Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday: catch up on the rollkur debate

Epona TV has a wonderful article up titled Rollkur Round-Up: Fact and Fiction. Julie Taylor and Luise Thomsen look point by point at the FEI's 2006 investigation of rollkur and break it down showing what research was done, how it was done, and what it actually revealed. This is a very good look at what is being cited as "the evidence" that rollkur does no harm. And how flawed that conclusion actually is.

Over the weekend a number of links were posted that indicate clearly that Patrik Kittel's use of rollkur and harsh techniques was not a momentary lapse in Odense that just happened to get captured on video.

On September 19, 2008, THIS appeared on St. Georg Magazine's blog. I have provided a translation below:

Scandic, which means something like Scandinavian. And the name fits the chestnut, who starts at the CHI in Donauschingen in the mediacup of the up and coming Grand Prix horses. It fits, because the Swedish rider Patrick Kittel is a Scandinavian, it also matches the temperatures however, which reign in the palace park o...f the Duke of Donauschingen. In the morning it is bittercold and the thermometer barely reaches freezing point. However the kind of training which is meted out to the chestnut by Kittel lets the blood freeze in the veins of the spectators: Head pulled down to the chest. Always properly tight and hard (!!) "positioned" to the left and to the right. Until the chestnut puts the emergency brakes on. He must have bitten on his own tongue, at least the blood was dripping from his mouth. No steward was present, who could have noticed. Only when the flow of blood was not to be stopped, even after the groom had routinely mopped the horse’s mouth a second time, did Kittel stop!

There was also a link to a photo of Kittel riding Scandic in a double bridle with a dropped noseband that was so tight the horse looked as if he were gagging and choking. Unfortunately I cannot provide you with the link because the photo has now been removed.

But someone captured it:

A quick google search just turned up THIS:

Patrik Kittel in trouble

A video on You Tube about Swedish team rider Patrik Kittel has shocked the dressage world. The fragment shows Kittel losing his stallion Watermill Scandic in Odense in Denmark in a low frame. The moment Patrik realizes that the horse’s tongue is out, he stops and pushes the tongue back. The flood of negative reactions forced FEI dressage director Trond Asmyr and FEI Executive Director sports David Holmes make an official statement prior to their lectures at the Global Dressage Forum in The Netherlands last Monday that the FEI will investigate the incident.
Meanwhile Kittel is shell shocked by the flood of negative reactions, although the tone in Sweden has mellowed. Watermill Scandic is owned by Dutch team veterinarian Jan Greve who says, “Patrik Kittel has a perfect relationship to Scandic and the situation that has arisen now is absolutely overdone. Yes, the tongue has been out for a short while. This can happen. But nothing harmful has been done.”
The British Riding Association has urged the FEI to start a more thorough discussion about hyperflexion. Other countries will probably follow Britain.

Interestingly, there was also the following:

In Lyon this happened to Edward Gal. On Thursday the competition had started in a very disappointing way for the runner up of Odense. Sisther de Jeu had only moments before entering the ring for the Grand Prix bitten her lip, causing a small wound that started to bleed. The bleeding was stopped quickly. The sympathetic officials even allowed Gal to take the mare to the stable for a while and return later for a new start. He and his trainer Nicole Werner however, decided to let that chance go by. “Everything was alright, but we considered the risk that Sisther might bite her lip again during the test, to be too high. It’s a shame of the 600 mile ride to Lyon, but so be it”, Edward Gal said.

Edward Gal also uses rollkur and I'm finding it slightly horrifying that we are seeing horses biting their tongues and lips to the point of blood flow that actually inhibits the ride. And more importantly, does not seem to be necessitating any adjustment of the bits/bridles!

If you have time to write new emails and/or letters to the FEI, please include these examples as evidence that something is seriously wrong in this sport.


Michelle said... I continue to be horrified to even greater levels.

Claire said...

shame that pic was removed before someone got a chance to right click and "save as" :-(

i missed it

Grey Horse Matters said...

This new information couldn't be more disturbing. I'm especially horrified that Scandic is actually owned by a veterinarian who should know better and and care about horses. I will do what I can writing letters and such. Thanks for some more info on this. I feel so sorry for this horse that I would love to take him home with me and just let him graze for a year.

jme said...

whoops! i posted under the wrong profile a minute ago :-\

ditto what ghm said....

this story just keeps getting worse. i have some time tomorrow and i will be warming up my typing fingers for some unpleasant letters!

billie said...

Michelle, it does. I read yesterday that Kittel has just acquired two new younger horses to ride. It makes me sad to think what they have in store for them.

billie said...

Claire, I think you found it again - I posted the link in body of the post.

billie said...

Arlene, I agree completely re: the veterinarian owner. How shameful to the profession that he places his horses with riders and trainers who use these practices.

billie said...

My hope is that everything we're reading and seeing wrt this practice comes to light, gets people into action mode, and we can begin the process of getting rid of it.