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The New Bar: Better Breeding? Training? Riding?

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  • The New Bar: Better Breeding? Training? Riding?

    Or better scoring by the judges?

    Astrid on EuroDressage poses some interesting questions. Discussion?

    I couldn't help but wonder that the concept "top horse" has to be redefined now. In the presence of such great horses as Totilas, Parzival and Mistral any other 72% scoring horse, for instance, looks "normal". To what has the dressage world come?

    Edward, Laura and Adelinde have stepped through star gate and entered a new era in dressage. These young talents have abdicated the old heroes and legends, who are now trying hard to catch up with them but a new league has arrived.. For some reason the words "Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé" rings through my head.

    At the press conference a Dutch journalist tried to generate credit for the "Dutch school" as initiators and innovators of dressage. Somehow I was wondering to what extent this new trend has anything to do with "Dutch school," or the Dutch way of training.

    In my mind it is breeding that matters here and even more so getting the right horses in the right hands at the right time. How Dutch is Totilas with 50% of his genes being German (his sire is Trakehner Gribaldi). What about Parzival who has thoroughbred and Westfalian blood on the dam side through Ulft and Roemer?

    How Dutch is Laura Bechtolsheimer who has been trained in the most classical way imaginable.. And even Adelinde is not truly "Dutch school" as she is from the rural town Beilen in Drenthe and never got truly exposed to the notorious Dutch training system.

  • #2
    My hope is that this era of extreme movement doesn't have a trickle down effect in the ammatuer world. It's already hard enough for people with ordinary horses, nice moving but not extravagant, to get decent scores without perfect riding and submission.

    Frankly, the short necks on most of those horses, especially in the extended trots, is troubling. If I were Dutch, I wouldn't be proud of that.


    • #3
      The question still to be answered is whether dressage is a "test of obedience" or a "1000-lb poodle show?"

      In dog show analogies.....are we looking at dressage as an obedience trial or a Westminster kennel club "conformation" show?

      In the recent past it was an obedience show

      ..from the past Article 401:
      1. The object of Dressage is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. As a result it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible but also confident, attentive and keen thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider.

      2. These qualities are revealed by:

      a) The freedom and regularity of the paces;

      b) The harmony, lightness and ease of the movements;

      c) The lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters, originating in a lively impulsion;

      d) The acceptance of the bridle with submissiveness throughout and without any tenseness or resistance.

      3. The horse thus gives the impression of doing of his own accord what is required of him.......

      4. His walk is regular, free and unconstrained. His trot is free, supple, regular, sustained and active. His canter is united, light and cadenced. His quarters are never inactive or sluggish. They respond to the slightest indication of the rider and thereby give life and spirit to all the rest of his body.

      5. By virtue of a lively impulsion and the suppleness of his joints, free from the paralyzing effects of resistance the horse obeys willingly and without hesitation and responds to the various aids calmly and with precision, displaying a natural and harmonious balance both physically and mentally.
      We might have "uber movers" today, but do they embody the ideal describe above?
      Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
      Alfred A. Montapert


      • #4
        Maybe the phrase has been used before, but I literally just choked on my coffee reading the "1000-lb poodle show" comment. Thanks, Pluvinel!

        I agree with your post.

        Claire, I also believe that to some degree several groups/individuals are jockeying for position near the top of sport. Thus, the spin coming out of the journalist that Astrid is questioning. And it is spin. There is a staggering amount of money paid for horses, training, commissions, etc. at the top of the sport and most involved at that level want a piece of it. The development of the *sport* is not nearly as exciting as the development of the *profit* and prestige. Marketing has come of age in dressage and I am continually amazed by how marketing concepts shape this sport.
        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


        • #5
          can someone give the link to the article...we all should really do that
          Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. Dalai Lama


          • #6
            my goodness! i think i have found my peeps

            glad to know i am not the only one that thinks some of the things mentioned here. phew!

            (btw: are any of you international judges and or are you there in person? )


            • #7
              I was there and have been here in England all week for the competition. It was the most amazing ride I've ever seen. But I'm not convinced that we will suddenly start seeing tons of dressage horses that can perform like Totilas. He may be one in a million.
              Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


              • #8
                sonesta - if your replying to me.... sorry i was making a joke ..... since it appears now that only those that are int'l judges and were there in person are allowed to voice an opinion


                • #9
                  Redbud Ranch
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                  • Original Poster


                    Sorry. Here is the link to Astrid's EuroDressage article.
                    (I credited and quoted her remarks in my OP)



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                      Thus, the spin coming out of the journalist that Astrid is questioning. And it is spin. There is a staggering amount of money paid for horses, training, commissions, etc. at the top of the sport and most involved at that level want a piece of it. The development of the *sport* is not nearly as exciting as the development of the *profit* and prestige. Marketing has come of age in dressage and I am continually amazed by how marketing concepts shape this sport.
                      Didn't I just read some where this week that Parcival was $13,000 (USD)? That is not a staggering amount of money.
                      From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pony Fixer View Post
                        Didn't I just read some where this week that Parcival was $13,000 (USD)? That is not a staggering amount of money.
                        'Tain't so much marketing as greed.
                        Plaintiffs owned a dressage horse named "Aristocrat" that they wished to sell. Aristocrat was boarded in the Netherlands at the time relevant to this cause of action. In 1997 plaintiffs met with defendant in Florida, where defendant had a house, and arranged for him to serve as their agent in selling Aristocrat. Defendant was familiar with dressage horses and trained riders and horses in the Netherlands. It was understood that defendant would receive the standard 10% commission on any sale. Plaintiffs expected that the horse might sell for about $500,000 due to its performances in dressage competitions. Defendant made phone calls and sent facsimiles to plaintiffs in Tennessee on several occasions in 1997 to discuss the sale of the horse and to present offers to purchase the horse made by third parties. The offers were rejected by plaintiffs because the price was too low. In January 1998, defendant called Tyrone Neal, John Neal's son, in Tennessee and stated that he had a possible buyer for Aristocrat for about $310,000. Tyrone Neal told defendant that $310,000 was too low, but defendant told Tyrone that plaintiffs had placed an unrealistically high value on the horse. Defendant negotiated further with the prospective buyer and called back to Tyrone to say that the prospective buyer would pay $312,000. Defendant also told Tyrone during that conversation that because he had been unable to find a buyer at the price plaintiffs were asking, he would forgo his commission if plaintiffs accepted the $312,000 offer. Plaintiffs instructed defendant to sell the horse for $312,000, with no commission going to defendant. Plaintiffs received a wire transfer at their bank in Tennessee from defendant for $311, 964.50 shortly thereafter.

                        Plaintiffs subsequently learned, without disclosure from defendant, that the buyer had actually paid defendant $480,000.
                        Back "in the day" to compete in the Olympics, an athlete had to be an "amateur." Remember Jim Thorpe having his medals rescinded because he played in some backwater league.

                        In equetrian sports, the athletes were wealthy and did not need to earn the mortgage thru training, clinics, or horse sales. It was a gentleman's sport.

                        As fallout of the Soviet Union's "professional amateurs" in track, swimming, gymnastics...etc., the Olympics eliminated the amateur (shamateur) requirement in the 1980's.

                        Interestingly, this is when dressage quite being an arcane equestrian discipline and became big money.
                        Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                        Alfred A. Montapert


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pony Fixer View Post
                          Didn't I just read some where this week that Parcival was $13,000 (USD)? That is not a staggering amount of money.
                          Pony Fixer, surely you get my point. Lets contemplate how much the *typical* International GP horse costs, how much trainers and rider charge, how much campaigning costs, vet and farriers at that level, etc. How much do you think was invested into Parcival since the low purchase price? How much do you think Parcival would cost if sold today? $50,000(USD)? I'm certain they would only ask for their investment plus a small profit back, right? How much to you think it cost for Parcival's 2008? Or 2009? I suggest that by any standard it was "staggering".
                          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                          • #14
                            The generation time of a horse is much less than the generation time of a person. Riding is not any better or worse. The horses have changed and the riders have adapted. The article implies that riders of 30 years ago would not ride the current horses well or that Edward Gal would ride Peron or Rembrandt or Biotop better than their own riders. I do not agree with this viewpoint. In 30 years, people will look at the horses of today and call them crappy [fill in the blank]. Little changes over time in dressage.


                            • #15
                              Plaintiffs subsequently learned, without disclosure from defendant, that the buyer had actually paid defendant $480,000.
                              similar story happened to a friend of mine, who paid 1 million for the horse and got cc on the email to agent with price tag of 1/2 a million only, agent tried to pocket another 1/2 million for himself! At the end, the commission question was cleared with out legal actions, but friendship was lost.


                              • #16
                                it was not parcival who was 13K - it was Carl Hester's horse that he bought for 10,000 british pounds.

                                how much would parcival cost now - at least 1,000,000 euros.
                                RoseLane Sportponies
                                Golden State - 2012 Bundeschampion & 2014 USDF Horse of the Year
                                Golden West - 2014 & 2015 Bundeschampion Pony Stallion
                                Petit Marc Aurel- FEI Dressage Pony Stallion


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Kaluna View Post
                                  Little changes over time in dressage.
                                  That’s true and it's hard to imagine that just in the last few years horses and riders can make such an incredible jump up. If it was just one Totilas, I would think it's an exception, but there are others...

                                  I honestly hope that we will not be watching 1000 pound poodle dressage with short necks for the rest of our lives.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Sonesta View Post
                                    He may be one in a million.
                                    Right up until Sisther De Jeu comes out at GP - at which point there will be 2 in a million!

                                    Honestly - I credit myself as being a pretty good rider, but no way in hell am I ever going to be rider enough to ride that horse or anything like it

                                    I'm not saying that I like it, or that I don't like him (I will say that 90% was overgenerous) but I really hope this doesn't become what everybody seeks to achieve in breeding as there simply isn't enough "Edward Gals" out there to ride the damn things!
                                    If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.



                                    • #19
                                      The question continues to fester - what matters more, movement or training? It seems in the "good ol' days", fancy, fabulous gaits earned the score in the "gaits collective", and in a few of the true "brilliance" movements (such as the extended trot). Remember all movements are scored considering the "overlay" of the collectives (gaits, submission, impulsion, rider). Back in the olden days the "submission" overlay score mattered in every single movement much more than anything else. The "gaits" overlay score really just meant were the gaits pure and unconstricted (free and regular) or not? Now the judges must consider that "gaits overlay score" to mean scope and brilliance much more than free and regular. Is this where the sport is destined to go?

                                      It is incredible to see a horse such as Totilas - he is a wonder horse, just as we see a few athletes in any discipline that rise about the rest, but is this where our discipline is going? Is this where the powers that be want to see the sport go? That is the eternal question.
                                      www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
                                      Director, WTF Registry


                                      • #20
                                        Which is why "Gaits" (and "Impulsion")now has a coefficient of 1 and "Submission (and "Rider") has a coefficient of 2.
                                        one oak, lots of canyons