Kihikihi (NZL), 1 April 2010 – The action in the 2010 HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing moves ‘down under’ where a determined Megan Jones (AUS) will be travelling back to New Zealand to defend her title at the Mitavite International Horse Trials at Kihikihi this weekend (2-4 April).
Jones was one of the most successful HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing riders in 2009, winning the Sydney (AUS) leg as well, and led the standings leaderboard for most of last year. If she can replicate that form, she will have as much chance as any of winning the lion’s share of the US$180,000 on offer to the top 15 riders in the series, which comes to a climax at Schenefeld (GER) in August after 12 CIC***-W events in 10 countries across three continents.
Jones is bringing the same horse as last time, her talented little home-bred grey Kirby Hall Irish Jester, on which she won a team silver medal and finished 4th individually at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong.
October 26, 2009 – The FEI is aware of the video filmed at the FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier at Odense (DEN) and posted on YouTube by Epona TV at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hIXGiV4N4k. FEI’s main concern has always been and will always be the welfare of the horse. We are taking the issues raised in the video and in the comments made by members of the public on social media and by email very seriously and have opened a full investigation. The conclusions of this investigation will be made public in due course.
Please read Dr. Gerd Heushmann’s book “Tug of War” and see his DVD “If Horses Could Speak” about the dangers of using this method of training and the long term effects of forcing horses to be hand ridden, ridden incorrectly from front to back which is is SUPPOSED TO BE as in Classical Dressage – from back to front, and pushing young horses into doing Dressage levels at too young an age before they have completely developed. I had posted that I interviewed him last week and will be posting more on this in the very near future. Click below to purhcase his book and DVD.
“The FEI held a successful seminar on Hyperflexion in 2006. There has been no change in the scientific evidence since that review. There are no known clinical side effects specifically arising from the use of Hyperflexion. However, there are concerns for the horses’ well-being if the technique is not practised correctly. The FEI does not permit excessive or prolonged Hyperflexion in any equestrian sport, and has a strict stewarding program to protect the performance horse in all disciplines.”
“The FEI regulates international competition principally. Also through its work it seeks to educate riders, trainers and judges thru their NFs how to deal with issues which have a bearing on the welfare of the horse. Where there is a specific training issue which brings the welfare of the horse into question it is for the NF to legislate at National level. At international competition level it is for the FEI to act. Through the ongoing training of stewards and all officials we seek to develop peoples understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable training techniques.”
British Horse Society chairman Patrick Print has since written to HRH Princess Haya requesting the FEI launch a second investigation into the practise of hyperflexion.
Print’s letter reads: “The concerns so widely expressed are reasonable and therefore deserving of an urgent two-part investigation: first, an inquiry into the treatment of this particular horse on this particular occasion; and, second, a broader inquiry into the ethics and consequences of hyperflexion. In this second aspect The British Horse Society stands ready to assist the FEI in any way it can.”
Forums are rife with angered comment on the topic and several facebook groups have been set up in condemnation of rollkur.
Dr Gerd Heuschmann, (www.gerdheuschmann.com) a veterinarian and well known dressage rider/trainer, author of the book “Tug of War” and the DVD “If Horses Could Speak” is coming to St Augustine for a book signing, lecture and two day riding clinic, October 29 through November 1st, 2009.
No charge for being a guest at the book signing, lecture is $50, riding (which includes Dr Heuschmann riding your horse) is $250, and auditing both days and lecture $125. If you wish to audit only the cost will be $80 for both days, $45 for one day.
Dr. Heuschmann was trained as a Bereiter (master rider) in Germany before qualifying for veterinary study at Munich University. There he specialized in equine orthopedics for two years before accepting a post as the head of the breeding department at the German Equestrian Federation. Dr. Heuschmann is a founding member of “Xenophon”, an organization dedicated to “fighting hard against serious mistakes in equestrian sports”. He is the author of the “Tug of War” and the DVD “If Horses Could Speak” which is the basis for his world-wide lectures.
By describing the basic anatomy and physiology of the horse, Dr. Heuschmann identifies widely-used incorrect training methods- especially in dressage- that can undermine a horse’s health and well being and offers the rider solutions that do not cause pain or fail to respect the mental habits and physiological needs of the horse. His dynamic teaching on the biomechanics of correct riding and proper training result in the horse’s improved mental and physical condition.