Horse Vent/Rant-ish thing.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Celtic Hill, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    So I started working at a new barn, I love it there. The trainer/owner is super nice and is a licensed judge. But there are a few things that are kinda 'weird' I guess. Like most of the horses upstairs (two level barn, all the big name show horses are upstairs, im talking World Show Top Ten kind of horses) have to have hock injections and fluid removed. All but one of them is super head shy, I can't move with out throwing it's head. At first I dealt with it, but now it's hard to work when you have horses throwing their heads up if you make a move. The horses get an hour out side in pasture (if it's not raining/showing) and then are probably worked for an hour and a half (incuding walking out and warm up) so that's what, maybe 3 hours a day out of the stall? I don't feel like that's enough. The horses do some things during the day that scream to me that they have boarder and are mentally unstimulated from being in side all day. It's really frustrating when you have 5 horses knocking their walls playing with their buckets. They don't have windows, well they do, but the glass is frosted. I have alos noticed some, umm interesting behavior from the riders/trainers.

    My first day a horse in training was pawing at the ground and the rider kicked it in the stomach

    Another day the owner had her top ten hunter in hand two year old in the cross ties and he was pawing while trying to wrap his legs and she punched him.

    I had a horse in the cross ties because I was cleaning it's stall and I went to put it's lead rope over its neck and it set back and almost took the cross ties with her.

    other then that the horses are taken great care of! Part of me wants to stop working there because of it, but I get paid really well and I don't want to stop because of that. Should i say something next time i see someone do something? idk. ugh, rock and a hard place.
  2. zazouse

    zazouse Crowing

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    I have seen places like this in the horse racing industry. [​IMG]
    It is what it is.
    Best thing to do is walk away and find something more to your liking.
  3. georgialee

    georgialee Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Knoxville, TN
    That's awful. How sad that they only get an hour of 'free' time outside their stalls daily.

    I wish that natural horsemanship was the norm in all horse industries. It would created much better relationships between horse & human and be rewarding for both.

    Is there a different barn you could find work at? I know that's a long shot... a good job at a stable is hard to come by.
  4. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    I agree about the natural horsemanship.

    I hate to leave a job only because of the economy. But next time I see something I might say something to the extent of "That's not nice" or "Come'on he didn't deserve that"
  5. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I'm no big fan of most of the 'natural horsemanship' I've seen - it looks no better than Celtic's description - often much worse. I'm in favor of commonsense.

    have to have hock injections and fluid removed.

    Many show horses are not very well cared for or ethically handled.

    Hock injections MAY be used to mask developing arthritis for a short time so the horse can be briefly competed and quickly sold. However, all hock injections are not created equal. Some are beneficial and preventative.

    super head shy, I can't move with out throwing it's head.

    Two possibilities. One - the horses are simply used to movements and handling that you aren't familiar with. They may be sensitive animals. Two - they have been roughed up and are guarded and afraid.

    horses get an hour out side in pasture

    Despite what many horse owners think, many horses do well with reduced turnout, and in many barns, even an hour turnout is not available, though I would think it should be. The key is plenty of attention and exercise, other horses nearby in the barn, and a routine they can rely on. Some horses cannot be turned loose - this is not unusual with breeding stallions who go looking for love when they get loose. Then more activity and exercise is needed.

    Many competitors take excellent care of their horses. One barn I worked at, the horses were taken out of their stalls six times a day. But not all barns are that good about it.

    maybe 3 hours a day out of the stall? I don't feel like that's enough.

    Don't judge so hard. Three hours out of the stall is fine for a horse and many horses do very well on such a routine. The key is plenty of attention, activity, other horses nearby and a routine they can depend on.

    5 horses knocking their walls playing with their buckets.

    It's possible that you're just not used to grained up, fit horses. If a horse is very fit and up on his toes, he will be goofing around all day whether he's in a pasture or not.

    It's ALSO possible that you ARE looking at restless, bored horses.

    They don't have windows, well they do, but the glass is frosted.

    I wouldn't get too bothered about windows. A good many horses really do not react well to having windows in their stalls, especially behind them when they're eating.

    a horse in training was pawing at the ground and the rider kicked it in the stomach

    Not unusual around a lot of horse people, but not something I find necessary. I've always found that it's the less experienced people who make a big obvious production out of disciplining horses.

    top ten hunter in hand two year old in the cross ties and he was pawing while trying to wrap his legs and she punched him.

    Again, you have to understand that every single horse person that exists, will fight to the death with any other horseman, about how severely and in what way to discipline horses for things like this. If you said you wouldn't punch or whip a horse plenty of people would shout, 'well then I suppose you're going to ruin and spoil him and make him into a menace!'

    Me, I don't punch horses. I have a chain shank on the horse that goes over his nose, and I jerk it and quietly and firmly say, 'NO'. The way I position my body and move is a lot more subtle than a punch and the horses understand it.

    BUT....a big two year old can be awfully naughty and pushy, and I try not to judge people too hard if they get frustrated or impatient out of inexperience. But I don't have the excuse of inexperience to fall back on to and I know discipline can be done quietly, efficiently and effectively, without punching.

    But Celtic - you will look very long and very hard, to find people that can control a horse quietly and efficiently. Average people cannot. When they handle a horse it looks like Monday Night Professional Wrestling. The people who taught me, they're far better than me at it - I watch them in awe.

    I went to put it's lead rope over its neck and it set back and almost took the cross ties with her.

    Take it easy and move slowly, talk and pat a little, move slowly. Your horses trust you and have confidence in you, and you may have gotten a little sloppy and unaware of how you affect other horses not accustomed to you.

    Celtic, no matter what barn you go to, you will see things you don't agree with.

    With professionals, they often don't have the time to be very gentle, they just get the job done and are always in something of a hurry.

    When I started working at barns as a 12 year old kid, I thought EVERYONE was doing EVERYTHING wrong. Everything I saw, I was critical. I thought I knew it all - from being in one little barn, from handling easy horses, from having all the time in the world to do what I planned to do, etc.

    I had to learn - I did NOT know it all. Big youngsters can be pretty darn rough to deal with.

    It was a long process for me, to learn that SOME of what I saw was necessary, but also to learn that there was ALSO unneccesary roughness and some pretty bad tempers floating around here and there as well.

    At its best, with 'I'm not the Mommy' handling, horses aren't spoiled, they know their job and they respect their handler and do not hurt people, knock them over, step on them. They are obedient and reliable, safe partners - trustworthy and highly valued companions.

    At its worst - well, it can be taken to extremes.

    Some of what you are describing, to me, is normal and not harmful. On the other hand, some of it makes me uncomfortable.

    You will have to take this journey yourself, and learn and decide for yourself as you grow. You'll make mistakes, bad calls sometimes, but you'll learn.

    You can wind up quitting at every barn you work at and no one will hire you, you can wind up doing things you don't feel comfortable doing.

    It's important to weigh the situation and not make a lot of enemies in the business, somehow still remain employable and be able to live with yourself and go to sleep at night.

    For all you know, your quiet handling might become rather popular, and even change how people at that barn handle their horses. I've seen people do that, too.

    Sometimes I can get people to see a different way, sometimes I can't. When the manager at one barn was regaling me with stories about how he had to rough up one of the horses to clip it, how it was absolute murder to clip, I said let me do him then, I'll clip him and I won't have to do any of that. He'll just stand there and I'll clip him.

    Of course that's exactly how it went, but the only effect was that for the rest of the time I was there, I was the one clipping that horse, LOL.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  6. georgialee

    georgialee Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm no big fan of most of the 'natural horsemanship' I've seen - it looks no better than Celtic's description - often much worse.

    How so? In my experience there is no hitting or kicking, in fact no touching at all, usually.​
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Quote:I have to agree with Welsummerchicks on this...I've been around the stables and barns long enough either I like it or left me a sour taste to my mouth.

    I've had my fair share of all different kind of horses, a wide variety of temperments, ranging from a michevious pony, to an "air head" Thoroughbred to a "dead head" of a QH or draft horse. Each horse has to have their own "special" training and not everyone can accomplish that all in one semester. It takes months and years to learn it. I am still learning to this day and will not quit learning either.
  8. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Personally I would never kick or punch my horses... I have never found it necessary. However I will be VERY firm with them if they get in my space or behave rudely as that is absolutely unacceptable to me. Good ground manners are absolutely essential to your safety and the other people who have to handle your horse. I hope the head shy thing is just what Welsummer said - unfamiliar with you or particularly sensetive. Sport horses do often tend to be the sensetive kind. If they are being treated roughly I would definitely have an issue with that. Firm is fine and very necessary - rough is not and it's counterproductive to proper training in my opinion.

    I totally agree with welsummer on the hock injections. Someties people use it to cover up lameness but it is also very beneficial when used properly and for the right reasons. It can help prevent future damage and can give a horse many more productive years. The barn where I board is full of very pricey dressage horses and most people there do injections of some kind whether they be hock injections or Legend and Adequan. Some of the horses are older and need a little help with stiffness but mostly it is preventative to preserve their investment and keep their equine partner happy and comfortable. When you've spent six figures on a horse you definitely want to make sure they stay healthy and sound!

    I certainly would want more turnout if it were my horse and I think a lot of the time you definitely see more behavioral issues when they aren't getting enough turnout or work. Every horse at my barn gets 6 to 9 hours of turnout depending on the time of year save one gelding who's owner will not allow him to be turned out. Let me tell you, that horse is a royal pain in the a** in the stall. He pawed at his stall so bad he finally busted the water line for the auto waterers and flooded his stall the other day! ARGH! Everyone feels bad for the poor horse but it's the owner's perogative. That said, there are plenty of other horses in my barn who DO get all day turnout that are also figity, fussy tcreatures. Sport horses who are in top condition are on the average MUCH more high maintenance than your average backyard or pleasure horse. Between the feed they get to keep them in top shape and the energy that kind of conditioning produces you've often got a handful. You also have to add in breeding and personality - horses that are capable of performing at a very high level tend to be higher strung horses in general as that is often what makes them absolutely brilliant in the show ring.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  9. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I have worked at barns where I was told either I was to do as they did or I would be fired. So I have experienced both quieter kinds of discipline and the very show-offy, dramatic type handling.

    My own experience is that quiet, firm, consistent handling produces safer, more consistent, more obedient, more reliable behavior. Even the most selfish, uncaring person can relate to that.

    We do not inject hocks with legend/adequan.

    We inject it in the neck so that it has a general improvement in the quality of joint fluids in all joints. We have not seen any research that proves conclusively that the risks/benefits of hock injections make injecting the joint preferable.

    Instead all our working horses get an adequan injection in the neck once a month during their working life. If we see research that shows that is not of sufficient benefit we will no longer do that. What we do is research based, but we don't swallow every little 4 horse study done by some company with something to sell.

    It is supposed to improve the quality of fluid in the joints. It will not prevent arthritis due to injury or overwork. We try to keep our horses fit in good condition - that we feel is our best 'medicine' - that and choosing appropriate work for them to begin with. So for example a horse with weak hocks would not be selected for advanced dressage.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  10. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    I apologize - I should have been more clear about that. Hock injections are different from Legend and Adequan. They are done directly into the hock joint whereas Legend and Adequan are intravenous and intramuscular respectively. Legend and Adequan have been shown to prevent joint damage and improve stiffness in horses that have already started to have issues. As Welsummer said - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The key is to have a fit horse to begin with and one that is sound and built for it's job, then use these things to support them. Heridity has something to do with soundness but one of the biggest contributors to early lameness that I have seen is overwork when they are young or starting too early.

    I have been lucky to have a very sound horse - especially for his age and the level of work he is doing - but I have begun to notice some stiffness now and again so I'm starting to think about what my options are. It's pretty overwhelming because I'm not one to just do things willy nilly. Hock injections are invasive in my opinion so I would personally prefer to avoid that route unless the stiffness gets a lot worse and other methods fail. Legend and Adequan are expensive but as of now I'm feeling more comfortable with that route at this point. While I have very specific and fairly lofty goals with this horse frankly I will probably retire him to light arena work and hacking in a few years if the stifness gets bad. I don't really agree with making a horse work through serious discomfort for the sake of some ribbons. I'd prefer to bring him home and focus on bringing along a young horse. I would much rather have fun with him and have him live out his older years in happiness and comfort than push for every last drop of performance I can squeeze out of him.

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