A LIST OF HORSE RELATED THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO AVOID… IGNORE THESE AND YOU CAN EXPECT UNPLEASANT THINGS TO HAPPEN.
Hi – Larry Trocha here.
It's time for another issue of the Horse Training Tips Insider.
You know, I get lots of emails from folks who are experiencing difficulty with their horse.
They usually ask for my advice on how to fix the problem.
And of course, the smartest thing a horse owner can do is to AVOID the things that cause the problems in the first place.
So with that criteria in mind, I've compiled a list of things to avoid.
First let me emphasize, the things I wrote below are NOT hard and fast rules that are etched in stone.
There are always exceptions to the rule.
Also, I already know what I wrote is going to TEE-OFF more than a few readers.
So be it.
It is what it is.
Be prepared to read the "comments" at the bottom of the page calling me an INSENSITIVE JERK.
I admit, I CAN be a jerk at times… but NEVER, EVER am I insensitive.
Okay, enough said… let's get started.
SEVEN (7) BAD THINGS TO AVOID:
1. Horse trailers that are too small for the horse.
These are usually trailers that are side-by-side, shotgun-load where the horses face straight ahead… especially a 2-horse trailer.
The only thing worse is a 1-horse trailer… a 1-horse trailer that is so small, the horse has to almost squeeze into it.
Horses hate those trailers. They are too small or confining and makes horses feel trapped and claustrophobic. Some horses are really good and will tolerate a trailer like this but they are the exception.
In many cases, if you want to your horse to be hard to load, get one of these.
When it comes to trailering horses, I’ve had the best luck with a 7′ wide slant-load or a regular stock trailer with floor mats.
2. A tom thumb bit.
If you want your horse to be bad in the face, just ride him with one of these bits.
The "tom thumb" is one of the most popular bits in north America. Probably because the average horse owner has no clue as to what constitutes good bit design.
I'm simply guessing but horse owners probably purchase the bit because the name sounds good. It sounds like it’s harmless.
If you want to ride with a well-designed bit that is mild and your horse will like… go with a Billy Allen mouthpiece with 8" shanks. (the highlighted words are links).
3. Expecting your farrier to train your horse to be good to shoe.
Let me make this as clear as possible because it's one of the most important things which will affect your horse for the rest of his life.
It is YOUR job to train your horse to be good to shoe… NOT the farrier.
The farrier is being paid to shoe your horse… not train him. From the farrier's point of view, he has a daily schedule to keep. His clients are expecting him to show up on time to shoe their horse.
If he comes to your barn and your horse is a problem, it'll take the farrier a lot longer to get the job done… making him late for the rest of his appointments that day.
Most farriers, trying to get shoes on a difficult horse, will at some time lose his patience and discipline your horse in a way that's undesirable… causing a BAD experience for the horse.
Have that happen several times in a row and your horse could be BAD TO SHOE for the rest of his life.
When it comes time to trim or shoe your horse for the FIRST few times, let your farrier know in advance. Tell him you are willing to pay double if he'll take the time to make sure the job goes well. The vast majority of farriers are more than happy to do this… if they are fairly compensated for their time.
Now, some horses are really, really bad about being shod. If this is the case with your horse, you may need to send him to a professional trainer to get him fixed.
Training your horse to hobbles (including the scotch hobble) will go a long way in making your horse good to shoe.
4. Buying a saddle with an "adjustable" or flexible tree.
There is a particular saddle manufacturer that builds it's saddles on what they call an adjustable tree. The theory being, it'll automatically adjust to fit any horse.
In reality, it seldom does. And to make matters worse, those saddles have a seat that is way too high above the horse's back.
Ideally, you need to be sitting down, CLOSE to your horse's back.
There is also a manufacturer who's saddles are built on a tree with "rubber" bars. Again, the theory is to flexibly adjust to the horse's back.
I purchased one of these saddles, hoping it would be good.
It too had a seat that placed the rider too high off the horse's back… plus it had a weird, springy feel to it when loping.
I got rid of it right away.
5. Riding your horse with "spaghetti" reins.
Spaghetti reins are reins that are too thin, too light and have no body or weight. They are bad because they prevent the horse from feeling your hands coming… causing him to have a heavy, unresponsive mouth.
And they are bad for the rider too because he can't feel the horse's mouth coming. They also fly around too much and are difficult to handle during a training session.
It doesn't cost that much more to buy a set of GOOD QUALITY REINS. It's actually cheaper because good reins last a lot longer.
6. Revealing to a show judge you are a clueless beginner.
It's usually an unconscious decision, but knowing you're a beginner, can cause a judge to quickly eliminate you before you even start your run.
So when you start showing, the worse thing you can do is shoot yourself in the foot by showing the judge you're a beginner.
How do you do that?
By entering the show arena wearing inappropriate attire or using amateurish, back-yard gear on your horse.
One of the worse things you can do is to show up wearing one of those ridiculous "GUS" hats.
What's a "Gus" hat?
It's a hat with a big, 10-gallon crown that's creased in the front like somebody "tomahawked" it. It also usually has a huge, oversized brim with laced edges.
Tom Mix, the movie actor from the 1920's used to wear one. Except his wasn't as extreme (or as stupid looking) as the modern-day Gus hat.
Just as bad (actually worse) is the "leather hippy cowboy hat".
This hat is made of cheap leather, has a weird "Roy Rogers" crown and was made popular back in the 1970's by hippies who wanted a so called "western" look.
Needless to say, that "western" look was really never achieved.
Last but not least is the urban cowboy, "country-western music" hat.
These hats are usually manufactured with a really tight, curled-up brim (along with a few holes) to make it look all beat up as if a "real" working cowboy is wearing it.
What it ACTUALLY does is let the judge know you're a clueless wanna be… as no REAL cowboy would ever stoop so low as to wear one.
If you want, you can buy a hat like this at the next country-western music concert you attend.
If you'd like to see real-life examples of all the above hats… just go to any "natural horsemanship" exhibition. The vast majority of the audience will be wearing one of the three versions.
Bottom line, if you want a chance of winning at the show… you and your horse need to look the part of a winner… NOT look like you're wearing a Halloween costume.
7. Fuzzy pink stuff… on you or on your horse.
No explanation should be necessary here. If it's fuzzy and it's colored pink, don't enter the show arena with it… especially if you're a guy and want to salvage your reputation.
Of course, if you're a little "light in the boots" and want to advertise it, go ahead.
Here’s the exception to all the above rules: If you enter the show ring and lay down a smoking good run, the judge will usually consider you exempt from all of the above.
Of course, how often does that happen?
I personally have only seen it happen once. There’s a guy who lives in southern California who breaks all of the above rules… However, when he comes to a show… he’ll beat your ass almost every time he competes.
He enters the show arena, knowing he doesn’t look right… and then lays down a killer run and beats everybody!
In a way, I admire that!
7a. If possible, do your best to avoid “insanity”.
I thought I should ad this one too. In case you don’t know, the definition of insanity is: Doing the same things over and over yet expecting different results. I see it all the time. If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something different!
Okay, that's all for now.
Hopefully, you didn't get too upset from reading this.