On this side I will publish articles for everyone who are interested in Classical Dressage, horses and training metods. Some are translated from german or swedish. I always have the right to publish from the author, but it´s not allowed to copy the articles without permission.
This article and editorial was published in the german dressage magazine St.Georg in august -05.
Editorial ST. GEORG 8/05
written by Gabriele Pochhammer, Editor in chief
Of course they still exist, those riders who educate their horses according to the principle „the path is the goal“. Those riders, who school and form their equine athletes untile they have reached the highest level of perfection, using the classical fundamental laws, which apply to the national as well as the international sport. And there are others, and there are increasing numbers of them, who feel this is too much effort and results are not spectacular enough. On page 14 you can read which absurd ideas riders and trainers make use of, in order to succeed at competitions. The judges often cannot distiguish between them – and that is the problem, which currently takes the credibility out of the dressage sport. Elegance and effortlessnes, the harmony between rider and horse as the result of horse-friendly, though consistent, work – many a times simply wishful thinking, behind which a frightening truth can be discovered. Straining for effect, using methods comparable with sado masochism: Ropes on which the the horses legs are pulled up like those of a puppet, trying to teach it the passage and piaffe, which eventually will be commented on by judges as being „impressing“. Hours of training during which the horse’s head is tied as tightly to its chest as a freightship to the quay, often even using drawreins in combination with a double bridle. A horse, which is captivated in such a way can only see the sand underneath its hooves, and hence literally flies blindly across the arena. Only sometimes, when the neck brutally gets pulled towards one side, which some riders excuse as bending, the chance opens up for the horse to look its tormenter straight into the eye. Regarding the horse’s health the results of this torture are well known: a tight back and twitching hindlegs are relatively harmless ones, inflammation along the spine and other long term damage are the next step up.
If one of the four legged athletes does not play along, there are plenty of resources to make him play. There is talk of electric shocks and of water supplies being switched off before competitions. This means that those horses, which get distracted and might be spooky, are being tranquilised as a precaution; no need for sedative. And no need to be worried about unknowingly stepping into the „doping-trap“. All of this gets hardly ever spoken about in public, the loyalty in wrongdoing is still present. And if a few spectators complain, who happened to see what is going on in the warm-up arena, they are told they do not have enough expertise to understand. And maybe one day they also do not have enough patience to watch the pretty dressage-world with its ever so happy athletes, underneath which sceneries reign terror and brutality.
translated into english by Annalene Bec
Training methods in discussion
The dressage sport is degenerating. Many horses are lost along the way. Those, that make it into the arena often seem to be over-trained. Hardly anyone shows interest in the principles of the classical education. Much gets discussed next to the warm-up arenas and on the internet. The judges however look away, they rather concentrate on voting for the apparently happiest athlete. If nothing works anymore the vet has to fix it. A ST.GEORG- article...
The ship deviated from its course at some point. Noone knows exactly when. Neither the sailors nor the captain. Maybe they do not want to know. Their motto: Everything is under control on the sinking ship. Remind me, what was it again? „Dressage-riding includes the gymnastical build up and thorough education of the horse, in order to fully develop its natural abilities, to increase its capability to performe well, to maintain its health and last but ot least to achive a harmony between the horse and its rider.“ This, translated into english, is how it is printed on page 9 of the german guidlines for riding and driving II. And further it is implied that “under no circumstances is the rider to mistake dressage-riding with teaching the horse random tricks and magic acts instead of sympathetically educating the horse in a correct manner“. Can we call that, what begins in the warmin-up arena and is later gaining marks which are approaching the ideal, really still harmony? Or is the weekly repeated scenario more of a representation of a fight of man against biest? Many spectators are disappointed by what they see when watching riders prepare for the important competitions. Is this the true face of top level dressage? Those who stand close enough to the warm-up arena will soon hear people wondering, how the training might look like at the riders‘ homes, without the public watching them.
Noone will doubt that the top-level sport needs individual training concepts. It is well known that all roads lead to Rome. Two riders and their trainers have been warned in Aachen in 2004, not officially of course – judge Christoph Hess spoke to the trainers: The way Isabell Werth and Anky van Grunsven prepared their horses for the competition received negative attention of the audience as well as the official steward. Martin Schaudt had received complaints the previous year. As many are aware, van Grunsven won the Olympics in Athens a few weeks later on Salinero, Isabell Werth can only maintain control of Satchmo in phases ever since and Schaudt’s Weltall completely quit cooperation during the freestyle in Athens, but later, during the indoor season, rose like phoenix from the ashes and gained „world record points“ in the Grand Prix Special. Each ot Weltall’s outings gets followed with excitement. They speak of genius and insanity, same applies to nearly every worldclass horse, apart from the diligent worker Gigolo. Thinking of a genius when one is watching Weltall’s legs during the passage and piaffe, sticking precisely to the rythm like a clockwork; insanity when he does not succeed to show a test without making fundamental errors – errors related to the very basics of a horse‘s education, such as the rythm in all three basic gaits. A fate which Weltall shares with Satchmo. Although he sticks to the rythm, he is not obedient. Isabell Werth abandoned her plans to start at the German championships in Verden after her future prospect- who seemed to have been on his way up at that point – abandoned his share of the combined effort to finish the test whilst competing in Balve. And also Nadine Capellman’s future prospect Elvis, wich many predict to have a great carrer ahaed of him, quit his duties and already bolted across the the warm-up arena, instead of of doing the piaffe – apparently, as stated a few days after the incidence, due to a trapped sciatic nerve.
Crime scene warm-up arena
There is hardly any competition without debate. The audience complains. Some protested against van Grunsven’s trainingsmethods in Las Vegas and increased the pressure on the steward until he eventually approached the olympic medallist. For Mariette Withagens, chairman of the dressage committee of the FEI, it was just a litte side comment – „well, she just rode Salinero very deep, this is how it is done nowadays“. And as the judges only judge what they see during test, the horse and rider combination gained record marks in the freestyle to music and even a 10,0 for their choreography of the German judge Uwe Mechelm. Later, on the phone, questioned about the incidence in the warm-up arena, Mechlem claimed not to know anything about it: „Oh, did that really happen?“ It seems as if the judges sometimes resemble the three mice: blind, deaf and dumb. To open one’s mouth could become rather uncomfortable – after all the rather chummy dressage society meets weekly and it would be upsetting not to remain friends with everyone.
„This is how it is done nowadays“ – maybe that is the sticking point. Observations at the warm-up arena during the world championships of young dressage horses: Five and six year old horses, ridden by Dutch riders, are being prepared for their big outings. Simultaniously horse are biting into their own chests. The rider pulls the reins towards his abdomen whilst holding his hands extremely far apart, the head of the horse gets yanked from one side to the other. Then he stops. Repeated pulling, a quick kick with the spurs, the horse trots on. Not even three meters later he stops again: The rider moves his legs away from the horse‘s body, leans back with all his strength. Again the reins get pulled subsequently left and right. The horse’s nose is approaching the 45° angle behind the vertical, the neck is tightly rolled. The same moment the horse comes to a standstill the rider‘s leg gains momentum. Again the spurs, again halting, again left and right on the reins.
Scenes like these are not rare. And of course the German riders are just as capable to ride their horses that tight and that deep. Only the methodical, the strict repeated „biting into the chest“, is not – yet?- the norm. The piaffe also gets carried out in this posture – shortly before entering the young dressage horse class, as shown by one of van Grunsven’s students.
The Dutch national trainer Sjef Janssen has been addressed many times relating his training methods. He repeatedly stressed in interviews that, what he calls long and low („laag en diep“), is beneficial for the horse, and that in his opinion the classical education harms the horses. His best argument is Bonfire, winner of the Olympics 2000, which is still fit as a youngster although he is already 23 years old. And it is him, which Sjef Janssen, as can be seen on Anky van Grunsven‘s website, takes out of his stable every now and then to do a bit of piaffe. With an extremely deep head carriage, of course. It looks like the method which Nicole Uphoff and Isabell Werth brought to perfection, based on the training with Dr. Uwe Schulten-Baumer, the ill famed „rollkur“, dicredited by the ST.GEORG. But Janssen disagrees. He told the Australian Horse Magazine that his method of training horses has nothing to do with this. In his opinion the rolkur results in problems with the horse not remaining in a steady contact.
The long haired Dutch has always been an „Enfant terrible“; his fans point out that the rejection of his training methods might be a result of him being different than the ladies with their pearl necklaces and the gentlemen with their velvet tissues lurking out of their pockets.
You can only judge what is happening during the test, this Withagens to explains to the ST.GEORG in an interview after the Olympic games, in order to eliminate all prejudices agains the warming-up methods. The stewards are responsible for the supervision.: „I rarely stand by the warm-up arena when I am judging. I feel I have no right to be there at that moment.“ She admits though „that certain training methods are a case for the vet“. Soon after the ST.GEORG received an email of Sjef Janssen. He instantly took that sentence as a criticism of his training method. The debate about her methods – which also her star student Edward Gal uses successfully – does not interest her anymore, said the Olympic gold medallist in an Interview, published in the current issue of the Magazin Horse International distributed by the Dutch sorts marketing agency BCM. After all, all of her students are successful. Bonfire was at the peak of his performance at the age of 17 and her horses are happy and healthy. They are living a blissful life and are neither being maltreated with spurs nor do they have blue tongues.
The voices that have grown louder in Las Vegas have been commented on by Janssen in the Dutch magazine „In de Strengen“. His claim: Ignorance. At the same time he is defending the „freestyle-inventor“ Joep Bartels, during whose Global Dressage Forum Salinero was voted as the „Happiest Athlete“.
The veterinary proof, that his training is not harmful, the opposite of which most vets claim, is meant to be made this year. The happy-athlete-rule has attracted the French Colonel Christian Carde to the discussion. He writes on the website www.allege-ideal.com, how unfortunate the O-judge finds the newly formulated FEI article 401, with which the term „Happy Athlete“ has been introduced to the regulations of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). He is also commenting on the „long-and-low training pictures“. His question: Why do the supporters of this trainingsmethod stem against the publication of something that they believe to be the ideal? If this is only about misunderstanding a training method, why not give a plausible explanation? Carde demands not only an open debate, but also the formation of a panel of experts made up of trainers, vets and ethologists (behaviourists). At the same time he questions if such a panel would show enough courage to let loose the evidently following „Tsunami“ of objections.
One shakes his head, one who passionately expresses his support for the classical way of riding: Olympic gold medalist Klaus Balkenhol, trainer of the US-American dressage team. Weary of what he often has to witness in the warm-up arena, he openly wonders if it makes sense to give marks for the warming-up prior to a test. A rather new approach, smiled at by many. But what, if such a marking scheme would have been in place at the championships in Nijmwegen, during which van Grunsven was openly dreaming about results in the region of the 90% mark? Indirectly such marking schemes exist, and the results are poor, as these pictures have circled around the world. A Swedish dressage rider had been given these pictures and published them on her website „Dressage for the 3rd Millenium“. All horses are going far behind the vertical, though this is an utter understatement. The ST.GEORG also holds these pictures. A sheer witch-hunt has started in the Netherlands to find out who distributed these pictures.
Vet Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, who started a debate about current training practices by holding a talk on functional anatomy a few years ago, is speechless. The vet, who is an examined „Pferdewirtschaftswirtschaftsmeister“ (examined trainer) with the German Equestrian Federation (FN) before becoming a veterinary surgeon, is promptly holding the guidelines of „Animal welfare in equestrian sport“, published by The Ministery of Interior Affairs, in his hands: Pain and harm, induced by excessive flexion is an offence against animal welfare. And of course there is the German law for the protection of animals, paragraph 3, 1b: „It is forbidden to use methods on an animal, either in training or competition, which are associated with pain, suffering and harm and which can influence their achievement potential.
Bulges on the neck
The dilemma: An international or at least EU-wide animal welfare law does not yet exist. And the FEI remains rather vague in their Code of Conduct regarding the horse‘s welfare to which competitors subjects themselves when entering the competitions: The welfare of the horse has to have priority, this for example also counts for the methods of training. Speaking of which – fairly common in Holland is the training with shoes which initially were used driving Hackneys, Tuigpaarden and Friesian horses. Wear and tear when using this method, with which you could even turn a cow into a „piaffe and passage super-animal“, is a certain outcome.
But also without the puppet-strings, the faulty riding has reached not only the top level sport. In veterinary surgeries Heuschmann gets confronted day in day out with the harmful changes in the horses body caused by riding in a constant, extreme over-bend. The complete so called upper tightness (cervical-, thoracis-, amd lumbar spine as far as ilio sacral joint) including the rump gets badly affected. Inflammation occurs, which might later lead to calcification. Real bulges are formed, sometimes even as big as a child‘s fist. All of this is painful for the horse and can lead to permanent loss of use of the horse. Such clinical pictures have risen in numbers lately. Heuschmann counters the supporters of the thesis, who believe, horses become more submissive if ridden with a pronounced over-bend, which apparently after all resembles a form of stretching, that they so far have not yet looked further into which group of muscles actually carry the rider’s weight. These are mainly the abdominal muscels instead of the long muscles in the back.
Also ST.GEORG expert Dr. Karl Bobel attests lacking knowledge of the dressage riders, with regard to pysiological coherences. Dressage is by now the most „health-problematic sport“, he says, because the horses do not get turned out. Out of fear of injuries the horse gets taken out of its stable for the training, after hours of standing still, and immediately gets subjected to constraints. Blobel reminds that not only all muscles, ligaments and tendons but also the digestive system needs a certain amount of work load. This, whilst the majority of training methods aim at subordination rather that cooperation, usually falls by the wayside. And what if everything else is too late? When the ligament in the neck is inflamed, the vet surely can help. He simply takes those parts, that cause the nuisance, out. Apparently the horse can be used again one year later.
Dr. Blobel wrinkels up his nose. „Clinical diagnostics in the cranial area of the spine are difficult, even experts come to completely different conclusions when interpreting radiographs. We also don’t know exactly to what extend anatomical adaptations really influence the horse’s performance.“ The vets‘ ambitions are a further aspect which plays a major role: „ Every vet, every surgery is of course tempted to try new forms of therapies for all the new problems which keep surfacing. But in my point of view the majority of new therapies has not led to sucess.“ Blobel sticks to his conclusion: „Dressage riders have to re-educate themselves, they have to allow their horses exercise without constraints, and then they will remain healthy. The riders have to inform themselves what happens in and around their horses during training. They have to get to know their horse’s training-psychology.“
Heuschmann follows a second starting point: Back to the roots. It is the overload of the three to four year old horses, their „industrial commercialisation“ which opens the door to early wear and tear. „Collection is attempted way too early. Only a horse, which has been worked long and low for long enough, has the chance to develop enough strength. The most sensitive measuring device is the improvement and retainment of the natural basic gaits. Many four and five year olds show an impaired footfall in the walk and trot.
Threat by email
Following emotional debates on the internet of the pictures taken at the Dutch championships, the publisher of the website „Dressage for the 3rd Millenium“ received an email from Sjef Janssen. He threatened to take legal actions, as the personal rights of Anky van Grunsven had been violated. He further made his opinion known, that she had no idea what she was talking about. His riding principles were good for the horse’s build-up of muscles. Publishing the warm-up pictures was dishonest and manipulative. „Our horses love to work for us“. She should furthermore watch the show-jumpers during their training – there are many similarities. Then he threatened to involve his lawyer. A lot of effort – considering Janssen does not get tired of advertising his method as gentle for the horse. Why then, if it fills the horses with joy, is it not allowed to publish pictures of it? Such emails were sent by Sjef Janssen a few times. The American Kyra Beth Houston recieved an electronic letter in November 2004. This time because of video recordings, which the American took in Aachen. She has an agreement with the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein (ALRV) since 2001. In the USA, Southafrica, New Zealand, in short all dressage enthusiasts outside Europe, the videos are in fashion. They show tests from the view of the chief judge at C, including the marks given. The feedback is great, says Beth Houston: „What does a 9 look like? People get their questions answered and they love it“, especially during judge seminars. And of course it can be seen that for example a horse, which, during the initial halt, hardly stands still for one second, by all means can get the high marks. This had to be stopped. Kyra Beth was told, she is violating Anky van Grunsven‘s personal rights. She was not allowed to distribute any videos. The American took the matter to the ALRV, which did not react for a long while. Half a year later they sent a new contract with the request to show them a written consent of each filmed rider. However, the personal rights of top class athletes are restricted by law during public appearances. It is clear for media- lawyer Dr. Rainer Stelling: „Although every person has to give their consent before a picture gets published, there is an exception: If somebody is, and has been for quite some time, a person of public interest, this consent is not needed. This also holds true for top-class athletes, especially if they are taking part in competitions which will increase the public interest in them. This does not apply to a commercial use.“ This has now reached the CHIO-organisers as well, who bound van Grunsven and Salinero to be their starring guest during the weekend prior to the CHIO.
Competition organiser Frank Kempermann stated when asked by ST.GEORG: „It is written in the invitation, that we, as the organiser of the event, have all the film and video rights and we are allowed to sell them on. Riders have to accept this when entering the competition“ Hence Kyra Beth Houston does not need to collect consents, and a filming ban for 2005 does not get mentioned anymore. „As a matter of fact she has a two year long agreement.“ Recordings of the warm-up arena are not included, but every spectator certainly has the right to go there and have a look. And they should not allow anybody to take that awy from them.
The Problem of the cruel training methods in dressage is also the problem of judging. Where are the judges that are able, or would like to be able, to distinguish between a correctly schooled horse and a horse trained to show spectacular movements with the help of all sorts of dubious aids? „Many judges have difficulties to see whether a horse swings properly from behind or only lifts its legs spectacularly in front, but with nothing to match behind“, explains a Grand Prix judge to ST.GEORG. A new handbook is supposed to help, in which it is exactly explained what mark is to be given for which fulfilment of the required task. Therefore judges, who maybe only judge a big competition once a year, only have to look at the list. Or alternatively at the large board, on which the marks for each separate movement are already shown during the test. „ This is ok for the audience, but when judges can see that their marks on the board differ considerably from those of their colleagues, they will adapt their marks for the next movement“, explains the previously mentioned Grand Prix judge to ST.GEORG. And that can hardly be the intention. At large premises, such as Aachen, the electric score boards are placed in such a way that they cannot be seen by the judges.
Judging dressage competitions is an unthankful job: Only the winner is usually content. And as judgements contain a considerable amount of subjective arbitration, discussions about results after the competition can be endless. This has further increased with the introduction of the freestyle to music. Marks for components such as a nice choreography or suitable music make the final judgement necessarily even more subjective.
The organiser, who invites the judge, is happiest when the winner also is a celebrity, who he was able to attract to his event, and who he used to advertise the very event. The winner is more inclined to return the following year. Judges however are easily replaced, they simply do not get invited anymore if they make too many unpopular decisions. It does not matter how right or wrong those decisions were. Most judges, whether they openly admit to it or not, internalised this mechnism. „There are three ways of judging: collective judging, separate judging and celebrity juging“, so it is whispered. Especially with the VIPs in the saddle, showing their spectacular performances, the question of how they trained their horses does preferably not get asked.
LETTER SENT TO THE EDITOR OF THE GERMAN ST.GEORG MAGAZINE
BY WALTER ZETTL
Translated from German
We can indeed be happy and grateful for having
your Magazine and a chief editor like
Gabriele Pochhammer who have dedicated themselves unreservedly to the wellbeing of
our magnificent horses.
Should this not be the case also for every
single rider? Is it not our duty to make the
unnatural lives of our horses as tolerable as humanly possible? This does not only include
correct boarding and regular exercise but also turn out and work. The objective of dressage
should be to strengthen and “ennoble” the horse in its natural gaits through gymnasticizing,
to obtain a constraint-free control and to enable us to “access” any exercises and transitions
at any given time and at any given place. We should strive for a harmonious partnership,
based on equal rights and mutual respect.
What we see and read about what happens in some
arenas and warm-up paddocks is
tantamount to enslaving and raping our magnificent animal partners. That we can even get
close to them, in spite of their strength, we owe exclusively to their infinite patience and
utmost devotion to us.
One is often prompted to ask why some riders
exercise this sport as if they hated their equine
partners, by torturing them with all kinds of artificial means, showing horses with their heads
forcefully pulled down below the bit, to the point of touching their chests.
Without doubt, these riders are having great
results. However, whoever has a heart for
animals cannot condone this type of training, which must be condemned and rejected.
As long as show managers, judges, the National
Federations and the FEI do nothing to stop
these practices, this torture and abuse will only increase.
It is sad indeed that spectators are getting so
upset about this type of riding and warm-up
that they threaten show organizers with filing complaints with the SPCA.
How could we ever reach a point where dressage
riding is being rejected even in the “prudish”
Indeed, Sjef Janssen asked what on earth got
into the heads of these “prudish Americans”.
I will gladly answer that question. It is perfectly normal for people in North America to tackle
anything that is directed against the moral values and the well being of human beings and
animals, and to rebel against such practices.
In this instance, the subject of criticism was
the Show Steward whose duty it is to talk to
and potentially admonish riders in cases of ugly and excessively long and harsh warm-up.
The Steward has shown great courage in
criticizing a most successful rider such as Anky.
Sjef’s answer was that they did not fly 10,000 km just to see his long researched and finally
found training method being torn to pieces by a Steward.
Sjef does not consider this type of long and
excessive overbending in the neck to be animal
abuse, as has been repeatedly observed. Sjef, Anky as well s their students and fans must
surely hold a totally different view of what constitutes animal abuse.
Why is it then that he repeatedly had to defend
his training method and to threaten legal
action, such as prohibiting any video showing Anky during warm-up or banning photos and
comments from a website? He has even gone so far as to seek a temporary injunction against
parts of the article “Dressage Perverse?” published in the St. Georg Magazine.
Furthermore, Sjef has repeatedly stated that
all horses that are ridden according to his
method are happy and like to work for him. This was recently confirmed by some very
influential, hand picked Ladies and Gentleman from the equestrian world. However, how can
horses be deemed happy when they are pulled together and enslaved with mere force and all
kinds of instruments?
Riders like Anky who are constantly in the
limelight, should not only enjoy the notoriety but
must also be able to accept criticism in the spirit of good sportsmanship. In the so called
”prudish” America, we still enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which allows
us to criticize even the President.
Unfortunately, our poor horses are unable to
scream out their pain. Otherwise, we would have
to endure a lot of loud screaming and crying in many indoor and outdoor arenas and warm-up
rings. It is a pity that Nature has cruelly neglected to equip our horses with the ability to voice
their pain. Their lot is to continue to endure all pain and abuse quietly.
Our former “Grand Masters” would turn in their
graves if they could see what our beautiful
dressage sport has come to.
We can only hope that our sport finds its way
back to what it should be: A sport that we can
enjoy watching, not only in the show arena but also in the warm-up rings, as well as at home,
in the absence of any spectators.
I wish with all my heart that Frau Pochhammer
and the St.Georg continue to advocate a
humane dressage training.
The way forward down or just downhill…?
In spring 2001 the Swedish assosiation for Friesian horses arranged a seminar in how to train your horse before a "Keuring"
Since I been organising clinics in Classical Riding for some years, I get in touch with a lot of "horse people" and we have discussed these training methods a lot, but I have never heard anyone defend this. Except trainers in Holland ! One of them explained "that the price was so high on a horse that was judge high in "Keuring" that it excused any method to get there"
The Swedish animal protection law consider this - abuse of animal- and against the Swedish law. The Dutch trainers are informed about this but there is still people that think this is a great method. Is it just us that's interested in Classical riding that is against this?
Below you can read a letter I received from one of the participants in this clinic.
" We where divided in two groups. It was the same horse that was on the lounge the whole time, because the trainer thought it was easier since it took a long time to put on all the geers. It also took a long time for the horse to get so tired that he accepted all this and started to trot normally. He was very stressed and as soon as a car passed by he got really scared and started to canter. The trainer just thought this was stupid. ( It might be that a horse with his head tied down to his knees cant see much of the surroundings so he really was scared)
After one and a half hour the groups changed places. The trainer talked for a while and put on more stuff. The horse was now dressed in chambong - pessoa harness - one other kind of side draw reins - about 400 grams of weights on all four legs and finally leather straps with metal rings around the fetlocks to make him lift higher.
"I could not make myself watch the hole time. At the end the horse looked like a Christmas tree with all the geers on. He might have stepped under a hoof length more after this torture but he carried all his weight on the front with his head under the belly line and totally restrained with all the different "aids". He could not ,in any way ,change his working position. On the trainers it seemed that in Holland ,this was considered "normal" training before Keuring. They also had all this equipment for sale.
" I don´t think I have missunderstod the method, what I have described is just what I have seen the trainers do. What I don´t understand is -who would like to have a horse that works with his weight on the front with his nose way "behind the bit"? It´s very hard to train a horse in a correct outline after he once learned to overbend his neck and withdraw from the bit. In an unexperienced persons hands this type of traing could lead to catastrophic results".
(remarks in a parenthesis is my own) On the same clinic the Dutch trainers showed how to groom a horse for "keuring".The hair on the front of and under the belly was burnt of with a candle! The trainer warned about burning inside the ears of the horse since they, due to the earwax , easily cought fire!! I thought that every normaly equipped "horse person" understod that there is a reason why horses have protective hair in their ears.If you don´t think your horse is black enough, or have white markings, you can always order some black colouring schampo.
Since one off the instructors is an approved FPS judge I contacted FPS asking their opinion of these training methods and if this is something they recommend. FPS never answered my letter. I have gotten some answers from Dutch trainers. From what they are saying you can understand that almost anything is accepted as long as it results in higher scores = higher price for the horse...
The fact that FPS and the Swedish Friesian assosiation approve of these training methods for horses to be shown for breeding evaluation can be disatrous for the future.
This is methods commonly used in Holland. This is also methods this trainer proudly shows - it makes you wonder what they don´t show.
The horse on the top is an approved stallion (later taken out of the studb.)
The horse above is a young stallion (2,5 years old) in training for the stallion show 2004.
The trainer explains that this way you can train muscels you can never train in a "natural" way...
It makes you wonder if it´s still possible to train a horse in a "normal" way and still get a good judgement at the FPS keuring.
This is also what they select their breeding material from...
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