Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the FEI responds

FEI Statement on Horse Welfare 17/11/2009

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.

I am extremely disappointed in this response. The FEI has NOT focused on the welfare of the horse, and putting this responsibility in the hands of ring stewards is absurd. It's been widely reported that the ring stewards are in many cases shouted down by the top riders and trainers when they try to issue these cards.

It's time to renew the effort - contact all sponsors previously listed and let them know you will not support their companies if they support rollkur.

Alltech, HSBC Bank, Meydan, and Rolex all show up as "sponsors" on the FEI development page. Write to these companies and let them know that the FEI is NOT taking care of horses.

Take cameras to shows and use them to document inhumane riding.

Report anything you see that is not humane, and if nothing is done about it, take the complaint to a higher authority.

Educate yourself so that when you encounter this practice, you can SPEAK OUT about it with clarity. And please, SPEAK OUT. Do it respectfully, do it with courtesy, but SPEAK OUT. The horses can't do that. We need to do it for them.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Unfortunately, this sounds like a lot of double talk from the FEI. They didn't actually say anything. So the practice of Rollkur/hyperflexion is not going to be stopped. I'm afraid you're right in that the top riders who refuse to listen to the stewards will keep shouting them down.I fear business as usual will continue with this 'straddling the fence' declaration from the FEI.

The stewards,judges and sponsors all need to educate themselves and put a stop to this abuse. Any abuse should be strongly penalized by whatever method works. We all should educate ourselves and not be afraid to point out (courteously of course) when someone is abusing their horse. Be it in the schooling ring, show ring or even during lessons at your barn. Education and caring for the horses welfare is got to be the number one focus for everyone. I still say hit the riders in their wallets and you might get something accomplished.

billie said...

It's exactly that, Arlene, but they are being called out on the carpet for it this time, and in a very public eye. So... the battle continues.