The follow statement was received today from the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) General Assembly meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. The statement is in response to international furor over a clip of videotape from a warmup arena at an FEI World Cup dressage competition last month, as featured on this blog.
The clip has become known around the world as "blue tongue dressage" and refers to a horse ridden harshly (in the opinion on many people) on the curb rein so that the horse's tongue turned blue, as seen when it flopped out of the horse's mouth for a moment and just happened to be caught on video. The tight frame exhibited in in the video is known as hyperflexion of the neck, formerly called "rollkur" or "bite the chest".
Here is the exact statement from the FEI, released today:
"The FEI condemns all training methods and practices that are contrary to horse welfare. The welfare of the horse has always been and will always be at the core of every aspect of the Federation's work as the international governing body for equestrian sport.
"During its meeting in Copenhagen (DEN) on 15 November, the FEI Bureau had extensive discussion on the issue of hyperflexion. The FEI Bureau insists that, with immediate effect, stewards in all disciplines use the disciplinary measures available to them, such as verbal warnings and yellow warning cards *, to prevent any infringement of FEI rules.
"The FEI is now engaged with World Horse Welfare, a leading international equestrian organisation, in addition to continued consultation with riders, trainers, officials and veterinarians to thoroughly research the issues. The further education of stewards will also continue to ensure that welfare issues at FEI events are dealt with promptly and professionally.
"The FEI acknowledges and welcomes public opinion and will continue to ensure that the welfare of the horse, which has been central to this debate, will remain its absolute priority.
"* If a rider receives two yellow warning cards within one year, he / she is automatically suspended for a period of two months immediately following the event at which the second yellow warning card was received."
The Jurga Report will have more on this important news story as more information is released. Please check back.