So I don't know if you know this or not, but I earn my living as a horse trainer. I don't earn much of a living - enough to eat and keep from going into debt. I really enjoy my work and I've got this funny idea that by not making a successful business my priority I can totally focus on my work.
Today I was riding Splodge in the school and I was thinking to myself, jeez, what do I know about horses - not much really, and yet I have been teaching horsemanship for nearly ten years now. Does anyone else feel like this about what they do? I learn so much every day and yet I still feel like I don't know much - It's a big subject.
Anyway, the other day I got sucked into contributing to a thread on a Discussion Group. I've been on there before and it's always been very friendly, so I guess maybe I let my guard down. We were having a very nice, and imformative discussion about various training methods, and as I always try to be about everything, I was being very open and honest about how I work.
Yep, you've guessed it - before long I was being cast as the devil trainer who is cruel to horses, admittedly by some people who don't know me and have never watched me work, but somehow it got to me a bit. On the great spectrum of what happens to horses in this world I promise you I am not by any means the worst. If these guys are so concerned about horses why don't they focus their efforts on the REALLY BAD stuff that goes on out there. Actually horses really like me and are generally pretty happy with the dealings they have with me, and actually from my perspective I am far from a bad trainer.
The thread got closed before I could answer the allegations, but anyway, here are a couple of things people said about me.
Sorry but Good luck to the horses is all I can say.
'The one picture that absolutely rocked me was of the poor black horse having to cope with someone dealing in such a way with his mouth....and the reason supplied? To unlock a brace in his poll. There are other ways to do it. Thats all. Hmmmm.....Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't it the practitioner who said he didn't use gadgets to exert pressure? Just some food for thought......please take as that.
I also see that fundamentally, myself, and a few others, are a million miles away from this way of handling horses. There have been many points raised that I would once have debated on and on. But then it becomes about ego , and ego has no place with the horse. So, in the interests of peace, I will say thank you very much, I have learned an awful lot from this thread, and sadly not much of it was about the horse
For what it's worth I may as well add my piece while I'm here.....For me it is all about perception. The HORSES perception not ours. It's about HOW they learn what it is we want them to learn. Clearly horses do learn their lessons with you Tom but it's the HOW that is important to me and the horses. Tom, you say your not pulling, the horse is and whereas this may be true, the result for the horse is still pain in the mouth untill he has learnt what is required of him. You also say you don't use pressure halters... there seemed to be a lot of thin rope halters in the photos. Whether they tighten round the head or not, when you put pressure on any thing made of thin rope, they hurt a d**n site more than ordinary head collars....thats how they work so quickly. They may make us look like great horsemen that we can solve long duration behaviours in an afternoon, but all the horse learns is " Jesus!! unless I do X, I'm gonna get a searing pain behind the ears, right where a host of optical nerves lie!!" And Kas....snap shot, moment in time, it may be but it's still very harsh and when there are better and kinder ways this sort of stuff, in my opinion, is unneccasary
Thanks for your comments you guys. I absolutely respect your right to say and do whatever you like, but I really don't like your rudeness - I hope you don't take that to your horses.
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