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Friday, March 6, 2009

Cruel and Unusual

Today I am going to feature some horse equipment that falls more into the category of torture devices than tack.

First off we have this lovely "training" halter, sent to me by a reader. It features a CHAIN crownpiece to discourage the horse from pulling back on the lead. It also has a lovely little thin cord chinstrap. How nice. How many of you would actually use something like this?

Next we have a nice pair of blue barrel racing spurs. I apologise for the pic, it is a screen shot of a Craigslist ad. Do you REALLY need that many rowels? Can you imagine just rolling these back and forth on your poor horse's ribs. Lovely, no?

Photo from -

Next we have a selection of items from every one's favorite horse, er I mean...trainer, yeah, horse trainer, Cleve Wells.

First is a lovely Cathedral port bit, sure to keep that Pleasure horse cramped back to a slow crawl wether he wants to or not.

Next is a nice little snaffle. It features a wire thin twisted mouthpiece, sure will keep ol'Dobbin's mouth nice and sensitive.

Here is a correction bit for you, just in case Dobbin decides to carry his head too low (assuming that there is such thing). It is sure to lighten him up some.

Last, but not least, check out the spur rowel options he offers. Love the look of the "Rock Grinder" one.


  1. All designed for people who know nothing about horses but think they do. Very sad...

  2. Good lord - if you have to resort to this kind of junk then you should not be riding. Take the time to learn how to handle a horse correctly.

  3. Would you do a photo credit for #2 please?

  4. It's much appreciated!

  5. That halter with the chain crown makes me want to cry.

    Heh....when my *wild and crazy* arab gelding decided the grass WAS greener on the other side of the (electric) retired elderly neighbor went out to put him back in the gate (on the other end of the field). But he didn't have any rope handy, and he didn't know that Cisco's halter and lead were hanging on the he used a pair of his wife's panyhose to lead him back to safety.....LOL.....

    I'd have paid to see that.

  6. Sometimes I have to wonder if their in it for the money, and the more horses they 'train' the more $$$$$ they make. Or if they just love to show the poor helpless and defenseless horse what they can 'make them do'. Anyone who uses most of these, don't deserve to be called trainers. Rather, abusers. Because why would anyone place a wire bit that thin into a horse's mouth? And we all know where that kind of falls into to the hands of... Once knew a horse that had a scar on her tongue from a similar bit, and do you think she just opened her mouth and accepted any bit? No. She flipped. So oh yes thin wire bits are soooo worth it *note sarcasim*. I would like to get into the mind of these people, and know what they think when they do this.

  7. The barrel spurs aren't that bad if you keep your legs off your horse's side. They make some like that with blunt rowels (or no rowels, with just little knob-notchy things) that are way better. Those ones look extra pokey. And colored spurs are tacky. Spur straps, okay, spurs... Erm no.

    I like bumpers or bumpers with blunt rowels better. I use the plain bumpers or bumpers with rowels (if I'm not on Tammy because she would slam my ass in the ground). She used to be so sensitive that if I did any more than pressed my leg against her she'd go ballistic (like a nudge, tap, or kick). Now I can do those things and not have her rear up or buck. She also used to fuss about going out the front of the barn when I was on her. Or she'd run like a loony when I lunged her. Now she just likes to pitch fits about her right lead, which we are really working on now :D. I'm slowly getting all her kinks out.

  8. @Diane

    When I was in high school, my mare jumped the fence and took off toward the road. My mom was yelling something, but I couldn't quite hear her. I figured she, my mom, was hurt, so I grabbed the first aid kit and started running down the hill towards her. Imagine my surprise when my mare thundered past. I could now hear my mom clearly shouting "LOOSE HORSE"!

    I got between her and the drive way. I didn't have a halter, a lead rope, or even a belt. I was wearing a short sleeve T-shirt...

    I wiggled out of my bra, and managed to get it wrapped around my mare's head and was headed back to the barn when my mom and the barn owner spot us.

  9. Oye! No doubt these are marketed as problem solvers — but they will only worsen the problem. Simpler tools are much better IMHO.

  10. Diane and Jesse,

    That brightened my day! Talk about some quick thinking.

    Ellie and Werther Blog

  11. That halter is terrible!! And it figures that Cleve Well's is promoting those bits.

    My horses have all been trained to lead with a neck rope except my Morgan/Percheron cross. He'll just pick you up and take you along with a neck rope. It has to go over his nose too, and he still might pick you up but at least you have a chance.

    I've used belts, sweaters and once my blouse to catch a loose horse. Thankfully no one was around for the last one, except me and the horse. I now keep an extra halter and lead in my truck behind the seat at all times. And extra halters and leads in the house. But for some reason I can never find it at 3 in the morning when my Morgan gelding decided to raid the garbage and sample the fish pond on the patio.

  12. I have to wonder why you think the correction bit would be considered abusive? Despite having "correction" in the name, it is actually quite quite mild. The MAJORITY of trainers have a few in their arsenal and it is only as harsh as the hands that use it, as with any bit. Perhaps you should read up a bit more on the functions of the bits you vilify...

  13. It is severe because of the multiple hinge points on it. It is designed to collapse on the bars of the horse's mouth and raise the port into the roof of the mouth. Adding the curb chain increases the pressure and vise-grip action. I DO know about bits, equine physiology, and simple physics. Any bit can cause damage, but bits like these just make it a bit easier.

  14. Ok everyone get a grip... I dont really see ANYTHING on here to bad.. ANYTHING common from fat snaffle bits to nylon halters can be made cruel in the wrong hands.. Just like all the tools you see here can be used and not abused in the right hand with someone who knows what they are doing.. Sure 90% of horse people have NO business using these items on a horse much less owning them.. But did any of you know you cannot ride in an NRCHA bridle class without a spade bit? I ride alot in rock grinder/stone cutter spurs NEVER have I drawn blood using them-why? because I know how to use them.. I have ridden many HARD outhed, lean on the bit, yank on your arms, run away tye of horses in twisted wire snaffle-again NEVER drawn blood or injured a horse with one but I will tell you Ive had one save my ass more than once... Most tools of th trade have a right place in the right hands so unless you have trained horses personally (this doesnt include the Parelli touchy feely wanna be's) maybe you should think about what a tool in the right hands can be used for...