Thursday, November 12, 2009

More on the FEI and the Rollkur

I found out a couple days ago that the FEI will be holding discussions about the recent upheaval over the Rollkur. It seems that they are adding it to the agenda of the FEI's Annual Meeting in Copenhagen, scheduled in the next few weeks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

There is a good press release about it that you can view on

I hope that the petitions will be presented to them, and that they will finally act in the best interest of the horses. I know that Patrik Kittel has been burnt at the stake for the video on YouTube, but in the interest of fair play--technically--he didn't do anything that is currently against the rules of the FEI; in fact, I believe it is because of the FEI's weenie position that this occurred and continues to occur at every FEI sanctioned event, and gains momentum because of the judges' willingness to reward the flamboyant movement and turn a blind eye to the fundamental flaws in the quality of the horse's performance overall.

Now, judges might fairly say that this crisis has been coming for a long time, and the way the tests are written and the rules and guidelines have developed has set this ball in motion by setting the piaffe/passage tour as the most weighted elements of the GP Special, and emphasis on the P/P and canter elements in the GP, and minimalizing scores for walk and transitions. And they might point out (justifiably) that they can only judge what they see from the point that the horse enters at A.

But I would say, that they have taken the easy way out. They have succumbed to the pressures of the politics, and have "saved their jobs" over saving the principles of dressage.
I know that a good number of FEI judges have a problem with horses trained in the Rollkur method, but they say they can only judge what they see in front of them. In a perfect world, that might be true.

I say that the dressage community at large should embrace any judge that now has the courage to severely deduct points for insufficient collection (especially in passage), irregularity, tenseness/lack of quality in the walk, lack of obedience/submission in halts or anywhere else in the test that the horse shows these fundamental weaknesses. Make a difference now by upholding the principles of dressage and not make excuses for shortcomings...whether Rollkur is involved or not. And judges should take a look at how the horse is being warmed up if there is an opportunity.

This is the perfect opportunity and permission to get back to judging according to the rules of international dressage competition. The judges need to lead the way. Don't wait for the FEI to condemn Rollkur--my hope is that they take a decisive stand on this issue as well, but again, judges, don't wait for the rules to be re-written to include specific language against rollkur--you KNOW this is abuse. You do have the authority to stop this--but do you have the Kohonas?

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