For all of you readers of my blog, who know nothing about horses or the world of horses, I would like to tell you what it is like to be a ’horse-person’ who dares speak up.
First a little link to the pictures- some of them, 60 out of 2000- my friend and I took at the Danish Championship in dressage 2013 about a week ago.
Now, in my world, these pictures are unacceptable, which is why we chose to publish them online and sent them to Epona.tv.
Here is what we have been met with from fellow Danish horse-people. Some people just make me so proud to be Danish…
First, the most common argument for why this is not abuse;
You can’t tell from a single picture! It could be a bad moment! We all have bad moments, I bet if we took 2000 pictures of you, we could find one just like it!
Okay, yes, it could be a very bad moment. Yes, we all have bad moments. And absolutely NO! I Have about 20.000 pictures of me and my horses, I am not afraid to share my bad moments and there have never been, nor will there ever be, a moment as bad as any of these ones!
Besides, it is hardly the point, is it? I am not one of the “best” riders in Denmark. I am not riding dressage at the highest level. Of course I am not allowed to ride like this, no one should be, and really, most people don’t!
The real question should be, do we allow these kinds of “moments” in our professionals? Is it all right that Akeem “momentarily” (read irony here, it takes a long time and a lot of pressure,) has a BLUE tongue? And is a series of 2000 pictures still “just a moment?” How many moments do we need?
All horses are tense when ridden!
Well no? They are not? How do people who make such arguments ride their horses?
Some horses hyper flex themselves!
Oh you are kidding me? Of course they do and would you please go tie your own head to your chest, and see how you like it? Yes, some horses have a tendency to “duck under veridical” when ridden. My own Saleem does it once in a while, my old star Apollon did it a lot. Why? Because with Apollon, I wasn’t skilled enough to handle it. With Saleem, I am. And again, I am not an elite dressage rider.
So why would a horse go under? Simple, to avoid using it’s back and hindquarters. When a horse isn’t strong enough to carry himself correctly, it starts to cheat. Some go up and over vertical, some go down, but the effect is the same, the horse escapes the pressure of having to carry himself correctly. So if you ride a horse who go under at random, you need to seriously consider how it’s muscles are build and if it is strong enough to handle what you ask of it.
That said, NO horse, EVER roll kur on its own, and even if they did, LOOK at these pictures and tell me that this horse is not pulled, torn, forced around by the cruel hand that holds the rein?
What these riders are doing, is making the horse lower its back, raise its head, and throw it’s front legs into the air like some sort of freakish circus act, and it has nothing to do with dressage. It is cruel, disgraceful, and downright animal abuse.
But not to worry, I just read an article in Ridehesten.dk where a vet states that horses now a days are bread to keep their front legs in the air longer, to the point where the beat and the cooperation with the hind legs are compromised…
My head implodes to hear a trained professional make that kind of excuses. Stop, just stop before you embarrass yourself anymore and tell me this, IF horses these days were bread to keep their front legs in the air longer, and to leave the hind legs dangling behind like a stray satellite, with little to no radio contact, why then, do the horses only do it when ridden? I mean, look at a Friesian for instance, they raise their front legs high, but they do it on the pasture as well, that is how they are made. Trotters are unmistakable by their wide trot. Danish Warmblood have a special gait, they only use when ridden? Sure…
Why not contact the officials at the event?
There were none. No one in sight. Believe me, if there had been, we would have been kicked off the grounds with our cameras before we had a chance to complain to anyone. I guess it goes both ways, we couldn’t complain, but neither could the riders, and they saw us, and sent us dirty looks but it didn’t stop them from abusing their horses.
Why are you better? What makes you think that these riders don’t know what they are doing, they wouldn’t have got this far then, would they?
First off, I never said I was better, I just posted the pictures of our supposedly best riders. Second, I AM better, because I don’t knowingly, abuse my horses. I am sure I make a lot of mistakes, I sure have spent a lot of sleepless nights and cried a lot of tears when something went wrong with any one of my horses and I felt that I came up short in the matter of how to help them in the best way possible.
Third, how they got this far? Money…. And make no mistake, I never said that they don’t know what they are doing. I believe that these riders know EXACTLY what they are doing.
But this is the world of horses for you. If ever you dare criticize someone, the answer is always, “can you do better?”
Do you think that “little Lise” back home don’t ride her horses like this?
By little Lise, there are referred to amateur riders and children. Well, first things first. If she does, who do you think she looked at to learn? Shouldn’t our top riders set an example for little Lise to follow?
If she does ride her pony like this, it is not okay, but it is much more excusable, because she MAY NOT KNOW ANY BETTER and we all need to help educate her. Our professionals know better, there is no excusing these pictures.
Saying that it is okay for our top riders to ride like this, because it happens all the time, everywhere, is about the same argument as saying well, my neighbor beats his children, so I can beat up mine as well. Do two wrong really make one right in the world of horses???
To wrap this up, I would like to repeat, I didn’t go there to take ugly pictures. I didn’t mean to become the front figure of a new anti roll kur campaign. I never intended any of this. That said, I am glad to see the ball rolling again and I hope we just might make a difference some day, if we keep it up. Mostly, I have only had positive responses to posting the pictures, (not to the pictures, but to me posting them,) from people all over the world. Only in Denmark do people seem to keep asking questions like the ones above, which makes me wonder.
What kind of people are we, when we so readily defend our own to the point of the ridicules?
Well you can count me out. I cannot ever defend pictures like these ones, and I would never consider anyone who rides like this, even for a “moment” a friend of mine. Some things are just unacceptable.