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do you think dressage has improved/changed/declined in the last 30+ years? pics

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  • do you think dressage has improved/changed/declined in the last 30+ years? pics

    the past (1920's to 1970's):

    the present:

    i've read a lot of different reactions to the pictures, curious to see what this board thinks.

  • #2
    My first thought would be looking at those pictures is that the quality of the horses has changed/improved significantly through that timeframe.

    Selective breeding proves it's point.


    • #3
      The horses are much better now. Don't think any of the horses pictured would be very competitive today. The riding has evolved too. Just like most sports, it has gotten a lot better. Take an Olympic skier of today on his parabolic skis and time warp pair him up with a skier on old wooden skis and you'll see no contest.

      There will always be people who lament the times gone by, talk about the good ole days or romaticize the past, but time and distance clouds the truth a bit.


      • #4
        OP, you must love trainwrecks.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by egontoast
          OP, you must love trainwrecks.
          not really- i just find that the peple on COTH often have a completely different opinion from TOB.

          curiosity is what prompted me to post the link (yes, i know what curiosity leads to... )


          • #6
            we all know what i think....

            the only thing i will add is that its important to remember that horses from the 20s and 30s were not highly bred and they were not just dressage horses- they had a career outside of dressage - they were military horses. -- so to me it is even more impressive what they could do!

            also they needed to jump in the tests and the tests were like 20 minutes long!!!


            • #7
              Originally posted by kkj
              There will always be people who lament the times gone by, talk about the good ole days or romaticize the past, but time and distance clouds the truth a bit.
              that is interesting.

              what truth is clouded do you think? do you think that the horses wernt well trained? or the riders not good riders??


              • #8
                mbm all I am saying is if you could transport yourself back in time and watch some of the great riders of days gone by in the flesh right next to the great riders of today, you might not think the old ones as great. It is kind of like after you have broken up with someone for awhile and you remember only the fond times. If you were to get back together again, you would quickly remember why you broke up in the first place. (thus my distance clouds the truth comment) I don't think ill of any of the great riders, their training abilities, (horses are better today however), but I don't idolize them and worship them either. I am grateful for what they did and what they taught us etc, and I am grateful for the great riders of today too.


                • #9
                  OVERALL the quality of horses and performance has improved. Speaking generally, the modern photos demonstrate better connection, suppleness, athleticism, and that extra "something" (brilliance?); but this is not intended to take away from the past successes of anyone.

                  Do you know what strikes me most about the photos? Seeing that the flaws attributed to "modern" riding existed for the classical riders too. And some of the flaws attributed to classical riders exist for the modern riders too. It is a reminder, or a reality check, that things are really not THAT different between then and now.

                  It's too easy to put modern riders under a microscope, and then view the classical riders with rose colored glasses. For this reason, seeing photos like these are a nice reminder that we're really all closer to being on the same page than some may realize (or admit).

                  We could spend pages and pages picking out specific flaws and qualities in each of the photos, or not. Or I could be lazy, and direct you to the "Farewell" posts in the similar thread on the other board...
                  "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." George Burns


                  • #10
                    Neither - I see some very correctly ridden horses back then and now as I see badly ridden horses, with backs dropped and pelvis up/out behind. I do think, or perhaps more hope, that eventually most riders will thrive to correctly develop and ride their horses out of consideration and love for the this nobel animal that allows us do do something with them they were never intended to do - carry a person .


                    • #11
                      "they had a career outside of dressage - they were military horses"

                      baloney. utter, absolute and complete baloney. dressage horses were selected and given separate training and kept as dressage horses. military provided facilities and selections from breeding farms.


                      • #12
                        [quote=slc2]"they had a career outside of dressage - they were military horses"

                        baloney. utter, absolute and complete baloney. dressage horses were selected and given separate training and kept as dressage horses. military provided facilities and selections from breeding farms.[/quot

                        THat is just NOT true.slc2.

                        The horses that I won championships on in the mediteranean in 1959/60,were military horses,that we did dressage on when they werent doing polo and other serious military stuff.
                        \"I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound\".


                        • #13
                          My horse wants you to think he's a war stallion, does that count? He makes the most evil faces at you until you try to kiss his nose and then he's like: No no, please, don't kiss me, I'll be good I promise. Ewe, human slobber!


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=fernie fox]
                            Originally posted by slc2
                            "they had a career outside of dressage - they were military horses"

                            baloney. utter, absolute and complete baloney. dressage horses were selected and given separate training and kept as dressage horses. military provided facilities and selections from breeding farms.[/quot

                            THat is just NOT true.slc2.

                            The horses that I won championships on in the mediteranean in 1959/60,were military horses,that we did dressage on when they werent doing polo and other serious military stuff.
                            Right on fernie fox. Are you really from Fernie? We must belong to a different generation.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                            • #15
                              Of course its improved. Otherwise all that time, skill, money and selective breeding would have been a waste.


                              • #16
                                The old photos and the recent photos just have a different feeling. It is not something I can pin point exactly, because both sets have their faults, but the modern ones just make me feel sad, while the old ones inspire me, they make me want to go out and ride.
                                *Barefoot Eventers Clique*

                                "In the mirror of another being, we see a reflection of ourselves."


                                • #17
                                  That is funny FunkyMeerkat, the pictures have the opposite effect on me. The modern ones inspire me and make me want to ride. The old ones make me feel a little more distant. I am glad it is not a military man sport anymore. I bet the horses are glad to have saddles that fit with nice plush pads under them and not some big old man sitting on his butt up in an ill fitting saddle with no pad.


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I can see faults in many of the pictures...both then and now. Considering that there are faults shown within all time frames, I think that I like Anna Katerinan Luttgen on Zancor which is near the end of the last clip as the best. If she had let her reins out just about another inch, the horse could have come through all the way to the poll correctly. But, essentially this would be an extended trot that I would like to duplicate.

                                    The quality of the horses has definitely changed through the years. Grooming has become more important. The horses carry a little more weight which helps hide some of the conformation flaws that were apparent in the old photos. The horses in the top levels of competition today are of much higher quality than the typical dressage rider of yesteryear could afford. It was not that a better quality horse was not available, so much as the fact that the better quality horse was not affordable. In other words, more money does help.

                                    If I were to point to the biggest fault that has cropped into riding between then and now, I would have to point to the length of the reins. Many of the top horses today are being held to the movements as opposed to be allowed to flow to the movements. A straight line measurement from the poll to the rider's hands should equal the distance from the rider's hands to the bit. You can easily see that in the newer photos, there is a greater tendency to see the distance from the bit to the rider's hands being less than the distance from the horse's poll to the rider's hands. The restriction in front prevents the horse from coming through completely from behind which results in many of today's faults...including the poll not being the highest part of the neck.


                                    • #19
                                      much improved, all those old pics show horses with hollow backs, no connection, no "parallel" cannons (illustrates that pic are not the whole story) and they don't look really happy- one of them has flat pinned ears- they do not make me want to ride like that (most of the riders are not sitting very well, and most of their hands are up around their chins)


                                      • #20
                                        For those who prefer the older photos: you can begin to see the "change" (improvement or not, depending on your view) even within these "old" photos, beginning with Wald (1960 medalist). Wald, Dux, and Piaff are already beginning to look much more like "modern" photos than like the rest of the photos on this page. (Wald, Dux, and Piaff span the 1960's and 1970's.)

                                        Do you like the newer classical photos as well as the older ones? Meaning, do you like the photos of Dux etc. as well as the photos of Sabel etc? Some people cite an indescribeable "something" which makes them happier about the older photos. But do the newer of the old photos cause the same reaction?

                                        Do you feel the same indescribeable happiness looking at photos of Wald or Dux or Piaff that you feel when you look at photos of Sable or Linon or Nero? Because really, the start of the "change" is evident in even this 50+ year span of photos...
                                        "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." George Burns