There are such generalizations and misconceptions, about what things can be used for and in what manner. There is good value in anything if used correctly and humanely, supervised or by an experienced person.
There will always be those that will try this without the experience and feel behind the tool and this in turn makes it harder for those that do use these things with feel, timing and compassion. So instead of just blaming the tool or the method, blame the person using it!
All of the below in one way or another has been and can be used for good or bad in the care and treatment of any horse.
SADDLES – ill fitting
have your saddle fitted by a professional
BRIDLES – too tight, too loose, nose band restricting breathing, throat lash too tight cutting into throat, brow band to small or large
ask the question, look at images… feel it with your own hands for fit and room..
BITS – not suitable, wrong size, hard hands yanking on them
a horse can feel a fly, what makes you think it needs to be pulled or yanked! it should be nothing but a squeeze, don’t assume the horse is being stubborn or fighting you, he just probably hasn’t been taught properly to start with or you are not feeling it right! don’t fight the fight, out think it and re teach it out! Rein Control of the Horse
SPURS – digging into the sides, riding in them even tho not warranted in the training
if you don’t have a go button, spurs will not fix this, spurs are to assist with lateral work
HALTER RIDING – as with bridle and bit, these too can be painful and mis-used
yet in the right hands a rider can do a dressage test in one and much more
LEG RESTRAINTS – applied by those inexperienced can be wounding
yet with good training of these things you can eliminate many problems and issues, I highly recommend anyone wanting reasoning and information on this subject to read this link leg restraints training
DESENSITIZATION – over desensitizing, under desensitizing, using the wrong tools, not desensitizing to that particular horse itself
either way this must be done, even the great Xenophon in his notes states, ‘The groom should have standing orders to take his charge through crowds, and to make him familiar with all sorts of sights and noises; and if the colt shows sign or apprehension at them, he must teach him – not by cruel, but by gentle handling – that they are not really formidable.’
LAYING DOWN – amateur doing it!! massive no-no!!
It has its place with a professional horse person who knows when to do it and how to do it safely for horse and human. With life and time restrictions I have found that some horses will need to have this happen in the first stages, why do I say the first stages, because we seem to have the assumption that its like the movies or that its a big fight, it is prepared, initiated and can be very peaceful. Then there are horses like my SiAnn who has all the time in the world, but it is in my back pocket as a last resort with her, keeping in mind tho that we are in year 4 of retraining her and breakers and trainers do not have that sort of luxury of time.
I think the movie the horse whisperer has a lot to answer for with this one and a responsibility to put out there exactly how they got the horse to fight as to my understanding, the horse initially did it so peacefully that the directors asked for more fight as it wasn’t emotional enough! ring any bells!
BUCKING OUT – almost unheard of in this day and age of horsemanship
but if this is how you think, then you are lacking greatly!! if the work is put in there is absolutely no need for a horse to buck.
So what does all of the above tell us. It tells us two things TIME and FEEL.
You need to take the time it needs to take, to help your horse understand with feel… The horse is your mirror and is only reflecting, either, what you are giving out or what his gear and your manners are asking him to give…the horse never lies….
People are quick to blame the gear, method or horse, if you truly love your horse to the fullest then take your relationship to the fullest and look into yourself, then look at the other things… its a process of elimination in a lot of instances
horse history and so on, always start with the most simple or the least and then build to the worst case scenario.