Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pushing Babies

I was just reading another blog, and it got me all fired up. fuglyhorseoftheday.blogspot.com
It is funny, angry, thought provoking, and sad. Well written too.
I have a confession to make. I work in an industry that is big on futurities. Our young horses are started at two. If they turn two on January first that is. Then not only are they started, they are taught three events by fall of their 3 year old year. Not walk/trot either. Our babies have to learn how to rein, cut, and go down the fence.
If you are familiar with these events you'll understand that each one is complex, mind bending, and extremely physical.
The people that own these horses usually have big bucks. The trainers are accomplished, well educated horsemen. I have never heard a conversation about the dangers of training a horse this way. I foolishly brought it up during my own internship. I was told that if I was any kind of rider I would be able to train these horses without hurting them. Then I was told to get loping.
The beginning of the end of my time with this trainer came when I refused to ride my own horse as hard as the others.
Ironically a finished bridle horse trained in the traditional way takes five to seven years. I rarely see a seven year old horse still competing. By then they are either crazy, broken down or both. Lameness of course is always an issue. Hocks are being injected by the horses four year old year. The mental break downs are huge.
I am disgusted with the demands put on the horses in this world. The fall out is mind boggling. The burned out horses usually end up at a sale. Lame and crazy before they're eight.
I am now training at a barn that doesn't start their horses until late summer of their two year old year. We don't futurity. It's a start.
I'm not sure if I should quit all together or stay and fight from the inside.
Gotta go. Later.


  1. Stay in and fight. You can teach so much by example. When you have a 7 year old out there who isn't ruined, maybe that will actually send a message to some of the amateur owners who are smart enough to pay attention.

    Yeah, I know it's hard when you do this for a living. It's very hard to buck the system and you take a lot of flak for it.I can only do what I do now because I'm not relying upon the horse industry as my primary income.

    BTW your avatar horse is gorgeous!

  2. Stay in and fight. You can teach so much by example.BTW your avatar horse is gorgeous!

    That's my girl....thanks!

  3. I'm not even sure if you'll see this, but just in case.

    Do you know anyone who trains the traditional way that would take on an apprentice?