ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Abusive Horse Trainer

Updated on July 9, 2012
Spurs digging into flesh at a polo match. And yes, that's blood.
Spurs digging into flesh at a polo match. And yes, that's blood. | Source
Stanley, my sweet and very obedient Canadian horse- happy that no trainers ever beat up on him!
Stanley, my sweet and very obedient Canadian horse- happy that no trainers ever beat up on him!

"When I grow up I want to be just like my trainer..."

Many young kids actually idolize their trainers. They want to be excellent riders just like them one day. Often having won big championships, kids are all the more anxious to follow their lead. This is one of the ways trainers like Jackie McConnell get their whole team of riders to go along with abusive practices.

When I was only 10 years old I was lucky enough to get my first horse. Pictured above, the two of us are still best friends.
When I was only 10 years old I was lucky enough to get my first horse. Pictured above, the two of us are still best friends.

Stop beating up my horse!!

I go to get my horse from his stall and find he’s not himself. He’s prancing in place, blowing air from his nose, and trying to break free from my grasp. A young trainer at the stables, one I trust and have known for years, comes running over, “I’ve got it.” She says, at eleven years old I am used to this routine, trainers come running over to help soon as any horse starts giving a kid trouble. But what happened next was not typical. This young woman chased my horse around an empty arena, yelling at him, and then backing him up so ferociously that he fell to his knees. We later discovered the reason for his erratic behavior was an overdose of the wrong grains, known to make horses extremely hyper.

The scariest part of this story? This woman is a champion, well-known and regarded in the horse industry. Yet how she gets her horses to behave is through violent and abrasive methods. If this were the only way to get a horse behaving, perhaps I’d just take myself out of the equestrian world. But it’s not.

Twelve years later, I am very careful who handles my horses and I know first-hand that working in gentle ways creates the most positive effects. Of course, dealing with any large animal there is a certain amount of discipline necessary for safety, but berating a horse too much is unnecessarily mean and can actually be dangerous.

Listen to your gut, if you don’t feel right about something your trainer or even entire barn partakes in, don’t stand by and let it happen to your horse friend.

The case of the horse-deaf trainer

Hello? Can you hear me?

Only three years into owning my first horse and he already had a torn suspensory ligament.

He often slammed stop at the base of a fence, yet I went through two trainers before one finally mentioned his build as the reason for his inability to enjoy jumping. With a long back, large body, and small hooves, Spot is gorgeous but not an ideal jumper. Although he enjoys small cross-rails, the constant strain of jumping was hurting his body- he was only trying to tell us this when he stopped short at every-other fence. Don’t forget horses are pleasers. If they are happy and respectful than their refusals should sound alarms.

Good trainers will take into account the health and soundness of an animal before resorting to cruel punishments. Trainers who constantly cite deviant behavior as the root cause might not be listening. Horses have a lot to tell us, we just have to find ways to hear them.

“Spurs and whips”

Wearing spurs and totting a whip is classic horseback gear and when used in moderation these tools can be very helpful. Unfortunately, many trainers use these aids in extreme manners.

“That little kid won’t hurt that big horse!” Many trainers say, shooing off the fact a lesson horse is getting pricked with a spur every other wobbly post. Horses can develop spur marks from heavy spur usage and it isn’t only kids who are causing damage. Famous horse trainers have been kicked out of shows for these marks in the past.

If a horse doesn’t respond to your leg, something is wrong! Oftentimes, people begin training horses with spurs and whips causing the horse to become desensitized to natural aids. For the lazy horses out there, it can oftentimes be a must but only in moderation and never to the point of causing actual pain or leaving a mark. Horses are like children, if a child has marks from a punishment, they are identified as being abused.

Draw Reigns are a tool used by many trainers to get horses 'on the bit.'
Draw Reigns are a tool used by many trainers to get horses 'on the bit.' | Source

The Weight of a Saddle

If your trainer has yet to speak with you about proper saddle fitting- you might be in trouble. A horse uses its back to lengthen stride, round up their belly, leap over a fence, and even just trot down the long-side! Therefore it only makes sense that an ill-fitting saddle will constrict your horses natural movements, creating pain and future lameness. Too many horses are being unnecessarily injured because of the poor fitting saddles they are forced to exercise in everyday.

SeeSaw Your Reins

Europeans routinely beat Americans in the equestrian arena. We import our horses from abroad and suddenly they are worth more money, carry more prestige. Reason being the Europeans- as a majority- use a more complex system of training to receive the results most western trainers only duplicate in poor fashion. Proper training takes a long time but it creates a sounder, fit, and more agile horse.

The ideal frame for many English disciplines is a round back, pushing forward off the hind-end to produce a curved neck. In imitation of this look, many tell their students to simply “see-saw” their reigns- a practice where you wiggle both hands back and forth so the horse will tuck his head to escape the jerk on his face. If you can move your hand up the horses’ neck, releasing your complete hold on his mouth and he remains in frame, you are likely on the right track.

Seesawing only pushes a horse into an uncomfortable position, unable to utilize their body properly. Like a bad fake purse, you’re not fooling anyone who knows the real thing. Not to mention, years of riding in this style will create a hard-mouth, flat gait, and likely lame horse.

Winning is Everything

To some trainers, winning is simply everything. They will go the distance, and force their clients to come along with. To win in some show rings the standards are impossibly high and as in the modeling world, those that are being shown are the ones who pay the high cost.

Have you ever noticed in the fancy show rings, how all the horses hold their perfectly tied tails in a strange stiff manner- right between their butt checks? The reason for this is because In hopes of keeping a horse’s tail from moving side-to-side, or at all, a chemical is injected near the base of the tail, paralyzing all movement for a stretch of time.

The messy side? Horses can’t lift their tail to release their urine and feces, causing a mess all over their backside- one quickly swiped clean before anyone sees. Still, can you imagine being a horse in a strange new place, forced to perform and with your tail suddenly paralyzed!

If your barn practices any of the practices mentioned above and it makes you uncomfortable, say something or better yet switch stables! These practices are not utilized at every barn, there are trainers out there who respect horses. For the love of your horse- seek one out!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Thanks for dropping by Nettlemere! Hopefully this hub opens the eyes of people who might not realize just how abusive or overly-aggressive their own horse trainer is.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Well done for highlighting some unpleasant horse training practices.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)