Monday, August 31, 2009

a little more on Totilas

A still shot showing his extended trot. Note the front legs and then look at the hind legs - and the tracking.

Note the position of the horse's face - behind the vertical, and the poll. Note the angle of the curb shank.

As for the riding position, see if you can draw a vertical line from Gal's ear down through his hip, and through his heel.

This got a 90.75%???

And a video I found with Gal showing some of his training work with Totilas. I don't understand what he's saying, but the riding and technique speaks for itself.

If you're not a horse person and you're reading this, try to imagine what the horse can see when his head is cranked down to his chest. And try to imagine how well he can breathe with his throat latch closed up that way. And finally, try to imagine how it feels like to canter like that.

I'm disgusted.

Xenophon was the first one to claim that horses can become only more beautiful with correct training, never uglier. I would like to add to this that if the horse becomes uglier in the course of his work, it is the unmistakable proof for a wrong dressage training.

~ Colonel Alois Pohajsky


Grey Horse Matters said...

This is just wrong. I'm also disturbed that I've seen many blog posts gushing with enthusiasm for this ride and see some are just in awe of this team. It just goes to show you that some of the current dressage riding and training is very influenced by the scores not by what is actually going on with the ride. The judges are to blame for continuing to give huge scores for this kind of movement. They should be properly educated and know this is not the correct way to ride dressage and is unacceptable, but then again I guess it is acceptable and will be snowballing now with his score. I'm sure money and endorsements play a big part in getting the flashy horse in the ring winning.
I have no respect for any rider who does this to a horse, I find it disgusting and unethical.

This sort of exploitation of the horse is what Philippe Karl and Dr. Gerd Heutchman (probably wrong spelling) are trying to put a stop to and advocate for the horse. I wish them luck they have a long bumpy road ahead of them.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't even watch the whole video. Thanks for putting up more information about the training behind's unfortunate that the high scores he got will legitimize this kind of training.

billie said...

Arlene, it's the sheer volume of praise for this ride that pushed me to offer this alternative view here.

My hope is that even a few people will start to look at this kind of riding and training with a bit of thought to the horse. Perhaps then they will see it differently.

As part of our volunteer work for the Pony Club, we are required to work at two dressage shows/year. My husband is doing scoring later this month, and my daughter will be a runner.

I am not sure I can stand being there because what am I supposed to do when I see something that is completely against what I believe is right wrt riding/training?

I have wavered about intentionally volunteering to supervise warm-up so I could monitor for Rollkur - if I saw it being done, I'd have to step in, but to what end? I don't trust that I would be backed up at all if a rider refused to stop.

I could also do bit checks and add spur checks in - but if I saw anything terrible and the rider wasn't dq'ed, I'd then have to walk out in protest.

It bothers me that I have to weigh this type of thing out in my head before I volunteer to help at a horse show!

When my daughter is older and not so "in the orbit" of the repercussions to my stances, I will feel freer to put myself in this kind of situation.

billie said...

Wendy, I almost put a warning up about the video. It's hard to watch for many of us, and sadly, you're right that the scores will legitimize the training for many people.

jme said...

this is disgusting. and what disturbs me more is a stadium of people who probably paid good money to see this and will go home and emulate it.

have you heard of any groups of horsemen like ourselves showing up at these events or shows to hand out educational literature or even to protest this kind of riding and the judging that rewards it? maybe it's time for that. for educating the spectators and putting some pressure on event sponsors, organizers and their governing organizations...? i don't know what else to do, but i am nauseous after having to watch so many horses being abused this way, and seeing horsemanship degenerate to this level. there must be something...

billie said...

I have a visual of an entire section of the spectators standing up and turning their backs to rides like this.

But of course you'd have to spend money and support the event to be able to do that.

I like the idea of leaving information sheets on windshields, which is a more positive way to respond than my idea!

Andrea said...

a video from the warm up in Windsor. even worse than the ride itself.

billie said...

Thank you, Andrea. I have posted this in my newest blog post - this is one I hadn't seen!