Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our WTF Equine Product of the Day!

Joining the ranks of crazy horse-related contraptions like the No Buck Trainer, we now have the EZEE WEAN Halter and Strap.

Yes, it's what you think. It's a baby halter with PRONGS on the nosepiece to keep the mare from allowing the baby to nurse!

"When the baby attempts to nurse, both animals are made uncomfortable because there are several soft flexible prongs (blunt ended) that touch the mare in the flanks and it also bumps the baby in the nose."


Here's a video of it supposedly working. I only see a very annoyed mare, who finally gives up and lets the baby nurse anyway.

A quick look at the web site copy reveals just who this product is being marketed to...the same middle-aged, overly emotional ladies who give Pat Parelli their life savings because they want to have a relationship with their horse and be their horse's friend.

"Most often the caregiver is reluctant to start the weaning process because of the undesirable symptoms that occur when using the abrupt separation method. The heart wrenching whinnying is very disturbing for the passionate caregiver."

Heart wrenching whinnying? I'm sorry, weaning doesn't exactly wrench my heart. I have been around for plenty of it. Most babies whinny a little. The real wimps whinny for a day. Two days out, they are all hanging with their baby friends and have forgotten Momma ever existed. "Forced separation" as this overly-dramatic web site calls it is actually quite a bit kinder than nature, in which Momma gets fed up with baby eventually and starts chasing him off of her with bared teeth.

I can only imagine how Momma will feel about future foals nursing after she gets poked about a zillion times by the rubber prongs on this thing. Nurse mares are expensive!

And yes, a few paragraphs down, we see proof that this person is yet another Natural Horsemanship Wacko:

"I feel the application of “natural horse savvy” to a foal will increase the animal’s marketability. Horses that have been imprinted at birth and with continued handling using natural horse savvy techniques are commanding and obtaining high prices."

THEY ARE NOT. What are you smoking? I can show you hundred horses that can do 684 levels of Parelli that nobody wants because you can't walk, trot, and canter on them without drama. They know every game in the book but they don't have manners and aren't ready for any competitive discipline. Please, please, please show me where a horse trained this way has commanded a "high price." I've never seen it.

"The first time horse owner has a greater chance of having a positive riding experience when natural horse techniques are understood and practiced."

The first time horse owner has a greater chance of having a positive riding experience when they TAKE LESSONS so that they can stay on, discipline the horse, and the horse can't WALK ALL OVER THEM.

(Please refer to Mugwump for further clarification on this)

"Owners using their animals for competition have reported a greater improvement, overall, believing the results are directly related to the use of natural horse techniques."

OK, those of you who seriously compete - how many of you would agree with this statement? Can someone please point to a single World Show top ten or Nationals top ten horse trained with "natural horse techniques?" (Or weaned with a freaking prong halter?)

The lunacy continues...along with the bad spelling.

"When separation of mother and baby is too soon and granny mare was not available, I have found the foal will typically mature having a personality of either extremely aggressive or extremely timid. As an example, can you remember your horse be attack by another horse for no apparent reason while you were moving along peacefully on a trail ride? Your horse didn’t make a single wrong move and the other horse came, ears pinned and bearing teeth. That’s an aggressive personality."

Yes, and it's not caused by early weaning, it's caused by a rider it has no respect for. Do you know what I'd do to a horse who thought he could attack another horse while I was in the saddle? Again, refer back to RIDING LESSONS.

"Can you remember when you had to hand feed a horse separately? It stayed off to the side and it would not move up to the feeding area with the rest of horses. This is a timid personality. I believe both of these examples are typical of horses that were forced from their mother to soon."

Well, you believe wrong. I've seen both personality types in horses that were NEVER weaned and grew up with their dams...particularly in hoarder/BYB cases. I have worked with numerous horses who were never separated from their dams or even handled until 8-10 years of age, and their personalities were...middle of the herd. The idea that traditional weaning causes personality extremes is just plain silly.

The truth is that the mare's personality often dictates the foal's personality. An alpha mare will tend to raise little alphas who are bullying the other babies from day one. A pushy mare will raise a pushy baby that will be a little harder to teach manners to. A timid, spooky mare will transfer her fears to her foal who will often be the bottom of the pecking order his whole life. This isn't true 100% of the time, but it's true more often than not.

Another truth is that separating mares and foals using SAFE fencing and ideally getting them out of earshot of one another works just fine. However, that's a method that doesn't put $75 in this chick's pocket!

Unbelievable. I wonder how many people will actually fall for this one?