Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dancing Is Supposed To Be Fun!

I had a rare Saturday off and got to play with my horses in the morning for a change. They were  finishing breakfast (listening to horses munching hay is a peaceful escape for me.) My reverie was interrupted by a BOOM BOOM BOOM, there was an electrical charge in the air, and it felt like the ground was shaking. Not a thunderstorm, just the A hole who lives behind me "training" a horse to "dance".
I've spent the last more-years-than-I-like-to-admit sporadically learning to ride dressage. I've worked hard at it. Being a realist, I'll never be a famous name, will never win a USDF medal, will probably never do more than enter a local backyard show. I'm content to be an adequate rider. To not embarass the talent I'm riding. To dance with my horse. Working as a team with my dance partner, the flow of energy as such as it's hard to discern where one ends and the other begins is like crack. When it's achieved for a whole ride or just a few strides, it's better than sex, as awesome as chocolate.
Just a disclaimer that I am not targeting a particular race or culture. I've seen people of all races do good and bad things with horses. The "dancing  horse" fad seems to be predominant in the Hispanic culture. Why anyone who thinks this looks good is beyond me, the horses are moving like they are crippled and in pain. Most have soundness issues at very young ages, and instead of being rehabbed, they are dumped at an auction and a new horse started.
If the "training" methods weren't cruel and controversial, why is it necessary to do it under cover? There used to be a chain link fence separating our properties, this neighbor attached aluminum panels to the chain link so nobody can see in. I've seen several horse properties "secluded" in this fashion, so I know exactly what is going on. So not only does my backyard look like Little Tijuana with that tacky ass aluminum on the fence, it sounds like it too, when the "trainer" is there. It does, however, make a satisfying loud sound when I throw something against it, scaring the shit out of the people and causing them to vacate the place in seconds. 
For those who think I'm talking out of my butt, I have owned two horses who were victims of this kind of training. Rehab is tough, as they are shell shocked and lack confidence. One, long gone to the Rainbow Bridge, would still tremble whenever she heard anyone speak Spanish. The one I'm working with now is young, so hopefully the physical and mental damage that's been done to him can become a distant bad memory, but it won't happen in a hurry.
I'm no Kool Ade drinking carrot stick waver. I expect my horses to behave when I'm around. They get to do whatever they want for 23 hours a day, they can do what I ask for an hour. I'm not a great trainer, and there's a lot my horses have to forgive about my riding skills. But they greet me at the gate and eagerly put their head in the halter, happy to go out. They enjoy their workouts and are sound into ripe old age. I have yet to see one "dancing horse" that is.
Here's the video, in case you missed it last time:


  1. I'm not going to watch the video, cause I don't want to see the cruelty :( Too bad thats going on in your back yard :( I have a lot of respect for dressage riders! But like you, how do people think the "dancing horses" look pretty? It looks painful to me!

  2. I saw someone loading up a Pod at their place, so I'm kind of hoping I'll be getting a neighbors upgrade.
    I've always been a big believer in setting a goal when you get inside the arena, then quitting when you reach the goal and doing something fun and relaxing, like a trail ride. Too much arena work is a quick way to burn out. It keeps my guys happy :)