Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yesterdays Dream, Todays Tragedy

When I was younger and showing Quarter horses, we never really thought about the horse’s headset, it was not until I got into the industry as a professional that it was even an issue. And then everything was about the headset.

When I graduated High School, I was thrust into the Arabian horse world. Though that was not my first professional training job, it seemed like a logical place to start. After all I was an apprentice trainer for a large Arabian Horse Breeder in Tucson, AZ. That is to say, I was basically very cheap stall cleaning labor at this facility. I had at the time already been starting young horses under saddle since the age of 11 and started getting paid for starting colts at the age of 15. So, I thought I was hot shit, and that I knew everything.

I was wrong!

Apparently, a horse had to have a nice headset to be able to do well in the performance ring, and that I guess was the most important thing that there was, according to the head apprentice, who, by the way, has a small head with a very large nose and no neck. His head set was not that great.

I soon learned how to get a nice headset and was declared a graduate apprentice after 2 years of learning the craft of setting the head properly on a horse. I learned about English headsets, western headsets etc, etc, etc.

I soon forgot that the horse had any form of forward movement even though when I was young, I was taught that forward movement was the most important thing for a horse.

Everything was about the head set!

I stayed with the Arabian horses for years afterwards because I was drawn to the glamour and the glitter that the show ring offered. Then I really began to take notice of what was going on, the horses, were trussed up like Christmas Turkeys, they had martingales, draw reins, and gimmicks that I never thought could be used on the horses. This was also happening in the other breeds as well. The horses were dumped over, heavy on the forehand and unable to move forward. The spurs that the trainers wore were getting bigger and they all had bats in their back pockets. The horses were four beating and looked defeated and crippled. The bits were getting more and more severe and the trainers as well as the amateurs were all becoming heavy handed. In order for these horses to pick up the lead they have to be turned out towards the rail, because they are so heavy on the front end.

It was then that I decided to stick with cutting only!

I have mentioned many times that I am a very old school trainer, and we do not use martingales or draw reins. I feel that the horses have to be able to go forward uninhibited, and that the aforementioned devices inhibit a horses movement. I use only a smooth snaffle and I train my horses to be soft in the face and the shoulders. This allows the horse to use his hind like he should. And don’t worry about the head set, it will come in time, there is no way to force it to happen. I feel strongly that the younger generation needs to learn, that the best way to train a horse is low and slow. The horse will be happy and so will the rider!

By the way, Friday night cocktails begin at precisely 5:45PM. And no Toadstoolbob, we are not having a black tie party in you bomb shelter!

This is strictly casual.


Cut-N-Jump said...

When I started at BNF back in the day, it was all about the headset- it must be low and not move. At All... If the head came up, jerk the reins to get it back down and spur to keep them moving.

See-sawing was HUGE!

My first horse was an incredible bastard and when you started to even make contact at the trot, he would swing his head along with the reins. When the see-saw motions began, his whole body began to swing and sway back and forth with each step. It was incredibly tough to ride a giant wiggly noodle and get him to quit.

I have no doubt in my mind that he would be an incredible hunter now, if he weren't 25 and surely set in his old fart ways.

joanna said...

I have a big old TB from the track. He carries his head high and hollows his back. I can't figure out to get his head down with out causing a big fight (he's argumentative). His tack fits, he's in a french mouth snaffle, and is sound. Any advise? Someone told me a standing martingale, but I can't see how he'll learn to keep his head down with that.

JohnieRotten said...


The best way to get a horses head sown, is to teach the to bend at the base of the neck. Use your inside leg to get the horse to move his shoulders over and gently tug on the inside rein until he gives. That way you are teacjing the horse how to bend at the base of the base of his neck and how to soften his shoulders up at the same time.

Remember to use small tugs onthe inside rein and light bumps with your inside calf. Small moves like that make big differences.

I hope I was clear and not confusing! If so email me and I will explain in more detail.

cattypex said...

Wow JR... Lateral work! What a concept. ; )

I spouted off with my usual abundance of words on Trainer X's blog about this very issue today.

Am I allowed to cross-post? It pertains to hunt seat horses in particular, but I think it's relevant....

Or should I just GO AWAY AND SHUT UP? ; )

JohnieRotten said...


Cross post away!

cattypex said...

Remember.... YOU ASKED FOR IT.

"If you put a jump in from of the AQHA HUS horses, they'd trip right over it. I also hate the "hands in the crotch" style of riding. I don't know why they don't call the class what it is: WP Under English Tack."


I still don't get AQHA HUS - it is the POLAR OPPOSITE of EVERYTHING I ever learned is "Correct" in how a horse should move and rider's equitation.

1) AQHA: Puppy paw seesawing hands on the buckle of the reins
H/J: Quiet hands, thumbs up, soft and elastic contact with the bit

2) AQHA: head WAY down low, restricting movement in the shoulder while back end is trailing behind, moving SLOOOOOWly.
H/J: Horse's head is up, looking around for the next fence, alert expression. Crisp, controlled but brilliant movement.

3) AQHA: Rider leaning forward, often with roachback.
H/J: Rider sitting poised, workmanlike, and as forward as is warranted depending on gait.


Like the immortal and crusty George Morris, I believe that all English disciplines today are requiring horses to be overflexed.

AQHA people don't seem to understand that a horse's head & neck are essential to good balanced movement - he needs to USE them.

Oh, heck. Here's a much better photo of classic, correct riding on the flat:

Horse forward: CHECK.
Horse collected: CHECK.
Rider maintaining soft but effective contact: CHECK.
Hindquarters engaged: CHECK.

See, the whole idea is... if a jump popped up in front of this horse, he could go right over it, no sweat.

I will shut up now. I get so freakin' RABID over this topic. *sheepish*

[Note that I haven't shut up....]

cattypex said...

cattypex said...
(Also note the absence of funky bits, forceful noseband or extra equipment like martingales. Just a snaffle & regular cavesson, and wonder of wonders - the horse's mouth is closed. There's simplicity, softness, and that famous "workmanlike" thing: a state of readiness combined with calm alertness. Simple - but not easy.)

If I were judging this horse, I'd say he'd had a lot of quality hours of steady work under a patient, awesome-handed rider. He looks almost sleepy, but I suspect (from the rest of the photos in the article) that he was just in mid-blink. He looks like a really NICE horse to ride: a good sport, not sour, and top-notch movement.

Does he look a tad chubby?

cattypex said...

And maybe I should've stuck with this... with the photo I dug up of the inimitable Mr. Morris (whose elbows are very slightly out, but I think he might be in pre-transition mode?).....

"being in a frame"

That phrase is what's gotten us into this whole "head position" mess in the first place, whether you're talking Dressage, WP, H/J, Saddleseat....

I think the original purpose of "being in a frame" meant what a lot of us here think of as "collected, correct for the discipline, engaged HQs, pretty movement."

But just like a lot of people think that purty spots make a purty horse, they also think that if you park your horse's nose & neck in the proscribed place, you're doing it right. And don't worry about how the horse is actually MOVING, or even take into account his conformation."

JohnieRotten said...


Be as Rabid over this as you want.

I hate what they have done to the horese. The HUS horses are in no way shape or form like the horses that I used to train for people.

These new standards in the industry promote the worst kind of horsemanship that there is out there.

There is a definite lack of understanding in the mechanics of the horse and the way that things work.

I just wish I knew who started the training bullshit that is out there today!

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP-Also note the absence of funky bits, forceful noseband or extra equipment like martingales. Just a snaffle & regular cavesson, and wonder of wonders - the horse's mouth is closed.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.

You hit a big sore spot with me on that one...

I can't stand seeing the dropped and flash nosebands. At risk of sounding Foxworthyesque-

If your horses mouth HAS to be fastened shut- you're doing something wrong.

If they are going around with their mouth gaping open- you're doing something wrong.

If they are evading the bit and your hands- you're probably doing something wrong...

So many times it is the wrong bit, adjusted poorly in crapy, unfeeling and rough hands. One or the combination makes for nuthin' but problems.

I guess we won't even get started on rolkur???

Every sport has their share of asshats and pitfalls.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Damn you CP, picking a shot of a gorgeous grey like that!

cattypex said...

And I wish I knew more how to get a horse going how I want - besides basic decent equitation. I mean, I know what I like, and some of the mechanics of how it happens, but for the last 20 years or so I've not had the mileage on enough different horses - that is, the kind of unsupervised mileage where you can REALLY practice what your instructor tells you to do.

OK Time to make my own blog.

cattypex said...

heee, that's a picture from this month's Practical Horseman... George Morris no less, riding a horse he had PLENTY of good things to say about.

That horse IS lovely.

Another thing is that this horse is world class, and yet everything is so BASIC.

Well, heck... look at really great barrel riders, they don't put a lot of extra crap on their horses either.

Hey, that ex-barrel horse I was describing, d'you think trying some different tack or something might help her chill out?

I mean, that single short rein might be hindering the rider and reminding the horse, too.


I wish I had the time to work one-on-one with all these kids.... but I have my own kid to take care of, and a husband with weird hours.

cattypex said...

(I wonder how many AQHA HUS riders have even HEARD of George Morris??)

Cut-N-Jump said...

CP- I doubt any of them have.

They probably think he's the spokescat for 9 Lives cat food!


Cut-N-Jump said...

There was an article some time back, where the course designer for a junior medal class used the most basic of things in their course as well as the eq. pattern.

The sad fact of the day was how many riders couldn't do either one correctly. They had no basics in their riding, they were completely *lost* and it showed.

joanna said...

Cattypex and CnJ: you guys crack me up. Cattypex, rant away. I have all the same complaints. I grew up doing Eq and Hunters, non AQHA. I went to Congress one year and watched the Huntseat Eq. class, and no lie, had an anxiety attack. I had to leave. From now on, I'll only go to watch the reiners and cutters.

JR, thanks. I'll try that next time. He's not the kind of horse you can put extra equipment on. Once, I put him in side reins on the lunge line and he wouldn't go forward. When I insisted, he just went up. He really isn't into any "restrictive" tack.

CnJ- I use a figure 8 when doing jumpers or going cross country. Even well trained horses will get a little strong and lock their jaw when galloping. It keeps them from doing it. In the ring, we don't need it.

cattypex said...

It's funny.... I am almost ALL basics, never got very fancy. My parents didn't have the $$$, and I was always very into getting to the root of things, and I've always been a stickler when starting a project to start it RIGHT.

Finishing it is another story.... : P

I think it's part of why I was so good at Showmanship - it's SO much about extensive groundwork.

About the history of the headset: When I got my first pony (that was an education in how NOT to do things, for me and my family), someone gave me an old book from the 70s called Saddle Up. I think Farm Bureau put it out, and it was all about Western Horsmanship.

Back then...
1) tails were to be just a few inches below the hocks
2) hats were very ugly
3) you only worried about your horse's head if he was a "stargazer"
4) chaps were optional
5) Quarter Horses were short and stocky
6) we don't need no stinkin' silver

#3 is of interest here.

fernvalley01 said...

Headsets piss me off . My idea of a good headset on a horse is to watch how he travels at liberty , he is at his most comfortable and flexible at that point , then try to give him the balance to maintain that under saddle and riders wieght. I have yet to see a horse of any breed travel at liberty looking for the dime he lost ! (peanut rollers) This is probably why I don't show. Now I realise cutters do tend to have a lower head carriage , but doesn't that come from Looking at the calf?

cattypex said...


If so many people hate headsets...

then why are they still around!?!?!?!!??

JohnieRotten said...

Headsets are still around so we can blog about them!

Other than that..........

A headset is not a bad thing as long as there is balance. A horse whose neck comes out low from the shoulder should not be force to carry his head higher and same goes for the neck that comes out higher. That horses head should not be forced between his knees.

That is just plain common sense!

JohnieRotten said...

I also want to point out, that the headset is the last thing we work on. That will only come when the horses shoulders are soft. And there is lateral flexion.

The use of gimmicks to force a horses head down, just makes them spring loaded in my opinion!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Joanna- I understand the use of the figure 8, drop and flash nosebands in situations such as jumping and cross country, if a horse gets 'strong' and such. But seeing them on horses working on the flat, cranking the mouth shut on a huge offensive bit while the rider hangs on by the reins... well, I'm sure you understand.

In some cases with the jumpers and CC horses, you have to wonder about the training a horse has or doesn't. Maybe it's the rider who is lacking?

Yes, they are horses, they all think and react differently and some get carried away easily in the excitement of going fast- just like some speed event and gamers; but often times the riders go for the bigger, stronger bit instead of finding the cause and solving the problem. Crank the horses mouth shut so they can't evade the bit...

In these cases it will just come out in another form of 'bad' behavior and sooner or later the horse is going to have had enough and suffer a huge meltdown. We all know where it goes from there.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Spring loaded?

I know a guy who had an Appy gelding many, many years ago. The horse had issues from a previous owner.

Putting a tiedown on that horse was a deathwish. They had video of the horse flipping over so fast that he was nothing but a blurr on tape. Even in slo-mo or frame-by-frame, it was nothing but blurr.

Nobody was on him for obvious reasons, when the video was taken.

joanna said...

And those are the horses prime for a big fall on CC. The horses you see that happen to tend to be the lower level event horses. There is a reason why they are known as the 911 divisions.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

OMG I didn't know you had a blog! I love it!

"Apparently, a horse had to have a nice headset to be able to do well in the performance ring, and that I guess was the most important thing that there was, according to the head apprentice, who, by the way, has a small head with a very large nose and no neck. His head set was not that great."

*spews diet Dr. Pepper* TOUCHE!

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

CNJ, I showed and took lessons in the late 80s, early 90s. All I learned was jerk the reins and see saw! Why do you think my VLC is out for training - I DO NOT KNOW how to do it right and I KNOW that.

At least not for stock horses. If he were a hunter, it'd be different but I am clueless how to get a flat neck on a totally dropped rein and that is why he is with a professional who I know is not abusive.

Who Said That? said...

Mr. Rotten I didn't know you had a blog, but I will be checking in from time to time.

Your posts are always straightforward and to the point as well as informative. Although I have been involved in horses and showing for a number of years, it is always an ongoing process of learning new and better ways.

Keep on keeping on! Here's a *Cheers* to those doing it right and sharing the wealth of knowledge bestowed upon them.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Fugs, I learned a lot of that around the same time- late 80's early 90's. 88 to around 93 or so.

Jerk on the outside rein and see-saw to get the head down, then kick to keep 'em movin'. Yeah the Arab circuit! NOT!

My gelding became wobbly and noodley with those methods- his head swinging side to side and body too with each step, but then he was an incredible bastard anyways, like I said.

At 16 hands and wide as a bus, bitted up- with side reins (as I was taught then) he would lay down and roll, spring to his feet and off he would go. Most horses would be stuck on the ground, but not him.

To get out of loading- if going up and over the trailer door wasn't an option, throw yourself on the ground. There's NO WAY a person can pick you up and put you in the trailer...

Those are but a few of the things he did and the stunts he pulled over the years.

For normal hunters contact is fine and they should move off your leg anyways- that Wenglish stuff you see in the AQHA and stock breed classes with the saggy bottomed horses on droopy reins they call HUS- that just ain't right...

PrairieFarmer said...

JR -
What, are ya reading my mind???? This has so been on my mind lately. I posted about this on the VLC blog, but I would love to have your 2 cents.
So here goes - as brief as I can (difficult for me, yes...).
- Have new mare. 20 year old TB. Probably off track at one point. Polo pony. Used to play outdoor polo for some pretty big players, has been playing collegiate indoor for last few years (which many multiple riders, lots of them totally green). She probably has never had much trail riding experience.
So I start riding her around. We mostly do trail riding. She is great but HOT! Yowser. Really wants to go, go, go. And that head goes WAY up when she gets excited to go. And she has a long, long neck. I'm riding in simple D ring snaffle. She shakes her head a lot (but does so even when I just put on a halter so I don't think that's the bit). We do okay, but my arms are TIRED by end of ride. I switch her to a pelham, with snaffle and curb rein. Jointed, rubber bit. Not a long shank. She seems a lot more responsive, not so tired arms. The first time out in this bit, we did fine until starting on way home she does 1-2-3 "lunges," kinda like lunging out of a starting gate. Like a half-rear but going forward. I keep her under control and she settles right down and walks home. No biggie.
The 2nd time out in this bit, we are out longer and it is a windy day. She does pretty good, still lots of go, but otherwise good. Again, starting home, she starts doing the lunging toward home thing again. Again, I keep her in check but now she starts freaking out. Keeps lunging out but now going exceedingly more straight up when I don't let her take off. Then she just seems to lose her mind, she would stop and stand still, as soon as I ask quietly to move forward - lunging/rearing. So I bail (not into horse rearing!).
So, now I'm wondering what to do! Many, like yourself, promote training a horse to carry themselves correctly and not need the aid of a martingale. Totally with that. However, this is a 20 year old mare who has been ridden her entire life in polo with, a standing martingale and likely, draw reins as well. Probably in a pelham or even a gag bit. She has the "ewe" shape neck to prove it.
I don't care how she carries her "headset" to be honest. I just want to trail ride, occasionally stick and ball. And for us both to be comfortable and happy.
She knows how to get her hind end under her so it's not like she is balanced on the front end. I've done some practice spins and rollbacks with her. I just don't think she has ever been ridden without something to give her that control on the head when she gets excited and the head up (from a polo perspective both from control, and from getting you nose smacked when you are leaning forward to hit the ball and asking the horse to slow down at the same time). Also, I think she does have really quite a sensitive mouth - the best polo ponies are played with a pretty loose rein (at least if they have a decent rider) and are expected to be very responsive. Neck rein, of course. One saying is a good polo pony with a "one-tug" stop is worth $40,000, take $10,000 off for every extra tug! A lot of the "best" ponies are also warned off inexperienced riders because they are so quick on the forehand that they will go up and over on a harsh handed rider. So, I'm sure that's whats playing into the problem, she gets excited to go, head WAY up where I loose control of the situation, I'm trying to keep her from taking off home and BLAM - we have problem.
Anyways, would love to know what you thought. It seemed to me like having a standing martingale in this situation might actually be safer. But I know many think otherwise and I certainly don't profess to be an expert. This is a very nice mare otherwise and I always liked a horse with a "get-set GO" button, as long as I know how to use it!

cattypex said...

Pf that's a great question... Whaddya say JR?

Dena said...

Hey you guys guess what? My butt finally made contact with Ms. Jasmines back today.
It was worth the wait.
Rope halter with the double loop perfect for attaching split reins.
She backed, flexed beautifully, and talk about air glide?
She is effortless in her movement.
Did I mention she was bare of saddle?
It was very nice.

I left the world of show Arabians and Saddlebreds far behind for many of the reasons listed here.
The torture contraptions.
Then the pleasure world had to go and blow it with the headset and four beat.
When you think about it what is left but change.

People can say it is the fashion. But c'mon.
Bell bottoms vs skinny legged jeans never crippled anyone or made them lose their minds completely.

One could argue camel toe and plumbers crack.
But those things while painful for the spectator don't have the power to maim and kill.

Glad you liked the filly JR and FV.
I have another one with Nick Shoemaker and the old Mido racestock lines who is mighty fine too.
Somebody somewhere better be hooking up a trailer for a road trip.LOL

JohnieRotten said...

Well, I had it all typed up and lost it. Stupid computer!

And the computer says "Stupid user"

We deal with hot horses all of the time, especially with the cutters. Mostly though that depends on who trains them.

There is something I think we need to clarify from the start. We do not use martingales as we never have really needed to, however, if there is a time for the use of one. And for your horse PF, I think for the moment it would be a good idea. But do not use the martingale as a tie down,as that will exacerbate the problem.

What we are against is the blatent over use of them instead of good training.

As far as your horse goes, there again, lateral aids. Teach your mare how to move her shoulders away from your legs whileat the same time lightly tug her head around. INSIDE DIRECT REIN TO GET HER TO TURN THE CIRCLE, INSIDE LEG TO GET HER SHOULDERS TO MOVE AWAY.
Remember, small tugs. Do not pull!

As your mare starts to turn and give to the pressure, quit tugging and let her finish the circle on her own.You will see results fairly rapidly and she begins to relax and her head comes down. We want to get a little more weight back on her front end so we can avoid the rearing.

Do everything, and I mean everything at the walk. When you first get on her ask her to stand for a few minutes before walking off.

That is a good place to start.

Please feel free to email me with more questions about this. Especially since there seems to be a bit of a rearing problem.

cattypex said...

This seems like really good advice for the girl with the ex barrel horse too.

If the rider is smart and patient enough. Therein lies 97% of training issues.

PrairieFarmer said...

JR -
I will try this. Getting her to relax I think is definitely key, the whole trail riding things is so new to her (along with actually, um, oh yeah - walking or even trotting for that matter, but she picks right up into a canter from a standstill!), that we've got some work to do there...(And the cool thing about the polo ponies, is they are so spook-proof. She is a hot mare, but she hardly even flinched at the multiple scary things that occurred on our rides - rabbits, chasing dogs, etc...).
I am going to trailer her with a friend to an arena to do some arena work (I don't have one, just miles of awesome farm fields to ride in...).
Question - I don't understand what you mean when you say do not use the martingale as a tie-down? I would rig the martingale like Fugly mentioned, so when they have head setting normally, you could pull it up under their neck easily. One end attached to the caveson, run through the breastplate, attached to the girth with the loopy thing (whatever it is called), over the neck... Least that was always how I was taught....
And the rearing thing was such a puzzler for me at the time it was happening because I had always experienced it before in horses that did not want to go, as in, leaving the barn. She has no problem going away, calm, responsive, not balky at all, it is just the going home that she gets wacky!
And BTW, if you do the conformational thing you were talking about (conformation for discipline), I might just send you a picture of her. I think she is awful pretty, the longest legs, HUGE hooves, and the floatiest trot. I'm bet she probably would have been a great dressage horse if she would have been taken that direction many years ago. She probably could have jumped like a dream as well, she has got a lot of spring in her step! Instead the polo insanity!

PrairieFarmer said...

Oh, and I was thinking to switch her back to the simple snaffle, with the martingale? Rather than the pelham.

PrairieFarmer said...

And I wonder if Joanna and I have related horses????

PrairieFarmer said...

And one last thing, you might appreciate... I was just looking at my grandfather with a picture of "Joe." The OTTB he picked up for a song back in the 50s cuz nobody could ride him - we wouldn't take a bit. My grandfather rode him in a hackamore in Posse races (gramps was big into the Sheriff's Posse). Joe won every race he ever was in, until he was 20. And he would walk to the starting line, win the race, and walk off, calm as could be. In a hackamore...
I sure wish my grandfather hadn't died the year before I was born! I think I would know all the stuff I keeping asking!

JohnieRotten said...

What I meant about using the martingale as a tiedown, is that I have had clients in the past that have done that to prevent rearing.

Going back to the regular snaffle is a good idea. Remember, you see results almost immediately once she starts to relax, but for more permanent results consistancy and patience. And if it is not working please contact me.

But I think it will work.

Keep me posted!

JohnieRotten said...

Ya know, I had a horse come in that would not take the bridle and would not work in the hackamore.

I finally decided to take the bridle apart and put it back together on the horses head.

It worked!

Within about a week,we were able to bridle the horse normally.

PrairieFarmer said...

Aha! No, my thought with the martingale is keep the head from going way, way up and me loosing that control when she gets all excited, not to prevent the rearing, just prevent the issues that lead to the rearing...

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena that would depend on the camel toe and plumers crack! Either of them might send folks running for a long leap off a short cliff.

Dena said...

Good point.
I always thought the camel toe thing looked particuarly painful.
And I never did get the whole thong thing.
Who wants their underwear to be up their butt on purpose?
And what if your pants ripped?
Or your skirt blew up?
I just don't even want to think of that with breeches.
And viewing plumbers crack has never been a pleasant thing.
It stays with you like when you get the stink from an abcessed hoof on your hand.

Dena said...

Hey CNJ and JR do you guys remember Bolins Fancy and Mr. Brilliant?
I always thought they would have been beautiful western pleasure horses.
Arnett Perlane was mighty fine to look at but he never passed himself on in any kind of good way that I am aware.
Garis was amazing. I loved that horse.
I was maybe 8 when I started handling him. Just for turn outs and grooming.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena, butt floss and the 'ol verticle smile.

Eeeeeeeeewwwwwwww! On so many levels.

Like spandex- those who can pull off the look, wouldn't be caught dead wearing it. While those who should not wear it have a closet full.

JohnieRotten said...

I do not remember those two horses. I would have to see pictures of them.

Dena said...

JR I do not have any but mightn't they be on allbreed or somesuch?
Bolins Fancy was a Registered Half Arabian mare bay with not too much chrome.
Mr. Brilliant as I recall came out of California. And showed up about the same time Bobby started campaiging H.H. Heritage their big grey stallion owned by Donnie.
Mr. Brilliant was also bay a bit more chrome and substance.
I want to say this would have been somewhere between 1978-1980?

CNJ butt floss is not my idea of a good time.
Or a good idea.
Wouldn't ride my horse with a twine bit either.
Good job by the way playing it cool. If JR asks for one more horse you are totally off the hook.
And the 4 horse should be fine.
But when you see a picture of Micah's show pony(that he does not ride)you might want to bring the stock.

Dena said...

Oh and with me riding Jas in a rope halter?
I waited two years to get on her.
She has been bitted and backed.
I wanted to feel her and my youth again.
Translation, on the grass instead of the pen.
And I waited twwwwwooooo years!!!

JohnieRotten said...


I will have to go look them up tomorrow.

I just started my 3 year olds. Got a rush out of it because they are our own foals raised by us.

Normally, I don't get a rush like that when I start colts.

Dena said...

Endurance Addict is wearing lycra tights in some neon color. Has not read the rule that lycra is a privilege, not a right. The shinier, the better, so that they can find her body when her mount dumps her down (another)

I don't own any lycra except whatever they put in jeans and socks.

Dena said...

JR that is exactly what it is "A Rush"!..
When you are the one who put them together and raised them up and laid in the foundation?
Big Big Deal. Huuuuuggggge!!!
Makes you feel 10' tall doesn't it?
Hubby kept saying, "Jazzy that's Mommy up there. Mommy Jasmine".
How do you even think about preparing her for sale then?
And when I slid off her I did so just like when I was a kid. Using her front leg like a firemans pole.
It was awesome.
I have never rode a baroque before and I am not comfortable on wide horses.
She fit me. She pulled a quick startle and my hands dropped at the end.
Because I balanced her with the reins and pushed her with my seat.
I forgot I knew that kind of stuff after getting stomped by yellow man and started riding wide and open.
I think I am past the residual fear and ready to rock and roll.
How did your's go?
Tell us all more.

horspoor said...

I remember when it was all about the headset. I was one of those putting a headset on everything. Then you realize (giant freaken lightbulb moment) that if you ride the horse well, and don't worry about the head...the headset magically appears.

I don't worry about where my youngsters heads are. Ride the body...the head will come.

horspoor said...
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Cut-N-Jump said...

I had floss once. Given to me by Mr. Right Now.

Obviously BOTH are long gone, so what does that tell us? He was a pain in the ass just like the floss, so maybe I should have known better, or the floss was a warning sign.

Spandex has it's place, some stretch is needed in breeches, but no need for folks to buy the wrong size and test the stretch to the extreme just so they can boast wearing X size.

JohnieRotten said...

Mine were easy. But I do a lot of youngsters. But knowing that I will be cutting on my own 3 year olds for once made it extreme.

Ivwill never forget that feeling. Almost as good as the day the twins were born. Though I don't remember much of that day at all.

Our filly and our colt have turned out well. Though our coly will be gelded. But it was a great feeling.

JohnieRotten said...


It seems that is still bout the headset for most people. I think theyvforget there is a lot of horse between the horses ass and his head. And it all has to function as one unit.

Cut-N-Jump said...

We worked the filly and colt after they had been off for a week or so.

The filly did well enough and when it came time forthe colt... He squealed like a bitch and bucked several laps around the arena.

Then I figured to keep the momentum going I would ride the Arab stally. He had watched the escapades of the colt and figured to give it a shot too.

Well it didn't work for the colt and didn't work for him either. He still had to work, I still rode him and he didn't look 'cool' for the mares on the other side of the fence.

In fact when they did come to the fence they wanted a piece of him, but they wanted to take a piece of their choosing. Not the piece he thought he would be offering.

horspoor said...

Hey, I'm for bed. Got soaked to the bone riding. Just wears me out. Night all.

cattypex said...

I confess that one of the reasons I've not looked more into endurance is the WACKY outfits some riders wear!

SOMEbody bring back flared breeches like this.... at a reasonable price:

If the very best answer you can give to a person unfamililar with your discipline is "Because that's how the judge likes it" then there is something wrong - either with your understanding (and probably therefore methodology) or the practice itself.

JohnieRotten said...

I have a pair of Breeches just like that!

cattypex said...

Where'd you get em?

JohnieRotten said...
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JohnieRotten said...
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horspoor said...

Hmmm, Cattypex I may have a pair of those in a greyish buff color. I've gotten too large for them...I straighten out the pleats, and the waistband cuts me in two. lol I think they are 28L. Could be 26. I know they wont fit my happy ass anymore.

No doubt there are some odd ones on the endurance circuit. But also some really nice, knowledgeable people that are really fun.

My first endurance ride, I rode in an old Argentine allpurpose saddle, a pair of levis 501's and a roper boots. I would not suggest doing this. I rubbed holes in my legs, the scars lasted a couple years.

Yep, I bought spandex. lol You look goofy, but you are comfortable. I also would wear the spandex under my jeans for cold beach rides. But that was back in the 80's. There is way better stuff out there now.

CharlesCityCat said...

Hi Everyone!

Catching up on comments, bad storms last night, power was in and out.

I had some trainers long ago who tried to fix everything with a stronger bit. I finally started working with Don. My first lesson I had Spunky in his Pelham. We had the lesson which was mediocre and when I left the ring, Don said for all subsequent lessons he wanted Spunky in a plain snaffle. He taught me how to actually use my seat and leg. I loved that man.

The only thing I worry about as far as headset is that they are going level and relaxed. Wizard, my hony gelding does wear a standing martingale but Whinnie doesn't.

As far as I am concerned HUS is a joke but I won't get started on that.

"Just say no to crack"

Tried butt floss years and pounds ago. Never could get used to it. Terminal wedgy isn't fun.

For most people, Lycra/Spandex is not their friend.

kestrel said...

The thing I really hate about 'head set only' riders is that they cripple horses. I don't remember how many ex show horses that I've worked that truly didn't know how to carry their own body comfortably anymore, and have the stressed and broken down joints to prove it. My lovely Arab mare was power trained WP peanut roller, then sold to a lady that wanted an endurance horse...
It took me a month of just letting her carry her own head for her to figure out how to balance herself, but she went from freaked out pissed to a lovely ride. When I got her they had corrective shoes on her, and now that she has learned that it's okay to be comfortable she doesn't need them. She carries herself differently even while in the pasture. The headset jerks can screw up a horses brain so bad that they forget how to go in balance entirely, even at liberty.

cattypex said...

Kestrel... wow.... I've always wondered how to rehab a peanut roller, or if it's even worth trying.

Why on earth would you want an Arab's nose in the dirt?!?!?!?!!

My old 32 Harry Halls still fit ... sorta ... but I always wear a loooong shirt! You can't kill those breeches.

Our town had a big Model T festival last year, and a lot of the owners had vintage or vintage style costumes. One guy had on a LOVELY pair of baggy breeches with antique gaiters and boots. I asked him where he got the breeches and he confessed that they were actually just Dockers, bought a little big and sewn up the leg!

I would totally do that if it weren't for the inner seam. It's why my fat ass still wears breeches for riding.

Did I mention that I heard a QH lady call her breeches "huntseat pants" ? That's just another layer of HUS wrongness.

horspoor said...

huntseat pants. lol love it.

I have 'dressage leggings'

oh, and english pleasure panties?

Cut-N-Jump said...

Catching up again-

I am working on riding attire, so keep sending the weblinks! I email them to myself and file them away. Two markets untouched or relatively 'shelfed' are the plus sized riders and men.

I have most everyone's email addy's so when it gets rolling...

Sweatpants are a trailriders friend. Comfy, assorted colors, some have pockets and you can wear them to the gym. (As if any of us get there...) They also lack the 'slickness' of spandex so it's easier to stay in the saddle.

Levi's I love them, but they are NOT for riding. Raw spots and all, my legs still bear the scars.

fernvalley01 said...

CNJ, did I catch that right ? you are goining into business making equestrian riding clothes ? if so great !

Cut-N-Jump said...

FV- I already make fly masks and have done a few other things. Right now I am working on a shadbelly coat- not that I will be riding at that level anytime in the near future... but hunt coats as well as breehes will soon follow.

I have made a few sheets and light blankets for our own horses and will be developing that as it goes along, but yeah. I am working on it. Along with a friend of ours who is already in the industry.

Hopefully it won't be long before you see it in a tack store near you...

CharlesCityCat said...


That sounds very exciting. Can't wait to see your line.

fernvalley01 said...

CNJ , sounds great , when you come out with a line for girls built a little like a jelly bean with long legs , sent me a order form!

JohnieRotten said...

cattypex said...
Kestrel... wow.... I've always wondered how to rehab a peanut roller, or if it's even worth trying.


It is possible to rehab them though a royal pain in the ass!

cattypex said...

CNJ I'd LOVE some flat-front flared jodhpurs that wuould work with paddock boots! With a couple of cargo pockets. I can't do pleats.. My potbelly pooches em out and I look like Pat from SNL...

Good thing I'll never be a high level rider... A shadbelly would sit so wrong!

Cut-N-Jump said...

After the twins, I am taking on the Humpty Frumpty look myself.


SFTS said...

I learned to start a horse the old fashioned "Lasma way" of starting English horses, which was based on breaking racehorses (and helped when I spent a summer long ago doing just that) ~ stay the Hell out of their faces, let them learn what they're doing and GO GO GO, FORWARD, FORWARD, FORWARD. Oh, and I still hate the term "breaking". I don't want a broken horse! I want a trained one!

What is entirely key in the program is to get collection back to front, and THEN work on whatever "proper headset" is correct for the horse conformationally and ultimately get them to fit in their chosen division. Some horses just aren't cut out to be WP horses, some can't hack it as EP horses, some are simply suited to being trail horses.

I do use martingales and draw reins (and a select few other "gadgets") ~ hangs head in shame, lol ~ however, it's only for specific purposes and not to force the horse into a headset. That has to come naturally!!

Many things are wrong with the Arabian show ring. I hate the overbent, BTV Western horses and Hunters, I hate the English horses being run off their feet, I hate so much of the abuse that goes on within the training ranks (both Halter and Performance). But I love these horses far too much to completely abandon them to the abusive asshats.

Hell, SOMEONE has to be there to offer a viable training alternative to those who need it and wish to stick with Arabian horses. Might as well be me. :)