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High School Movements "tricks"?!

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  • High School Movements "tricks"?!

    So I am reading this month's USDF Connection and there on page 26 is a question to the Judges Box column about what would happen if a rider in the GP Freestyle did a levade. The answer, of course, was elimination. The reason given was:

    "the governing federations want to guard against having the freestyles turn into a competition of 'tricks'.
    In fact, it was becasue of a concern that the freestyle might become more of a circus act than an artistic presentation of training that the FEI was very slow to include the freestyle in Olympic-level competition.... there has been much discussion as to whether such movements as the double canter pirouette and the piaffe pirouette should be allowed. Competition freestyle is meant to be a classical form of equestrian art." (My emphasis on underlined words)

    That last sentence should read: "According to the USDF, USDF brand of dressage is the only acceptable form of classical dressage. The rest is tricks and circus acts."
    Everything else, according to this judge who is a "L" judge, is just tricks and circus. Including the Spanish Riding School which was also mentioned in the article, becasue they do the airs above the ground.

    I am stunned and disgusted at that answer.

    If a rider feels they can do classically correct airs above the ground why not? Just like with every other movement in competition the wheat will be separated from the chaff. I thought that piaffe is the prerequisite for all the High School Movements. That is why you did it. Not just to do it because you can. Why isn't passage a circus movement? Canter pirouette?
    Just have a special class with those movements included. "GP FS with Airs"
    Good lord!

    Good lord!
    "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo

  • #2


    • #3
      Bravo - Bravo
      Ask and allow, do not demand and force.


      • #4
        If you look at the spanish riding school were such movements are performed, you'll discover that there is only a few horses that do them and usually each of the able horses only learn one of those 'air' because most cannot master any.
        Those airs are not to be performed by all and therefore couldn't not be judged accordingly...
        At some point I think there is a line to be drawn and unless you'd want to see one of those horse walking 20 steps on his hind leg before its salute at X, I think that stopping this already really demanding sport at those movements are just fine by me! (this video was going here not a long time ago and people were screaming at cruelty!)

        As you guys are saying, they already have so much trouble to have their horses on the bit, round and light...you'd wanna ask for more difficult tests!?!

        Don't wish for something you might not wanna get...
        ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

        Originally posted by LauraKY
        I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
        HORSING mobile training app


        • Original Poster

          Alibi_18 I agree with the spirit of what you are saying.

          I know that very few, if any, one horse perform one or more of the airs correctly.

          What I have an issue with is, if a rider feels he can incorporate a movement into a test and score well on it, that should be allowed in the Freestyle. Boy what a boost on the difficulty score! ;-)

          What I really take exception to is the fact that a USDF judge is equating the airs above the ground with circus tricks (Oh ick!) and not classical dressage.

          And not to take anything from circus performances. They take years of training themselves and many of those trainers studied the classical method and masters. Cavalia anyone?

          I have seen the SRS in Vienna twice. Totally amazing. Awesome, almost unbelievable. The utmost, for me, in classical dressage art. Would they win in competition? No, because their horses don't move flamboyantly enough. Yet, the lack of extravagant natural gaits has nothing to do with whether SRS or any of other High Schools is classical dressage. Whatever, I get that there is a split. Not going there.
          HOWEVER, to call the airs above the ground circus tricks!
          "I am a sand dancer... just here for the jumps!" - Schrammo


          • #6
            Sorry but I think you have a misconception of the reality of the competitive classical dressage world of today.

            If there is a score to be given, the goal is perfection. At every movement, every strides...you guys are often commenting on how bad and dissunited horses look in the show ring...how about the SRS, were they perfect all of them for all of their movements?!?
            If one feel he could score more by doing an 'air' what do you think is going to happen? They ALL going to try to do it...and it will have to be perfect for the perfect score...U guys don't like the rollkur training method but wait for the new techniques when they'll try to include some fancy 'airs'...to get the perfect movement at the right time.

            I don't see why circus trick is pejoratif for you... I love circus!
            I've seen Cavalia, some shows in Normandie and Bartabas at Versailles and truly enjoyed it!
            BUT 'circus tricks' aren't judged! It doesn't need to be perfect. Yes they do train as much if not even more but as you saw with SRS, horses were not judge for the nice trot lenghtening, there was not a big cash prize for the best piaffe nor the best shoulder in...It was just a show and people just hope
            horses would look enough good for the crowd...

            And if you compare with the other classical discipline like jumping and eventing, you'll see that they also have put limits to what is good and what is crazy....

            Why not just keeping harrassing those who don't comply to the already existing rules?

            By the way, at GP level, riders may ride with one hand for up to 4 mouvements! We don't see that often... and that can actually boost the points!
            Why not making it mandatory in Freestyle? That would be a nice realistic goal...
            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

            Originally posted by LauraKY
            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
            HORSING mobile training app


            • #7
              Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
              At some point I think there is a line to be drawn and unless you'd want to see one of those horse walking 20 steps on his hind leg before its salute at X,
              I was picturing that in my mind and laughed until I fell off my chair! Thanks for that image!


              • #8
                Originally Posted by alibi_18
                At some point I think there is a line to be drawn and unless you'd want to see one of those horse walking 20 steps on his hind leg before its salute at X,

                Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                I was picturing that in my mind and laughed until I fell off my chair! Thanks for that image!

                Maybe not so strange, here is one:



                If done properly as a high school movement, not some "dare you try this", as here, the horse collected over his hocks and jumping forward, some used to call this a "ballotade", if I remember right.