Ban equestrian sports from the Olympics

Ban equestrian sports from the Olympics

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On 6 August 2021, we all witnessed Annika Schleu forcibly coercing her randomly assigned horse, Saint Boy, to jump despite its obvious distress and refusal to do so. Annika was ordered to “really hit” the horse and her now banned coach, Kim Raisner, punched it. I watched in absolute shock and horror as this poor horse, baring its teeth and sweating profusely, was suffering.

Cruelty is an old friend of the equestrian sports industry. Remember the “rollkur technique” controversy?

Rollkur involves drawing the horse’s neck round in a deep curve so its nose almost touches its chest. An infamous “blue tongue video” from 2009 shows Swedish dressage rider, Patrik Kittel, riding his stallion hyper-flexed to the point the horse’s tongue is blue, and hanging out of his mouth. Just before the 2012 Olympics, a photo capturing Kittel using the same technique reignited the rollkur debate in the horse community. 

After some international pressure, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) eventually banned the practice.

In 2002, a report from the Daily Telegraph detailed “frequent incidents of violence” against dressage horses at competitions, including attacks that left horses with “torn mouths and bloodied flanks”. 

There are other various cruel techniques involved in the training of horses for equestrian sports. 

For example, Noseband tightening has caused a lot of changes in the behavior of the horses, temperature of the eye, and lastly, cardiac irregularities. Shock collars are used to tame horses. Dressage requires you to use spurs (a type of metal tool attached to riding boots used to direct the horse) despite cruelty concerns. A cursory glance on the Internet reveals countless incidences of suffering and vile tortuous practices. 

What can we do to help these animals? Well, it turns out, quite a lot. Think about what we have achieved when we act together. 

Zoo /circus goers used to enjoy watching animals perform amazing feats for their entertainment, blissfully unaware of the torture they endured behind the scenes. Once these practices came to light, we collectively agreed that forcing animals to perform in Zoos or circuses is inhumane, cruel, and barbaric.

Now, it’s time to address the ‘other’ elephant in the room.

How can we condemn and legislate against the use of animals in Zoos or circuses for entertainment when we continue to force horses to compete in sports that result in distress, severe injuries, and death?

This petition calls on the International Olympic Committee to ban equestrian sports from future Olympics. 

Please check out the article that inspired me to start this petition:

Equestrian sports encourage animal cruelty - they should be banned from the Olympics

63,624 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!
At 75,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on!