I like to use Facebook to post cute pictures of my kids, humble brag about them of course, and see what friends are doing in their lives and with their families. Really though, my feed is filled with horses. Horse pages of all kinds, different dressage groups that are huge, and links to professionals as diverse as Charlotte Dujadin and Warwick Schiller. I have learned so much in the past year or so from things that I've seen on FB or that have been linked to a FB page or group I follow.
One of the more interesting groups is Dressage Horses & Ponies for Sale. It came up in my feed as something I might like given my interests. Despite my husband's disapproval, "Someone has to die before you get another horse" was the quote(I think he meant a horse?), of course I have been horse shopping virtually every time I get on FB. Yeah!
The horses range from super fancy and very high dollar to backyard beginner safe with a very reasonable price tag. All breeds, all colors, and quite frankly all types. All over the US and really all over the world as well. Some seriously nice horses for all sorts of different riders at all price levels. Fun stuff. But, the truly sad thing is how many of these horses are behind the vertical with the third vertebrae the highest point and not the poll. I would estimate something like 80% of the under saddle photos show a horse being ridden biomechanically incorrectly. All breeds, all types, all price ranges, all over the globe. How has the dressage world come to this where behind the vertical and poll not highest is the norm? Is it the ultimate trickle down from Olympians to backyard riders? Even in the non-fancy non-big moving horses who will never show at the higher levels? Were things like this 20 or 30 years ago before Nicole Uphoff and Rembrandt came on the scene and started this madness?
I can't get on my high horse and say I have always trained correctly. Just in my last blog post you can see a "before" picture that clearly shows Jet behind the vertical with a short neck. However, I struggled and struggled over years to figure out how to ride and train properly, so he could use himself correctly. I might have been doing it wrong, but I was very aware that we were incorrect and I was trying to fix it. There doesn't seem to be any of that going on in these horses for sale. Even in the professional barns. The norm is behind the vertical and not biomechanically correct. Sad for dressage and really sad for the horses who will have such shortened and stressful working lives. Thoughts?