Rosie's Revelations: You Squabble. Stop it!

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 21:50

Guest columnist of the week is Dirk Willem Rosie, editor-in-chief of Dutch equestrian newspaper Het Sportpaard and website For 13 years Rosie worked as editor at De Hoefslag before taking up a job at the KWPN headquarters in 1994.

He was head of communications and editor-in-chief of the official KWPN magazine In de Strengen. In 2006 he founded his own newspaper Het Sportpaard. Rosie also authored the book "Het Dressuurpaard - Exterieur, Beweging, Ziel" which has been translated into English ("Selecting the Dressage Horse") and German ("Dressurpferde in Bewegung, Alles was Sieger Ausmacht").

As equestrian omnivore it is a privilege to contribute to this specialised dressage website. But please permit me that dressage is not entirely filling my life. I don't applaud myself for allowing horses in general to throw overboard all other important things in life, such as musical and theatre visits, reading books, washing my car.

I love all horses; at least if they are good at something. It is less important to me what they are good at, though. I can tirelessly sit out show jumping classes to which show jumpers themselves turn their backs. Eventing I consider the most beautiful discipline in the equestrian sport, until I found out that many sad accidents were simply caused by the unprofessionalism of wrongly promoted riders.

In the United States I lost my prejudice against western riding. There I saw top cutting horses at work and it was fascinating. Only Totilas in Windsor and Baloubet du Rouet in Las Vegas surpassed that experience. While working for the KWPN I even came to like harness horses; the best of their breed also proved to be top athletes.

So the writer of this article is an equestrian gobbler. This wolverine will take the opportunity to call upon You, gathered international dressage scene:" You are squabbling. Stop it!"

You continuously whine day after day about one element of horse riding, one part of the horse's body. You babble and quarrel and cackle away about the neck and how it is being carried. Short, long, crooked, askew, it goes on and on and on. Is there maybe another part of the horse's body to which each letter of each dressage article in each dressage publication can be devoted for the next five years? I suggest the left hind leg. And afterwards in the five years to come you can GO WILD on the hoof of the right front leg. Like this we'll be harping on for the next fifty years about the entire body of the equine, only to leave behind this pathetic narrow-mindedness in 2060 and finally just enjoy the dressage horse.

The fast lane to get out of this vale of tears is to look around in the other equestrian worlds. Are they not arguing? Yes they are, but for a short period of time. Refreshingly short! A while ago the big favourite for the World Cup Finals' Show Jumping was disqualified after the second round. The FEI veterinarians detected a sensitive spot on the coronet band of the horse in question. Koen Kromheecke of the Dutch newspaper Paardenkrant considered it a worthless action of the FEI to eliminate this horse, I complimented Haya for this great decision. And that was that.

It can very well be that I don't understand it. And maybe soon I'll find out that the deeper meaning of the dressage sport is in fact the ENDLESS nagging about it. But if indeed dressage is not invented as excuse to fight out an equestrian jihad in writing and rhetoric -- to literally smash each other's brain to pieces with scriptures condensed by time -- than stop it! Go and ride your horse.

by Dirk Willem Rosie

Photo © Dirk Caremans

Related Links
Guest Columnist of the Week: Tonjes' Take on Things: Steward Guidelines
Guest Columnist of the Week: Ton's Tale: Impossible World Equestrian Games

(For the "Guest Columnist" section, Eurodressage invites editors-in-chief and renowned journalists from respected, international publications in print and online to share their opinion with our readers. We will be presenting columns on a regular basis in which the invited writer is free to express his opinion on any hot topic in the dressage sport to their personal liking.)