Friday, April 5, 2013

I wanna do bad things with you

Visiting Meistaradeild/the masterclass of the Icelandic horses today was supposed to be more contemplative, and turned out to be a teaser to my mind. I thought I was through with all that stuff, no purpose, no magazine to write for, but no, I'm not, my brain started to work immediatley on the input.
So today it was about unmasking the section 'tölt on loose reins' /Slaktaumatölt (beginning with free speed, then slow speed, then free speed while letting reins go) - in the good old times a show for a yelling audience.
The competing is rough, the whole thing nothing but a fake.
One of the riders chose Jace Everett's "I wanna do bad things with you" as background music - quite a motto.
There is hardly any tölt in selfcarriage, despite flying reins. Weak hindquarters that are not able to step under the horse in order to carry properly, reveal a quality of homework as do necks without muscles, and in some cases the extreme front leg action doesn't fit into the picture at all. Tension dominates the track. For tölt on loose rein (in order to demonstrate that Icelandic horses need no rein) you need preparation - which soes not involve collection. You need a whip, a rein, clanging curb bit chains, two knees and the riders weight, leaning backwards.
Posing white reins (in order to show how loose they are on dark horses) are nothing but phony, if taken into consideration, how rudely they are used before letting them go. Pulling them like a pump handle means giving an abrupt pain to the mouth, an unfriendly reminder of what is required now. Too many horses in the track have been - from my point of view - pushed up and intimidated, none of them was able to turn inside the track in a proper, correct and calm way, most of them had to be dragged around by the inner rein (of the curb bit, which is no fun on the jaw). 
Valdimar Bergstads white rein was like an iron pike between his hands and the Icelandic curb bit, no movement, no relief - no reward. Most horses were ridden on curb bit, heads were stiff and motionless like put into a vise, and heavy on the reins. I saw no lightness - although there were light horses, beautiful horses, full of elegance and easy motion. All of them were heavily leaning on the bit. The 17-year-old Baldvin frá Stangarholti appeared as a professional in this competition, with amazing movements and speed - but stopping him revealed that his mouth was dead. No answer. I was reminded of a ride on an old competition horse, a wonderful horse, soft and friendly - until he decided that I didn't count and started to run, no chance of holding him back.
These are just descriptions of what was evident. Participants of a masterclass are supposed to know about basics, aren't they, being masters?

The exception tonight was Hrimnir frá Ósi, a white stallion that showed movements in harmony, speed in tune with himself, and peace in the small moments of break. He was the only horse that could stand still, do proper turns - and just go forward without being stressed.
Hrimnir was like a sparkling fountain, compared to the other horses being popped water-pipes.
I wish we could see more riding of his kind.

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