Saturday, 4 August 2012

Stressage....

I have so far been enjoying the coverage of the equestrian events at the London Olympics, until that is the dressage started. I watched so many horses being held on to in front, opening their mouths, breathing heavily, whisking their tails, grinding their teeth, in short, they were generally tense and stressed.

So why do people do it to them? Well, yes, obviously to win, but can't they see how they are affecting their horses?

Lots of controversy this week about these photos of some riders training at the Olympics. Using Rollkur, hyperflexion, whatever you want to call it.

Swedish rider Patrik Kittel
Patrik van der Meer from the Netherlands
Another Dutch rider, Adeline Cornelissen
The Fédération Équestre Internationale, the governing body for Olympic equestrian events has received thousands of complaints about these photos. They issued a statement on thier Facebook page saying "We are aware that there is concern about some training methods, but photographs can be misleading. Rest assured that our stewards are always there, on the ground, monitoring all training sessions. We’re on the case."
But they are so obviously not on the case! Even if those photos were misleading, and I don't believe for one minute that they are, yesterday Adelinde Cornelissen does this before and even during her test in front of the eyes of the world.....

....and gets rewarded with a score of 81%. Quite unbelievable. What kind of example does that set? Horses pulled in at the front, unable to use their backs, with their hocks trailing out behind......

Contrast this with the beautifully relaxed round we were treated to by Carl Hester whose horse  was always in front of the vertical using his back and hindlegs properly.....

......or Richard Davison leaning forward to give his horse a treat after their test.

And of course Charlotte Dujardin's Olympic record breaking score......

Makes you proud to be British.

2 comments:

Di said...

Absolutely, well said!

Rosa Rantanen said...

At least there is now some hope for dressage, to see that at the top riders who ride PROPERLY are being rewarded and winning. Well done to the British team, hopefully others will eventually follow, and I hope that the judges will continue to help these riders set an example.


I remember the shock that went through my family's dressage acquaintances when Charlotte won and Adelinde was second, because they preferred the way Parzival looked compared to Valegro?! I mean come on, you actually prefer a horse way behind the vertical to one that actually looks relaxed and is in front of the bit??

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