I was talking to one of my friends yesterday. The one who helped me take the famous pictures at the Danish Championship of our fantastic riders, practicing Rollkur.
Turns out, someone more active than me are arranging a demonstration against Rollkur, come the European Championships. I must admit, I am not going. At least not to sit outside and demonstrate. IF I end up going, it sure will be to take pictures, and mainly from the warm up areas, because now, Ecco states that it’s allowed…
But that is not the point of this post. No, those arranging the demonstration are making anti Rollkur t-shirts, and they were discussing a logo. My friend, who have our pictures on her computer as well, used one of the pictures of Andreas as a test, just to see what they wanted. The response was pretty instant.
“That is not bad enough.”
Which got me thinking.
Warning, that is always dangerous.
First off, it’s not? You are kidding right? Of the three main Rollkur riders at the show, Andreas’ horse was the one who ended up with a blue tongue. How is that not bad enough?
Second, and here is what is the most terrifying part of it all, it’s not. When I went to the Danish Championships, I expected that. I expected Andreas to ride, just like he did, I expected his horse to be miserable, I half expected to see a few blue tongues.
I didn’t expect Anna to be much better, after all, she does ride for Helgstrand Dressage. Really, this was exactly what I had expected to see. Scary ha?
What tipped the balance for me, was the guy on Nintendo. (I have been trying not to learn his name, but it seems that he is called Thomas…) Never in my life had I expected to see such an unsympathetic person, with such a clear lack of empathy, of compassion and understanding of the animal he was riding.
The way he repeated pulling on the rein, for no reason, the way his horse desperately tried to avoid the pain he was inflicting on it, I swear, that horse would have been screaming if it had had a voice. It’s a shame it doesn’t, then the audience might not have applauded. Then Ridehesten might not have called him “Denmark’s new positive surprise,” the day after.
I know that I, watching him ride, felt sick. I know I had moments where I felt dizzy, and where I had to fight to not throw up on the spot, from watching the way he treated that horse. It may sound like I got a low tolerance, but really, I don’t. That guy, just pushed it so far beyond anything you would expect to see anywhere.
Which makes you think. That poor horse, if this is how it is ridden and handled at a SHOW, how is it treated back home? We all know that what we see at shows are only half of it. Which is why I guess, Andreas is not “bad enough” despite the blue tongue. Andreas knows not to be that open about it. He knows how to sneak train Rollkur. He knows that he has something to hide.
The guy on Nintendo, clearly don’t. By the looks of it, he couldn’t care less. By the looks of it, he don’t think he did anything wrong at all? Which makes you wonder, HOW does he train that horse at home, where no one is looking? A guy with no boundaries at a public event, what will he do behind closed doors?
Still, back to my level of tolerance and why I say it’s not low and I am not hysterical. Like I said, I had expected exactly what I got from Andreas and Anna. To be honest, I don’t think I would have caused a fuss over it, if it hadn’t been for the Nintendo guy.
Sure, I may have posted some of the pictures on face book and on my blog, bicthing a bit about what we allow in the sport, like I always do, but I don’t think I would have bothered to send it all to Epona.tv for instance, or any other magazine.
Simply, because what they are doing, is nothing new. We all know its happening. We all turn a blind eye. The horrifying part is, I think I would have too, if that one guy had not pushed me over the edge.
And clearly, even those, more passionate about the anti Rollkur movement than I agree, what Andreas did, wasn’t bad enough.
Terrifying. Of course it was. What is happening to us? How did we all become so cold inside, so used to watching abuse that we so readily turn a blind eye?
On another note, everybody, stop blaming Ecco for everything. Yes, it’s Anna’s mother, yes as a sponsor they share some of the blame, but really, who carries the blame for allowing this, all of this, is FEI, DRF, the judges and, in the end, the riders.
If FEI wouldn’t allow it, DRF wouldn’t allow it. If the judges didn’t reward it, the riders wouldn’t do it.
Who really needs to take the rap for this are FEI and DRF, the federations who can actually make a difference. Come on, we don’t allow glass and nails in the show jumpers boots anymore, why is it different to abuse a dressage horse? Because it’s not bleeding?
It that really what it takes? Blood?