Monday, August 17, 2009

It just goes without saying

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what this jar contains? Anyone? Anyone?

If you guessed ginger salve, tail set gel or any of the many things it is commonly called- you got it. You get -20 points on the final. Just kidding. Stop asking yourself if there's going to be a final- there's not.

As someone recently posted on one of the blogs- "Who in the hell ever got the crazy idea to stick a glob of this crap on their finger and shove it up a horses ass in the hopes it would make them hold their tail up?"

While gingering is not allowed in the Arabian horse 'world', and hasn't been for as long as I can remember, it IS still happening. The stuff is still available through World Champion Horse Equipment for about $4 for the jar pictured above. Schneiders used to carry it. They eventually pulled it from their catalog, but it was still available online and now they have dropped it altogether as far as I know. I have not called to ask about it as I see no benefit of or good reason for its use.

In a way I wish they (Schneiders) hadn't 'pulled' it from their line of products. Before everyone hates me for saying that, here's why. If it is available already 'mixed', then it is pre-measured, consistent and you know what and how much ginger, it contains. Horse people, left to their own devices will come up with some other concoction of unknown concentrations and questionable ingredients to achieve the same results. Think about it. It happens a lot and more than most people wish to acknowledge or care to think about.

Now for the most part, gingering a horse is as described above. You get a glob of the goop on your finger and stick it in their anus. Not much glory involved with that, now is there? Over time, some horses seem to build up a tolerance to gingering. That's when it gets worse for the horse.

Toothbrushes come into play and a glop of ginger salve is put onto the handle of the toothbrush which is then inserted into their anus. When that no longer works the ginger salve is then applied to the bristles and inserted using a brushing motion. The bristles irritate the skin and the ginger then creates the slight burning action which gets the horse to lift their tail and carry it that way.

Yes the horses become increasingly reactive to the ginger being applied. They can and do kick when it gets to the toothbrush stage of application. If you are holding them when the ginger is applied, they can also rush forward, possibly knocking you down or pinning you against the front of the grooming stall in an attempt to flee the scene and avoid what's coming. Can you blame them?

Applying too much ginger salve gives you the opposite effect as far as results go. Horses will clamp their tail down and keep it there. The ginger stays put until the horse poops, which will for the most part, push it all out.

While I was grooming for some of the bigger barns, we primarily only gingered the halter horses. That was difficult at best with some of them and nearly impossible with others. We did not often ginger a performance horse and I can't imagine getting on a horse who is mainly concerned with why their ass is burning. You aren't likely to have their full attention or get a good ride, so good luck with that.

Taking the temperature of a horse that has been repeatedly gingered can be a real issue later on, as they begin to view anything going near their anus as painful and to be avoided at all costs.


  1. Gawd, that reminds me of the urban legend where someone finds a polaroid of a thief with their toothbrush up his ass.... or the one about Stevie Nicks using cocaine suppositories because her nose became so damaged.

    How low can we go, anyway? How is that promoting the beautiful, romantic, sexy beasts that these people are marketing? Hearts, flowers and assburn.

    Makes me want to shove some Ben Gay up some halter "trainer" ass.

    I see your point about horrific homebrews, but there is no excuse for putting ANYTHING caustic on - or IN - your horse.

  2. CP- I agree about the homebrews. If the horses were tested at the gate for ANY 'tail carriage enhancing' substances before being permitted entry to the showring- then and only then, would ALL of this become a sad memory of things people used to do to their horses.

    Until that happens, and I am not holding my breath, some people are going to do whatever it takes, going to great lengths, just to win.

  3. I don't like it, and never did. Just so you know I'm not defending it.

    Gingering for the show ring was SOP where I worked. Remember it was 36 years ago; I don't know what the rules said back then.

    No toothbrushes, though. And the trainer "cooled them out" when they came out of the ring, with vaseline.

    Ewww, Ruthie

  4. So one group "gingers" their horses so the tail sticks up, and another group injects vodka into the tail so it lies motionless.


  5. I think that if you won't do it to yourself, you should not do it to your horse, dog, cat, whatever... I take that back - as cattypex pointed out, people do strange shit to themselves! Sick world.

  6. Magarita Girls- like the name, if people would do these things to themselves and leave the animals out of it, fine by me!

    NHM- the difference between gingering and blocking- one lasts a lot longer and can be potentially permanently damaging.

    However I'm Not excusing either one- they both need to stop. The sooner the better.

    GL & FV- keep with me. I hate to say it, but we have only just begun. Still more things to come...

  7. CnJ I did not get caught until almost the end of my run in the second barn.
    Did you ginger this horse Dena?
    Why isn't their tail up?
    Because they are nervous and sucking it between their cheeks.
    Are you sure you gingered it real good like I told you?
    Yep. Wanna sniff my finger?
    The wanna sniff my finger line went a long way.
    I despise this practise. Just as I despise the torture device from the thread below.
    Soring and everything else that goes along with cheating and hurting.
    Thanks CnJ.

  8. Smell my finger... that's BRILLIANT!!!

    *sigh* Cute and very QH pony, great kid's horse, they got him for a good price and his new owner loves him...

    ....except he always has shit on his backside because he can't lift his tail because somebody blocked it somewhere along the way.

    I remember before blocking, QH trainers would tie surgical tubing very tightly around the dock ... veeeery funny when they forgot to take it off....

    I will never in 4000000000000 years understand this kind of crap.

  9. cp,

    OMG, your Ben Gay comment reminds me of the story my husband told me. When he was in high school, they got back a guy for f'ing up their baseball game by putting Ben Gay in his jock strap....

  10. OMG!

    Guys are just awful to each other that way... ; )

    Really, what's so glamourous about shoving something up your horse's ass before a show anyway!!??!?!??!

    I've known about gingering.... but it will always boggle me as something really super BIZARRE and ... icky.

    Cruel, too, of course.

    Humans have no shame where they ought, and too much shame where it doesn't really matter....

  11. There is nothing wrong with using ginger. People tie up QH's heads over night so there neck is so sore the day of the show that they have to hold there head that low. Now don't you think that is much worse? There's soooo many things people do that are much more painful than ginger. No pain, no gain. Same way with people.

    1. Just because something isn't as bad as another thing doesn't make it right. Torturing someone before murdering them is worse than just murdering them, but that doesn't make murdering other alright.