Sunday, August 2, 2009

So then I kicked her in the ribs...

How many of you are old enough to remember the Pre-Internet Era? Yes, those long gone by days when the only horse abuse you had to witness was by the token moron at your boarding barn (every barn had one, remember? I remember ours very well from when I was a child...a corpulent old fart named Tom May who whipped the living shit out of his poor old lame Saddlebred on a daily basis as she tried to make her way around the arena. I really hope he's cooking in his own special place in hell right now or that there's justice and he's chained to a rock while that mare poops on him for all eternity...) Anyway, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, now the latest Abusive Twit story can come straight to you on the message it does today.

"I was working a horse yesterday on some ground work and she just decided to lay down and not get up. for 5 minutes I tried to get the horse to her feet, from pulling the lead rope to smacking her with the lead rope....after that I had enough of the horses stupid little game and resulted to kicking her in the ribs got her to her feet, but why did she act this way? it was about 5 minutes into working her, and it was a warm up. also what should I do next time IF she decides to do this?"

OK, first question: Has it ever occurred to you that when a horse lies down and won't get up, it may be sick? There is this condition you may actually stumble upon one day called colic and many times a horse will lie down because it is in pain and trying to relieve the pressure.

Second question: What exactly were you doing when this happened? What were you asking the horse to do? That would be very important information to help diagnose what triggered the horse's response.

Third question: Was it by any chance 100 degrees, hot, humid and itchy like it has been here this week? I had a mare lie down with me in the show ring and it wasn't any more complicated than that. She was hot. She itched. It wasn't her idea to have a horseshow on such a crappy day. While I was embarrassed, ultimately I had to laugh it off. She was being a horse and I should have been more awake and caught it before the knees were already crumpling!

Fourth question: Wow, a whole five minutes before you decided the best action was to kick the horse in the ribs? Gee, you have the patience of a saint, don't you?

(Note: I will indeed kick a horse myself - for one action. Kicking at me in obvious annoyance, clearly kicking at me as a resistance to something like cinching when there is no soreness or physical cause and not because there are flies. To me that's just pre-Parelli common sense - give the horse what another horse would give it for the same action. I don't kick as hard as another horse, and I don't have to. The horses invariably get the message that I'm just like another horse and kicking at me will result in the same response, so it probably is unwise. I would never apply this action in any other scenario.)

Anyway, it gets better. After numerous members of the forum point out that a physical cause is very likely the culprit, the OP comes back with "she dosn't appear to be sick at all. but I could call a friend who is basically a vet."

BASICALLY a vet. AWESOME. Yup. There you go. *eye roll*

Oh, it's not done. You didn't think it was done, did you?

"this horse is usually very lazy and disrespectful, so it really dosn't suprize me that she layed down."

Let's talk about disrespectful in a horse. It's a horse, not a teenager. To me there's only one kind of horse disrespect and that is the Buffalo Horse. The horse that drags you down the aisle, barges into you, dives into the middle of the circle and tries to come over the top of you while longeing, etc. That horse is disrespectful - he sees you as a lesser member of the herd and is more than happy to flatten you into a doormat if you're standing between where he is and where he wants to be. He is annoyed by your efforts to control him and believes his superior size and strength will prevail. Often, due to novice handlers or people who want to be friends with their horse and won't discipline them, it works great.

Buffalo Horses can be fixed about 99% of the time and yes, you often DO have to get into them with a whip to get them OFF of you. It usually doesn't take very long for them to figure out that when you are holding Mr. Whip, you bite and running over the top of you is nowhere near as effective and fun as it has been in the past.

But lying down as disrespect? Oh come on! Like I say, it's not a teenager who is lying on their bed playing video games and saying they'll clean their room later. A horse who is actively resisting what you want to do is very unlikely to lie down. Think this through. It's a prey animal. Why would it want to be off its feet and at a disadvantage if it believes it is engaging in a conflict with you? That makes no sense at all. The only exception I can think of is a horse who has learned that lying down will make the human get off - I can see that thought process in an smart old trail string horse, for example. But this filly wasn't even mounted when it happened.

To continue: Now the almost a vet person is the uncle!

"I WAS panicking when she layed down, my heart jumped out of my chest, I was so scared she was hurt......but soon found out it was nothing to be worried about, my uncle who has been with horses his whole life, told me she is going it to get out of working, no, he isn't a vet but I trusted him and after we looked her over we got her to her feet "

Yep, Uncle knows best. I wonder if OP kicked her, or Uncle Asshat?

And now - more support for my viewpoint that the whole NH/clinics/RFD-TV crap is ruining horsemanship all across the nation:

"all honesty, the reason why I resulted to kicking her is because I have seen trainers in my area do it....I am inexperienced when it comes to a horse laying down on you...heck, I've seen Clinton Anderson whip and kick a horse for laying down, and I use his methods...I was unaware that it isn't the way to go."

I saw Clinton Anderson do it so I did it!
I heard Ozzy Osbourne sing about suicide so I killed myself!

No, I don't know if Clinton did what this person alleges but I'll tell you this: I don't see posts from people arguing that George Morris says it's ok to whip and kick a horse for laying down. You ever notice that? Name a BNT of your choice, in just about any discipline. Ever read some beginner on the 'net blaming them for teaching them a stupid horse training method? Bet you haven't! It's always Anderson, Parelli, Gingrich, whatever. I swear, RFD-TV is to equine education what Rock of Love Charm School is to etiquette.

(Guess they won't be giving me my own show anytime soon, huh? Oh well...)

While the original post is upsetting to read, I have to say that most of the responses were good. Most of the major horse message boards seem to have gotten away from the sunshine & butterflies, it's all good nonsense and now allow their users to speak their minds within reason which is a very good thing. Hopefully the OP will learn from the more experienced people on the board, stop listening to his/her uncle and the horse will have a happy ending.

Now turn off the RFD-TV and take some lessons!

E-mail your comments!

Still curious about the Les Pease horses. Why can't I find out who has them? Why is this being hushed up so much? One of you knows. E-mail me.