FEI Round Table Conference Resolves Rollkur Controversy

Following constructive debate at the FEI round-table conference at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne today (9 February), the consensus of the group was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable. The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable. The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable.

The group unanimously agreed that any form of aggressive riding must be sanctioned. The FEI will establish a working group, headed by Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman, to expand the current guidelines for stewards to facilitate the implementation of this policy. The group agreed that no changes are required to the current FEI Rules.

The FEI Management is currently studying a range of additional measures, including the use of closed circuit television for warm-up arenas at selected shows.The group also emphasised that the main responsibility for the welfare of the horse rests with the rider.  

The FEI President HRH Princess Haya accepted a petition of 41,000 signatories against Rollkur presented by Dr Gerd Heuschman.

The participants in the FEI round-table conference were:

  • HRH Princess Haya, FEI President
  • Alex McLin, FEI Secretary General
  • Margit Otto-Crépin, International Dressage Riders Club Representative
  • Linda Keenan, International Dressage Trainers Club Representative
  • Sjef Janssen, Dressage Representative
  • Frank Kemperman, Chairman, FEI Dressage Committee (by conference call)
  • François Mathy, International Jumping Riders Club Representative
  • David Broome, Jumping Representative
  • Jonathan Chapman, Eventing Representative
  • Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare Representative
  • Tony Tyler, World Horse Welfare Representative
  • Ulf Helgstrand, President, Danish Equestrian Federation
  • John McEwen, Chairman, FEI Veterinary Committee
  • Dr Sue Dyson, Veterinary Representative
  • Dr Gerd Heuschman, Veterinary Representative
  • Prof. René van Weeren, Veterinary Representative
  • Jacques van Daele, FEI Honorary Steward General Dressage
  • Graeme Cooke, FEI Veterinary Director
  • Trond Asmyr, FEI Director Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage
  • John Roche, FEI Director Jumping and Stewarding
  • Catrin Norinder, FEI Director Eventing
  • Carsten Couchouron, FEI Executive Director Commercial
  • Richard Johnson, FEI Communications Director

FEI Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage Director Trond Asmyr speaks about the outcome of the meeting. To view the clip, please click this link.

The complete statement is available here.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations. Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. It is one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes - horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.