I live in a small rural town in the North East of England, with a large horse owning/riding populace. I have returned from a fitness walk around my local town and have just witnessed someone hacking out (I think the american term is Pleasure riding) in draw reins and a bubble gag. Firstly the point of hacking out a horse in training is so that it gets a day off so it does not become sour to its training, secondly these sort of external aids should only be used for short periods of during an actual training session to help build the correct muscle structure. I personnally do not approve of these external aids as there is no real replacement for strong groundwork.

The reason rollkur should be banned is that the fashion for a large forestep created by Rollkur that has given amateur riders the green light to think that hacking out with these external aids attached is fine with no thought of consquence to the animal. We need a lead from the Industry leaders.

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Hey, in the USA we've been trying to stop the soring of TWH for decades. Unfortately ANYTHING that anyone has successfully used to win at a show rapidly becomes a norm and aspiration, and THE MORE IT TORTURES A HORSE the harder it is to stop.
Case in point, decades ago the Forward Seat was MUCH more influential on US riding, and we would routinely ride hot-blooded horses (mostly TBs & crosses) on the trails, hunting, eventing and in shows with a plain snaffle, and often on loose reins. Yes, several people did use martingles and some used Pelhams but life is never perfect. But EVERYONE assumed that it was normal to be able to ride an ex-racehorse safely at a full gallop with just a snaffle, and sometimes a Pelham. And in hunt seat stables horses were expected to be horses, not someones best friend and buddy (though of course a lot of horses were their girl's best friend.) My how times have changed.
Maybe I have gotten too cynical as I get older.
I suspect that Forward Seat lost its popularity because people were looking to become "magical" riders, able to impress and overawe lesser mortals. Hunt seat riders saw all these refugee eastern european horsemen being able to do "magical" things with their horses. So all too many riders decided to follow a basterdized "dressage" so they too could do "magical" things with their horses.
Instead of further developing Forward Seat theory and practice on an advanced level American riders went for the "flashy" horse, for a horse properly ridden in the Forward Seat system is NEVER "flashy".
I also suspect that the Forward Seat system lost popularity because when we used Forward Seat methods correctly WE DID NOT TORTURED OUR HORSES. Haven't you notice how much these modern "training" systems are into BONDAGE? Gee, go to the stable, bind up your horse with leather straps, and freely enjoy torturing your horse, for its own good, after all. And all of your methods are APPROVED of by the ruling authorities of your sport. How can you go wrong?
To me the only comfort about Rollkur is that this craze started in Europe and not the USA. Unfortunately the American riders were only too happy to pick it up, or at least never express their horror in such a way that the practice be stopped just because ROLLKUR IS LOUSY HORSEMANSHIP.
You are so right about this being lazy horsemanship. I have been out of the horse world for about 10 years and for one reason and another I have come back purely on a enjoyment level. I always was a hobby rider but I am classically taught and I'm horrified to find fashion is what now what wins an olympic dressage competition and not hard work and skill. I looked up the gold freestyle performance from Bejing on the internet and I am truly appalled that performance won. The rider was stiff and to see a horse drag itself forward in such a stilted and stiff manner was one horrifice viewing I do not want to repeat. I think what upset me most is that I have seen better ridden performances from complete unknowns, who will always be unknowns doing local shows than that performance which the top judges from the FEI saw fit to give a gold to. Never mind the eulogies by the commentators. It this however which allows for the now two separate occasions I have seen local riders hacking out in draw reins. This just pure laziness or lack of time to do the job properly.
I agree. Rollkur is lousy horsemanship. If this is what it takes to get to higher level showing, then you can keep it... I want no part of it or with anyone who would choose to do it.
I agree with you completely but have no knowledge of what a bubble gag is. Can you explain. I live in Canada! Gail Morse.
Please find attached a picture of a Bubble Gag bit, otherwise known as a Dutch Gag. The point of a gag bit is put pressure through the poll as well as the mouth to force the head down and in. A Bubble gag is a kinder bit than the Cheltenham gag - a more traditional gag bit but it is still an artificial aid.
Okay, now I see what the Bubble Gag it looks like but I don't know how it works that it becomes uncomfortable. This is a sincere question out of lack of knowledge on bits in general. I'm against anything harsh on them.
That poor horse was certainly revolting against something. We must speak up for them when there owners will not protect them or the owners are even the one doing the abusive treatment. Disgusting!
Hi Shirley, sorry to take so long to come back to you - I was having "technical difficulties" ie. operator error on working the site!

It is a jointed bit so it essentially works like a normal snaffle in a nutcracker fashion on the tongue and lower jaw. However you will notice there is a small ring on top of the normal rein rings, it is to this ring you attach the cheek pieces of the bridle which means every time you use the reins pressure is applied to the poll through the headpiece. Essentially "pushing" the head down. The two lower rings are so you can adjust the severity of the bit by moving the reins from the normal large ring on to these other options - the bottom ring being the most severe. Hope this stands up to translation as I only know the English terms for parts of the bridle.

I think I understand. I understand well enough to know it's not going on my guy....
The other night I rode him with just a rope halter and one rein attached under the chin. I don't think we are going to get much dressage training accomplished with that but we had fun and Cash seemed contented and paid better attention to my legs and seat. I have big dreams of being able to ride bridleless someday. It's good to have dreams, right?
That horse sure did buck in that video! Is that called a crow-hop? Sometimes people do actually get what they deserve.
Thanks for taking the time to explain the bit workings.
Have you seen the video I've put my favourites.....That is what I think we should dream to be able to do - enjoy. Oh and wasn't nice to have positive response to legs and seat alone - keep it up and well done!

wow! never seen a dressage rider schooling in one of those but definitely have seen tons and tons of show jumpers in SoCal & Indio competing in them.
They're just called gag bits here in CAN
here's what Nelson thinks of Rolkur. Don't blame him.

I watched a cruelty investigation video on some german woman doing "Hyperflexion" what bull_hit. Horse being lunged, nose tied to chest and just whipping the bejeezus out of him. I know not everyone takes it to the extreme, but come ON.

Diddn't the idea used to be to NOT let your horse learn to go behind the bit? Ugh, it just looks so sore.


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