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  1. #1
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    Default What do you believe are the hottest issues in the dressage world???

    What draws you in? What stirs you up? What sort of changes have you noticed, good or bad?

    This isn't a discussion about rollkur, Totilas, etc (though all things play their part) but about the bigger picture we are seeing in dressage today. Please keep it civil and share your thoughts
    ...



  2. #2
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    To me, visually there are some things preferable in what we see in the modern ring and some in what we see from the past.

    But the big issues that it comes down in my mind is what is best for the horse?

    We don't know, and arguments sprout because of it. Is DAP a great sign for a horse's movement, or does it mean the horse is doing something in its body which is likely to lead to future lameness? Or does it come from an extra supple, engaged, elasticized horse?

    I believe rules and guidelines can and should change and be updated when appropriate. And we have the technology to justify doing so now, when it wasn't available in the past. I would like to see totally unbiased research showing what is truly best for the horse, and my guess is that it will be a combination of the old and new, and some surprises to us of what is and isn't best for the horses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbridge View Post
    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.



  3. #3
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    Default

    What's with people starting threads with "Hot Topic ... now discuss!" today?



  4. #4
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    Haha I don't know about the others, but mine stems from heated discussion with friends here in Aus during the Euro Champs. It was a big shake up, and brought up more than a few interesting points. Looking around the web, it seems to be the same everywhere. I am genuinely interested in what plays on the minds of others as a) I enjoy discussions with clients and friends about what is going on in our sport and b) I write a blog, so I want to stay focused on what matters to other riders.

    Netg, fantastic response. I tend to agree with you, so many topics seem to be very black and white without a lot of thought or investigation. I see both extremes every day, but few seem to give much thought to why they are doing things in a particular way.
    ...



  5. #5
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    What really excites me is the rise of the British dressage team.

    I'm currently speculating on what will happen in fashions in dressage horses in the near future. I predict a turning away from German lines (excluding Trakehners) and a rise of the KWPN. Which will go full circle in a few more years as people return to the easier temperaments of the German lines.

    I'm hoping more people will look at British bred horses who combine the best of both worlds.



  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stolensilver View Post
    What really excites me is the rise of the British dressage team.

    I'm currently speculating on what will happen in fashions in dressage horses in the near future. I predict a turning away from German lines (excluding Trakehners) and a rise of the KWPN. Which will go full circle in a few more years as people return to the easier temperaments of the German lines.

    I'm hoping more people will look at British bred horses who combine the best of both worlds.

    You stole my answer !! I have already put myself out there among friends and professed that the UK is going to occupy the top podium spot in London.

    TRUE competition is exciting. Germans and Dutch taking turns kicking everybody's behinds is yawn worthy.

    Excited for Blitz/Paragon to get on the US team.

    What would be REALLY exciting? Competitive international riders from Africa or someplace not Europe, the Americas, or the Kiwis. Sure, Japan and China have kicked in a few. But the horse sports are about the least egalitarian sports out there.



  7. #7
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    I've come to believe that, practically speaking, the most pressing and important issue facing modern dressage is the level of involvement of the general riding public in the future of the sport. Through the benefits of the internet it is now possible for the average dressage competitor, from newbie to seasoned campaigner, to watch and rewatch everything that goes on around the world, almost as it happens. I don't think this is a bad thing, but it certainly is having consequences, and will continue to do so. I actually think that it will become increasingly important to think about how to balance the insights and perceptions of the lower level masses with those in the upper echelons of international competition. My point is, I think that some of the focus on "hot" issues heretofore has been dictated by what's easily visible and understood, and I think this tendency is what drives the problem that Netg pointed out. While it's important to pay attention to the needs and concerns of the general dressage populace, I think those in positions of power and knowledge also bear a responsibility to illuminate and educate about more subtle but equally important issues and debates - in other words, the power of the internet should move in both directions. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that the involvment of the public should be limited in any way, but simply that the powers that be should foster more education around a variety of issues, and find productive avenues of involvement for people at all levels of the sport.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.



  8. #8
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    I'd like to see more folks ride their own work. A few months ago I watched a lovely, well trained horse get completely stuck in Passage during his GP test. Wasn't the horse's fault. There were holes in the rider's training. That's what happens when you buy a made horse just to "breeze" through the levels.
    "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
    http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/



  9. #9
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    It is much more exciting to watch when "the rest" have as much of a chance at a medal as the Dutch and Germans do, hey!


    Interesting point you raise, Lost@C... In my experience, dressage is a bit of a dirty word among pleasure riders and those at lower levels of other disciplines. It usually seems to be because it is either all too boring, or all too hard!

    Having said that, I've found with many - adult riders, pony club kids, all sorts - that once you show them how good dressage training makes everything else easier, they develop more interest in furthering their dressage skills.

    I have a friend who had her heart set on eventing her OTTB to high levels. The horse has been ridiculously injury prone, necessitating several lengthy rehabs. Couple lots of time off jumping with my constant dressage chit chat, and she's now been completely bitten by the dressage bug and is honing her laterals for a 2nd level start early next year.



    In the wider riding population (and even those who mainly stick to dressage) I still come across plenty who don't take advantage of the resources we have access to online - some "dressage" riders haven't even heard of that "T" horse!! While the instant access we have (and instant ability to be armchair critics) does have its drawbacks, it amazes me that many people don't show interest in what is happening at the top level of their sport.

    Very few seem to read books and magazines. Plenty go to clinics, but as a magazine so perfectly put it a few years ago, they are all too quick to fall at the feet of "the latest pair of shiny top boots off a plane from Europe/whichever state" without any thought or investigation into their training style or experience. Some clinicians very quickly grow cult-like fan clubs who become dressage extremists (in any direction, not good!) until the next shiny pair of boots turns up to take over.



    Getting to the point, what I see is a lot of people who either have no direction, or are complete fanatics of whichever guru. Either way, they don't seem to put enough thought into their own training philosophy and question their own motives and styles.



    In terms of education, I've found opportunities to be very limited here in Australia. Things are improving, but a lot of areas are still stuck in the dark ages. That goes for health and welfare as much as it does for dressage and other disciplines.

    When I started in the industry, I had no involvement with any of the clubs, societies or the national/state federations. I had to learn by trial and error and by finding mentors wherever I could. It was very hard - that is what drives me to try and educate/mentor others.


    So who should be responsible for fostering better (and broader) education at the grass roots levels? The coaches? The national/state organisations? The clubs?

    I know I make an effort as a coach/trainer to try and incorporate educational topics on health, welfare and so on into training sessions but I haven't come across many others who do.

    In any case, there is a serious lack of unity across the industry, what with so many black, white and grey areas and differing opinions. How do we overcome that while educating and raising awareness about some of the important things?



    From here in Aus, a lot of the access we have to international news is via sites like COTH and Eurodressage, as well as national and international magazines. I would like to see a LOT more information coming from the FEI and our national federation. How do things compare in the US?
    ...



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinnip View Post
    I'd like to see more folks ride their own work. A few months ago I watched a lovely, well trained horse get completely stuck in Passage during his GP test. Wasn't the horse's fault. There were holes in the rider's training. That's what happens when you buy a made horse just to "breeze" through the levels.


    Agreed...it's all well and good to learn on something with all the buttons, but then it's time to move on and do the hard yards.
    ...



  11. #11
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    The hottest thing I see in dressage today is a possible swing back to the classical style and a more "happy athlete". As I look around I see on the whole much more relaxed and steady horses than in the last decade. Used to be if you even used the word classical you were shouted down as being a know nothing. More and more I think riders are teaching themselves what it really means and looking for that communication with their horses. Of course, there will always be "ribbon chasers" and "store bought" winners and "short cut" trainers but even at the higher levels I see better prepared and happier horses and riders. I hope it's not just a strange blip on the radar and continues on. JMHO



  12. #12
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    i am not sure what you mean by "hottest topic" - wheter you mean what the masses of dressage folks are discussing or what is the most importhat things that are affecting dressage as a whole

    i will answer the second:

    i think the most important new development is the wholesale marketing of dressage and it turning into a money making proposition is really eroding a lot of the purity/correctness of the sport.

    the decline of training theory, the changes in how things are scored (what used to be a 60% ride is now a 70% ride) etc.

    non excellent things being used as a touchstone for supposedly what is right (ie DAP etc) ....

    rides that in the past would of been low scoring rides are now scoring hugely.

    what is happening to dressage is no different than what has happened to a myriad of other things once they become popular and marketed.

    i think everything stems from the selling (pimping) of dressage.



  13. #13
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    What is DAP?
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran



  14. #14
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    DAP= diagonal advanced placement where the purity of the paces are broken by early (or late) landing of hoofs.

    so in trot which should be a 2 time gait, positive DAP means the hind feet will land before the fronts. this is said to be a good thing. however, in dressage the most fundamental thing is purity of the paces. ie: 2 beat trot, 3 beat canter, 4 beat walk.

    people are breeding horses with impure gaits because DAP is supposed to be a very good thing. to me this is really one of those things that in a few years people will look back on (like some of the other tragic fashion errors) and wonder how people could of been so blind.

    anyway, the idea of DAP being a good thing stems from studies done on some of the top dressage horses.... not classically trained horses from a variety of schools that many different trainers think are correct, but top winning horses (remember that dressage is now a sport that is marketed to make money and so what wins is not necessarily what is the most correct)
    to me this kind of study in inherently flawed.



  15. #15
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    To me, the most pressing concern is the skyrocketing cost of the sport.

    Competitive horses cost too much for the average person participating in the sport. Good training costs a fortune. Showing costs a fortune. The sport is becoming less and less attractive for the average rider (I think it used to be much more attractive to the average rider).

    It costs a good $250K to $300K to campaign a horse/rider team for the olympics. Now, people *have* to go train, live and show in Europe just to be competitive in the selection trials. You have to be "seen" with the right people/have the right connections. Thus, the wealthiest nations and riders with the wealthiest backers are the ones who compete. I don't think this bodes well for the future of the sport (including it's continued inclusion in the olympic games).

    The use of the word "biomechanics" by all sorts of trainers/judges who have no idea what it actually means, and the utter lack of acceptance of bona-fide and quality statistical analysis geared towards improving the sport. I'm basically shocked that "powers that be" refuse to reach out to unbiased experts. Drives me nuts!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    DAP= diagonal advanced placement where the purity of the paces are broken by early (or late) landing of hoofs.

    so in trot which should be a 2 time gait, positive DAP means the hind feet will land before the fronts. this is said to be a good thing. however, in dressage the most fundamental thing is purity of the paces. ie: 2 beat trot, 3 beat canter, 4 beat walk.

    people are breeding horses with impure gaits because DAP is supposed to be a very good thing. to me this is really one of those things that in a few years people will look back on (like some of the other tragic fashion errors) and wonder how people could of been so blind.

    anyway, the idea of DAP being a good thing stems from studies done on some of the top dressage horses.... not classically trained horses from a variety of schools that many different trainers think are correct, but top winning horses (remember that dressage is now a sport that is marketed to make money and so what wins is not necessarily what is the most correct)
    to me this kind of study in inherently flawed.
    damn if you didn't sum up my thoughts to a tee.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Lu View Post
    To me, the most pressing concern is the skyrocketing cost of the sport.
    I agree.

    The board, farrier and vet for my horse is the single largest item in our monthly budget. It is either show OR take a lesson with a pro every two weeks, not both.



  18. #18
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    Default

    The "hot issues" for dressage riders may not be the "hot issues" for other disciplines which may not be the "hot issues" for non- horse people.

    The biggest issue for all of us is : the horse and the care they receive and the future of horse riding.

    Kids now-a-days have a multitude of extra curricular activites and sport to choose from. Parents must decide where to spend shrinking numbers of $$. Horses are expensive. If kids and parents see horse people not care for their horses or feel they are abused, they will not allow their children to ride. The general public are exposed to horses via books about horses, televised racing, Olympics, rodeos, Internet, etc...

    Recent injuries in US three-year old racing has caused concern in the general public. Recent negative press and "hate mail" directed at the current individuals around Totilas has also left a poor impression on the general public. Judges comments that are all negative and no positives and trainers who allow children to ride without developing the basics of safety are also concerns.

    If we want kids to ride and families to support their desire to ride - we, as horse owners, breeders and riders need to be a positive force: in caring for our own horses, creating a positive environment for young and impressionable people to be in, demanding a safe environment for both horse and rider, letting parents know that their children are in a safe and encouraging sport, and supporting each other in caring for and riding these most magnificent and Godly creations.

    I am a children's orthopedic surgeon. I have paintings and photographs of my horses and my children all over my office. These issues are frequent topics of conversation.

    We all love horses. Let's find common ground, treat each other and our horses with respect and create an environment that will help create the next generation of fabulous horse lovers and riders!



  19. #19
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    Feb. 11, 2009
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    Default Judging

    IMHO, until we get consensus as to what's what in judging, dressage is not a real sport.

    e.g. in the developing horse championships today one judge gave Caroline Roffman a 66% and another gave her 75%.

    really?



  20. #20
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    I agree with comments about the high costs of the sport being a major concern. The barn I grew up riding at in NY is a very nice barn, not fancy, but has great turnout, lovely people and is very family oriented. Some people compete and some don't. Even though it's kind of a mid-range place, the property taxes in that particular county have skyrocketed to the point where basic board plus what you'd pay per month for shoes, misc care (worming, shots) is not too far from what a monthly mortgage payment would be on a small house. Not everyone can afford that.

    Then there's the cost of the horse on top of that. I know a lot of people who buy young and green or off the track because it's either put a down payment on a house or buy a horse that is far enough along to do well at the rated shows. Even then it's a gamble that a lot of people don't want to take.



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