Thursday, August 23, 2012

Whack a Horse or Boot a Horse?

This week I've been reading a listserv about dressage that has the occasional heated discussion.  You know the type

 "I ONLY use black saddlepads.  Anything else is abusive."
 "Oh yeah, well I think Yellow pads are best because that's what my trainer says."

"Well the ODG's (old dead guys) wrote in archaic Latin that black saddlepads were the best and I believe in the classics"

"I think that the modern methods of padding are less cruel and my yellow pad is superior."

"Oh really, well I think you're a poo poo head."


There was a discussion about "leg boxing" which in layman's terms is known as "kicking a horse."

Several posters stated that they have indeed kicked a horse that was behind the leg. 

One poster stated that she had never kicked a horse in her life and would never start and anyone that abused her horse in the ribs would be ripped off  and beaten senseless with her dressage whip.

She described an intricate, month long system of training which basically boiled down to teaching a horse that if he didn't go forward she was going to hit him really hard with a whip eventually. 

I added fuel to the fire by stating that I've never had an instructor tell me NOT to kick a horse that was behind the leg and lazy.  She was appropriately appalled and said if any trainer suggested she kick her horse in a lesson she would dismount, pack up, and leave. 

I'm not sure I get the logic behind teaching a horse that if he doesn't go you nail him with the whip being less abusive then teaching a horse that if he doesn't go you will boot him in the sides.  Frankly, I've even been seen doing both (go ahead and report me.)  I also refuse to believe that a rider exists that has once not booted a horse in the sides.

I think that not going forward off the leg is the number one vice in horses and properly reschooling a horse to go forward with either the whip or the leg is the best response.  If you teach a horse the right way that he needs to go forward then you don't have to do either unless he needs a reminder. 

Now, off to the barn to kick my horse a few times.

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