FIND THE TIGER WITHIN US says William Micklem

What do you do when a horse sport different from your own uses cruel methods? Be grateful that your own sport is humane and clean and turn a blind eye or do something about it?

Of course what constitutes cruelty is often debatable. In my opinion the isolation of horses in single cells with minimum activity is cruelty, and I am not alone in having concerns about the mental abuse of horses in bad dressage, while others think racing over fences is cruel. The current primary area of focus in the FEI cruelty arena is the use of performance enhancing or pain killing drugs, and the greatest interest in the public arena are the dangers to both horses and riders when going cross country in eventing.

I happen to believe that the stable management and riding skills of those in eventing contribute directly and positively to the health and well being of thousands of horses and indirectly to thousands of others as these riders and trainers coach and influence new generations of event and pleasure riders….turning ignorance into knowledge and responsibility. In fact I believe it is difficult to find a sport which makes a bigger contribution to horse welfare than horse trials.

I also believe that there is a difference between cruelty caused by ignorance and cruelty caused by deliberate violence…the conscious and obvious use of pain to elicit a desired response. The use of electric shock prods or nerve lines for example. Thankfully such instruments of torture are rarely used within the world’s horse population, however, whatever the sport, if such methods are used they are damaging every equestrian sport by association.

Therefore I was shocked to read of certain USA States banning the use of electric prods in the rodeo industry. If it is necessary to ban the use of electric prods then I assume there is evidence of them being used. Then I watched film footage on U Tube of rodeo horses apparently refusing to buck unless a prod was used. Look it up yourselves on U Tube under Born To Buck……..and I have a question? If these horses are ‘born to buck’ why are bucking straps needed?

If we see or hear of the use of cruelty we need to voice our feelings and ensure the relevant competition organisation and/or National and International bodies police the situation and make it clear that such behaviour is totally unacceptable. To do this we need to find the tiger within us and be brave. But make no mistake we need to do this in the best interests of ALL equestrian sports. Onwards! William

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Comment by Dressage For The Rest Of Us on June 20, 2010 at 5:59pm
Yes of course you can steal it, especially since I made it up being all redfaced over how I remembered things so wrong. I've been sitting here trying to figure out why/how I remembered PRCA eliminated those friggin things LMAO.

I guess as I get older my memory is having a shorter and shorter "shelf life".
Comment by Barbara F. on June 20, 2010 at 5:21pm
"Well buff my butt and call me butter, I stand corrected."
I love this line! May I steal it??"
Comment by Dressage For The Rest Of Us on June 20, 2010 at 4:32pm
Well buff my butt and call me butter, I stand corrected.

I was sure this garbage had been gotten rid of by PRCA. However, the rest of my statement stands true. Hot shots were not allowed at the rodeos I managed and this was agreed to prior to the signing of any contracts and I made sure there were none.

As for outcry at Olympics, there has been an outcry due to the practice of using rolkur and hyperflexion as a method of training.
Comment by William Micklem on June 20, 2010 at 2:47pm
So just imagine the outcry at the Olympic Games if one of the top show jumpers or dressage horses had to be given a blast of electric shock to encourage them into the ring! Thank you for finding out the truth Barbara....I look forward to using this device on a few members of the PRCA...after all it is "harmless"! William
Comment by Barbara F. on June 20, 2010 at 2:08pm
I jusr received this information yesteday in an email from the PRCA:

PRCA Livestock Welfare Statement – Cattle Prod (PRCA’s position on use of the prod)

PRCA rules allow for the use of a livestock prod as a safe, effective and humane way to move livestock. Additionally, PRCA rules allow the use of a prod to facilitate the safe exit from the bucking chutes for horses that may have the tendency to stall. In order for this process to take place the owner of the animal, the rodeo judge and the contestant must agree. The livestock prod is powered by flashlight batteries with similar stimulation as an electric livestock or pet fence and allows for harmless encouragement of the horse to leave the chute. It does not make a horse buck, nor does it affect the competition once the horse and competitor have safely exited the bucking chute.
Comment by William Micklem on June 20, 2010 at 1:51pm
Great responses...I think you have your inner tiger well and truly found! As I indicated in my blog there are all sorts of actions and customs which could be defined as cruel....you haven't won me over regarding the rodeos onwards towards happy riders and happy equine athletes. William
Comment by Dressage For The Rest Of Us on June 20, 2010 at 10:41am
I should have written this in below but it's morning and I'm just not a morning person LOL.

Thank you William for bringing awareness to cruelties. It's important to have the conversations like the type we are having. It is important for us to question every thing we do and re-determine our actions.
Comment by Dressage For The Rest Of Us on June 20, 2010 at 10:37am
I just read further on your blog and the bucking straps (which on horses must have sheepskin) are supposed to enhance the buck. If the horse is a champion bucker odds are it would buck anyways, that's why they are a bucking horse and not a riding horse in the first place. Rodeo contractors are NOT taking your average kids horse and making Ole Daisy buck via the bucking straps.

Personally, I find that practice a lot less rotten than the dressage horses who are ridden in forced contorted frames of rolkur or hyperflexion for hours. At least a bucking horse gets to use it whole body the way nature intended in order to try and smash the rider.

Dressage horses are considered naughty when they try and smash the rider, rodeo horses become more valuable!
Comment by Dressage For The Rest Of Us on June 20, 2010 at 10:30am
The last PRCA rodeo I managed was in the late 90's, probably 1997 and the prods were already illegal by then and may even have been a few years before that. I remember distinctly telling my rodeo contractors prior to hiring that I would use it on them if I found a single one anywhere on the grounds during my annual "speech" to him on how forcefully I would protect animal rights. I even sneak searched their vehicles once the rodeo was on which probably puts me a little on the "nutty" side LOL. Never found a single one and I made sure I was there for the unloading of the stock and the loading. I watched every animals go from behind the chutes (up close and personal) and checked every animal afterwards. I ran a few rodeos so I don't remember during which year that rule started, but I do remember distinctly when the last rodeo was, so it couldn't have been after that.

I was also the "nutty" show manager that went and untied horses heads when AQHA banned that practice as well. AQHA had sent me signs to post when that rule went into effect and I stapled one of those signs on the stall door of every horse I had untied.

Gee reading this I can say it's no wonder I pissed off people LOL.
Comment by William Micklem on June 20, 2010 at 3:00am
Sounds good to me...and delighted if electric prods have been banned from rodeos, although the evidence would suggest it hasn't been that long. William

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