Saturday, August 4, 2012

Rollkur, Abuse, and Real Horse People

So, here we all are, watching the Olympics, and what finally bring Dressage into the limelight is like something out of Crash Course: abusive training and riding practices. In this case it is the rollkur in Dressage.

(For the record: Horse people know that Dressage is not 'horse ballet'. It is more like horse gymnastics, or martial arts. In fact, it is exactly like that. Dressage was designed to train war horses. Look up Xenophon. He was the father of Dressage.)

The rollkur is an abusive practice. It makes the whole equestrian world look bad. (Like Brianne in Crash Course we are in danger of people saying that all human and equine contact is abusive.)

Saying that riding is an abusive sport is like saying baseball is only about steroids.

People cheat. And they tarnish the respectability of the whole arena.

There are no real short cuts in horse training. Abusive practices lead to damaged horses, physically and mentally.

Ever horse person has a responsibility to stop the abuse. We all have to prevent the Embarrs and the Alydars.

Abuse casts a long shadow, obscuring the real horse people, those of us who give our equine counterparts our hearts and dedicate our lives to undoing damage that has been done. We don't have the impact of these stories of abuse, but we are the ones that will clean up the mess when the horses get hurt. For some we will be too late.

We deserve better. The horses deserve better. Equestrian sports deserve better.

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