camera-obscura: life and lessons on November Hill Farm
I've had dogs with me most of my life so far, and the way I treat them has subtly changed. I don't use a training collar (aka choke chain) anymore. I use a harness, and leave the doggie's neck alone. I wouldn't use harsh words to train. "Gentle hands, kind words." There are people in my family who ride horse for enjoyment and for a living, on cattle ranches, and who've made much of their living in rodeos. There are others who think the mere act of saddling and riding a horse is cruelty. Keep it as a pet but stay off its back, they say. I don't know what's good for horses and don't have an opinion. But I know that everything changes, and that awareness of cruelty like that discussed here will inevitably hasten change.
I think you're right Kyle - in many cases when we know better, we do better.With Rollkur and dressage, I'm afraid it gets more complicated due to competition and ribbons and money. However, I also know that when people at large stop supporting companies that sponsor riders and trainers who use these methods, and stop paying to go to these shows, things will shift. I'm reminded of greyhound racing. If no one goes to the races there's no need for the breeders to keep producing dogs for that sport.
The Epona piece was very good. I have to agree with everything they had to say. I don't think there is anything I can add to their opinion on the FEI and Rollkur.The FEI must make changes and enforce the rules period.Education of all riders, trainers and judges is paramount also.
I think they're doing a terrific job with this whole thing.
interesting article. i don't think i'm prepared to introduce technology into competition, but it would certainly be interesting to see these riders together in a clinic setting beside truly classical riders with that technology in play so spectators could see once and for all. i think the technology might just mean more intensive abuse at home to make the forced stuff permanent come competition time...a big part of the problem in the USEF/USDF and probably in the FEI is the way judges are selected. few people probably realize that there is no training or testing involved in being a judge. most times it is simply name recognition (ie, you won something big) and/or having the signatures of x number of friends and acquaintances who think you'd make a good judge. sadly, not every winning rider or trainer necessarily understands what he/she sees as an observer on the ground, and yet they often are the ones who set the standards for the rest of us as judges. a good place to start cleaning house in all the disciplines would be with them and their certification process.
wouldn't it be great though to have the technology there to train judges in the first place? so they can start to gauge what happens in reality with what they "see"?
that would be awesome! there really should be a sort of degree program for judging, and they would make a great tool in teaching and qualifying competent judges.
an aside - when I worked in child protective services in CA, any judge who heard a family court case had to have a special certification to do so - that required special training and education so that the judges certified understood trauma, family dynamics, the research about abuse and offenders, etc.It really made things work when dealing with the complex child abuse and neglect cases in court.When I moved back east, there was nothing remotely like that here. Taking a case to court was a nightmare. I actually heard a judge say "there is no such thing as child sexual abuse. case dismissed."it's a dangerous thing to put people in charge of something they don't understand. :/
wow, that's shocking. and scary.
I don't know how it works in other countries, but in Sweden (where I'm from) there is a well thought-out judge education and licensing program, that includes all judges, from the lowest level up to international Grand Prix judges. To even be able to become a judge, there are demands that you have to reach up to, such as having competed on the level you're being educated to be a judge on, having a well documented background with horses and riding. There is also some age limits, and you have to do both a practical and a theoretical examination to be approved as a judge.
Unfortunately even when judges are trained and licensed, they can lose sight of the original standards and begin to shift in their awarding of ribbons.If dressage judges were marking movements based on the original, classical standards that are VERY CLEAR IN CURRENT FEI USE none of these riders would be winning, much less earning the high scores we're seeing.I believe reform in judging will need to involve requiring every judge at every level to review the standards and at the very least, watch videos that illustrate the standards so they can begin to connect what the standards are on paper to what they look like on flesh and blood horses and riders.
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