“A horse above, over, evading the bit, mouth open, tongue showing, however you call it, it’s all evidence that the horse is avoiding contact and has problems… (That’s just the mouth)…The FEI Rules, state marks from 1-3 can be deducted for each instance seen, so I don’t understand why some are scoring so high! My mare is only ever ridden bit less, even in dressage, (obviously not to this high level, I wish) but bit less is not accepted in dressage, so she can’t enter local competitions, its ridiculous! A horse doesn’t nor shouldn’t have to be tortured through aggressive use of the bit & reins etc. to achieve this look!”

A photo capturing Swedish dressage rider, Patrik Kittel, has reignited the rollkur debate in the horse community. Kittel was warming up his horse Scandic on Thursday when the image was captured. 

Dressage enthusiasts world-wide called for Kittel’s disqualification from the Olympics, however he competed Friday posting a score of 74.03. His score qualifies him – among thirty – to compete for an individual medal.
The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) initially responded on its Facebook page to the outrage and allegations of abuse. “We are aware that there is concern about some training methods, but photographs can be misleading. Rest assured that our stewards are always there, on the ground, monitoring all training sessions. We are on the case.”
While the FEI tried to calm fans, its Facebook page continued to received hundreds of posts calling for action.
As more photographs surfaced throughout the day, we pressed the FEI for additional answers. “We completely agree that the pictures are unattractive, but we have spoken to the Stewards who were monitoring the session and they have clearly confirmed that Patrik Kittel was not in breach of the rules as he only maintained the horse’s head and neck in that position for very short periods,” says FEI Dressage Director, Trond Asmyr, in a statement to Rate My Horse PRO.
The rules state that “deliberate extreme flexions of the neck involving either high, low or lateral head carriages, should only be performed for very short periods. If performed for longer periods the steward will intervene,” he says. More pictures at the link.
Kittel responded to the accusations on Facebook. “The surprise of the day came when St George (again of course) put pictures from the training up, I really think they went below the belt this time,,, I for sure have not ridden Scandic in anyway that will harm him, but I seem to be a good target to get clicks for… Anyway I have so much support!!! And to the critics All I can say don’t believe photos that were taken in a bad moment go to the Show and see for yourself then believe.”
Kittel is no stranger to scandal. The infamous “blue tongue video” from 2009 shows him riding his stallion hyper-flexed to the point the horse’s tongue is blue and hanging out of his mouth. After review, the FEI ruled “there is no reliable evidence that the warm-up techniques used by Mr Kittel were excessive.” 

Uploaded by  on 26 Oct 2009

This is the uncut version of the video sequence, which shows the KWPN stallion, Watermill Scandic, being ridden in the hyperflexed/rollkur position with its blue tongue lolling out at the World Cup dressage qualifier in Odense, Denmark in October 2009.

A photographer also captured Netherlands rider Patrick van der Meer riding Uzzo in an unsightly moment during warm-up.

Patrick van der Meer & Uzzo…My question would be, how long did he hold that posistion for??

In 2010, the FEI announced it “resolved the rollkur controversy.” The consensus of the group “was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable.” The group redefined rollkur as flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force, which the association deemed unacceptable.
The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which according to the FEI achieves flexion without undue force, is accepted by the governing body. 
As the world watches our equestrian sports on the Olympic stage, the debate continues regarding acceptable training methods.

Face book link:https://www.facebook.com/TurnYourBackOnRidersThatRollkur

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