That was what Phoenix’s Owner jokingly said to me after watching Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas’s 90% performance. Rollkur has been around for YEARS and for some reason judges seem to always reward riders that use it. Anky is one of the top ranked riders in the world, and a known user of Rollkur. Edward Gal, one of her students. For those of you who do not know that Rollkur is, here is a video about it (I know…it is anti-rollkur, but so am I)
This video has a song overlay so if you are at work and want to watch it just turn off the sound. Now to me it is not an issue of Rollkur or not. I think Rollkur is abusive. That is my opinion and I don’t think that anyone can persuade me otherwise. My question is less about right or wrong and more about why. Why does Rollkur get rewarded in the show ring? What has gone wrong with dressage? How did this happen?
It is not just at Grand Prix either. Horses all the way through the levels are being trained Rollkur. I can even think of a blogger who uses Rollkur to train her horse and who has been very successful at the lower levels, even placing well at GAIG championships. This blogger does not acknowledge that they use this horrible training method (it came out through another bloggers pictures of an event) which means that they realize that it is wrong. And yet they use it anyway. Why? Why would you do something to hurt your horse? The only answer I can come up with is for the ribbons. Are 15 cent ribbons worth the damage your horses body is incurring? I think that anyone who uses Rollkur would answer yes.
Dressage is broken right now. The discipline that was founded on correct training now values short cuts, fancy movement, and abuse. What happened to 20 year old Grand Prix horses that could be used as school masters? When did we stop looking at the journey and only started caring about the end result? Is there any way to go back to a world without Rollkur? Rollkur makes me love and hate the fact that judges only judge what they see in the show ring. How does a horse like Moorlands Totilas get trained in such a harsh way and yet look so amazing in the show ring?
Can dressage be fixed? Or is it too late. Are we going to value results over horses in the disciple that was once so horse centered? What do you think?