Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Stop Beating Your Horses, You Rat Bastards!

OK horse people, listen up. I’m starting to get really pissed off at a lot of you. Why are you beating your horses? Before I go on, let’s take a step back.

It is generally thought that horses are tough animals considering the burdens we place on them and they rarely show signs they are overworked until they are injured. Horses are prey animals and are stoic because revealing any weakness in the wild would put them on another animals’ dinner plate. In fact horses are very sensitive. So much so they can feel a mosquito land on them.

Now back to the beatings… I’ve been watching the World Equestrian Games. This is the best of the best in horse competition. There is reining, jumping, dressage and eventing. Every time a rider finishes a round they customarily reward (or so they think) their horses by slapping them on the neck. Sometimes they get so excited about a good round that they really beat away on the poor creatures. If they slapped someone’s face like they slapped their horses it could easily render a person unconscious.

In nature a direct assault such as slapping will turn a horse away. When a horse reprimands another horse they will bump, bite or kick in a direct manner. When a human slap at a horse on the ground the horse will usually yield to the pressure and move away.

The way to reward a horse is to gently rub the horse’s neck near its shoulder just as a mare nuzzles her young to bond with them. To horses this is a reward. To adult horses this is a demonstration of bonding and respect. Beating the neck of your horse is as much a reward as slapping someone’s face.

If you don’t believe me try this the next time you have your horse unrestrained in a stall. Slap its neck and see how long it takes it to move away from you. Later go back and rub their neck and watch them lean into you. This will teach you that it is time to stop beating your horses.


Blogger Donna said...

Very true; I learned this secret reading Mark Rashid's books, or I would not have known.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous auntie said...

guess what? my sis-in-law is at the games. so she sees the beatings first hand.

6:01 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

I thought that would make you go blind or something. If you're going to beat your horse do it in the privacy of your own.....


Oh..... never mind then.

My guess is that most of those people have trainers to care for the horses and they just ride them. They know how to ride but little else.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one time I slapped my horses neck he turned around and slammed his head into me so hard he knocked me down. Granted I was trying to reprimand him, but it wasn't a hard slap, just a hey pay attention slap. After that I learned to poke him to get his attention. His favorite reward was a rub under the chine.

7:26 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, fortunately other clinicians are catching on as well.

Auntie, I am there via DVR.

Darev, It seems all trainers have abandoned cruelty when breaking horses, we just have to get them to take another step.

Anon, that horse could have exploded had you tried the slap as a reward under saddle.

5:24 AM  

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