It was the best of times, the worst of times…

7 Oct


Every day ,every week, photos and images rain in a deluge: abuse in all its forms. Emaciated dogs, confusion shining out of their eyes; children, their anguish jumping off the page white-hot, grabbing emotions by the throat and not letting go; horses with arrows sticking out of their heads, or holding up, shaking, missing part of their hoof, or   bloodied ,infected welts, so thin that they look like cadavers with skin, or  chins on chests.

For whatever reason, chin on chest seems to  get the most vociferous, never-ending outcry.


Maybe because the fantasy of the horse is that it is our willing partner—unlike stolid oxen, or the clever stubborn donkey, or the camel which has not really been painted in literature as friend of man. (In the million dollars to the winner camel race victor of Saudi Arabia, NO ONE rides, the camels are controlled by tiny robots wielding whips and broadcasting the screamed instructions of the “trainers” lurching alongside the track in their cars. Here is a link:


 sorry for the digression:

No. It is the horse that humans assign nobility, fantasy, the equivalent of a modern spaceship patrolling the stars, going where no one has gone before.

All the rollkur hysteria did not spark this diatribe. Reading that one of dressage sport’s top breeding stallions, the renowned Bellissimo M, is about to be auctioned off—that is the start.


This wonderful stallion, whose offspring are everywhere in the sport as well as himself, is in the end, only another piece of property to be auctioned off like any goods and chattel.

Humans are always capable of parallax view: extolling the nobility of something and at the same time exploiting it.  The scientific term for this is “cheap thrills”.

And nowhere do thrills come more cheaply than on the endless anti-rollkur debate forums.  On these forums, a rider held up as the shining example of harmony and expression and lightness can easily be pilloried for what is seen as a moment of less-than-perfection. On these forums, the great enemy is seen as exactly that: less-than-perfection. Riders everywhere now look over their shoulders, hoping for the impossible: never to make a mistake, never to have a bad moment let alone a bad day.

Cue music:

” Every move you make,

   Every breath you take,

   I’ll be watching you.”

On these forums


2 Responses to “It was the best of times, the worst of times…”

  1. Theo Brekelmans October 23, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    There is no difference enough between the Grand Prix and the Freestyle with Music. It is all the same. Pure technical riding. It would be a lot more interesting when the freestyle should be a really freestyle. Free choreography with levades, spanish walking and many many more things, free choice of costumes or clothing, free choice of music, free choice of equipment. Every country has his own art and style for clothing and equipment.
    This will also be very nice for people who are not interesting in dressage but who likes shows and entertainment. It will also be beautiful for the TV. And the members of the jury has to be from different disciplines, horseriders, musicals, showmasters. The best showrider must win and not the best technical rider. It can be a new discipline to the horse-events. It is possible to participate individual, couples, quadrilles, teams and many many more, even with carriages. I think the world is waiting for it! There is only one problem: the horsworld is old-fashioned and that is why there nothing changes.
    When nothing changes the sport will be stopped by animal defenders.The time is over from higher, faster and more difficulty. I hope that I don´t cry for nothing.

    • horsesportnews October 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      Hahaha. Just imagining the outcry from everyone IN the dressage world if the technical was removed from the freestryle and we had, gasp, Circus. Honestly, I like having the technical scores in freestyle and want to keep that as the foundation.

      But the idea of a true entertainment class is still a good idea!

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