ok so I have been out and about lately watching people school their horses in dressage and watching them at shows and I have noticed a startling number of people who are forcing therir horses into false frames. I see maybe three or four riders whos horses are genuinely balanced and moving well and the rest are all careening around on the front end with their horse's noses tied to their chests with side reins or german martingales or what not and it really frightens me. I have also seen too many horses who are going alright and then are slapped into a double bridle just becasue "its how dressage horses are ridden."
My question is, do you think that this is an issue of bad trainers who are taking too many shortcuts to achieve "the look" or is this an issue of too many riders just not knowing enough or not caring enough as long as they get the ribbon at the end of the day or is this a case of too many judges making poor decision for one reason or another.
I am just curious to see other people's thoughts on the subject.
Good lord this has been going on for ages. It really is NOT a new thing.
Yes it is the idea of winning. Yes it is the idea of bad trainers. Yes it is some bad judging and yes it is "how fast can I get there. It really is no one thing. Certainly Anky as a person riding at the level that one tends to look up to doesn't help but in reality it is no one area that we can point our finger and say .."there............that is the problem".
We can in fact even put some of the blame on the breeding, for the horses being bred for the International level of dressage riding is for the most part unridable to the average AA rider. This puts them struggling with something that is perfect for their riding ability but will probably never have that "upper level" potential. So how does the AA get their good but not great horse to "that level"? Get a trainer that will use whatever means to make it look that way, put the extra hardware in its mouth so the curb can do what the rider can't. Take the horse to a show that "likes your horse or horse breed" and voila better scores and now you have a 3rd or 4th level horse.
Personally I have found most judges are doing their best within the individual countries but the obvious biasness shown at the International level throws suspicion on all the judges and I feel that is not fair.
I blame the riders themselves for those that feel that showing is the be all and end all of everything (and I was one of those at one time). Certainly putting your horse forward to get a professional critique via a show should be encouraged. However the back stabbing that goes on in the dressage world with riders trying to out do another rider (either at a show or believe it ON THE INTERNET) seems to put the horse as a means to an end and it is in reality your partner that gets you those ribbons. I know some riders that will pull out of a show if the slightest thing happens to their horse with "there will be another show" as the foremost thought and I applaud those owners/riders...but then I see the opposite too frequently. The horse that comes out lame, goes behind the trailer and is suddenly perfect a half hour later. I witnessed this at one show but because of who owned that horse it was never drug tested.
Now anyone that thinks they can train just advertises and for some reason will get the unsuspecting client knocking their door down. 3 years later you ask that person how they are doing. So why do they say great when they are no farther ahead than what they were 3 years ago. Trainers that use short cuts to get their client's horse "up there" faster when the rider isn't even close. It takes longer to train a rider than a horse and I see so many times that the basics in rider education are just missing. Description of training methods have been so garbled that the student simply becomes a "I sit on the horse and do this, and this happens" type of rider. These riders will be totally lost if something happens unexpectedly in the show ring. They are not riding the horse, just the movement and the resulting test is flat and uninspiring.
OK I will get off MY soapbox now.