Finally – recognition for ‘good riding’
I do believe the Classical Riding Club and other like-minded organisations are making a difference... About time.
For 21 years - the CRC has been stressing the importance of the FEI dressage guidelines with the regret that these seemed, too often, to be ignored by judges and trainers alike. Of particular concern was a disregard for the lightness of the horse, the absence of force and the importance of the horse appearing to 'give the impression of doing of his own accord what is required of him'.
Clearly, none of these aspects are likely to happen unless the rider is not only competent, but good at what he or she does. According to this week's Horse & Hound (January 14th) 'The board of directors of the German Equestrian Federation have now decided to implement a new rule based around "good riding".'
The rule reads as follows: "When it comes down to team nomination for championships, not only the potential for success will count, but also the strict following of the guidelines for riding.... The Federation disapproves of any training methods that go against the guidelines. "This means explicitly any aggressive riding or training methods which entail a forceful handling of the horse." A Swiss federation's spokesman added: "Equestrianism is often the focus of public attention, but not always in a positive way. An image suggesting violence undermines the reputation of equestrian sports." '
Hallelujah! is all we can say. And for the horse, about time too. And for those who are unaware, please study the very different format of the CRC Dressage mark-sheets (published 1998) which reward good riding not just with one overall mark, but with roughly a quarter of the total marks allotted to how the test was ridden.
Excessive? perhaps - but for the horse probably necessary.