For those dressagy ppls

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by beccy, Apr 11, 2003.

  1. beccy

    beccy Well-known Member

    This is an article that someone had translated from a dressage magazine. I thought it was fabulous

    The Dressage Dilemma: Between Art and Commerce

    In the past few months, dressage has been acting like a horse that doesn’t know which way to run. I’m not talking about irritations in the camps of Germany’s habitual winners, who will hopefully now be taken in hand by the new strong chairman [or president], who doesn’t allow himself to be led about by the nose. Ferdi Wassermeyer will not hand over the scapegoat in this war.

    What I am talking about is a general insecurity on the part of many of the vested interests; the feeling that things can’t go on like this. But how should things proceed? How should horses be trained? What do the judges want to see? How about the sponsors, the organizers, the owners, the spectators, the International Olympic Committee? What do they want to see? Each apparently wants something else and in the multiplicity of interests, dressage threatens to go down the drain, and not just with regard to the Olympics.

    In the beginning there was only classic gymnastic training that was supposed to keep the horse healthy, even when it had to carry a rider’s weight for years, a purpose for which the horse was not designed. As a by-product, so to speak, the horse became more beautiful in the course of this training, and learned to move with dancer-like ease. Throwing the forelegs about like a toy soldier does not belong to the program. This is not particularly healthy, but instead affects the legs and the back, but it is often the chief criterion by which horses are chosen for dressage – it is indeed the “money gait,” despite the fact that it rarely gets high marks. Training in many barns long ago abandoned the path of HDV 12, the Herrendienstvortrag [Translator's note: Cavalry Manual] of 1912, the precedent for the directives of the German Rider’s Union (FN) and of the FEI regulations. It’s got to be fast and it has to look spectacular. The whole thing is called “charisma” or “brilliance,” and far too few judges are able to recognize stiff backs and tight necks behind all that mess. And some experts in the competition arenas and the training barns, who are now getting all worked up about rolled-up necks (branded “Rollkur” by St.Georg years ago), seem to have forgotten that they themselves used to pull horses' noses behind the vertical. We still have some nice pictures in our archives.

    If judges can no longer recognize whether the horse that is doing the test in front of them has been trained correctly or incorrectly, something isn’t right. If someone can win the Olympics with an incorrectly (that is, medium “Rollkur”) trained horse that is allowed only briefly, during the test, to bring its nose in the direction of the vertical, something isn’t right. If someone can win Championship medals and World Cuups with a horse whose foundation gait (namely the walk) doesn’t earn more than a “5” (sufficient), something isn’t right. And when someone can win so much as a flowerpot in the sport of dressage with gross errors of position like drawn-up heels, piano hands and an upper body that throws itself about, something isn’t right.

    If the vested interests themselves don’t understand just which criteria are used in judging, then the spectators won’t understand them correctly either, and the IOC functionaries will know just as little about them. They couldn’t care less about dressage training in the classical sense. They want a sport that “sells” itself, on television and to the sponsors. The world riders’ club has already gone a long wait to meet them, through shorter tests and the inauguration of the Kür, in which exciting rhythms and “charisma” can whitewash so many training shortcuts. The IOC requires an evaluation system that everyone can understand. How is that supposed to happen when the vested interests themselves don’t know what they want? In dressage, the chasm has never been greater between theoretical talk – the classically trained horse, ridden with a good, effective seat – and reality.

    By Gabriele Mohrmann-Pochhammer, Editor-in-Chief.

  2. bjl

    bjl New Member

    Wow!!!!! Someone doesn't believe in pulling their punches do they? But the point is valid. Unfortunately we don't see enough international dressage here to get the true state of competition in Europe, but it's sad to think that 'tricks' are now trying to be passed off as dressage.

  3. Denny

    Denny Well-known Member

    I agree... WoW. This needs to be read to all judges at all levels. If our judges aren't taught correctly from the beginning then this is exactly what happens.

    (Might have to send a copy to Dressage WA!!)
  4. widgelli

    widgelli Well-known Member

    It is about time that this was bought to light by someone who has the guts to say what is happening , without fear or favour.
    Around twenty years ago at Sydney Royal , this was commented on at the dressage one day. The person who made this statement was one of the top dressage riders in Australia , and didn't she cop a heap.
    Her comments were that instead of working the horse in the correct positions , they were beginning to be overbent and jammed up. I did notice that a lot of the horses weren't working forward properly as well , and have had many an arguement over this exact thing.
    As stated in the article , the lack of training in instructors who are trying to teach equitation is a problem , from Pony Club level right up to the top level dressage.
    I was up at the pony club the other day taking photos , and was horrified at the way the children were being taught. I asked the chief instructor if they were given any training without their stirrups , to strengthen their seats , as I have noticed that their heel were up and the toes were turned out at an angle.
    She said that no they weren't having this sort of training as it didn't help them much.
    I also asked about the feet , and she said that that didn't hurt at all , as long as they had their legs in close to the horse.
    I showed her how much contact that was lost when they were riding like they were , and she was amazed , and told me that she had never been taught this sort of thing.
    If this is what is happening at this level , what chance do we have to improve the quality of our riders?
    I am now giving lessons on the quiet to the Chief Instructor of the Pony Club.

  5. Dressage Lover

    Dressage Lover New Member

    Wow, that is really good! Also does anybody else out there find it amazing that the winner in Dressage (Australian) can win with a percentage in the 60's? Thanks for posting that Beccy, it was great!
  6. beccy

    beccy Well-known Member

    yeah, and btv

    i wont leave the property untill i am satisfied at home that every movement (and turn and corner) of the test i can satisfactorily complete at 8....i dont compete very often :D


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