RideAbility - Dressage and Flatwork for Showjumpers

ROLLKUR AND LOW, DEEP & ROUND
 
I am absolutely against rollkur.  Anything that is done with such force backwards on the horse's mouth, putting the horse into a fixed position and holding it there for a long period of time is against my training principles.  I believe that when a horse is trained it should become more beautiful during the training.  In my eyes rollkur does not make the horse more beautiful, but degrades the horse and makes it more ugly.  I think that when a horse is confined in a short and deep outline his balance suffers and he feels not only physically "trapped" but mentally also.  I consider horses as my friends and therefore would never do anything to make the horse feel in such a way.   I never ride my horse in a locked position and I always consider myself like my horse'sphysiotherapist and keep the muscles flexible so they do not tighten or become sore. There have been enough reports on the physical damage that this way of riding can do to the horse and the effect on its breathing, so I will not go into detail here.
 
Riding the horse in a lower, deeper and rounder frame (LDR) however is something that I do with some horses to relax the back and as a stretch of the topline, but it is always done with utmost sensitivity to the horse's mouth and musculature and never done with any force.  It is often when the the rider gives with the hand that the horse will go into this frame.  From that the horse can also, if wanted, be encouraged to stretch more forwards and down to achieve a maximum stretch of the back (see Stretching).  I think that much of the work with young horses should be in long and low in order to develop the horse's back muscles.  I have had students who say "How will he be able to be up and round?" (They think the horse will be heavy due to the long and low work) but I have always felt that once you develop the back in this way and therefore make it stronger, the horse has no problem with being in a higher outline in his own self-carriage and light in the hand.   The trainer Walter Zettl compared the young horse to a kindergarten child and pointed out that to demand that such a child do first or second grade work, will cause anxiety and loss of interest and finally depression.  I want that the horses I ride enjoy their work.  I sometimes ask for a bit more from them, but never something that I know they are too young or weak to do.  I have ridden horses who have been ridden in a short, deep and locked position and I find that they lose their free forwards movement and are often not thinking forwards in their minds (it sometimes feels like they have been ridden forwards but with the hand brake on).  A consequence of this can be spoiling or even ruining of the natural paces.
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