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This is a discussion on Disappointed within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Disappointed by horse showing
  • How to horses show their disappointment

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    06-29-2009, 03:19 AM

I went to a dressage show in my area this weekend, hoping to inspire some flame of passion for showing again.
I'm sad to say that this show did the complete opposite for me.

I was surrounded by horses in crank nosebands and overly tight flashes. Riders with big spurs and overly active legs. I saw horses in levels they weren't ready for. I saw spur marks up and down horses' sides.

Granted there was the odd rider here and there that really did look stunning. Quiet legs, a good seat, and hands that didn't have the bit pulled back to the horse's eyeballs. But they were the rarity.

Has showing really changed that much since I was last in the game about half a decade ago? I seem to remember riders being much quieter, with light hands and quiet legs.. or maybe I was just younger with a much more upbeat look on training.

I am not inspired at all to compete again. I am, however, inspired to do well by my horse and take him slowly along, but get the base on him that we need to do well in whatever it is we end up doing.

*sigh* I'm too young to be this jaded!

Sorry for the rant.
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    06-29-2009, 03:51 AM
Indeed, horsemanship is always changing and it's true that the level of competition and what is now looked for, has really changed. For the best? I don't know. I think it's questionable at the best of times. When you look at the way the horses at the higher level of competitions are being trained, how much younger they are starting to be throw into GP level or PSG, I find it really makes you wonder.

Are new modes of training, the new techniques really better? As new bits, bridles, training equipment comes into and makes it's way into our local tack stores, we are essentially encouraging riders(trainers included) to rely more on this gear rather than refer back to perhaps "older" training. It seems that to make the money, horses have to be brought up quicker?

What is really happening to the sport?
    06-29-2009, 08:44 AM
It is such a shame, to see this happen to horses, I wish humans and horses could change for a day, so we could see how it feels .

P.S please read my thread in the training thread, only 1 person has responded and I need help.
    06-29-2009, 09:33 AM
Originally Posted by JustDressageIt    
*sigh* I'm too young to be this jaded!

I understand completely. It seems to me (and has for a while) that the shows anymore are all about the big movement or the most extreme motion, regardless of how they get it. Showing is being perverted just like everything else in the world. When showing began, it was designed to show off a horses skills and for them to show how responsive and well trained a horse was while still looking natural. Now it seems to be all about the biggest jump, the lowest headset or slowest gait, the biggest trot, most complex movement, or the fastest spin or longest slide. If the trainer has to use cruel devices or tickle their spine with a spur, that's okay so long as they can do *insert movement here*. It is all too political for me, the people with the big names always seem to win the big events even if they don't deserve it. I am sorry that your passion didn't get rekindled. Take your time with Denny and give him quality training ( oh here I go preaching to the choir).........Nevermind LOL. You can continue his training with that but maybe it is time to try something completely different that may kindle some interest for both of you.
    06-29-2009, 04:53 PM
I haven't seen many riders like that around here, but I haven't been to any local shows lately.

If anything, you shouldn't let it bum you out. It should inspire you to do well without harsh equipment and show the snobs how it's done. It would be pretty cool if you kicked butt in front of all the harsh riders with your well-conditioned horse and softer riding. The judges like that kind of riding, too.
    06-29-2009, 05:05 PM
I was a groom for a friend of mine, she was competing at the Grand prix level, anyway it was my first BIG dressage show that wasn't a "fun" show, very serious. The barn was a four star horse barn that didn't smell or look like one. They had mexican hands that lived in the trailers out back. They were the ONLY ones nice to me. Everyone else, even the barn manager ignored me. I would be making eye contact with them and they would just look away, even if I asked them a question!

It was a three day show and I got treated SO bad that I cried everynight in the horse trailer. One girl had a horse that they imported from Germany that was trained for 5 years in Dressage by a well known trainer, and the girls parents let her go over to Germany to pick this horse out. Long story short I was watching her ride and the horse didn't do some move right (was a beautiful horse) and the girl flipped out, the mom was mad at the horse also and told the trainer to sell it. That was what did it in for me, it was like something off a movie. I didn't really think people were like that.
    06-29-2009, 07:07 PM
Green Broke
What a shame. Out of curiosity, was the judge rewarding people who did this? Or did the people who could really ride sweep? Some people are idiots and feel like it's necessary. Some are ignorant and just don't know better.

Instead of disappointing you, I think you should be motivated instead! To go in the show ring with a happy well adjusted horse using proper principles and beat the pants of them! Show those idiots they don't need to crank their mouths shut and leave spur marks on their horses to get the test ridden.
    06-29-2009, 08:03 PM
Originally Posted by Equestriun    
I was a groom for a friend of mine, she was competing at the Grand prix level, anyway it was my first BIG dressage show that wasn't a "fun" show, very serious. The barn was a four star horse barn that didn't smell or look like one. They had mexican hands that lived in the trailers out back. They were the ONLY ones nice to me. Everyone else, even the barn manager ignored me. I would be making eye contact with them and they would just look away, even if I asked them a question!
I hate it when people are like that. When I took lessons at a rather large hunter/jumper barn their was only one girl who worked there that even talked to me. I remember once when I did camp their the owner jumped down my throat because I was putting a horse in an empty stall on the 'boarder's side' where I was told to put him. She didn't even let me get a word in before she came storming down the aisle yelling at me. She never apologize either. I only stayed because I loved my trainer and the girls I took lessons with were nice.

And don't even get me started with the boarders there, I might as well have been invisible. One of the trainers was really uppity too. She told us the reason we didn't board there was because we weren't good enough. Lol no, it was because the barn was not worth the 800+ a month with no turnout.
    06-30-2009, 01:18 PM
Zurmdah, haha I can relate. Good think you didn't board there, I would never pay that money for no turnout and for people to treat me like crap.
    06-30-2009, 01:46 PM
Thank you all for the support. I cannot believe how much the sport has changed, to my eyes.
Upnover, I didn't stay to see many of the placings, but considering the fad and trend of the over-active riders with flashes too tight and spurs too long, I'm sad to say they weren't exactly out of the norm. I really do hope that the quiet riders got rewarded for their quiet rides, but I'm not so sure that's the case.

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