Friday, October 1, 2010

Parsival's elimination: Hints and allegations

I suspect most of us have heard/read about Parzival and Adelinde Cornelissen's elimination at WEG. There's a lot of buzz about whether there was abuse in the warmup ring. Frankly I kind of doubt it, and from what I've read impartial observers did not observe blood in the warmup or the first part of the test. There's a lot of hardware in the mouth of a grand prix horse.

This video (have you seen it already?) shows how late in the test the elimination occurred. I had thought she was stopped toward the beginning. They were doing so well! Watching them leave the ring I had tears in my eyes. The rider is gracious in her acceptance of the judge's verdict. A big thumbs up for that kind of sportsmanship.


  1. Ooops. Looks like the video was removed. Hard to say what happened and you're right, there are plenty of accusations. What's important, though, is that the welfare of the horse came first to all concerned. Sad for all involved, but it was the right thing to do.

  2. I take it you've also seen the pics of her warmup?

    I think peopled are troubled by pics like those combined with the blood later on.

  3. The buzz about the warmup ring has been accentuated by the photos, the worst of which in my opinion is here.

    She may have left the ring graciously after her elimination, but IMO there's no place in a horse-loving sport for a warm-up like that. People have speculated that the images capture just a moment of flexion, rather than systematic rolkur/hyperflexion, but I don't buy it. Just looking at those photos, with the chins of those horses tucked all the way to their chests, makes me heart-sick.

  4. It is well-known how Adelinde and company ride and train... I think the general lack of sympathy is related to that, whether or not the incident itself was.

  5. I saw the pix -- but how was this warmup different from all of the other international competitions where the Dutch cart away top honors?

    I was at Devon today and saw some moments of riding that, if caught in a still shot, would look pretty abusive. Nope, not rollkur, but still unpleasant to see, and surely uncomfortable for the horse.

  6. So if they win a medal or graciously accept that they were caught, it's ok?

    Or if it is uncomfortable for the horse but isn't "rollkur" it's ok?

    None of those horses in that flexion look happy. And I'm sorry, but when all the pictures show a "rollkur" like position, how can you say it's not rollkur?

    If it's a swift correction, and a serious correction at that, you shouldn't have to do it that many times. If you do, something isn't right in your training.

  7. Apparently one of the event horses was eliminated for blood in the mouth as well. Too bad.

  8. "How was this warmup different from all of the other international competitions where the Dutch cart away top honors?"
    Stacey I think you hit the nail on the head. This is the problem right now in our sport. It is sad that there has to be blood in order to "draw the line". That is abuse.

  9. I am not a dressage person (yet), but would add this point.

    Some human athletes are competitive enough--so focused on the win versus the journey--that they damage their own bodies with steroids, etc., just for that moment of victory.

    For someone that driven in any discipline, the result is the only thing that matters.

    Dressage and the racing industry tend to hit the spotlight more, but I've heard from friends in the cutting industry and even Western Pleasure that tell me it's really no different in those disciplines.

    There are people who have to win no matter what. It's not about anything else, certainly not the relationship with and welfare of the horse.

    This conversation is really important, so thank you for opening the door!


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