According to an article in www.horsetalk.co.nz, the FEI has issued a 10 minute limit for training a horse using Rollkur.
Riders warming-up at shows are not allowed to keep their horses’ head and neck carriage in a sustained or fixed position for more than 10 minutes, under new guidelines approved by the FEI this week.
Riders putting horses through a training sessions of more than one hour must have the permission of the Chief Steward, and “only in exceptional circumstances”, said the FEI Working Group charged with expanding current stewarding guidelines to prevent any form of aggressive riding.
The guidelines were approved by the FEI Bureau on Thursday, and should apply to all FEI disciplines, the Working Group recommended.
It’s a start, I guess. But it’s underwhelming. I think it’s interesting that the FEI has now tacitly admitted that Rollur, as a training method, can be harmful to horses. Why the 10 minutes? Hard to say. I would think that several 10 minute sessions could cause damage, but that’s just my perspective.
Rollkur, in my opinion, is a long way from the ideal of dressage which should embody harmony and lightness. Instead, it’s a way for the rider to force the horse into a frame that is anything but light. For all of us lower level dressage riders who are inching up the training scale, which level is embodied by Rollkur?
It was also recommended that stewards be more proactive in their duties: “prevention can avoid much reaction and negative response”. The must be given clear guidelines and have “the moral courage to act” in the interests of horse welfare, and be firm.
Training sessions can be performed only in official training arenas while under the supervision of stewards. The use of a training arena outside the official training period, or in an unsupervised arena, may lead to the rider’s disqualification.
The use of closed-circuit television at selected events has also been recommended as a method of monitoring practice areas.