Folks, this is a public service announcement right here. Anyone who works with horses, or knows someone who does, needs to pay attention to this.
There is a man out there, advertising that he has the final solution to a bucking horse, a device that will stop the buck in its tracks, which is humane and an effective training tool.
He's full of shit.
I refuse to link to the site here, but I will tell you the name of the device. It is the Barnes No Buck Horse Trainer. Look it up if you like.
This device is an adjustable leather halter, with aircraft cable run through pulleys on the ends of the cheek pieces, up and around the ears of the horse. Once you have the halter on, you simply tie a rein to the conveniently looped ends of the cable, and hook it over your saddle horn.
I'm going to quote here the inventor himself on the effect of the device.
"It can't buck you - when he puts his head down it puts pressure on the nerves and paralyzes the horse. A horse can't buck very hard with its head up."
W. T. F.
Ok let's take this one step at a time for those of my readers who may not be familiar with one of the basic concepts of horse training for fun and profit.
The entire basis of training a prey animal is, at its heart, pressure, and release. The main response of an animal which has the instincts of those who are hunted is to move away from pressure. This may sound backwards on some things, but let me explain.
When you are teaching a horse to drive, that is, teaching him what you want when you direct him with the reins one way or another, you pull on the rein on the side you want him to go. By moving in that direction he is positioning his body and his head to ease that pressure, moving the point of contact away from the direction the pressure is coming from.
Same thing on round penning. You put "pressure" on the back half of the horse in the form of body language, a swinging rope, or a lunge whip making noise, and they move forward. Move your body to be in front of his shoulder and you've moved the pressure from the back to the front, and he slows or stops.
In this way we make doing what we want the horse to do the easy thing for it to do. Consistent application of pressure and release will get you from Point A to Point B in a consistent fashion, is easy for the horse to learn, and is a solid foundation on which to build a relationship of trust with your horsey friend.
These are signals that are readily understood by the horse because it fits in with their mentality. Yours too. Think about it, if someone pokes you, you move away.
Now, let's consider once again this so-called miracle device. The steel cable runs up and around the ears, with a connecting... something... spreading the effect across the poll. A definite pressure point and one that every trainer calls upon at some point or other, in my experience usually in the form of using the halter to pull a horse's head down for the bridle, or using draw reins to correct a horse's headset.
But the point of this device is not to get the horse to lower his head. No, friends, that would make entirely too much sense. The point of this amalgamation of bad ideas is to keep the horse's head up. When the horse lowers his head, the "rein" attached to this torture device pulls on the steel cable, which puts pressure on the poll and around the ears, pushing the horse's head down. Lowering the head in response to the downward pressure only increases that pressure, which, duh, becomes painful.
Eventually, the confused equine learns that pressure at the poll means "put your head up!" Which would undoubtedly effect future training efforts in the area of bridling etiquette, and leading at halter. After all, who doesn't want to refine their horse's leading until he'll walk quietly beside you without you ever having to touch the lead?
And, dear friends, this is all without ever mentioning the fact that a horse who truly wants to buck and be cranky will learn that the only thing stopping him is that device. Which means, the instant you saddle up without it, you're getting piled, and piled hard.
And the charlatan passing this... thing.... off as an effective and humane training tool has the gall to not only offer to buy any horse that can buck him off wearing it (his brother has a string of rodeo broncs, ya know,) but to charge over two hundred dollars for it.
Sure, it might work, but I have to wonder how many horses who are simply confused, nervous, or lacking in confidence in the human race (well with this sorry specimen running around can we really blame them?) are going to be tortured because of one man's stupidity.
If this dude was any closer, I'd have to take a road trip, just so I could slap him upside his damn fool head.
I'll leave you with a quote from his promotional video....
"This is perfect for children, older people, and wimmin and such."
And my response to that quote......
"Fuck you buddy, learn to ride."