Yesterday the EquiSearch blog reported that Dutch rider Adelinde Cornellisen’s horse Parzival was hospitalized for cardiac arrhythmia. Adelinde and Parzival stood out on the international scene when they were disqualified at the 2010 WEG. Well, that and their glaring use of rollkur in the warm-up ring.
Today in my newsfeed I got this –
Now, I’m of the opinion that riding a horse in Rollkur is damaging to their health. Not only because it places abnormal stresses on the cervical vertebrae but also the soft tissues of the neck, increases blood cortisol levels (stress hormone) and impacts the mental welfare of the horse.
That being said, I’m not necessarily of the opinion that blaming Rollkur for everything bad that happens to a horse who has been ridden in the method is strengthening the cause or doing justice for the horse. In fact, I think it could weaken the argument that we are making against the use of Rollkur. Why? Because it is pure conjecture to blame Rollkur for having some direct cause on Parzival’s heart health. Let’s face it, Warmbloods are not without their inherent physical weaknesses and a weakness of the heart could have been sitting idle for a long time coming – even since birth.
And the mention of Cornellissen’s horse Galahad’s passing due to colic, as though that too is a direct cause of Rollkur is just another weak spot for Rollkur proponents to use in their defense that we are illogical and grasping at straws. Again, there are a multitude of reasons that can contribute to colic, these horses are under high amounts of stress just from competition alone regardless of how they are trained, and colic is the leading cause of death in horses.
Yes, Rollkur and all of the side-effects that come along with that magical bag of abuse could contribute to illness and death – but we have no actual evidence that it has done so in either of these cases. Why start battles we cannot fight when there are more important ones in regards to Rollkur we could be fighting and winning?