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“Dressage Derailed” at <em>Horses For Life</em>

“Dressage Derailed” at Horses For Life

The reason why you can’t pull a horse’s head down to his knees and hold it there is not only because the current science approves or disapproves. The reason why you can’t pull a horse’s head down to his knees and hold it there day after day, hour after hour, is the same reason why you can’t pull a man’s head down to his knees and hold it there. The reason is that it is demeaning to the dignity of the horse or man. It is an ethical, philosophical problem, as well as a scientific one. Even in the handling of prisoners of war there are conventions of dignity. When you act this way toward a horse with this unprovoked, irrational and unrelenting constant aggression, you demean everything: the horse, nature, yourself, the art and the observer.

–Paul Belasik, The Search For Collection

Rollkur for Dec4

Click here to read a brilliant article in Horses For Life by Susannah Cord. Cord suggests that the FEI demeans both horses and horse lovers by defending rollkur and its perpetrators.

It’s like watching a trainwreck in slow motion. A magnificent horse, struggling in a straightjacket punishingly enforced between his rider’s seat and a double bridle leveraged by the rider’s back and braced legs, a curb bit engaged to the max, the deep chestnut stallion struggles through a dance macabre, his legs jerking unnaturally through paces that look less like those of a horse and more like a hopping puppet on a string. And then the stunner, the slack tongue dangling from his mouth. And it’s blue, a clear sign of hypoxia. Oblivious, the rider pushes the horse on. The horse, his eyes withdrawn and prematurely old with pain, soldiers on. Finally, realization dawns, the rider halts, adjusts the tongue so it is out of sight, stuffed back in the mouth like an old sock in a leaky faucet….and rides on like all is well, nothing out of the ordinary has just occurred. Carry on, folks, nothing to see here, just a little blue tongue. Just another day in paradise.

The FEI makes another reassuring statement, an investigation is underway, the horse’s welfare always comes first. The FEI machine rumbles slowly on, secure in its own entrenched views, and one hand washes the other. But past experience has not inspired confidence in the FEI standing up for the horse. The time has passed for talk, the time is now for action. Rollkur is not training, it’s abuse. And FEI – Enough IS Enough

I like this woman!

I’m not usually a fan of wistful statements about “the good old days,” but in this case I think it’s important to look at how different the good old days really were:

But compare the joyful victory lap of Reiner Klimke in 1984 as he and Ahlerich skipped the light fantastic in perfect harmony with an endless, effortless, one handed single tempi change series all the while waving at the crowd, to today, where horses that have just won the World Cup can’t handle a medal ceremony, and bolt with rider screaming and sawing on her double bridle? Who needs the runner up to give her horse a lead-in into the arena?

If it weren’t so sad, I’d laugh, because she paints such a perfect picture of the cruel ineptitude of these riders. Is this the “intelligent horsemanship” Patrik Kittel speaks of?

Take a look for yourself: Clearly, it can be done with “legerete.” With humanity. With love and connection.

There is no room in governing bodies for hypocrisy and “Shape shifting.” Let the FEI know in no uncertain terms that, as representatives of equestrian sport, they are failing. Please don’t support the sponsors of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. It’s Christmas time. You might be thinking of purchasing something for someone on your list from this list. Please think hard before you do. Not only do I suggest boycotting their products, but I also suggest contacting them to tell them you are doing so. You can click on the names of the companies below to go to their websites. Send a message they will understand.

John Deere
The University of Kentucky
Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital
Bluegrass Airport
Fortune Realty
L.V. Harkness & Co,
Premier Equestrian Dressage Arenas
The American Farriers Association. They should be ashamed of themselves.
and, yes, Ariat. It’s time to find another brand.
almost worse,
Breyer Horses.

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