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Video: FEI promises more action on Rollkur

February 10, 2010

A still from the 'blue tongue video' that sparked the Rollkur debate: Swedish rider Patrick Kittel rides the stallion Watermill Scandic, at Odense in October. The FEI recently said it had found "no reliable evidence" that the warmup techniques used by Kittel were excessive.

A round-table discussion on Rollkur by FEI officials yesterday has declared that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable, and aggressive riding must be sanctioned.

The group of 23, which included FEI veterinary representatives and officials from dressage, jumping and eventing, and two World Horse Welfare officials, unanimously agreed that any form of aggressive riding must be sanctioned, and emphasised that the main responsibility for the welfare of the horse rests with the rider.

During the meeting FEI President Princess Haya accepted a petition of 41,000 signatories against Rollkur presented by Dr Gerd Heuschman.

FEI round-table conference participants.
The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horse's neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable. The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable, the group said.

A working group is to be established by the FEI, headed by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman, to expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of the anti-hyperflexion policy.

However, the group also agreed that no changes were required to the current FEI Rules.

FEI Management is studying a range of additional measures, including the use of closed circuit television for warm-up arenas at selected shows.

The meeting was at IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.



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