06 June 2015

"Scared Bitless"

Funny how life, work, and work with actual horses keeps one from blogging, but here's a short post I had to reblog:  "Scared Bitless" 

This 2013 article from Epona.tv appeals to me since, although I train my horses to carry a bit just to have them well rounded and ready for anything, I ride 95% of the time bitless. I don't show and hence I'm more interested in my horse's comfort than in meeting any rules.

My horses are better behaved and more obliging than most of the horses I see, so I'm constantly amused and occasionally irritated to hear that horses need a bit. This is, in my opinion, untrue.

Given my preference for bitless, I loved reading the FEI's fluttery responses to the Epona inquiries about bitless dressage. It may well be time for those interested in horsemanship to just forget about the FEI. Under the FEI, the current competitive dressage situation looks to have reached a level beyond help. Purists and others who favor the horse over prizes, now distinguish between classical dressage where the horse looks to be performing on its own and competitive dressage, where a horse often looking nervous or even in pain, exhibits a flashy, hollow-backed trot, rather like that of the high-stepping and notoriously artificial movement of American gaited horses. 

Epona.tv's next to last line suggests they agree: "Dressage is not 'steeped in tradition' - you killed all that a long time ago and now there's just the outfits left." Ironically, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the FEI were to change the rules to ditch the 19th C business suit, the shadbelly, for Spandex, shiny Spandex. With glitter. That'd be in keeping with their idea of "tradition."