Let’s get brutally honest … This is not Dressage. It’s abusive riding. It’s unharmonious riding. It’s riding with physical force and coercion. But the one thing it is not, is Dressage. Dressage is French for training .. not pulling on the reins, spurring the horse, riding him behind the vertical because you can’t safely ride him in…
In The Media
From time to time (sometimes more often than others) I receive comments or remarks along the lines of, “how dare you criticize person-x for abusing their horse, if you’re so great then post a video showing you can do x,y,z like they do.” There are a couple of problems with these kinds of statements. The…
A video of Monty Roberts in attendance of a brutal beating of a young horse being broken to ride (and I mean broken), standing passively by while his film crews record, is making the rounds. Was he right in this situation or should he have stepped in to show a different way?
I avoid purchasing from major tack stores anymore, even from many local ones as they too carry very abusive items. I don’t want to support that kind of thinking in the industry so I look to buying items used from acquaintances and if not from them then from other individuals who aren’t in the business of retailing products to pain-train horses.
Just looking through the bit selection is enough to make you throw up. But they also offer ginger salve to “aid in maintaining a proper tail set,” and in case you’re a professional they sell it by the case…
It seems unnecessary to me to say that success in sport does not equal sound motivations, or actions… But it is necessary as people still go about under the illusion that it does.
That’s what I’m going to start calling them. They aren’t trainers, they aren’t riders or partners or any other word used to describe someone who’s willing to listen and converse with the horse. No. Instead they are people who, for whatever reason, choose to pick fights with the horse.
When I see images like this, regularly, I just shake my head. Then when the inevitable comments excuses follow I’m heart-broken because these horses don’t seem to stand a chance of being ridden in a more empathetic manner.
“I had broken the contract. I had let personal feelings dictate my actions every time we encountered. Not once did I ever turn and simply ride off, without first giving chase. My father, bumbling and slow as I thought of him when it came to herding cattle, had almost corralled her and, except for the antics of a well meaning hunter, would have. She had fulfilled her part of the contract, She had, in spite of her wildness, given me a calf every year. In fact, as I learned the next day, She had renewed her end of it, for she had been pregnant. I, in return, had caused her death simply to show her who was boss. I sure enough showed her.”
As for his reputation as a trainer, overall there’s been mixed reviews online, largely complaints that he relies too heavily on his lunge whips to guide the horses during performances (he does a lot of liberty/circus/Cavalia type shows).
If you’re unfamiliar with the article, I cannot recommend enough that you read it cover to cover to better understand the true rate of skeletal maturation in the horse. Also why it is a bad idea to start 2 year olds under saddle.
For those who are already familiar, this is an updated version of the old, original article. You could also print out a few copies to have on hand to share with other equestrians who question why you haven’t “just started” your horse already.
Is there really any viable reason for abusing a horse? According to the Parelli’s there are several. But hey, we all make beginner mistakes out of frustration and emotion; and it’s what we do with those mistakes that defines us; and the Parelli’s have chosen to make excuse after excuse and then invite us to watch a demonstration of their “edutainment”.
By remaining silent, by accepting these empty excuses, by quietly accepting this behavior in public we are indirectly helping extreme Animal Right’s groups prove their point. That equestrians are incapable of humane treatment of the horses in their care and their community and shouldn’t be allowed to own horses.
Essentially that $500 foal is being produced because the breeder likes producing baby horses. It isn’t to improve the breed, to improve upon the parents. It certainly isn’t because they’re running a business of any kind. They are hobbyists who are flooding a market where the victim is the horse because they face a future of uncertainty.
The first Rollkur ban went into effect January 1st, 2014 in Switzerland, and it looks like it may put pressure on other Countries to follow suit. Denmark is now in more serious talks about applying a similar ban.
Finally, a step in the right direction! Switzerland officials enacted a law prohibiting the use of hyperflexion (aka Rollkur) in their country. While this doesn’t solve the big picture of horse abuse created by extreme flexion of the horse’s neck, it is an improvement over the fictitious ban created by the FEI.