"Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody's business to interfere when they see it."

~Anna Sewell

Monday, February 9, 2009

Western Pleasure: Sport of the half- dead, stick- legged robot!

Look at those legs! Could they be any freaking straighter? They're like toothpicks. Not to mention the noobish Photoshop job, but that's beside the point.

What's so attractive about a horse that looks like he's about to drop dead? Why do they want a little pitter-patter jog?

The lope is even worse. The horse practically has three feet touching the ground at all times. It looks like a sloppy half - trot.
Or is that actually a trot? It's almost impossible to tell!

Here's a good video displaying a WP lope. And the rider's terrible hand position.

And why would you want your horse's nose in the dirt? Is that supposed to look good? The horse looks exhausted. There's no energy in it. The horse barely moves.

And those tail extensions! D:< This one is painful to watch. Did you see the way he jerked the reins? Textbook example of a WP horse with her face in the dirt and looking 99% nerve dead. No energy, no impulsion, no enthusiasm from the horse. She's like a robot.

They look weighed down and lifeless. I'd rather watch an introductory level dressage show than a professional WP show. At least those fat little ponies in the munchkin dressage classes have some life in them and actually pick their feet up off the ground more than 5 centimeters.

They've got two-year-olds already being ridden and showing! One of my very worst pet peeves! Riding a two year old horse is never acceptable. They're too young, regardless of the breed. They're in such a hurry to make a name for their horse and it's for nothing more than short term gratification. If you start riding your 2 year old, how can you expect them to be working saddle horses for the next 20 years? It's not gonna happen. You're asking for arthritis and lameness.

And they don't care. It's all for the ribbons and they don't give the horses the time of day after their usefulness expires.

A 2 year old horse should never be ridden. Now, you're not evil if you try and see if your 2 year old will let you sit on him. I wouldn't do this simply because I make a point of avoiding hitting the ground at all costs, but it wouldn't hurt the horse. I don't even have a problem with going for a little stroll around the arena, as long as it's short and no faster than a walk. Unless the rider happens to be 250 pounds. That's just a matter of common sense. I'm talking about riding an immature horse, as seen here.

I can't stand that head carriage... his nose is practically to his knees. If his head was any lower, he'd be tripping over his own face!

Western riders often tell me they don't like English because we make our horses hold their heads up and it's uncomfortable fot them. Oh, please. First of all, we don't make them hold their heads high. They're allowed to carry their heads up. (You know, like they can actually look around and see what's going on in front of them?) WP carriage is unnatural. Horses don't naturally walk with their heads down, unless they're tired or looking for a place to roll. >.<

I'll use a picture of Victor as an example (Ignore the long stirrups and bad hand position. I don't know what I was thinking that day). I'm not making him hold his head anywhere. That position is completely natural to him. And look! Ears forward, eyes bright and alert. He really looks uncomfortable, doesn't he?


I'm working on getting him to bring his nose in so he's on the vertical, which helps him collect. It is not uncomfortable, and it does not obstruct their airways in any way. But you don't just pop a pelham into a horse's mouth one day and make him carry his head on the vertical. It's a gradual process of conditioning and working up their neck muscles to where it's perfectly comfortable for them. Same concpet in dressage, and pretty much any other style.

Yes, there are idiots out there that crank their horse's head back behind the bit and I despise them as much as anyone. And yes, there are dipshit trainers/riders that put their fancy little martingales, draw reins, and side reins on their unconditioned horse and make them hold their heads like Olympic level dressage horses right off the bat. Those kinds of people need to have a set of draw reins yanked around their necks and be made to run the jumping course they rode their horse through. See how long they last.

Those shitheads don't account for the rest of the English riding population. Just wanted to clear up that misguided belief for all the ignorant or uninformed non-English riders out there.

Back on topic, you never see a 2 year old jumping or doing pirouettes. You rarely ever even see a jumper/dressage prospect being ridden under the age of 3. Jumpers don't even go near fences until they're at least 5. And again, there probably are dickweeds out there who try to jump their colts or fillies. In the jumping world, we look down our noses at shit like that.

Come to think of it, I rarely come across an English horse that's been started under saddle before they're three, and that's the absolute youngest. Four is the norm, at least around here. But I see 18 - 24 month old Western horses being ridden all the time, whether they show or not. That oughta tell you something.

1 comment:

  1. If you want to see me have an aneurysm, plop me in front of the webcast of the AQHA Worlds while the over fences classes are running. Major potential for head explosion.

    I never broke out a horse from scratch, but I worked with a lot of very green horses and lots of OTTBs. And you know what? I worked every single one of them in a D-ring snaffle, sometimes a rubber one or one wrapped to be softer, with no martingale, no draw reins, no bullshit. I had the "batshit crazy" TB mare who hadn't been ridden in a couple of years cantering around and taking small crossrails on a long rein with her head down in a snaffle, and she was perfect, and HAPPY.

    I hate artificial training aids. If you have to put your horse in a bunch of contraptions, you need to go back to square one.