Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's the Purpose?

All Horse Stuff , Grey Horse Matters, and Camera Obscura recently made postings about Rollkur, a phenomenon apparently unique to dressage.

Although I currently ride dressage, I'm not very active in the dressage show world. In fact, I had never observed or heard about Rollkur until the controversy heated up of late. So when I looked into it, I reacted much the same as I do when I see TV ads promoting reality shows about beauty pageants for five-year-olds. I gazed in disbelief making the same face I do when I step in a dog mess at the park.

What in the world is that all about? And what's the purpose?

The video clip on Camera Obscura credited to Nadja King regarding the physical effects of extreme flexion is hard to watch. In fact, I stopped the video before the end. Just looking at the horse's expression was enough. The poor animal couldn't even see! The horse's head had been placed in such an unnatural position that its eyes were practically in its eyebrows.

I don't understand what is to be gained by placing the horse in a position that makes it impossible to see where it's going and difficult to breathe during an athletic effort.

I guess it's human nature to take things to extremes. Give us a domesticated animal and we'll breed it and handle it in ways that Mother Nature never intended!


Cara said...

The purpose? Money and Fame, most likely.

People like to read about dressage, compare it to what they are doing, and find sameness. "Must be doing right, then."

Ochoco01 said...

I have never been a dressage rider per se, always western, but the books of Alois Podhajsky have always been my guide, and the horse that tought me to ride, many years ago, was a 2nd level dressage horse I aquired on a fluke. Like you I could not watch this video all the way through, like soreing walkers I just don't get it. Like most things this will possibly be eliviated by rule changes, but to stop it judges must stop placing horses trained this way, if they say they can't tell than I don't think they are qualified to judge. One of the best clips, with dressage, I have ever seen is Chris Cox and a demonstration rider from the Spanish Riding School ride togeather, than trade horses and ride some more. Both were wonderfull but with Chris up both horses were freer. more expressive and more collected with extreamly light contact. At the end the dressage rider commented something along the line that after riding Chris's horse he thought "we ride the best trained unbroke horses in the world". Think I also heard he stuck around a while to work with Chris. When a kinder approach wins, the kinder approach will dominate.