Day 26 – Your Biggest Riding Pet Peeve

Day 26 – Your Biggest Riding Pet Peeve


I hate gimmicks.

Specifically, training gadgets to get a horse’s head down.  I hate it because I feel like I lived it, although no one would have ever accused me of rollkur or tying my horse’s head in the stall or anything like that.  German martingale?  Used it.  Draw reins?  Used them.  Different bits?  Oh sure.  I never abused my horse, but I am guilty as charged for using training gadgets improperly before I was taught properly to ride leg to hand.

Now this doesn’t think I mean all training devices are bad.  Lunging in side reins is one of my favorite tools when done properly.


And draw reins aren’t necessarily the root of all evil.  They have their time and place in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing.


But even good tack can and devices can be used as a bad shortcut.  Maybe it isn’t gimmicks that I find annoying, but the ways people can try to take shortcuts with their riding?  This is not exactly the same picture of side rein usage like dear Simon above (although I’m not saying I use side reins perfectly with Simon – but never like this).


And any horseman will tell you a martingale is not an evil object.  That’s the only somewhat superfluous tack I ever use… but no one in their right mind will say this usage of a martingale is proper or OK.


Not trying to turn this into a discussion of how abusive horse trainers can be, but if I had to pick a pet peeve about riding it would be people looking to devices, drugs, tricks, or anything that will shortcut hard work and proper training.

6 thoughts on “Day 26 – Your Biggest Riding Pet Peeve

  1. That last picture is just distrubing. That poor horse.

    I use to work at a western pleasure barn in HS that would tie their horse’s heads up for hours so that they would be so muscle tired they would want to keep their heads down. 🙁

  2. I have to concur… Growing up, I rode in the American Quarter Horse Association, and back then (I can’t speak for it today although I assume the same old things go on) you weren’t taught to ride- you just see-sawed the horse’s head down, used stronger bits, used draw reins and all sorts of ridiculous gadgets to try to create a frame.

    I always felt it was wrong, although I admit to doing some of the practices (granted, mildly) and feel terribly for it now. But one day I woke up and thought, this is stupid, and started doing dressage with my horse (everyone was aghast!). The best part was when the dressage actually made my horse a much NICER mover and he started winning! Of course, he was no peanut-pusher so he was never going to win everything- we moved on to much more fun things… hunter/jumpers! With a focus on actually being correct, snaffle bit, leg to hand, etc.

    However, I do really like the pessoa system- as long as its not abused. It is really good for teaching a horse how to give, and how to straighten his body, without “fighting” on his back. He can just figure it out himself and its a good way to build muscle. However we only use it once or twice a week, typically with young horses or horses in “transition,” maybe learning a new frame or who have a weak side and need some strengthening on that side. Of course its not intended to replace correct riding, or be a short cut, just to teach the horse correctly without the rider up there messing everything up like we’re bound to do! It’s also not pulled so tight that its ridiculous.

    But otherwise, love this post.

  3. Hi, I realize this post is over a year old, but your last image is a stolen (albeit perhaps unintentional, recently I’ve found that it has made it’s way to many corners of the equine world online) from me. Please either remove the image or credit myself as the photographer: Molly Mellinger

    I even support your message, but would appreciate credit where credit is due. Thanks.

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