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Changes in Equestrian Sport to Improve Equine Welfare?

by Jil Wiedemann
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A study group from France is calling for improvements to the welfare of horses at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The study group of the French National Assembly published a report with 46 recommendations to improve the treatment of the animals. The Olympic Games provide the perfect opportunity. This major an public event should make people more aware of the welfare of horses.

The 46 recommendations

The report suggests that excessive noseband and curb tightening should be controlled more. During training sessions and when entering or leaving the event, the distance between the bridge of the nose and the noseband should be measured using an ISES Taper Gauge. The ISES Taper Gauge is a tool that is placed on the hard bridge of the nose. When the noseband is correctly applied, the tool fits between the bridle and the bridge of the nose.

In addition, certain mouthpieces are to be banned. A list of approved parts is to be revised. Certain auxiliary reins and the frequent use of the whip are also to be no longer tolerated.

Doping samples are to be taken more frequently during veterinary inspections and care. Regular feeding with hay and large, ventilated boxes should be normal. However, it is also recommended to ban all injections 14 days before the event. Horses with a history of illness should not be allowed to compete at the Olympics.

They are also against the rollkur and demand an immediate disqualification for hyperflexion of the neck. And a disqualification for the slightest trace of blood. This was only a small excerpt from the 46 recommendations.

Some of these proposed improvements seem excessive to some horse people. Nevertheless, the equestrian sport has been put in a bad light for many animal welfare activists in recent years. As yet, no suitable organiser has been chosen for the equestrian part of the Olympics. However, it is up to the Organising Committee and the various organisations to decide on the future of these recommendations.

Source: eurodressage

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