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Is This Discrimination?


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#1 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:41 AM

Ok I have helped friends of mine run a guided trail ride business for four years.....we had a large group of children from a district youth group come. Now in the four years we've had one person come off a horse.....yesterday we had three. But it wasn't the horses being bad, it was that the kids had such large bottoms they couldn't keep there feet in front of them and kept rolling off the side.......the one girl literally fell off going up a hill and was stuck like a turtle on her back, her head was downhill and she couldn't even get up we had to pick her up......now I'm not trying to be mean but we've decided we just can't take those kind of people anymore because its just not safe.....its not a weight issue because we get adult men in who are tall and weigh a good deal but we have several big horses....

Its the people who have such large butts that they simply can not get there feet in front of them to have any sense of balance.......


We also had them bring a midget, sorry I'm not trying to be offensive I don't know the politically correct term. But after twenty minutes getting her on the smallest horse we had her but was way way to large for the pony saddle and no other stirrups would go short enough, plus she couldn't reach the saddle horn to balance herself if needed, we told her we just couldn't take her....
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#2 Wild Rose

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:30 AM

I don't think I'd call it discrimination. you just cannot guarantee the safety of those people, if they cannot balance at all or stay in the saddle.

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#3 cowgurlup1983

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:00 AM

I also dont call it discrimination. I would just tell people its a safety issue.
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#4 skippitb

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

Well, technically it is discrimination, but in your situation you generally may discriminate if the person has a medical condition that poses a direct threat to themselves or others. In this instance you obviously have that. You may want to post it somewhere in your rules that you reserve the right to deny anyone the right to work on or around the horses based your assessment of their real or perceived inability/unwillingness to maintain a safe atmosphere for themselves and others.
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#5 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:38 AM

Hmmmmmmmm that is great wording, we were wondering how to put it in words
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#6 Magic26

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

I agree you should have it posted somewhere on site and in your agreement.
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#7 4arabians

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:34 PM

I believe they are called little people,the midgets I mean not the ones with big butts. They are not little people. Sorry, was that politically incorrect? :)

I too used to be a trail guide. We had people show up in shortshorts with flip flops or sandals and stilletto heeled boots. Half of the women would scream when they got on realizing how large a horse really is. The men try playing cowboy flipping the reins over to make the horse move. A seasoned trail horse will not move any faster than a walk nor leave his place in line no matter how much the cowboy wanna be tries. :)

It was fun and funny and always different and a challenge. Most of the people could laugh at themselves though and their group members. Yes, non-horsey people and horses...what a mix of entertainment.

#8 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:51 PM

Yeah we get all kinds, we don't allow flip flops or anything other then closed toe shoes.......but we are struggling with making having to big a bottom as a disqualifier....lol I mean amusement parks have signs saying you must be this tall to ride, do we need a tape measure? Lol!



We did decide that we will offer an optional hour basic "lesson" in our round pen for those that can't safely be sent out on the trails.....think that would be a gentle way to let them down?
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#9 kitten-kat

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:20 PM

You know, I know it sounds probably problematic, but you could get a set of driving horses, and a good wagon, and then offer them the same trail as everyone else, with less stress to their joints.. (keeping it politically correct and all) That way they are not excluded, and there isn't the extreme danger of falling. That is if you have a trail that will accommodate this.. I went to a place in flaming gorge a few years back and took a guided trail ride, and they had off to the side a set of driving horses and a wagon with neat steps built into it, that the less able to ride could use, they had even mounted a wheel chair lock in, and had a ramp they could fold down into position.. I wish I had gotten photos, but it sounds like it would work great for your situation as well?

This could accommodate the elderly, the infirm, the overweight, and unsafe to ride, the little people, and even the smallest kids who aren't ready! They all deserve the chance to go, but at a much safer way!! I bet you would get tons of people if you advertised you could do a trail, ridden, or wagon!

Edited by kitten-kat, 16 April 2012 - 01:26 PM.

yes I am dyslexic, and no i dont have spell check anymore.. sorry..

 

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#10 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:29 PM

No possible way to get a wagon on these trails.....
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#11 4arabians

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 03:17 PM

I worked at a stable that operated in the Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park so the trails had to be maintained and wide enough for emergency vehicles but they were still too rough and sometimes steep for a safe wagon ride. It'd be more like a roller coaster with horses. You could offer a seperate wagon ride closer to the barn or even on paved backroads. I know everyone wants to join in but everyone just can't do what everyone does...if that makes sense. No matter what, someone is going to get disappointed.

#12 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

We do offer "pony rides" for the younger kids.......we put them in the round pen and lead them around.....we have some young stock, maybe we could occupy some with the chance to help us groom and braid manes and maybe let them play with the lasso on the plastic cow head....still give them a horse experience....
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#13 kitten-kat

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:05 PM

Can you make a modified trail location that would last a short while to make a modified ride for a wagon?? Im not saying it has to be the same length of time, or even all that far, but the experience might be enough for some!

yes I am dyslexic, and no i dont have spell check anymore.. sorry..

 

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#14 Serah Rose

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

While I worked as a trail guide, we did have a weight limit of 200 lbs...unless the guest had horse riding experience - and we would usually warn those that booked stating they weight over 200 lbs that they would be riding LARGE horses (Belgian, belgian X, clyde X, etc)

I can't say we ever had someone accuse us of discrimination? We would simply state it was for the horse's health and the guests safety
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#15 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

They live right across the road from the state park, we have an access trail on the neighbors property that we use, and gee, I weigh around 185 lol its not so much the weight as the size of the bottoms lol!
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#16 DawnC

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:50 PM

Where I worked back in the day we also had a weight limit in place. We also had an age limit.

I'd wonder how people are just rolling off though? We had a person or two come off in odd circumstances (a stumble where the person just pitched off over the shoulder)... but just rolling off the side?

Were the saddle sizes large enough to accomodate the riders? You put a rider than needs a 17inch saddle on a 14inch saddle, and you are going to have problems. Stirrups adjusted in such a manner that the riders could use them? We sometimes had to MAKE people leave their feet in the stirrups, it got 'uncomfortable' so they like to take them out. We considered it a safety matter and gave them the choice of using the stirrups, or getting off and walking.

#17 4arabians

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:01 PM

They live right across the road from the state park, we have an access trail on the neighbors property that we use, and gee, I weigh around 185 lol its not so much the weight as the size of the bottoms lol!


Sorry to laugh but these people sound like "pear" people. Kinda like a "weeble" but weebles are suppose to wobble and not fall down. LOL!!
I know this is unsensitive but it's getting too funny and I have no room to be making fun of people but...(no pun intended) LOL!!!

#18 Ivory Annie

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Well the problem is they have short legs but very large bottoms...yes they are like pears :-P the saddles with extra large seats don't have stirrups that go short enough......I'm amazed how many people we get like that.....we were going up a hill and one girl simply slid off the side off the horse....she had no balance, and we never went over a walk...not once....but still, off she went, then was like a rourke on her back, her head was going downhill and her feet up....the trail turns into a ditch there because its traveled so much, luckily it was right where the trail comes together at a y and she didn't end up under the horse,.but still she couldn't get up,.I had to get behind her and push her up......
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#19 teampenninglady123

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:35 PM

modify the saddles...same as you would for elderly or handicapped.
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#20 PaintMyPast

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:08 PM

4arabians, what outfitter did you work for? I just went for a trail ride in the Smokies!! My horse's name was Tim and he was enormous...lol
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#21 sddeadeye

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:01 AM

I used to manage a trail riding facility. Our policy was that they had to be able to get up on the horse on their own from the ground with at most one guide assisting. If they couldn't get on, they couldn't ride. Also, for the short legged people/kids we used Buddy stirrups that hook around the saddle horn.

#22 4arabians

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:19 AM

4arabians, what outfitter did you work for? I just went for a trail ride in the Smokies!! My horse's name was Tim and he was enormous...lol

When I was a trail guide it was many moons ago , like back in 1979. Geez,that sounds old.
I'm guessing "Tim" was not named for Tiny Tim. LOL

#23 4arabians

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:21 AM

Well the problem is they have short legs but very large bottoms...yes they are like pears :-P the saddles with extra large seats don't have stirrups that go short enough......I'm amazed how many people we get like that.....we were going up a hill and one girl simply slid off the side off the horse....she had no balance, and we never went over a walk...not once....but still, off she went, then was like a rourke on her back, her head was going downhill and her feet up....the trail turns into a ditch there because its traveled so much, luckily it was right where the trail comes together at a y and she didn't end up under the horse,.but still she couldn't get up,.I had to get behind her and push her up......

I know it's wrong but that is just too funny.

#24 Ivory Annie

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:40 AM

We don't take handicapped, really elderly or really young
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#25 sddeadeye

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:58 AM

What defines handicapped for you? That's a slippery slope. We've had everything from autistic kids to a girl missing an arm. My husband is practically a cripple due to a leg injury but he is a good rider and has no problem getting on and off a horse. To disciminate against these type of people could land you with a lawsuit.

Now, on the other hand if you are speaking of people in wheelchairs then I can definitely see that. Which is why we have the mount/dismount policy. Also for people who are unsure if they are going to be able to handle the ride, we will walk beside the horse down the hill and keep a very close eye on them. If they realize they will be unable to complete the ride, we just turn around and walk them back up.

There are ways to turn people down without embarassing them because of their physical limitations.

#26 sddeadeye

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:02 AM

I didn't mean to sound harsh in my last post. I hope it didn't come across that way. It is just a sour issue with me because I was the center of a lawsuit against our company one year when a child fell off one of our horses.

ETA: Do you guys have your guests sign liability waivers? Is your policy written out on the waivers about who you will and will not accept? I don't remember what ours said any more, but it did spell out minumum age, weight restrictions, and mounting guidelines.

Edited by sddeadeye, 17 April 2012 - 09:10 AM.


#27 Ivory Annie

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:53 AM

Anybody who cannot sit in the saddle, anybody who can not grasp the saddle horn to balance themselves....we've had autistic metal handicaps, the trails we go on are not just walking around a field, they are actual horsemans trails so we can not have people without the basic concepts of balance
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#28 sddeadeye

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:59 AM

Agreed! Our trails were in the Badlands which involve a lot of climbing up and down steep buttes. These people you have fall off the horses, how do they get back on? Do they have to walk all the way back? That's where our policy came from about being able to mount from the ground. It definitely worked at keeping some of the less balanced riders off our trails without us having to single them out.

#29 Sayge

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:09 AM

When you say mount from the ground do you mean straight from the ground with no help (like a mounting block)? If so I wouldn't have been able to go on your rides. My right knee is pretty much shot and my left isn't much better. I have to use a block, stump, stool, stair, ditch, etc to get on. Once on though I can ride all day.

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#30 sddeadeye

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

Yes, from the ground without a mounting block. However, if you are able to get a foot in the stirrup we are allowed to boost you up. Our main concern is if you have to dismount for any reason on the trail, you would have to be able to get up with just the assistance of your trail guide. There are not always rocks or tree stumps to use on the trails and sometimes the nearest road is a ways off. Also, on our longer rides we stop for a picnic lunch and the rider has to be able to mount back up.

One instance in particular that I experienced and can share is a freak hail storm. It came out of nowhere and the other guide and I had to hurry and get people off the horses asap. There was nothing around to aid people getting off other than us guides. The horses were already getting extremely ancy as they were getting pelted with golf-ball sized hail and if we had to worry about riders not being able to work with us to get off directly to the ground, we could have been in a tough spot.