February 06, 2010

An impressive list

Klaus Balkenhol's Letter to the FEI re. the February 9th Meeting

Originally Sent Feb. 3 2010
Translated from German

Federation Equestre International
Avenue Rumine 37
CH – 1005 Lausanne Rosendahl

February 3, 2010

Dear Sirs and Madames:

We submit herewith some comments concerning your upcoming roundtable discussion, scheduled for February 9th, at which you will be establishing a final plan for the handling of the topic of Rollkur/Hyperflexion.

Those of us who have signed this letter wish to point out sharply that new or amended rules with regard to the accepted classical precepts of riding, which are contained in the guidelines written down in your Handbook, are absolutely superfluous and therefore unnecessary. These precepts, which the FEI has up until now felt obliged to uphold, are already fully developed, tried and tested! They are already recognized world-wide as authoritative, and as fair to the horse. Based on centuries of experience, they offer a stable and secure foundation even for today’s riding.

No changes may be made that constitute a burden to the well-being of the horse, either physically or mentally. If you accept riding in hyperflexion as a permissible training method, you legitimize aggressive riding. We protest against that in the strongest possible terms!

As horse people, we expect the FEI to maintain their regulations unaltered , which have until now been valid, resting as they do upon the classical precepts of riding – for the good of the horses and the continued good repute of international equestrian sport.

The undersigned support this statement:

Klaus Balkenhol (Olympic medalist)

(Joined by, in alphabetical order)
- Laura Bechtolsheimer (British Record Holder, 3. Europameisterschaften 2009)
- Wilfried Bechtolsheimer (Trainer)
- Ingrid Klimke (Olympic medalist)
- Ruth Klimke (Vice President of the German Riders Union)
- Beezie Madden (Olympic medalist)
- John Madden (Trainer)
- Debbie McDonald (Olympic Bronze medalist)
- Susanne Miesner (Trainer)
- George Morris (Chef d’equipe USEF show jumping team, Olympic silver medalist)
- Martin Plewa (former German national Three-Day Event trainer, Director of the Riding and Driving School of Westfalia)
- Michael Putz (Trainer and judge)
- Klaus-Martin Rath (Trainer, member of the Dressage Committee of the German Olympic
- Matthias Alexander Rath (German Meister 2009)
- Hinrich Romeike (Olympic medalist)
- Hubertus Schmidt (Olympic medalist)
- Günter Seidel (Olympic bronze medalist)
- Christine Stückelberger (Olympiic medalist)
- Paul Stecken (Trainer)
- Hans Günter Winkler (Olympic medalist)
- Harry Boldt, Dressur. Doppel-Olympiasieger, früherer Bundestrainer Dressur, GBR
- Beatrice Büchler-Keller, Swiss, FEI O-Richter
- Nadine Capellmann, Dressur, Olympiasiegrin
- Carsten Huck, Springen, Olympia Bronze-Gewinner
- Michael Klimke, Deuscther Meister, Dressur
- Ann Kathrinne Linsenhoff, Olympiasiegerin, WElt- und Europameisterin, Mitglied im FN-Präsidium
- Michael Robert, Olympia-Gewinner Bronze, Trainer


You rule, guys!

Thanks to Kim at Enlightened horsemanship for sharing the letter.
(Addendum: Kim has also supplied a list of the people participating in the meeting. Send a mail! Mail-list can be found here)

3-4 years ago, Klaus Balkenhol and Gerd Heuschmann had a tour around Europe together, and I was fortunate enought to attend, both in Norway and half a year later in Sweden.
Mr Heuschmann first had a post about what biomechanically happens in the horse with correct and uncorrect riding. Much of that was later published in his book "Tug of war".
After that Mr Balkenhol had some training sessions, and what a sympathetic and skilled trainer he is.
It was a treat to watch.

What makes me happy about this name list is that it brings some dressage heavy-weighters into the discussion.
From the defenders of rollkur there has been some sneering about what knowledge level the opponents have. It won't be easy to sneer now.

What did Martin Luther King say?
"...not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the silence of the good"?

I am so happy for this.


Kate said...

Very good news!

Di said...

That's great news, can I borrow it for my blog and FB?

Grey Horse Matters said...

A very impressive list. I'm hoping something good will come of this meeting.

Anne i Hannover said...

Klaus Balkenhol really deserves all the respect in the world.

St. Georg, one of the german horse magazines, reported from a dressage show in Münster last year. One section read (translated):

Mr. Balkenhol was watching a famous rider warming up his horse in a roll-kur position, and yelled after him: "You still have two centimeters before he's biting his chest".
A horsedealer standing nearby walked over to Balkenhol and told him "one can't behave this way", to which Balkenhol replied: "No, this is the way one HAS to behave".

(I think I might have shared this story before...but it's worth repeating!)

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all.
Yes, it is very good news.

Of course, Di. The more we spread the news the better.

Anne, I absolutely agree.
He is not only one of the best trainers and riders in the world. He is also a man with integrity and courage.
Well done, Mr Balkenhol.

HorseOfCourse said...

Everyone who wants to send a thank you to Mr Balkenhol can reach him at info@balkenhol.org.
Just a hint.