Helmets - Traditional top hat's in 2019 simply symbolise stupidity. You only have one head - protect it! If your ego needs photos in a top hat to prove 'elegance', should you be a role model in 2019? Lets think about this. Thankfully many role models in eventing do use their heads. This Thinking Award is for all of you wearing safety standard helmets in 2019.
Facial Expression Expert - Equine scientist spotted, clipboard in hand! Leading vet from the Animal Heath Trust and researcher Dr Sue Dyson spotted scrutinising facial expressions IN the dressage warm up. This is progress. Progress Over Perfection. Next year award could be to applying facial expressions to assist judges, commentators and horse lovers on how are horses feel...as Sue explains through the lens of science..."Grumpy ears" is an expression of...read the growing vault of studies on facial expressions and how our horses feel during positive and negative welfare states. For more information on welfare in 2019 click here.
"Au Naturalies" - Who are these riders? All who give their horse an opportunity to hear the environment. Riders demonstrate communication 'signal strength' by the presence of ear bonnets. Lets celebrate all who aspire or achieve 'au naturale' in 2019 - for horses. This includes no spurs, as rewarded by Peter Storr throughout the two days commentary. Less is more. Less weaponry. Less filtering. Less...
The Flying Change. The winning movement! The flying change is the welfare movement of dressage. It really exposes how a horse FEELS about the riders communication IN the movement and therefore challenges riders training. The flying change is my winner because of the clarity of communication required. Back to the phone signal analogy - it tests the signal strength between riders aids and horses response. In the words of Dressage rider and coach Pammy Hutton "muddled flying change" is the opposite of the dressage phase objective - 'harmony'.
Sam Griffiths my winner for sharing his authentic self, to thousands, making mistakes is normal and real. In an interview after forgetting the 20m circle in canter stretching Sam explained "I was a plonker". Sam thank you for being real. Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities, helping more riders be more themselves, no fake's here! The Being Authentic award on day 1 goes to Sam Griffiths.
Pammy Hutton wins Self Improvement award. For being the change, as hard and as challenging as it was, Pammy worked on her mistakes over the two days, re-wiring her neural pathways to comment on horses actual gender , replacing "it" with "he or she" - To no more "it"'s for horses. Well done Pammy, for leaning into difficult for you, to be the change our horses need.
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