I have been training horses as a professional for 30+ years, and have been involved in all facets of the industry including: breeding, training, showing and teaching amateurs. I have shown reiners, cutters and pleasure horses including english. Myself and my amateur riders have had sucess in the show ring.
My specialty now is cutting, cowhorses and starting young horses.
I always ask clients a question and it is usually the same question.And of course that question leads to a myriad of other questions and usually there is no real clear answers.
Who was the first man/woman to ever throw a leg over a horse?
What made them think that this was a good idea?
Why didn't the ride a elk instead?
Could you imagine hearing the ring announcer say "Lope your Elk please"?
I always picture two stone age cavemen sitting on a hill daring each other...
'Dude. go for it'
'No you go for it, I dare you'
'You go for it, I double dog dare you'
It's funny that there is no real definitive answer as to when horses were first domesticated , thought there are pictures of them appearing in cave art from 30,000 years ago.And they were clearly wild animals, mostly hunted for meat. But the first known use of horses as transportation was for chariots 2000 years BC and there is increasing evidense that horses were domesticated 4000 to 3500 BCE in the Eurasion Steppes. So certainly someone had to be the first to climb on a horses back.
Was he/she liquored up and did they do it on a bet?
I can only imagine theirs spouse out there saying "Go ahead and get on, but if you get hurt don't come crying to me".
What I really wonder about though, is what has become of the horses that we domesticated. Those that used the horses as transportation and as a, for lack of better words 'tool' to get work done really did care for them. They revered the horse in all his/her glory. They treated their horses as my father treats his car.
They knew that if they did not take care of the horse that they would not be able to go anywhere or get their jobs done.
And there are times that I think that the first people that got domesticated the horses truly did them a great injustice. Look what we have done to the horses that we so love.
Did they use things such as Chain Gag bits or Kimberwicks?
But one would think that if they used a harsher bit when the horses were first domesticated that it was out of ignorance and not to get the horses to set his head. As they learned to work with the horse,certainly they figured that you can soften and supple a horse with the use of a lighter bit. However,I tend to think that when man first started to domesticate horses, he used a halter when he started to ride rather than a bit. But I could be wrong, that has happened in the past.
I imagine that as they started to work with the horse that perhaps they looked at the mechanics of the movement of the horses.And as they learned how the horse moved they used that knowledge to make themselves better horsemen. The trainers of today were not the first to discover that of the horse drives from behind, then it makes the work is easier.( On a personal note, I have a profound fascination of the mechanics of horses movement,and it has been a tremendous help throughout my career. Watching the movement of every horse indivually.)
What has changed form the days of old, is the invention of money, the Horse Show and the show mom/ show dad!
Next Friday we discuss who was the lucky bastard that first nailed a shoe to a horse foot and what he was on when he did it........ Poor Bastard!
By the way everyone, there are only 91 shopping days left until Christmas!
Recently as you all know by reading CNJ's blog The Well Groomed Horse, we took little Kit Kat who thinks he's big Kit Kat to a local show. For what it was an for the fact that he had not been to a show in some time I felt he did well. And I was proud of how CNJ handled him.
That being said, this particular post is not really about the show, though I will be referring to something I saw that really made me realize what is wrong with the horse industry.
As we were waiting for CNJ to go into her class, I was was watching a local Arab trainer who we will call Ralph( as much as I want to out the bastard, I feel that it is best that I do not). While he was schooling his western horse, and I wish I had a video of it, the worthless idiot never stopped jerking on the poor horse. He was riding the horse in a set of Romel reins and could not keep his hand still. Personally, I was ready to call 911 because I thought Ralph was having a seizure.HE would jerk the reins up always bumping that curb bit,then he would jerk his hands to the sides. All the while he was berating a client in the warm up ring because she warm up ring. Perhaps SFTS can come on here or other Arab showman can comeon here and explain to us the constant jerking and bumping as I would love to know what that is all about. I have shown many a horse in romel reins and never did that.
Here is my point.
How many of you have gone to a schooling show to use it as just that?
To school your horse.
How many of you have gone to a show knowing that your horse is not really ready, yet you just want to get him/her exposed to the outside world?
We do it all of the time.
We know that if we are taking a horse to show, and they are not ready and they place, sometimes it is a gift. And we graciously accept that gift.
After reading some of the comments on CNJ's blog, I have something that I want to say about how we handle the shows and have handled them for many years. And this is how we do it with the youngsters and mares and stallions alike.
Now it should be obvious that the shows are different from being at home. Though we want our horses to act as they do at home while they are at the show, we prefer not to get after them too much. Especially the stallions as we know that when we take a stallion to a show on Wednesday,their brains wont arrive until Friday.
We also know that when we take a horse to a show and they are not ready, then they are not ready. All the jerking on them and getting after them will not make them ready, in fact, that will only exacerbate any problems that you ma have.
If you take your horse into the warm up, get on him and he is not picking up the lead and you keep getting after him about it, he will not pick it up. But if you just stop the horse and wait a few minutes, then try again, the horse will more than likely pick up the lead. How do I know this?
I do it all of the time. Slow and easy.
If you want the horse to act the same at the show as he does at home, then you need to give him the chance to make a few adjustments on his own. Allow him to settle as there are a lot of distractions.
My favorite thing to do is to take a horse into the warm up and lunge him before I get on him, so he can work out his inner demons on his own.I do not bit them up,I just want them to relax. Then when I get on him, I like to do the same things that we do at home,some softening exercises at the walk and jog. Then I like to lope lazy eights on a loose rein, slow figure eights, sometimes I do flying changes, sometimes I do simple changes. If the horse starts to cut into the circle or speed up, then I will stop wait a few seconds and start all over. This way I am changing the horses habits, and allowing him to be corrected without a lot of fuss. Letting him work with his head down, and relaxed.
The simple truth is, that I will not be able to effectively take horse that is not trained or ready for the show, and get him fully trained for the show the week of.It just wont happen!
So why did I bring Ralph into this?
Because the horse from what I understand is a seasoned show horse, and yet Ralph is still having to "Yank,crank spur and spank" this poor horse into the ring. A seasoned horse should have been relaxed and ready to do his job,without all of the help from the trainer. It's funny, I felt that the trainer was just trying to show off at the horses expense.
If you want your horse to be relaxed and do his job at a show, then let him enjoy it so you can too!
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love to win, but I want my horse to enjoy his job. We will have bad days at the shows, but if I allow my horses to learn to relax at the shows, then my job is a whole lot easier and their minds are clear as they enter the ring to do their jobs.