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Date Posted: 12:01:35 10/05/09 Mon
Subject: controversial training methods
Hello all. I just wanted to say that yes I have seen similar training methods like the ones pictured in that article. Some of them are not that uncommon. (Although I have NEVER heard of anyone tying a horse's head down around their knees. That is just absurd!) I have seen the neck sweats, the side check bridles (used to lift a horse's head) and it looks like the bottom pictures are using an extreme version of over-the-shoulder shackles. I will say I've never seen anything to that extreme, EVER. That is just awful. The horse looks like he's going to take his knee to his face!!Here in US it clearly states in the USEF rule book that any weighted shoes, basically any method of training used to enhance their lift is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN and will be penalized severely. Apparently in Holland this kind of training is allowed.
For the most part I have only seen lesser versions of this kind of training used in Morgan barns, again, to enhance lift. Sadly the showring has become a trotting contest. And as the article states, judges aren't helping the situations by continuing to place the high stepping horses over the lower more natural ones. In my area hunter seat Morgans now have to have English pleasure lift to place in the showring. Hunter seat used to be a ground-covering gait with little or no lift and lots of forward reach. Now it is the opposite. I have also seen trainers in the past tying a horse's head back with draw reins until they release and give to the bit, I have seen weighted bell boots, (I am not against this method as it is not harsh) and I have seen weighted chains that go around the fetlock to enhance lift. Again, this is fairly common in the Morgan world but have never heard of any Friesian trainers using the method. I do not think the smaller aids are harsh like the weighted bell boots and the weighted chains. These do not restrict the horse's movement rather it encourages them to lift just a little higher. I am against the use of shackles, over-the-shoulder shackles, tying heads back, draw reins, even side check bridles. This does not teach the horse anything rather it forces them to move in a certain way. Once the aids come off the horse gains no knowledge and goes back to moving the way they were before only with more rebellious behavior. Same goes for the quarter horse people who force their horse's heads down with draw reins all winter and then when it comes time for show season in the spring and the draw reins come off what happens....they throw their heads up because they're finally free of the restriction. Anyways, I do think those training methods shown in that article are appalling but not unheard of. It would be interesting to see how many more people have seen the same kind of thing. Please write if you have. Thanks!
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