My blogs have focused on why humans evolve so slow regardless of the action, or inaction, that is required. Here’s another slow to evolve situation in the horse world. I am an advocate for animals, great and small. I have been in the horse industry for many years as a breeder, trainer and purchaser.
The equestrian world comes with people of every variety. I don’t care what their political stance is, or what their income might be. I don’t care if you have one horse or ten horses. The one thing I do care deeply about is: don’t hurt the horse!
Horses did not come to us and get involved in our world. We, the humans, went to them, caught them and brought them into our world as our beasts of burden. The very least we can do is show some kind of respect for these animals we have uprooted and transplanted into our world.
Observing riders and listening to their horse complaints over the years gave me pause. I noticed a common denominator among all of this. People, young and old, novice to pro, simply do not understand the mechanics of their tack equipment!
The internet has literally hundreds of articles and youtube.com video’s about horse training. But that is not the issue. The equipment itself, the tack, does NOT come with directions. Trial and error is the teacher. Isn’t that odd? Consumers are provided directions on the use of everything from a vacuum cleaner to a power drill, but there are no directions provided with riding equipment! The one thing that can cause serious pain and injury to an animal and there are no directions.
In the equestrian world nobody asks questions about equipment. It’s a big no-no. If someone dared to pose a question they would most definitely be answered with scorn and advice to sell their horse if they don’t know how to use such-n-such or how to apply such-n-such. I’ve lived it and witnessed it all over the place, anywhere that equestrian people gather this is a phenomenon.
The simple answer in my mind was write a book explaining clearly how items work and how the rider effects the equipment. I collaborated with two well known equestrian enthusiasts with more than 50 years experience between them.
After what felt like more than 100 edits and additions the book was completed. The Mystery Of Western Tack – Solved!
The major point of the book is to tell, and show, people how to use equipment and how the rider effects the equipment. It may appear basic information upon first looking at it, but nearly every single topic in the book is based on one of my corroborators, or myself, witnessing inappropriate use on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately a reader review missed the mark of the book. “Really simple information that is readily available on the web. Probably only useful to someone with no knowledge at all about tack.” They didn’t comprehend the message in the book at all. This is the exact mindset I mentioned above and further in this article. A person writes a book to teach people so horses won’t be hurt anymore and it’s met with criticism that only someone that doesn’t know tack at all should read. I have concern that this commentor might have a horse.
The book demonstrates very clearly how a bit works, what it looks like, the pressure conveyed, so much in depth information on the pain a bit can cause a horse, and this person just didn’t get it. How did they miss it? Where was it not clear?
How does a person go about opening someone’s mind that is mostly closed to information regardless whether the information they currently retain may be wrong?
The tack that is still employed today is completely out-dated. It has been hundreds of years since tack has really changed! There hasn’t been a change in the employment of bit, bridle and saddle since the first man sat astride his steed!
The methods are clearly archaic, so why hasn’t anyone updated their choices. If you ever delve into a conversation with a horse enthusiast invoke bits and bridles if you want to experience archaic responses. Take this knowledge with you if you do: A bit, regardless if it’s a snaffle or curb bit, hackamore or hack, it’s a piece of metal (sometimes rubber) that is wrapped around the horses nose, snug, or forced into the horses mouth. The bit forced into the mouth sits on what is called the bars in the horses mouth. The bars is a soft tissue area in the horses mouth where teeth do not grow (sometimes a wolf tooth will grow in or near this area in which a veterinarian will rip it out for you). How pleasurable can a piece of metal be in a mouth, sitting on soft gum tissue? Would you appreciate that pain? To put a cherry on top of this metal bar in its mouth, when reins are attached and then applied the metal bar either pinches their bottom jaw (the broken snaffle should be renamed the jaw cracker), and slides to and fro over their tender bars of the mouth (Again, the snaffle bit) or it rams the steel bar into the roof of their mouth (the curb bit).
I have listened to sooo many people tell me how the snaffle bit is the bit for training. That it’s the gentlest of all bits. I have to laugh and laugh hard! No metal, forced into a horses mouth, is gentle! Like I mentioned before, how would you like it? Give it a try yourself! Put a bar of metal in your mouth on your gums. Then attach string to each end of the bar and have someone yank on the string, I bet you’ll think differently immediately!!
These methods are archaic, cruel, and merely a method of GAINING COMPLIANCE THROUGH PAIN! If the horse doesn’t obey the rider, what do they ALL do? Pull harder on the reins! Pain for compliance!!
I will hold off editing the book until more reviews prove that the point, in fact, was not put across.
People should offer their opinion whether it is positive or negative.
Slightly off topic, but still on topic a true story here: I use unslash.com for some of my photo needs. I noticed one particular photographer had a style I really connected with. I decided to send an email telling the photographer I enjoyed their work and thank them for the free photo downloads.
About a week later I received an email from the photographer. They were thanking ME for thanking them! The photographer wrote that their photograph’s had been downloaded thousands of times, but my email, conveying my appreciation, was an anomaly. They had never received any comments from all the down-loaders until mine.
Happy Trails to you all. See you out there, we’re the bit-less riders!