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Horse Training: When Is Discipline Abuse?

Picture this: A 3 year old stallion with a halter that is hooked to a chain, standing tied in a small enclosure. He is trying to get rid of the discomfort, while he is up on his tiptoe, because the tether raised his head and neck to an disturbing level. The horse is shuffling and rearing his feet, trying to ease the restraint.

This horse will be left like that, without any water or food and the next day he will be more cooperative when his training proceeds. So, here we come to a point where we question ourselves, can we consider this as a part of a training or we should call this an animal abuse?!

Some people may think that horse abuse are neglected animals who are starving for food, laying around without any water. But, think deeply, is it abuse, when someone blinded by the wish for wining and the desire for bigger achievements, forgets about human treatment and care for the animals and starts to overcome the dictates of fair play?!

Most of the time, but the fact is that the horse is one of the most trainable animals, lives no place for abusement , so we must find a way to train horses without abusing them during that process.

Question: What is cruel?

We must find a distinction between proper discipline and maltreatment. So, now we will focus on some points and meashures that most of the horsemens think that by definition are abusive.

  • Hang-tying to break down a horse’s resistance;
  • Riding  to exhaustion;
  • Excessive spurring;
  • Excessive jerking on the mouth or on the lead shank, especially when a chain is used over the face;
  • Excessive whipping or beating or hitting about the head;
  • Withholding food or water to create submissiveness.

The Roots of Abuse

Most of us may ask themselves, how could someone who loves horses that much do such a thing to the animal by using that kind of cruel methods?! There are many answers to that question and here are some of them:

Question: What is cruel?

We must find a distinction between proper discipline and maltreatment. So, now we will focus on some points and meashures that most of the horsemens think that by definition are abusive.

  • Hang-tying to break down a horse’s resistance;
  • Riding  to exhaustion;
  • Excessive spurring;
  • Excessive jerking on the mouth or on the lead shank, especially when a chain is used over the face;
  • Excessive whipping or beating or hitting about the head;
  • Withholding food or water to create submissiveness.

The Roots of Abuse

Most of us may ask themselves, how could someone who loves horses that much do such a thing to the animal by using that kind of cruel methods?! There are many answers to that question and here are some of them:

Don’t Let it Happen to You

  • To protect your horse from becoming a victim, read the next few tips that you should use while selecting a trainer.
  • Check his/her reputation. As we said before, check the trainer’s history, his past expirience and you could achieve that easily by talking to other people taht worked with that trainer. Check how he works, does his methods lead to a progress and what is his training philosophy.
  • Stay grounded. Don’t be fooled by the trainer’s sparkling reputation. Try not to be blinded by his current popularity.
  • Watch the warm-up. Observe the trainer and watch his relationship with the horse. Look up if he is not giving him a chance to choose to be good.
  • Visit the facility. See if the barn looks safe and can it provide a normal care for the horse. Check your horse  and see if it’s well fed and happy. Observe the horse’s behaviour while he is around the trainer.
  • Be candid. Talk to the trainer about your desires and goals. Consult with him about your horse and what is his suitable for.

If anything bothers you, be clear with the trainer and say your opinion.

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