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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another "Miracle Cure" for your horse...

Yet another magic gadget to instantly train your horse to be calm and manageable. Sold for a small fortune, and just as easily made from some clothesline and some pulleys. It is a war bridle folks, no matter how you dress it up or how you advertise it. They have been in use for centuries, which by the way, does not make them the best solution. I don't understand why something like this is necessary, why not, *gasp* actually TRAIN your horse to behave on a lead line? Noooo, we can't do THAT, that might require us to actually spend some time working with him, and we just don't have time. We want an instant fix. Do you know how much damage something like this can do in the wrong hands?


  1. Whiskey! Tango! Foxtrot! This is a terrible idea. You just know that the only people who buy one are those wo do not know better.

  2. I have seen them used appropriately--as part of a retraining program for a difficult to shoe horse from a difficult, fighting bloodline. After the first time, all the farrier had to do was put it on loosely, and the horse stood (the farrier controlled the line, not the holder), and eventually relaxed. This horse had been beat up by previous farriers, so she came out fighting. Using this helped her focus on the reality that this farrier wasn't beating her up, and he only needed to put it on her about three times before it wasn't needed any more.

  3. So... are we training them to smile now? hehehe. I can see them used like Joyce said, but I still don't get how someone could invent/sell/purchase one...

  4. As Joyce pointed out - used properly they are a good tool. Most people will not use them correctly.

  5. Yet on the other hand I just had to send this to TToTD when I saw what it can do.

    At the track one day where I used to breeze a friend's quarter horse racers:

    Out of the trailer came a YEARLING QH racehorse colt considered too unmaneagabe, hmm probably due to the lack of handing since birth. And they used this device on it to try and calm it while they "trained" it to walk on the hot-walker (with no previous lead training), and the 'owner' was walking next to this terrified colt, pulling on the line every time the colt would balk or act scared. He claimed the colt was "Wild" and "unmanageable" because of his 'superior racing bloodlines"... Anyway, to make a long story short, the colt reared, he jerked the line, and the next minute we came around, there was blood and foam dripping from the colt's upper jaw and he was yelling at us to "Call the vet! He's gonna bleed to death. Stupid horse! Should of just behaved!" All would could do is watch in horror.

    And you can see this sick device used on thoroughbreds all day long at the track. Probably because they are ADHD from being locked up 23 hours a day in a 10 x 10 stall...

    I agree with TToTD, all it is is a stylized war bridle, another so-called 'miracle cure' for lazy ass people who won't leave their tv's to actually spend the time to properly TRAIN their horse...

  6. Okay, these are also called nerve lines. We used one when out Race Horse was fresh off the track and would not behave,even though we spent hours and hours and hours a day working with him. It's not that people don't want to put in the time to train, but it can get dangerous sometimes. When a horses pulls or rears up with this it creates tension and the horse learns to back off the tension, come back down, and stop pulling or they will get this sting that the nerve lines delivers. They really have helped with new horses that are "hot" and just unruly... It is very simple to make, tie a loop on one end of a piece of bailing twine and loop the other end through it. I talk about it being used in my blog here.

  7. For anyone reading or posting about how these are suuuuuch great devices, I call BULL-FUKING-SHIT!!! (I know everyone pretty much expects that from me. Those who know me do anyways.)

    Think the horse 'needs' one? Try using it on yourself instead. A rope over their nose is just as effective and gets their attention just as quickly in a much more humane manner. It is also always at hand and can be put on much faster and easier than that piece of crap.

    Besides, if the horse is already that dangerous to handle and "unmanagable", how in the hell is anyone supposed to get close enough, long enough to put the damn thing on right???

    How about we pin down the inventor and shove it into a more appropriate spot? I have a scoop shovel to use to get it in there.

  8. CnJ, I am so with you! That little cord goes over the gums. No, and no, and no. I don't care how bad the horse is. It's a training problem.

    I think it is a really bad idea to teach a horse that halters and bridles are instruments of torture. I hope I don't have to explain why!

    A rope twitch works just as well, for emergencies. I don't like them either, but will use one if I have to. At least a twitch won't cut up their gums, or injure their poll.

    Training is the solution. Even for the rogues.


  9. I agree with Cut-N-Jump. My first impression when reading Joyce's post was to think, "Bullshit," because in my experience you can't force a horse into relaxing. If your horse is that scared of the farrier, they need to have a lot of training and a farrier that inspires trust -- and I can guarantee a farrier wielding that torture device is never going to inspire trust in a horse.

  10. Before I even seen the text I was thinking its a stupid war bridle!

    This is bullshit that people use this. I see this type (By type I mean an INSTRUMENT OF PAIN!) of device used on racehorses. They are in such a hurry to get them racing and make money that the horses are often left with HUGE holes in their training. Using a device like this should never be acceptable. Websters definition of cruelty is knowingly inflicting harm upon another living creature. What the hell do people think this goddamned thing is? A tickle with a feather?

  11. One thing that Joyce said that redeemed her post for me:

    "Using this helped her focus on the reality that this farrier wasn't beating her up."

    I can see that a very experienced, very sensitive horseman might use a war bridle on an extremely overwrought horse to bring its brain back to earth - like when a friend splashed some water on her toddler that was having an epic meltdown, beyond ALL reason. A weird sensation, that brings you back, like the classic slap on the face for a hysterical person. I think that might be the reasoning for the water balloon on a rearing horse's head, though I would also be willing to bet that you have equal chances of making a headshy horse, if you use it more than ONCE in their lifetime.

    99.9999999999999999999999999999% of us are NOT that horseman. And 99% of horses are not that horse.

  12. Shheeeeesh. Whatever will they come up with next? I kiss my beasties on the nose, because even Miss IGotAttitude does not deserve that even in her worst moment. Ever.

  13. heck, I would not wait till the toddler was having the meltdown "beyond all reason". I'd splash her before it got to that point. Very harmless and very effective. They don't even remember what happened.
    As for that restraining device: too many people would use it all wrong. Just a bad thing.

  14. First- any tool in poorly trained/ poorly intentioned hands can be horrific.

    Second- one of these things saved my butt under a horse. Horse NEEDED emergency hoof care. Horse had a bad reputation for a reason- she earned it. Vet was too far away to get there in time to give meds, and I refuse to carry them, owner had none. Neighbor though had a Stabalizer (why, I don't know, didn't ask.) But we used that contraption on this mare (with gentle care) and lo and behold, I didn't get killed.

    Long story short- mare wound up coming home with me, and turned into an amazing horse. In the end, I was able to go into her pasture w/ no halter or lead and trim her feet. She'd stand like a rock. But we never would have gotten there, had not we judiciously used that device one time, when she needed care the most...

    Just my two bits. That and another $5 ought to get you a bucket o' joe somewhere...

  15. I have used a lip chain on a breeding stallion, but you use that very tactfully. Three of the stallions were simple "chain over the nose" kind of guys (one you probably could have done with just a cotton rope to halter, what a sweetie). One, however, even though well let down from the track, ridden every day, minimum of twelve hours of turnout, etc, was a crazy rank bastard to breed. You see a stallion teetering on his belly on the 5'4" teasing wall, and you'll wish you had more in his mouth, trust me! Glad I wasn't holding him that time.

    Sadly, he's a product of the humans that raised/trained him long before the current owners... the only way you could maybe redeem him of his bad behavior is find some really cantankerous already bred older mares to turn him out with and let them show him the way of the world, but that was not practical. Sigh

    But people that are not sensitive, experienced horsemen will buy this lovely item, and torture horses that could be trained kindly if the people had a clue themselves. I should think the yearling on the hotwalker result mentioned earlier would be a not uncommon result of this mechanical crap war bridle.

  16. Ha... my own kid can go from jolly to hysterical in .36 seconds. It's amazing. And then right back to absolutely fine before I can even cross the room.

    I have personally never dealt with a horse whose mind was so far gone from panic, rage or some combination thereof, that anything more than a twitch was called for - and that only if the horse must absolutely be handled. If a Category 5 Meltdown is pending, I would really prefer to just get the hell out of the way.

    And yeah, it's a shame these things are out there for any old asswipe to purchase - because they WILL ruin horses with it.

    My graphic designer eyes think that this ad dates from no later than 1973..... check out the totally un-PC artwork! That ain't GaWaNi Ponyboy!!

  17. I guess all the folks crying hysterically don't have a twitch. Or they actually believe the BS that a twitch works because it releases endorphines.


    Kids. Some times horses don't have thier own best interests in mind. Sometimes you have to RESTRAIN your horsie to do stuff to him that is in his best interests.

    You can abuse a horse with a hackamore.

  18. Bif, yes and no on the rank stallions... Some are just a-holes, and that's thier personality.

    I know one WB that got himself permanently banned from live cover, by literally jumping on a mare with too much force. It was uuugly. Ever after, to keep his foolishness limited he was only collected once a year and you *had* to settle for frozen semen. He was handled by caring grooms, excerised daily, etc. He had only 2 owners in his lifetime, the breeder, the farm that showed/bred him, and after a career ending injury, the breeder once again. But man, when he wanted to be a jack-ass, he was *real* good at it.

    I know another stud that's "been around" and probably has had some sub-standard handling. He's a PUPPY that totally lives in my back pocket. He turns out with geldings. He's ONLY ever done live cover. I'd even be willing to turn him out with a mare to cover the really old fashioned way.

  19. I'm sorry but if you have to resort to using barbaric crap like this then you seriously need to re-evaluate your horse handling skills and possibly take up stamp collecting instead.

    For me, the look of fear in the eyes of the ad's horse say it all and if that's the best type of control you're capable of, when there are so many other more humane ways of dealing with so called 'bad' horses or poorly trained/treated horses then you're no better than the asshats flogging these dreadful devices.

    ** SHAME ** SHAME ** SHAME**

  20. I've seen the same thing done with the farrier, joycemocha. We also had a gelding who was cryptorchid, and sometimes he was good when the farrier came and sometimes he wasn't. We didn't care if he used the war bridle on that horse--that horse could tear you to pieces if you weren't on your guard. It kept him in line. But we ONLY allowed our farrier to do it--no one else, and we never did it to him ourselves. He was the kind of horse that if you gave him an inch, he took a mile. Tore my husband's throat open and almost kicked his head off once with both barrels. But my farrier used soft cotton clothesline and just tied slipknots in it so it wasn't horribly painful on the horse. Half the time it broke because the clothesline would get too wet and soft. :)

    Any tool becomes a nightmare in the wrong hands. I know my goal is to train my horse, not to beat/pully/war bridle him into submission.

  21. Oh, CNJ, Ruthie, and all my blog pals, I know what you mean about never needing to use this crap, and I never would again. But you would think twice if you had met Stetson.... He was MEAN. And smart, which was a horrible combination. John Lyons round pen work was a JOKE to him. You'd think you had joined up, and then he'd lunge at you with teeth bared, then zip away before you could discipline him, laughing his tail off. His second owner after us took him to a Parelli trainer, and that guy told him to watch out--if he wasn't careful Stetson would kill him. On the ground, he was horribly mean. Biter, kicker, stomper--whatever he could do. It was just nit-picking too. You could saddle him and he'd stand still for it, but then you'd turn your back and he'd bite your shirt. Although I got him once--he lunged at me when I was outside his stall and his teeth snapped right in front of my face. I leaped over the railing and grabbed his nostrils and bit his nose as hard as I could. He never tried to bite me again.

    But in the saddle--best trail horse I've ever ridden, and I'm not kidding. Sturdy, sure-footed, went the speed you wanted and not of the other horses, incredibly perfect TWH rocking chair canter, always stopped when asked and go when asked. Safe for ANYONE to ride, especially children. He was always good for kids. Just no one was allowed to tack him up except for us!

  22. KP.... what a head case! It took me to the end of your post to see why you didn't just put the sucker down. ;-)

    I'm trying not to armchair quarterback these days.... it's really hard for this blahblahblah girl.

    On further examination (I wanted a better look at the bare-assed Indian) this device looks way worse than a homebuilt job, which would involve the aforementioned clothesline or baling twine (The Horseman's Friend). I thought that classic war bridles at least went for the bars of the mouth and not the gums....? That cord would cut the shit out of a horse's mouth.

  23. To be honest, I've only seen this device used with that one mare, and she was somewhat the female equivalent of Stetson that KP writes about. I ended up with her as a kid because I wouldn't run from her when she tossed her head, bared her teeth, and bluff charged. She had the kids of her previous owner scared to death of her, and actually almost hurt them. She continued to bluff and threaten anyone who'd flinch from her--fighting horse, strong sense of fair treatment, and even lunging her could be a challenge as she'd pin her ears and rear if she wasn't in the mood to do that. You knew when she didn't like something because she'd fight and fight hard.

    However, by the time I was done with her, I could walk up to her in the field, pick up any hoof without restraint, and ride her--though I always had to ride tight because the slightest softness in the seat and she'd buck just because she could and to see if she could get me down (the few times she did, I earned a quizzical look because it really didn't happen that often considering all the times she'd buck). She bucked well, and took pride in it. She was a sunfisher and would rear into a buck, and it took me ages to adjust to letting a normal horse move with a low head because with that mare, low head was a prelude to leaping into a big high buck with a twist (Music Mount bloodlines, anyone?).

    However, under saddle and working, especially on trails and anything that wasn't rail work, she was steady as a rock. She'd see everything, but was good about checking in with me to see if all was okay. But picking up leads on cue, lead changes, all that stuff--not her bag, and she was pretty emphatic about that.

    I will add that this device is more complex than the one I saw the farrier use--similar pulleys, but less leverage.

    And my vet will have me use a lip chain on my current mare (totally different horse from that Music Mount mare) when we inject her hocks--to use as a distraction. My current girl isn't a kicker, but even under sedation she'll move her leg in annoyance when getting pricked, which is *not* what you want to have happen when injecting a joint capsule. Jiggling the chain slightly draws her attention to her mouth, not her hocks.

  24. This device is FAR superior to any homebuilt rig. The pulleys DO allow for overtightening, but I'm pretty strong, so I could get a bit of rope fairly tight without them.

    There is also a quick release that is easy to operate.

    AND, the part of the line that is actually over the gum is covered in smooth plastic tubing.

    No, I don't own one. I've used it once in lieu of a twitch. Poor substitute for a twitch if you are having a big problem.

    When you are doing some medical procedures with the horse under concious sedation, you STILL NEED to use additional mechanical restraint. Like a twitch or a lip chain. This thing is better than a lip chain. Sedated horses STILL MOVE. NOT something you need happening when going into the joint capsule, blocking a leg, or working around the head.

    Honestly, all the hand wringers: I really just hope you all never have any accidents around the farm. It's pretty f'ing hard to hold onto an injured horse that's panicked and only interested in getting away from you and that eviiil vet. So you just hold on tight to your cotton leads, the horse will pass out eventually... maybe...

  25. Pat, I've held on to a few panicking horses in my time. So tell me, how do you get that nasty contraption on the head of a horse that's panicking? Eh?

    One of the many things I hate about that torture device is that you have to put it on when the horse is *calm.* Do you think he won't learn that something "awful" is coming when that cord goes over his gums?

    I've used a twitch. I'll stick with it, if and when it's necessary to use pain as a distraction. It's a lot easier to grab the lip of a panicker and haul it through a twitch than to put anything on its head. It's even easier to grab an ear.

    The single most important thing, when dealing with a panicker, is to be calm yourself. That means being physically quiet and using a low, calm voice. (Screaming "EASY! EASY!" doesn't work!)


  26. I think the problem is more that this would be OK if a thinking horseman were using it. A home made device would be OK, and more likely he'd use that than buying this item. But it is marketed so that people who don't know a chifney from a shank from a hole in the ground think they can miraculously "fix" their problems. The people that see everyone and their NH brother using a rope halter with knots, and start using that too, tying, lunging, etc., while the horse would be fine in a regular halter if the owner read a book or took some lessons from an experienced handler. How about beginners can only use regular equipment, and if the horse doesn't respect them with that, the humans need a) more or better instruction, b) a horse suited to their abilities.

    I think we'd all agree that the mind is the most important point of control. I've worked TB bloodstock sales. Yes we use chifneys, but similar to said above, the little wiggle, distraction, etc, used to keep attention. We (can't speak for other handlers) are NOT ripping these horse mouthes. If a horse needs a shank, PUT IT ON. The horse learns respect. Often, you can go back to life without one, but respect for the handler is paramount. Safety of handler and horse and bystanders depends on it.
    And it you need to use some strong restraint for the animal for medical or safety reasons, don't feel like you're cruel... if it is necessary to properly treat the animal, that is less cruel than whatever alternative happens if you can't.

    I had a horse that you put a twitch on whenever he needed it, he stayed calm, and typically allowed you to do the same procedure the next time without. He never learned to fight or be really bad, because it was always prevented before it could start. My current horse doesn't even notice a twitch, you have to out think him and train him to accept whatever, or sedate. No middle ground, as he has a very high pain tolerance.

    As always, it is the handler that makes the difference if something is abusive, I just think this type of device is marketed to people that have no business using them, and probably no business owning a horse unsupervised. Good horsemen use it, too, but I bet more training wannabes own one than good horsemen.

  27. Ugh, the tack shop I work at carries these. We have, like, two that have been there longer than the two years I've been there.
    I was helping a guy pick out stuff for the new horse he'd bought (he was a first-timer, and a friendly one at that). He'd made most of his decisions as per what the previous owner had used, and not knowing the horse, I saw no reason to question any of it (after all, he was just getting pretty standard stuff, and the most potentially dangerous thing he picked out was a bit... and he asked right away for an eggbutt snaffle.) Then he's heading for the register and all of a sudden he says "Oh, and I'm supposed to get a Stableizer!" At the time, I'd only known the name of the thing, and not much else, so as soon as I picked it up and realized what it was, I asked why. He said the previous owner had used it to lead the horse, because it got pushy. Well, I didn't know the horse, or the guy, but I figured, he's been friendly so far, I'll see if there's a way around selling this. I asked him if he had a trainer, and he said he did. I explained to him exactly what the thing did and why it could be misused (and he admitted that the horse was rather headshy.), then told him that, in my opinion, he should take the horse out to the trainer first, and see if the trainer could show him how to lead the horse properly, without the stableizer. And just for good measure, I'd hold the item for him, just in case his trainer couldn't do it.
    He agreed, and came back maybe a week and a half later saying "You can put that back on the shelf, he leads like a gentleman already!"

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  29. My farrier used a war bridle similar to this on one of my horses when he started shoeing him. He didn't crank on it, just put it on this horse who was a fuss budget. The gelding would stand like a charm when it was on - when it wasn't on him, he would fidget, and play with the lead and shift his weight and . . . ANY tool, even a leadrope, can be misused. By the way, my farrier was one of the finest horsemen I have ever met and a lot of horse went lame when he retired from shoeing. He was amazing. (spell checked now)

  30. Sorry to post two weeks later, but I just saw the posts back to me about Stetson. Yes, CP, Stetson would hyave been put down otherwise. But he is an amazing strail horse. In fact, I found he was for sale a few years ago, and I let my friend who owns Stagecoach Trails know. They run a guest ranch that is just amazing, and half their herd is gaited. Plus I've sold them 18 horses, including two of my own, because it's such an amazing home for horses. They treat their horses as well as they treat their guests! :) Anyway, Stetson now lives there and is a prized member of the herd. He gets people who want to ride him regularly. He is jut an amazing trail horse--the best I've ever known. We were more than happy to put up with his crap when we knew we had a safe horse that anybody could ride.

  31. OMG! How friggin' barbaric!!! What are these people thinking?! Oh wait - they're not!

  32. I was under the impression it's a slightly modified lip twitch for racehorses?

  33. As a professional trainer, with over twenty years under my belt, I will say that this and other twitch type devices are useful in RARE ocassions, but should be used sparingly. The idea of selling this to the, "average horseowner," or even an experienced horse OWNER and not TRAINER is ridiculous! In twenty years, I may have needed a device like this three or four times. Placing it in a catalog for all to see and purchase is just wrong. If you know enough to use it right, you don't need to buy it, you've made one in your barn on the spur of the moment and fully understood its usage before doing so. MASS PRODUCTION OF THIS CRAP IS MORONIC AT BEST!

  34. I can't believe how there are in fact people who use this shit? Ö.Ö