Lynn asked: “At least here in the U.S., I get distressed at dressage competitions to see so many horses who are either behind the bit, or overbent, with trailing hocks or all of the above rewarded with high scores. In fact, it’s discouraged me completely from any plans to show my young Lipizzan-Arab competitively. What hope can you give me, if any?”
In general I fully agree with you. I too am distressed when improperly trained and ridden horses get rewarded with high scores. However, I am a bit confused with your lead in sentence “at least here in the US….” This implies to me that you have observed better practices in other parts of the world. Here I must disagree with you; unfortunately, I have observed behind the vertical/out behind all over the world!
We all hope to see horses shown at, or slightly in front of the vertical, with hind legs sufficiently under and carrying for the level shown. However, because of riding or training faults, this is not always what happens in the ring. It is also unfortunately a fact that some judges are better than others at seeing proper or improper ways of going, and at rewarding or punishing what they see. This should not keep you from having fun with your horse at horse shows. Just be careful and thorough with your training so that your young horse doesn’t fall into the category you asked about! Thank you for your question, and good luck!