Horse welfare meeting: “Will we still be allowed to ride in ten years?”

📌 EXLOO – The Drenthe region of the KNHS organized a meeting on equine welfare at CDI Exloo. This topic is increasingly on the agenda both within and outside the equestrian sector.

The driving force behind the meeting was Nadine Boening, who managed to get KNHS’s Fenna Westerduin to lead the evening on behalf of the KNHS District Board. Dozens of members and other interested parties attended the meeting.

Fina Westredoin

“In the world of horses, there are many bubbles that slam each other so hard.”

Westerduin was able to galvanize the audience and also spoke on surveys that the KNHS regularly commissions to gauge how the outside world views equestrian sport. , but it’s not just about the outside world, most people have no idea how things work in the horse sector. There are also many bubbles within the horse world, who often criticize each other. This is absolutely amazing, because we’re doing the same thing in almost every bubble in equestrian sport.”

A discussion on equine welfare at the initiative of the KNHS Region of Drenthe in Exlo.

All those bubbles within the equestrian sport collectively contain about half a million people. “Everyone out there knows very little about horses and equestrian sports. They probably see something on TV a few times a year, and they probably know Anki, but that’s it,” Westerduin said. You also see an opportunity there. “So you can positively influence those The big group. Let us tell you how fun it is to work with horses.”

KNHS research shows that people in big cities are more negative about equestrian sports than people in the countryside. At the same time, “townspeople” sometimes know a lot about this topic, and most often they are people who delve into something. A veterinarian brought up another interesting fact: There may be more horses in the Randstad than outside it. “You just don’t see them very often, because they’re almost alone indoors. This type of owner often finds an indoor paddock and horse-walker more important than herding. But that’s also the luxury, which goes beyond just the way we exercise.”

media roll

The role of the media also came to the fore. Negative reports are greatly exaggerated, and incidents are widely reported. The topic of the Olympic Games and the pentathlon was also touched upon.

An expression about opponents of equestrian sports, about a major event.

In Tokyo, Germany’s Annika Schlew became world news when she was on a gold course and her horse didn’t want to cooperate. Weeping, Shleo whipped the horse several times, encouraged by her trainer Kim Reisner, who struck the horse with his fist. At the next Games in 2028, riding in the pentathlon will be cancelled. The public agreed on one thing: officials should have intervened much earlier in this incident.


Intervention is a big dilemma, admitted the member of the jury present. “It’s no secret that jurors are already under threat,” she said. Meanwhile, 40% of KNHS members believe officials dare not step in when a horse’s best interest is at stake. “So public opinion wants you to raise your hand more often,” Westerduin concluded. The problem is to have a measurable framework. Because when is this well-being at stake?

Streaker EK Rotterdam
Streakers with text Stop Horse Slavery disrupted the riding of Mark Hotzager and Sterrehof’s Calimero during the European Championship final.
^ Jacob Millison

The conclusion of the evening was that (horse riding is allowed) is not normal in the long run. The lobby of workgroups is large. ,, For example, all members of the International Olympic Committee received a pamphlet stating that horse riding should no longer be allowed. There is a lot going on in this area. It’s not five to twelve, but five years. In the end, society decides whether we will continue to ride horses.”

And then there was a streak

Many sporting events are now familiar with it: the smoother. It is often a person in scantily clad uniforms disrupting the sport, running across the field and calling attention to something with banners or pamphlets.

Mark Hotzager can talk about that. During CHIO Rotterdam in 2019, his flight in the European Championship final was disrupted by a hook. “We take good care of our horses,” said Houtzager afterward, “they’re idiots.”

Being ‘nice’ with hackers is advised by KNHS’ Fenna Westerduin. “Give them a warm coat, for example.” In practice, hackers are often treated with hostility and with a great deal of incomprehension. “On the other hand, if the sticker causes a dangerous situation, the passenger can report it.”

Larger events are usually well prepared for line disruptions, with protocol being followed.

📝 Source:
^ Stephen Stegen

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