sandycreek said...

I second every comment made here!
I don't buy in to the gadget fad that is out there now, can't believe how much that crap can cost someone.
Amen to people wanting miracles in 30 days, it takes time to get to where you want to be, don't rush the process to get the "look" without the mechanics needed to make a well trained horse.

horsndogluvr said...

Oh, my, another misconception of mine, busted! I see lots of ads around here for horses that have 30 days training "on them." I always took that to mean that they were ready to start learning, not that they were perfect!

What do these folks LEARN in school, eh?

Gray-haired and grumbly,


ShameintheHorseShowRing said...

Okay readers, send me some photos of "stupid bait". The worst one gets you a mention on the blog as the "The Person Most Able to Recognize a Screwed Up Bit"

It's a very prestigious award with a long and illustrious history*

Relative to how much it will take the fucked up gadget to screw up a horse.

T Jean Maus

Carrie Giannandrea said...

Great Commentary! Love it!

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

cattypex said...

Stupid bait?

Heh.... well, there's a certain type of single middle-aged woman....

The best part about the book "The Horses of Madison County" Um, I mean "The Horse Whisperer" was the pretty spot-on description of the women who came to his clinics, then tried to get into his pants. Hilarious.

That book ended so stupidly.

Actually that whole book annoyed me....

Anonymous said...

I agree, cattypex--I hated The Horse Whisperer novel. The middle-aged, woe-is-me, my-life-is-so-hard-but-I'm-rich-beyond-any-woman's-wildest-dreams working mother in a very normal marriage (it's lost its spark) with a normal selfish, whiny teenager (I am dealing with a student who is like that girl right now) whose ego is stroked by a perfect strapping cowboy did not say "romance" to me. Did you know the film was made before the book was finished? Robert Redford and Nicholas Sparks were friends and Redford liked Sparks' initial work so much that he took the idea and went with it and made the film. I actually like Redford's take on the story better than what Sparks came up with. I won't read any other Sparks novels because of how much I hated Horse Whisperer.

I think that's part of our horse problem today, too--too many people want an "escape" with their horses from everyday life. They tend to forget that owning, riding, and training a horse can be just as much work and require just as much discipline and focus as a regular job. In fact, in my opinion, it SHOULD require that.

cattypex said...

At this rate, "real, old fashioned horsetrainerly goodness" will come back into vogue ANY TIME NOW.

As will the drill instructor riding teachers and zero tolerance for dirty tack, lazy riders and messing with horses' mouths. Oh, and Developing An Independent Seat.

I can't wait!

Flying_high said...

I have to agree with samantha here.

Is there something seriously wrong with crank nosebands that I'm missing here? My horse has gone in one pretty much ever since I got him, not for any particular reason, just because the new bridle I bought him had one on it. I only tighten it as much as I would a normal one (two fingers between noseband and nose all the way around) and he goes in a rubber snaffle. I've never heard anything bad about them before, only that they even out the pressure across the nose and don't pinch. Am I missing something here?

sunshinenorcas said...

I can't speak for bits, because I don't ride as much as I'd like... and when I get my own horse/tack, I'm dragging my horsie friends with me so I don't get something stupid. xD

But I do have this little 'story' of a wannabe trainer friend of mine.
I posted up some pictures of me riding with my friends, and one of them was a close up of the little horse I rode that day. Friend commented on that going, 'Wow, nice jaw cruncher with a chain.'
Me and my friend both saw it and laughedddd because the little pony had been wearing a hackamore. o__o; And, excuse me if I'm an idiot, but hackamore doesn't HAVE a bit. I don't know HOW I could have 'crunched his jaw' with that.

cattypex said...


If you're using a mechanical hackamore, you can indeed crunch his jaw. It works by leverage, just like any curb bit, only you've got pressure on chin/jaw AND nose. You can certainly injure a horse with one.

cattypex said...

I suppose a crank noseband isn't the worst thing in the world - IF it's not being used to force a horse's mouth to close around a bit that hurts him.

But if a bit isn't bothering a horse, then why would you need one??

I found this really great discussion of various nosebands & cavessons:

When I was a kid, the borrowed bridle I rode my pony in had a figure 8 noseband. I wonder if that was part of why I had so much trouble with her - she also hated the mechanical hackamore I used on her ONCE.

We switched to a plain old wide cavesson, and that, coupled with a lot of good instruction for ME, helped a lot.

I was a lazy teen and never bothered with a noseband of any sort on my "practice" bridle. My AQHA mare never had any bit issues, and that worked fine.

Unknown said...

What kills me about Parelli is that there is so much value in a lot of what he teaches; I wouldn't call myself a devotee, but I've learned a LOT from his videos and from watching him train, and I think that since Linda got involved they've done a nice job of putting together a program that, if people really USE it, can be quite good. Of course, the only reason I've even SEEN his videos is because I've been given them or have borrowed somebody else's set. IMO, it's entirely possible to be an excellent trainer and do all that he does WITHOUT being a greedy SOB. Logic says that he could reach a wider audience (if he was truly "in it for the horses") and still make a tidy living if he sold his sets for a reasonable amount of money.

I'm always flabbergasted that it's routine for horse trainers' video sets to be priced in the $600-$800 range. And usually that's with very poor production values. I mean, I can get a full season of a TV show on DVD for $40 that cost a studio a million dollars per episode to produce. I know the situation isn't the same, but I don't think they're different enough to account for a 600% markup or something ridiculous like that. "Big name" trainers don't want to just train horses and help people, these days they expect to get filthy rich doing it. And they are, because we're all out here desperate for some miracle fix for our horses when we ought to be fixing ourselves.

nblackthorn said...

I've been looking at getting some new Equine Tack but I wouldn't ever dream of getting this from an auction. I'm going to go over an equestrian friend of the family and going to trundle online the equestrian shops.

Chasin Ponies said...

Wow! I am so glad to find that so many people are seeing the same nasty things I have been making me wince over for the past 25 years!!!
Pet peeves: the crippled up "wogging & tropeing" being forced on those poor Western "Pleasure" horses along with the abusive spurs, bits and beatings used to achieve it.
Tail nerving and fake tails!!!
So-called top notch national "trainers" selling the gullible public anything and everything guaranteed to fix all of your horse issues...especially the abusive stuff like twisted wire snaffles(which should NEVER NEVER be used by an amatuer!).
Western riders throwing English tack on their horses, riding loose reined with the same crippled up gaits and looking like monkeys hoppin around up there. Ask for an extented trot and they just gimpin along a fraction faster.
I have been a trainer for 30 years & own 2 beautiful Quarter horses that will NEVER be forced into fake, un-natural gaits that will lame them forever.
AQHA constantly tries to get me to renew my membership! Nope, I am too embarrassed by the things they have forced their beautiful horses to do through bad policy & rules. Fix that and I'll think about coming back.
How bad is it when my clients (who know nothing of horses)first see the peanut pushers and ask me what's wrong with that horse and is it lame?!


Amen to your comment! You are right on the mark!
Any bit can be harsh in the wrong hands. The one thing I like with Parelli is he teaches a rider to start with the rope halter for riding, and goes so far as to tell people to be a "passenger" first by keeping their hands on the withers and not be on the horse's face even. If one really follows the lessons as he has them, they shouldn't move on in their "partnership" until they are assessed by one of his professionals. My husband's a farrier and thinks "Parelli"ing is stupid, but he has never seen Pat or Linda, he just sees clients doing stupid things as the take different things out of context, and make themselves look like idiots when their horses look at them with a blank stare.

As with all of my horse knowledge, it came from watching and taking in all I saw, then wading thru the crap to keep the morsels that would help my horses and me.
My forte is taking "throw-aways" and thru kindness, patience and love we bring out the wonderful creature that man has locked inside. Love is my base, and my number one rule is, "RUDENESS IS NOT TOLERATED". Rudeness can cause tragedy, so we don't want to live there. I have used this with all of my loved ones: children, canine, equine, etc. It has not failed me. I gain respect, and strong and lifelong loving relationships this way.

I get horses that people have put a lot of money into for breeding and training, only to have them given to me because they don't want to see them go to the killer. These same horses after they are loved and told they will never have to be anywhere that I'm not, have turned into horses that I've had offers for $30,000-$40,000 which I quickly turn down. They will not be subjected to torture or humiliation as long as someone in my family is alive. I love my sweet boyz and it tortures my mind and heart to think they'd return to what they lived before coming home.

Sorry for all the ranting... I don't really like bashing someone I don't know personally. But I can tell you this, if I see someone abusing an animal, I will BASH the livin' tar out of 'em and it won't be with my mouth. I do have a reputation for having a long fuse, but victimize someone, and I BLOW-UP!!!

Sorry again, but I am who I am. -C