Letter to the BHS 2003

FOR INCLUSION IN THE BHS NEWSLETTER AND WEBSITE

from The Classical Riding Club – Independent Partner to the BHS

The Classical Riding Club (CRC) backs the British Horse Society’s response to the current Rollkur debate wholeheartedly. Patrick Print has spoken out for all caring horse owners from all disciplines in his persuasive, measured letter and it is to be hoped that the FEI will respond with some positive move towards future action.

In sympathy with the BHS, the CRC has been promoting a more humane system of training the dressage horse and indeed all horses for many years. It has taken pains through its website, newsletters and thousands of articles (all published on line) to speak out against any schooling method which places the horse in an unnatural posture and denies him sufficient freedom through the head and neck.

For this reason CRC devised its own Dressage Judging System back in l998 with the publication of a booklet Making A Difference. In this, alternative ideas as to how to mark tests (BD, Riding Club, CRC etc) are offered and our distinctive marksheets (again, all available on line) can be downloaded to be used with any test from Prelim level upward.

With this innovative system of marking, judges would have no alternative than to mark down horses that worked in a forced or unnatural outline thus contradicting the FEI’s own rules and principles. For example, we have 4 sections under the Rider Marks alone, so over-use of the rein is immediately condemned, as are horses that are over-bent, shortened through the neck, and not generally poll-high.

The Classical Riding Club literature strongly condemns horses that are forced into a shape and implores riders to work at their horse’s own pace with the understanding that the concept of ‘on the bit’ is only valid when the horse is sufficiently mature and elastic behind to move into a more collected outline.

Our own petition for change within the FEI system has elicited a courteous response, but clearly it will take some very big shifts in attitude within the dressage discipline itself to settle the disquiet that is presently being felt globally on the thorny subject of rollkur. www.classicalriding.co.uk


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