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Horses For Life - Rollkur Issue

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  • #41
    sabryant, just to point out the horse is standing in your example, not in a moving gait. I have heard some riders back in the old ages used to use RK with their horse at a stand only. Never moving, not even the walk, that was considered bad. And no, I've never seen a horse sleep this way, just heads dropped down normally, but that is just my experience...

    Comment


    • #42
      Is it yoga for horses? I have been trying to figure out what it is but nobody on this forum will tell me they just argue for or against. Maybe nobody really knows what it is.

      Comment


      • #43
        Aptor Hours wrote:

        Is it yoga for horses? I have been trying to figure out what it is but nobody on this forum will tell me they just argue for or against. Maybe nobody really knows what it is.
        Definitions of rollkur (aka “hyperflexion” or now “zwangsjacke”) from the recent FEI Veterinary and Dressage Committees' Workshop were:

        "Hyperflexion of the neck is a technique of working/training to provide a degree of longitudinal flexion of the mid-region of the neck that cannot be self-maintained by the horse for a prolonged time without welfare implications.”

        "'Rollkur' has been defined as a training method involving forced flexion of the poll and neck with the horse’s head pulled behind the vertical.”

        Comment


        • #44
          Originally posted by Aptor Hours
          Is it yoga for horses? I have been trying to figure out what it is but nobody on this forum will tell me they just argue for or against. Maybe nobody really knows what it is.
          Out of the mouths of babes
          Edited to add....those pictures DO look awful. Whether it is a "moment in time" or not, remains to be seen.
          I was for the longest time under the impression that there were may be five people in all using it. I am now facing the reality that it is something used or misused for longer period of time and by a whole lot of people.
          Personally, I wouldn't mind too much if the method had a logical explanation and it was done properly according to guidelines well defined. As it stands, it seems to me that it is a "trendy" thing to do in certain circles and yes it looks ugly, especially considering the fact that nobody, even the ones who claim to be in the inner sanctum of dressage, seems to come up with a thorough description of why, how, when and for how long.

          Comment


          • #45
            I think it is straightforward material. Or is the intent to report and fully document what's happening, you really don't know the "intent" nhwr, you are guessing. It is good photo journalism, like war photographers -- the shooting styles are similar if not exact: No weird mood lighting, no weird camera lense or angles. Straight forward, like a photojournalist.
            Good journalism is an attempt by a neutral observer to document all aspect of a scene. If you think Theresa et all are neutral observers, you haven't been listening very carefully. They are pretty outspoken in their views. If all sides of the issue are being presented on that website, I must have missed it. This is more like photo-editorialism.

            Ghazzu, I don't agree that this is kinking a pipe, it is more like bowing a pipe. Big difference. And wasn't Dr. Cook's work done in 1981? There are more recent studies than that aren't there? Of course, they might not come to the same conclusion
            See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

            Comment


            • #46
              Originally posted by nhwr
              Ghazzu, I don't agree that this is kinking a pipe, it is more like bowing a pipe.
              It's a queation of degree. IMHO, the horse with its chin to its chest is kinked, not bowed.

              Originally posted by nhwr
              And wasn't Dr. Cook's work done in 1981? There are more recent studies than that aren't there? Of course, they might not come to the same conclusion
              I don't thik the laws of physics have changed overmuch in the intervening time.
              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

              Comment


              • #47
                How many journalists do you know that are "neutral observers"? I can't think of one that's truly neutral. Every journalist adds their own spin to things.

                Comment


                • #48
                  Jouralism doesn't seem slanted when you agree with the point of view of the journalist. There is bias in everything.

                  Anyway, there is no moment in time when I am hauling on my horse's mouth like that, kicking and pulling and waterskiing in the stirrups. Sure you could catch me leaning a little, my horse above or behind the vertical, my fat butt not sitting perfect in the extended trot, or some other unflattering moments, but you are never going see me deliberately hauling on my horse like that. Riders with the skills of those pictured-- well you know these were deliberate acts not just some unflattering moment in time. The videos show that it is maintained more than just for a moment.

                  I reiterate that if this is what the do in the warm-up ring, just imagine what kind of abuse goes on at home.

                  Remember several years ago when I was showing jumpers, the trendy thing to do was to counter bend the horse and counter canter. I think we all got the idea from watching some Europeans at the Atlanta Olympics. Anyway, almost every silly hunter/jumper rider in the warm up rings from the C shows to Indio would be counter bending and counter cantering. More than 1/2 of them doing it incorrectly but feeling accomplished and official all the while. This Rolkur crap is very similar in kind only a lot more potentially abusive and dangerous than some jumper rider cantering around off balance on the wrong lead.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    sm, I was referring, mostly, to the post that refers to RK as closing the air passage in the throat. I've seen many horses rest like this for 1/2 hour or more! I think they breath just find and they look pretty comfy, cozy too!
                    www.stfrancispetmedals.com

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by sm
                      P.R.E., I thought so too: " Who can publish a picture can publish a video. Who rides in a public competition can't demand their video not to be shared by the media."

                      Until I read that Sjef has copyrighted Anky's face and he can sue anyone that publishes her face without his permission (still or moving images). In that way he protects her from appearing in RK photos. I'll have to see where I read that, it was just yesterday. I wonder if any other competing athlete representing their country has that stipulation, in any sport. Not really a question for this BB.
                      I am in a weird position, because I am not against riding really deep. But I am against riding deep while forcing the horse in to that position. Then again I like to be fair and I am against people manipulating information in order to prove their point, as well as I a am against people trying to intimidate other people when someone critisize them. This last case is my real problem with "Sjef". I know for certain that a picture taken in a public appearence by a public figure can't be censured. That is a very good trick that "Sjef" and his lawyers had been using. Have you seen how many artists with more resources than "Sjef" or political figures, with more influence than "Sjef", can't prevent the media from publishing materials that exposes them in compromising circumstances. At least in the US, that is called free press and freedom of speech. If you publish pictures in a server located in the US, there is nothing that Sjef can do. He can try, but he is not going to get to far. Personally, I think that any picture of Anky should be published, as long as there is no intention to offend her. The way she rides can't be consider offensive to herself, so I see no reason for those pictures not to be published and a debate around them is part of the price you pay when you choose to be a public figure.
                      they ride in a certain way, don't be ashamed and handle the critics, some are going to be harsh, but if you don't like it choose another profesion.
                      I am going to start a a website for the "Dressage freedom of speech" were everyone can submit pictures to be published. If Sjef wants to come for me, I will be waiting, this is not the communist Soviet Union were the KGB can intimidate you.

                      As I said I don't agree with everyone that is against RK, but is your right to be against it and no one should try to intimidate you. As François Marie Arouet attributed to Voltaire:

                      I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by StarDoozer

                        I am so sad to see my beautiful buddy Montecristo (the gorgeous bay stallion with the thin blaze) not only ridden like this, but so obviously defeated by it.
                        Oh yes, my god, those eyes. How people can say they don't see suffering in these poor animals is quite beyond me.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          PRE- you are very cool!!!

                          I like your take PRE- not sure I would want to put my energy towards this subject as I find in training horses that are really able and loving and trusting and connected- you don't need RK ever- you might need deep for a while - but that is just to keep them focussed- but then I heard Sjef saying that in Europe in order to make them stop using RK= separate the warmups for dressage and jumping- well here we don't ever have that issue- I suppose there would be a lot more RK fans if we had warmups shared with Jumper competitions- which is the case over there...so a lot more detractions and lack of peace and focus.

                          Good luck PRE with your website....your thoughts and ethical stand is great- I support that 100%...not sure it's worth the effort...it seems to me like looking back- I think we are all over RK - we have acknowledged that it's not right and forcing any horse over a long period of time is not right...maybe some very well known, or well accomplished to it, but it's not for the mainstream..and it's not really what works for the regular dressage rider.
                          So forget it- and move on- get better in your training..start talking about feel and how to verbalize feel...
                          "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            I don't usually get into these debates either because I haven't trained a horse to that level, but as I've said before and probably will again, when asked, this isn't dressage, this is 'horse showing'. And as long as the judges like the result it will continue. Our only hope is that riders with less extreme techniques start winning again and the fad dies from lack of interest. JMHO
                            Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              I think we all realize those that photos are merely a moment in time - and not always the most opportune moment in time either. And since this is the first time I've ever seen that site - I don't think I've been spoon fed my opinion. I've formed my opinons over a lifetime of experiences. Sometimes I change my opinions based on new information, or experience, etc.

                              But not about Rollkur.

                              Why is it that if someone disagrees about Rollkur, proponents accuse us of being rather simple minded? Now dearie - you know pictures can be faked. Now dearied, you know that important people do it so it must be ok.

                              What I also find problematic is the FEI trying to placate opposing sides about how only expert riders should use this method. But when it is "time" for riders to abandon classical techinque and switch to Rollkur, or how many horses get ruined along the way - on that the FEI is silent.

                              The nice thing about classical methods - is that wow - it works for everyone. From a 7 year old Pony Club kid to an Olympic competitor.

                              It's something I like to call "the right way".
                              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                              -Rudyard Kipling

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by P.R.E.
                                I am in a weird position, because I am not against riding really deep. But I am against riding deep while forcing the horse in to that position. Then again I like to be fair and I am against people manipulating information in order to prove their point, as well as I a am against people trying to intimidate other people when someone critisize them. This last case is my real problem with "Sjef". I know for certain that a picture taken in a public appearence by a public figure can't be censured. That is a very good trick that "Sjef" and his lawyers had been using. Have you seen how many artists with more resources than "Sjef" or political figures, with more influence than "Sjef", can't prevent the media from publishing materials that exposes them in compromising circumstances. At least in the US, that is called free press and freedom of speech. If you publish pictures in a server located in the US, there is nothing that Sjef can do. He can try, but he is not going to get to far. Personally, I think that any picture of Anky should be published, as long as there is no intention to offend her. The way she rides can't be consider offensive to herself, so I see no reason for those pictures not to be published and a debate around them is part of the price you pay when you choose to be a public figure.
                                they ride in a certain way, don't be ashamed and handle the critics, some are going to be harsh, but if you don't like it choose another profesion.
                                I am going to start a a website for the "Dressage freedom of speech" were everyone can submit pictures to be published. If Sjef wants to come for me, I will be waiting, this is not the communist Soviet Union were the KGB can intimidate you.

                                As I said I don't agree with everyone that is against RK, but is your right to be against it and no one should try to intimidate you. As François Marie Arouet attributed to Voltaire:

                                I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
                                P.R.E. Nicely put! I think that what Sjef actually accomplishes (by intimidating/sueing/"secrecy") is make it all seem that there IS something wrong/abusive with his method of training and his critics are correct...

                                And YES, he does have alot to lose (business-wise) by not being open.
                                As P.R.E. noted that is the down side to making your living as a public figure...

                                And FWIW, I think the Voltaire quote is quite apt: I really don't see most posters being "Judgemental" on this BB. Most are either trying to understand (me ) defend or oppose a training technique that has been captured in photos and video and has been seen used.

                                Also, I think things get really twisted up when people take the discussions about RK (EXTREME DEEP!) to be a personal criticism of using deep/btv techniques...

                                JMVHO!

                                Hey Sabine, Sorry if this is too "schoolmaster" sounding for you...but then I guess being a schoolmaster isn't so bad after-all!

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  PRE I agree with you. I am not so much against riding deep either just the aggression and force involved in Rolkur. And whether or not it does some kind of permanent damage, I am against it simply for the moment when it is taking place and someone is forcing the head to touch the chest, mouth open, eyes defeated, muscles tight, and just ugly and cruel. I am not against pushing the horse (tactfully for more) or going for it or trying to win or whatever. I am just against resorting to blantant abuse to get there. I think you can push a horse to achieve more, to move more brillantly with more expression etc without beating him up.


                                  I have been in the breed show world and seen many abuses in QHs, Arabs, Saddlebreds, Morgans etc. I have worked and shown for 20 plus years in the hunter/jumper world and seen blantant abuse there. I have done eventing and seen things I wanted to cry about. I didn't come into the dressage world with rosy glasses on thinking everyone here treats their horse with the love and respect they treat themselves with. Now I know sometimes you need a firm hand or a wack on the butt, but this Rolkur is more than that. It is as bad of abuse as I saw in other disciplines and it needs to stop.

                                  Dressage struggles to assert itself as a sport to the outside world. Jumping and Eventing does a little better at this but many liken dressage to ice skating or water ballet. There is a lot of poofy crap and a lot of politics. The judging and the placings often come under a lot of scrutiny. The few brightest stars sometimes seem to get a little padded score maybe based a bit on their past laurels more than just the competition at hand.

                                  When I see stuff like Rolkur, I think competitive dressage is more like a breed show Saddlebred embarrasment than a real sport. I of course will never be a true contender in any sense in the dressage world. I have a very talented young hore with FEI potential, but if we make it to FEI we will be very insignificant little time compared to any of big name competitors. I truly admire those few people in the world who can ride like Anky solely for the riding ability. The way some of them abuse that gift makes me want to B**ch slap her/them. It makes me angry for the future of dressage. For the influence it will have on a fabulously talented young boy or girl who esteems to be the next Anky and has a legitimate shot at it. I would like this person to be able to get there with just talent and hard work and not have resort to lying, cheating, beating horses... The Balkenhols and others who truly respect horses need to be the norm and the esteemed and not the some old outdated exception. Otherwise if left going in the current direction, the sport of dressage will either corrupt the innocent young future stars or they will likely hold onto their integrity and be drawn away from this "sport". Turning a blind eye to abuses like Rolkur will have a huge negative impact on the future of dressage.

                                  Then we have all the seedy stuff going on behind the scenes like in all other horse sports. The big names abusing the horses, the biggest trainers ripping people off. What was that law suit where Sjef was sued for selling an American horse in Europe for a lot more than he disclosed to the owners and pocketing the rest of it? Has he ever had to pay on that? If he is convicted of something like that in court I think it should be on the cover of all the dressage publications and he should be banned from training or showing for 5 years or something. Some sort of punishment needs to be made so people like him don't get away with such abuses and just laugh at the "prudish" Americans and other fools for keeping him in the game. When people get caught doing crap like that the punishment needs to be significant and the embarrassment huge so the that there is a little deterrent for the others who would be so inclined. Right now someone pulls crap like that and people just sigh and say, "Oh yeah here goes another one, why would we every expect more of a huge renowned successful horse professional." People need not sigh and say oh well here we go again when they see Rolkur, they need to scream, "Hey Anky you borish insensitive egocentrical horse abuser let go of the curb rein, stop water skiing on his mouth and show him some respect or we're going to pull your skinny ass out of the saddle and ban you from the show ring." The FEI or whatever powers that be need to get some real balls and stop this crap yesterday.

                                  As for the rest of us, we should not support the riders who practice Rolkur or otherwise lie, cheat and abuse. I will not buy Anky merchandise. I threw away the Anky coolmax shirts that were so nice in fit and appearance. If Sjef or Anky want to sue me for sullying their name, go for it. If you come over to the US for that garbage maybe we can coordinate it Sjef so you can answer for the lawsuit against you for lying about a purchase price and pocketing big money while were at it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Good discussion

                                    I guess this is where I get so frustrated with the focus on just Rollkur only. It's been seen in the jumpers forever, yet where was the outcry??? The outrgages in the other disciplines...where is the outcry there??? And don't you tell me that the ODG's and the alive ones don't have skeletons in their closets. I've heard stories of "closed sessions" and the "special spurs" that somehow seem to get justified just as you see rollkur being justified. And turnout practices, don't even get me started on that one. I respect what these sites are really trying to do - they are truly having the horses best interest in mind. But I guess I would have even more respect for these sites if it didn't seem like they were targeting just one person...

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      To be precise

                                      Sure ,every journalist has their own opinion. To the extent they are professional, they are obligated to keep their bias in check and present both sides of an issue. If this doesn't happen, it is called commentary, not journalism. I don't think anyone says the photos have been "faked", though many have said they have been manipulated (and they clearly have been). There is difference. Blurring the background, adding arrows and lines, repeating and enlarging photos.... If the arguement has merit on its own, these manipulations shouldn't be necessary to make the point, IMO. Add this to the fact that there is no attempt to present the other side, even as window dressing, and this propoganda doesn't get much consideration from me.

                                      But just because I am a contrary thinker sometimes, I have considered other possibilities. The Germans and by extention (because of who their coach is) the Americans, keep getting their @$$es handed to them by the Dutch in the competition arena. This has been going on for a few years and it probably rankles. Now a large group of influential German riders, most of whom no longer compete and definitely have a lot to gain by seeing the Dutch put down, come out and say "This is wrong" "It is abusive" "It is not classical" "It is a conspiracy and the FEI is in on it" Or there could be other explanations. Like maybe they need an excuse for why their teams loose to the Dutch so much. Or maybe it helps them differentiate their "product" and keeps their names out there even if they aren't winning. Or maybe the politics of the dressage culture they where they live in makes it easier for them to conform.

                                      I am not saying an of the above things are true. I am saying there are many possible explanations for why people would have a problem with Sjef and Anky. Combine this with my experiences, the "Have you quit beating your wife yet" method of questioning, the yellow journalism tactics employed by the websites and the tendancy on these threads for "group think", I am just not that sympathetic.

                                      I respect Anky and many other riders for how hard they work. I don't think rolkur is the best way for every rider to ride every horse. I certainly don't use it when I ride. This most recent dust up started because von Ziegner submitted his letter to DT. But even he says (elsewhere) that this can be useful and it is not a violation of classical principles, if certain conditions are met. While others prefer to forget that he made that statement, I prefer to agree with it. And I support efforts to get more information.
                                      See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        HXF totally agree with you.

                                        I think the targetting of the top people in the sport is OK though. It is not like they don't know what they are doing or don't have total control over their bodies or the aids they are giving. Sure 1000s of horses in all disciplines are abused and it is a great travesty. However, when it is done by the leaders in the sport, it is all the much more evil. They are the idols of the dressage world, the pinnacles of success and if they are blantantly abusing horses, then come on out and hang them.

                                        As for the other disciplines, they should be hung for their abuses too. When McClain Ward got caught putting spikes in a jumper's boots and horses he trained tested positive for cocaine, he got a measly little slap on the wrist. Now he is back up there admired and esteemed. The few times Grand Prixs are on TV the commentator talks him up like some little demi-god of jumping. Demi-devil in my book, the whole lot of them that pull this crap. Outta be banned for life for that crap and again put on the cover of magazines and exposed (not just the little paragraph in the middle of the magazine saying so and so big name a-hole got caught doing this and that and will just get 6 months suspension and a little fine). There is very little if any of a deterrent against abuse in the horse world.

                                        Other sports are not so forgiving of abuse. These sports don't involve the participation of an innocent animal either. In the horse world, we often turn a blind eye, just expect and accept abuse. The powers who allow this to continue share a bit in the culpability. The riders, owners, retailers, trainers, etc, etc who associate and support horse people who are abusive to the horses are guilty too.

                                        Agree it is hard to define abuse. There is the slippery slope issue, the policing issue, etc, etc. However, to the sane minded average person out there, I think more than most would find Rolkur abusive. If Anky and Sjef and whoever else honestly think it is OK or otherwise choose to assert such, then by all means I think it is fine to attack and expose them as insensitive, narcissitic, victory driven abusers who do not belong in the saddle much less on the podium.

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by HXF
                                          I guess this is where I get so frustrated with the focus on just Rollkur only. It's been seen in the jumpers forever, yet where was the outcry??? The outrgages in the other disciplines...where is the outcry there??? And don't you tell me that the ODG's and the alive ones don't have skeletons in their closets. I've heard stories of "closed sessions" and the "special spurs" that somehow seem to get justified just as you see rollkur being justified. And turnout practices, don't even get me started on that one. I respect what these sites are really trying to do - they are truly having the horses best interest in mind. But I guess I would have even more respect for these sites if it didn't seem like they were targeting just one person...
                                          I see outrage at abuses in other disciplines--you just have to look. There are lots of grassroots Arab folk who are active against the crap that happens in that arena. There are TWH folks who have had death threats for their activism. Lots of people yell about the abusive WP practices used to achieve the "peanut roller" look.

                                          But that's irrelevant. Saying RK is ok because "other people do bad things" is on the level of "But, Mo--ommmm! Why *can't* I? *Everybody else* does it." It just *begs* for the "if eveybody jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?" response.
                                          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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