Monday, August 11, 2008

This one would have merited a Fugly Field Trip!

If only I had seen it sooner! This is a horseshow that took place in Wisconsin based upon the "horse-human relationship experience." Can't you just imagine me covering it like one of those Jerry Springer eps where they go direct to the trailer park to film it all live and in-person?

Hell, I can't even read this without snorting diet coke out my nose!

Classes are judged by a panel of horsemen who have a commitment to natural horsemanship. They use a scorecard developed by licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Nikki Cohen-Wichner, a lifetime horseman who saw the parallel between evaluating horse/human relationships and the assessment she does when she first meets a new couple in therapy.

FHOTD in: In my experience, most women pursuing natural horsemanship are doing it because their horse is walking all over them as if they were a doormat. If you encountered a human relationship involving that much bullying, you'd tell them to get a divorce. P.S. The horse doesn't want to fix the situation, and doesn't see where there's a problem. OK maybe that part sounds familiar...

In response to emails sent by people interested in attending the series' shows with horses that have been shown on regular show circuits, the In-Hand classes are now open to horses that have had show clipping done this year - as long as such clipping has not "balded" the horse's ears, eyes and muzzle. The show still hopes to help owners think deeply about the growing concern over removing horses' natural defenses. One of the show's founders said, "Nature gave horses their whiskers to keep them safe from bug bites (in ears), as well as face and eye injuries. We want to encourage horsemen to make healthy choices for their horses, especially in competition. We hope courageous exhibitors and judges carry this tradition into other competition venues and more horses will be saved from such injuries. We want folks to think about how we can change traditions to keep up with growth in human awareness."

Sweetie, in nature, horses may have fuzzy ears but when they break a leg, they get eaten by a mountain lion or they starve to death. That's what nature does for horses. If I clip out their ears and buy them a fly mask that covers their ears, I am hardly a horse-injuring psychopath.

All English and western performance classes at this show will consider both horse and rider, judged as Pleasure/Horsemanship with emphasis (specs) first on the relationship connection, then manners, performance, suitability and quality. These classes, like In-Hand and Trail classes, are divided according to how many years the horse/human team have competed together.

And you think people are going to be honest about that? Have you EVER worked in a show office? I've had people come back to the second show of a series at the same barn and try to tell me they haven't won three blue ribbons when they went highpoint at the previous show WHICH I ALSO RAN!

P.S. How exactly do you judge the "relationship connection" in a pleasure class? Do you ask the horsey in the lineup if he loves his mommy?

In support of safe show experiences, there will be three walk-trot classes judged by the same specs. New classes were added for the May and August shows in response to conversations with potential exhibitors. The 3 Leadline classes were added so riders of all ages can experience riding away from home in a safe, structured setting. The May and August shows offer 7 fun classes: Costume, Bribe Your Horse, Ride A Buck, Egg & Spoon, Dizzy Cowboy, Catalog Un-Race and Walk-Trot Tandem Bareback.

WTF is the Catalog Un-Race? Do you win for being the slowest?

"Trail-In-Hoof" is a class where the horse can enjoy watching the human race through an obstacle course while the horse stands ground-tied. This is a timed event with time penalties added similarly to canine agility courses - including time penalties for each step the horse takes while ground-tied.

I'm sure my horses wouldn't move a muscle. They'd be mesmerized by the sight of their mom making an ass of herself.

The Relationship Show Series awards will be given at a Potluck campfire celebration following the August show at the Interstate Horse Center, a 10-minute drive from Showtime Arena. The awards will recognize both "hipoint" achievers and those caught doing "Random Acts of Kindness."

OK you're giving an award for it and you don't think those are going to become deliberate, premeditated Acts of Kindness, much like making a showy contribution to the offering plate at church while you behave like an immoral, unethical shithead the rest of the week? I can't wait to see how this pans out.

A special gathering of exhibitors and volunteers at the end of each show has held a respectful energy as nomination forms have been read and surprised recipients excitedly picked their awards from a table full of special prizes.

Okay, if you're experiencing respectful energy at your exhibitor's party, you need to open a few more bottles of booze! Do you people ever have fun?

The FAMILY HERITAGE EXHIBITION CLASS is a way to share your and your friends' "families" of horses and the stories of what brought them together. Certainly, some entries will represent horses related by blood; thus providing breeders a great forum to show off their breeding programs. Yet entries need not be related by blood. Just as in human families "of choice," we believe horses become family simply by relationships formed through time spent together. Entries can be any equines that have been "friends" or lived together at least five years. The human in charge of each entry is asked to share the story of the equine family's history. Stories are limited to two minutes.

I've tried to tell my old mares they're all family and should get along but they still chase each other off the first pile of alfalfa at feeding time. Do you think going in this class might help them form a healthier bond including better table manners?

The STORYBOOK ROMANCE EXHIBITION CLASS is your chance to share the story of your relationship with a special horse. You can show your horse for two minutes in the arena in whatever manner seems to best show off your relationship.

HOLY SHIT, better make sure you don't take any entries from Doug Spink or Tom Durfee or y'all will get arrested!

Again, a two-minute limit is set to keep the show moving along. These shows will allow humans and horses to celebrate the love and respect they have for each other while striving to attain their personal best in a nurturing competitive environment.

Horses do not love people, certainly not in a "storybook romance" way. Horses love food and scratches which they may come to associate with certain people. If you really think that a horse gives a rat's ass about striving to attain his personal best, Nikki, you need some therapy of your own.

"Sound horsemanship and quality training/riding will not be compromised, rather they will flow more naturally in this setting where emotional "safety" will be as important as physical safety."

See if y'all didn't think you were having storybook romances with your horses, you wouldn't be so worried about your emotional safety. OMG, he bucked me off! He doesn't loooove me anymore! *runs off and bawls*

This statement was made by the creator of the Relationship Show concept and co-founder of Healing Horsemanship Foundation, Nikki Cohen-Wichner, LMFT. She says the concept grew from a conversation she had last summer with a 4-H leader concerned about the high-stress environment at many shows. Nikki thought about the fun times she'd had at Showtime's Winter Fun Show Series developed by Pam ***** and started considering how to give such a series a new "twist" honoring the paradigm shift that she and her husband (Bob) have made the past seven years. They now view the horses who share life with them as "colleagues" who graciously volunteer in Horse Assisted Learning and Family Therapy programs held at the Interstate Horse Center.

Nikki, your paradigm shift seem to be from a serious competitor to batshit crazy. Your horses are not colleagues or volunteers! They're animals you own and require to work for you. You keep them fenced in, don't you? Do any of them raise their heads to evade the bit? Blow out their gut to keep you from tightening the girth? Sidestep when someone is trying to mount? Volunteers, my you-know-what.

This is the same kind of stupid bullshit as when a company starts referring to their employees as "partners." Um, if I have some low level shit job where everybody can tell me what to do, it is painfully obvious to me I am not a "partner." A "partner" is the guy with the jet.

All profits will help support the Healing Horsemanship Foundation, Inc (HHF). HHF became a legal corporation with a Founding Board of Directors in 2007 with the intention to be a non-profit, 501(c)3 charitable organization (IRS determination letter pending).

Translation: We're not a 501(c)(3) but we sure would like some money! After all, look at our good intentions!


Seriously, did anybody go to this silly thing? I cannot even imagine. I'd never have kept a straight face!