FEI Schooling Head and Neck Positions, Body Frames Clarified with Illustrations

Rollkur begat long and low, who begat hyperflexion, who begat…

or was it the other way around?Six months after a global outcry over warmup techniques, change is coming.

Wheels are turning at the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the governing body of world equestrian sports. Now that a decision has been made on what is and is not allowed for warming up horses before competitions, it is important to educate riders, trainers and the public about what can be termed “legal” in the eyes of stewards. Six months after the controversial “blue tongue dressage” video rocked YouTube, a task force lead by Frank Kemperman appears to be doing what it set out to do.

The following text has been received from the FEI with drawings:

The new Annex (XIII) created by the Working Group that produced a revised FEI Stewards Manual on warm-up techniques for Dressage has now been completed, following the production of three diagrams to illustrate permitted positions of the horse’s head and neck during pre- and post-competition training.

One of the key stipulations in the Working Group’s report was that all unacceptable training methods and techniques must be stopped immediately. The Working Group was also insistent that abuse of the horse must be avoided and, in particular, stressing the horse, aggressive riding and inflicting pain and/or discomfort on the horse must be prevented.

The current FEI Stewards Manual already includes instructions covering aggressive riding, but the new Annex (XIII) has clear instructions on action to be taken if necessary relating to flexion of the horse’s neck during pre and post-competition training.

Any head and neck position obtained through the use of aggressive force is not acceptable. Movements which involve having the horse’s head and neck carriage in a sustained or fixed position should only be performed for periods not exceeding approximately 10 minutes without change.

Deliberate extreme flexions of the neck involving either high, low or lateral head carriages, should only be performed for very short periods. If these deliberate extreme flexions are performed for longer periods the Steward will intervene.

It is the Steward’s responsibility to ensure that riders respect these procedures.

“Used in conjunction with the new Stewards Manual, these illustrations now provide the Stewards with the final piece in the jigsaw that will allow them to do their job more effectively, ensuring that horse welfare is maintained at all times,” Working Group Chair Frank Kemperman said.

To learn more:

November 2009: Blue Tongue Dressage: British Horse Society Protests to FEI President, HRH Princess Haya

February 2010: FEI Working Group Will Have a Rolkur Action Plan in Six Weeks

April 2010: Aggressive Riding: FEI New Guidelines on Dressage Warmup Techniques, Steward Role; 10-minute limit on fixed neck and head carriage, repeated movements

By Fran Jurga |12 May 2010 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com

Follow @FranJurga on Twitter.com for horse health news!




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