RTL Germany has images that could put equestrian sport in a very bad light. According to RTL, this concerns images in which jumping horses are being barred. The German equestrian federation FN has reported the possible violation of the Animal Welfare Act to the police.
It is not the first time this has happened. In 1990, the prestige of the equestrian sport in public opinion reached a low point: a video showed how horses were ‘prepared’ at Stal Schockemöhle using the barring method. Barring is a prohibited training method whereby jumping horses are struck with a rod or bar against the legs when jumping. The supposed purpose of the method is to teach the horses more respect for the fences and to make them jump higher.
The FN has asked the broadcaster to make the footage available, but this has not yet happened. Because the association cannot assume its responsibility for animal welfare in equestrian sport, the FN has informed police.
“In equestrian sport, the welfare of the horses is the most important thing of all,” says FN general secretary Soenke Lauterbach. “In order to fulfill our responsibility for animal welfare, we have asked RTL several times to provide us with the complete video material. We want to know whether prohibited training methods were actually used.”
“We have also asked to report the persons from the video, so that we can check the facts. RTL has not yet sent the footage. We suspect that RTL’s contribution is not about the welfare of the horses or about showing possible misconduct, but purely about the scandalisation of the scenes before us. Therefore, we have filed a report with the police against the strangers so that the authority can investigate the matter.”