Cruelty?

judyl

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I have recently been told, by a very good friend of mine, about someone riding at the Wellington music festival. Apparently this rider had spurs on (as we all know, when you get to Advanced level you have to wear spurs). She is a very experienced rider and I have seen her name on this horse win loads of times at top affiliated competitions. Anyway, when she was riding in the competition and working in beforehand, the horse had blood on his sides from her spurs. My friends reported this to a Steward who didn't seem to know what to do and said he would see about it.

I haven't read anything in Horse & Hound about it. You remember all the fuss last year when the show jumper was reported because his spurs had bloodied his horse? This is happening with our top riders - it just sickens us lower level grass roots riders. This rider went on to win her next competition and I think I'm correct in saying she is one of our National champions.

What do you think?

Judy
 
Y

Yann

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How can anyone who loves their horse spur it so hard it bleeds?
I thought the better the rider the subtler the aids were supposed to be....This sort of thing disgusts me:mad:

Yann
 

KarlR

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The use of spurs is always controversial. My opinion is that they are a useful aid to back up a leg aid that is going unheeded, but should never be needed repeatedly and never with the sort of force that would pierce a horses side - this is simply cruelty.

I have met riders who use spurs in this gentle fashion, but many do not - even some riders at a high level seem not to understand that a nice responsive horse doesn't come from using ever stronger aids and sharper spurs, but from training it to respond to increasingly light aids. This example shows nothing about the rider involved except to highlight their inability to communicate properly with their horse.

I would urge anyone who witnesses such a thing at a show to report it immediately and request that the person involved is disqualified. In the event that this falls on deaf ears then be prepared to make a fuss about it. If the person involved is a well known figure then take a photo and post it to the equestrian press - abuse of the horse is unacceptable in all circumstances and the sooner we get people like this out of the system the better.
 

KarinUS

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Very Sad!

I think that is very good advice Karl gave.
It is very sad to hear about such a hard working horse being abused. :(
That's just the scary thing about horses. They are almost like dogs. We humans can hurt them and they still go on and do their job. Very sad.
I am a beginner and always worried that I unintentionally cause some harm or discomfort to my school horse and these "professionals" hurt their partner without any consideration!
I know a girl that competes in Western events and when she talks about herself training her horses she always "complains" how she <b>has</b> to spank and spur them to get them to behave.
It just makes me sick. That girl grew up on a horse farm. You'd think she'd have more love for her charges.
:(
 

Sarah

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Judy,

I think i may know which rider you mean, if it is who i think it was, I reported her to BD last year after watching her 'ride' at the Catherston Grand Prix Kur. I got an email back from Dane Rawlins saying that the judges decision was right, the rider had done nothing wrong, despite having blood coming out the horse and riding worse than a sack of spuds. Eamil me privately if you want me to name the rider I reported, i won't do it here.

Sorry to say it, but British Dressage really don't seem to care about the horse.

Sarah
 

Wally

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I cannot understand why someone pays top money for a horse, money for trainers, feeds, shoes and saddlery to become top of their sport then damage the very expensive "equipment" (for want of a better analogy) that they use to get them there! It doesn't take much for the best horse to suddely turn and say "B***er it, I've had enough of this" and stop co-operating! They then are labelled difficult or problem and the investment in time and money is wasted!

Isn't it supposed to be a partnership? Torvil and Dean were never seen beating the living daylights out of each other on the ice in a bid to be top!
 

floppy

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Feb 25, 2001
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absolute disgrace.

i personally think every system of competition is corrupt! if you got a name the judges wont do anything to stop you scoring high even if you rode terribly etc!! Dont get me started on judges!
international events arent too bad because you got a mixed board.
but i definately think something should be done!
 

hilite

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I'm a little late, but I just wanted to write about this one.

I think that spurs can be really good tools for experienced riders who will use them carefully, but they should never make your horse bleed! I can't believe that this rider is doing so well in shows when she isn't responsible or caring enough to use her spurs correctly and without hurting her horse. :(

I hope that one day someone manages to do something about this so she can't hurt her horse anymore. :mad:
 

SILENT-ONE200

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Cruelty

Good Evening,

I grew up on a ranch in Texas and my folks taught me that to truly "connect" with your horse was through light hands, and without "trappings" i.e. spurs and whips. I train Western horses and compete in Barrel Racing (went professional at 15) when time allows. I do not use whips or spurs, and my horse(s) respond very well to leg pressure. I've seen some awful wrecks with girls using "tie-downs". Those who use those sort of "aids" are not communicating with their horses and are therefore hurting them. When you compete you should be a "team", not a "me" player. Believe me, I've tried to get these people to change their ways, but it's hard to undo old habits. Horses are so forgiving of our foibles. We can learn so much from them if only we take the time to truly listen.

SILENT-ONE200
 

snuggly_elf

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why use spurs at all? I think that some riders have a very bad habit of useing as many gadgets as possible. I have often been at shows and seen poor horses with martigales, cruppers, boots galore. If the horse needs it then thats diffrent, but how many really do need martingales? Usually careful schooling can rectify the problem to a satisfactory finish. I have only met one horse in my 12 years of riding that actully needed a martingale. And she didn't wear one!
But when it comes to spurs I think they are as unnecassary as fox hunting and a very old fashioned gadget. We don't force horses to carry there heads uncomfortably high any more so why are riders still using false aids from the dark ages?:mad:
 

Bebe

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The value of spurs is debateable imo. Dressage purists will argue that they are necessary in order to give the refined aids that high level dressage calls for, they ask for more engagement from the hind legs and allow the leg to be quiet (takes a lot less to engage the spur than to give a hefty squeeze or kick).

That said, others will argue that a high level dressage horse should respond to the lightest aid and should understand at this point that the use of the legs means engage not go faster.

I've never ridden a horse that well trained so couldn't tell you which is true. Either way though , they should be used with timing, precision and delicacy. Under no circumstances should they draw blood! And has already been said, a well trained horse should go from the lightest possible aid so using spurs to make a horse go forwards kind of defeats the object.
 
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Angela Doyle

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I have always found it unbelievable that spurs are compulsory at Advanced level. They are the sort of artificial aid that CAN be useful, but can also be detrimental. Surely it should be better that a horse can reach that level without needing to use spurs to get them there. If they are being used so that the horse ends up with blood on their sides then they are most definitely not being used with enough care! I am amazed the steward did not take this further!

I have a young 5 year old hanoverian, and sometimes he can be a little lazy, whilst other times he has bundles of energy! I would not use spurs with him at this young age as I want him to learn to go well on his own, without the use of various artificial aids, and remain responsive to the leg!! One girl I know uses spurs on a regular basis on her young horse, and he doesnt even need them! When (if) she stops using them I am sure he wont be as responsive to the leg!

A.
 

floppy

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My cousins daughter rides my cousin horse with spurs but the truth of the matter is no matter how hard she tries she cant get him going so she has to ride him with spurs. My cousin and i can get him going but not her daughter
 

Bebe

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I watched a couple of prelim tests at the dressage competition that was held at my yard last weekend. A lot of the riders were wearing spurs, which at this level I think is ridiculous. Also, most of these riders had unsteady legs with toes pointing downwards, not the ideal when using spurs!! I think that at this level it boils down to one of 3 things - either the rider doesn't have the knowledge of how to train a horse to respond properly to the leg (which is difficult, I spent over a month re-teaching my horse to do it), they have an instructor who is lazy and hasn't taught them to use their legs properly or a stable, independent position or, they're plain lazy!

And I too think it's daft that spurs are compulsory at advanced levels. Optional yes, but not compulsory.
 

intouch

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I watched a riding club dressage evening last night and the standard of riding of the majority of the horses amounted to abuse! not to mention ill fitting saddles, bits cranked up to the ears, and one rider who deliberately yanked her poor horse in the mouth after she had failed twice to get it to strike off on the correct leg. You don't need spurs to see cruelty.
 

Moonlightrider

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Sometimes a tap with spurs is better then nagging a horse on and on with kicks. Spurs used properly can be better then legs used improperly.

But if you have any trouble with your legs, don't use them! I won't wear spurs... I'm afraid I won't use my legs properly. My legs are reasonably good, but I've only been riding 2 years. There's lots of room for problems.

It sickens me at shows to see horses being spurred and beaten in the warm-up ring until the poor animal is so wound up that a tap with the crop (for trot) or an outside kick will get them moving out... and half the time, the trainers are screaming, good job.

Martengales don't bother me, although I do agree that with a lot of schooling 75% of horses who wear them wouldn't.
 

Kathrin

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spurs

If the point is to provide a finer, more exact touch to a certain area a spur should do very well.

However I don't see that it has to be metal - why not rubber spurs which beyond a certain pressure level yield thereby minimising any hurt caused by an obsessively competitive passenger.

I think technology has advanced to a degree whereby tack and aids that can potentially injure the horse can be "made safe".


Riders, though is another thing....
 

floppy

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i have pair of rubber round headed dressage spurs that i gave to the owner of my lease horse to try riding with because she has only be riding for 2 yrs and she is a good rider but can't get her head around metal ones. I let her try all my 3 pairs of spurs out and the rubber ones suited her best and she doesnt feel she is hurting her tubby horse using them.
 

HunterGirl

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spurs/martingales

I hardly ever wear spurs and when I do I've never come close to leaving a mark never mind making the horse bleed. It's a shame that the top lever riders are getting away with it, it just shows how corrupt this sport can be.

All the horses at my barn wear martingales. They are all fitted properly and do not force the horses head down. Its not because of lack of proper schooling either. Of the 4 girls that show Trillium(hunters) at my barn 3 of them placed in the top 10 for the season and the other one placed 11th.

Before anyone askes, if you took off their martingales they would still win. Its just part of the uniform around here.
And the horses that need one( head in the air ect.) dont have one.
Im not saying that its an excuse for proper training but you cant school your horse in the middle of your course. Plus they have to take them off for the flat classes.
 

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