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Dutchess_III's avatar

What are your thoughts on "dressage?"?

Asked by Dutchess_III (27091 points ) February 10th, 2014

Dressage is where they take a horse’s natural gait and create a highly stylized form. The Lipizzaner Stallions are famed for it. This is the most incredible example I’ve ever seen.

There is a debate raging on fb with one person saying that the training techniques are abusive and the gaits cause injury to the horse. From what I’ve seen, quite the opposite is true. This PBS documentary goes into quite a bit of detail regarding the selection and training of the horses. They’re pampered and loved.

Any thoughts on it yourself?

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16 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If the horses can accomplish the task, and they thrive… then where is the abuse?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree with you @RealEyesRealizeRealLies. The horse in the video certainly seems proud and pleased with himself! I don’t see anything that could hurt him. The person carrying on about abuse claims to be some sort of expert and is saying it isn’t “natural.” I told her that it isn’t natural for a horse to carry a rider either but she says that is no comparison.

She also called me an idiot when I told her horses were not indigenous to North America!

syz's avatar

There are gait changes and postures that are not “natural” in dressage, but for the level of communication and teamwork required for that level of performance, it’s hard to imagine that an abusive relationship could ever be successful.

There are much more egregious issues that your friend could focus her outrage on. For example, did you know that over 1200 race horses die at the track each year for our entertainment?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh my god. I had no idea @syz.

janbb's avatar

I never thought of there being abusive training in dressage but there was a program on T,V, at my doctor’s this morning on the treatment of orca whales at Sea World. Apparently, much of what they say about the whales is pure fiction and there is a great deal of cruelty in how they are handled in captivity; separated from their families, etc. It makes me wonder about many of the things that get done to animals.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Abusers gonna abuse. :(

jca's avatar

@janbb: That documentary is called “Blackfish.”

@Dutchess_III: The Lipizzaner stallions are treated very well and are specially bred for certain temperament and body type, so they can be trained and accomplish the tasks that they do. I saw a documentary on them, too, recently (probably the same one you did) and they’ve been doing those dressage techniques for hundreds of years.

I don’t believe the link you put up is a Lipizzaner stallion. It’s dressage, but not all dressage is Lipizzan.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re probably right @jca. But I wanted to mention them to make my details a little clearer. Pretty much everyone has seen what the Lipizzaners do.

Yeah…they are really, really pampered and cared for. They originally used those moves in battle. Hard to fight a dancing horse!

WestRiverrat's avatar

I am sure there are some trainers that use abusive training methods, just like any sport. I find you get better results from positive reinforcement than negative.

rojo's avatar

I can watch and enjoy it for a while but then I get bored with it, even viewing it live.

Re: your fb contact. Given her lack of knowledge about where and when modern horses were introduced to the Americas, I would discount any opinion she might have.

ragingloli's avatar

I think it is pretty retarded.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is not! It’s cool!

laurenkem's avatar

I’m not really sure I know how I feel about this one. One the one hand, @Dutchess_III , I agree with you in that the horse looks proud and pleased with himself. On the other hand, it bothered me a little that it appeared he was never allowed to raise his head, and, because of the way he was harnassed (is that the right usage??), always had his “chin” tucked in towards his chest.

I admit my ignorance about this subject, but it certainly was interesting to watch! And that was one beautifully proud horse!

anniereborn's avatar

And what do they do with the “student” horses that don’t make the cut? Kill them?

jca's avatar

I recommend the PBS documentary about the Lippizans, which explains a lot and shows how they’re raised and chosen to do what they do. I’m sure the documentary can be viewed online for free.

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