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WD-WTF: It’s just a little gear!


I don’t think I could yell as loud as the gear that is on this horse’s face.

Maybe it’s my own prejudice, but that horse looks incredibly sad.

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About snarkyrider

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Posted on February 11, 2012, in Weekly Dose of WTF and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. Holy mother of God. Wow.

    Why…. Who…. How can that possibly be…. ?

    Jeebsus… that is fucked up.

  2. Do I see draw reins and a martingale? That is cruel!

  3. NOT acceptable. That is all I can say. 😦

  4. Draw reins on the snaffle….. AND a weymouth?!? I lost track of all the gear on this poor horse’s face. If you need all that crap to be able to ride your horse safely… you should probably sell the real horse and buy a mechanical one.

  5. WTF, I have ridden a horse in a double to jump (high strung TB) but I never used what looks like draw reins, a running martingale and WTF is that extra strap! NO! A double is meant to have the curb used only when needed so WTH do you need all that other shit to “keep him in control”? Seriously, that horse needs an upgrade!

  6. that horse looks horrible sad… looks like he’s all dressed up for an S&M party, poor guy.

  7. Draw reins and a running martingale is serious overkill. (I don’t believe in draw reins except for short periods of time, used by an expert, for the purpose of conditioning – not training).

    On top of that, you NEVER PUT THE CURB REIN THROUGH THE MARTINGALE RINGS. Ever. Unless MAYBE you’re using rounds on a pelham (which I admit I used to do as a kid, but I now know better).

    Also. The grackle is incorrectly fitted.

    I wouldn’t use draw reins and double reins anyway…that’s just too much to manage and is going to put the RIDER in a bad situation.

    • Nope, teh grackle is correctly fitted for an eventer. I didn’t even notice the curb reins through the martingale Holy SHIT!
      The grackle (figure 8 in US) is always adjusted just below the cheek bones, the ones WITH the metal rings, the ones that slide go a bit lower. The ones with slides are usually ineffective. Why do you ask, as an ex pony clubber and current eventer they were very strict on what tack and how it was used and adjusted they way above is how mine was as PC (though mine wasn’t that tight ouch!) and the sliding ones move so much that they don’t help.

      HOWEVER< all that other crap shouldn't be used, at first I thought this maybe a dressage horse, then I looked at the background, why does a jumper need all of this?

      • Looks too high to me, but I admit I haven’t used a grackle in a long time.

        And no, the following are illegal in dressage: Grackle nosebands, draw reins, martingales of any kind. (I believe grackles are allowed for the dressage phase in eventing, but NOT in pure dressage).

        • I agree they are illegal, but I have seen it and reported it personally in both pure dressage and eventing dressage. Pure didn’t do squat, the eventers got shooed off property, sadly it was a young person who listened to her coach and didn’t read the rule book. she was also way over mounted.

          yes, they are saying to have the grackle a bit higher now as it doesn’t damage the cartilage that way. Also helps the horse from crossing his jaw (I have OTTB’s and love figure 8’s for the jaw crossers) but that guy above (or gal who ever is riding) should have the same things put on them and see how they like it! that is cruel!

        • USEF RULE BOOK
          2. For Training, First and Second Level tests and FEI Pony tests, a plain snaffle bridle is required
          with a regular cavesson, a dropped noseband, a flash noseband (a combination of a cavesson
          noseband and a dropped noseband attachment) or a crossed noseband.

          crossed is grackle it is legal through second level, I know I have shown second in a grackle. May be different in UK

  8. Someones scared of their horse…

  9. Gee, maybe the ‘rider’ should pull a little harder on the reins, the poor thing’s chin isn’t quite touching his chest yet. /sarcasm

    What’s truly sad is that no one probably said anything about it. If associations were really committed to the welfare of the horses, judges and ring stewards would punish riders who tortured their animals like this. Someone forgot to tell the sack of crap on that poor horse’s back that riding is about cooperation, not subjugation.

  10. Let’s see_Full bridle–figure eight–draws___Did I miss anything?? Yes _sad is an understatement–and since this looks like a jumper to me even sadder_Would you use your head and neck with this crap on?

  11. Oops_I sure did!! Running martingale on the curb rein_Seriously,there ought to be a law!

  12. what.the.freaking.fairy. were they trying to win th record for most over tacked horse ever?

  13. If you are going to hang all that hardware on them AND you still feel the need for drawreins, you need a different trainer, a different horse or maybe take up knitting.

  14. A little hint: if it takes hours to do up all the tiny straps on you’re horses face, there are too many o_O

  15. I’m used to going to big hunter/jumper shows, watching the warm up rings and being appaled by the overuse of draw reins… but this?? This is beyond what should be “socially acceptable”. I think the best use for draw reins is filling garbage cans, or maybe fixing a fence temporarily anyways… But figure 8s and flashes should NOT be used with leverage bits, nor should running martingales, and if you already have the head tied to the chest with the draw reins – then why do you need the double bridle?! This is incompetent “riding” (I’m tempted to call it “passengering” or “point and shoot”), and horsemanship at it’s very worst. There is a special place in hell for people who “train” animals like this.

  16. Personally I think dressage should have a rule stating d-ring, o-ring and egg butt snaffles ONLY. I would actually watch it if they did that.

    • If anyone walked onto dressage competition grounds with this getup on, they would be immediately kicked out. There are three things in this picture that are illegal on the show grounds at a dressage show.
      The first is the figure 8 and the double – you are not allowed flashes, grackles, figure 8s, etc.. with a double. Only a plain cavesson.
      The second is the draw reins. They are not allowed ever!
      The third is the RM over the curb rein. You are allowed RMs in the warm up only, and only on the snaffle rein.

      This is clearly not at a dressage competition. It is clearly a jumper. Also, if you took some time to actually read the rules for dressage you would find that yes, infact, all that is allowed are snaffles in dressage, up to third level where a simple double bridle is permitted. AND you would find that hanging on the curb of a double bridle is penalized every movement for which it occurs. Plus with the regulations on Weymouths that are permitted in the simple double bridle, pulling on one of those is going to do far less damage than the bits/contraptions allowed in jumping, western sports, etc… where wire bits, high ported spades, gags, etc.. are allowed.

      • I went to WEG and let me tell you there “were” draw reins in warmup and they were never told to take them off which is sad as hell….

        Also on the above post I forgot to add

        YOU DO NOT USE A FIGURE * OR A FLASH WITH A DOUBLE BRIDLE WTF? Poor horse cannot escape anything, I bet his back is sore as hell, do we know the rider?

        • I saw pigs flying around in the WEG dressage warm up *rollseyes*

          You do know that the WEG warmups are pass access only, per regulations. So unless you are media (in which case, I would expect pictures) or snuck in I really doubt your claims… Photographic evidence is the only way to prove such claims and anything less is “heresay”. Also, considering that is in direct disobeyance of the FEIs regulations, and there are media present in the warmups, we would have already heard about a “draw rein scandal” at the WEG. So this is getting less and less believable.
          Your claims are completely unsubstantiated currently, and were you to name riders, could also be considered slanderous and you could be taken to court. So, tread carefully 😉

          • ATA: I do agree that figure 8s and weymouths belong on two seperate bridles.

          • Hey be snarky all you want, I had a pass thanks to some buddies who had them for rule reasons and yes they had draw reins. Many were just lungeing in Vienna reins and the stretchy things, but myself and my buddies both saw 1 person (granted only one but still) using draw reins in plain sight of the officials. *shrugs* doesn’t matter to me, just letting people know it happens in all disciplines not just jumpers and eventing (though eventing has really cracked down on this also). I think this year will really be a good year and they hopefully will not allow any of this anymore along with tight nosebands either.
            I cannot believe that the person above was allowed to ride with a flash/grackle and a double bridle, that is what is so shocking, real riders never ride with a strap keeping a horses mouth closed with a double bridle. The whole point of the double is for touch control and lightness using the curb only if needed for elevated/collected movements, very sad that this is allowed in any discipline.

      • Anebel,
        You forgot a 4th one that is illegal in the dressage ring and the “for sure” you know its a jumping competition…
        the crocheted ear bonnet is illegal to have on dressage horses in competition..
        Silly me I didn’t know that when I went for a schooling show…

        And the dressage rules may say only a simple snaffle.. but how much does anyone want to bet you would see chain and twisted wire on the inside and a “simple” snaffle ring on the outside…

        BUT holy SMEG.. wow that has got to hurt everything on that poor horse;s head and neck!!

        • Before every dressage test (this is up in Canada mind you, so things may be different elsewhere), a steward does a spur & bit check (where they stick their hand in your horse’s mouth to feel the bit) to ensure that the rules are adhered to.

  17. Angie, in high level dressage there is a point to the double bridle. The way it is used is that the snaffle rein maintains the contact while the curb rein signals the horse. It is in no way a cruel piece of tack when correctly used and it is ONLY allowed in third level and upwards. It is required for FEI competitions at Prix St. Georges and above, and the USEF has the same rule.

    Interestingly, the BHS no longer requires a double bridle and allows riders to compete in Grand Prix in a snaffle.

    However, draw reins and martingales are absolutely not allowed in dressage.

    A double bridle requires a LOT of skill to use correctly and a good trainer will not permit a rider to use one until they have an independent seat, incredibly light hands and good ‘release’.

    (MY real issue is that I believe a bitless bridle should be permitted, at least at the lower levels. Some horses can’t take a bit at all, after all).

  18. my one friend is a braider and the bits and tack that she has made “disappear” will make you cry from the cruelty of them

  19. Absolutely ridiculous! Poor, sad horse. Wish I could bring him home and luv on him.

  20. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=514889

    Some interesting, conflicting viewpoints to the ones expressed here.
    Apparently because the warm up is crowded, the horse probably gets “excited” while jumping, and the draw reins get taken off prior to the horse being competed, it’s OK to ride around with this much junk on the horse’s head…
    It must be nice to live life with rose coloured glasses on…

  21. Anytime I see stuff like that…I am reminded of the lady who demonstrated how well broke her horse was by riding him to the hounds, over fences, side-saddle, using silk threads for reins. If something like that can be done, then why the need to wear the whole tack store on your horse’s head?

  22. Oww! I HATE that! with proper training (which takes TIME – God forbid anyone take time training their horse!) a bit is totally unnecessary, even for Dressage. Hell, a bridle isn’t even necessary. Watch this video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/​watch?v=MQ5VtX2xm_g

    • I pretty much completely agree. I’m royally pissed that the insurance company at the barn I ride at insists every horse should be ridden in a bit…no matter what (sometimes a horse that’s strong in a bit becomes much more ridable in the right bitless. Sigh).

      • How can they insist on that I would think that it is illegal for them to require that…

        • If you aren’t riding with a bit in the horse’s mouth then you aren’t covered. This includes the barn’s liability. So if somebody fell off their health insurance company would sue and the barn would go out of business.

          Insurance companies can pretty much dictate what they want in today’s litigious world.

          It bothers me at the level of…if I knew which company it was, I’d email them pictures of an English hackamore, mechanical hackamore, Dr Cook, western bosal…or perhaps video of a good rider working a horse in a bitless. There’s a specific horse I want to try in an English hack because he’s leaned on every dang bit we’ve tried him in and runs away with people constantly…I suppose we could try a gag. A kineton might work too, but nobody has one of those lying around to try. It’s just…grah. Can’t use a curb bit because that makes him lean more…anything with an unbroken mouthpiece is just a license to lean as far as he’s concerned. Right now they have him in a boucher and a flash, and he’s…just about rideable. He goes a bit better in a crank with flash but the only one of those they have belongs to the barn manager and she doesn’t, obviously, want her bridle worn out by the second cousin to the 9:03 from the colliery to the steelyards… (He’s broken a bridle before).

          • Sort of Anonymous

            Hmmm. Do they specify the reins have to go from the bit to the rider 😉

            You could find a thin (you won’t be *using* it, after all), comfortable bit for the horse, then just use the hackmore with reins. Depends on the insurance company’s wording.

            Or try a waterford. Nothing to lean on with that.

            • I don’t THINK we have one of those. It’s not my horse…(if it was, the hackamore would have been tried months ago)…and I don’t think there’s much spare money for trying new bits. I’ll have to ask and look.

              This is a horse who has learned that leaning and running intimidates people into getting off him…and came already knowing that. He’s proving a handful…which is a shame, he’s a REALLY nice horse. Very well put together, very sound, nice temperament. Just…so strong.

  23. Draw reins are actually, well not common, but you do see them used in the practice rings where I showjump. 99% of the time they are used by the high-level riders and I haven’t yet seen them used detrimentally – yes, I understand a lot of people don’t like them, but when used correctly they don’t actually cause damage (they are a training-aid after all, just not my cup of tea), the issue comes when they’re used to crank the head in (trust me, I’ve just finished rehabbing a horse we sold only to to come back completely pinched through the shoulders and back from having draw reins and an ill-fitting saddle used to then be told WE sold them an unsound horse, so I know all about the damage they can do)

    I feel like I may be playing devil’s advocate here, (and I will admit I’m not sure on why the figure 8 and weymouth are a no-no together perhaps someone can educate me?) BUT I would much prefer to see a horse ridden in this gear by a COMPETANT person correctly than in a snaffle hooning around the course with the rider hanging off it’s mouth. I think a video would allow you to judge better the situation. I’m sure I could get jumped on riding in my dutch gag on the second ring and crank noseband with a drop on, but what you wouldn’t see from the picture is that using the dutch gag I barely have to use my hands, and the crank noseband is loose as is the drop. I’m hesitant to be too quick to judge things

    • I have no objection to draw reins used for short periods, correctly, by an experienced rider, except that I feel an experienced rider should not need them.

      I wouldn’t jump on you for using a Dutch gag if that’s what your horse goes best in. I only jump on people for the kind of bit if they’re using a bicycle chain, spiked bit, or other such torture device.

      What the issue here is the combination of stuff AND the fact that the horse’s head is practically touching its chest.

      As for the combination: No kind of drop noseband should be used with any kind of curb bit. The bottom strap of the grackle and the curb chain need to be in the same place at the same time. As this can’t happen, they will either interfere with each other and become less effective or amplify each other and become too harsh.

      Oh, and one more problem. There is no lip strap and no liner on the curb chain, meaning it’s a thin chain right against the horse’s jaw…or would be if the grackle wasn’t under it…and there’s nothing to stop the chain from twisting. I was always taught that a curb chain liner was vital and that a lip strap was needed with a weymouth or pelham to stabilize the bit and stop the chain from twisting…although based off of quick internet research not everyone agrees with that.

      The rider is also not using the reins correctly…the curb and draw reins are both tight and the bridoon rein is loose.

      I WOULD like to see a video, though, I agree there.

  24. Rollkur anyone? Yikes 😦

  25. I don’t know very much about dressage or jumping but just looking at all the crap on that poor horses face made me cry. I think it would confuse the horse more than anything.

    Maybe the rider is one of those fashion dressers that wear ALL of their jewelry at once to show off what they have. Ick.

    Sad eye on the horse.

  26. To be honest, although it looks a lot it’s probably better than putting it in a snaffle and yanking away at it’s mouth like there’s no tomorrow.
    And the rider is probably using the double bridle correctly, draw reins probably only used for warm up.
    Yes it looks horrible and extreme but no-one here knows the horse or the rider.

    That said, I’ve seen the harm overtacking can do and I’m a great believer of less is more when it comes to horses.

    • But the rider isn’t able to use the double bridle correctly when both sets of reins go through the rings of the running martingale… just sayin.

      • OK well I didn’t know that but that’s a good point. Also, you have the same name as me!! I know that sounds weird but I’ve never met anyone who actually spells it that way!! :L

  27. Also this looks like a stationary shot so it’s likely the reins would be used differently if it was being ridden anyway.

  28. Still think they should get it all off though

  29. Wait… so this is a figure-eight, with a double bridle, draw reins on the the bridoon, PLUS BOTH bridoon and curb reins through the running martingale??!!! Umm, first off, how is the rider supposed to get a clear message across to the horse while trying to handle 3 sets of reins… and secondly why is this acceptable?

  30. I googled around and did some tracking, to discover this horse is Michael Whittaker’s horse, Gig Amai. The horse was ridden in the 2011 Dublin Equestrian Show in all this tack, except for the running reins, so I would assume this pic was taken during the warm-up.

  31. …that really surprises me. I’ve always thought of Michael Whittaker as a good rider…and somebody who definitely DOES know the curb rein does not go through the martingale rings.

  32. I don’t think there is a piece of equipment left in the tack room. what an idiot

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