Answer From The Danish Equestrian Federation

We finally got an answer from the Danish Equestrian Federation.

Allow me to translate, and thank you, DRF, for finally answering.

About pictures from JBK Horse Festival

Over the last couple of days, there has been some debate about a series of pictures from the CSIO show, JBK Horse Festival in Odense (15.-18. May 2014). Since it is an international event, it is the international federations FEI’s rules that apply. Below , we will answer the general questions we have been asked, as well as uncover the situation of the horse that bled from the nose.

Can you use a draw rein while warming up?

JBK Horse Festival is an international event, and as such it is FEI’s rules that apply. According to those, it is allowed to ride and jump with a draw rein, while warming up. See snippets from the jumping rules below (or the entire set of rules via the link). At Danish shows, by the Danish Equestrian Federation, it is not allowed to jump with a draw rein during warm up.

Are there rules for equipment in jumping?

At FEI events, there are no restrictions when it comes to use of bit in jumping, as long as they cannot cause damage to the horse.

Said pictures shows amongst others, a bit burr containing soft rubber spikes, and a bit burr with soft bristles/sponges on the inside. Both were controlled and approved by a steward. See snippets from FEI’s rules for jumping and Steward manual below (or the entire set of rules and or the entire Steward Manual via the links).


Is it allowed to move the bar to the edge of the bar holder and place the poles askew?

It is allowed to move the bar to the edge, as long as it is in the jumping direction, since it makes it easier to tear down. It is not allowed to move the bar to the edge against the jumping direction. The poles can be askew. It is not allowed to jump an oxer where the back bar is lower than the front bar.

About the horse that bled from the nose at JBK Festival

Kasper H. Hansen’s horse Limbo got a violent nose bleed in the 150cm class Saturday the 17th of May at JBK Horse Festival in Odense 2014, on the last obstacle. Horse and rider was met by the vet while leaving the show ring, where the bleeding was stopped during 10-15 minutes, and the horse was washed. Limbo was examined by the vet later that evening, amongst other things, with a telescope.

The cause of the bleeding was a lung bleeding, (a ruptured vessel in the lung.) This is usually not dangerous, but horses who gets it, must of course be examined by a vet. Lung bleedings are seen in 50-60% of all thoroughbred horses, and can happen while resting as well as while in training.

Limbo was ordered 4-5 weeks off, where it could be walked and be on its pasture. Which is why it is not appearing at next week’s DM at Absolute Horses.

See the ride her.

We have talked to an FEI judge about the case. He estimates that since the nosebleed was not caused by the rider having injured or in any way tried to force his horse, and since the bleeding arrived at the last obstacle, the equipage was not disqualified. If it had happened earlier, the equipage should have been halted and the horse examined, and then it should have been evaluated if the equipage could complete the round.

Snippets of FEIs springreglement jumping rules

1. In the Competition arena
1.1. Blinkers are forbidden.
1.2 Leather, sheepskin or similar material may be used on each cheek piece of the bridle providing the material does not exceed three centimetres in diameter measured from the Horse’s cheek.
1.3. Only unrestricted running martingales are allowed. Standing martingales are permitted for Horses in Children’s Competitions.
1.4. There are no restrictions on bits. However, the Ground Jury has the right, based on veterinary advice, to forbid the use of a bit that may cause injury to the Horse.
Reins must be attached to the bit(s) or directly to the bridle. Gags and hackamores are allowed.
1.5. The use of a tongue-strap is forbidden. For the use of tongue guards, see VRs Art. 1035.4.
1.6. Draw reins (running reins) are forbidden in the Competition arena except during prize giving ceremonies and march-past parades.

Snippets from Steward Manual
6. Bit Burrs Common sense should be used with regard to allowing various types of rubber discs around the bit rings and that those that do not hurt the horse’s face should be permitted: e.g. discs with small brushes should be allowed but those with rubber spikes should not be allowed unless the spikes have been rubbed down to a flat surface.”

I guess I got my answers then. It is all legal. Even the “Soft rubber spikes.” No wait, they were not legal? But they were examined and approved by a steward? Excuse me if I am a bit confused. And as for the bit burr with bristles on, that was not a sponge and it was not soft. But that is legal, so who cares. Besides, a steward approved.

I do think that it is sad though. All of it. Completely legal. Tell me that this sport, do not have a problem?

Any bit is allowed “as long as it does not cause damage to the horse.” Who is to decide what “damage” is then? Pain? Bleeding? Broken jaw lines? What is damage? I really think that is a sad way to phrase it.

As for the horse that bled from the nose, I am glad it is okay. But then again, I never questioned that. We would have heard it, if it had died. I do question how it can be that a horse can rupture a vessel in its lung, in the show ring, and not be disqualified. That had been my question all along, and now I find that even if it has not been on the very last obstacle, this horse might have been allowed to continue?

Again, leaving the evaluation to someone like a steward or a judge, is that in the best interest of the horse? According to the FEI judge DRF has spoken to, the horse was saved by the bell, since it didn’t start bleeding until the very end. Do we want to accept that?

Oh, it made it across the finish line before it died, no harm done… exaggerating? Maybe. For now. Time will tell if that is where we are going to end up some day. Since they do bring up that lung bleedings happen to 50- 60% of all thoroughbred horses, and use it as an excuse, I will have to point out then, that much more than 50-60% of all thoroughbred horses die on the race track, quite a lot of them from lung bleedings… and don’t tell me that it just happens to a normal, sound horse, while resting. Don’t patronize me. And don’t try to blame the race of the horse and some sort of genetic defects, because it just ain’t true. Yes, thoroughbreds die from nosebleeds on track, almost every day, worldwide. Why? Because they are raced too hard, too young, and cared for, too little.

I am not saying that is the answer in Limbo’s case, all I am saying is that this explanation do nothing to mediate the situation for me, quite the contrary.

So I guess the only question left is still this one; Where are the animal welfare organizations? How do we allow medieval torture of our animals in the name of the sport? And who is to decide, what “damage” truly is? FEI?

They are doing a kick ass job so far. Applause all around.


About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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6 Responses to Answer From The Danish Equestrian Federation

  1. saraannon says:

    I have not personally owned a huge number of Thoroughbreds, but even in our high desert environment of 5,000 to 10,000 ft altitude and extremely low humidity as we are here in Northern New Mexico spontaneous bleeding from the lung in stabled Thoroughbreds at hunter/jumper/dressage and private stables is so rare as to be unheard of.
    At the race track horses are given a wide variety of anti-inflammatories, diuretics, and steroids which can thin healthy tissue and interfere with blood clotting. These drugs may well result in standing horses that are prone to spontaneous bleeding but that is the fault of the people, not the breed!

  2. Gee I own a TB and he’s never bled out the nose. But then again, I ride him ethically.

  3. Sensibly_Common says:

    Could I get your source for the more than 50% of tbs die on the track? I’d like to research this more.

  4. Imagine if we kicked the stewards as hard as these a*holes kick and pull their horses…It would stop overnight!

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