Letter to Horse and Hound from Sylvia Loch 2010

Letter to Horse and Hound

The following letter from Sylvia was published in Horse and Hound, Thursday 18th February 2010.

It was heartening to read the FEI Statement concerning the discreditation of Rollkur as a so-called 'training technique' this week.  Gerd Heuschmann, the German vet has consistently put across the harsh reality for horses of this punishing way of schooling, as have organisations like The Classical Riding Club who were the first in this country to petition against extreme over-bending back in the early 1990s.  The point is a good horseman or woman has no need for these artificial methods.  Breaking down the horse's neck muscles in the more extreme cases, may give the rider more control but when the horse cannot see further than his front feet, it most certainly becomes a welfare issue.  No wonder Gerd was able to draw on over 41,000 signatures to say 'enough is enough!'
The stance of the British Horse Society on the subject was admirable.  As reported under your News column, the psychological consequences of rollkur are undeniable and it is very much hoped that British Dressage will now encourage our judges to mark in favour of horses who are not 'tied in' in any form of test.  At prelim and novice levels, it would be good to see young horses allowed to adopt a more natural position of the head and neck without being marked down, and at more advanced levels, the FEI rule of poll the highest point and lightness of the forehand, must be more strictly adhered to.  Flashy, incorrect paces may wow the crowds, but surely the horse's wellbeing and state of mind comes first?
Sylvia Loch, Eden Hall, KELSO, Roxburghshire, TD5 7QD


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