This morning I had the opportunity to speak with Patrik Kittel about the 4:26 video excerpt of his ride aboard 10 yr old Dutch stallion Watermill Scandic, at the World Cup dressage qualifier in Odense, Denmark.
When did you first hear about the video?
The person who took the video contacted me after the show and after she had posted it on line. She did not lodge a complaint against me at the show, nor did she confront me privately or at the press conference.
What was your reaction when you saw it?
My reaction was more about the text and the video put together, which basically present that I was riding my horse cruelly for 90 minutes, which is utterly not true.
I watched the slow motion, the editing, the decision to post only those few minutes of my ride and not my warm-up, or walk breaks, and how neatly the images supported the accompanying text – all presenting me as abusing my horse.
What was happening with the horse’s tongue?
Scandic got the tongue between the bits or over the bit, as horses occasionally do. It took me about a half a round to notice it and then I corrected it. Of course the circulation to the tongue is compromised for those few seconds, but I corrected it the moment I saw it, as any other rider would do if their horse got his tongue over the bit. For the rest of the video, you can see that the mouth is completely closed and the horse is foaming.
Do you understand why people are so upset about the video?
With the way that the video and text are put together, I understand why people get upset. This video is a very brief clip taken totally out of context and the accompanying text is inflammatory and untrue.
How long did you ride Scandic for that session?
I didn’t time my ride, but rode as was needed on the particular day. ALL of my rides include a walk warm-up, a slow trot to warm up his muscles, long and low stretching and walk breaks. None of that was included in the video footage, nor mentioned in the accompanying text.
I love all my horses and Scandic has a special place my heart. He has an incredible personality and I would never ever try to break his spirit – it’s what makes him so special and such a great partner. I have educated him myself and he has always been there for me. I hope everyone will try to view my kur from Odense. You will see his spirit and his happiness to perform and you will understand our special bond.
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