Thursday, August 13, 2009

I told you I didn't WANT any advice, dammit!

When people make these announcements, I ask myself, whyever did you not keep your video to yourself? If you put it out there, you will receive advice and opinions. It does not mean you have to follow the advice, or that the advice is always good. I have had numerous people advise me that AQHA horses need to show at two in order to "ever make anything of themselves." I have discerned this advice is a bunch of hooey and chosen to ignore it. :-) However, in the case I'm about to post, there's a very good reason people are giving this girl advice she doesn't care to hear - and I'm guessing most of the advice is far more accurate than her own training theories!


"NO RUDE COMMENTS/ADVICE. Diamond is only 2yrs old so cut some slack. Diamond has already gone thru abuse and very hard training. Yes its true you should nto ride a horse at 2yrs. but he has already been out for so long tat it would be cruel to just stop riding him altogethr and wait a few yrs. The vet has done a thuro checkup on him and passed him to even jump up to 3ft. This poor horses training was rushed but we have a clear 2 ride him. His owner is gone on a trip and im taking care of him. And for all those idiots out there tat are gonna leave rude comments just shutup and get a life already.Enjoy."

So we admit that we know riding a 2 year old is wrong, but instead of ceasing to commit the bad behavior that we know is wrong, we start him over fences instead!

Of course, she's taught her other horse to rear. Darwin.

Trust me, no horse ever thought it was cruel that someone gave him time off to grow up and didn't jump him as a two year old. Far more are shifting around on painful, painful legs when they are only in their teens, getting stuffed full of stomach-destroying bute until the decision is made to euthanize them (if they are lucky) or send them to the auction (if they are not so lucky). There are million things you can do with a two year old to prepare him for riding that won't ruin his legs. Pony him. Longline/ground drive him. Teach him to wear tack. Hand walk him on trails. Take him to horseshows and show him in halter and showmanship and in-hand trail. But no - that isn't fun enough for you, is it? You just have to bomb around over fences on your two year old. You suck and if I can't say it on Youtube, I sure as hell can say it here. And if your vet really did okay a two year old to jump, he/she sucks TOO! And is probably salivating at the thought of all the joint injections you'll be purchasing thanks to that wonderful advice. Get out the checkbook!

I have a life, honey. Too bad that poor 2 year old is going to be robbed of much of his life by the poor decisions you and his owner are making now. He's really freakin' cute and it's a crying shame. I swear I'm gonna make a video gallery for this site with clips of 15 year old horses who were shown under saddle/ridden hard/raced at two (or earlier) hobbling around their paddocks. Maybe that will get the message across.


"In response to the video you posted, THANK YOU!!!!!! Haveing seen this horse work in person, we trained at the same barn up until a month ago, I wholeheartedly agree with you!

Not only is the horse's history misrepresented here, (if by hard training they are refering to her trainer advising that the horse only be worked on a lunge line with some light flat work) but any and all training advice given to the owner regarding the horse's age and workload by a USDF Gold Medal Certified (I realize everyone has their own idea of what makes a good trainer but the stats were to give you an idea of where input was coming from) Dressage trainer at the time was disregareded as well. When asked to not jump the horse by the barn for safety reasons (lack of a helmet!) she took the advice of the young girl on the horse in the video, who fancies herself a trainer, over the barn and certified trainer and continued to jump. For this reason, and lack of board payment, both are no longer stabled at my barn. And speaking of abuse when the stall was locked for lack of payment these people walk the horse through a tack locker to disappear in the middle of the night and avoid payment!

The girl on the horse is a whole different hot mess! She has been asked to leave (kicked out of) training programs for lack of ability to listen to and follow the trainer's instruction. As I said this is a case of a young girl thinking she has all the answers and doesn't need a trainer! We are all happy to see both of them go! The riders parents treat the barn as a daycare leaving here to do as she will with her own poor horse, who is beyond help due to the girls lack of instruction, for hours. As you pointed out she has not only taught the horse to rear up but also strike out on command.

I wanted to thank you for posting about this video! I think it not only highlights lack of responsibility when it comes to horses training but also lack thereof when it comes to riders' training! Neither of these girls is working with any kind of trainer or have any kind of knowledge base or care to gain one from which to draw in "training" these horses, these horses are toys to them!"

FHOTD in: Thus answering my first question "WTF is wrong with her TRAINER?"

"It's quite unfortunate that if a veterinarian actually examined this horse (which is doubtful) he/she didn't use better professional judgment in communicating his/her findings. Although no limitations were found that would preclude eventual use as a jumper, that does not mean that jumping 3" courses is appropriate use of the horse at 2 years of age. It is obvious from the post that the owner needs a better education in horsemanship, and savvy vets pick up on lunatics like this. Although (devil's advocate) lunatics often hear only what they want!"

"I get frustrated to no end when people say “but the vet TOLD me it was ok to ride my long yearling”. Vets in North America DO NOT take a course on the long term effects of starting horses at a young age, and the vast majority of what they do learn is based on the racing industry, where riding long yearlings is common place. Most vets support themselves by servicing show barns and race barns, where they likely learn to “go with the flow” of starting horses early…and for the less scrupulous ones, it is a good way to guarantee future business!"

"Did you notice the two little girls on the ground at/under the fence right next to the rearing horse?

Unfortunately that young lady is too full of herself to take good advice, and the poor horses will pay the price."

"FYI - The APHA only offers In-hand Trail classes for yearlings.... Yes, it is a shame! I think all of the major breed associations should offer Longe Line and In-Hand Trail for two year olds too. I'm currently showing a yealring in those classes, and the trail patterns are far hard enough to consider them for two year olds! Hell, at our last show one of the patterns had SIX FREAKING OBSTACLES for the yearlings!!!! It was a TOUGH pattern! So why not welcome two year olds?"

FHOTD in: I AGREE! We need to start offering OPTIONS for people who choose not to ride their 2 year olds.

"Couldn’t have appreciated your postings more. Just this week, a popular trainer in our area posted pictures of her getting on her ½ Arab filly who just turned 2 on August 1. Some of us who aren’t big fans of this trainer were horrified, but her followers have posted on her site how nice it is to see her getting on her filly. Makes me wonder what people are thinking.

I’m sure you will probably get a thousand emails about this, but just wanted to thank you for posting your thoughts. I know a lot of her followers read your blog, so maybe they will see the light, and realize that this trainer is not the Goddess they keep making her out to be."

"I disagree w/you on one point: these kind of people will never invest in joint injections to spare a horse some agony. They just use them up and throw 'em away, move on to the next poor nag."

FHOTD in: Well, depends on the value. If they can shoot 'em up and sell their snap, crackle & pop horses to an unsuspecting beginner, they sure will!

"I don't disagree with riding two year olds lightly. Notice I said LIGHTLY. Like basic walk-trot-canter, leg cues, bending. The bare basics, even if you just put 30-60 days on them as a mid to late 2 year old and stick them back out in a field to grow up. I see nothing wrong with that, but jumping is a no no. There is plenty to do with a 2 year old, besides teaching basic manners, feet handling, tying etc, if you get bored, teach them halter/ showmanship or teach them tricks like bowing. If you feel they need real work as a two year old, ground driving and long lining is always an option too. You can NEVER do too much ground work and basics with a baby. If you feel they need some stamina or a change of scenery, pony them. There is way too much to do with a two year old to justify jumping at that young of an age."

"Just wanted to point out the irony of her rearing vid ending with 'do you have what it takes to be a rider?' as clearly she does NOT. What an idiot."

"My 3 and 4 year olds Half Arabians go to shows, but only in halter. The 3 year old has not been started yet, other than lots of ground work, and the 4 year old is just now starting lightly under saddle.

I've shown for 44 years and to date - not one lameness ( other than a stone bruise now and then), no injections, no medications, no special shoes, no special anything on any one of my horses started this way and they have a total of 27 world and reserve world championships. My oldest horse is now 19, after showing under saddle most of his adult life, and still sound, still going strong, and doesn't have a mark on him.

Thankfully not everyone in the show world believes you have to show them under saddle as two year olds, even three or four year olds!"

FHOTD in: Your horses are beautiful and your track record speaks for itself. The only way we can show the world that it is not necessary to ride too early/otherwise abuse is to go out there and win, doing things humanely. Thank you for doing that.

"I just have one question for ILoveMyHorseBanjo after watching her overblown, overdone, "pay-attention-to-how-I-timed-each cut-with-the-music-and-not-how-I-painfully-bounce-in-the-saddle-at-a-gallop" opening to her "rearing" video:

Do you have what it takes to be an idiot?

Yes. Yes you do.

What bugs me about ALL these "horse-and-her-girl" videos is NOT that young riders and horseowners make mistakes; as Miley Cyrus, the voice of so many of these "gifted" horsey youths has eloquently put it in an annoying tune that never fails to blast through the stable doors during evening lessons, "Everybody makes mistakes." What bugs me is that these young riders--especially the ones who edit their videos to make themselves feel like they're the chick in Flicka, National Velvet, or Heartland--absolutely believe that they don't need to learn ANYTHING. Unlike other members of the horse-loving world who understand that horses, like any specialized field, truly offer a lifetime of learning, these girls delude themselves into thinking that they are above such trifles. Shame on them. And shame on me for quoting Miley Cyrus.

Thanks Fugly, for an entertaining blog!



P.S. I secretly love Miley Cyrus."

FHOTD in: Oh hell. That girl is a marketing genius. And go figure, we all thought Billy Ray was going to be a one-hit wonder and wanted to beat him to death with that first single of his. ;-)

"If you want a video of aged horses that are now crippled due to being worked at a young age, I have two that would be perfect.

The first is an ex-racehorse. He started at the age of two and raced for five years. At eleven years old, this horse has arthritis in his hocks, stifles, knees, and fetlocks. He had a hairline fracture in the first cervical vertebrae, right at the poll. The vet's guess is that this injury was sustained during transport, possibly whilst riding in a double decker. He missed the ride to Canada narrowly, to say the least. He also broke both front inside seasamoid bones while racing, and both fractures are of the most severe kind: vertical fractures. These fractures occur by placing too much stress on the front legs. He is learning basic dressage, but cannot progress beyond intro level because his canter is weak left and non-existent to the right. In addition, he has little control over his hind legs, due to joint weakness, and must wear bell boots and splint boots on all four legs when out of his stall, even for a simple walk around the yard. Without them, he will strike, interfere, and forge like crazy, often slicing his cornonet bands and taking a chunk out of his heels. I trailered him to a vet that specializes in racehorses, who recommended that the horse stay in light work to ease his arthritis, but we will likely have to resort to joint injections and topical applications in the near future to keep him comfortable.

The second is a former Amish-owned Standardbred. She was hitched to the buggy as a yearling. She was also malnourished, stunting her growth. Standardbreds are typically around 16 hands, but she stands at a mere 14.2. When we first picked her up, she had open sores from wearing a harness collar meant for an adult horse. Worse still, her hind legs couldn't stand up to the work (by then, she'd been pulling the buggy for a year on hard pavement) and were severely bowed. She cannot walk without twisting her legs from side to side and is on a daily regimen of Devil's Claw to ease the pain of her worsening arthritis. I retired her, at the age of eight, with a friend of mine that takes in old police horses. She made room for the Standardbred mare, and the mare happily enjoys her life as a pasture ornament. However, the mare is starting to have difficulty getting back up after a nap or rolling. Reality has kicked in, and now I know that it isn't a question of "if" anymore, it's a question of "when." I've talked to the vet, and I'm ready to have her put down WHEN (not IF) the vet declares life too painful to live. The way things are currently progressing, that reality isn't too far away. I'm crying as I type this.

I wish people would wake up. With proper care and maintenance, a horse can have a working life of twenty or more years. The poor horses that are started at such a young age don't have a shot at a long, enjoyable life, but instead get years of pain. I love my OTTB, but it breaks my heart to know he's smart, talented, and truly does try to do what I ask, but simply cannot perform even the simplest movements on bad days. It kills me to see the Standardbred mare grunt in pain when she attempts to trot and play with her herdmates. Both of these horses could have lived long productive lives, but that chance was stolen from them. Now, they are condemmed to a sad fate, but I know others won't get a quick, painless end like mine from the needle, but instead will get years upon years of continued abuse or go through the gruesome process of being hauled out to slaughter. What the hell is wrong with these people?"

"I have a 3 year old that I am reluctant to push too far because of the exact reason you state here, I like her legs the way they are, I am happy to do the “boring” stuff and wait until she is fully grown. I can wait a few extra years at this end of her life if it means a few extra SOUND years at the other end of her life.

I get told all the time that I should put her into some hard training then spell her for a year, just to keep her manners in tact, but you know what? She doesn’t have manner problems around me, funny that? She still gets to do all the fun stuff and come on trail rides she just doesn’t have someone on her back.

Patience is the best reward you can give a young horse. She still gets to come one trail rides, I will either lead her and walk myself or pony her off our old TB, and neither of us seem to get bored."

FHOTD in: Hard work is hardly needed to maintain manners. Regular HANDLING is, and that's what you're giving her!

"I wonder if the Cute Young Chick "Rider" is aware that many horses that are docile and willing at three go through some kind of 'teenager' thing at four and five? Won't she have a blast when Diamond starts to test her -- or to protest about his discomfort and her ignorance! Unfortunately, once again it is the poor horse who will end up suffering. - Ocala"

"I have a twelve year old QH/TB who has been sore since I bought her at 8. She was started in polocrosse at three. She has the worst knee arthritis my vet had seen in so young a horse. She also has loose stifles, and I think kissing spines as well. She is a crock who has been a paddock ornament pretty much since the day I bought her, and that comment you made about "shifting around on painful, painful legs" really got to me because she does. I bet she wishes she was left to grow up for a couple more years. I am going to have to make a tough decision soon and this mare is so sweet, it breaks my heart."

"yes its true you should nto try 2 rite things n post tem on te intrnet until youv had a thuro eja cashon at least passt 3rd grad, either, but hoo am I 2 juj?"

FHOTD in: LOL! Yes, some of these folks need to spend a little more time hitting the books or they are not going to be able to afford horses.

"While I didn't have any personal experience with a horse broken down from early riding until recently, it certainly has made an impression. The boarding barn I board at has just gotten in a 12 YEAR OLD paint mare, pretty, well put together, but her joints are utterly destroyed with arthritis, at 12.

It makes an impression on me because my own horse is 12, and he's in perfect shape. Apparently when this mare was 2, she was broke and used for eventing, and as a result this mare is ruined except to be ridden by very small children, maybe, eventually, if this new (and very expensive) injection works. Unable to be ridden, and some days she can't even walk, at 12 years old."

"It makes me cry! She's a beautiful girl, bred to the MAX. and I've maybe ridden her twenty times and never will again.Her trainer said she would lope that mare for days if she could, it was one of the best. I took an underdeveloped 3 year old TB off the track and turned her out for 6 months. There was NO WAY I was going to do an ounce more damage than had already been done. Now at 4 she is almost level but still looks like a long 2 year old. She is continuing her turnout and then will be a trail horse once she finishes developing and not until then. Thankfully she only raced 8 times and never so much as broke a hand gallop from the sound of it. I have had people say, Well what are you DOING with her? Why aren't you riding her? Because I'd rather wait a little longer NOW and have ten to fifteen MORE good years with her because I was patient! Thats WHY.

Use them up throw them out, thats how they make money. It will never stop until not one dime can be made from an equine. Since that will never happen...the world can sleep a little easier at night knowing that people like us exist who have hearts and take in creatures others are greedy and selfish enough to throw away. One interesting tidbit to add to Candy's story. My trainer and I were talking one day, she knew someone who knew the know how that goes...It appears at one time, my poor sweet Candy was sold with a price tag of 75K. Used up and then discarded so her owners could go out and buy the next big prospect. Which I am sure the trainer was happy to sell them! So then he goes and buys another young one from the breeder, who boasts about how well their babies sell, who then goes out and breeds her mares to a stallion whose owner boasts about how much money they are collecting in stud fees, which gives other people the great idea that they can do it too! and there we go.....ain't it grand? My girl will only have about another three good years left before I need to put her down. Thats just not right."

FHOTD in: No, it's not. It totally sucks. She's had years of her life stolen from her.

"I would bet big money that the vet never cleared this horse to ride or be jumped. That's something sassy ass little teenage girls make up to defend their barbaric actions. And horses aside for a moment....if my daughter ever grew up to be even one half as rude and disrespectful as this girl is, I would feel like I totally failed as a parent.

Poor, poor horse! And what purpose does training a horse to rear ever serve? I just don't get it!"

FHOTD in: Well, you could argue the purpose is natural selection. It's certainly a good way to wind up in the emergency room. If it's not a trick horse, it doesn't need to EVER learn how to rear. What's next, teaching it to buck? (I have seen kids do that, too!)

"Oh yes, how many ads have we seen from horse rescues with horses under 10 years old with arthritis which is just another word for joint damage caused by forcing a baby to do the work of a mature horse? There are lots of idiots out there. I field questions all day long… “How soon can I jump my 3 year old?” or “I have a yearling and want to get him used to the saddle, which bit should I use?” I wish all vets would get with the program and realize that big does not equal mature in horses. I again and again point to Deb Bennet’s study on equine skeletal development: This paper is the singular most eye opening piece on equine development I have ever read. Maybe repeating and offering links to the paper over and over will save some babies from further abuse. And YES, in my book, it is abuse to ride a 2 year old or jump a 3 year old.

My daughter’s first horse was a very nice 16 year old gelding. I didn’t own him long before I realized he had arthritis in both rear hocks and pastern joints. He was trained as a reining horse when he was a baby, just in time for AQHA futurities. I laid the poor old guy to rest when he was 21 years old, the entire time I had him he was never completely pain free. On the flip side I own a 26 year old Arab/QH mare that is perfectly sound and has never taken a lame step. She was started at 4 and shown in flat English classes. She was jumped lightly as a young adult horse and then used on trails mostly. I purchased her when she was 13 years old and she has been a joy to own. She is on senior feed now because of her teeth but has zero joint issues.


"OK is it just me or can you see a hint of lameness in the front on diamond? He is also fighting the bit and when she see sawed his face he gave and she kept sawing on him…..I give him about three years before he is dead lame or neurotic. I hope his owner reads your blog and stops the madness!! She is too dumb to be allowed to “train” him. Also in the banjo rearing video do you see the two little girls sitting right outside of the fence? What if Banjo popped his leg over the rail and freaked then went over? Its fine if she wants to hurt herself but if she hurts some one else being retarded who will get blamed…I bet its dear old banjo!"