At the state fair last weekend, I got to watch a WSCA show. And thusly, I was introduced to a class I had never heard of: Tandem Bareback. Now, I've heard of riding double. I know what a tandem bicycle is. The concept does not bother me. Sounds like a good test of seat and temperment of horse.
Two skinny kids ride a horse around the ring, W-T-C-B-H, and then line up and get ribbons. Silly costumes are worn, and sensible tack (no tie downs, obviously!)
Now, I'm not going to lie, it's a stupid class (these kids aren't that good at it). Like Arabian costume class, it's not exactly something you do all that seriously. It's fun to go ride with a friend, and I'm certain all of the contenders were there for other classes.
So you'd think it would at least look fun, but it doesn't. It looks downright creepy. The kids sit butt cheek-to-crotch, knee-to-knee, toe-to-heel close. The kid in back keeps their nose almost touching the head of the rider in front of them, smiling at the back of their friend's hair/helmet. They move their arms in some sort of impotent mimic of the front rider. It's creepy! Even the woman behind me thought it looked unsettling.
As it's a western pleasure derivative, the winners were the pair with the slowest 4-beating horse, who was so long backed it looked like he could have fit another 3 or so kids. None of the horses moved very quickly- it was slow enough to realize just how unsettling it looked.
I don't blame the contenders. If you're already there, have a matching outfit and a friend who's willing to get a little intimate in the show ring, then it seems like a fun way to get another ribbon.
Still, it's like riding with a Realdoll or something.
So these guys are 34" high. Googling ohter 34" horses, they weigh about 150. 300 lbs together, can pull 900 to 1500 lbs.
Red shirt tubby: 300 lbs Cowboy hat guy: 200 lbs 2 girls back left: 100 together Darker girl behind RST: 75 The three remaining children: 150 Cart:200 And how many children hanging off the other side? We are still under the limit...
So I was wondering: What's your favorite thing to do with your horse? Do you just love ground-driving? Running barrels? Snoozing in the sun together? Something the both of you like.
My Dante loves to jump. I encouraged it from the beginning with him, super-praising him for doing so. So if he's ever in a bad mood, I can pop him over a little jump (on him or not) and then get him back on whatever task we're doing. I love watching him get all proud, even if it's a weenie jump. My lil champion.
My favorite thing to do is a full groom. My horse is always the shiniest. His mane is always combed, his tail is brushed. His socks are pretty clean, etc. I do a nice groom before every ride, rinse off after if he's sweaty and it's warm enough, and he's probably Mr. Popular with no flies nearby.
At first he was not a fan of the attention, except for brushing his tail. Now the routine's pretty simple and he stands like a champ. And he likes it more, takes a nap.
Our favorite together thing is to chase something. Usually the trainer's husky, sometimes a chicken, once an actual cow. He knows what to do and I just hold on.
This isn't Horse Noob because I'm some sort of pro! However, the difference between a Noob and an idiot is that the Noob is trying, learning, and improving.
And the most important part of that difference is that a Noob is able to realize a deficiency, seek out information, and use some SENSE to learn what is right (credibility of information source, age of information, whether or not it sounds dumb).
Execution of course, is another matter, and what separates a Noob from an advanced rider.
For instance, to jump a fence: Canter up, counting strides, adjust your stride length if needed, head up, eyes forward, assume the position at the fence, close hip angle while releasing the head, open hip angle and follow the back and head coming down, eyes up, continue on. Sounds so fluid and nice.
Can I do that? No. I can trot up to a teeny fence, assuming a two-point too soon, with a basic mane release, and keep my butt out of the saddle with springy knees, and then after the jump I lower back down. I haven't even done that in a while until I get my health insurance back. :) I may not be pretty, but my horse gets very chipper when a weenie jump's involved, and has shown no hesitation about the matter. I'm not yanking on his mouth, slamming on his back, and if I'm not as balanced as I should be (I feel pretty balanced unless he decides to make the jump much larger than the object, which he sometimes does) I'm at least keeping the jumps very small until I develop that balance. So while possibly being a little annoying to him I don't think I'm making him upset or otherwise stressing him.
One time my horse tried to get a cookie for himself while roaming the indoor arena. Between two picnic tables. The cookies were in a container between them. I went to calmly get him (I didn't want to chase him out in case he got a leg caught on the bench). He knew he was being bad, so he went to turn around (I'm like good God no!), and instead of letting me get him, he reared up, hopped over the picnic table, loped a half circle and put his nosie on my shoulder like "ain't no thang."
Yes, my unfit, overweight, swaybacked, 15HH foundation-ey QH can pop over a full-sized picnic table from a standstill. And this was before the chiropractor, without a warmup, in the middle of winter. (a minnesota winter)
It was beautiful. My brain was screaming "vetbillvetbillvetbillvetbillvetbill...OMGhesdeadisnthe?" the entire time, and then when he put the nosie on said shoulder, part of me wished I could make him do that again without it being incredibly stupid and foolish.
He was now however, not allowed to kick at a barrel lying on the ground and look at me like "too high!" F-no table jumper.
Anyways Teaching Tuesday is just where I share a source. I have a few on the side (I'll show the cavalettis I recently made soon, and I LOVE the sustainable dressage link)
Saturday's fifth race at Belmont Park got off to an odd start when a horse named Phone Jazz threw off her jockey, Jean-Luc Samyn, while coming out of the gate. But that didn't matter to her.
No, Phone Jazz made a statement that the jockeys aren't really necessary in horse racing, and she just kept on going, crossing the finish line first, seven lengths ahead of the pack.
That didn't make her the winner, though, because the rules of horse racing say the horse and the jockey have to cross the finish line together. So Hold the Cruiser, who finished second, got the win, followed up by Favorite Colors and Properlyintroduced. Phone Jazz is technically considered not to have finished the race.
Samyn got up after falling off Phone Jazz and was not hurt.
So- one of the comments below the story suggested that we just do away with the jockeys, and make horse racing more like greyhound racing (although maybe that person wasn't thinking of the fake rabbit spurring them on).
Personally, it's a no-go for me. While yes you'd get rid of the whipping, heavy (for the age they race at) man atop them, you'd also have no reason to train the buggers. They may not break as many legs and be put down, but you'd also have an impetus to breed for a batshit-crazy temperament. What do you think training would be? Would breeders just make more babies, and be even more disposable (track broke is better than unbroke for rescue). Would they make them "mad?" Would the inject with hormones, feed them and box them up to make them hotter?
I think maybe greyhounds would be better off if they had some sort of obedience component as well (even as simple as after the race they have to come to their handlers).
(For those that noticed, I separated my blog to a new email addy. Same goes for twitter. It's an organizational thing. )
Okay so I'm going to stick to upper midwest cuz that's where I live, but I just had to share the following Craigslist "gems." All appeared yesterday. I'd like to make this a regular thing so if you have any to share just send to email@example.com. Yours don't have to be midwest, I just don't have the time to do the entire US.
The first is a gross misrepresentation of what a "filly" is:
The next two are by someone who just can't spell to save their lives. They don't bother looking it up, they just guess. For the price they're asking, I guess it's not too surprising.
This last one just cracks me up. Are they "mean" little "ponys?" That seems like incredibly unsafe fencing. And why on earth are they wearing nylon halters when they're in an obviously small pasture? With cows? And a round bale? Um, sweet...
These people are also offering a broodmare with baby (and of course rebred), and nearly all the rest of the farm equipement. One can only hope they're getting out of horses.