I read with interest recently about the fact that the board of directors of the German Equestrian Federation have decided to implement a new rule based around good riding etiquette.
The federation is quoted as defining bad practice as anything that includes “explicitly any aggressive riding or training methods which entail a forceful handling of the horse.” The idea behind the change is that they would like to make sure the sport is displayed in a more positive light, which is why the rule has now become a vital guideline for anyone who wants to ride on behalf of Germany.
I think in order to maintain the positive image of equestrianism and of course animal welfare, this is fantastic rule. As riders, no doubt we’ve all had the misfortune to witness “bad practices”, whether they arise through sheer ignorance or just poor riding, so to have an official rule which will encourage riders to ride better is brilliant! And hopefully it will also make those who choose to ride aggressively or without any empathy to/partnership with their horse think twice as well.
As the Federation intended, I think the rule change will in itself help to promote equestrian sport in a more positive light, since it does show clearly that we really do care about our horses and our reputation, both as individual riders and also on the whole as a sport.
For me, anything we can do to promote our commitment to these wonderful animals and their wellbeing is a good thing and will promote equestrianism positively in the public’s view. Let’s keep using good riding etiquette and set a good example so others do the same!