Tag Archives: ban rollkur

Nov 28    FEI split possible as doping fallout continues

posted by helyn on 28.11.09 11:03 | under

FEI split possible as doping fallout continues

November 28, 2009

The possibility of a split in the International Equestrian Federation has been raised as fallout continues from the body's introduction of new drug rules.

The narrow vote in favour of a so-called "progressive list", which allows low levels of certain painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs in a horse's system, has caused uproar among leading equestrian nations.

The list was passed at last week's general assembly by a vote of 53 to 48.

As FEI president Princess Haya was defending the right of the majority to decide, the head of the German equestrian federation, Breido Graf zu Rantzau, appeared to be talking of the possibility of European equestrian nations breaking away from the World Equestrian Games.

He warned that the FEI may be underestimating the European equestrian nations and indicated organisers and sponsors of the games might not be able to stem the tide should such a move occur.

He appeared to indicate, however, that continuing under the FEI remained the top priority.

The Germans are part of the recently formed European Equestrian Forum, which was formed in Belgium two months ago. The group also has agreement from the US on its position over the progressive list.

In a news report in Germany, Rantzau said the FEI appeared to have underestimated the strength of European solidarity over the doping issue. In May this year, the German Federation disbanded its equestrian teamover doping allegations.

Rantzau said that a European pullout from the WEG could be financially disastrous, but they would not support a decision allowing drugs of any kind. Already one major German equestrian sponsor has expressed dissatisfaction over the FEI's decision, and more are expected to follow.

"We cannot help but be united," he said, "all the tournament organisers are behind us."

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph has reported on a letter Princess Haya wrote in response to one received this week from 15 senior equine veterinarians around the world, including Dr Leo Jeffcott, former chairman of the FEI Veterinary Committee.

They expressed their grave concern over the introduction of the progressive list, saying it had seriously over-shadowed the clean sport campaign. They argued that use of anti-inflammatories will lead to abuse and the participation of horses in competition that are unfit to compete.

"We believe the decision must be reconsidered," they wrote.

However, the Telegraph reports that Princess Haya defended the right of the majority to decide, in reference to the general assembly vote.

The princess said the levels were in line with those applied for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use in humans by the World Anti Doping Agency and had been advised by experienced national team veterinarians.

Other groups to oppose the progressive list include the British Equine Veterinary Association. "This decision obscures the distinction between therapy and subjecting unsound horses to the stresses of competition," spokesman Henry Tremaine said.

"Furthermore," he said, "we have grave concerns that horses competing whilst under treatment with pain-relieving medicines, are at an increased risk of musculoskeletal lesions progressing to catastrophic injuries.

"We see this announcement as a backward step for the development of equestrian sport that is contrary to the public aspiration of drug-free competition."

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Nov 28    Horse vets raise doping concerns with FEI

posted by helyn on 28.11.09 11:06 | under

Horse vets raise doping concerns with FEI

November 26, 2009

A group of top-level horse vets has written to FEI head Princess Haya with concerns about the FEI's recent decision to allow painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in equestrian competition.

In the letter the veterinarians say they support the FEI's "clean sport" concept, but feel that the resolution passed at the general assembly last week allowing certain painkillers and anti-inflammatories has seriously over-shadowed the campaign recommended by the Stevens/Ljungqvist reports.

They feel the progressive list had not been debated sufficiently and that the decision made that was "premature, illconsidered and seriously retrograde."

The veterinarians say that permitting the use of NSAIDs "will lead to abuse and the participation of horses in competition that are unfit to compete. It also removes the 'level playing field' that has been a crucial and fundamental ethos of the FEI since its foundation."

The progressive list allows phenybutazone (bute), up to 8 micrograms per millilitre in plasma or serum. This is three times the level permitted in the 1980s before the powerful anti-inflammatory agent was banned.

It also allows salicyclic acid (similar to aspirin) up to 750mcg/ml in urine and up to 6.5 mcg/ml in plasma or serum. Flunixin, a common anti-inflammatory and painkiller in horses, will be allowed up to 500 mcg/ml in plasma or serum.

The new list also prescribes acceptable levels for acetycysteine, which is used for some respiratory conditions; dichloroacetate (lactanase), which helps prevent tying up by reducing the buildup of lactic acid in muscle cells; and isoxuprine, a blood vessel dilator often used in the treatment of hoof conditions.

Major horse nations are concerned how sponsors will view the FEI's stance on a set of drugs commonly used in horses. Some question how the industry can sell a "clean sport" image when it tolerates the presence of such key substances.

The progressive list received 53 votes in favour, against 48 for the existing list.

Copies of the letter to Princess Haya from the veterinarians were also sent to Sven Holmberg (FEI 1st Vice-President), Chris Hodson (FEI 2nd Vice-President), Alex McLin (FEI Secretary General), John McEwen (Chair, FEI Veterinary Committee), and Graeme Cooke (Director, FEI Veterinary Department).

The text of the letter is:

Re: FEI Clean Sport; The 'Progressive List'
To: FEI President

Your Royal Highness,

As a group of senior veterinarians with experience of equestrian competition at international level, we write to express our grave concern at the recent decision of the FEI General Assembly to adopt the so-called 'Progressive List' that allows the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in competition horses. This resolution has seriously over-shadowed the commendable clean sport campaign recommended by the Stevens/Ljungqvist reports, which offered a major step forward in equestrian sport. We would like to emphasise that we are fully behind the concept of 'clean sport'.

The 'Progressive List', which we understand was seen for the first time by the delegates when they arrived for the assembly, has not been debated sufficiently and we believe a decision has been made that was premature, illconsidered and seriously retrograde. Permitting the use of NSAIDs will lead to abuse and the participation of horses in competition that are unfit to compete. It also removes the 'level playing field' that has been a crucial and fundamental ethos of the FEI since its foundation. We believe the decision must be reconsidered and would draw your attention to the following historical facts.

Firstly, following extensive consultation, the General Assembly meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1993, finally removed the 'maximum permitted level' forphenylbutazone (PBZ). Over a number of years this had been reduced from 5 µg per millilitre of blood to 2 µg/ml. Under the 'Progressive List', PBZ will be permitted up to a level of 8 µg/ml, a four-fold increase on the level rejected by the Rio meeting. This decision will have a serious and negative effect on welfare and profound repercussions for equestrian sport. The 'Progressive List' also permits flunixin, another NSAID, to be used up to a level of 0.5 µg/ml in serum or plasma.

Secondly, the 'Progressive List' raises the salicylate threshold. We would point out that this threshold was lowered in 1999 on the advice of the Veterinary Committee and again following extensive consultation. Salicylic acid had been found in Coral Cove at the 1998 World Equestrian Games, and it was apparent at the time that intravenous 'topping up' to the threshold was not a rare occurrence.

After analysis of 650 equine urine samples collected worldwide and considerable discussion it was decided to reduce the FEI threshold to below that used by racing (where there was no evidence of similar abuse). The work was reported to the International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians in 2004 and was subsequently published. There was therefore a clear rationale for the threshold of 625 µg/ml in urine or 5.4 µg/ml in plasma.

Thirdly, national legislation in many European countries prohibits any medication in competition animals. This does not apply in parts of the US where 'permitted levels' are more common. A 'controlled restricted' list will surely be unenforceable where it is in conflict with the national laws of a country.

In conclusion, we would urge you to reopen this debate, encourage extensive international consultation and invite National Federations to reconsider their decision in Copenhagen in the interests of the health and welfare of the competition horse.

Sincerely yours,

Leo B. Jeffcott (former Chair, FEI Veterinary Committee) and
Andrew Higgins (FEI Honorary Scientific Adviser and former Chair Medication Advisory Group)
Roberto Busetto (FEI MCP Veterinarian)
Jean-François Bruyas (FEI MCP Veterinarian)
Michael Düe (former member FEI Veterinary Committee)
Paul Farrington (former Vice Chair, FEI Veterinary Committee)
Wilfried Hanbuecken (Chief Veterinary Officer CHIO Aachen)
Liisa Harmo (FEI MCP Veterinarian)
Miklos Jarmy (FEI MCP Veterinarian)
Peter Kallings (former President, IGSRV and MCP Veterinarian)
Gerit Mattheson (member FEI Veterinary Committee)
Nigel Nichols (former member FEI Veterinary Committee)
Jack Snyder (member FEI Veterinary Committee)
Warwick Vale (FEI Veterinary Delegate and Olympic Games, Sydney 2000
FEI Medication Control Program Supervisor)
Alex Atock (former Head, FEI Veterinary Department)

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Nov 23    Stand up for your horse and leave the show area

posted by helyn on 23.11.09 15:26 | under General

Stand up for your horse and leave the show area


Upper neck hyperflexion is primarily a problem of education. For a large part, riders and trainers applying the system do not have any clear idée of the effects the hyperflexion of the upper neck does have on the horses. A few successful rider applied the approach and everyone copy the technique hoping that the hyperflexion of the horses’ upper neck will generate successes. If the same Olympic riders had warmed up their horses wearing a green shirt, we would be talking about the greenkur and many will convince themselves that the color of their shirt has mad a world of difference on their horse.


Showing, the governing bodies will "investigate "the matter a little further hoping that the problem will go away. The tactic is known as "drowning the fish.” Action will not be taken and therefore action belongs to the individuals who are outraged by the approach. There are several petitions going on Sylvia Loch is now collecting 6000 signatures and Philippe Karl who started his own movement in March totalizes now 12000 signatures. As today, November 23, our own petition is in its 28th  day and we have already received 1992 signatures. There are many other petitions going on and these different petitions are now talking to each other hoping to draw a common strategy. Several ideas suggest wearing a white hat or other clothing devices in protest.


Our suggestion is to stand up and leave the show area when a rider practicing hyperflexion of the neck enters the ring. Our thought is that it would be unethical for the show organizers as well as good riders to start manifestations around the show area that could end into confrontation with Rollkur proponents and disturbances.  America is a free country; you do not like it, you stand up and you leave the periphery of the show ring. This is a win/win situation. First of all you do not have to watch a performance that would be unpleasant to watch anyway. Second of all, there is often good vendors’ area to visit or food stand for a collation.


The impact would be very strong. It would normalize the riders’ ego and concern eventual sponsors. It would make the steward or technical delegate wonder about the policy of passive compliance. It would raise the same concerns in the judges’ mind.


Whatever action is ultimately decided, union is power and  it would be very effective if everyone in the world applied the same tactic. We are hoping that a common action will be decided promptly.


Meanwhile, we continue to explain why hyperflexion of the upper neck is handicapping dressage as well as jumper horses. Also, we further open our newsletter to the thoughts of competent trainers. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss peoples.” By contrast to the trainers who apply a technique because other peoples are doing it, there are many advantages to consider the thoughts of riders and trainers who are focusing on preparing athletically and mentally their horse for the performance.  Jean Luc Cornille

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  - Margaret Mead, US anthropologist (1901-1978)


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The blog is for discussions to organzine groups to protest usage of Rollkur, hyperflexion at shows.