BLOG No. 37. Do you know how can the Steward will intervene when you violate the rules for warm up in the FEI ring?
In recent Blogs we discussed the rules that apply for the warm-up, in terms of length, extreme stretching (lateral and longitudinal), duration, head position, and aggressive riding.
Now I want to summarize how the Steward will intervene and, in this case, due to the sensitivity of the topic, I will quote the Rules in order to avoid any misunderstanding:
- “It is the steward’s responsibility to ensure that riders respect the above procedure and intervene if required.”
- “In assessing the position of the head carriage the Steward will be mindful of each horse’s natural conformation, especially in relation to native breeds or ponies, and will therefore use discretion in determining this.”
- “Deliberate extreme flexions of the neck involving either high, low or lateral head carriages, should only be performed for very short periods. If performed for longer periods the steward will intervene.”
- “It is imperative that stretching should be executed by unforced and non-aggressive means. By ‘unforced’ it is meant that the rider is not permitted to use rough, or abrupt aids or apply constant unyielding pressure on the horse’s mouth through a fixed arm and hand position. It is the responsibility of the steward to intervene if these requirements are not respec”
- “The steward will intervene should he observe:
- Neck stretching achieved through forced, or aggressive riding
- The use of extreme flexion if it does not comply with the above
- A rider deliberately maintaining a sustained fixed head and neck carriage longer than approximately ten minutes
- In cases when the horse is in a state of general stress and/or fatigue the steward may also ask the rider to walk for a certain period in situations where the rider’s stress may cause undesired riding.” *
*FEI Manual for Dressage Stewards – Annexes I-XIII Edition 2009 – Updated 18.08.2016.
Obviously the rules can not provide for an exact remedy for for every possible situation. In any case the Stewards will always act taking into consideration the specific circumstances.
However if there is abuse of a horse, the Stewards will:
- “act immediately with discretion and tact;
- “Immediately put a stop to the abuse and explain to the rider the reason for the intervention;
- “Inform the President of the Ground Jury of the incident and of the action taken;
- “Draw the attention of the Treating Veterinarian (define exactly the circumstances) to the incident (injuries, irregular breathing, excessive sweating, general health problems);
- The Steward must understand the difference between “abuse” and “correction”.
- The Steward must be able to go into the schooling area and stop rough riding, rough and discourteous behaviour.
- Always immediately act in cases of exaggerated sweating, irregular breathing (take into account the weather conditions).
- Always immediately act in case of overriding, signs of exhaustion (if necessary ask the assistance of the Treating Veterinarian).
- Long, deep and round riding is accepted, unless used excessively or prolonged (hyperflexion of the neck).
- There is a danger when copied by unskilled riders.
- There is a fine line between training and overtraining!”