Icelandic Veterinary Authorities Criticize Horse Trainer

Icelandic veterinary authorities criticized a trainer’s demonstration as “contrary to equine welfare.”

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A public training demonstration in Iceland by a top Danish trainer has been formally criticized by Icelandic veterinary authorities as "contrary to equine welfare."

Iben Andersen, winner of the 2001 national Icelandic Horse championships in Denmark, presented an “unacceptable” training technique—which involved tying up a horse’s leg and making it lie down—during a workshop on Oct. 13 in Hvammstangi, said Sigridur Björnsdóttir, DVM, PhD, veterinary officer for health and welfare of horses in Iceland, on behalf of Sigurborg Daðadóttir, DVM, Iceland’s chief veterinary officer.

The country’s veterinary office received complaints from spectators, Björnsdóttir said.

“Studies of video records from the demonstration revealed how a young horse was forced to lie down by binding up one of its legs while the trainer put constant pressure on it to get it out of balance,” Björnsdóttir told The Horse. “This fight continued for 45 minutes, during which time the young horse fell down a few times but managed to come up again, and after which the horse became exhausted and gave up

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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