Sorry for not replying earlier, but I usually get the time only on weekends to either reply to email or to work on websites. As you can imagine I get a lot of email from the websites and since I am unable to manage it all by myself I do not reply to most of the email. This is unfortunately perceived by many folks as ignorant since they have no clue that the websites are managed by one person only (in the spare time), not considering the size of them all (about 1, 000 html pages, not to mention all the free services (programs). So I hope you will understand why it takes so long for me to get back to you.
First to the collection and balance. The purpose of the articles, relevant to these issues, is primarily for understanding the principles. It is not about educating anyone, but by understanding it one hopefully come to the realization that to ride the horse collected and in balance is beyond his or her ability, hence they should not try to do it, since it is feasible only for the finer riders. Most of the abuse of horses and their injuries are caused by people doing or trying to do things with horses that they do not understand or that are beyond their riding capabilities, both being very common in today’s amateur and professional world of horses.
Before I will get into the barefoot idea I would like to
say that in the last few decades various theories have sprung up in the horse
world. Mind you, these are only theories and if you go and follow up on these
theories you will find a lot more people cursing the theoreticians than praising
them. The horse industry is almost as old profession as prostitution, yet you
have no prostitutes going around telling folks that they have some new tricks.
So it is with the use of horses, there are no new tricks, no new ways, but what
is there a whole a lot of fools that failed to understand that which they call
the old ways or the conventional ways. I will repeat it again, we shoe horses
for work, which then will determine the type of showing or whether we even need
to shoe the horse. Hence we do not go by theories but by the realities of the
horse that present themselves.
The people that are trying to preach the barefoot use of horses are like kids that discovered that the flushing toilet is actually flushing and then go telling about it to everyone. Hence this is how stupid these theoreticians are to horsemen. Many of the theories are invented to promote someone’s interests or products, just like the website that you’ve sent me to visit had of course the boots for sale. Let me remind you that the boots were invented some thousand years before the shoes. There is another 13 centuries of experience with horses to find out what is better. The boots have no traction, they are not tight enough, go try to run a race in these boots and your horse (being a Secretariat) could not win one race.
The truth is that the option not to shoe horses is more convenient for the horse owner (less work and responsibilities, less expense etc.) than for the horses, depending on working situation. It is all nonsense, because people do not realize some major factors. One cannot learn or know anything about horses without sufficient experience, while experience itself is completely useless if one is unable to relate to horses, unable to see their realities, hence incapable of learning from experience. Therefore, my best advice to you is use thinking less and your perception and eyesight more, because without seeing what is happening all education is useless. I went to horse school (governed by the Czechoslovakian State Department of Agricultural Science) for two years in 1961 - 63 (Ludvík Staněk), where I have learned not only in classes but also mainly in the field of horses (over 400 of them in the school/farm). The first thing I have learned then (1961) was that what was taught in classes was not practiced on the farm. We learned one thing in class and did totally something else in the practical filed. Only about 5% of the theoretical knowledge was practical while the rest was waste of time. Hence learn from this, the more you read the more confused you will get. At least when I went to school I was able to recognize the differences between theories and realities, which was crucial to my growth as a horseman.
The break over issue is again only a theory, which may come useful to some farrier, but it is of no use to anyone else, because only the farrier can understand it, because the person that lacks the experience, or the one that failed to learn from it in working with horse’s hoof, will imagine something else and interprets the theory wrongly. The whole Internet is full of such hogwash, theories published by so called “reputable” people that became famous not by deeds but by exposure, sort of like a movie stars. The doctors and veterinarians of today are very incapable and one may say very stupid, because to go to college and come out more stupid then before one must be stupid. At one time, the doctors and veterinarians were decent people and were often good at their jobs, mainly because the doctors were able to relate to people (knew them) and the vets were able to relate to horses (knew them). You do not have that anymore anywhere in the world. The education people received all over the world is primarily aimed to program the populus to function in a particular society and to be beneficial to it, but since the societies are govern by government the government make sure to program the pupils for its interest. Again, one has to see it; he will not learn this in the school. What school will say to its pupils that 90% of what you are learning is either hogwash or completely useless?
So, I do not debate theories, I leave that for the fools, nor I debate my life, because it is not a theory but a reality that I live or have lived. Most of my publications are from my life experiences, in other words I write about what I’ve done and lived.
Did you know that before 1960 there was no regular
de-worming of horses? The American veterinarians invented it, it is all about
money. The horse has its own natural parasites control, and only the afflicted
horse whose body was not able to protect it self from the parasites was
de-wormed in the “old” (sane) days, same as with people. In the seventies
they preached to de-worm horses every three months, in 1980ies every two months,
in nineties they came up with daily de-worming drugs, or are saying to de-worm
every months. In the old days you could turn out horses back to the wild and
they would be fine, today most of them would die from parasites, because, due to
the constant drugging they’ve lost their natural resistance to parasite.
This is not improved veterinary science, where horse may live longer, but majority of them on some drugs most of their lives, just like people. In other words the interests of veterinary science is not the well being of horses, but the well being of the veterinarians who are trying to make the “horse lovers” and their horses completely dependent on them, same as the doctors and their patients. The saddest part of all this is, that when one actually needs the help of veterinarians they prove them selves useless. I know I deal with this frequently as people ask me to come help them with horses that the vet could not. Farriery is also in the same shambles, hence the farriers and the vets unite in the same cause, their profession preservation. I’ve talked many owners out of shoeing their horses, even though it hurts my income, hence to be decent and honest has its reward in not being wealthy.
Now about the saddle issue. Here is interesting part, at
one time there were no sizes in saddles nor there were some special fitted
saddles, yet today again you have many theories justifying one saddle or
another, all in the interests of the saddle makers and the distributors. So, now
there are many saddles yet none are made the way they were made at one time,
because people simple do not know how. Here we are again to the same story,
saddle makers did not learned how to make saddles, nor they know how to make
one, hence they invent theories and then invent saddles to fit their theories.
All in all people are incapable to do that which they call conventional or old fashion, hence they replace it by something lesser and so it goes for decades. In the seventies I was invited to give a clinic in the near by equine college, giving me $300 for three hours. After the clinic I refused the money, saying that I cannot teach what people cannot learn. In other words not one kid could sit on the horse, hence anything I’ve said was useless. In addition to this not one person knew how to saddle or bridle a horse, even though some have been riding for several years. Bridling horses that do not want to be bridled (many youngsters, bit or head shy horses) will teach you how to do it. You need to learn from horses; you need to learn how to learn from experience by observing horses, as well as, your self and other people. Fewer questions and more observations.
Example, recently there was a horse on a client’s farm that some girl (equine graduate, natural horse trainer) owned and trained. The girl moved and her mother was going to move the horse to her neighbor’s farm to have it close by. People and a “natural trainer”came from that farm and spent 4 hours loading the “naturally trained” horse and failed. Next day they’ve sent some loading expert with the trailer that was there about 2 hours trying to load the horse, but unsuccessfully. With all the people standing around, all the experienced folks and experts not one was able to see what was going on. Finally I needed to get some work done on somewhat difficult horse and I could not because of the disturbance caused by trying to load the other horse. I’ve told the owner of the place that if they want me to help I will have the horse up in the trailer in less then a minute. The lady went to the horse owner and told her that, to which the lady replied with ridicule. In any case, I finally had enough of it, told the man loading the horse if he wanted help, to which he replied that they’ve tried everything. I again repeated the question and told him that I would load the horse.
All in all I loaded the horse in less then 60 seconds, to which most folks were bursting laughing, because it ridiculed all of the horse fools due to its simplicity. I am telling you this, so you know that without knowing what is going on with the horse you cannot ever learn anything about horses, because they are the teachers of horsemen and not books or theories. Therefore I’ve said, that the human intellect stands in the way of relating to horses, because one sees with his eyes and not with his brain.
As far as the riding in hand (reins) goes it is again exclusively for a refined rider, less experienced person cannot understand it, let alone do it. As I have compared it to simple thing, one cannot describe colors to a man blind from birth. There is simply no way to put it in a theory, same way as the riding in hand. Just shortly, when I went to the horse school we were not allowed to take our hands off the horse’s neck at anytime during riding, not even in walk. We were always told that it is exclusively for the finer rider, to ride with hands off the neck. Yet today the instructors do not even know this, hence any fool is yanking on the horse’s mouth, which causes problems. Hence again we have all these fools coming up with theories that it is better to ride the horse on lose rein or without a bit. Of course it is, for the incompetent rider that did not learn and does not know how to ride in hand. It is like that with everything, the more you will read the more confused you will get. In the horsemen’s world the practice comes before theories. In the nincompoop’s world the theory comes before practice, hence fools.
I will have some fun articles coming on the training page, which I believe will help many folks in relating to horses.
Sorry I did not reply to any questions more directly, but frankly I do not debate horses or theories. I like to talk about the real things; mainly life. Life is what it is and any debates are useless, one just simply lives it. When I was growing up as a horseman any question were forbidden. It taught one how to figure things out on his own by observing horses and other horsemen while working with them side by side. One learns much more and faster that way, because he lives it. Most of decent horsemanship must become instinctive, based on life not on theories, because no instincts can spring forth form the theoretical knowledge. Relating to horses is primarily about respect and speed of response, the later solely depending on instincts gained by living and working with many horses in various industries and situations.
Ps: When I referred to “insanity” in riding without
bit, it referred to the fools that demonstrate the riding without any headgear
(no reins). It should be rephrased to headgear, rather than without a bit. As in
the case of the Arabian mares, they are better off without the bit, but of
course with some sort of headgear. I am writing from my life and sometimes I do
not cover all the bases to prevent misunderstanding, but so it is with most of
the publication written by riders, hence often misunderstood.
As far as the bitless bridles goes, well let the fools find out on the day the horse freaks out from something and takes them for a ride, like full gallop back into the stable. I saw this, and I assure you that the person will never mount a horse without a bit in his mouth. Again, it is all amateur debates, ideas and mainly it will sell some “new” products. People buy it, try it and then throw it away. As new fools are born they will keep buying and that is good for the state and its economy. Do you think that any country educate their children to be perceptive and smart?
The picture depicts absolutely terrible tree, and it is not the typical English, because the typical English trees has not been manufactured for decades and made completely different. By the way the English were not the best saddle makers, and the old English tree-style was improved greatly. One of the best saddle makers of the English style were the Hungarians, Germans and before the war the Polish. The most important part of any good tree is that it must be made out of wood. If it is not out of wood it will not adjust properly to the horse and rider. The dressage saddles of the Spanish high school have high cantles because of the jumps in the air. There is no need for it in the flat work of today’s competitive dressage.
Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek