What has happened to dressage?
Impatience. Greed. Overinflated egos. Not putting the welfare of the horse first... all of the above.
As a relatively new student (three years) but a long time admirer of the discipline, I wonder how it is possible that dressage could survive for hundreds of years, only to end up as the questionable practice one often sees in the higher competition levels? (classical vs. modern) And who is it that suffers? Always the horses...
|Disqualified Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen in practice ring at WEG|
I'm not aware of what's happening in the warm-up rings these days re rollkur, but am very pleased that the ring stewards followed the rules yesterday and disqualified Dutch rider Adelinde Cornelissen and her horse Parzival for a bleeding mouth, and also an Australian horse who appeared lame at the trot. Interesting... Cornelissen trains with Sjef Janssen, Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven's trainer (and life partner). Both Janssen and van Grunsven are major proponents of rollkur.
Annoyingly, the Dutch team whined about how "tragic" Cornelissen's disqualification was. (Note: the words tragedy and devastation apparently have lost their true meanings) I can sympathize with how disappointing disqualification was, but rules are rules - and if your horse is bleeding or lame - you have something more important to think about than losing. How about your horse dumb@$$es?! Did this happen because of something you did to your horse? Should you examine your tack and training methods? How can you prevent this from happening in the future?
I am cautiously optimistic that positive changes are on the horizon in the dressage world. What kind of future is there for the sport when those competing at the highest levels are not always required to follow the rules, and are in fact rewarded for not following the rules, as well as for using
I did watch parts of the Grand Prix Special competition today. While there was much tail wringing, many disconnected uncomfortable looking horses and lots of behind the vertical to be seen, there were a few high points. Steffan Peters' bronze medal ride, and especially Laura Bechtolsheimer's silver medal ride on her gorgeous horse Mistral Houris. I noticed that Bechtolsheimer took her horse immediately to the warm-up ring after her ride, and proceeded to cool him down with some nice on the buckle work.
Here is some video of a brilliant rider and a happy relaxed horse, a willing partner:
Looking forward to the musical freestyle on Friday!!