I think that americans can have a wonderful work ethic and often try harder rather than try smarter. We often have little traditional background before we seek to specialize so there are holes in the conceptual knowledge upon which we seek to sail our ships. The more concept and good theory, the easier the analysis of the horse, uses of aids, etc. The more about mere lines and obedience the more we need better horseflesh to fill our missing parts. And we MUST value the older generation in this sport as well, they have seen alot, they have eliminated alot of possibilites, they learn more effective ways and have grasped concepts which the impetuousness of youth ignores. Our psyche works well for this sport, our thought that it comes quickly does not. If we want instant gratification, this is NOT the sport/art.
I believe we MUST have a deep philosophy in our souls to do this sport, we have discussed that here before. I also believe it must be underlied by an ethical relationship with the horse. Both were debated hotly.
We question authority now days because we can, and to our advantage (in legal suits). It is often not about who is right, but who can manipulate the laws. Children are not taught to respect authority because it is simply to hard, it doesnt feel good to the parent. Welll in that respect the people who judge are the elders, the ones who must instill limits because the 'parents' (aka teachers/trainers) have blown sunshine and stroked. In the end, the stoking causes the demises of civilizations.
So people take personal responsibility and are willing to take the heat, some hide from it, some jump from side to side.
As a parent of kids who were actively competing at a high level in their sports, I do think that some childrens self-value comes from the winning, rather than the effort they put into it and how well they try to perfect their skills. This means that the child can then be controlled in any direction.
Worst of all they follow the winners. This means if their hero does drugs, they might, if they wear niki, then they should. One only has to look to the use of square saddle pads everywhere which merely started as a way to keep your frock coat tails from having to be laundered so often, or to flash nosebands (look like an auction rider from Germany), the unbraided forelock (of a stallion who would not allow it) or the straight elbows (following a national winner) etc to see that people follow what they think are elements of a winner.....they only see what is different and copy. Its a joke. They follow eye pictures, and we get to where we are today...where many people think an open throatlatch is necessarily above the bit, rather than a product of correct balance.
Sportsmanship in kiddy culture gets lip service. The works 'good effort' when they screw up, but NO explaination about how to improve or change. And lots of reward for a 'win' over another team. Well there is always better or worse, but effort alone isnt enough either. Personal review, changing effort, directed studie are the hallmarks of a learning improving human. And further many/most parents hand their children over to others because the job is too hard. They run from hither to yon to compete, but spend little time in discussions.
Good dressage, good dog handling, good anything is obvious. But you have to have points of comparison. If youve never seen GP, its all exciting. See more and you see the good and the flaws. The most clear illustration is that people with no knowledge see the problems in a clear way, esp those from other sports. Balance is balance, and tension is tension.
Dressage has had review of tapes (for days) as a way of judging. But at this point tapes arent 3 d. The good loses something, the bad isnt as bad. What we need are that all judges worry more about their sport/arc and how it continues rather than about TV coverage and perception. I find it interesting that what was growing very quickly is not, people would rather stay at home and ride than get numbers and no comments. Perhaps their values are changing.
The iceskating at the olympics was full of strength, but beauty and flow are gone. Technique is important for art, and in removing school figures which require control of edges which in turn make for fluid jumps, the jumps now are strength only. Add foot work to try and get control of the edges for the judges to see, but its now gratuitous. Within riding its that the horse must NEVER show ANY loss of balance/bearing/frame....welll this is impossible there is no such horse because of the fragile nature of balance....make it so and the horses are posed (and based on the work of someone who did dressage for a whole four years first....LOL).
Challenge in discussions, know how to defend your position based upon theory, and ride each day with improvement and quieting the aids as a guideline.