Naturally, people are outraged and surprisingly they are also surprised.
Rollkur, later renamed LDR in a guise to fool people into thinking the FEI gives a shit about horse welfare, has been allowed and promoted as an acceptable form of horse abuse since as early as 2001.
That’s right, we’ve been pissing and moaning about this problem for 15 years. We’ve been rightfully up at arms against this open abuse of the horse for competition goals, and the FEI has largely ignored us the entire way.
Why are we still surprised?
Obviously nothing we’ve done to date has made the organizations who run these competitions care about horse welfare. We can argue that it’s the rider’s responsibility, or that the judges need to give more appropriate scores; neither of these are true. What it really comes down to is the organization that has rules in place to prevent abuse of the horse, need to step up to the plate and do their job.
The abuses we’re seeing are largely done in warm-ups, where judges have no role. They’re done in warm-ups where the riders are dictating what abuses their horses have to suffer, so clearly the riders do not have a strong enough moral compass to be relied upon.
We should not be surprised, we should be outraged.