So, nothing of note is going on...I've not taken any pictures because I'm a slacker and Miles had a swollen rear fetlock yesterday (all better today, though of course I didn't have time to ride), so nothing of note to report on that front. He was great Saturday though, and I got to show him off to a horse crazy girl that was out at the barn and thought he was the most handsomest thing EVAR! :) She was 13 and at the barn with her dad, who was at a meeting in the lounge area of our barn, so she killed a couple of hours by following us around. Hey, I remember being that age.
Anyway, I sorta love Mondays (after work, natch), because HRTV has horse programming on all evening...I'm assuming it's because they don't run races on Monday? Anyway, it's everything from The Saddle Club (don't hate!) to Lynn Palm to Monty Roberts and some Australian show called Horse Talk. I love it all. I have dubbed Monday nights on TV...wait for it..."Horse Monday". I know, my creativity astounds.
Anyway, I'm watching tonight, and I have to rant for a moment. I realize I may piss some people off, but keep in mind I'm not talking about YOU, only what I'm watching on the tube. Having said that...
Lots of these shows center around a rider/horse combo that have a problem and they are turning to one "expert" or another for help. Actually, I commend and admire those people for seeking other opinions and for having the guts to ride on national TV for every shmuck like myself to critique. Having said all that, the one discipline I cringe at EVERY time I've seen it demonstrated on one of these shows is barrel racing. The show I saw tonight that got me thinking about this wasn't even someone asking for help..it was just a girl with her horse telling their story. The poor horse was wearing the usual head tie-down thing (sorry, I don't know what else to call it) that all barrel horses seem to wear, and looked like she had more than a little hardware in her mouth as well. Her rider was small, but (and I'm sorry), not particularly kind to the horse's back or mouth as she was running barrels during the segment.
This isn't, unfortunately, the first time or even the 10th time I've seen a similar situation. Last week it was someone on Ryan Gingrich's show asking for help with her barrel horse. She had her gelding in a twisted wire snaffle, and of course the ubiquitous tie-down. There was lots of pulling and kicking and resistance (can't imagine why). To Ryan's credit, he at least swapped out the bit. Twisted wire may have it's place, but that horse was getting his mouth shredded.
Hey, I know there are good, kind barrel racers. In the upper level rodeos where there is big money involved, I see (for the most part), great riders using their whole bodies to cue their horses around barrels, not just yanking on their mouths. I'm sure a lot of my bias comes from my primarily English background, and every equine sport has problems and ugly riding at lower levels (as well as upper levels in some cases). Still, this is my rant and my peeve...it just makes me sad for the horses. Also the riders for that matter; I know most of them must love their horses. Maybe this is what they're taught. Maybe they haven't had a lot of instruction and don't know any better. Maybe it's the barrel racing culture, which I admit I know zilch about. All I do know is I get tired of seeing hot, high-headed horses with open, gaping mouths attached to riders' unforgiving hands that are held high, with no slack in the reins whatsoever and a tie-down on top of everything else. It's not a nice picture to me. It's not kind riding.
Again, I want to reiterate I know not ALL barrel racers ride like this, and I've seen very nice rides (that are plenty fast) as well.
I'm also not picking on barrel racers because I think it's the worst thing out there. Someday I'm going to do a blog on Big Lick horses and really piss people off, because I don't think that particular horse "sport" can be done without abuse to the horse. Ugh, I honestly can't believe it still exists. I'm convinced Tennessee Walking Horses must be the most forgiving breed in the world.
Feel free to share your horse sport peeves, or to tell me to go fly a kite:) Happy Horse Monday everyone!