Harmony and Discord Mark 2011 Global Dressage Forum

Tue, 11/01/2011 - 15:36
2011 Global Dressage Forum

Harmony and discord marked the 2011 Global Dressage Forum in Hooge Mierde, The Netherlands on 30 - 31 October 2011, where the movers and shakers of the dressage world gathered to discuss the current state of dressage, learn from the greatest dressage trainers and riders in the world and discover the latest scientific research on dressage judging and animal behaviour.

The three practical dressage demonstrations at this year's Forum were probably the least spectacular in the forum's 11-year history, but they were without a doubt the most impressive ones so far (together with Steffen Peters' 2009 demo). Beautiful, light and sensible work with work-in-progress horses stood testimony for the great training philosophy and horsemanship of Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Kyra Kyrklund and Carl Hester. 

The German delegation remained strikingly absent from the Global Dressage Forum, especially considering that the demo's were right up their ally. Exceptions were Matthias Alexander Rath, who made it through one day at the forum, Jurgen Koschel half a day and Johann Hinnemann a couple of hours.  German O-judge Kathrina Wüst was the only one who took the forum serious and actively participated in the discussion. The Germans' unavaliability to learning from peers, colleagues and scientific experts as well as their closed attidude towards participating in global debates on the future of dressage are regrettable.

The sell-out crowd of professionals, judges, trainers, riders, journalists and dressage devotees were totally satified after two Forum days which were completely inspiring and thought-provoking. While overall harmony between rider and horse and sense in what was being said about training horses ruled the forum, a few spicy debates on the blood rule, the bitting of horses and the rhythm of the horse in canter revealed that not all riders and trainers think alike. While in previous years this dissonance would have led to curbed discussions and argumentation constantly being cut short, this year there was room for frank, honest debate and the challenging of ideas in an open atmosphere.

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Eurodressage Coverage of the 2011 Global Dressage Forum