Since Sjef and Anky, Rollkur has woven its way down the levels of Dressage and crept past the discipline to find common ground with reining. And in all the time we’ve watched the Rollkur/hyperflexion/LDR debate unfold I’ve been writing about how detrimental it is. With that being said, I’M NOW READY TO ADMIT THAT I WAS WRONG. All my criticisms were actually evidence of my jealousy and it’s time I come clean.
There has been much news recently about Moorland’s Totilas who is now being ridden by Matthias Alexander Rath, facing a future subjected to the training “guidance” of Sjef Janssen – the strong proponent of Rollkur, or Hyperflexion. I am happy to see that the German Federation of Professional Riders (BBR) is strongly voicing their opposition…
Despite the FEI’s ruling that Rollkur is a banned practice, and instead has favored the use of LDR (Low, Deep, Round), there is plenty of evidence to the contrary that hyperflexion is a norm for competitors. The World Equestrian Games, hosted in Kentucky this year is already proving the perfect grounds to spot the practice in person.
You can find it in jumpers, hunters, western riders, english riders, saddleseat, hunt, etc. While it is more prevalent in some disciplines over others the truth of the matter is that the majority of equestrians believe that control of the horse is gained largely by manipulating the neck. Yes, control can be had in this way but it is also mistakenly referred to as building a relationship, communication, a partnership, etc. Plain and simple it is a physical way to control the horse and avoiding communication and removing choice from the horse’s options.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe that Rollkur’s continued use is driven by success, fame, money? Are there elite equestrians you believe are using Rollkur to train but have not gained as much publicity as Anky Van Grunsven and Isabell Werth? What about Rollkur do you find appealing or repulsive?
The answer to this question may be more tricky. The individual motivations I cannot say, but I would be willing to guess that the amount of money involved in high level equestrian sports is enough to motivate a large number of individuals to using whatever legal tactics necessary to win. For example…
Hyperflexion has found it’s way into almost every barn and stable, through the simple lack of awareness to it’s presence. From english to western, and even the ‘classicists’ of dressage. It is a loss of the horse’s posture. Why is that?