FEI Rules for Dressage Article 401 states:

Object and general principles: The object of dressage is the development of the horse into a happy athlete through harmonious education. As a result, it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with the athlete.

the complete rules of dressage are here

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The composition of the FEI working group tasked with expanding current guidelines for Stewards to facilitate clear implementation of the policy on warm-up techniques following on from last week’s round-table conference on hyperflexion/Rollkur has been finalised today.

As announced after last week’s conference in Lausanne, the working group will be chaired by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman. Group members are Richard Davison (GBR), Rider/Trainer; John P. Roche (IRL), FEI Director Jumping/Stewarding; Jacques Van Daele (BEL), FEI Honorary Dressage Steward General/Judge; Wolfram Wittig (GER), Trainer; and Trond Asmyr (NOR), FEI Dressage Director/Judge. The working group will also draw on the expertise of a number of other specialists, including but not limited to the participants of the round-table conference*. The working group aims to have the guidelines completed by the end of March 2010.|

The guidelines produced by the group will be communicated directly to Stewards and also to riders and trainers. The working group is expected to put forward further proposals for the education of Stewards to ensure that FEI rules are strictly adhered to and that the welfare of the horse is maintained at all times.

Guidelines for Stewards will incorporate the use of a range of sanctions, including verbal warnings and yellow cards for riders who transgress. Stewards will also be readvised to watch out for signs of distress in the horse, which may include but are not limited to obvious fatigue, profound or inappropriate sweating, persistent rough use of aids (i.e. bits, spurs or whip) and over-repetition of exercises.

The FEI Management is also currently studying a range of additional measures, including the use of closed circuit television for warm-up arenas at selected shows so that potential abuse accusations can be more readily identified and recorded.

The FEI will ensure that all findings produced by the working group are communicated on an ongoing basis.

Source: FEI.Org

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So much for the idea that the rollkur/dutch system is only for ELite riders


if i were a conspiracy theorist I would wonder about the timing of the FEI meeting, the LDR site, AVGs clinic explaining her "methods" and now this site....


Friday, February 12, 2010

Gerd Heuschmann talks about the Feb 9 FEI Rollkur Meeting

Translation of CAVALLO interview with Gerd Heuschmann

" A big step toward animal protection" No alibi meeting: Yesterday’s FEI meeting on Hyperflexion and Rollkur is rated as a success. In the interview Dr. Gerd Heuschmann explains the calm resolutions.

CAVALLO: You participated in the FEI Rountable discussion. What did the meeting achieve?

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann: It was a very good meeting. The FEI President, Princess Haya, left no doubt that the world rider federation is looking for solutions. That was not meeting to establish an alibi, but rather a strenuous discussion. Despite the heterogeneity of the participants - the representatives of the different riding disciplines who were present - we really got somewhere.

What was established that can be applied in practice?

For one thing, we clarified how the terms Hyperflexion and Rollkur and LDR (Low, Deep and Round) are defined on the international level. We agreed – and this is a big achievement – that Hyperflexion and Rollkur have negative effects on the horse’s health and are understood as being achieved through aggressive riding, which will no longer be tolerated as of now.
We defined the LDR method as tolerable. We started with the assumption that a horse can assume a low position (of the head and neck), but only if this happens without force. I personally don’t find this to be the correct foundation for dressage training, but for us the (implied) success for the animal protection campaign takes precedence.

Wherein does this success lie exactly?

Beginning immediately, we said good-bye yesterday to aggressive riding, which is flatly condemned. In the future, eyes will no longer be closed toward violent anger and unfair behavior directed at horses at competition venues. We’re working out how to give Stewards a helping hand (in this department).
On this basis, warnings can be issued in the warm-up ring. That was supported by all disciplines. Tieing the horse into knots with rolled up necks is rejected. That alone, if you look at the list of participants, is a real breakthrough.

Does that also mean that Rollkur supports must revise their thinking?

That’s right. We now have created a foundation on the basis of which it is possible to draw a very clear line. Stewards must be trained to carry out this decision. And all competitors must be clear as to whether they fall into the positive or negative – and therefore unallowable – range.
Stewards today are still afraid to correct someone in the warm-up. That has to change. We have to put judges on the side of the Stewards to strengthen their position.

Your bottom line on this meeting?

We found the greatest possible common denominator. That is a huge success in view of the way this committee is composed. Therefore I say: We have made an enormous step forward on animal protection. The world rider federation understood that the sport has a fundamental problem that must be solved. And that it’s not just about damage control with regard to our image.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Colonel Carde - Sayin' it like it is!

[emphasis is editors]

Colonel Carde : Response to the FEI statement regarding the Feb.9th FEI roundtable on Rollkur/Hyperflexion

I am not surprised with the outcome of the meeting. Had the FEI truly condemned the hyper flexion of the neck, it would have rejected the training technique behind the success of a triple Olympic champion, and disowned the judges, trainers and riders who have benefited from it until now.

In reading the text of the FEI’s press release, we find that the FEI is now authorizing Hyperflexion when it is obtained without force (“Using the technique known as Low, Deep, Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without under force in acceptable”.) It appears the roundtable of February 9th did not really change anything.

To justify its position, the FEI committee implied that Rollkur and LDR are different. They chose to completely ignore the history of Rollkur. One must remember that this training technique was developed by trainer Sjef Janssen who baptized it “Low, Deep and Round”. It then became commonly referred to as Rollkur by Swede Theresa Sandin on her website. Without a doubt, Rollkur and LDR are exactly the same technique as all the pictures published on this topic can attest to.

In reality, it would have been better to set aside Rollkur and LDR which are one and the same, and focus the discussion instead on hyper flexion, which is easier to define. To forbid Rollkur and authorize LDR is meaningless. It is akin to forbidding the consumption of pork but allowing pig!

In the final analysis, the conclusions arrived at by the FEI will only be valid if the FEI produces different photos showcasing on the one hand, the difference between Rollkur and LDR, and on the other hand photos showing horses in the authorized LDR posture. Otherwise, the ambiguity will remain.

Reponse du Colonel Carde au communique de la FEI regardant la conference sur le rollkur du 9 Fevrier, 2010

Je ne suis pas surpris car en condamnant l’hyper-flexion de l’encolure, la FEI rejetait un procédé qui avait fait les succès d’une triple championne olympique et désavouait les juges les entraîneurs et les cavaliers qui s’en étaient accommodés jusqu’à présent.

Mieux, si on lit avec attention le communiqué de la FEI on s’aperçoit que la FEI autorise l’Hyper flexion lorsqu’elle n’est pas obtenue en force (The technique known as Low Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable.) La réunion du 9 février n’a donc rien véritablement changé.

Pour justifier sa position le groupe de travail du 9 Février a laissé entendre que Roll Kur et LDR étaient différents. Or c’est faire table rase de l’historique: il faut se souvenir que ce procédé LDR (low, deep and round) inventé et baptisé ainsi par l’entraîneur Sjef Janssen, a été ensuite appelé familièrement Rollkur par la suédoise Teresa Sandin sur son site internet, mais c’est exactement la même chose, toutes les nombreuses photos publiées à ce sujet l’attestent.

En réalité il faut oublier Rollkur et LDR, identiques, et parler d’hyper flexion plus facile à définir. Interdire le Rollkur et autoriser le LDR n’a donc pas de sens : c’est un peu comme interdire de manger du porc et autoriser à manger du cochon !

Et les conclusions de la réunion du 9 Février ne seront vraiment convaincantes que si la FEI produit différentes photos montrant, d’une part, la différence qui existerait entre Roll Kur et LDR, d’autre part montrant des chevaux dans l’attitude LDR autorisée. Sinon l’ambiguïté demeurera.

A well stated summary of what came out of the FEI meeting on Rollkur / Hyperflexion / LDR on Feb 9

Quoting Caroline :

"And that is the absolute beauty of relabelling hyperflexion LDR. Long, Deep and Round, a technique anyone can use, with the correct gadgetry of course.

Wondering how soon we are going to see LDR training books and videos now that the rollkur posture has been legitimized by the FEI.

And notice, not a word about research, not one. So, the same posture (rollkur/Hyperflexion = Sjeff LDR) that Dr.Heuschmann said did not require force since a 125lb woman could exert 1,000 of pressure on the poll when pulling the head in at a specific angle, well that posture that needed to be studied to establish conclusively if it did or did not impact airways, vision, brain cooling, osseification of the upper cervical spine and sacrum, the neurological system, the mind an behavior of horses, that posture will not be studied.

I would have been very happy if all that came out of that meeting was a commitment on Haya's part to provide a budget for research by 3rd parties.
I am confident enough in my understanding of the horse's body to think the anti-rollkur/hyperflexion/LDR techniques would have had to be dismissed eventually.

I also thought that with research we had a common ground between pros and antis. Because as many have pointed out here, we all love our horses and if it was proven conclusively that these techniques affect even one area of the horse's health, I know many pros would look for safer techniques.

There had to be a reason why for five years now at every discussion on this subject the FEI would vaguely speak of needing research and why yesterday the whole issue was neatly put to bed an research was not mentioned.

It appears that the kudos around the room are in great part due to the British Horse Welfare society pushing an animal welfare agenda - everyone agreed that violent and unfair riders should be penalized regardless of head and neck position.

Well, duh, was that not already outlined in the rule book before?

This is one big joke."

Source: Chonicle of the Horse Forums

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

EuroDressage Editorial gives a good roundup of the results of the FEI meeting on Rollkur/Hyperflexion/LDR on Feb 9


9th February 2010 - Redefinition

"The entire dressage world looked with much anticipation to the FEI Round Table Conference on the Rollkur held at the FEI Headquarters in Lausanne on 9 February 2010. Already little before 5 PM, the official FEI press release arrived in mailboxes world-wide with the big, bold headline "Rollkur Controversy Resolved!" Could it actually be that the FEI has taken the path of clarity and decision?

What an optimistic stand and quick solution for a debate that has been raging for more than five years. In 2006 a similar pseudo-work group was assembled following an international dispute which arose mainly between Holland and Germany after the publication of the "Dressage Perverse" article in the August edition of the German equestrian magazine St. Georg."


"Fast forward to 2010. Footage of Patrik Kittel training his Grand Prix horse Scandic in the rollkur for an extended period of time with the horse's tongue briefly hanging limp and blue out of the mouth, had masses of people rearing as they recognized an aggressive riding style in the video clip against the welfare of the horse. A barrage of emails was sent to the FEI in request of action. The Round Table Conference was the FEI's answer.

And what is the results: redefinition of the redefinition. Only progress in the linguistic field has been made. What a pity dressage is an active sport, not one of words. Hyperflexion no longer covers the cargo. This FEI term has become more quickly out of fashion than crocs. Let's call it "Long Deep and Round" (LDR) and the problem might be solved... for another few years."

read more here

Double Speak anyone? FEI speaks out re: Feb 9 mtg

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Philippe Karl Statement re: FEI meeting

"The FEI has bravely decided to make no decision at all. Rollkur isn't officially permitted, but the same posture persists under another name (Low, Deep and Round). The rules haven't changed and everything will go on as before, in the most perfect hypocrisy. But we're not giving up yet; rather, we will continue to fight against this catastrophe."

Die FEI hat beherzt entschieden, nichts zu entscheiden. Die Rollkur ist offiziell nicht erlaubt, aber dieselbe Haltung bleibt uns unter anderem Namen („Low, Deep and Round“) erhalten. Das Reglement ändert sich nicht und alles wird so weiterlaufen wie bisher, in tadelloser Scheinheiligkeit. Wir geben jedoch nicht auf, sondern werden weiter gegen diese Katastrophe kämpfen.

La FEI a courageusement décidé de ne rien décider. La Rollkur n’est pas autorisée officiellement, mais l’attitude reste d’actualité sous un autre nom (LDR). Le règlement ne change pas et tout continuera comme avant, dans l’hypocrisie la plus parfaite. Mais nous n’abandonnons pas, nous allons continuer à nous battre contre cette catastrophe.

Philippe Karl

Courtesy of HFL Facebook

FEI changes it's press release

In my earlier post re: the FEI statement from the Round table meeting they said LDR= Low, Deep and Round, however the current statement on their site says LDR = LONG, deep and round.


Anky Van Grunsven: Expert in LDR says Richard Davison / Kittle video does not show "excessive Force" reports Times Online

Rollkur, which the FEI has defined as “flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force” (ie, the horse’s head is pulled in tight so that its nose is close to its chest) came under scrutiny after YouTube footage of Patrick Kittell, the Sweden rider, riding his stallion Watermill Scandic for a lengthy period in an extreme overbent position at the Odense Show last October. Although the FEI concluded that there was no reliable evidence that the warm-up techniques used by Kittel “were excessive” the footage created such an outcry from the public with regard to horse welfare that the FEI launched a significant review of warm-up techniques.

The decision to ban the practice of rollkur followed a meeting at the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne yesterday chaired by Princess Haya, the president of the FEI and involving key equestrian riders, judges and officials of World Horse Welfare. Before the meeting Princess Haya was given a petition of 41,000 signatories against rollkur.

Richard Davison, the captain of the British dressage team, said yesterday that the ban would not affect any of the present members of the team because none of them uses the system in their training. But Davison, a triple Olympian and the manager of the British team at the Beijing Olympic Games two years ago, had some sympathy with the users of this system — when it is done correctly.

“It’s the ultimate in a whole body workout for the horse — and when it’s practiced by experts such as Anky Van Grunsven [the triple olympic gold medal-winner] and not overdone I think it’s acceptable”, he said.


Aggressive or just LDR - It's the Stewards who decide.

An aggressive riding should be stopped. That sounds good so far. But how exactly looks this aggressive riding, which will define the disciplines in their committees now. "Princess Haya's in which interviews are very sure that was discussed soberly and issue oriented," says Dr. Heuschmann. Next was trying to restrict the query.What is Rollkur what hyperflexion? Where is the LDR method (Long, deep and round) to settle? Anky van Grunsven husband, the Dutch national coach Sjef Janssen has shown his "training method". The short also invited Dutchman Rene van Weeren from the University of Utrecht in 2006 brought his Rollkur the workshop in Lausanne Lecture presented once more to be heard. "Tierschutzrelveant However, with relatively innocuous images - was not that," says Dr. Heuschmann. "The question of whether we want this way to train a dressage horse, of course, is another matter." Important, says Dr. Heuschmann, is that not just too deep neck position was problematic. "Even if a horse up close contracts, so supposedly" short "does, and his head and drags out, maybe even with extreme use of spurs, he'll be held accountable." That this is the future of an infringement is to find I am a step in the right direction. " It has become clear that it struggles to Abreiteplätzen should not be around. "The fact that we have come (Heuschmann and British animal rights activists from World Horse Welfare) with more than 40,000 signatures from different sites in the briefcase in Lausanne, has strengthened our position even I think. Thus at the table was clear to all that sport has an image problem among the public. "Now it remains to be seen to act as the stewards of the future Abreiteplätzen.

Courtesy of ST. Georg

FEI Round-Table Conference Resolves Rollkur Controversy 09/02/2010

"Following constructive debate at the FEI round-table conference at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne today (9 February), the consensus of the group was that any head and neck position of the horse achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable. 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 unanimously agreed that any form of aggressive riding must be sanctioned. The FEI will establish a working group, headed by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman, to expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of this policy. The group agreed that no changes are required to the current FEI Rules."

More here

Monday, February 8, 2010

German Equestrian Federation to the FEI:

The German Equestrian Federation took an official stand against rollkur or hyperflexion in the following statement:

Every training method, be it for the long-term training at home or in the warm-up area of horse shows, must be in line with animal welfare and the fundamental principles of the equestrian federations. These principles are laid down in the national and international rule books, in the official instruction handbook (Richtlinien) of the German Equestrian Federation, but also in the FEI Dressage Handbook.

The first principles that are quoted below cannot be taken exclusively for judging dressage competitions. These stipulations are derived from the horse’s nature and must therefore be adhered to in every training session and in warm-up areas in all disciplines:

Object and General Principles of Dressage
The object of dressage is the development of the horse into a happy athlete through harmonious education. As a result, it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with the rider.
These qualities are revealed by:

• The freedom and regularity of the paces.
• The harmony, lightness and ease of the movements.
• The lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters, originating from a lively impulsion.
• The acceptance of the bridle, with submissiveness / throughness (Durchlässigkeit) without any tension or resistance.” …

In all disciplines, observing the suppleness of a horse plays a key role in training, warming-up for the competition and in the competition itself.


Indications of suppleness are:
A content happy expression – freedom from anxiety.
• The elasticity of the steps – the ability to stretch and contract the musculature smoothly and fluently.
• A quiet mouth gently chewing the bit with an elastic contact.
• A swinging back with the tail carried in a relaxed manner.
• Soft and rhythmical breathing, showing that the horse is mentally and physically relaxed.”

This suppleness cannot be completely achieved at all times. But every training with horses that clearly contradicts the above-mentioned criteria must be declined!

Therefore the riding method which is called “hyperflexion” is characterized by an extremely deep flexion of the horse’s head and neck and the rider’s reins forcing the horse to take its mouth clearly towards its chest and shoulder joint - is clearly unacceptable.

In the internationally accepted system, priority is not just given to the result in the dressage arena, in the jumping course or in the cross-country. The responsibility of the federations and all persons involved in the sense of a “happy athlete” also covers the training and warm-up for the competition.

In order to duly respect the internationally recognised education and training principles of classical riding instruction and of animal welfare, from our point of view the statements below must basically and essentially be observed. Every horseman knows that momentary deviations are possible in certain situations. But these should be avoided as far as possible.

• Even in an intense training session, the harmony in the movement of horse and rider may not be lost.
• The mounted horse must be able to balance itself unobstructed, not cramped. To that end it does need a certain freedom to move, particularly in its neck.
• A forced posture where the rider does not work with the horse any more, but against it, must not be accepted. A strong bending or compression of the s-formed cervical spine is detrimental to the elasticity and flexibility of the whole spine across the back to the tail. Any kind of extreme overexpansion (in all directions) is therefore unacceptable.
• A rude action of the rider, particularly if it can be observed sustainably, must not be accepted.
• A total mental servility of the horse (in a position of head and neck that considerably limits the horse’s visual field) must be declined.

Temporary moments in training with deeper (not significantly tighter) positioning of head and neck with a recognisable confidence of the horse to the rider’s hand do not contradict the above-mentioned principles. However, the aim of dressage work is a horse that balances and carries itself!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Open Letter to FEI from Dr. Gerd Heuschmann Dec 2009


Open Letter as of December 18th, 2009

Attn: FEI

- German National Equestrian Federation (FN)

- German National Horse Judges Association

To whom it may concern:

More than two years have passed since I sent my last letter to you. I have neither received a reply nor have I gotten the feeling that you have actually looked into and dealt with all those questions that – it seems to me – have become really urgent and important by now.

Decades ago, you chose or, for that matter, started tolerating a way of schooling and training horses that values spectacular performances higher than established principles in order to fill stadiums, achieve higher TV ratings and enthuse the masses. This movement periodically reaches new climaxes every other year. Looking at the economical side of the horse industry only, you might very well see a considerable increase, i.e. success. Looking at current events though with YOUR teachings and ethical principles in mind, which every organization or club directly or indirectly imposes on itself by ways of its regulations, you are facing an incredible defeat.

Do you actually still care about the horses themselves as formulated in most of your rules and regulations?

I cannot shake the impression that horses have become mere extras such as bikes to the Tour de France and that the actual goals are fame and money. I understand that no one likes to question themselves and to admit mistakes that might have been made. However, you cannot honestly believe that those people, who are still tuning in and applauding, will continue to do so once they realize that most of what is happening is make-belief at the expense of the horse. The sentiment is about to change! The regulations of the FEI describe a well-trained horse as a “happy athlete”, they speak of looseness and impulsion generated in the hindquarters. Reading this, my only reaction was: How stupid do you think we are? Is there any other sport in the world where doing the exact opposite of what the regulations prescribe is generally tolerated? Exactly these rules are still valid, are they not? From a historical perspective, they have been tested over centuries and approved.

You award a horse a score high enough to break the world record that does not fulfill any of your own criteria. You are looking for flexible and systematically trained “back movers”, yet you make “leg movers” superstars, that are shown in a skillful and technically accomplished way. For reasons of credibility, however, the Germans have been enforcing a very offensive and transparent anti-doping policy. We are working hard on doping regulations, but forget to ask ourselves what the reasons for the increasing number of doping incidents are. In this context, should we not be asking why so much treatment in the area of orthopedic and psychopharmacological issues is necessary in the first place? Is it not the case that a horse trained and presented according to the principles of classical teachings (regulations of FEI and FN) – a horse that moves cadenced and balanced, shows self-carriage, looseness and whose back muscles are flexible – requires considerably less medical attention than a “leg mover” full of negative tension?

Classical teachings equal actively practiced animal protection!

How do you suggest veterinary doctors are supposed to react when, shortly before a show, “sports equipment” worth millions of dollars suddenly “breaks”? Would you as a rider, owner or trainer, who is directly involved, not be tempted to fix it? Which role does the veterinary profession play in all of this? On the one hand, a vet has an obligation towards the owner (and the horse?) and receives great questionable honor if his efforts to fix the damage pay off without being picked up on during doping tests. On the other hand, this vet will always exist in some gray area of legality since only these kinds of actions show that you are a good vet, who can join the conversations at the top of the “food chain”.

Why are so many institutions and educated people concerned about damage control and the treatment of symptoms? Riding as a sport on such a high level is also about culture and art. It is supposed to create role models instead of questionable superstars. If doping regulations were as clear as they are said to be and if we did not want any medical intervention, why do people require team veterinarians to be taken to shows? In case of emergency, a vet carefully chosen by the event’s organizer may just as well tend to the horse – and besides, almost everyone knows how to hold a hose pipe to cool down a horse or its legs. What do we expect from a “personal” vet during such an event? Have you ever thought about the condition that ends most of the promising careers in dressage?

More and more often, dressage horses, which were showered with glory only a day ago, vanish from the main stage. Only in rare cases can a downfall be predicted because of massive swelling above the fetlocks. Most of the damage to the suspensory ligament is caused in the respective fetlock, invisible from the outside. Usually, lame excuses are being used even though it should be obvious to every horseman – no matter if he is involved in auctions or in the show circuit – that an increase in negative tension causes an increase in this type of injuries! Even in world championships for young horses, forelegs flung about in a showy and flashy way receive the highest scores! These kinds of movements originate from tense back muscles rather than from active hindquarters. There is no way that only “leg movers” should win and that we should simply approve of the extremely high drop-out rate with regard to “show movers”! Another issue related to the problem discussed here is the fact that real collection does not exist anymore. It is biomechanically impossible for a horse with tense back muscles to flex or bend its haunches. Nowadays, horses that we assume to be flexing their haunches really only are pushed together and were trained to fling up their legs.

Attempts to explain uncontrollable psychological tension in high-performance horses by means of their lineage and bloodline are plain ridiculous. As every experienced rider knows, negative physical tension always causes psychological agitation and stress. When a horse is skittish and hard to control, this is usually not its own fault or its own doing! A correctly trained horse is calm and has strong nerves because it is relaxed (especially with regard to its muscles) and trusts its rider. There will always be misunderstandings with regard to classical teachings – we are merely humans after all. However, such systematic aberrations are incomprehensible and unacceptable to me!

Moreover, there will never be “new” or revised teachings of how to ride and train a horse. Horses have always been horses and will always be. The psychological and physiological concept, which is the basis of classical teachings, will always remain valid. There is no doubt that there will always be well schooled “back movers” with a flexible back and relaxed muscles displaying movements that are balanced and natural (i.e., not artificial or showy). It also goes without saying that there will always be “leg movers”, pushed together by impatient and insensitive riders. In my opinion though, it is high time that the people responsible for defining and implementing the rules of our sport finally remember what they decided on and start putting it into practice. How is it possible that our distinguished and professionally competent national trainer repeatedly recommends the renunciation of the training scale as the only way to be successful? The balancing act between theoretical commitment and practical implementation that has been practiced over the last decades is starting to hurt badly – especially the horses. I only see one way out of this calamity: consequently and unequivocally following and practicing the core principles as defined in the Principles of Riding (as published by FNverlag, Germany, or Kenilworth Press, UK, for the English translation)! Let us once again adhere to our rules and regulations!

About 50 years ago, Dr. Gustav Rauh said that it was a judge’s honorable task to distinguish a “leg mover” from a “back mover”. A “leg mover” should never be considered for high rankings even if his performance was technically perfect. Only “back movers” could be in the rankings – the quality of technique was only judged after making sure that a horse really was a “back mover”.

How are riders at grass-roots level supposed to interpret world record-high scores for “leg movers”? Do you honestly believe that you can continue to fool the public in this way? Where is this journey supposed to go? Where is this ride headed?

Yours sincerely,

Gerd Heuschmann

Veterinarian and author (Finger in der Wunde [Tug of War], Stimmen der Pferde, Mein Pferd

hat die Nase vorn!)

Colonel Carde to Dr. Heuschmann


Letter from Colonel Carde to Dr. Heuschmann in preparation for the FEI Feb. 9th discussion.

Dear Gerd,

You have been invited to take part in the FEI roundtable discussion scheduled for February, 9th.

At the heart of the debate will be the hyperflexion of the horse’s neck. I want to personally let you know that like many trainers, judges and thousands of riders, all my thoughts will be with you on that day.

Rollkur must be strongly discouraged in riding/training and banned from competition:

- Because it has no place in a philosophy of training designed to develop horses into happy athletes.
- Because it is contrary to the classical Dressage principles applied in all the Schools.*
- Because it is dangerous to the horse's health when badly executed – which is the overwhelming majority of cases.

In Dressage competition, it must be forbidden for the entire duration of the competitions. In order to implement this rule, at the very least, the warm-up should be monitored by a judge and at the very best, it should be scored and that score should be included in the competitors' final ranking.

Good luck, we are counting on you.

Colonel Christian Carde
Ancien écuyer en chef de l’Ecole Nationale d’Equitation et du Cadre Noir de Saumur
(Former Head Rider of the French National School of Riding and of the Cadre Noir in Saumur.)

Cher Gerd,

Vous avez été invité à participer à une réunion le 9 février à la FEI. L’hyper-flexion de l’encolure sera au cœur des débats. Je tiens à vous dire que, comme de nombreux entraîneurs, de nombreux juges et des milliers de cavaliers, je serai avec vous ce jour là par la pensée. Il faut que le Roll Kur soit déconseillé dans la pratique équestre, et interdit en compétition:

- parce qu’il n’a pas sa place dans une philosophie de l’action qui conduirait à faire du cheval un athlète heureux,
- parce qu’il est contraire aux principes classiques de dressage des chevaux dans toutes les Ecoles,

- parce qu’il est dangereux pour la santé des chevaux lorsqu’il est mal employé c'est-à-dire dans la plupart des cas. Dans les compétitions de Dressage il faut qu’il soit interdit sur toute la durée du concours. Pour que ceci soit appliqué il est nécessaire, au moins, que la détente des chevaux soit surveillée par un juge, au mieux, qu’elle soit notée et que la notation compte dans le classement final des

Bon courage, nous comptons sur vous.

Colonel Christian Carde
Ancien écuyer en chef de l’Ecole Nationale d’Equitation
et du Cadre Noir de Saumur


A special thank you to Caroline Larrouilh for her efforts and bringing this material forward, who continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes, in her work against rollkur and for the good of the horse.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Klaus Balkenhol Letter to The FEI for the February 9th Meeting

Original source:

(Translated from the German)

Originally Sent Feb. 3 2010
Federation Equestre International
Avenue Rumine 37
CH – 1005 Lausanne Rosendahl

February 3, 2010

Dear Sirs and Madames:

We submit herewith some comments concerning your upcoming roundtable discussion, scheduled for February 9th, at which you will be establishing a final plan for the handling of the topic of Rollkur/Hyperflexion.

Those of us who have signed this letter wish to point out sharply that new or amended rules with regard to the accepted classical precepts of riding, which are contained in the guidelines written down in your Handbook, are absolutely superfluous and therefore unnecessary. These precepts, which the FEI has up until now felt obliged to uphold, are already fully developed, tried and tested! They are already recognized world-wide as authoritative, and as fair to the horse. Based on centuries of experience, they offer a stable and secure foundation even for today’s riding.

No changes may be made that constitute a burden to the well-being of the horse, either physically or mentally. If you accept riding in hyperflexion as a permissible training method, you legitimize aggressive riding. We protest that in the strongest possible terms!

As horse people, we expect the FEI to maintain unaltered their regulations, which have until now been valid, resting as they do upon the classical precepts of riding – for the good of the horses and the continued good repute of international equestrian sport.

The undersigned support this statement:

Klaus Balkenhol (Olympic medalist)

(Joined by, in alphabetical order)
- Laura Bechtolsheimer (British Record Holder, 3. Europameisterschaften 2009)
- Wilfried Bechtolsheimer (Trainer)
- Harry Boldt, Dressur. Doppel-Olympiasieger, früherer Bundestrainer Dressur, GBR
- Beatrice Büchler-Keller, Swiss, FEI O-Richter
- Nadine Capellmann, Dressur, Olympiasiegrin

- Hans Günter Winkler (Olympic medalist)
- Michael Klimke, Deuscther Meister, Dressur
- Ingrid Klimke (Olympic medalist)
- Ruth Klimke (Vice President of the German Riders Union)
- Ann Kathrinne Linsenhoff, Olympiasiegerin, WElt- und Europameisterin, Mitglied im FN-Präsidium
- Carsten Huck, Springen, Olympia Bronze-Gewinner
- Beezie Madden (Olympic medalist)
- John Madden (Trainer)
- Debbie McDonald (Olympic Bronze medalist)
- Susanne Miesner (Trainer)
- George Morris (Chef d’equipe USEF show jumping team, Olympic silver medalist)
- Martin Plewa (former German national Three-Day Event trainer, Director of the Riding and Driving School of Westfalia)
- Michael Putz (Trainer and judge)
- Klaus-Martin Rath (Trainer, member of the Dressage Committee of the German Olympic Committee)
- Matthias Alexander Rath (German Meister 2009)
- Michael Robert, Olympia-Gewinner Bronze, Trainer
- Hinrich Romeike (Olympic medalist)
- Hubertus Schmidt (Olympic medalist)
- Günter Seidel (Olympic bronze medalist)
- Christine Stückelberger (Olympiic medalist)\
- Paul Stecken (Trainer)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Horses for Life - free Rollkur issue....

this magazine has done a nice job getting info out there.

they have decided to make the entire "Enough is Enough" issue free..

Please click on this link - lots of great info ..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Please pass it along!!!!

Dear Friends,

On Feb.9th, the FEI will hold a closed door, no press allowed meeting to discuss Rollkur for the fifth time.

The list of invitees (see www.projecthorse.blogspot.com for complete list and contact info) is long but of those invited, only one man has spoken up loudly agaisnt rollkur again and again and refused to be silenced. That one man, Dr. Heuschmann will stand quite alone in a room dominated by interests that have nothing to do with the good of the horse. Please show him and the FEI that his fight, our fight, has not been in vain and that there are thousands upon thousands of horse lovers who stand with him.

YOU can HELP Dr. Heuschmann put an end to rollkur on Feb. 9th by signing your name to to a list he will take with him. Every voice is needed, it is time to step up and be counted for the good of our horses. There are several petitions, please pick one and sign and pass the info along!


If you want to help Dr. Heuschmann prevail, ban rollkur a please share this message with everyone you know, use your Facebook page, twitter, blogs, phone. Together lets make a difference.

You are very welcome to share this email with everyone you know.

Thank you.

Compassion is not a four letter word.

Monday, February 1, 2010

BHS Speaks out against Rollkur / Hyperflexion /LDR

Hyperflexion Statement

As the debate over the use of hyperflexion as a training technique continues, The British Horse Society’s policy may be stated as follows:

The British Horse Society strongly recommends that all riders training horses on the flat and over fences should adhere to the official instruction handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation. Whilst we appreciate that horses are as individual as humans, and that some may require corrective schooling, the BHS’s stand on hyperflexion (by which we mean the extreme flexion of the horse’s head and neck beyond normal limits) remains clear: it is an unacceptable method of training horses by any rider for any length of time.

We recognise that the scientific evidence is conflicting, and likely to remain so as each party seeks determinedly to prove its case. For this reason we doubt that science will ever provide a single, clear, unambiguous and unarguable answer. It therefore falls to humans to do what the horses cannot, namely to follow the precautionary principle: as nature provides no evidence of horses choosing to move in hyperflexion for an extended period of time; and as hyperflexion can create tension in the horse’s neck and back which has no justifying necessity; and as the horse in hyperflexion is, by definition, unable fully to use its neck; and as the psychological consequences of such treatment remain latent (perhaps in an analogous position with horses which are whipped aggressively but which can still pass a five star vetting), we should take all appropriate steps to discourage the use of this training technique, for the horse’s sake.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Many Petitions . please sign one



please let me know if there are others i am missing and i will post them here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Contact info of attendees of the Feb 9 FEI Rollkur Rountable mtg

Edited on Feb 18, 2020 this is the actual list of folks that attended the meeting, and below this is the original post with addresses etc.

HRH Princess Haya, FEI President

Alex McLin, FEI Secretary General
International Dressage Riders Club, Margit Otto-Crepin
International Dressage Trainers Club, Linda Keenan
Francois Mathy, International Jumping Riders Club
David Broome, jumping representative
Sjef Janssen, dressage representative
Jonathan Chapman, Event Riders Association
Graeme Cooke, FEI Veterinary Director
Trond Asmyr, FEI Director Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage
John Roche, FEI Director Jumping and stewarding
Catrin Norinder, FEI Director Eventing
Ian Williams, FEI Director Non-olympic sports
Carsten Couchouron, FEI Executive Director Commercial
Richard Johnson, FEI Director Communications
Jacques van Daele, FEI Honorary Steward General Dressage
John McEwen, FEI Veterinary Committee Chair
World Horse Welfare, Roly Owers and Tony Tyler
Ulf Helgstrand, President Danish NF
Dr Sue Dyson
Dr.Gerd Heuschmann
Professor René van Weeren
Frank Kemperman, FEI Dressage Committee Chair (by phone)

ORIGINAL POST as follows:

The FEI has invited various representatives to meet and discuss the controversial topic of Rollkur, or Hyperflexion of the neck, at the FEI headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb. 9 2010

People who are working towards change have high hopes that perhaps this time more headway will be made.
If this controversy matters to you, please take a moment and write to the representatives listed below.

Experts who will be attanding the round table conference are:

HKH Prinsesse Haya, FEI President of FEI

P. O. Box 111888
World Trade Center Complex
Convention Center Building, 5th Floor
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4 329 2333 Fax: +971 4 329 2555

Alex McLin, FEI secretary general

International Dressage Riders Club
International Dressage Riders Club

International Dressage Trainers Club
International Dressage Trainers Club


International Jumping Riders Club
International Jumping Riders Club

David Broome, show jumping representative
David Broome Event Centre
Crick Chepstow MON NP26 5XP
Sjef Janssen, dressage representative
Bolst 13. Erp, 5469 SC NL

Graeme Cooke, FEI Veterinary Director

Trond Asmyr, FEI Director Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage

John Roche, FEI Director Jumping and stewarding

Catrin Norinder, FEI Director Eventing

Ian Williams, FEI Director Non-olympic sports

Carsten Couchouron, FEI Executive Director Commercial

Richard Johnson, FEI Director Communications

Jacques van Daele, FEI Honorary Steward General Dressage
(no contact info found)

Frank Kempermann, President Dressage Committee
Romeinendreef 27 3620 LANAKEN, BELGIUM
(49 241) 91 711 07

Sven Holmberg, President Jumping Committee
(46 533) 151 22 f (46 533) 151 08

John McEwan, President FEI Veterinary Committee
Cross Country Equine Clinic
Devauden CHEPSTOW, NP16 6NN Monmouthshire, GREAT BRITAIN
(44 1291) 650 690 f (44 1291) 652 035

World Horse Welfare,
Roly Owers and Tony Tylor
Anne Colvin House
Ada Cole Avenue
Snetterton Norfolk NR16 2LR
01953 498682

Ulf Helgstrand, representative of the national equestrian federations
Rytterager 1, 2791 Dragør
32 53 47 47

Dr. Sue Dyson

Centre for Equine Studies,

Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford,

Dr. Gerd Heuschman
Allee 28
48249 Dülmen
+49 - 2548 - 919222