USDF Calls for Action Against Cruel, Abusive Riding at Shows
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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Nov. 24–The U.S. Dressage Federation Executive Board has spoken out over the recent incident in which Swedish rider Patrik Kittel on Watermill Scandic HBC was being investigated by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) for his warm up at the recent World Cup competition in Odense, Denmark.
“The USDF does not approve of training techniques such as hyperflexion especially when taken to an extreme,” the organization said in a statement. “While we recognize that we can not control how riders train at home, excessive techniques should not be tolerated at competitions.
“The USDF feels that it is very important that as a sport we police ourselves and encourage the USEF and FEI to call upon their licensed officials to ensure that cruel and abusive riding does not happen at our competitions.
“The USDF agrees with and strongly supports the FEI position as stated in the November 17 press release and in particular the statement: ‘The FEI acknowledges and welcome public opinion and will continue to ensure that the welfare of the horse, which has been central to this debate, will remain its absolute priority.'”