Friday, February 19, 2016

Stark Naked Bits, clinics and expos coming up, Appaloosas and American Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts.

Stark Naked Bits will be hosting two clinics in Virginia in the next few months!!!!!! 

The first will be during the Virginia-North Carolina Horse Festival March 5th, 2016 at the Old Dominion Agriculture Center in Chatham Virginia.  We will be conducting a bitting clinic in the main arena and also have a booth in the vendors' hall to sell bits and take orders.

We will also be doing the breed demonstrations for the Appaloosa and the American Sugarbush Harlequin Draft Horse. Stop by our stalls and visit our Appaloosa stallions Heza Docolida and Colida TwistOLena and Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts, Stonewall Rascal and Sugarbush Harley's Classic O

                                                                    Heza Docolida

                                                                Colida TwistOLena

Stonewall Rascal

Sugarbush Harley's Classic O

The second will be during the Virginia Horse Festival in Doswell at The Meadows Fairground on April 1st, 2nd and 3rd. We will also have a booth.

Our clinic schedule is:

Friday, April 1st, 2016
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM in the Horse Industry Board Arena

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM in the Virginia Horse Council Foundation Classroom

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM in the Virginia Horse Council Foundation Classroom

The American Sugarbush Harlequin Drafts and Appaloosas will also be featured breeds at Breyerfest and our lovely group will be representing these breeds. Breyerfest Carnival 2016

As soon as we get scheduling and stalling information we will post it. Stop by and see us, we'd love to introduce you to our wonderful horses and fun bits!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tracy Meisenbach-Horse Training Cliches and other lies

I've been in this business a long, long time. So long that I can't remember life before having my own horses and can't imagine life when the day comes I can't have them anymore. During this long span I've seen and heard some amazing things and some outright stupid things. It reached the point that when I see and hear certain things the person involved gets relegated to either the cool or stupid column. The stupid column is longer and sadly contains some people that are respected in the industry because they win a lot. Winning does not mean you know everything, especially if you're being judged by idiots that do the same thing you do. Because of all of the misinformation and crap that gets said I decided to compile a list of stupid sayings that automatically relegate you to the stupid column. If you spout one of these cliches as a "training" justification you're stupid. You're stupid, covered in stupid with stupid flavored filling.

  1. Any bit is gentle in the right hands (no, some bits cause pain without rein pressure)
  2. "I need this bit because he's a ________ horse. You've never ridden a _____ horse of any real calibre or you'd know they need strong bits!" (I've trained and shown horses to top levels)
  3. It's like a hand brake, so I don't have to worry about losing control - he's got a naturally hard mouth. It doesn't stop him with pain, it just gets him to stop.  (Pain stops him, nothing else)
  4. "He was born hard-mouthed." ( No horse is born hard mouthed)
  5. "I don't really need it to ride him. I can ride him in a halter." ( Then do so, overkill isn't needed)
  6. "You just don't know how it works." ( I do know, that's why I don't use it)
  7. "It has a snaffle (broken) mouthpiece, so it's super gentle" (Usually in reference to a Tom Thumb)
  8. “Oh, it's a shanked snaffle, so it's really mild. ( Snaffles never have shanks. NEVER)
  9. "You can't ride X type of horse in a loose ring snaffle." ( You can if you know how to train)
  10. "He's a walking horse, so he has to have a walker bit" ( The breed of horse does not dictate the bit)
  11. "Walkers have to have a walking horse bit to gait." ( Horses gait whether they are bridled or not)
  12. "The correction port is a port so it still offers tongue relief." (Trapping the tongue is not relief)
  13. "I use it because its what so-and-so uses and THEY made the NFR. So it has to be good." 
  14. "It makes his mouth more sensitive" ( Yes, pain does that.)
  15. "That's what my trainer said to use" ( Then get a new trainer)
  16. "Because it LIFTS THE SHOULDERS" (Nothing lifts the horse's shoulder unless you pick up his foot)
  17. "Cavalry shanks are more gentle than regular shanks." ( depends on the mouthpiece.)
  18. "But the hackamore part engages FIRST, so he responds before the twisted mouthpiece engages. That means the twisted wire mouthpiece is only there for emergencies." (nosebands always engage last.)
  19. "But the edges of the twist are smooth, so it's gentle! It's just enough to get his attention!" (if it was gentle it wouldn't hurt enough to "get his attention")
  20. "You have no idea how this bit works, you're just close minded" ( Close minded would be not admitting it's a shitty bit.)
  21. "You have to bit them up and get that mouth sore so they will listen to a milder bit." ( You can't train through pain)
  22. "He's a barrel horse so he needs X bit to stop when we run because he gets too hyped up. At home I ride in a D ring." ( If he was trained he'd work in the milder bit)
  23. "Have you ever ridden X discipline or X kind of horse? Then you can't judge!" ( I know shitty riding when I see it)
  24. "What the hell are YOUR credentials?" ( The list is longer than this blog. All done without drugs, abusive bits, being suspended etc)
  25. "You've never ridden a grand prix horse, so you don't know how hard you need to be with bits to control them. ( Right, so all the winners who didn't use that shit bit were just flukes?)
  26. The Tom Thumb bit is needed so she could stop the horse if it decided to bolt. ( A TT won't stop anything that is serious about running off)
  27. "They gait by pivoting on the mouthpiece," from a trainer that specializes in MFT's. "See how holding the reins tighter collects 'em?" ( Stupidity and anatomy collide once again)
  28. "He has a really soft mouth" (when even a moderately well educated observer can see that he's desperately trying to avoid yanks and punishment")
  29. "They have to balance on the bit to hold a gait. Tighten the reins a little bit" ( A horse does not balance of his mouth)
  30. Lady who rode a very pacey, long-toed TWH around the neighborhood, upon observing Paddy's feet and headgear>>> "Oh, wow. You're riding him in a snaffle. He was trained in a curb, though, wasn't he?" (not the 'question' kind of 'wasn't he'.. but the 'of course he was trained in a curb' kind of wasn't he')
  31. How long has he been barefoot? (all his life, idiot. TWH's don't need heavy shoes any more than a fish needs a bicycle)
  32. How do you control him without a bit in his mouth? (With your seat and legs)
  33. But he's a western horse, he needs a western bit. ( Get him the hat too, it's a set. Cowboy up!)
  34. "You can't run barrels without a tie down and in a snaffle! How are you going to stop her?" ( With my seat and legs, saying whoa works too)
  35. "Your horses are too light mouthed- they'll drive better if you bit 'em down, shorten their checks, and spank 'em into your hand. They gotta brace on the bit to keep their front ends up." ( Stupidity on parade, look how high it can prance!)
  36. "A horse with his head up is ALWAYS hollow in the back!" ( Then why use a gag bit?)
  37. "If he didn't like his bit, he wouldn't let me put it in his mouth!" ( How's he going to stop you?)
  38. "Physics don't apply to MY bit!" ( Because your bit gets a free pass?)
  39. "My Snookums LOVES his double twisted wire ten inch shank bit. See how well he behaves!?" (He's afraid to move.)
  40. "He runs through anything else, so I HAVE to ride him in my chainsaw mouthed hackagag!" (Because you're too stupid to train him to stop)
  41. "It doesn't cause pain if you know how to use it right." (If you knew how to use it, you wouldn't)
  42.  "He's gotten sour, so we HAVE to bit him up more so he'll be safe." (Sourness is created by pain, adding pain just increases the sour)
  43. "How do you manage him- there nothing there to hurt him?!" ( Respect)
  44. “A twisted wire snaffle will teach them to be soft in the mouth because it makes little sores that will make them sensitive.” ( Good thing you're not a teacher)
  45.  "Just tie his head around by the bit. It'll teach him to bend!" ( It will teach him to be stiff and resistant because there is no reward)
  46. "Just tie his bit to a railroad tie. They learn real quick to be soft then!" (? How did this person survive childhood?)
  47. "Of course the horse is giving you trouble, you are not using a bit!!" (A bit was the problem in the first place)
  48. "You can't judge a bit until you use it!" ( Sure I can, I can look at the mechanics and know it's shit)
  49. "I'm so lighthanded, the bit doesn't matter" ( You're deluding yourself)
  50. "Snaffles are only starting bits. You can't ride in one after the horse is broke." ( Said no Olympic rider EVER)
  51. After explaining Tom Thumbs to several people, without fail: "Yeah, but aren't they also called a shanked snaffle? They're gentle." ( Snaffles never have shanks, see #8)
  52. "English is for prisses. You shouldn't be riding in an English bit. They don't work for western horses." ( Bits don't know they belong to a discipline, they are nonpartisan)
  53. "It releases endorphins" ( So do  twitches and lip chains, both are not good)
  54.  Tie downs=better balance ( You cannot balance with your head tied down)
  55.  "This is what the horse is trained in and he goes well in it." ( Because he was trained by an asshole)
  56. "I can't ride him in a milder bit, he will run away with me." (Go back to basics and put a stop on him)
  57. You’re just jealous couch jockeys who know nothing! ( I've never been jealous of bad riders or trainers)
  58. "Well every discipline has bad bits/techniques/riders/trainers etc" ( The bad in one, doesn't excuse the bad in another when used as a way to justify the bits/techniques/riders/trainers of their particular discipline. )
  59. "I was raised riding horses and we always used " X" bit too start them." (Evolve)
  60. "You don't know much about horses do you? You gotta make'm bleed some so they respect the bit. " ( You need to be in jail)
  61. "It is jointed, so it is still a snaffle." ( See #8)
  62. “You can make a curb bit into a snaffle, just don't put on the curb chain.” ( Removing the curb chain makes the bit worse, not better)
  63.  "My old horse went in it just fine, I don't need to spend money on a new bit for this one." ( Evolve)

    Yes people do say things that are this stupid, these are taken from actual posts and articles. And even worse, they MEAN it. They truly believe that if they say these tired old cliches that some barn fairy will show up, smack them with a trainer wand and impart the wisdom of the ages. It's not true. Being stuck in the cliche rut prevents you from evolving as a horseman. You stop learning. you stop listening to the horse. I have no idea why people got hung up on whispering to horses when we should have been listening to them. Listening doesn't take joining up, or carrot sticks or any special bit. Listening takes paying attention, acting ethically and putting the horse first. There is no ribbon or trophy in the world worth your integrity or his well being. And until people reach the point they will ignore the award in order to work with the horse then abuse, and stupidity, will continue to happen.

    So don't repeat these cliches, they show how limited you are and how far you have to go. Instead of speaking them, shut your mouth, open your mind and eyes and EVOLVE!

    Tracy Meisenbach
    Copyright 2-2016
    Do not publish, repost, or copy without permission