Participants in a Feb. 9 conference organized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) imposed sanctions on aggressive riding, including that which results in hyperflexion of the horse’s neck.
"The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable," the FEI said in a statement. "The technique known as Low, Deep, and Round, which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable."
No rule changes were deemed necessary, but a new working group will expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of this policy, potentially including closed-circuit television monitoring of warm-up arenas at selected shows.
The issue came up for discussion after an Internet video circulated of Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel warming up at October’s CDI Odense, Denmark, using a method some call inhumane. (Read more: "Controversial Dressage Training Method Under FEI Investigation.") The FEI sent Kittel a warning letter in late January, but no formal claim was lodged.
FEI President HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein also accepted a petition of 41,000 signatories against Rollkur presented by German veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschman at the Feb. 9 meeting.