Lets take this blog to the next level

If you have a photo of crappy show riding, know of a jerkwad trainer or judge, or someone in the show world that is an abusive piece of shit then send the info to me. This blog is not anti-showing, it's anti-abuse. So there is no truth to the claims from the TWH, ASB, western pleasure and dressage zombies that I'm trying to shut showing down. Instead I'm trying to make showing more honest and to get abusive practices out of the showring! Email me at shameinthehorseshowring@gmail.com



I have a request for my readers: If you have successfully rehabbed a show horse, or gotten a rescue and taken it on to a show career then let me know, I'd love to feature you here!






Friday, May 2, 2008

Rolkur and screwing up the sport of dressage


Since we've had several dressage people stop by I'm going to take a poke at their sport first. I've never shown dressage, but my sister did and she had several awesome dressage horses. What I remember of her horses is the fact they were really light mouthed and moved away from leg pressure if you barely touched them. I don't recall them lugging on the bit, or getting all foamy mouthed or looking like they'd like to stomp their rider as soon as they got the chance.
To me the horse at the right looks miserable. WTF is wrong with a person that they are using those bits and pulling back like they're rowing a boat? If I had ever pulled that hard on my old gelding he would have flipped over.
When did dressage turn into a tug of war between the horse and rider? I thought dressage was supposed to be equine ballet? This looks more like equine abuse.
Do they really think this looks good? That it shows skill and training? I wouldn't let that dolt ride a fence post, much less a horse.
Here's my idea of dressage: Rugged Lark bridleless. If you can't do that then don't pretend you're a trainer of dressage horses.
Rugged Lark Video
Come on people, take back your sport and make it wonderful like it was before. Now it's just a high end spectrum of horse abuse and gimmick riders.

33 comments:

cowgirlek7 said...

ok, so I have to disagree with you, I ride and show AQHA and was brought up in dressage barns and rode in dressage barns. Yes, Rugged Lark was a special stallion, that was lower level dressage on the movie and would not have scored very high.
Dressage is a high level, high persicion sport. The athletes of the sport do get a bit pumped, a double bridle is not cruel, it is necessary and required in upper level test.
Yes some people take that a little fair, but it is the few.

Tuffy Horse said...

I grew up riding dressage and the sport has gone too far down the dark path. Using a double bridle is required for upper level, but the cranking and lugging was simply NOT seen 20 years ago. Horses were TRAINED, not forced. I think American Dressage, which had previously been lighter and less foreced, changed with the influx of the Warmbloods into the American show ring. It isn't the fault of the horses, it is the inability of the riders to work with heavier horses that are less flexible than the lighter breeds.

There is nothing precise about lugging on the reins. There is nothing precise about cranking a flash noseband down on a double bridle. In fact in the past a flash nose band wouldn't have been allowed on a curb bit.

Dressage, like reining, has taken a down turn in regards to methodology and humane treatment.

Tracy Meisenbach
www.trinityapp.com
http://thehorsediary.blogspot.com/ (updated 4-30-2008)

Not A Spot said...

I agree... too many hard handed riders, poor trainers out there. Now..OT...just watched the Kentucky Derby. I had to go out and hug my herd...manes are great for wiping tears. Why oh WHY are 3 year olds still being raced in this day and age? I don't think I want to watch the rest of the Triple Crown.

TB racing was originally done for stallions to prove their worth way back when..so they could start a breeding career and retire from the track early. In this day and age with all the information available, WHY are horses still being abused like this? My heart bleeds for Eight Bells and her gallant second place, and hope that the racing industry will get smarter...I know..in my dreams..

Not A Spot

AKEHCMBF said...

dressage has changed. i saw hilda gurney ride keen and he was awesome compared to the ploddy things in the ring today.
i thik that the trend away from tbs and arabs has damaged the sport. it's not dressage, it's bus driving.

carriegl said...

i thik that the trend away from tbs and arabs has damaged the sport. it's not dressage, it's bus driving.

I agree.

I am a fan of Classical Dressage, not Modern Dressage. I am also a fan of a light, sensitive and enthusiastic horse. I have ridden the WB and I felt such a "dullness" about them, I love the TB and what it can do, when given the chance.

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms - (where TB's and App's live in harmony and compliment each other after the age of 3 yo!! Eight Belles was a testament to the "heart" the TB has!)

OldMorgans said...

A long time ago, back in the late 1970's, I went to a big dressage competition. I was able to see the Grand Prix level. There were some top riders there but I was appalled even then at many of them w/their flailing of legs & pumping seat. However, one was a standout--just lovely & smooth & I could not see any cues as she was so very subtle.
Since then, competition dressage has degenerated into drawrings & other head setting devices, weight building to build up muscles to haul on the bit, overuse of spurs, and an attitude of "making" the horse do something.
It does not seem to be a partnership of horse & human but an adversarial relationship of the two.

OldMorgans said...

ack--that is drawREINS, not drawrings--althoug I'll bet that someone somewhere is using the latter!

nomoregrays said...

I have to disagree with you, Tracy, about Warmbloods being less flexible than the lighter breeds. (I have to, since I now own one ;) ) I think that the problem is more with the American love of short cuts. Can't get the horse on the bit? Use draw reins (or some other gadgets I've seen at the barn I board at) instead of learning how to ride correctly.

There is a book out about the difference between "classical" and "competition" dressage. As in horse racing, dressage horses are being pressured into doing things that they are physically not ready to do.

I'm not sure who is to blame - judges for scoring the flashier Warmbloods over a well-trained non-Warmblood; competitors for chasing the wins rather than learning how to ride correctly; or trainers trying to make the quick buck by taking shortcuts in training - teaching "tricks" instead of taking the time to set the horse's foundation.

Certainly, things will not change overnight. Perhaps things will circle back to "classical" dressage and the correct training of horse and rider.

Tuffy Horse said...

nomoregrays wrote:

>I have to disagree with you, Tracy, about Warmbloods being less flexible than the lighter breeds. (I have to, since I now own one ;) )

Please allow me to clarify. When I say "less flexible" I'm referring to the mass of the horse, not the willingness to bend. The morphology of most warmbloods IS heavier and more muscled than the average TB or Arab. It's the difference between a greyhound and a bloodhound. A WB may bend and flex just as readily, but you're moving a lot more mass around. Because of this mass things move a bit slower and in wider areas.

>There is a book out about the difference between "classical" and "competition" dressage. As in horse racing, dressage horses are being pressured into doing things that they are physically not ready to do.

I agree. I can remember when dressage trainers reacted in horror at the thought of training anything under five years old. Now I see three year olds being pushed to do manuevers they clearly are not mentally or physically about to do.

>I'm not sure who is to blame - judges for scoring the flashier Warmbloods over a well-trained non-Warmblood;

Ya know, I have to say that judging is what does it in most cases. Judges set the trends, fads, and breed dynamics. We hear the argument all the time "judges only judge what is in front of them" but this isn't always true. They judge many many shows a year and when they consistantly place training/conformation/defects time after time. It changed the halter and WP industries, and now it's changing dressage.


>competitors for chasing the wins rather than learning how to ride correctly; or trainers trying to make the quick buck by taking shortcuts in training - teaching "tricks" instead of taking the time to set the horse's foundation.


Both of these contribute. I trained polo ponies and there is no sport where big bucks/no talent causes more problems. People get into it, usually during a bout of middle aged crazy, and try to learn to play WHILE learning to ride. The injuries to the horses can be horrific, and it's one of the few sports where severe injuries, to horses and riders both, result more at lower levels than upper levels.

I've been following the cross country jumping a lot lately and I'm appalled at some of the fences, and riding, that is out there. I jumped the Sonoita AZ cross country course, back when it was 3 phases, complete with javelina in the mid course coffin, squealing and scaring the shit out of east coast horses. That was a tough course, but it's nothing compared to what people are going over now. Then again, I don't remember more than a few deaths every couple of years. Lately it seems that people and horses are being injured at an alarming rate.
I wonder at what point the public, and the exhibitors, will revolt and demand that safety become a paramount issue. Right now I'm seeing more "flash" than common sense.

Tracy Meisenbach
www.trinityapp.com
http://thehorsediary.blogspot.com/ (updated 4-30-2008)

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Time seems to be the enemy of horses these days.
In my fathers day most horses were not started until they were 4-5y/o. Race horses were the exception to the rule.
Now, people think you are slacking if you aren't riding that 2y/o sitting in your corral. And I don't mean just starting them. I mean riding them like they were aged horses.
Tell someone you have a green 5-6y/o and they don't want them. They want something finished.
It sucks because you try to explain that the 6y/o will "finish" quicker because they are physically and mentally ready to handle pretty much whatever you want them to and stay sound and those people complain about "wasted" years.
It is sad that poor horsemanship is the majority rather than the other way around.

Lythinae said...

Dressage where I live has gotten harder and harder for me to enjoy watching. Rolkur, yuk!

So many riders at high levels with flapping legs and yanking hands. So many horse who look like they really don't want to be there. Last years, at one of the biggest national show, there was a horse in the advanced class with blood streaming out it's mouth the entire way through a musical freestyle. Horse in the same class with raw spur marks because it's rider could not keep her lower leg still.

I have one hard-core warmblood fan, dressage riding friend (it's her only fault, I swear :D). She's constantly telling me how much smarter and more athletic her mare is in comparison to all the 'crap and useless' TBs the us jumpers have (also jumping is not real riding, not like dressage ... does anyone else get that from dressage riders???). Said mare is an older, only ever been used for dressage horse, and has a horible mouth and is dead to the leg. In friends defence. the damage had been done before she got the mare (which is a story in itself).

A double bridle in itself is not cruel, it's a tool like any other. It's the unsteady, untrained rider on top that does the damage.

It's the attitude of 'I want to win, and NOW and be at the top yesterday' that is responsible for what happens. In all sports, not just dressage. Anyone remember rapping?

Lythinae said...

Bah, can I edit comments??

It should read 'that us jumpers have' ... not 'the us'.

I need more coffee, I think.

Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

I use classical dressage to soften my mule, and it helps her in all disciplines. I've stopped saying I use "dressage"... now I have to say classical dressage because people recoil in horror.

I do think dressage has been screwed up and bought off like other disciplines. It is very beautiful if done correctly, and terrible if done wrong.

Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

Oh yeah, and since I show reining I get knocked by dressage riders all the time, even though the disciplines are more similar than you might think.

rougeluck said...

I learned classical dressage, it was a passon with my mom, who rode both classical dressage and spade trained western horses.
I am young and can remeber looking at horses and being able to tell which one was a upper level dressage horse and which one was not, they had very pronunced muscleing over there back and neck, and a smooth confident way of going. they dont any more. I stopped being able to tell about 10 years ago. its sad, becase the old SLOW way of training made such a differance in the horses attidude and conformation, like seeing a trained dancer walk.
by the way, I agree, rugged lark was lower level, but I have seen true grand prix dressage done without a bridle. By 20 year old horse and his ridder of 15 years. you cant beat that kind of comunication. that takes dedication and skill. things that seem to be in short supply in this Quick Fix world that we live in now.

Anonymous said...

BrownEyed Cowgirls wrote:

"Tell someone you have a green 5-6y/o and they don't want them. They want something finished.
It sucks because you try to explain that the 6y/o will "finish" quicker because they are physically and mentally ready to handle pretty much whatever you want them to and stay sound and those people complain about "wasted" years."

Amen to that. I have a beautiful 17.2 Dutch mare who wasn't even started until she was a late four year old because she took that long to finish growing.

People kept ranking me out for wasting time and waiting until she was 'old' to start her. Sheesh.

Never mind the fact that she's now 22, has a buttload of ribbons because when we did start to train and show her she was ready, and is still sound as a bell. Yeah, it was a terrible idea to wait to start her.

I still get lectures about waiting "so long" to start her. Usually from folks who are riding horses who are broken down at the ripe old age of 12.

Anonymous said...

all i have to say is I DISAGREE!!!
i ride dressage and have been for 5 or so years now.

first thing first, "getting all foamy mouthed" is a sign of acceptance of the bit, not discomfort or anger towards the rider.
secondly, " using those bits..." its called a double bridle and is reserved for upper level dressage. i do agree that some people in the sport use the "extreme bending" technique and thats something i found out about anky van grunsven and many other "respectable" riders and am dissapointed about. but still you kind of need to get your facts straight.

oh and watching that rugged lark video made me cringe! if that is your idea of dressage, i suggest watching the olympics or world cup or better yet pick up a copy of dressage today. yes i understand it is a quarter horse, but thats no excuse for the horse to look like crap while trying to do dressage. the horse was flat and had no motor/engagement. not round or on the vertical to say the least, and were those supposed to be turns on the haunches/forehand or what? definitely not dressage, more like some western sport.
oh and "tuffy horse"...there is no flash on a double bridle, to my knowlegde there never has been.
thats it for my rant.
i just really hate when uneducated people try to critic dressage for all the bad stuff that goes on, when in fact, they know nothing about it and there is worse things going on in their own sport!

sorry for the rude remarks
but i get really heated when people who dont know what their talking about, try to talk about dressage!

Em said...

There is a huge difference between a soft, wet mouth and a frothing mouth that drips strings onto the horse's chest and front legs. The former is what classical trainers and riders consider a sign of relaxation. The latter, on the other hand, often indicates pain, frustration, and/or abusive hands. I see way too many riders who don't have an independent seat using double bridles. This occurs in both dressage and saddle seat.

Lythinae said...

Re: flashes and curb chains. When I started at pony club, any instructor would have gone nuts at you for trying that. More recently, I've seen instructors telling students to do it. I *have* seen high level dressage riders do it, both at home and while warming up.

I've seen these same riders yank mouths after a badly ridden test, I've seen horse warmed in for hours on a lunge before being ridden exclusively on a curb. , and the bridoon only gets picked up right before the start of a test. These horse are all spitting bucket loads of thick stringy foam - not the soft wet mouth I've been taught os correct. I've complained and been brushed off. The reaction from officials was the same as yours - you don't do dressage so you can't say anything.

I've cancelled my membership with the local dressage groups, and very rarely go to shows (I used to write/scribe and help out whenever I could) and I tell people *why*

I'd like to point out that I've been involved with dressage for at least the same amount of time. Most of my horses are jumpers/eventers but I've always aimed for good flatwork first. I also have a couple of close friends who are exclusive dressage riders and still feel the same things I do - so I wouldn't assume that we don't know what we are talking about.

Tuffy Horse said...

Anonymous wrote:

>tuffy horse"...there is no flash on a double bridle, to my knowlegde there never has been.
thats it for my rant.

If you haven't seen dressage riders schooling with flash nosebands on double bridles then you haven't been at any dressage shows lately. I even saw them in the warm up ring at KHP last year.



>i just really hate when uneducated people try to critic dressage for all the bad stuff that goes on, when in fact, they know nothing about it and there is worse things going on in their own sport!

Oh gee, well just color me ignorant because I had a top third level dressage horse that would have gone fourth if I had decided to get married and have a kid. Hmm let's see I only did dressage and three day eventing since I was 16.

Tracy Meisenbach
www.trinityapp.com
http://thehorsediary.net/ (updated 5-10-2008)

Anonymous said...

hmm ok
for the most part my comments were to the blog writer.
not to criticize you commenters.
i only had a few pieces to point out on some comments.

em, i do agree there is a difference between a soft wet mouth, and a frothing mouth dripping strings. i was originally trying to say that a wet foamy mouth is not always a bad thing.

tuffy horse,
i was mentioning flashes with double bridles in the actual show ring, not the warm up.
that is completely different. i do have to agree that people do abuse the sport and have changed it. around where im from in the midwest though, i am saying i have never seen a flash on a double. and i have been to shows recently. whatever or wherever KHP is might be very different than the shows i attend in the midwest. i know training techniques are different all over the country as well as the world, which is why the sport has gone down hill. no one can use the correct classical techniques anymore because its not as easy. i had a friend buy 2 horses from cesar parra and she came back not really liking what she saw on the east coast, they basically taught tricks and her horses had to be re-trained for 2 years before competing at the level they were supposedly at.
and i wasnt calling YOU ignorant, most of my comment was to the blog writer so if you arent the blog writer than i wouldnt get so upset. the only thing i mentioned to you was the flash.

like i said i wasnt complaining to you commenters i was complaining about what the original blog had to say. thats it.

oh and only reason im posting as anonymous is because i dont have one of the listed accounts.

Trojan Mouse said...

anonymous, obviously too ignorant to open a google account,

>and i wasnt calling YOU ignorant, most of my comment was to the blog writer so if you arent the blog writer than i wouldnt get so upset. the only thing i mentioned to you was the flash.

I'm the blog writer, and I obviously offend you because I think a quiet, relaxed, and happy looking horse is a good thing. You missed the point of my post. I'm not talking about the expertise of the movements, that isn't the issue, I'm talking about the *joy* that both rider and horse express. I don't see it in the dressage ring anymore, especially at the upper levels. I see frustrated, over bent, drool dripping, horses that act like every muscle on their body aches. I *don't* see this when I see documentaries of the Spanish Riding school horses ( and I don't mean the shitty ones that travel the US).
I also don't see any *joy* in the USDF show ring.

And for the record, Tuffy Horse is my sister, and I watched her ride dressage for years. None of her horses looked like they had a hot poker up their ass, and none of them drooled like a St. Bernard either.

TJM

sunbake said...

I am not experienced in dressage but I have some friends who are quite accomplished in the discipline. If you want to see a 'classical rider' look to Hilda Gurney. Her horses Keen and Gifted were big warmbloods, but very supple and there was no 'sawing on the bit' to get them to engage. Very sad that nowadays many trainers equate 'supple' with ripping a horse's gums to shreds by sawing on the reins. My horse would grind you up against the arena rail if you tried that out on him. As G. Morris says.... you need to use your legs to push the horse up into the bit, not use your hands to pull the horse's head down - if you do that he will go behind the bit and you have no control....

cattypex said...

I agree that Americans are all about gimmicks & quick fixes, start horses too young, move 'em along too fast, ignore the basics... etc etc

I also agree that Rugged Lark looked like a lot of fun, and thank GOD not a peanut roller, but no way was he an upper-level dressage horse.

About the full bridle I have a weird story:

Back in the mid-80s it was very trendy around here to go to horse camp at a certain Northern Indiana military academy/boarding school.

So I went for 2 weeks one summer to brush up on equitation, while a good friend back home worked with my horse.

Now, this place was supposed to be some fancy-pants awesomeness, but it was soooo pathetic. All the horses (except the polo ponies) were sad old things with poorly trimmed feet, living in old fashioned straight stalls. The "special custom tack" was old saddles that needed re-stuffing, if not new trees in some cases, and bridles that were "handmade" apparently by 2nd graders who couldn't cut straight.

OK, the weirdest thing??? Only the top two tiers of riders "got" to use snaffles. The rank beginners up to high intermediate had to use full bridles with big fat reins that didn't fit our little hands. This was supposed to be hunt seat, btw.

OF COURSE these horses had mouths and jaws of iron.

What a horrid place. I can't believe so many superrich people sent their kids their to learn to "ride."

Lightness and harmony should be the ultimate goal of most any riding discipline, I think. I wish the judges and organizations would crack down on tyrannical riders.

(Whoever wrote about spade bits.... I've seen a few properly trained spade bit Arabs, and WOW! Talk about lightness!!! They weren't sad or angry horses, either.)

Em said...

Was that place in Indiana Delovely farm? I knew two girls with ridiculously expensive saddlebreds who flew there every month for lessons.

cattypex said...

no, it was Culver Academy.... I think they're supposed to be a lot better now.

Hope so....

Hunt seat & polo oriented back then.

See_Spot_Run said...

I see it in the hunter ring too. Years back, you would have gotten screwed over in a tack check for jumping in a standing martingale. Hunter horses jump in them all the time now. And, this girl I know, argued with me about draw reains and jumping in them. First of all, I find that jumpoing in anything that has the potential to restrict the horse's head is dangerous, and this girl had the nerve to say that it helps the horse "get round" over the jump. It does not, actually, it makes you look like quite the idiot little miss pony club. AND intructors suggest them. I have no plans (even though i am 14) to ride my appy in a martingale, or anything else like that. I am not a dressage expert, but it seems alot of people are not happy in the direction riding is going.

fire911medic said...

I have ridden dressage all of my life and competed through the upper levels.Appendix horse is my horse of choice,combo of QH/TB They are very soft mouthed and move at the slightest leg pressure and shift of your seat.A proper horse should resemble a ball with it's haunches and head being lower with the back and shoulders naturally elevated.Many horses go with their backs sucked under and their jaws stiff.It is truly rare to see a horse going properly at the upper levels.You still see okay horses until about 2nd level, then they are pushed into frames. there are several very nice horses which aren't warmbloods that are overlooked simply because they aren't warmbloods.
I don't start my horses until they are late 2 year olds they are sat on a few times, walked around and started longing on the large circle. They are introduced to long elastic side reins and encouraged to stretch into steady contact, but the side reins are adjusted to the length of a stretched neck so when they do stretch they find gentle contact. In no way do I use side reins to force them into a frame.At 3 they are taught walk, trot, introduced to leg yielding, working on the 20 meter circle and transitions within the walk and trot and halt working on the figure eight, serpantine, etc.They are also ridden extensively out on trails and up and down hills to help develop their hind end and encourage them to learn balance. At 4,they are introduced to the canter. Simple and flying changes are learned as the horse progresses. Everything is done at the horse's pace !I have a 21 year old appendix mare that I started as a 3 year old that currently does dressage better than any horse in my barn. I can still pull her out to a show and compete her never being out of the ribbons at large recognized shows. The constant comment I get from judges is "consistant horse with well developed muscles and proper topline". My horses go in the "ball fashion" and can beat the big warmbloods anyday !I quit training for other people despite my success as I was wanted to push horses more quickly than they were ready and owners thought it absurd to have a five year old that just went training solidly rather than having a horse that would last for many years competing without the need for injections. My horses get the time they need and last having long show careers. I wish more had this theory. I breed and train for longevity in the horses, not quick short term results. An eventing trainer once told me that if your horse didn't do well, you needed to go home and school him more properly rather than use gadgets to get the result you want. Nothing is more true, and rolkur is nothing more than a poorly designed gadget that ruins excellent horses. They don't want to stretch and never truly come forward. A properly moving horse from behind will have sweat from the girth line and behind with the vast majority on his haunches and softly chew the bit (a sign of acceptance and submission) as the haunches are what is doing the hardest work. Current horses have their necks and shoulders covered in sweat and foam from their mouths from pain and cranked necks, not acceptance. If you look at a horse going proper their eyes are soft and accepting, rolkur horses always seem to look in pain and never comfortable. Which way would you prefer?

Belbe said...

yeah, this is getting so out of hand that if the public opinion decides to mess around the horse world will be in big trouble, cos u know wa happens when the government passes laws: they're never written by anyone in the field, so really stupid stuff is going to come out! this Nezorov guy gives a great example of what you can achieve without any sort of constraint on a horse, not even a simple halter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx-z_SRRddA
but he was let to this extreme because of the absurdity we're seeing these days. If you see Philippe Karl work, the dude uses snaffle and curb yes, but his horses are as light to the aids as feathers and always look forward to work, giving him their best! the aids were meant as just that, aids! not punishment! and he can get any ordinary horse, no matter the conformation, to do a beautiful cadenced passage or piaffe. But his ideas aren't good for the business, cos if everyone could train like him, and the marks at the ring were given for the quality of training and not of the horse's genes, then who'd buy those german horses that are worth millions??

Thomas said...

I TOTALLY agree with you! I dont ride dressage, but I have spent a lot of time whaching the poor dressage horses with two bits in there mouth and a cruel rider. I believe in natural horsemanship, I ride and train bitless and bridleless. Most dressage riders say there horses need the bits, but that is so not true.

I think dressage is so much more beutiful done with out the metal in the mouth or heavy hands with wips.

horspoor said...

I agree, and I ride dressage. This isn't dressage...it is abuse. I see it invading pretty much all disciplines now. Pretty heinous. It is shameful, regardless of what you call it. I'll here the terms, bridled, softening, collected, deep, behind the verticle...yadda yadda. It is hyper flexion, and it is a nasty thing to do to your horse.

chrystyfrost said...

For those of whom have commented about the foamy mouth issue-- a foamy mouth is an excess saliva production caused by the metal of the bit, not necessarily a horse being submissive or calm or soft on the bit or responsive. I have read up on it and have found many sources on the internet and from vets that its just a reaction to the metal.

Belbe said...

Not quite so: saliva yes, foam no.
I sometimes ride in a Portuguese Curb bit on both my horses. It's a somwhat agressive curb (medium shanks, 14mm mouthpiece) so I don't use any pressure at all. It is a regular Stailness steel bit. My mare keeps it peacefully on her mouth somethimes toying with it sometimes not, my stallion fumbles around with it constantly. Neither of them ever shows any foam. why? because I don't use a noseband so they get to swallow all the saliva at will. With a cranck noseband they cannot swallow and they cannot mobilize and relax the jaw (the so called symbol of bit acceptance), so it spills out as copulous amounts of foam! heck I even used a salox alloy snaffle that induces extra salivation and still no foam, why? no cranck, no flash. Eeither they set in a rule that the noseband be completely loose and used as decoration or nosebands should be forbidden and the mouth inspected for any sort of tricky mouthpiece contraption. Horses should be completely free to show the judge just how much they like their training.