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FEI Launches Investigation into Odense Dressage Warm-Up & FEI Position on Hyperflexion

By on November 9, 2009
This is the modern version of Dressage showing the 'competition trot' with the front leg overextended and not parallel with the hind leg, plus the horse's head is behind the vertical. Notice the horse's rump high and not rounded - the horse is on his forehand and cannot make use of his backend for thrust. He is being ridden from front to back instead of back to front as in Classical Dressage. He may have been trained using hyperflexion (roll kur) techniques.

This is the modern version of Dressage showing the 'competition trot' with the front leg overextended and not parallel with the hind leg, plus the horse's head is behind the vertical. Notice the horse's rump high and not rounded - the horse is on his forehand and cannot make use of his backend for thrust. He is being ridden from front to back instead of back to front as in Classical Dressage. He may have been trained using hyperflexion (roll kur) techniques.

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.

See previous blog post: http://horsesinthesouth.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/28/dr-gerd-heuschmann-author-of-tug-of-war-dvd-if-horses-could-speak-lecture-clinic/ . Click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TahYWzsCdQM to watch a YouTube excerpt from his DVD which you can purchase from the Amazon.com link above. This should be ‘required reading’ for all of those who compete and for judges, if you do not know the true form of Classical Dressage or riding the horse from back to front to have a happy horse!

FEI POSITION ON HYPERFLEXION – updated 17.11.08

 “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.”

 David Holmes, Executive Sports Director

Associated info at HorseandHound.co.uk: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/291211.html

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.

The Classical Riding Club have also written to the FEI and are urging all members to sign their petition to the FEI to ban all hyperflexion in competition. 

Another YouTube video showing hyperflexion used in show jumpers and western riders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7o-Ref-owE

More to come on this important issue!!

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