The following foto’s videos might not be for the weak hearted among us; especially for people who cares about animals, horses in this case.
It started with this photo; which I found via a friend on Facebook. And this is just the top of the iceberg.
What you see here is a tongue cut by a bit. Whatever the trainer tried to achieve, the horse was not cooperating, for a reason as you might guess.
All for the show, all for the money, via Horsecare
As there is more, I gathered these videos because I want to show people the things people seem to do for a living. It is all “normal”, because everyone says it is. But what do you think happens with the horses that are used for this? I guess you know where they go to once they don’t deliver the required results, once they try to resist and buck their owners off. If they only did so, because horses just won’t fight. They prefer to give in and lose their soul and spirit.
And isn’t that just exactly that what people love from horses? Wild horses, free, untamed, with their manes and tail flaming in the air, in a fast canter over the beach or through the sea? Where is their spirit, their dignity, as they were once known as spirits of the desert?
The blue tongue.
What is a blue tongue?
In a horses mouth it is “normal” to put pieces of metal. It’s called a bit. This bit gives the rider the feeling he can control the horse. If the horse does not do what the rider wants, the horse gets another bit in his mouth.
A mechanism with a metal chain around the chin causes the bottom bit of the mouth and the tongue to be squeezed.
If there are still problems the handle which can be seen at the left and right side of his mouth will be longer. Or even more bits will be put in the mouth, strapped around the chin, nose and with a short line attached to the saddlegirth.
So when the rider pulls the reins, the handle squeezes the horses mouth and the horse is forced to react or otherwise the pain in his lower jaws and tongue are overwhelming. If this is done for a longer period the horses will show some signs of discomfort:
– They first start to “make foam” on their lips, as they can not open their mouth against the pressure. There is friction in the mouth however and this causes the foam.
– When they can, they will lift up their heads high as the pressure of the bit is then “only” against the teeth, not the soft tongue and other soft mouth tissue. This however can be “solved” by using additional reins that go from the bit, between the front legs, straight to the saddle girth. So the horse can’t raise his head anymore.
– They will try to get rid of the pressure of the bit by opening their mouth. But their mouth is wrapped in tight leather straps, so they try different ways to get rid of the pain and the pressure.
As shown in this video below, the horses from these 2 riders, a blond haired woman on a black horse and a blond haired man on a brown (fox) colored horse show typical behavior in a far state of conditioning.
LDR aka Low Deep and Round “vs” Rollkur “vs” Hyperflexion?
Both horses are ridden with a curl in their neck which is beyond the stretch the muscle in their necks can have. But the pulling on the bit causes them to bend it still. Hence they have found some other, albeit limited ways to cope with the pain.
– They squeeze their tongues out of their mouth to have a bit more place free.
As can be seen in this video the brown/fox colored horse shows some strange ‘flapping’ with his lips. If you look careful you see it is trying to squeeze his tongue out of his mouth. The tongue, due to the bloodstream cut off by the bit is blue.
– They “nick” their heads and neck so deep that their chin hits their chest. This is a way to get rid of the jerking of the hands, although they can not keep their heads that deep. Simply, because the muscletissue just is not built for that. Not to mention their respiratory system and bones that are damaged by ‘worked’ too often in this position.
“KWPN Stallion Watermill Scandic, being ridden in the hyperflexed/rollkur position with its blue tongue lolling out at the World Cup dressage qualifier in Odense, Denmark in October 2009”
Here is the famous horse Totilas. He was bought for a lot of money because he was such a great star under his previous rider. But seeing these images; he looks nervous and misses a lot of steps. There is no peace, there is no confidence. Who knows what happens behind those closed doors? Only Totilas will know..
But western riding is completely different! The horses walk with loose reins!
Yes, that is during their actual performance. But what do you think how it looks like beforehand?
USEF Equestrian of the Year and double WEG gold medalist, Tom McCutcheon, warming up, ignored by the judges..
But wait, there are horse whisperers that can help horses who refuse to put on a bit! Take Pat Parelli!
Well, if a horse is so fed up with it all, you are not going to force 500kg of muscles to do something he does not want to do. Even if the person trying to is called Pat Parelli. With these kind of “tricks” the trust of the horse in the human is dropping even more…
Passive, persistence in horse training might be Pat Parelli’s motto, but he didn’t show it at the Festival of the Horse. Robert Whitaker’s horse Catwalk didn’t like his bridle being put on, but Pat Parelli tried to force the horse with a rope and twitch in a session that lasted over 2 hours at Stoneleigh Park in the UK. Rope halters, lead lines, the carrot stick, and the Parelli method can be used for good or bad. This is not natural horsemanship. Do it natural…
There are so many different ways to leave the horse in his/her dignity and to be able to work with them in a peaceful and quiet way. A bit does not hold a horse back from doing the things he can do, if he still dares.
A more detailed explanation with photo’s and videos is found in a previous blogpost “Bits of Freedom? Not for horses” as well as in these videos about bits and the damage they cause:
What every horse deserves to have? A life in a herd and a human good enough to work for and with. And whomever thinks bits are a necessity; you might be interested to see this Grand Prix level dressage:
Andrzej Sa?acki and his horse Czcionka in 1988
And if you think this is impossible to achieve… There are ways:
You just need to know the right approach, the right people and to listen to your horse and your own senses. Because it all can be achieved with a few things. No bits, but love. No spurs, but clearness. A horse and a person don’t need much more than that.
Saddle your moneymaker.
A bit of bit for horses.
A frightening bit.
The perfect dressage horse? (Das perfekte Dressurpferd?)
Horse “Show” trainers – behind the scenes
Bits of Freedom? Not for horses.