Sunday, August 24, 2008

Should We Do Dressage with Icelandic Horses

The Icelandic Horse is not built to succeed or excel in dressage. Because of their conformation, they are not meant to be held in frame with contact. Their heads and necks are conformed for loose-rein riding.

Considering the problems in modern-day dressage, should we "do" dressage with Icelandic Horses?

In Gerd Heuschmann's new book, Tug of War: Classical Versus Modern Dressage, he writes a Preface directed to the USA (UK and other English speaking countries). Here are some excerpts:

"...Europe and Germany... has had an enormous influence... in the development of equestrian sport all over the world."

" order to cater to the market, the horse-training process is being shortened... A group of trainers has evolved who strive only for the quickest way to success."

"Such a monetary goal... isn't something fundamentally wrong, however, if on the way to such success the horse is reduced to a mere object... is not only very dangerous but also morally questionable."

"Some horses are being trained with mechanical and technical devices in the shortest time possible... being trained mechanically."

"Other nations... are attempting to emulate these quick training methods... "hand-dominated" riding is also being copied."

"Riders and trainers... in... the United States are widely imitating this procedure... despite the fact that hand and strength-dominated riding isn't part of the American way of riding at all. Remember... a light and horse-friendly riding style [of the US]."

"'s an American, living... in Germany... who is showing the entire equestrian world that riding with feel and delicacy in harmony with the horse... leads to great success."

In Philippe Karl's new book, "Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage":

"One of the most outspoken critics of the modern dressage world reveals some disturbing facts about the physical, anatomical, and mental effects through official dressage guidelines as issued by the German Horse Society (FN) on horses. By comparing these with philosophies of masters of classical riding such as La Gueriniere and Baucher, he shows possible solutions to the challenging situation of modern competitive dressage."

1 comment:

Blessiowner said...

On what research are you basing your opinion that Icelandic horses are not meant to succeed or excel in dressage? My trainer has been riding my Icelandic horse in Training and Intro level tests this summer. They took blues in every single class with scores ranging from 66 to 72 (the 72.0 representing the third highest score of the day, highest was 72.8).
During his most recent outing, my Icelandic won a gift certificate that I used to buy Dr. Heuschmann's book Tug of War. Nowhere in this book does the author discuss whether or not certain breeds will be successful in dressage. In fact he states, "A Warmblood, which has very big trot mechanics and a distinct moment of suspension, has to be evaluated quite differently from an Iberian horse, which naturally has less suspension at thetrot and a "back line" that's considerably lower." (p. 37) The classical Iberian horse also has a thick neck and round body.