Rollkur – A Multidiscipline issue

220px-rollkur_drawing“Rollkur or hyperflexion of the horse’s neck is a practice in equestrianism defined as “flexion of the horse’s neck achieved through aggressive force” and is banned by the world governing body, the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).”

You will note there is no reference to any particular discipline in this definition.  In recent times, the practice of Rollkur attracted widespread criticism within the dressage scene leading to it being condemned by the FEI.  Studies indicate that Rollkur increases stress & tension within the horse, as such being counterproductive to the lightness & relaxation good horsemanship aims to achieve.

dressage-rollkurThe practice of Rollkur appears to persist at some level within dressage, however it is usually met with widespread condemnation.  Unfortunately however, it appears that the method is used frequently within some western disciplines.  I have personally witnessed several western horses under different trainers being trained & held in a typical Rollkur frame.  More disturbingly, I have seen horses winning in the ring & being highly praised for their beautiful training & way of going, all whilst in the Rollkur posture.  It would appear that the issue of Rollkur is less recognised within western circles, or is it that it is simply accepted?

western-rollkurAs with collection, which comes from the hindquarter as opposed to the head being pulled
in & a round neck, it would seem that we again need to “retrain the eye” as to what is correct. Whilst there are some attempts to raise awareness of this detrimental training method within western disciplines, it would seem that many consider this to only be within the dressage domain.

Kentucky Equine research has concluded that hyperflexion is detrimental to equine wellbeing.  Here is a link to a summary regarding their findings; Hyperflexion/Rollkur

Here is an excellent video from Patrick King Horsemanship introducing the idea of “psychological” rollkur, & is well worth viewing; Psychological Rollkur

It is worth repeating his words:
“What more reason do you need to stay away from it?”

Cheers & Happy Riding!


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