British Dressage's Members Handbook 2020: Rules on Hyperflexion and Blood

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 14:56
Great Britain
Hyperflexion, fortunately seen less and less at competitions in the last decade:: Photo © Astrid Appels

The 2020 British Dressage Members' Handbook is about to go to press and the dressage branch of the British Equestrian Federation wanted to share with its members the final wording around the new hyperflextion and blood and vaccination rules. 

The Members Handbook contains the rules for national level competition in Great Britain. 

British Dressage words the highly debated topics of hyperflexion and blood on a horse as following:


Hyperflexion or ‘rollkur’ is not permitted or tolerated from any rider or combination. In competition conditions, BD stewards will now refer any hyperflexion seen to the judge at C or the organiser immediately. The combination will be eliminated from the competition. Anyone who witnesses this practice at a BD competition, or any other action that contravenes the BD equine welfare policy, is requested to use our Welfare Form available via the BD website to report such instances to the BD office. Please include any available evidence (witness statements, video, photos, etc.) which can be used by the designated Welfare Officer who may then refer the matter to the Disciplinary Panel for action.


For all competitions: If the judge at C suspects fresh blood anywhere on the horse during the test, he/she will stop the horse to check for blood. If the horse shows fresh blood, it will be eliminated. The elimination is final. If the judge, through examination, clarifies that the horse has no fresh blood, the horse may resume and finish its test.

Competitions where a BD steward is present: In addition to the above, if blood is noticed on a horse during the warm up, the BD steward will approach the rider, make them aware of it and inspect the horse. If the horse shows fresh blood, the BD steward will advise the rider to retire.

If the rider fails to do so, the BD steward will report the matter with evidence to the judge at C and the horse will be eliminated from that class. The horse may be presented for subsequent classes but the BD steward must be satisfied the horse is fit to continue.

Any fresh blood found by a BD steward during the post-test inspection in the horse’s mouth or area of the spurs will be reported to the Judge at C with evidence and the horse will be eliminated from that class. If there is blood on any other areas of the horses body, the BD Steward in consultation with the Judge at C will decide if the horse should be eliminated and/or is fit to continue in any further competition(s) in the event.

Any horse which has a ‘sore patch’ (an area where hair has been rubbed off and the skin is inflamed) in a location where there is a danger that the skin could be broken if the horse were continued to be ridden, it must be withdrawn from competition. If the sore patch is not noticed until after a test has been completed, then elimination will only occur if the skin is broken. The horse may not continue to compete for the remainder of the competition thereafter, unless approved to continue by an independent vet.

Source: BD - Photo © Astrid Appels

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