23 July 2015

When the professionals cheat, revisited

    I used to blog on word press. 

   Here is a post I made on it last August. Please excuse any issues with it's appearance. Word press used to be the very best blogging site but they decided that they would make blogs primarily for a phone.  Do you know ANYONE who is willing to type out 2400 word blogs on a PHONE? 
Me neither, nor any of the other thousands of bloggers....some of whom had paid for their personal word press domain. Word press made the change total, all encompassing and literally said EFF you if you don't like it. 

   Most of us didn't. Word press ignored the thousands of complaints from many word pressers. Like many of them, I left and began this blog on Blogger. 

   So saying, I am unable to export any of the posts I made on that blog website. If you'd like to read them, go to http://throughthebridlelightly.wordpress.com and have a look. 

   In the meantime, please read this, as I'm going to add the 'punchline', so to speak, BEFORE the original post. I suppose you call this a "forward". 

   After I posted 'When the Professionals Cheat", it still kept eating at me, so I finally contacted the United States Dressage Federation. 

    I told them the entire story, this time with names intact.

   I was soon contacted by a very high official in the USDF. I mean Nose Bleed high. 

   First she thanked me for being a volunteer, and encouraged me to continue. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any sort of venue, be it a horse show or a car race, and they are always desperate for idiots like me to come and work their butts off for free.

   That official then contacted the owners of the farm in question. One of them is the one who begged me to volunteer, as I've used her professional services in a different horse related situation. The other is the rider I talk about, the professional who cheated. She did NOT talk to me. I'm far too lowly for her, it seems.

 I'll refer to the one who called me as P.

   I've known P for several years. She called me and we had a long chat about how,well, you know, it was a mistake. It was the GROOM who did the tacking up of the horse, NOT the Professional Rider. She made all sorts of apologies for Professional Rider, none of which were sincere, in my humble opinion. She was just afraid I'd take it further than I already had. 

   I didn't back down, though. P is a professional rider herself. She knows that, ultimately, it isn't the groom who is responsible for the horse/tack. It is the RIDER. You never ever hear the groom being credited when a horse wins the Olympics. Nope, it's the rider. 

   I told P that. She said, yes you are right (but)
    
  Oh, the unspoken 'but'.

   I could hear a slight threat in her voice. 

   This pissed me off. I don't start fights but I'll be damned if I'm going to turn and run when someone thrusts one on me. If you knock me down, you better kill me, because if I get back up, I won't stop fighting until someone is dead.  

   In this case, though, I knew it wasn't worth fighting over. In the long run, Professionals win every time, because they have big lawyers. I can't afford a lawyer good enough to go against Big Money. P and her business partner/professional rider have that sort of money. 

   And, when the professionals cheat, we remember. All I have to say is a few names: Lance Armstrong. Tom Brady (of the Boston Patriots). See?

   I'd made the decision to not go back. However, that decision was taken out of my hands. 

   I was NOT invited to come back this year.

   Break my effing heart.  

   So, without further ado, here is my cut and pasted post, "When the professionals cheat", taken from my wordpress blogpost of Aug 2014


This past weekend, I volunteered at a 2nd level dressage show.

I’ve done this before. Last year a TD (technical delegate, a person officially designated by the USDF and USEF, to know and enforce all the rules and regulations at official shows.) trained  and supervised me on  bit checking. So I went in on Saturday feeling comfortable that I knew what I was doing. I also had a copy of the regulations, and there was (supposedly) a TD on the grounds.

“Bit checking”, at a sanctioned show, entails several things: checking the bridle and cavesson to see if there is two fingers worth of looseness, feeling or opening the horse’s mouth to feel the bit in order to insure that the bits are regulation (i.e. no sharp edged or cornered bits, no Dr. Bristols, no twisted wire, etc), check the rider’s spurs, run a hand down the side of the horse to check for blood from non-regulation spurs, check the length of the whip.

One wears disposable latex gloves and changes them out with every horse. That’s to prevent transmitting ugly diseases such as stomatitis.

Finally, USEF/USDF regulations call for a third of the class be checked. The classes at this show, at least in the afternoon, were very small. In some cases, there only four horses in a class.

The farm where this particular show was held is a professional barn. The owners (two of them) buy or import European Warmbloods as well as breed their own. They train them to FEI levels, and sell them. The prices they ask for a horse would buy me a very comfortable house, so you can understand that these folks have money in very large amounts.

I met the Technical Delegate (not the same one who trained me last year) in the morning. I helped her check the ring’s fences. That is the last time I saw her as anything more than a retreating back.
I took over bit checking in the afternoon (I swapped jobs with another volunteer. I’d been doing in gate work in the morning).

The afternoon’s classes were all higher level stuff-specifically, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level dressage.

The last class of the day had ONE horse in it,owned and ridden by  one of the farm owners. I’ll call her Professional Rider. PR had ridden not only several of their own horses, but horses owned by several other people not connected to her barn. This means that sometimes she rode three horses in the same class.

The woman (another volunteer), who’d done bit checking in the morning’s lower  level classes (which were more heavily populated) told me that Professional Rider had complained to HER (not the TD) that she’d been checked “8 times”. I said, ‘she’s a pro. She knows that, in a class of four horses, she’s probably going to get checked.”

Now mind you, the entire time I was working gate or bit checking, I saw the TD perhaps twice. She spent the day, I believe, sitting in the shade of a large canopy,  next to the announcer. (it was bloody hot, in the high 80’s (30 C) and bit check/in gate had NO SHADE). Of course not. One can’t have a canopy inside the ring.

Therefore, I and my co-volunteer got a really good roasting. We spent the entire day out in the sun.
Professional Rider rode several horses in the afternoon. In the 3rd level class, I stopped her to bit check her horse, and she said, “You already checked me.”

I said, “Yes, but that was in the last class, right?”

She said “Yes” in a tone of voice that clearly meant “You effing turd, how dare you.”

The last class of the day was 4th Level. Professional Rider was riding her horse, the only horse in the 4th level class. She has competed on this horse, by the way, at FEI level shows for at least two years.
She finishes her class. The in gate lady, the judge and her scribe all leave the ring.
Instead of exiting the ring, Professional Rider continues to ride her horse in circles in the ring.
She spends, oh, five minutes riding in circles. Perhaps it’s to cool down her sweaty horse?

At a trot??

No.

NOW I know why. She was waiting for me to leave, without conducting a bit check.
I may not be the brightest spark, I may not own a horse, I certainly do not have the money to afford a 100K horse on a $500K farm.

I’m just a volunteer, but damn it, I’m a good one.

I go by the rules. Always have, always will.

Simple math tells me, one horse in the class means that one horse gets bit checked. To me, it doesn’t matter that the show is over for the day and all the officials have left. I do bit checking until my task is done.

Finally she stops her horse and I approach her, saying, “Excuse me, but I need to bit check your horse.”
I should have looked at her face, but I didn’t. It would have told me what was going to happen.
No, I make eye contact with the horse and say, gently hey big horse as I approached him. This horse is FEI level. He’s had bit checks done hundreds of times.

I begin my regimen of  bit checking.

I tried to run two fingers under the cavesson.

They wouldn’t fit. The cavesson was so tightly cranked down on his face that I couldn’t even get a finger tip under it. I said, “Wow, this cavesson is too….”

That’s as far as I got.

The horse knocked me sideways with his head. He began head tossing, and dancing,  avoiding my touch. I’m not afraid of horses, and I know they can be testy, so I let him toss his head, waiting for him to rest. The moment he did, I again tried the cavesson and he began the head tossing again. Again, I let him come to a stop and thought, OK, I’ll check the bits before I try the cavesson.

The flash noseband was on so tightly that I could only just barely fit a finger into his mouth. I ran it up the curb, but try as I might, I couldn’t get to the back of the mouth to feel for the snaffle. And again, the horse was violently resisting, pushing, tossing, pulling away. Maybe (I know now) it’s because that bit was pulled back..HARD. Professional rider had tightened on the reins.

OK. I’ll try the other side.

I run my hand down his right side, behind the riders leg.

The horse cowkicked at me. As athletic as he was, he almost hit me. I yelled at the horse and the rider said, “He’s hot and tired”.

Well, damn it, so am I, and you are not making this job any easier I wanted to say, but I didn’t.

I walked behind the horse to get to the left side…and the horse backed up so quickly I almost got run over.

Still, I tried. I checked his left side, and then was heading for the cavesson, when Professional Rider  rode away.  I hadn’t ‘released her’ by saying, Thank you very much, as I did with her and every other rider. She rode away, dismounted about fifty feet from me and led her now calm and quiet horse away.
She KNEW she had the cavesson cranked down too tightly. She KNEW the flash noseband was so tight the horse couldn’t have opened his mouth.

She’d purposefully held back from exiting the ring,  knowing the judge had left, knowing that the TD had made no attempt to help at the gate, allowing the volunteers to do all the work. Professional Rider had counted on me leaving, too. She’d seen me roasting in the sun like a rotisserie chicken, and figured I’d leave, too. She’d get away with cheating.

But I hadn’t left. There I was, patiently waiting for her.

She’d tried intimidating me earlier, and learned that I won’t be intimidated by anyone (unless they have a gun aimed at me.)

So she made her horse act up, figuring I was enough of a horseman to know that it’s not worth getting hurt.

Which means, she succeeded in making me back off, she succeeded in getting away with blatant abuse of her horse.

She was cheating. She probably got high scores on her 4th level test because her horse was forced into obedience. That’s not the spirit of dressage, when a horse is supposed to be willingly obedient.
She was pissed at me because I’m a nobody who insisted on playing by the rules, and if she had, too, she would have gotten lower scores on her test..which, ultimately, means her standing in the Dressage lists would be lower.

Damn the comfort of the horse. A couple of numbers on a list, is what matters to her, and if a horse has to suffer to get those numbers, so be it.

Damn that woman. I won’t name her, because people who can afford several hundred thousand dollars of horse can also afford several hundred thousands of dollars of lawyer.

The saddest part of all is, all the rest of the riders, all of them, were amateurs. They weren’t riding Very Expensive Horses.  They were riding ten dollar ponies. (well,not really, but you know what I mean).

Not a one of those folks cheated.

Not a one.

They played the game by the rules. They were beaten by Professional Rider, who cheated.  A professional rider who, I believe now, has reached the nosebleed heights of dressage riding, by  cheating. For YEARS.

I’m absolutely certain this isn’t the first time she’s cheated.  She was too practised for it to be the first time, oops, I did tighten it too much, didn’t I.

It’s just the first time someone caught her.

And is unable to do anything about it.

17 July 2015

The ethics of horse selling, or "Caveat Emptor"



     "Caveat Emptor" is not just a phrase in Latin, it is the foundation of many transactions in the US. It means, "let the buyer beware".  It means, the seller of something is under no obligation to disclose certain things about the thing you are buying. In most cases it applies to used cars. Used (or these days, the phrase '''pre-owned'') car dealers are notorious for being shysters. They will lie to you in a newyorkminute and it is on you, the seller, to check the condition of the vehicle. Again, these days, this means taking the car you're looking at to a reputable car mechanic and having him check it over. 
   Even then, it's no guarantee that the thing isn't going to leave you stranded five miles from the lot.

    The same applies to horses, but even more so, as horses are living creatures. It's pretty difficult to open the hood on a horse and do a compression check. Every horse has a history, sometimes one that affects him for the rest of his life. I have heard too many horror stories about folks buying a horse on the spot, without so much as a vet check, only to learn later on that the horse has Issues. Sometimes they're game changers.
It's one of the reasons I will never, ever buy a horse at auction (although my Jordan was purchased from one, by the last owner, and I am so grateful she did.) There are too many instances of a horse being drugged on the auction ground, sold on a bid based on watching the horse walk or trot around a tiny pen, only to be found to be a nut job the next day, after the sedative and/or pain killers have worn off. 

   We've all been in the situation where we want to get rid of a horse, for any number of reasons: we can no longer afford him, he's no longer or never was suitable, he has taken you as far as he can. The latter will never be an issue with stuck-in-intermediate-riding-abilities me. I'm old. I understand my capacities. I'm happy being a perennial Advanced Beginner and don't plan on being anything more than the 'happy to be on the back of a good horse' level of rider. However, Raven is trained to second level and Sue is working for that, and I will support her as much as I can.
    There's no crime in selling a horse. We do it every day. We buy them and we sell them. We swap them, we barter, we lease. 

   So what do you do when you know a horse has some sort of medical or physical condition that is so bad that it makes the horse virtually useless...and the owner isn't telling when she puts up the Sale ad for him?





        Above is the listing on Dream Horse for the very first horse I ever leased. I was getting back into horses after a eight year dry spell of being horseless. I wanted to ride again. I wasn't sure, though, if I wanted to own again. So I looked around and found Hank.

     Hank was owned by a young lady (NOT the one in the above picture, or the one who is selling him). The girl...well, I'll call her D. D was no longer interested in horses. She'd been given Hank, along with many lessons with a trainer whom I've written of before, in the hopes that the horse would steer her away from the bad crowd she'd taken up with.

    It didn't work. D showed Hank for a while, then lost interest in him.Daddy kept the horse, why I don't know, but Hank was available for leasing when I wanted one. 

   I should have known early on that there were problems. D wasn't interested at ALL in the horse, not a lick. She had her saddle (a heavy silver encrusted western show saddle) at the barn that I could use. She came out to the barn where Hank lived, ONCE, to show me his paces. She was rude, and hard on Hank. Threw the saddle on his back without bothering to make sure the blanket was smooth and wrinkle free, and yanked the cinch home with one mighty tug. Hank took it all without a whimper. Then she rode him in the arena. He was 'spur stop' trained in Western Equitation, she said, and had won many ribbons in WE. She put him into a "jog" (a trot so slow I could have kept up with him at a walk) and then a "lope", a canter, again so slow that I could have kept up with him at a trot. She rode with her arms stretched straight out in front of her, like they were wood, and had no contact whatsoever with the bit. Oh, by the way, he has navicular. She then handed me the reins to her horse, said See ya, got in her car, and left.
    I never saw her again. I could have done anything to that horse, up to and including killed it, and she wouldn't have turned a hair. 
    Drugs like meth will do that to you, I'm told. If you know what I mean, but since I don't have proof all I can do is conjecture. 

    Hank was gentle as a lamb. He was uncomplaining, one could do anything with him. Up to a point.

   I don't know how to ride Western Equitation the way it is. That meaning, a horse forced to move so slowly, with it's head hanging below it's knees, it's paces so mincing and short you wonder how in the world it manages to move at all. WE people want their horses dead quiet and will go to a lot of lengths to get that. 
    I've ridden in western saddles and am never quite sure what to do. I can't feel anything. While they're comfortable, to me, they seem to encourage a bit of laziness on the rider's part. I honestly feel a bit embarassed to be seen in one, but I have to admit that horn is a nice thing to have when one is trail riding on a frisky horse. 

   So instead of using a bit on him, I put him in a hackamore (English hackamore, which is basically a heavy duty cavesson). And I never rode in D's saddle. I rode him bareback. I ride every horse bareback. I prefer it.
I could never get Hank to move any faster than that slow, slow jog. I could have slept on his back while he was 'jogging'. Canter? I got him to canter, once. That didn't last more than three steps, then he went back to a walk. A dead slow and quiet walk, head down. It was unnerving, his head down so far. It was like being on a barrel without a head. There's a horse here? Really? Later on, when he realized he didn't need to carry it so low, he did raised it up, a bit. But never UP, where I could see it. He never got his head higher than my knees. 

   I'd leased him for about a month when he came up lame. I called Daddy (not mine, D's Daddy, the man who wrote the paycheck.) Will he pay for the vet if I call him out? Sure. But it's probably because he's run out of meds. 
What meds? 
This was the first time I learned he was on pain killers. Strong ones. 
The vet came out and the first words out of his mouth were "Who in the hell is the farrier."
I told him who. "Why in the eff are you using that man, he's a butcher. Look at these feet." I said, I'm not the owner, I'm leasing the horse. "I get more business from that man than anyone else in the entire county." he said.
Well, Hank had been trimmed two days before and had been 'scalped'...his soles pared down so much that you could see pink. 

   But he was also out of meds. I had to call Daddy again,  who said, oh, yeah, I'll get them. 
In a week they showed up, but in the meantime I was unable to ride my leased horse. And I was very bothered by the fact that I'd not been told about the need for medications. 

   When he stopped being lame, started back on his meds, and his soles had thickened, I started riding again.
   But this time, something was wrong. Hank was so very well mannered, so very quiet. But he began to develop a bad habit-that of moving away from me as I was mounting from the block.

   This is a bad habit for a horse. I want him to stand like a statue while I'm mounting and even after I'm on his back, I sit there for a while. I do NOT want a horse to bolt from the block. It's a good way to get hurt. 

   So I called Tonia, the trainer. I wanted her help, please, (and willing to pay for it) to nip this bad habit in the bud.
After telling me how famous she is, she began to question me on what I was doing. How could he be stepping AWAY from me, when I have my foot in the stirrup? Well, I don't mount from the ground. I mount from a mounting block.
   No way! That's what a western saddle is designed for, he's a Western Equitation horse! You're supposed to mount From The Ground.
Well, I ride him bareback.

   NO. NO. NO. He's trained WESTERN EQUITATION. That means a WESTERN saddle, (you idiot, I could hear under her  breath). You can't ride him bareback. NO. You ride him in a saddle for 60 days and then I'll maybe come out and give you lessons.

    Well, this was odd. I never in my life heard a riding instructor/horse trainer tell me that she DIDN'T want my money. Nor do I want lessons in riding Western. This bimbo had 'trained' Hank and now she didn't want to help fix a problem?
She was hiding something. I could hear it in her voice. She didn't want to address a problem she was much to aware of. So she blamed the victim. Me. 

    Eff you, witch. I don't need you or your arrogance. 

    All this time, I'd known that Hank, while he looked QH through and through, was only 1/4 QH. The rest was Appaloosa. He had no spots, save what I thought was a spot on his left hip. It was white and about 6 inches long, three inches wide.

    I learned later on, too late, really, what it really was.

    I began working on Hank's budding habit of moving away from the mounting block. I would give him a treat once I was aboard and didn't ask for him to move away until a minute or more passed. 

    But he got worse. He wasn't even waiting for me to attempt to mount, he was moving  the moment I stood on the top step of the block.

    One day, he was moving and I got aboard in motion. 

    He stopped. I waited for a while, then asked for a walk...and he exploded.
For what seemed an hour but was probably no more than thirty seconds, I was atop a bucking tornado. He was spinning, backing up and bucking all at once. I fell forward onto his neck and hung on for dear life. I was NOT going to fall off underneath those feet.


   Finally he stopped. Two other women had been in the arena and both came over at once. I 'dismounted' (a nice word for half fell, half jumped) onto the ground. I was shaking like a leaf. Hank didn't run away. "What happened?" one of the women asked, "I don't know. I have no idea. I'd just got aboard and he freaked." (by the way, I don't ever wear spurs). "I"m amazed you stayed on!" "Me too!" "He acts like his back hurts".

   Then it dawned on me. That is exactly what the problem was. Hank's back hurt. Badly.
I'd noticed that when I curried his back, he'd flinch. But he's such a stolid, patient, generous horse. He probably has been hurt many times by unwitting humans and has just come to accept it. But I'm a massage therapist. I should have investigated further. I didn't. 

Ordinarily, when I fall off a horse, I get right back on. But in this case, I knew the woman was right. Hank's back hurt, and I was the cause of it.

   In the barn, Jorge, the barn hand, was alone. It's the only way he could relate to me what Hank's problem was without being fired for gossiping..or in this case, telling the truth.

   A year ago, Tonia the Spur Stop trainer, her butcher of a farrier husband, and D decided to go trail riding in the hills. They trailered their horses and Hank to the trail head.
Hank is NOT a trail horse. NOT NOT NOT. He is an arena horse. Being outside a fence is terrifying to him. I learned this when I wanted to walk him off the property into the woods...hand walk, mind you, and he bolted when a robin flew past his nose. Nope,Hank is NOT a trail horse.

   I don't know how long they rode. What Jorge told me is that Hank panicked, reared up, dumping D, and flipped over backwards....down a steep rocky slope. I remembered hearing about it. I have no idea how they got him out of the predicament. 

   What I do know is that Hank had/has a broken back. NOT the spine, but the vertebral spinous processes, the parts of the spine that stick up. The white spot on his hip isn't a spot, it's a scar. His back may have healed, but with a few broken spines, that back has got to be tender. By riding him bareback I was hurting him. 

    Apparently the combination of a western saddle and a lot of drugs in his system makes him rideable.
    But he's only that way artificially. 

   I vacated the lease shortly thereafter. I called Daddy and told him so (I never, ever lease or do anything without a contract, so there wasn't much he could do). He sounded...nervous when I spoke with him. He was hiding knowledge,  I could tell. I didn't tell him what I knew. I didn't want him to blame ME for Hank's injuries. By the way, did I want to BUY Hank?

  NO. I didn't say why. He KNEW. 

    It's a shame because I doubt the girl in the picture above, the one who's selling him, knew about the accident when she bought him from Daddy. (D, I believe, is already in prison or in rehab, I don't know. Meth will do that to you, so I'm told). I doubt she's ever ridden bareback a day in her life. 
   She is telling the truth about Hank being gentle. She is telling the truth about him needing medications for his navicular.
But she's not saying a word about his back. 

   She wants to get what she paid for out of him. I'm sure she wants to use the money she gets from him to buy something she can ride without meds. 

   Poor Hank. What he needs is to be retired, permanently. It's not right to continue to keep him on drugs solely to win ugly ribbons. It's not right. He should be considered nothing but pasture jewelry. He's not rideable unless he's drugged. 

   Is that right? No. It is unethical, and cruel, but that is the lot of a horse, sometimes. The girl wants to make money on him, without relaying the truth about Hank's back. 

   I am torn. I am not a veterinarian so I didn't X-ray his back, but I"m a massage therapist that didn't pay attention when grooming him. He'd flinch when I'd curry his back. I didn't pay attention. I didn't know.

   But now I do. But what DO I do? Do I post an ad saying this horse has this issue along with navicular?

   That's a good way to get sued. And Daddy knows lawyers. 

   So I am telling you all. If and when you buy a horse, get it vet checked. THOROUGHLY.

   Poor Hank.

   Poor sweet, kind horse. Nothing but a horse. 

  

14 July 2015

Best trap for yellowjackets



      I've been carrying out a war on the wasps/yellowjackets.

     In the last few years, 'paper' wasps have invaded and while they are fairly well behaved, they will sting. But they're destructive...they insist on building their nests on the wooden soffets of my house and garage and have literally chewed holes in the wood. These wasps are fairly easy to handle: I spray them with a soap solution (Murphy's all purpose oil soap spray is perfect) and then knock down the nests with a long (VERY long) rod.

    It's the yellowjackets that are especially troublesome this year. The species this summer is Vespula pennsylvanica,  or the Western yellowjacket. Unfortunately, there are two unrelated species called the Western, so take your pick as to which is the more aggressive.  We have V.pennsylvanica

    While we had about two weeks of subfreezing temperatures this past winter, we got NO snow. Meaning, none of the pupating queens were killed. Meaning, we have tons of yellowjackets this year, and they absolutely adore the heat wave we're enduring.

   There are many traps on the market. One (in one of the two pictures below)is a plastic bag with a one way only inlet. One puts water into it, it wets a packet of wasp pheromone that is supposed to attract the wasps. They climb in, and eventually get tired and fall into the water and drown.
There's even a graduate on the side to allow you to estimate the number of drowned wasps. It's in the hundreds.
Problem is: it stops being effective after a few days. I don't know if the number of dead wasps dilutes the pheromone, or if the water level has to be kept up (in this heat, it evaporates fairly quickly), but what I think it is is: the wasps appetite.

    Also, it is designed to be thrown in the trash, STILL full of water. One pushes the yellow plastic inlet assembly back into the bag, which seals the bag, but still...it's got water in it. And wasps, some of whom may not be dead but are surely pissed. 

   Adult worker wasps eat only vegetable matter. It may be pollen, it is usually sweet stuff but the adults, when eating for themselves, go vegan.
But they're not eating for themselves. They have hundreds of baby wasps to feed, and like all insects (and most birds), babies need protein...meaning meat. The adults will go for any kind of protein. I once watched three wasps attack a cricket. It was like watching three lions attacking a buffalo. They were all over it, the cricket fought back but was no match. One of them managed to draw blood, managing to pierce the chitinous exoskeleton and expose muscle. Once this happened, the ferocity of the wasps only increased. Once the cricket stopped fighting, they ate it alive. They would remove a chunk, fly off, return (with more wasps), take off a chunk, fly off to the nest, etc. The cricket was alive for most of the ordeal.

   Crickets, like most bugs, are pure protein.
There's a small group of people who insist we need to start eating bugs and stop eating beef. Sorry, no. I will never in my life purposefully eat an insect. I know that there are folks out there who say we should start eating them to save the planet. well, maybe so, but I refuse to eat that far down the food chain. I know what's in bugs..other bugs. I won't eat them. Sorry. I'll go vegan before I go that route.

   Anyway, the second and more effective trap is the reusable 'tube' trap. It's a simple trap.It comes in three pieces. The tube, a cone with a big hole on one end and a tiny one on the other, and a bottom cap that holds the bait but in such a way that the wasps can't get at it. 
The wasp enters the trap from the holes in the bottom of the cap, crawls up the cone, exits the cone through the small hole into the tube and then is trapped. It is too stupid to understand that all it need do is go back down the small hole. Maybe some do escape that way, but they don't learn fast enough.
When you purchase this trap, it comes with a small tube of 'attractant'. It's a heavily scented brown syrup that you are warned do not come in contact with. The wasps go crazy for it. However, only one tube of attractant comes with each trap. They'd love for you to buy more in separate packages, but it's expensive. it's sticky and hard to clean out, and dries out in hot weather, and stops being effective.

   The cap has prongs that one can impale real meat on, once you've gone through the tube of attractant. The maker says to use turkey 'ham'...meaning ham flavored turkey. They also advise using ham, barbecued meat and fish. . But again, meat dries out very quickly and stops attracting the wasps.
 
   I've found the perfect bait. It attracts the wasps like crazy. They ignore the plastic bag trap and go for the tube trap. The bait I use is readily available and doesn't dry out. 

   I use canned cat food.  A teaspoonful in the trap lasts for days, pulling in wasps all the while. I've had to empty a trap three times in three days and it's still pulling wasps.