In the most recent link we saw a horse with enough foam coming from his mouth to top every Starbuck’s latte for a week. That’s too much and a clear indication of an unhappy horse, who finally had had enough and simply left.
Have a look at this short blog article entitled The One Picture. The author points out several issues with the picture that are spot on. I’d like to point out a few more, starting with the foamed mouth. It’s still too much. This horse has no white on his face, so that’s a big gob of froth about to splatter his chest. If the flash wasn’t so tight, there’d be more foam flying out of this horse’s mouth. The cavesson also looks to be cranked beyond tight.
Now look at the horse’s throat and how the skin is folded. This horse isn’t just behind the vertical, he’s a lot behind the vertical with a throat closed tighter than a shuttered up summer cottage in mid winter. I also have a real issue with the horse being pushed into this level of work at just 4 years old. Remember what happened to the fancy grey mare this rider rode back in 2006? Does anyone think this horse will have a better fate?
As the author mentions, a lot of people will praise this photo, the rider and the horse’s way of going. They’ll be unable to identify all that’s wrong, but there is one flashing red neon sign, that anyone can be taught to see, that clearly indicates this horse is not engaged. Simply look at the flexion of the weight bearing front fetlock and compare it to the flexion of the weight bearing rear fetlock. As evidenced in the photo, this horse is solidly on his forehand, bearing strikingly more weight on the front leg than on the hind. Engagement requires a horse to shift weight to the haunch. My downhill, post-legged, Heinz 57 horse, can shift more weight to his haunch than what this royally bred, solidly conformed horse is displaying. Imagine what *we* could do with this kind of horse if we were also Internationally acclaimed trainers and riders.
In conclusion, it’s wrong, all day long, every day and someone of this level should know better. So the question I’d like to pose to this rider, to the judges and everyone else involved: Do you not know better, or do you simply not care that you’re hurting the horse, that you’re corrupting the discipline, and that you’re setting the worst possible example for up and coming owners, riders, trainers and judges by systematically killing the future of good horsemanship.
Oh, and do you also not realize the horse is unsound behind?