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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I watch modern dressage and all I really see are disconnected horses who are too far behind the verticle, heavy on the forehand and TENSE. It boggles my mind at how the judges believe this training method to be "okay" and are blind to how poorly the horse moves.

Whatever happened to classical dressage, where horse and rider were a team... a partnership rather than a Master/slave relationship which rollkur has helped it become.

Does anyone here use rollkur, and if so, why?

What are your views on this barbaric "training" /torture method?

Riders across the country should unite to bring an end to rollkur, for the sake of the horses and dressage itself.
 

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Everyone here is going to agree with you, it won't be much of an argument.

Those over at the boards of Chronicle of the Horse, where a lot of people post who have big money and are in all of those upper level shows, will have a debate as many use it and many do not. They say that modern dressage is changing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They say that modern dressage is changing.

It seems that what is being done now is not even dressage. It has moved from horse and riding being in complete harmony to horse being at the mercy of a cruel and unforgiving rider.

The horse community is so big, I think it's just a matter of spreading the facts and rallying to ban the practice....
 

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I agree. It's horrible. I read Anky Van Grunsven uses it :( I look at it this way, I want to make sure my horse is happy (first priority) and I would never resort to such a method to "WIN". We're partners, 50/50.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree. It's horrible. I read Anky Van Grunsven uses it :( I look at it this way, I want to make sure my horse is happy (first priority) and I would never resort to such a method to "WIN". We're partners, 50/50.

Exactly, it should be a partnership. I mean they wouldnt even be there if it wasn't for the horse. And Anky is notorious for using it, I think some of her horses have their chins tucked INTO their chest. Not only is it cruel and painful but it causes long term problems for the horse. These people are not real riders or horse people, theyre just as bad as Michael Vick in my eyes.
 

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I know! In the Bejing Olympics I noticed it and Salinero was getting tired (it looked like) and started falling behind and she slapped him on the neck to keep going. I can't believe she won!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have to say the judges are as bad as the riders who use Rollkur. The saddest part of all is a horse who has been properly trained for years using classical methods, is not disconnect, is in harmony with his rider and relaxed will NEVER win. No one cares about how they get to the top, so long as they get there. I really do hope someone sticks an elevator bit into Anky's mouth and cranks her face into her chest, maybe then she'll understand.
 

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LOL yeah really :p I was visiting a dressage barn a couple years ago and was watching a clinic. ALL the horses there where stiff, cranky and being forced into position. One of them didn't look fit enough to be doing such strenous advanced movements and the clinician and rider kept making (yes making) the horse do it time and time again in a double bridle.

Come to find out the next week, I heard the rider's horse reared up and fell back on her and she broke almost every bone in her body and was hospitalized. Guess who's fault it was? THE HORSE! They sent him off to a diff. country and sold him when it was really the rider/clinician's fault! :( Poor guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's always the horses fault. It's never "I'm an ignorant rider which is why I broke all my bones." When a horse stops at a jump, its his fault, when his saddle hurts him and he bucks, he's just being bad and it's all his fault.

I'm lucky enough to have a coach who blames the rider 99% of the time lol. In my 13 years of riding, she's the best coach I've had and the ONLY one who rides the horse from back to front. Letting the head fall to the correct position itself instead of yanking it down like these "top level" dressage idiots.
 

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I own a horse that was trained/started with rollkur. It took me a few days/weeks to get him to even try to stretch down and out properly. It is a terrible thing to do to a horse, and if it is done too long the effects on the horse's body and mind are irreversible. I know it is unwise to compare people to humans, but I would never tell my horse to do something that I would find painful (except for things like vaccinations etc). This includes running with your head crammed against your chest for an hour.

It is one thing to dislike rollkur, it is another to feel with your own hands what a horse that was trained with the method is like. Because I have felt my horse who was abused by heavy handed riders, I could feel his fear when I gathered up the reins, his desire to avoid being on the bit, the stiffness in his neck and back. Rollkur is performed by taking a horse that is above the bit and hollow, pulling hard, forcing them to go fast, see-sawing and yanking on the reins, and then the horse will compensate by curling under the bit and being tense. I do not know this from doing it myself, it is what I have seen with my very own eyes. People who do use such a method do not understand horses at all. All they understand is the color of a first place ribbon. I recognized his fear of the reins in seconds after mounting him. They told me that it was because he was young, because he isn't quite "finished" yet. That is one of the main reasons I bought him, he was at a big prestigious showing barn and chances are if I didn't buy him he would go to another showing rollkur owner and have an unhappy life.
 

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As an observation of an outsider, perhaps rollkur is why I am not interested in performing in that area? I see these horses who are stiff and mechanical and the riders who are so serious and think "that is just uncomfortable" I have a TB who would make a great dressage prospect, but I just can't bring myself to teach him something where that is the gold standard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As an observation of an outsider, perhaps rollkur is why I am not interested in performing in that area? I see these horses who are stiff and mechanical and the riders who are so serious and think "that is just uncomfortable" I have a TB who would make a great dressage prospect, but I just can't bring myself to teach him something where that is the gold standard.

Even if you don't compete in dressage, it is still a basis for every other discipline. For show jumping you need collection, extension, balance... basic dressage really.

When I first saw top level dressage I was disgusted, which is one reason why I'm so passionate about it now. One of the reasons I want to become a coach is to try and bring back classical dressage, to revive the elegance, harmony and partnership that dressage SHOULD be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Roro - It's a good thing you saved him, I'm happy to hear that he's in a safe and happy place now.
I remember one time I went to look at a horse, and this guy was selling a 3yr old draft cross. He was trying to show her off and one of the "dressage" riders got on and took her for a spin around the arena. To get this poor mare on the bit she used all her weight to pull back on the reins and seesaw on her mouth. The poor thing ran around with her head in the air and mouth wide open. Then the rider went so far as to say the horse was ill-mannered.

And for your horse, maybe he'd be a contender for a bitless bridle?
 

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I agree with you lexxwolfen. When I saw what I mentioned in my previous post, I was disgusted and thought "Oh man, if this is what dressage is about...all that intensity and pain...I don't want to be involved." But I went and researched and found an awesome instructor since that has shown me different. It gives me a "mind cramp" if you will witnessing what those who do Rollkur do. If I get a mind cramp, can you imagine what nightmares the horses experience?! :O IMHO, Rollkur should not even be associated with dressage....it is misleading and abusive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Unfortunately as long as it helps get results, it wont go anywhere unless the horse community unites and rallies to ban the practice... make it punishable by a massive fine and/or inprisonment and ban from owning horses ever again.

Those rollkur riders should watch this wonderful instructional video on how dressage should be.

 

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Like I said, you'll have no argument here.

I don't like the method and never will, but it really ISN'T about educating people. If you go to the COTH boards, these people are well aware of what they do to their horses. They think that 'it hurts the horse' is propaganda. They think that if they slowly and carefully and gently pull the horse's head back in a stretch, that it's okay.

I don't like it, but I don't like seeing it bashed. It seems very blind and close-minded to me.
 

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Just like the Western Pleasure debate, the only thing that needs to be done is make the judges mark it down and keep people that do it from winning. It would change in 5 years and you would see no more horses being contorted like that. The international dressage groups can change the rules and make it a mark against a rider that has a horse behind the verticle.
 

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Just like the Western Pleasure debate, the only thing that needs to be done is make the judges mark it down and keep people that do it from winning. It would change in 5 years and you would see no more horses being contorted like that. The international dressage groups can change the rules and make it a mark against a rider that has a horse behind the verticle.
Kevinshorses, you bring up a very good point. I think that it is very important that judges mark down if a horse is trained with a questionable method. However, international riders almost NEVER actually use rollkur in the show ring. They use it at their training facility and/or in the warm-up ring. It is a similar dilemma to that of the soring in TWH shows, the practice is frowned upon but the judges are impressed by the movement it creates and therefore it is encouraged. The judge sees the end result of rollkur, which is a tense, flashy horse that throws its legs out and has a dead hind-end with a hollow topline. The judges need to be educated on the difference between a relaxed horse and a tense horse. Learning relaxation is training level for dressage riders, why should the top judges be able to escape this important lesson that the majority of beginning riders already know?

This is Anky, one of the top riders of today who uses rollkur. She is performing a very crude piaffe, but judges absolutely lover her and she has won many competitions. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_XJPVbyyr-oY/SY1-xViP8TI/AAAAAAAAAT0/bAhbBr8yYo4/s400/salinero_olympics.gif

Here is what a piaffe should look like: karlformyspace.jpg (image)

A novice rider could easily tell that Anky's piaffe is of much lower quality. There is little or no hind collection and her horse is leaning on the forehand. It does not take an expert to see this. The solution is, like kevins said, to educate the judges and train them to be able to recognize poor riding. To add on, warm-up arenas should be monitored for questionable methods and drug testing (to hide pain/discomfort etc) must be taken seriously; not only for dressage but for all disciplines in the show ring.
 
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