Gaited Horses and Soring (From Saddleseat Thread)

Shadowlark

Tripp and Olly
Dec 31, 2005
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I hate to be a downer.. but in some cases the tail situation is the kindest thing done to them. Soaring (burning liquid applied to feet/legs) and chaining are used to exagerate the gaits and get that "big lick" (huge front action) along with those massive weited shoes by many who show these horses. And although it is considered even by our standards cruelty and shows where it's going on can be shut down - it carries on by the "traditionaslists"

Which is why I made a point of mentioning the growing ever expanding natrual movement in my previous post. Things done to animals for "fashion" are still rampant over here, along with croping and docking dogs tails..
 

Katie_85

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Jan 29, 2001
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As per Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, Racking Horses- I would like to point out that chaining without soring or fixing is not cruel in the slightest. There is nothing at all harmful about asking a horse to wear a 6 oz. "ankle weight" for 15 minutes if it helps him understand which order his feet are supposed to land in. The cruelty part comes in when you apply chemical aids first and then add the chains. Same with the "heavy shoes". A "package", which is the combo of pad, wedge, and shoe put on a built up horse is not heavy at all. It isn't the weight that gives the lift- it's the height and the angle. And yes- I know that a google search will turn up all kinds of horror stories of what can be done to padded horses, but I'm telling you what I saw done firsthand and how it's supposed to be done. Plantation horse shoes, on the other hand, are heavy, but they are flat, there's no angle and for the most part, no funny farriery.
 

KateWooten

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You'll have to enlighten me about how chains are used to aid the horse in placing his feet ... I've only ever seen them used as literally a chain around each front fetlock which bangs against the bone and encourages the horse to snatch his foot smartly off the ground. I know if I can get a sharp reponse from my horse if I tap exceedingly gently right on the bone there, with even a soft ended bat - I dread to think what a chain would feel like to him.

Now these big pads then - they weigh nothing ? If you place even a very small weight at the end of a long lever such as a horse's front leg, the loading on the joint at the top is magnified enormously. More to the point, thick pads as seen on big lick walkers raise the heel and change the angle of the hoof putting extreme stress on his joints - he's walking as though in stiletto heels. How is that fair to the horse ?

Weighting of front feet is extremely common- I would have thought absolutely universal for padded walkers. When the weights are removed just before entering the arena the temporary lift given to the front end is huge. I've no idea how any serious competitor could attempt to compete without them.

s020100a3.jpg


sorehorsehoof2.jpg


"Big Lick" showing, the art of developing the exaggerated gait of these horses is not a topic to play nicey nicey, 'everyone has their own opinion' and 'not all of us are so bad' with. Not when it's in your back yard and in your face. The whole industry stinks.

Here's your fetlock chains. Nicey. Nicey.

sorehorsehoof.jpg
 
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Katie_85

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You'll have to enlighten me about how chains are used to aid the horse in placing his feet ... I've only ever seen them used as literally a chain around each front fetlock which bangs against the bone and encourages the horse to snatch his foot smartly off the ground.

Certainly. Walking Horses who have a tendency sometimes are chained with a 6 oz. chain around their front fetlocks which slows their front feet down enough to give them a 1-2-3-4 hoofbeat. It's not a fix-all. Good gaiting comes with training, not gadgets. The only time that light of a chain is going to hurt a horse is if said animal is already sore. On a sound animal a chain is a legitimate training device.

As for the pads, they weigh less than they look like they weigh. They are heavier than keg shoes, no doubt, but they are lighter than the flat plantation shoes.

Weighting of front feet is extremely common- I would have thought absolutely universal for padded walkers.

You thought wrong. There are some unscrupulous competitors, sure, but there are also a lot of sound competitors too.

When the weights are removed just before entering the arena the temporary lift given to the front end is huge. I've no idea how any serious competitor could attempt to compete without them.

What? Clairify please.

You might be interested to know that I do not know, nor have I ever, endored sore horses. When I competed in the Walking Horse world I competed mostly flat shod with the occasional built up, but ALL OF MY HORSES WERE SOUND. I still won. Perhaps you would care to stop insinuating that I am in some way responsible for the actions of other in my sport.

P.S. One of your "big lick" Walking Horse pictures is not a Walking Horse.
 
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KateWooten

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Watch the big front enders move - there was a real famous pair of black walkers with huge high flowing front feet - can't remember the names - the video was amazing. They're weighted until just before they enter the arena, weights are removed ... and it's just like that feeling you get having carried a heavy load on your shoulders, and then putting it down - you feel all light and floaty. It's only temporary, but weighting the front feet and then removing weights just before the finals is absolute standard practice. Heck, even pony hunters remove their shoes right before the finals flat class here.

PS I haven't insinuated anything about any of your horses ever. You do sound defensive.

P.P.S This thread was about saddlebreds. Is it ok if I mention them and other park/saddleseat horses or are all dodgy training techniques the property of the TWH scene exclusively ?
 
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Skyhuntress

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Katie, I'd have to agree with KateW.

There is something WRONG with a sport that promotes chains and soring and heavy shoes in order to get the highstepping results that is the basic goal of saddleseat. What does it say about the sport that these types of things still exist within the discpline, and if not accepted, at the very least tolerated.

Every sport has its problems, dressage and rolkur, jumpers and pointy objects within boots. But by and large, the largest amount of problems and "dirty cheats" come from within the gaited horse community. The problem by and large, and what makes the difference between gaited sports and any other, is that you are unable to get the same results without the devices. Does that not tell you something?
 
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Katie_85

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So do you agree with altering the hoof angle so dramatically, whether the weights are heavy or not?

Short term, yes. Long term, no.

Kate Wooten- You've just posted pictures of obviously sore horses with chains and implied that the chains were what caused the sores.
Here's your fetlock chains. Nicey. Nicey.
If that isn't at all what you meant than I apologize and ask that you edit your post. You've also tarred me with the same brush sore competitors in that same post.
"Big Lick" showing, the art of developing the exaggerated gait of these horses is not a topic to play nicey nicey, 'everyone has their own opinion' and 'not all of us are so bad' with.
Big wonder I'm defensive.
 

Katie_85

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Storm Arion- Big Lick isn't the basic goal of Saddleseat. It isn't even the basic goal of Walking Horses. I don't want you to get the wrong impression about a big discipline because of the bad actions of a minority of some in my sport. Most Walking Horse people are sound horse owners who own thier mounts becuase of their smooth gaits and gentle dispositions. Competition is only a small part. Unfortunately though, bad news always gets more press than good I'm afraid.
 

juejue

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it's sadly fascinating and quite disturbing to read about all these practices, tis certainly not common knowledge over here in the UK I'm sure, i'm sure i read somewhere about trotters in Ireland having their feet chained and i thought that was rather barbaric in this day and age. surprising to hear that it seems to be a widescale and almost accepted part of the training of these saddleseat horses.
 

KateWooten

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I honestly can't believe any sensible person would defend such an industry. The horse's hoof that is really sored has been sored by chemicals. The picture of the hoof with the thick pad and chain on is what you're defending.

I should most definitely not be feeling mad, riled up and seething with anger as I write this, I'm so much more fair and eloquent normally, you're right. I should not be trying to be sarcastic and saying 'nicey nicey' at you. But there you go. You are defending and condoning one of the cruelest industries ever.

If you are totally fine about using those chains that's on your conscience not mine. What do other NR's think about that last piccie of the chain and the high-heeled pad - the one that you are defending ?
 

Skyhuntress

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Storm Arion- Big Lick isn't the basic goal of Saddleseat. It isn't even the basic goal of Walking Horses. I don't want you to get the wrong impression about a big discipline because of the bad actions of a minority of some in my sport. Most Walking Horse people are sound horse owners who own thier mounts becuase of their smooth gaits and gentle dispositions. Competition is only a small part. Unfortunately though, bad news always gets more press than good I'm afraid.

I'm not even argueing that soring is the main thing that happens.
I have absolutely no problem with those who love the breed and are happy with the NATURAL gaits of the horse.

The problem is that within competition, its no longer natural. The moment you put on heavy shoes or chains in order to get more highstepping ability, you alter what they were able to give naturally. It'd be like sticking pins on brush boots over fences. Yes, the horse consequently is more careful with his legs and jumps a bit higher, but at what cost?
 

Katie_85

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But that isn't at all what I'm defending!!! That's what I've been trying to say all along here. I don't advocate the use of chemicals for any reason, but I have used a 6 oz (no heavier) chain on a flat shod horse who was pacey as a training device. I am also saying that it is possible to compete heavy shod in a humane way. No chemicals, no quicking. I am defending

1. the use of light chains with NO CHEMICAL ever as a training device in competent hands when necessary

2. the use of built ups in the show ring provided that a competnt farrier is always at hand and that the horse be put back on flats after the show
 

Laura+Phantom

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Jan 25, 2004
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Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I cannot even imagine putting chains around my ponies pasterns (whether it causes pain or not) to change the way they walk.

ETA: fetlocks not pasterns :)
 
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