Not quite the start I planned to my blogging life but ...

I'd intended to use my Barnmice blog to record elements of my my equestrian journey that I thought might interest, inform or 'delight' others.

Real life etc seems to be blocking much of equestrian my journey currently. So in the interests of taking a small step to start my blogging life, let me share with you a link to an article that seems to be causing an international stir in the cyber dressage community.

I came across the link this morning when catching up on the Thomas and Shana Ritter's Classical Dressage Group on Yahoo Groups. Luise Thomsen, one of the authors of the piece, is happy for the link to be circulated widely.

I'm totally committed to the classical route for training and riding dressage horses - even at the low level I'm capable of riding at. I'm strongly opposed to rollkur based on what I've read and seen of it in use. So if sharing this link further helps others consider whether such methods are appropriate in international competition, perhaps my first blog will be of some use.

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Comment by Maria C on October 26, 2009 at 4:04am
Hi Elizabeth, It's great that such an eminent exponent of classical dressage is actively trying to influence the competition world. I understand from the exchanges on a number of discussion fora I subscribe to that there are a number of petitions running. I'll sign up to as many as I can.

Geoffrey Pannell on the Barnmice discussion, and others on other lists, recommend lobbying to get judges to judge according to the published guidance and to stop rewarding tense horses with unnatural paces etc.
Comment by Elizabeth Martinez on October 23, 2009 at 9:38pm
Aloha! I was disturbed at the rollkur practices on youtube by top, international dressage riders. Then I found Philippe Karl's web site. Karl is for the horse and for the humane classical ways of helping riders and horses improve, no matter what the breed or the discipline. Even more exciting and a way we can all participate in working for change is that Philippe Karl is taking on the German Dressage Federation to change the rules so many of the abuses in the training process would simply disqualify people or get them low scores. This is current stuff, October, 2009. Go to and read Karl's proposed changes to the rules. Then add your name to the petition, then tell your friends and have them tell their friends. 10,000 people have already done so. It's a start and when it gets rolling it will be a movement and things will have to change.
Comment by Barbara F. on October 23, 2009 at 9:03am
Yes! I just stumbled upon that recently and it's become one of my favorites too!! Didn't know who wrote it though. :)
Comment by Maria C on October 23, 2009 at 7:32am
Hi Barbara
Even if we only make a difference to one person's take on the situation and the way they work horses, it will be a success.

Loren Eiseley's oft quoted piece inspires me - see below:

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf's edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.
The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, "You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can't possibly make a difference." The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, "It sure made a difference to that one!"

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