Words of Wisdom - Jonny Hilberath

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 11:59
Words of Wisdom
Jonny Hilberath at the 2018 CDI Hagen :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Jonny Hilberath is Germany's senior co-team trainer alongside Monica Theodorescu. He runs his own training stable in Abbendorf, Germany. He was trained by Rosemarie Springer, Willi Schutheis and Herbert Rehbein.

In an interview with Dressursport Deutschland, Hilberath shared his view on the recent discussion whether riding FEI level tests in a double bridle should continue to be mandatory or if riders should have the choice between the snaffle and double bridle. 

Curb Seen as an Object of Torture

"I am constantly concerned that the curb is presented as a means of coercion. This topic has a completely wrong title. It's about 'Welfare of the Horse' - that is the discussion of snaffle or double bridle. There is actually nothing wrong with choosing a snaffle or double bridle. However as long as the curb is seen as 'object for torture', the context is simply wrong. Many would like to have the choice, but it's not about the well-being of the horse, but about the thought that the horse feels more comfortable with a snaffle or double bridle. However, the discussion is about the sharpness of bits."


"You can imagine how the one, who in a field of 15 riders, id part of the three or four riders who chose to ride in a double bridle. I think it's a pity," said Hilberath. "We need to better discuss that. It must be clear that riding in a double bridle means perfecting the horsemanship and the self-carriage of the horse. Curb riding is presented in a completely wrong light at the moment. It's not about 'Welfare of the Horse' or sporting relevance, it's about the public image."

Jonny continued, "when the one who rides in a snaffle is the good guy and the one who rides in the double bridle is the bad guy, then that's a completely wrong approach."


"If you look closely as a judge, riding a double bridle is a touchstone and requires a fully balanced seat independent of the hand. It requires that you as an athlete have a very high level of maturity. It's not about the one who rides a test in a snaffle is the good one, and to one with the curb is the bad one. That's a completely wrong approach."

Read the full interview here (in German)

Photo © Astrid Appels

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