Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Piss Off a Mugwump - Part 2

Hey Guys-

I'd had enough. Whoever, whatever the Anon. was that thought obscure, poorly thought out, insulting challenges were the way to make friends over here has been told to exit the arena and to take its stick horse with them.

It has been spammed and deleted.

I like to have as open a policy as possible in the comments, but this is not FHOTD. There's a reason I left there, it was because I felt the comments, and therefore the blog, were run by a few, loud-mouthed, boorish, idiotic, arm chair, self-titled horse experts who ruined the potential for the many other readers.

It's not happening here.

Ask questions, disagree, question methods.
That's how we work at Mugwump Chronicles.
Do not insult, berate, or cover your ignorance with bluster.
I do not owe anyone space on this blog.
Behave or go.

P.S. - Arm chair experts, with something to say that matters, are not only welcomed but considered valuable additions!


scsarah said...

Thank Gawd.

Katie Rose said...

This post just increases my love for this blog.

redhorse said...

What Katie Rose said. Those people are scary.

I don't know if I have anything to add to the conversation here, until 2 years ago, I hadn't ridden western in about 30 years. But I love your stories, and I appreciate your approach to training.

I find those "Anon" people scary because they seem to live for the conflict. I guess I could never do a blog, because I couldn't deal with it, and I just don't think that way.

mugwump said...

redhorse- it's a huge part of why you won't see videos of me on my horses. I just can't put myself up for dissection.
I can handle criticism from people I know and can physically see, but the broad side cyber attacks? No thank you.
I love the conversation and learning that happens here. I use so much of it in my approach to my horses and myself.
But there are some freaky people out there, I agree.

redhorse said...


Maybe that's it, I think of you as a person I would love to meet someday, and I would never treat a real person the way the freaks do.

I have used the lessons in your stories a lot for the last couple of years to get over the "fat old lady on a green horse fear syndrome." Last week I had a big glimmer of hope when my horse tried to bolt on me and I got him back under control within 3 strides, and my seat hadn't moved, my legs hadn't moved and I didn't want to get off and call the trainer. After that he was a good boy. Really cool, that's the stuff I want to talk about.

mugwump said...

redhorse - Amazing! I want to talk about that stuff too.
Your confidence will take a huge leap forward now that you can trust your seat.

Fyyahchild said...

Janet, keep doing what you do. Love it. ;)

Becky said...

Three cheers for Mugs!

Hip, hip, hooray!

Hip, hip, hooray!

Hip, hip, HOORAY!

It was KILLING me to stay silent.
Thanks for taking away the temptation to sink to their level.

Reddunappy said...

Good for you Mugs!!!

Chevelle said...

Amen to that!

battleshipdestroyer said...

Oh it is so hard not to let them bait you into a yes-no, omg I just HATE you kind of dialogue. Which they would love. Good for you for ditching them. I totally believe in moderating comments if they are rude or downright offensive. There is value in criticism, but there is no value in harsh, hurtful, conflict mongering. It's nice to be able to read without feeling the red wave of rage overcome you... LOL

horsegenes said...

Dang it... I always show up a day late and dollar short! a day late because I missed the entire thing... and a dollar short because I would have throw in given them the boot!

You go girl!

Clancy said...

Yes I agree, discussion has to be civilised, even if I absolutely disagree with what the other person is saying.

Redhorse, you give me hope I might develop a seat and confidence one day.

Bif said...

I fortunately missed the excitement.

I enjoy Mugs and the different disciplines that come to read here and share the ideas that make us wiser (without having to live through it all ourselves =)

mugwump said...

Ah Bif, it was kind of fun.

MichelleL said...

Your Blog, Your Rules - works for me!

Life is difficult enough without Trolls coming around, stirring things up for their own entertainment.

I am a Big fan of Be Nice or Be Gone.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear more about the mechanics and methods of creating the signals. As someone who fully appreciates the appropriate use of the double bridle and has studied the horses mouth, I am fully in the dark about the use and function of this kind of mouth piece, mostly because of the snark associated with the discussion. I asked a few questions on the other post, but was followed by contentiousness that usurped my inquiry. Please do a post about how it all works. It really just looks like beautiful magic to me. I'm not criticizing, I really want to learn.

cdncowgirl said...

Wow I must have missed something... and I'm probably glad I did ;)

Way back in the day I used to read FHOTD. Back when I first started blogging I ran across it and thought it might be a place to gain insight on confo and training methods. But the comments drove me away. The few that were insightful and well spoken were drowned out by the mob.

So glad you won't put up with that here :)

maryka said...

Agree that it's your blog & you can decide if someone offensive that they are banned. Doubt that anyone who comes on here regularly wants to hear childish spite,we all left that behind in the playground!

Anonymous said...

Oh that's bloody fantastic!!! I've been put off just about all "horsey" forums due to abusive self-confirmed geniuses. Thank-you for keeping this site bitch free. THANK-YOU! *Gives a kiss*

Peanut said...

Good riddance! Even after Becky referenced your previous great post on bits, they obviously had no desire to learn - they only wanted to attack.

Karen said...


I am, obviously, not Mugs, but I'll take a stab at a really short answer. A signal bit, as the name implies, works on a signal transmitted to the horse rather than mechanical manipulation of the mouth and head. The horse is responding to the feel of the lift or vibration of the reins, not the actual turning or pulling of the bit in the mouth. This is done by having proper equipment so that a horse can feel such a signal (good weighted reins) and having good hands, and giving the horse the opportunity to respond to the signal, rather than mechanical pressure. This starts in the snaffle and/or hackamore where the horse is always given a pre-signal before they are taken ahold of in the face. It sounds kind of magical, but the presignal is really just the lifting of the reins. If you lift your rein and the horse tucks his nose or slows, or turns, or does whatever you're asking-- bingo-- no need to make contact with the bit or bosal.

Any bit can be a signal bit, if you let your horse work off of the signal, but all the hardware on a spade is better at transmitting very subtle vibrations and lifts. The spades are typically a little loose where the cheeks attach to the mouthpiece and the big spoon, braces, etc on the mouthpiece allow little vibrations to transmit to the palate of the horse, as well as encourages the horse to pick up and pack the bit himself.

As someone who has studied the anatomy of the equine mouth, you're aware of the vast amount of space in there. All that hardware pretty much just takes of some of that space. The bits are not used as mechanical devises, but pretty much as the motherboard that can transmit a ton of different signals without mechanically rotating in the mouth.

That really wasn't short at all, but hopefully it gives you a little something to go on, and hopefully Mugs is working on a good post on the topic. :-)

Clancy said...

Thank you for the explanation Karen. I'm confused, if any bit can be a signal bit if you let a horse work off the signal, I don't understand the need for a spade bit or why horse and rider couldn't be trained to similar subtle signals using eg a bosal?

I've seen (and ridden) a Standardbred in a bitless bridle who responded to the tiniest finger pressure or lift of the reins or shift of the rider's weight - it was like riding by thought. Actually he is a bit too sensitive for me at present as my seat and hand control are not good enough yet and tend to give confusing signals, but good riders thought him magic. All that was used on him was a LightRider bitless bridle and loose reins.

I haven't meant to be annoying or rude here, I am just bemused...

Karen said...


It's about the level of communication that is available/necessary. If all you want your horse to do is figure out how to take 3 different gaits and stop and turn, you can probably signal off of a snaffle or even bitless. If you want about 100 different subtle cues for different body parts, levels of speed and collection, etc., that spade is much more subtle and transmits many different signals. It enables a much more advanced vocabulary. If you're in a positive mood, you can tell people you're "happy," but if you have the vocabulary to say "pleased," "joyous," or "ecstatic" it conveys the same emotion, but with a lot more specific meaning. Spade bit horses learn more specific meanings and much higher degrees of subtlety than the average horse. In that way, it's similar to the double bridle for higher level dressage work. I think what sticks for a lot of people, still, is the look of the thing and the amount of hardware. They're not accepting that it is not meant to be pulled on, ever, just convey very subtle signals.

KD said...

To Karen Said... I LOVE your perspective!

"If you're in a positive mood, you can tell people you're "happy," but if you have the vocabulary to say "pleased," "joyous," or "ecstatic" it conveys the same emotion, but with a lot more specific meaning. Spade bit horses learn more specific meanings and much higher degrees of subtlety than the average horse."

Karen said...

Thanks, KD.

I think I also need to stress that these signal bits work because the horse wants to respond to the signal, because that's what they've learned, NOT because they're intimidated by the bit or are scared of the rider taking ahold of the bit. A bridle horse develops a definite sense of pride in himself and his work. The self carriage is in the brain, as well as the body.

If you want to see a ticked off, cranky horse, take a bridle horse that is used to working off of a signal and put him in a snaffle and try to ride him in your hands. It's about the same attitude you'd get if you made an engineer sit through a semester of high school geometry. They'll do it, but they're clearly not happy about it.

mugwump said...

Karen - you are wonderful.

Karen said...

Thanks, Mugs. Very nice of you to say. If anyone wants to see lots of pictures of real working spade bit horses, look up Mary Williams Hyde on Facebook

She is a photographer currently taking amazing pictures at some of the big outfits in the ION country and at ranch rodeos.

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