Also, let's just make this clear....I am not out to get one rider or another. Anky is not at the top of my hitlist. It is a rather long hitlist, actually. How much time do you have, fair reader? But so long as judges choose to reward their brand of overblown artificiality and exalt it as dressage geniusness, I will continue to criticize them. I am sure she is a nice person. I am sure Salinero is a lovely horse. They are most likely quite talented and they presumably work hard. But they do not perform dressage in the correct, natural manner -- no matter how many scientific studies Sjef waves in front of our faces and how many championships the pair racks up. What they do appeals to our sense of spectacle and showmanship. Dressage has been practiced for hundreds of years and a horse is still a horse, no matter how breeding has changed certain traits in him. There is only so much innovation in our sport; we have to come to terms with that. Either we want to devote the years of patient training to the discipline and transcend the physical realm, trying to attain an art form or we want to create a show of barely-controlled power. And frankly, I'm okay with the latter as long as we don't make false pretenses about it. And I will continue to criticize her (and everyone else) for it.
I'm all for innovations in our sport. I welcome the input of riders from other disciplines. I welcome differing training methods. But at the end of it all, the result should be similar -- a happy, relaxed animal whose neck and head don't appear artifically constricted, who wants to 'go' where his rider does because he trusts and follows his rider. I will attack the poor training methods of the Western rider and the hunter rider as much as Anky's. The difference is that dressage wraps itself in this cloak of education and enlightenment. Which is only okay when the result is enlightened.