“PEBBLE BEACH, CA, Seven of eight rider and horse combinations withdrew from the Grand Prix at the Pebble Beach CDI Friday in a protest by competitors over the quality of the footing.”
Our sport is about movement. To ride for “10s” in each competition is a risk. Injury in each movement is a risk, Grand Prix is the riskiest. Good footing lessens the risk. We salute you and thank you for giving your horses a voice.
Footing is my “pet peeve”. Why should we expect our horses to work at maximum effort in poor footing? Would any elite athlete regularly work or compete where injury would be a logical outcome? Of course not. Competitive Dressage is a subjectively judged sport. Beautiful, athletic movement…ridden to the max for the maximum scores to win. Compete in bad footing? It’s a decision for each rider, each test whether a mediocre, under ridden test is going to be the last ride ever on this horse! Competing in lousy footing is a no brainer…never.
A big decision to withdraw from the competition… pressure from owners, clients, and show organizers. The welfare of our horses is bottom line. They have a voice if we step back and listen.