Traditional Dressage / articles
Maybe this is where the people new to Dressage misunderstand; Dressage is not about displaying natural excitement; the goal is harmony, not perfection, but harmony. (0 is excellent, not perfect).
It is not about tense and excited horses jerking the extremities (legs) all over the place, re-awakening some deep childish fun within the spectators and judges. This belongs to circus: it is using animals to "entertain", and the human here gets the prizes, rewards, etc. We all know this is wrong.
The beauty of Dressage is the fact that it is about the horse training. His mind and body, being developed gracefully so that his beauty can be expressed without tension, in a powerful, but safe way. It is about handling an enormous amount of energy, without blocking the horse's muscles system.
It is not about emotional turmoils, celebrities, personal gain and business successful stories, it is not about horses being sold on and on, for always more profit. It is about spiritual opening up, it is about humility towards the horses nature, it is about a deep bond that cannot be broken.
So, the horses' needs must come first.
And on this, one must repeat on and on: horses have not changed through the last centuries, their functional anatomy is the same; their conformation may have improved, but the mechanic inside, function the same. If you block their neck and round their neck just to get more false expression, their back muscles cannot function.
So, the rules of Dressage are of course still true and good. They were written down to prevent dressage to turn into what we discuss above.
They should be a base for the judges to mark the training, this is as simple as this. The marks are not here to make crowds go wild, the judges must see beyond the visual, they must be able to distinguish what is false, and what is good, even if the crowd "love" eccentric stiff steps.
Real collection - transfer of weight behind, can only be achieved with a horse having all his muscles at his disposition.
Herr Egon Von Neindorff repeated and repeated to all competitors not to train horses behind the vertical, not to pull on curbs, not to lean back and hanging on, not to use spurs to tense the horse more... but to learn to have a proper seat, a real fee for the horse's back and how to first not interfere, then later on, how to interfere in the right way (more movement).
When a horse is BTV, it shows there are stiffness in the horse's back muscles and that his hind legs are stiff as a result. So, why on earth it is now a training so-called method?
This is not a method, it is a technique to stop a horse's real power, situated in the long back muscles, and in his mind, to work freely, it makes horses feel awful.
Veterinary surgeons will explain to trainers that horses have not changed, but people have: they want more and quicker, always more from the horses, they want to avoid the Basics, because this is difficult. They want now front leg movers and fast. They get this by unbalancing the horse to start with and the animal has to throw legs here and there, not to fall over.
I cannot believe that one sleeps well at night when one train horses to display steps in front, while the rest follow best it can, horses who perform like puppets, super tidy at the letters (obviously, holding their whole body tense during the whole test for fear of being even more hurt in their mouth). One had various examples recently of horses being harmed and filmed bleeding and we also know that long term, these modern, so called, methods lead to suspensory ligaments injuries, back problems, neck injuries, that the vets know too well.
We, the public, must demand that the horses are not seen trained behind the vertical, we must demand that Dressage is cleared from these new techniques. The public must react and voice their concern, it is time too.
Enough of being told we "do not know what we are talking about because one does not ride "those top horses" in front of a crowd, etc. etc. Any unspoilt child or musician, or balanced normal human being can see that it is wrong to force horses to round their neck and look at their belly. We do not need to be doing it ourselves to know it harms the horses. We just have to talk to good and honest vets, well, those who are still sincere that is.
We know for more than 400 years that horse's back must not be blocked, the neck just not be restricted, collection must come out of self-carriage and all the basics in place.
and it is time that dressage become an art form again, not a business and sport activity only.
Switzerland has started a new trend: it has forbidden rollkur altogether; it is a civil law. After some warnings, this means that riders can be charged, even go to prison if they carry on and on..
Next the Swiss equestrian federation is now working on a ban on draw-reins. This is going to be rather interesting because show-jumping is quite high on draw-reins here.
Well, one should all look forward (up and forward) to see Dressage becoming healthy and good for the horses again at the top.
full of respect for the trainers and true horsemen who wrote the Rules and handed over to us the knowledge on how to train without destroying the nature of the horses.