Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is this why they don't put dressage on TV anymore?

I AM NO PROFESSIONAL, but this is something that really bothers me and is totally my personal opinion. As the cool kids would say, "don't be a hater":

This is why you don't see dressage on TV unless it's the Rolex on Animal Planet (and even then that's not Grand Prix dressage) or the Dressage Finals on NBC during the Olympics. A lot of these routines are mechanically picture-perfect, but artistically they are boring as hell to watch. Nobody seems find classical music or cheap karaoke-sounding music exciting anymore. I don't blame them. It isn't!

While I'm not saying they should all do a routine to hardcore gangster rap - though that would be hilarious and cool to watch if it was done nicely - or screamo rock, something a bit more modern and more appealing to the masses might be nice. The following performance by Edward Gal, which was performed very recently (July 26, 2009) hit a world record with a STUNNING score of 89.40. Almost a 90. Almost a perfect score! When somebody reaches that, I think I will hyperventilate, though I came pretty close with this one.

Totilas' movement is nothing but gorgeous. It is probably the most beautiful, extravagent, and boldest I have ever seen a horse perform. His extended trots looked like a fast pace version of the Spanish Walk. He didn't look held back or choppy, the best words I can find to describe it, like other Grand Prix horses I have seen. It is just.... breathtaking.

The rider's aids are not even noticeable. Usually an educated eye can see the dramatic seat shift that tells the horse to do a flying lead change. Gal stayed the same position throughout the entire performance, not in a stiff way, just in a perfect way. One might think that every part of him that touches the saddle is superglued to it. It's incredible.

But alas, I must now unfortunately give my grievances: what the heck does this song do to compliment the bold and extrvagent movements of the horse? The music hardly ever changes tone. It's monochromatic! If I was some average Joe watching this who didn't really know the difference between a good piaffe and a piaffe, I'd flip the channel in an instance because the music just seems dull compared to the beauty of horse and rider. The music I could picture with this is something exotic, like Indian banghra or African flutes and bongo drums.

I admit, though, that once the rider starts cantering and pirouetting, the music becomes more dramatic and seems to make more sense.

And now, I contradict my previous statements! Though the music is not something appealing to the masses, I can see some sense to it. It is so dull that the beautiful movements of the horse and the perfection of the rider is more apparent. One does not want to focus on the music, so they focus on the horse and rider. Anything equally extravagant (I like using that word today, don't I?) would take away from the performance. It is genius!

But I still don't like it.

Now this performance by Marlies van Baalen, one of my favorite riders, is entertaining. The riding is far from Edward Gal's (it almost looked like the horse was dragging her along she was leaning so far back!) but I like the idea. It is different than what you see out there. It is up-to-date. It grabs your attention because it sticks out from the masses of classical and karaoke music! Enjoy it!

Meanwhile, Greta and I can only hope to get to do a Level 1 or 2 freestyle. Yay for noobs!

Oh, and of course I had to include one of my favorite freestyles. Jolanda Adelaar - who is training under Marlies van Baalen - and her fjord horse wonder Guusje did this as a special exhibition at the FEI World Cup in 2007. The music fits. It may not be bold and catchy, but it's pretty. You rock, Jolanda and Guus!

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