Poor Pirate (arghhh matey!)

Another prime example of some stupid asshat starting a horse long before it’s ready.

“Pirate has alot going for him: manners, color, lots of bone, nice comfortable movement, looks, & etc. He is turning 3 years old and very sensible. He is well started on his basics under saddle. He is sweet and willing and has a very level head. utd on vacc/worming. sound with good feet.”

How the ad should read:

“Pirate is a broke-too-soon two year old who is so underdeveloped he almost looks malnourished.  He’s very sensible!  You never have to worry about him tossing his rider because he is no where near coordinated enough to do so.  UTD on vacc./worming.  Sound for now!”

Ugh.  This is a two year old with a (tightly fitted) standing martingale on!  Sure, Friesians have naturally high head carriage, but this one’s exaggerated by the fact that he’s going around with his back hollowed – this “well started” horse needs to learn to stretch through his topline and build up his back muscles.  To the woman in the photo: those are the muscles that help him to carry the weight of a rider.  Another point of interest is that your stirrups are so short you’re sitting on his kidneys.  Perhaps that’s part of the reason he drops his back and brings his head up?  You know, ’cause he’s in pain?  Oh, and in case you’re interested, riding a horse before it is physically developed enough to properly carry a rider’s weight (which this one clearly is not) can contribute to conformational issues such as a sway back.

Oh gosh.  There was one more thing we wanted to mention.  Whatever could it have been?  OH YES! Who in their right minds doesn’t wear a helmet when riding a young horse?!  Especially one just started under saddle?!  Forget any attitude issues (bucking, etc.); what if he trips!?  Young horses, especially ones this underdeveloped, are not balanced.  They’re more likely to lean around corners and also to misstep because they’re still learning where their feet go!  You know what, never mind.  We hope you do fall.  Maybe that way this guy will actually get some time to grow before his next ride, so that all these things are no longer issues.

Too mean?


About snarkyrider

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Posted on January 4, 2012, in Bad Horse Ads, Bad Riders, Conformation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. While I agree with virtually all of your comments (especially the helmet one… I had a young well mannered green mustang fall over with me at the canter when he tripped because he simply wasn’t coordinated enough to catch himself AND ME like a more experienced riding horse would be.) I will point out she’s doing saddle seat. Inversion is required for their legs to move like that and the saddle/rider is purposefully that far back to fre up the shoulders for the movement. Do I agree with it? Nope. But i did some research into it as I had a friend who was a saddle seat rider and have taught a couple in basic flat/low dressage lessons and they do these things on purpose. Yes, even with the martingale which has the purpose to NOT throw their head up. Really its just there to keep that chaotic head from going so high they can’t control the horse till he learns his ‘head set’ to my understanding.

    Note, I am not a saddle seat rider myself so all of this is in as far as I have researched, listened and learned. They actually breed saddlebreds (the prime saddleseat/park horses) to have ridiculously high set necks, so much so that they also end up with weak swayed backs. I knew one who looked nearly snapped in half he was so badly sway backed and had been so most his life. Actually that’d be a fun thing to snark on, deformed-bred saddlebreds for ‘show’ purposes because they still RIDE these horses with a prosthetic! That is if the horse is lucky.

    Saddlebred should mean bred for saddle… these horses are not bred for much of anything except being uncomfortable most of their lives. Poor beasties.

    • Yes all gadgets have a “purpose” whether they work for the said purpose or are completely inappropriate for the situation though is important to note. A young horse cannot handle a rider so far back when it is this under developed. I used to ride regionally and nationally as a saddle seat rider with morgans. We started all of our morgans in typical close contact saddles to keep the riders off their developing backs until they built the muscle to handle a rider further back like this. You can’t deny this poor horse is hollowing his back to relieve the pressure from her weight.

      Looking at his movement and build it’s not even appropriate to try to turn him into a saddle seat horse. He’s not going to have it, especially when over ridden this early.

      Not to mention the fact that she’s got two different martingales on at the same time! It’s about the most retarded thing I have ever seen.

      It’s a shame, he’s cute. Could make someone a nice little 4H horse or even maybe a hunter jumper. But as he goes he’ll be destroyed before he’s 8 unless someone gets him and puts him out to pasture for a year to develop.

      Snarky, what outrageous sum are they asking for this poor lad?

      • Oh yes, totally. I’m not saying its her riding style that’s doing it but her riding style that is exacerbating the problem even more. Poor guy. 😦

      • Teresa, I’m curious, and NOT a saddleseat rider. I know there are good and bad trainers in every discipline, but do they really train them to go hollow as Lunatteo stated? My understanding with training any horse for any discipline is you want them forward, soft, and supple pushing with their hindend and lifting their back. I know saddleseat requires a different posture, but are those basics all ignored?

        • I can tell you, there’s very very little finesse in riding a saddle seat or park horse, you pretty much whip them around by the face and throw them into the canter etc, it’s all about getting flashier movement. It wasn’t until I discovered dressage that I found out you don’t have to turn your horses head into the rail and yank their heads up to get them to pick up the proper lead. and yes the basics don’t really exist that I ever saw, or remembered, and we weren’t at the bottom of the ribbon bin either. I had a lovely national reserve champion 5yo park mare. so I can say that even at the top the basics didn’t exist.

          We never trained horses to go around in the hollow, but they do naturally hollow our their backs as it’s physically impossible to have the head up like this and and still be round. We don’t look for drive from the hind instead we looked for tight hocks, and all of them are pretty strung out because of it, (collection? what’s that?) Here’s an image of a morgan going around without a rider and you can see he’s strung out behind and a bit hollow. Also as as riders we were incredibly strong. We knew we were posting rather far back so our thighs were ridiculously strong and we sat (as gently as you can) onto the horses. Otherwise you end up riding like this ICK!

          What this lady is doing is destroying this pirate, Morgans have very strong wide backs and even then never placed a saddle seat on them until they were strong and able to carry us. And we didn’t start our horses till 3 and sometimes later! This poor horse has a too round of a croup and bad shoulder for the discipline, the more horizontal shoulder the better or high “headset” (man I hate that word) and the most freedom in the shoulder. This boy is being asked to do what his body isn’t even built properly to do.

          • Oh I forgot to mention a double bridle is used through all of this with as little finesse as the rest of the horse is ridden with. (though we didn’t introduce doubles until 4ish after a lot of training.

            • You never rode at a good saddleseat barn then. It does take a terrible amount of tact and finesse to take a well-bred saddleseat horse (be it a saddlebred, NSH, Arab or whatever breed you prefer) and get them to move powerfully, and supple through the bridle and trot to the best of their ability. Most of the trainers I have had the honor to work with use a combination of dressage and other strengthing sand suppling techniques to get their horses to win at the national levels. I won’t say I agree with all methods, but you cannot rightly say that a quality saddleseat horse is yanked and spanked to get them to perform at that level. Academy and local level horses on the other hand…

              • I rode at several but perhaps there were good ones. I never saw it when I was a kid showing from 8-12 years old. a good 20 years ago. What I saw more often than not in the ring and in training was less finesse and more muscling the horse around. Just my experience. Of course I got out of breed shows shortly after that and have not followed them since. Don’t agree with destroyed breed standards and the methods that were coming into fashion at the time. Or maybe they were always there, I just became more observant with age.

                • And I don’t think dressage had caught on as a method of training cross discipline 20 years ago.

                  • Thanks for the info guys! I’d love to learn more about “good” saddleseat if you have any other resources.. I have a few 4H students who are interested in trying it out, and I admit, I’m out of my depth. It’s a whole different ballgame than western/huntseat.

      • Why he’s available for the low, low price of $5,000! He’s listed as a Friesian Cross, foaled March 2009 (ugh, for a second I forgot it’s 2012 and thought he was just turning two!!!) oi

        • I hope he’s Friesian and Saddlebred. I ride a Friesian/Trakehner with pretty bad giraffe neck, but not like THAT. Then again he’s 8 and I try to get him to AVOID it.

        • Oh so a draft cross which means even though they are big they need longer to mature and develop than the typical hot blooded breeds. Poor thing. Even more likely to be destroyed. They should list him as a gypsy and they could get even more than 5k to some nut, especially if he was still intact LOL Apparently they eat rainbows and poop butterflies!

  2. Heck, green OLDER horses are unbalanced, says she who’s been riding a green-broke 10 year old with no top line…

    At least he knows the meaning of the words ‘forward’ and ‘straight’ now. Still working somewhat on ‘rhythmic’ and ‘consistent’. And, of course, once he worked out ‘forward’ he suddenly realized he is, indeed, a Thoroughbred.

  3. I think I will buy it because it’s prudee…good grief. Let that horse become a horse for crying out loud.

  4. I personally don’t care if she’s riding saddle seat, it doesn’t excuse riding an undeveloped two yr-old or sitting on his kidneys. I cannot fathom why people persist in starting young horses and ruining them. Seriously, is there a hate on for these animals that I missed?

    But that’s just my two-cents. 🙂

  5. It’s a crappy picture, but I think it is a mutated German martingale…still not an application I would use it for… poor baby!

  6. Perhaps she’s riding in a flat saddle like a huntseat saddle ( knees bent way too much ) because if she had the stirrups down where they should be, her feet would be hanging down around his knees. Looks like she’s using drawreins on him (hard to tell in the photo), not to keep his head down, but to tuck his nose in, which is not something you work on first with a training colt. Poor baby. His rider needs to get off him, feed him more, and turn him out to grow up more. If she can’t, she needs to sell him to someone who will.

    • Its a saddle seat saddle which actually should require her legs be longer strangely. o.O Not sure why she’s so shortened them. And there is a pull on the reins downwards in the second picture that indicates some sort of training fork… or phantoms trying to rip the reins from the girl in efforts to save the pony.

      Personally I prefer the second option. hehe

      • yes her stirrups are far too short, I have a feeling this has a lot to do with her having NO clue what she’s doing LOL Poor Pirate

        “phantoms trying to rip the reins from the girl” haha they’d probably have better luck though pushing her backwards with a feather. she’s so close to falling off his butt anyway!

      • lol fingers crossed it’s the phantoms!

    • She’s using a standing and a running, Which just blows my mind!

  7. sweetjennevieve

    She’s riding him in a cutback saddle (saddle seat saddle). The horse looks like a Saddlebred to me. Also, coming from a Saddle seat oriented breed (Morgans), many many saddle seat riders ride sans helmet. Not sayin’ it’s right. Regardless, way to young to be in the situation he’s in.

  8. I was noticing the legs, this youngster looks more saddlebred or TWH, he seems to be doing a pace/lateral gait..
    My saddlebred cross has that tall/long giraffe neck. If he was started as a late 2 yr old, with 30 days… then left to sit.. it might (I don’t agree) Ok.
    Most gaited breeds are started as 2 yr olds, my husbands KY mtn horse was started as a 2 yr old. And was ridden and marketed in a shank bit which is common for them to be ridden in.
    We let her sit for several months to grow up and only did light riding now and again that fall.
    My thought at first is that it wasn’t a martingale but a type of draw reins commonly used in saddleseat circles.
    If you look here
    You will see that the horse has lines/reins coming from the girth and has the reins running through the bit and is buckled at a certain spot.
    When I started my mare as a very late 2 yr old, I did nothing but ground work, surcingle, with line driving off a halter then added a bridle, no pressure on her mouth at that time.. finally backed 2x, ponied once outside (no one on her), ridden once, and then I moved and had no indoor , and she sat till she was 3, by the time she was 3 she had 3 rides total on her.

  9. $5000….?

    He looks, to me, like a backwoods scrub trail horse. Like someone’s pinto half-draft mare got loose with someone’s backyard Arab stallion.

    Or like one of the horses on the cartoon Horseland, who have those unicorn necks coming straight up out of ’em.

    There’s all this controversy regarding Saddlebreds & lordosis, with ASB maintaining that the swaybacks their horses are prone to have nothing to do with training methods etc.


  10. I worked in a few saddleseat barns, I didn’t stay in a single one longer than two weeks. The things they do to those horses to achieve that look are absolutely disgusting. They do things like cut tail muscles, make the horses wear nasty contraptions all the time and stuff ginger up their ass ALL for the sake of getting them to hold their tails up. They also deliberately sore and injure their horses to get them to move a certain way. When people were hired to inspect horses at shows to try and get rid of soring practices, in came “stewarding”. Basically they poke and prod the horse where it’s sore and when they flinch or show and sign of discomfort they get the crap beat out of them until they don’t flinch anymore.

    It baffles me that racing gets all the flack for being a horrible sport while saddleseat gets to go along under the radar. The sad thing is a lot of the reasons people think racing is cruel aren’t even true or blown way out of proportion, yet there are entire campaigns trying to get rid of and/or change horse racing. Terrible nasty things are actually going on in a large number of saddleseat barns yet you don’t hear any major outcry about that…

  11. Because racing is an “industry,” with lots of $$$$$$$ at stake. And horse racing is the only horse sport shown on network television, except at Olympics time.

    Saddleseat is such a niche thing – it’s rarely featured in any of the “every discipline” publications, like EQUUS or Horse Illustrated. I HAVE seen some gorgeous big moving saddleseat horses (saddlebreds, Arabs, NSHs) who’ve not been abused, but there aren’t very many saddle seat horses around here, period. It’s mainly a breed show thing, and breed show circles are so very inbred and clannish. Well, OK, so is the whole horse world, but the saddle-type breeds (as they’re called here) are very mysterious around here unless they’re trail horses. THAT is a fairly strong market around here: gaited trail horses.

  12. Cathy Atkinson (@CathyAtkinson1)

    “You never have to worry about him tossing his rider because he is no where near coordinated enough to do so.”

    EXACTLY!!! And this is the entire TRUTH between starting 2 year olds – it’s about being fucking chickenshit and wanting to get on them before they are physically strong/balanced enough to offload your ass. Heaven forbid you start them sensibly and slowly so that they keep their brain plugged in the whole time and you don’t have that problem to worry about…

    • I COMPLETELY disargree with your comment. Not only is it rude, but it is also completely untrue. Not ALL horses need to sit in a pasture until they are three years old to be ready for anything physically or mentally challenging. Sure, yearlings and two year old need lighter work they are still FULLY capable of learning (aside from the few knotheads that cant handle more than 15 minutes of human contact before throwing a hissy fit…and those are the types of horses I do not and WILL not buy).

      Lets use my gleding as an example. I bought him as a yearling. He knew absolutly NOTHING. Before he hit the long yearling mark he knew more than most 20 year old horses. He was bombproof to everything, completely calm and realxed in any enviroment, and very smart. He was broke to carry the saddle the winter of his yearling year. No buck, rear, freak out, explosion, or whatever you associate with cinching a saddle on a colt. He is now two and is completely broke to ride(in short sessions). He never gave me any sort of trouble.
      Your comment: “Heaven forbid you start them sensibly and slowly so that they keep their brain plugged in the whole time” is complete bull. My gelding was completely engaged in everything he did and always focoused and ready to learn. Not only that, but he was also trained at his OWN pace.

      I really can’t stand some “asshats” that honestly know nothing about training a well bred horse with a good mind. And don’t tell me you do, because if you did you would completely understand where I am coming from. So before you bash people starting horses at two, you should take into consideration that not ALL horses are the same….and everyone has their own reasons for starting thier horses at certian ages.

      • If you want to throw a saddle on your yearling I suppose that’s your business, but given all of the posts we’ve done and the subjects we’ve covered, why are you picking on this comment that encourages a conservative approach to horse breaking. You may disagree with it but you have to admit, no horse has suffered physically or mentally by being allowed to chill in a field and you know, be a horse. Regretably, the same can’t be said for horses that are started too early.

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