Most of you maybe saw this photo which was published on Facebook, some of you might give it a thought about it. I admit that in first I didn’t mind a lot and moved on.
I think that same as I do, most of the people love horses and their unique beauty. We see them as big creatures, strong and with minds. I believe that the upper levels of competition require a lot from the horse, especially on XC, where they have to go from higher speed to slower speed as quick as they could. I understand most of the training methods during the precompetition process, but i think that there has to be a line between what is normal and acceptable and what is abuse of the horse. So, when a saw this picture of Marilyn Little and Scandalous at Boekelo, I was shocked!
What we all could see, was a double twisted wire gag with one rain, a running martingale and a noseband and chain under the jaw. A horrible combination, which resulted with blood in the horse’s mouth. And this is not Marilyn’s first time to do such biting choices.
I understand that it’s interesting for the public to watch things that are done outside of the box. But seeing the same rider in two weeks, with two different horses with blood in their mouths, it’s really a serious matter! I questioned myself, what the hell is going on?! Why nobody reacts? This rider must not get away from his horrible acts and it has to be punished. On the other hand we have to work on preventing this kind of treatment over the horses. Most importantly is that we must never forget that the first priority is the horse’s welfare! When this kind of things happen many times and nobody reacts, something is really wrong.
Marilyn is only one example that I choose, but she is not the only one that ended up with a blood on her horse during a competition. Earlier this year, Steffen Peters was eliminated from the World Cup, after a bloody spur marks were seen on his horse.
The thing that we must take care of, is to never miss a cases like this. And we must not allow them to happen in the first place at any level. We must catch them on time and in the interest of the horse.
The Fei eventing rulebook particulary addresses blood in one brief section.
So, what do we have to do? For sure, we have to care about this creatures and we have to tell our opinion. Then we have to be heard and found solutions for our next step. And we must never forget why we make new rules in the first place.
If you turn your head when you see this kind of problem and situation, you are also a part of the problem. No excuses are accepted! Act and be proactive!