Horse training has come a long way since medieval times, but some of the so-called “trainers” lurking in our local community are still using barbaric methods from the dark ages. While it is true that it is necessary to be assertive and establish oneself as the horse’s leader, strong arm tactics and cruel methods are a red flag that your trainer is an abuser.
Good training takes time and patience. Muscling a horse into submission through fear, pain, and harsh equipment is not training. Just recently a local “trainer” was unhappy with the way his client’s horse was behaving on the trail. Rather than working compassionately with the animal in the moment, he chose to tie the horse’s head down via a harsh bit and reigns tethered to the horn of the saddle where he instructed the owner to leave the animal to suffer in its stall for an hour. Is this training?
This is clearly abusive behavior, and anyone witnessing this kind of behavior should speak up, if not to the alleged trainer, then to the owner. The method described above is beyond bad horsemanship – it is downright sadistic. This kind of treatment is only good for creating a fearful horse with a sore neck. What has he learned? That his handler causes him pain and should not be trusted.
The attention span of a horse is very short. Just like dogs, they must be corrected in the moment. Any later and they have no idea why you are reprimanding or praising them. When teaching any animal you must act in the moment.
It is not advisable to attack the abuser (verbally or otherwise), but rather firmly and calmly point out that his method is cruel, unnecessary, and unlikely to produce the desired result. Caution must be used when approaching these individuals because at their core they are bullies, and confronting them could easily turn volatile. It is important to keep in mind that the goal is to help the horse, not provoke or humiliate the abuser. It might be a good idea to call an organization like the ASPCA or Peta for advice and support.
There are many good trainers out there that teach horses with patience and compassion. This is the only way to create a well mannered horse that is happy to perform. Sadly there are impostors out there posing as trainers that are nothing more than abusers. Horses need us to be their voice and protect them from such bullies. Please don’t turn a blind eye to the abuse. Get involved.
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