AKA: When your training program is a load of questionable shenanigans…
I generally stay out of much in the way of commentary on hot button issues here, but I announced a horse show this last weekend and while I saw some lovely riding, I also saw some real shenanigans.
I think most of us who have ever trained a horse can agree that there are times when it just isn’t pretty; an awkward moment, an overly exuberant youngster, a momentary lapse in judgement (horse OR rider’s), or a random mistake — essentially crap happens.
But if those awkward, ugly moments are making up the majority of your ride, then I think you perhaps need to do a little honest self-reflection. And if you’re consciously producing said moments, you’re probably just a jerk (even if you are a ‘good’ rider). While I’m not a Grand Prix rider (yet!), and I acknowledge that I’m not an expert on training horses to that level, it seems to me that this sort of ‘riding’ is just unnecessary bullshit. Adjusting a horse’s balance and lowering the neck momentarily (with still forward riding!) has a place for sure, but making him play a sadistic form of equine Twister is something else entirely (think not only ineffective, but also cruel). The fact that it continues to slip through and be rewarded (score wise) is a real shame.