The other day, one of the readers of this blog came to work walking funny, and the story behind it was totally G-rated -- one of her horses had given her legs a good workout. Horsey had not wanted to do a clean canter depart and had been crowhopping in resistance and generally making her work for it.
Co-worker offered up the following sage advice: "The next time he does that, have your husband put a rope around his neck and tie him to another horse. He won't do that again!"
The mind boggles at exactly how tying him to another horse would create a bucking-free canter depart, but the advice is no surprise. Everywhere, we are surrounded by horsepeople who are more than happy to tell us how we ought to train our horses - whether or not we've asked.
I had a barn visitor opine a few months ago that if I put a bit with a curb chain on the VLC, I could get his head up. Well, yeah, and the day I show up and he has morphed into a Saddlebred or some other breed that is supposed to have its head up, I will worry about that!
But ultimately, the bit of training advice I hate the MOST is the belief that you can cure all kinds of attitude with a horse by "laying him down." I'm not talking about for necessary medical care on an unhandled horse or teaching it as a trick which is totally different. I'm talking about doing it to "show him who's boss." It is continuously and constantly MISused by individuals like our infamous friend Buckingbo.
Personal opinion? If you have to physically disable a horse to train him, you're a pretty lame trainer. If you can't establish dominance, trust and respect with the horse upright and free to choose how he is going to react, you need to learn to read horses better. I can't imagine risking a horse's legs to tie one up and lay him on the ground, and I've heard it suggested to beginner after beginner by moron wannabe cowboys. (The real cowboys will tell you that it's an absolute last resort for an extremely rank horse, pretty much right before you give up and shoot him, and I can understand where that might be reasonable) The beginners were experiencing problems as simple as hard to lead, pushy on the ground, and hard to catch, but the solution offered up was "lay him down so that he learns submission." Let me tell you, if someone did that to me, I'd be WAY harder to catch!
Bottom line, I see people in the English world retrain 17 hand spoiled warmbloods without ever once having to throw them on the ground to do it, and this tells me there's no reason on earth you should have to stand on a 14.3 Quarter Horse to establish yourself as his boss. I think it's seen as some kind of shortcut to dominance. I see it as a shortcut to a vet call and mental issues about ropes.
So what do you think? What is the silliest thing you've been advised to do with your horse to cure a training problem? Or, have you had what sounds like a silly thing work?
Trainers none of us will be using:
WITH UNDERSTANDING OF SOLVING YOUR DIFFICULTIES YOU MAY HAVE FROM
THE WORK I DO IS GUARANTEED .
COWBOYS WILL BRAKE A HORSE AND IT'S SPIRIT, WHERE I WILL TRAIN THE ANIMAL FROM THE GROUND UP NATURALLY .THE JOY FROM HAVING A HORSE IS, WHEN THERE IS A MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR HORSE FOR YEARS TO COME