Ludger Beerbaum rapping/poling/'touching'

CanteringCarrot

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There are rumblings about other show jumpers in my neck of the woods and their "methods" of training. Of course poor behavior and training happens everywhere and across all disciplines, it's just more tolerated in some places. Or no one wants to question the "big name" rider and just ignores it, or doesn't get involved with them. The "it's not my problem" mentality.

As for the FN, ehh, they certainly could update themselves on a variety of things, but hopefully with some pressure from the FEI, they'll reach a reasonable conclusion. We'll see.
 
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ihatework

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Rapping is so commonplace and it’s an awful practice. I watched the LB videos the other day and it really was blatant low skill abusive rapping 😔

Does the German federation really consider this acceptable?? A federation that bans whisker trimming (which I support btw) but allows this?

Interestingly, there was a thread on here years ago about rapping and there was one poster explaining their experience of it in a less/non abusive way which was really interesting - not something I’ve experienced then or since but something I would be interested to see done. Essentially involves the use of a schooling whip/light cane and involves lightly touching a trailing leg as the horse is jumping. Very much a proprioception type technique.
 

LEC

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There is a section in one of my German jumping books talks about it.
'Poling or touching the horses leg with a bamboo pole, sounds harsh but has its place. A more thorough look reveals 3 different areas of improvement:
  • Concentration
  • Technique
  • Carefulness
A basic question has to be asked: why is the trainer trying to influence these areas? Is he addicted to winning? Is it profit that motivates him? or, is he using this method for proper training? This question borders on ethical. Poling is a good example of how an action can be used for good or for evil.'

Anyway it goes on about the ethical debate a lot! Then describes how to do it.

'Poling is best performed over a small fence of 2'6 approached at medium speed and at the perfect distance. You touch the coronet band of whichever leg is tucked up most. It should be just a touch as a hard bump will frighten the horse. The hind leg should be touched first as this generates a forward pull. Then the forelegs corrected. The result should be that the legs should now be pairs. It is essential that during this exercise the atmosphere remains calm. If the horse becomes frantic or rushed, not only the leg correction but all training could be jeopardised.'

I think the whole ethical outcome discussion is interesting and I have seen it a lot with horses needing some help with pro-perception. It will be done to a certain extent in pro yards but using things like poles on oxers, footwork exercises, hexagonal poles etc I guess it also depends if you think crashing through fences on purpose is ethical, purposely sitting quiet so a horse makes a mistake. A lot of the eventers hope their horses will hit the fence hard in the warm up before they jump.
 

Goldenstar

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There is a section in one of my German jumping books talks about it.
'Poling or touching the horses leg with a bamboo pole, sounds harsh but has its place. A more thorough look reveals 3 different areas of improvement:
  • Concentration
  • Technique
  • Carefulness
A basic question has to be asked: why is the trainer trying to influence these areas? Is he addicted to winning? Is it profit that motivates him? or, is he using this method for proper training? This question borders on ethical. Poling is a good example of how an action can be used for good or for evil.'

Anyway it goes on about the ethical debate a lot! Then describes how to do it.

'Poling is best performed over a small fence of 2'6 approached at medium speed and at the perfect distance. You touch the coronet band of whichever leg is tucked up most. It should be just a touch as a hard bump will frighten the horse. The hind leg should be touched first as this generates a forward pull. Then the forelegs corrected. The result should be that the legs should now be pairs. It is essential that during this exercise the atmosphere remains calm. If the horse becomes frantic or rushed, not only the leg correction but all training could be jeopardised.'

I think the whole ethical outcome discussion is interesting and I have seen it a lot with horses needing some help with pro-perception. It will be done to a certain extent in pro yards but using things like poles on oxers, footwork exercises, hexagonal poles etc I guess it also depends if you think crashing through fences on purpose is ethical, purposely sitting quiet so a horse makes a mistake. A lot of the eventers hope their horses will hit the fence hard in the warm up before they jump.
A horse crashing through fences is a bad jumper you then either need to address the issues through training .
pole work , strengthening the horse in a systematic way ,improving the canter using the jumps to train the reactions you want .
I own a horse who had been rapped he was so weak and green he had no control of his canter he therefore hit fences some numpty decided that rapping would help .
This horse is the sweetest chap but when he arrived if he was in the school and someone went near a jump stand he would buck until the rider came off he was terrified .
Hes a great hunter and jumps well out hunting but he’s never learnt to enjoy jumping in the school even now years on he’s tense .
 

Curly_Feather

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Interestingly, there was a thread on here years ago about rapping and there was one poster explaining their experience of it in a less/non abusive way which was really interesting - not something I’ve experienced then or since but something I would be interested to see done. Essentially involves the use of a schooling whip/light cane and involves lightly touching a trailing leg as the horse is jumping. Very much a proprioception type technique.
I've never heard of this version. Very interesting. In dressage, we do a similar thing in-hand. My trainer will walk next to me on the ground while I do SI for example, and touch the inside hind leg to encourage it to step under more, and to help the horse understand the effort required. I think this will be very very hard to do accurately while the horse is jumping though...
 

ihatework

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I've never heard of this version. Very interesting. In dressage, we do a similar thing in-hand. My trainer will walk next to me on the ground while I do SI for example, and touch the inside hind leg to encourage it to step under more, and to help the horse understand the effort required. I think this will be very very hard to do accurately while the horse is jumping though...
Yes, exact same concept and I agree, very difficult to do well and requires considerable skill on the ground
 

LR

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Years back I was a showjumping groom. We had JA ponies too. One of them had huge knees due to previous owner rapping him. Poor thing, he used to stand in his stable and constantly shuffled weight from one leg to the other. I only lasted 8 months, 7 months and about 3 weeks too long! 😥
 

HashRouge

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My former boss went for a lesson with one of the UK's top show jumpers and told me that they were rapping a horse in the outdoor school when he arrived. I was horrified!
 

paddi22

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I got one in recently that was an ex jumper, and he won't go near a pole if there's a man beside it. I only discovered it when my trainer went to move a trotting pole that had rolled out of place near him. he absolutely rocketed away at high speed from him, (doesn't do it with women funnily enough). He also is terrified of hitting poles, even trotting poles, and get extremely stressed and tenses or bucks if he does. We had to do a few sessions nearly making him have no option but to hit poles on the ground just to desensitise him to it. He is fine now, but I feel so sorry for him. He has no positive reaction to jumping, or any enjoyment from it and I just think that's extremely sad that these animals that are naturally bred to find jumping easy, are just treated like machines with no care for their enjoyment of their job.
 

ihatework

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My former boss went for a lesson with one of the UK's top show jumpers and told me that they were rapping a horse in the outdoor school when he arrived. I was horrified!
Unfortunately I think it’s far more common than people realise.

I remember event horse shopping in Ireland and driving up the drive to one of the big name producers who were blatantly (and seemingly unashamedly) rapping a young horse in the arena. Left a sour taste.
 

Cheeky Chestnut

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Disgusting practice, but then we approve the constant riding and heavy training of two/three yr olds and have age competition classes for four year olds so really the rapping of young horses to make them careful despite being immature physically and mentally will just be claimed to be part of the competition preparations 🙄
 

j1ffy

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My loan horse had clearly been rapped. When his owner first got him home, he couldn't abide anyone standing near jumps or moving poles around and jumping got him very stressed (although he would do it well, albeit over jumping and bucking on landing to the extent that his owner ended up in hospital).

I've also heard numerous stories of it going on at SJ yards. As others have said, I think it's sadly common along with weighted boots / products put on legs (loan horse also wouldn't tolerate boots! His new owner has used them now with no issues so he has improved).
 

tristar

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doing that is the very opposite of good training, it shows a lack of insight how training jumping works

the main thing that strikes me about it is that it can destroy the horses confidence in its own ability to judge a jump, take off nd height

anyone knows jumping too high is detrimental to success, when fractions of seconds count in a jump off

its a dirty rotten trick in my opinion
 

Mule

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I honestly think it's the norm in showjumping. As bad as this sounds I think there are people like Ludger, who manage to do it in such a way that they don't put the horses off jumping. They must be able to do it in a way that doesn't cause the horse to avoid jumping or it would be counterproductive. I'm not defending it btw.

Pinch boots seem to be the norm too but I don't think they are disallowed in training. I may be wrong though.

I just thought of my own horse who literally jumps for fun. When loose lunging him, if there are jumps up in the arena he will skip over to them and jump back and forth over them without being asked. I'd say a rapped horse would never enjoy his jumping like that.

He's a very clever jumper too, he manages the strides and never knocks a pole. It's a shame I never did much pure showjumping with him. He was a star at eventing though. The rider took care of the dressage and he'd do the rest.
 
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Goldenstar

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After I had been through it with H I realised I had owned horses who had been rapped in past they where just less damaged and I got H very close to haveing the experience .
You also see horse in jumping sessions who react or are distrustful of trainers near the jumps I suspect many of these have been rapped .
 

Goldenstar

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doing that is the very opposite of good training, it shows a lack of insight how training jumping works

the main thing that strikes me about it is that it can destroy the horses confidence in its own ability to judge a jump, take off nd height

anyone knows jumping too high is detrimental to success, when fractions of seconds count in a jump off

its a dirty rotten trick in my opinion
exactly and I think it’s done very often from frustration.
 

stangs

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Reading his statement left a sour taste in my mouth... "The horses are our capital that we take care of day in, day out." So the technique's fine because it doesn't *physically* cause them damage? Fine as long as they're able to keep performing for you? He also claims to use rapping rarely, which seems true, but the fact that he considers it part of his training arsenal to begin with is saddening.

I do also hate when people say that so-and-so gadget is fine as long as used by an experienced rider/trainer. Of course, most things in life aren't black or white, but it becomes such an easy excuse for anyone that uses it. I remember someone on Instagram being asked why they used pinch boots because it causes the horse pain. Their answer was "I'm experienced with using pinch boots so it's okay." As if being an experienced rider negates the fact that it causes the horse pain.

Also hate that proprioception, which is truly important and a fascinating concept, gets used as an excuse/explanation for an abusive technique.

As bad as this sounds I think there are people like Ludger, who manage to do it in such a way that they don't put the horses off jumping. They must be able to do it in a way that doesn't cause the horse to avoid jumping or it would be counterproductive. I'm not defending it btw.
I can't imagine that his horses aren't put off jumping as a result though; rather, I think a skilled rider like him can easily get a horse over a jump whether or not they want to do it.
 

Mule

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Reading his statement left a sour taste in my mouth... "The horses are our capital that we take care of day in, day out." So the technique's fine because it doesn't *physically* cause them damage? Fine as long as they're able to keep performing for you? He also claims to use rapping rarely, which seems true, but the fact that he considers it part of his training arsenal to begin with is saddening.

I do also hate when people say that so-and-so gadget is fine as long as used by an experienced rider/trainer. Of course, most things in life aren't black or white, but it becomes such an easy excuse for anyone that uses it. I remember someone on Instagram being asked why they used pinch boots because it causes the horse pain. Their answer was "I'm experienced with using pinch boots so it's okay." As if being an experienced rider negates the fact that it causes the horse pain.

Also hate that proprioception, which is truly important and a fascinating concept, gets used as an excuse/explanation for an abusive technique.


I can't imagine that his horses aren't put off jumping as a result though; rather, I think a skilled rider like him can easily get a horse over a jump whether or not they want to do it.
I'd say your right about a skilled rider being able to get the horse over jumps regardless. That may well be what happens.
 

honetpot

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Someone I know who mixes with a lot of showjumpers, that if a horse gets wise and will not go near a jump with someone stood beside it, they use a remote controlled spring up pole.
It's the same with lunging, how many horse freak when they see a second person nearby the bolt or reverse backwards and kick out because they have been thrashed with a lunge whip while someone holds the line.
 

Cob Life

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Someone I know who mixes with a lot of showjumpers, that if a horse gets wise and will not go near a jump with someone stood beside it, they use a remote controlled spring up pole.
It's the same with lunging, how many horse freak when they see a second person nearby the bolt or reverse backwards and kick out because they have been thrashed with a lunge whip while someone holds the line.
Mine has a meltdown at the sight of a lunge whip, even just to walk past on the yard and most stuff I can talk him round but in 3 years still not this, worries me what’s in his past that’s caused this sort of reaction from him.

I don’t come from any sort of show jumping background but I remember hearing about rapping at quite a young age (likely less than 13) and being quite shocked by it. As an adult having had friends that worked for top show jumpers it does not surprise me that it still occurs within the industry sadly
 

Reacher

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Well this is an eye opener, I naively didn’t realise how much practices like rapping take place. It is disgusting.

I’m only half awake and inarticulate so struggling to write this next part. It is sometimes stated on here that horses suffer in general more by being owned by numpty amateurs versus top level competition horses but it seems to me that the pressures of high level competition and winning big prizes cause a lot of suffering. I think my horses are lucky not to have been born high level competition horses.
 

LEC

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Well this is an eye opener, I naively didn’t realise how much practices like rapping take place. It is disgusting.

I’m only half awake and inarticulate so struggling to write this next part. It is sometimes stated on here that horses suffer in general more by being owned by numpty amateurs versus top level competition horses but it seems to me that the pressures of high level competition and winning big prizes cause a lot of suffering. I think my horses are lucky not to have been born high level competition horses.
tbh I just can’t see them bothering with an older horse doing this. It will be young horses under 8.
 

HashRouge

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tbh I just can’t see them bothering with an older horse doing this. It will be young horses under 8.
And in the interests of fairness, it's definitely not all show jumpers who do this. I worked as an SJ groom for a couple of years and neither rider rapped their horses. Not that I watched them training very often, but they'd have needed the grooms to do the rapping because there was no-one else to do it, and they certainly never asked us to (nor would we have said yes).
 
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