Thursday, February 28, 2008

Life in the Blogosphere - Trash Talking Arabian Horses, Old Riders, Dressage and Natural Horsemanship Part 3

Well, I've dealt with slam toward Arabian horses, but I can't let go of this until I've dealt with the others trashed by this blogger as well. While my readers range from kids to older than me, I still think jabs at older horse people need to be addressed. Not to mention that to do this Parelli and dressage were used like they were some kind of disparaging words. So here's the quote that began my rant.

“The second group of 50+ horse owners are the “old hags” I touched on them in the “classical riding” post. These are the sour, bitter dregs of humanity. They are either “dressage” freaks because they are too scared to jump anymore (not that I blame them for that) but still don’t really ride. They can also be rabid parelli freaks who need to ‘desensitize’ poor Jasper before they ever ride him. Jasper must be really, really spooky because it takes them about 5 years to “desensitize” their horses.”

The first thing that comes to mind for me is what's the point in slamming someone because of her/his age. We all grow old. Unless this blogger has good reason to believe she won't live to be fifty, she's going to be in this category someday. I think this blogger is pretty good proof that one doesn't need to have age to be "sour, bitter dregs of humanity." Bitterness knows no boundaries. It is ugly under all circumstances.

In addition, the fastest growing portion of the horse owning population in our country just happens to be the baby boomer. That would be this over 50 rider the blogger is talking about. Many of these are getting her/his first horse. Others are finally getting back into horses after raising their kids. Either way the baby boomers are pretty taking over the market if numbers mean anything. I know it's meant a lot to the AQHA, the Paint Horse Assc, and the Arabian Horse Assc. All are doing marketing to target this group. Those over 50 riders are being targeted by the advertisers for all kinds of horse products as well. So someone is appreciating this group in the industry.

Personally, I am thankful for dressage. I don't ride dressage per se, but many of the techniques I use are firmly rooted in dressage. I find that by flexing and bending my horse and doing lots of half passes (among other things) I can build a pretty decent western pleasure horse, one that is not gimmicked but has true self carriage and good gaits. The best part is the horse will go on that draped rein and didn't have to get his face yanked off to do it. So bless you dressage! Without you I wouldn't be riding western pleasure because there's no way, I'd do that other stuff to my horse.

I am not sure what "really ride" means. Does the handicapped jockey who know rides in the therapy program featured on Extreme Makeover - Home Edition not really ride? Does the 70+ rider on an Arabian horse who not only competes but places in the top ten in the Tevis Cup (the grand daddy of all endurance races for those who do not know) each year not really ride? Does the 70 something amateur who trains his own english pleasure and park horses and competes at the national level and WINS, not really ride?

As for Parelli, I think he was attacked while the principle was really at issue. I am not versed in Parelli but know many who are, including some bloggers here. I don't really care whether it's Parelli, Anderson, Lyons, Roberts, Pony Boy or my Harvey Jacobs. What matters to me is the principle that gives people tools to humanely train their horses.

Anyone who criticizes an owner, trainer or handler for desensitizing the horse before they begin to ride it has already shown their ignorance. How long it takes someone to teach a horse isn't really important in my view. What is important is that the lesson is learned without injury to the person or the horse. There is a lot of value in safety to me. There was even when I was young.

In my time with horses I have seen fast trainers and slow trainers and plenty in between. Mostly the fast trainers are that way because their clients expect them to be. How much it is going to cost is more important than what is best for the horse. Horses trained under those circumstances might start off okay but sooner or later it all falls apart. Many end of fried or burned out. Neither is good for horse of rider at that point.

Training is a process. It cannot be managed against the clock. It can only be effective if it is accomplished one step at a time and without confusion for the horse. I would much rather see owners go to clinics to learn natural horsemanship skills than allow those horses to walk all over them.

A horse without good "people" skills is at risk of ending up being passed from owner to owner. The more times a horse is sold, the more likely the odds that horse is going to end up in a bad situation. Educating owners into the proper care and handling of horses from day one would save horses a lot of misery. So I for one don't care how long it takes them to learn the process. The important part is that they do.

OK, that's it for me! I'm so off this blogger. It's horses that I care about and good horse owners and trainers with kind hearts. Tomorrow, I will need some opinions, but about a totally different matter. I have heard from Brittany (as in Rhythm's mommy) and she has asked us for some help. So stay tuned..................

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. She did say she was in the age group with older children so she isn't all that far off 50 herself. She does seem to be extraordinarily ignorant though.

  2. beckyz, sooner or later everyone will hit that group. I wonder if she plans on giving up her horse when she does. lol Sorry, I couldn't resist.

  3. Ha! heaven forbid she should be an old hag. Funny isn't it the knowledge pool she is excluding due to age.

  4. Ugh, I just cannot stand people who, all the wish to bring to the horse world, is negitivity.

    Any person who is respectful, would want to add their insight and opinions to the horse world, in a more professional manner.

    Today the person was trashing Thoroughbreds, OTTB's and Arabs. I'll take it she has experience with both breeds enough so where she could assume they were stupid?

  5. Just had to say I appreciate your comment about dressage.

    I've yet to hear a discipline say, "Well, our aim is to have the horses go around any-which-way. Really, the more inconsistent they are, the better."

    And yet dressage is a bad word in some circles... it frustrates me no end.

    (Not that dressage has the market cornered on good basic riding, either. When I was having trouble with square halts, my instructor sent me off to watch reining videos. Worked wonders for me.)

  6. I'm not even going to bother commenting on that stupidity and ignorance. I will admit I'm not the most willing to take on new techniques without gaining a hell of a lot of evidence it's worthwhile...I like my methods, but at least I'm open-minded. That's all I will say there.

    But about the desensitizing, I had a good example of making sure you do it before throwing horses in the deep end just yesterday. My sooky horse Bundy has had a problem with jackets ever since a vet rocked up in a rustly parker and jabbed an anaesthetic into his jugular. I literally have to introduce him to all of my new jackets once I get them. The only thing I haven't got around to yet is oil-skins (aussie raincoats). Yesterday it was pouring rain, and I thought I was going to have to muster (read my blog for yesterday to find out why I say 'thought' lol!), but I knew he was still weary of them. It crossed my mind to just get on and hold on like there was no tomorrow...but I knew that would be far from the best for either of us. Well I don't need to say that desensitizing is a crucial part of training.

  7. We baby boomers must have all gone to the same school and were taught the same values and morals, or we could just think alike across the miles.I couldn't agree more with every single thing you said, your words and thoughts are my philosophy right down to the core.
    I would like to add one thing, even though I am over 50 and I am sure there are others in this category as well, the reason I switched to dressage, is physical not mental. I wasn't afraid to jump anymore,and given the right set of circumstances, maybe someday I will again. My knee gave out(one of the first body parts to go,well okay not one of the first) and after my operation, jumping is out of the question, so instead of giving up riding I found a different discipline that my knee could handle, if that doesn't work out in the future I will find something else.
    Well, it is time to hobble out to the barn and see if the horses mind being fed and turned out this morning by an "old hag". LOL

  8. Several thoughts occurred to me as I was reading yet another excellent post.

    1. turning 51 is better than NOT turning 51. Yep, I'm 51 and proud of it.

    2. The money I pour into our economy at 51 is far more than what I had available to me at 30-40therefore, I contribute significantly to HER ability to do what she does.

    shrugs and walks away.

  9. Hi Mikael, I've been reading your blog for a few months now & just wanted to say thanks for your comments about Arabian horse personalities and training advice. Although it had to be in response to a negative, the information you are giving has been really helpful to me in understanding my own Arabian. I bought him as a dressage prospect about 2 1/2 years ago. I was not looking for any particular breed, but since I liked an Arabian I've had to educate myself about his Arabian-ness. Your last couple of posts are very reassuring esp for the comments about not bullying, yet still to be the boss, and the Arabian horse history. My horse is "spooky" and too clever and a little stubborn too, but he's also athletic and willing and loyal and has tons of personality. Oh, and by the way, he's 15.2 hands!!

  10. If I do ever start showing beyond halter, it will probably be when I'm well over 50, because right now I'm busy working multiple jobs to put my kids through college. I have also always put a priority on spending weekends attending activities that my kids are involved in: Baseball, softball, basketball, drama... My horse showmanship dreams have been on the backburner until the kids fly the nest. I'm happy for those of us who do keep riding for as long as our bodies allow. Thanks for the post.

  11. I think if the blogger would shut up and listen to some "old hags", she might actually learn something about horses.

    And I figured out who this lady is (at least where she's located). She's near me, and I've been looking for an excuse to go watch a show, so I just might have to go watch her next show for some grins and giggles.

  12. beckyz,well unfortunately she is not the only one in our society that mistakes age for useless and decrepit. But that's another thing about the baby boomers, we are showing the world that age is just a number.

    inkeq, I'm sure that there will always be another target for her. I just don't think her blog is worth reading. She is obviously trying to stir the pot to get attention. The fact that no one is commenting must be really frustrating her. And that's ok by me.

    halt near x, I love the dressage posts and find most of them very helpful.

    It's such a shame that we can't all learn to live together in harmony. As Tracey put it in yesterday's comments, some just don't know how to play nice in the sandbox.

    gecko, after the fall I took a while back, I totally get desensitizing and sometimes over and over. The fact she would poke fun at that shows just how little she knows. Ignorance may be bliss but it can also get you killed.

    grey horse matters, well I'll be hobbling right along with you. I have six horses to work today.

    holly, I'm with you. The scariest part about birthday's is not having another one. I'd like to stick around for a lot longer.

    jessie, thanks

    anonymous, thanks for commenting and I hope you enjoy your horse. With Arabians it's getting inside their head in the first place. Once you can do that, you can really win them over. And don't forget lots and lots of praise. Arabians can not get enough of scratches and verbal affirmations that they are doing good. They thrive on it.

    nuzzling muzzles, well we hope to see you out there in the showring someday and I'm sure there are many more just like you waiting for that empty nest.

  13. Again not much left to be said that hasnt already. I havent quite reached 50, getting close though, so you can count me in on the "old Hag" groupies.

    Have a great day, we are having a beautiful one for a change!

  14. Wow, this is the first I've heard of this. Is she referring to my Jasper? What's that saying - 'it doesn't matter what they say about you - as long as they spell your name right' ;)

  15. I just heard about this. Isn't it sad in the horse world that there are so many opinionated b***es? Seriously, we've all seen it. This uncaring negative attitude from people dogged me from the moment I bought Jasper. I started a blog in order to help others who may be going through the same thing. I only wish horse people would make more of an effort to get along instead of trashing someone because their style just happens to be different than their own. And if she is referring to my Jasper - like I said on another blog - it doesn't matter what they're saying about you, as long as they spell your name right!

  16. I have really enjoyed reading your last few posts, too bad it is because of a nit-wit who doesn't know much about horses and who is very sad... I feel sorry for her. But, I did not know that kids could show arabian stallions! That is quite a testimony! And, I was raised with a mare (my mom's, I had a spanish mustang) who was a morab and she was the best horse! I wish I could have her back because I could trust her to get me through anything... she was wonderful and although misunderstood by a few, she was abused severly by her previous owner but came around to trusting my mom and I. She was a remarkable horse.

    I also have the pleasure of knowing a gelding I used to own, I did a post about him on my blog. He is a wonderful ol' boy one whom I will treasure in my heart as "one of those special ones."

    I am sorry that someone has the ignorance of bashing the arabian breed... I've always loved them and always will. They are truly a treasure and like you said, very tractable... (I think they're too smart for those who don't like them). :D

  17. Very well said post again! I think the day we stop learning we need to quit and it doesn't matter in what horses, riding, etc. She can not know everything about horses(it is obvious) and to trash others for the different areas they ride in is just plain stupid! The last time I checked sitting on a horse and walking is riding! LOL! Age is just a number and I hope to be riding until the day I die! A good friend is taking me to see Clindon Anderson in March for my birthday and I have been to numerous other clinics. As my husband says go to as many as you can and you take away what will work for you. You will never agree or will everything they say work for you and your horses. That is a great way to look at it. The natural horsemanship-rocks. Who wouldn't want to have that ultmiate bond with a horse? That is my current goal to ride my mare bareback and bridleless. But I know alot of people who ride and do other things than I do-but I do not and never would go around talking bad about them. I think it is great that there is so many different events for you and your horses.

  18. I think in the end horses are pets and loved members of the family. It doesn't matter what we do with them as long as the horse is happy. It is important that the owner enjoys themselves too of course but not at the expense of the horse. If people own a horse and simply enjoy grooming it - then good on them - there is nothing worng with that. A horse is not a piece of sport equipment and riders that forget that should not be riding. There is no such thing as being too old or too young to love a horse :)

  19. It's very sad that a person bashes a breed, discipline or a group of people. I'm 45 and have nothing but respect for what my parents referred to as "my elders". I've always taken the opportunity to learn from someone with more experience. My circle of friends range from teenagers to 80 years old. Most of my closest friends are in the 50 to 65 year old bracket and all still riding. Most of them much better then I am. In Missouri they have a class at the cuttings for riders 65 and older. The man that won the class was over 70 and was actually wearing a seat belt attached to the saddle. Where there is a will there is a way. I hope I have that much determination when I'm in my 70's. NCHA offers a Non-Pro Select class for riders 50 years and older. They recognize the market in the baby boomers age group. Maybe I have just grown a tough skin over the years, I'm happy with my life and don't give the people like the bad blogger the time of day. Mikael your horses are beautiful and you enjoy them, that's all that matters. Attraction to horses is so much like the attraction to your mate. So many choices, but there is something special about the one you pick.

  20. Oh this little shrew of a woman just needs to go away. You know I think the more I read the nore I pity her. What an ugly world that must be. She has no joy, not even in her own horse. Its all so sad.
    Let me say it LOUD AND PROUD one more time. I ride a 15.1 hand ARAB, I compete in rated DRESSAGE shows and we hold our own. My Husband rides and ARAB CROSS, he rides DRESSAGE and we are forty something.
    Like the name of your blog my dear, it takes all colors to make a rainbow. The shrew can only see black and white.
    More Rythm now please.

  21. lori, I don't know what there might be left to say, but I'm through. lol

    michelle, I did wonder when I first read it if she wasn't referring to you. That was ever more rude than singlingly out a group. Just plain mean I think.

    I'm glad you aren't letting her stop you for doing what you do. I think it's great that you are sharing your experiences for others to learn.

    mud ranch, yes even in the junior 13 and under age division stallions can be shown. Thanks for sharing about your Arabian adventures.

    kris, I'm with you about the learning. I tend to judge a person's intent with horses on how much they think they know. Most of those I've met who think they know a lot, I run from. Those others who think they will never know enough seem to me the people who really care for their horses.

    emma, I agree that nothing should be at the expense of the horse. But there is a faction in the horse industry that still sees horses as nothing more than a commodity. Most of us can't figure out where those people are coming from at all.

    Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses, that is a great point about how special the one we pick is to each of us. I love it!

    20 meter circle, Rhythm is coming up next. I am having some difficulty with the pics, but will post as soon as the problem is fixed.

  22. It was such a relief reading this particular blog post. You see I'm entering into my mid-40's and finally able to achieve my dream of owning my own horse.

    So many people I tell this to, think I'm insane and tell me that horses are money pits. And they often ask me, "What are you going to do with that horse?"

    I think they expect me to spend my extra time shopping, knitting or playing bunco with a group of women
    every weekend, than focus my attention on a horse.

    I feel too embarassed to speak out and tell than that my only goals are to build a relationship with my horse and learn the correct way to care for horses and ride them.

    I'd even feel more embrassed to tell them that riding for me is just the icing on the cake, and the sweet cake is the time spent with my horse grooming her (thanks Emma!!), walking with her, and just soaking up her calming horse spirit. It's a real high. But I'm sure you all can relate.

    Do you think that the people who complain about horses being money-pits are the ones who expect horses to always serve them and serve a purpose?

    I don't know. I just know I'm very excited about bringing home my new horse next week...but also terribly nervous that I'll do everything wrong and make tons of mistakes.

    I have so much to learn and I'm glad that there are horse blogs, such as this one and others that share their personal knowledge and experience with those of us less horse smart.

    Thank you!!!

  23. lmao!
    Some people are just stupid. This blogger a case in point. Time stops for no man.

  24. The strongest opinions are based on ignorance.

  25. Very well said! I'm old compared to a lot that ride around here and learning some "tricks" has kept me safe, un-injured and my horses much easier to be around.

  26. This woman got under my skin too. It is like looking at a can't help but look, but I am going to try to stay away from her blog. I hope she was not referring to Michelle's Jasper....if she is, "thems fighting words" and "it's on!" She can't pick on a horse I adore!