Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

Hello Weekend oops Goodbye Weekend!!

Oh dear it’s Sunday night and my Hello Weekend post has become Hello Work Week again ! @ridingcoach, Larissa , has been gone barely a week and already I’ve fallen sadly behind. To be fair I’ve had shows every weekend , my own show next week and one more after that to wind up the season here.

  Larissa seems to be getting adapted and finding her way in a new life , though I see on twitter her horse Rio is having some edema problems. I hope it’s nothing serious!

     I thought tonight I would post a few of the things that riders and horse owners do that make me Bug Eyed.thumbnail


 At home at Sunhall I work very hard on training riders , students and parents to be safe and informed horsepeople. This past few weeks , being on the road showing again , I have had my memory refreshed regarding how much nonsense and how many dangerous practices actually go on in the horse world.

  In our home ring we observe ring rules , I believe they are basically universal but sadly they seem to go out the window at shows to a large degree.Pass left to left, fast horse has the track,call a circle, call passing behind, call door.

  When one coach decides to hold ego driven court in the middle of the warm up ring so all of us can observe how amazing their skills are , everyone else has to give way and end up fighting for a corner to warm up in .Very bad form  Ms/Mr. ultra coach!

   Why is it that people think by tying everything but the kitchen sink to their horse before a class it will magically transform from a hard mouthed , defensive bully that runs off at any opportunity to a splendid , mannerly dressage horse in the ring? If these people spent as much money on good solid well informed coaching as they did on side reins, martingales,whips and sharp bits they would be much further ahead.

   It annoys me no end that young riders who refuse to work up a sweat in case their hair bow might get ruffled, expect their horse to put in a stellar performance that they can text about to friends leaving their horse with tired, puzzled looking Moms and Dads who have no idea how to cool out let alone untack.

   It  is very frightening to see horses tied and left at trailers with no water on leads so long they can easily step on them eating out of hay nets that are  nearly dragging on the ground just begging to snare a leg….while their owners head off to the snack booth  and general socializing barely ever glancing back at their trailer.

  I find it disgraceful that young ladies looking the absolute picture of sugar and spice on clearly expensive ponies in the very latest attire, unleash a torrent of vulgar language strong enough to make a sailor blush when scores not to their liking are posted.

     Riders who dismount while leaving one foot in the stirrup have certainly never had the misfortune to be dragged Yet.

    It pains me to hear the wince of  a horse being tacked in a rush since their owner slept in and the girth is reefed up to the top notch in one swift gut busting wrench.

    Many riders seem to think it is the colour and newness of polos that lend support rather than taking some lessons on how to wrap  them properly.

    I think that performing three tests in a day is plenty for any horse. Today I saw a sturdy but worn looking trooper cart four separate children through an entire division each.

   At my stable if riders forget equipment at the trailer we have the horse held while the rider hikes back for it. It’s amazing to me that the most effective and hard nosed business man can be reduced to a fawning idiot and spend his whole sunday running around a show grounds fetching water, gloves etc., etc. for his little princess with nary a peep out of him. At least “riding mothers” complain:)

   It’s funny how you reach a certain age and “turning on the tears” no longer commands any reaction at all.

  If as coaches and parents we don’t teach children to be responsible I doubt a birthday is going to do it.Don’t misunderstand me , I love working with youth but consider a large part of that job to be imparting sportsmanship , a “see to your horse first” attitude and having any one I take out to compete be a credit to the show.

   Last but not least on my list of pet peeves tonight are the desperate attempts at control of the inexperienced rider who has managed to have someone buy them a young horse under the misguided assumption that the horse will “grow” with them . I won’t even look at a green horse for a green rider.

   If you see yourself here….change. If you’ve seen countless others in  my examples know you’re not alone. We can’t really march around demanding people do things our way at shows but I do try to be an advocate for horses when I can. We can serve on show committees establishing safe practice rules. We can try in our own riding  and behaviour to set a good example.

    Wishing to end on a more positive note I will say the overwhelming majority of people I come across at horse shows are caring , educated, helpful, polite with lucky horses and participating for all the right reasons. It is my fervent hope that these wonderful people will influence the few less sophisticated over time to adopt practices more in keeping with good horsemanship:) Cheers and Happy SAFE , sportsmanlike Riding :)Libby Keenan



  Molly wrote @


  Wanda wrote @

I will say that the bad things you saw at these shows are the exact bad things that go on at trailrides and rodeos. I see so many bad things, but I don’t say anything, because they would ask me, “And just who are you?”
I think people need to understand that things happen AND they happen fast. Just because you’re experienced does not mean—YOU’RE EXEMPT FROM HORSE ACCIDENTS!
I’m just a novice, and I know that; but I have read articles and blogs about horse care and horsmanship skill and I have incorporated the advice into my horse care.

  All I Ever Wanted.. « Sarahmaccc's Blog wrote @

[…] and artists that focus on horses. One of the women wrote about her pet peeves that she called “dangerous practices.” This third blog gave its audience a glimpse into the difficulty of running a horse facility […]

  Middle aged male wrote @

Hello Ladies;

This is my first time on your site, very impressed. But don’t you ladies ever sleep? You provide a lot of useful and entertaining information. I must admit however, I feel a little intimidated. I see absolutely no reference to my gender, I feel so alone. Okay so it’s not your problem that so few men enjoy horses, comparatively speaking that is. All kidding aside, I will keep tabs on this site, I enjoyed reading the stories and advice. Have a great night.

  tackandtalk wrote @

Hello, Point well taken , will look into stats and try to involve more men . happy riding . Libby keenan

  tackandtalk wrote @

Hi again , Just so you know…under Coaches and trainers on our Home page you will see The Enlightened Horseman blog. This blog is written by Robin Shen. Robin is a man based on the west coast USA. His blog and ideas are really insightful and sound. Cheers. Libby

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