View Full Version : Dressage in Australia

Astrid (Guest)
11-01-03, 11:17 AM
What do you think about the current state of dressage in Australia? Is is getting better or worse? What kind of training and instruction are people able to get? Do we just copy everything Europe does, without taking a second to think? Do Australian dressage riders, in general, have the real 'basics'? Or are the basics really lacking here? And lastly, why is Australia not able to produce good (meaning, placings) international tests when we have horses available which are just as good as Dutch, German, Americans, etc? I am wondering what peopel's opinions are on this subject, to get a broader view of what us Australians think. Personally, I think the basics are still lacking, I still see 70-80% of horses in competitions ridden grossly overbent or on the forehand, but I believe this is getting better. What do you think? What can we do to make Australia the dressage nation it has the potential to become?
Thank you for any input.

Sylvie (Guest)
11-01-03, 02:46 PM
Astrid :-) You are inviting people to write books!! I'm not a book writer, but I'll do my best.

Yes, I think that our basics are not up to scratch. Your next question - well of course we're not producing good placings internationally when our basics aren't up to scratch.

We are victims of distance - also of our own laid back attitude to life and to trainers.

I don't think 70 - 80% of horses are "grossly overbent" or "on the forehand" at all - I think they're restricted. Perhaps they're restricted because our riders can't sit on them.

Yes, I think we are getting better.

Sorry this reply is brief .. it would be good to see some more input. :-)

There has been a huge amount of discussion on this very subject over the past couple of months, Astrid. Perhaps if you want to see what Australia is thinking/saying, you could have a look in the archives.

Heretic (Guest)
11-01-03, 05:32 PM
>What do you think about the
>current state of dressage in

Going nowhere fast!

Is is getting better
>or worse?

It is improving and this can be seen in the riding and in the way the language of dressage is used now.

What kind of
>training and instruction are people
>able to get?

Instruction based on local small minded politics.

Do we
>just copy everything Europe does,
>without taking a second to

Yes, generally speaking we tend to copy European riders via 'form' that is, style, but not 'content', as in the 'how and why'. There are some exceptions who end up feeling pretty misunderstood in Australia.

Do Australian dressage riders,
>in general, have the real

We are improving but it's not good enough.

Or are the basics
>really lacking here?

They are not clearly understood and they hence their importance as a resolve to most problems with young and advanced horses is often not understood.

And lastly,
>why is Australia not able
>to produce good (meaning, placings)
>international tests when we have
>horses available which are just
>as good as Dutch, German,
>Americans, etc?

Because we are unable to access the kind of intense, correct and disciplined training required due our geographical disadvantage and due to the fact that dressage is a young sport in this country.

I am wondering
>what peopel's opinions are on
>this subject, to get a
>broader view of what us
>Australians think.

There are a small band of people who had done the hard yards in Europe who return to watch dressage here and think it sucks. However this is not a good attitude. Local self taught 'icons' must be handled with kid gloves by those who have the Euro low down. This is very political. Judging is also political and a big reason why poor styles of riding are adhereed to. Also, overseas instructors find us to be lacking in discipline and humility and tend not to want to return as they feel they are giving their pearls to swine (to quote the bible).

Personally, I think
>the basics are still lacking,

Correct, but improvement is there.

>I still see 70-80% of
>horses in competitions ridden grossly
>overbent or on the forehand,

Recently competed at DCNSW for 1st time in over 10 years. I couldn't believe that the majority of horses are ridden jammed at the throat and very rigid through the jaw which of course stops the flow of energy through the spine. I rode a 4yo in a basic test and judges comments were not 'stable enough in head', which if I didn't know better, I would have went home and copied the throat jam I saw every where else on the day. No merit for the fact that the horse was supple and engaged and indeed engaged at the poll. Judge also commented: 'canter too bouncy' which was amusing. If I had respect for the judge I would have went home and flattenned out the canter, removing all cadence and been like another DC cloan. Thank God I've been os and ridden and tore the test paper up!

>but I believe this is
>getting better. What do you

It's gunna take a long time if we keep reading our test papers and going to the politically correct instructors!

What can we do
>to make Australia the dressage
>nation it has the potential
>to become?

Be more humble to our visiting os instructors. Take their criticism. Send more young riders to Europe on working student scholarships such as young NZ riders were receiving from their equestrian federation when I was in Europe riding with no EFA support, despite having already competed to FEI here!

When riders return from Europe they must not take any notice of what their test papers say and stick to what they learnt in Europe. They must not be seen as tall poppies and let the old fogies cut them down to size out of old age fear of failure.

>Thank you for any input.

You're welcome.