Is this the world's best or the world's worst sales video?
Now to clarify - no, I don't think anything in that video is abusive per se. However, I continue to be baffled at the desire to beat horses with tarps or involve lawn chairs in their training in any way. Sorry, but traditional training was working fine. It's worked fine for hundreds of years. The main problem people had with traditional training and the reason they went looking for something different is that they couldn't handle their horse. This is usually caused by a poorly trained rider or a rider who does not possess sufficient confidence for that particular horse. (And there are often other contributing factors like lack of turnout, too much high energy feed for a horse that is not worked hard on a regular basis, etc.) But of course, nobody wants to admit it and say, hey, I don't ride well enough, and sign up for lessons or go to the gym to improve their own fitness level. Nobody wants to blame themselves! So instead, we will beat horses with tarps and drag lawn chairs with them in an attempt to make them idiot proof enough for everybody with a skill level of zero who rides like a sack of overripe potatoes.
I really do think this is what NH and all of these sale video and sale ad theatrics come down to. We're a nation with a high percentage of unfit couch potatoes who don't want to admit that riding is an athletic event that requires a level of fitness to perform properly. Hey, I am the first to admit - I don't ride enough anymore! I sit on the computer way too much. I'm not as fit as I'd like to be. If a horse challenges me, my fitness level is going to negatively impact my ability to deal with the misbehavior. It's hard to put your leg on a horse and tell him he's going past whatever he's scared of when you know perfectly well your leg is the consistency of jello and if he does a 180 at high speed, you're probably going to eat dirt. But the solution here is not to try to desensitize the horse to the point where he can be whipped in the face with a tarp. It's to tighten up your (and mine) damn jello seat!
Let's stop blaming the horse and coming up with ridiculous methods to try to make him as safe as a golf cart. He's never going to be as safe as a golf cart. If that's what you want, get a golf cart. Get a mountain bike! Get an ATV. We've all signed the release that says "I recognize that a horse is an unpredictable animal." He is, and I don't care if you spend every day dancing around him with flags and tarps like a magical faerie on uppers. Eventually something's going to scare him or he's going to have the day where he says, F you mom, I don't want to. The path to a happy horse-human partnership ultimately starts with you!
I know my resolution this year is to get a new health club membership and start working out again, because I know I rode better when I was more fit. Who's with me?