(Above is an image (not mine) showing a horse in natural, relaxed collection and also on the forehand, as a horse might move without a rider. For the opposite of relaxed, see the 'rollkur' image below.)
Debate has been raging for some time in the (beautiful) sport of dressage. Many dressage riders and trainers (not to mention judges and spectators) are concerned that unethical training practices are being rewarded by some dressage judges. Personally I think we should never forget Xenophon's statement on horse training (from over two thousand years ago) that nothing forced can ever be beautiful.
Following is a link to a petition by rider and trainer, Philippe-Karl. Although not everyone will agree with all the points on the list, it's a great way to keep the dialogue going about modern dressage judging.
Philippe-Karl has made some suggestions for radical changes in the judging of dressage, including:
5. Overflexion (nose behind the vertical) in any movement to be punished with a mark of at most 3.
6. Blocked jaws, tongues pulled up or hanging out and grinding of the teeth in any exercise to be punished with a mark of at most 4.
To read more, and to sign the petition if you wish, go to:
No idea what this is about? To read about a study into how horses experience 'rollkur', an extreme form of hyperflexion of the horse's neck, go to:
This might be comfortable for a few seconds. Standing still. Free to move when you wish. But running and for extended lengths of time? To read an article on rollkur by Classical Dressage trainer Uwe Spenlen, go to: