Heal Our Planet Earth
Don't confuse Dressage with Rodeo

Fellow Activists:

Some among us equate all equestrianism to rodeo. This is a big mistake. It is big because it involves the human-equine relationship in its entirety, and has far reaching implications to human-animal relations, and the concept of Animal Rights itself.

As you can see from the video of this magnificent equestrian performance (http://beboframe.com/FlashFrame.jsp?Size=S&FlashBoxId=3309347442), to compare dressage ("dress-AAGE" - highly refined human-equine partnership of European origin) to rodeo (you know what it is) is like comparing light and dark, white and black, day and night, humaneness and cruelty.

Also, note that compassionate riders always pet their horses on the neck after performing together, and the horse does really and deeply appreciates it and is happy with the whole experience (in a way that only empathetic "horse people" can perceive). It is not a rule that a rider must pet a horse after a performance; it just somehow always comes out from the heart. I can tell horse-centered riders and self-centered riders by the presence and absence of this seemingly insignificant act. The dressage rider in this video went one further - he hugged his horse - on world TV. In contrast, I have never seen a rodeo rider pet their own broncos (and calfs and bulls)!

The kind of riding and training that I know and do does not involve "breaking" the horse (as per western movies); it is a gradual and progressive "gentling" of the horse along request and communication lines and based on mutual respect and trust (something like the Horse Whisperer's).

I have seen some self-appointed AR-high-priest chastize horse-people in general for practicing human domination of equus. They even criticize human guardianship of cats and dogs as a matter of human domination of animals. Will the same few please welcome the mice and rats and cockroaches and centipedes and racoons and skunks and deer back into his house, which occupies their epochs-old homeland by force and pesticide? Such an unwarranted holier-than-thou attitude, if influential, alienates the non-horse-people from the horse-people among us, based upon self-righteousness, self-unawareness, self-contradiction, a lack of self-reflection and hypocrisy. If one goes overboard with ones theory, one becomes illogical and causes the entire movement to lose credibility.

Anthony Marr, founder
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE - www.HOPE-CARE.org)
Western Canada Anti-Sealing Coalition

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