The Olympics and some ( favorite?) old subjects…

6 Aug

‘Hypersensitivity’ makes the jumpers look almost as subjective as dressage.

Hypersensitivity has claimed another victim. This time Canadian show jumper rider Tiffany Foster.

Hypersensitivity apparently only affects show jumpers, not eventers or dressage horses, even though a case could be made for any discipline to benefit from a horse’s somehow  ‘natural’ (ie not caused by human intervention or meddling) heightened sensitivity to touching anything with its feet/hooves/legs.

It is the obverse—heightened sensitivity ‘perceived’ by the person doing the poking of the supposedly affected spot—that enrages horsemen everywhere.

The first big-stage scandal involving this FEI nightmare was,of course, when the great mare Sapphire and her rider US showjumper McLain Ward looked to be about to win the World Cup Final. A spot on the chestnut mare’s front coronet band was judged to be ‘hypersensitive’. This was accomplished by poking the spot repeatedly with a pencil.

Human meddling, chemical or just physically abusive such as poling/blistering/etc is called ‘hypersensitization’  and is punished harshly, with suspensions, fines, and anything else FEI can employ..

Hypersensitivity is when a horse jogs sound, flexes sound, moves sound—but thermographic cameras reveal hot spots,which the FEI and its vets freely admit can be caused by the horse rolling in the stall or otherwise striking the wood with its hoof/leg—let alone clearing fences or rapping a pole.

So yes, the hot spot can be caused by the horse engaged in its job.


From Hoofblog:

There is a photo there of the coronet band spot in question.

<< Veterinarian and former farrier Mike Pownall DVM of McKee-Pownell Equine Services in Ontario commented: “Thermography has too many false positives to be used as the deciding factor on whether a rider is disqualified. More research has to be done to determine a gold standard way to protect the horse. Until then, it is unfair to the horse, the rider and the nation.”>>

Pownall’s comments above can be taken as partisan, because the latest victim of this FEI charge is a member of the Canadian showjumping team, Tiffany Foster’s horse Victor.

Nevertheless, the sentiments are shared by many.


Incredibly, there is competition besides the Olympics.

The World Young Horse Championships  once again was held at Verden, Germany.

The 5 year old winner was a pleasant  Oldenburg gelding, Sa Coeur (Sir Donnerhall- Don Davidoff), ridden pleasantly by Eva Moeller.

The 6 year old winner , Farouche, was last years ‘fireworks’ champion and did not disappoint this year either. Farouche (Fuerst Heinrich – Dimaggio) was bred in England by Woodlander Stud’s Lynn Crowden.

The 18+ hand chestnut mare, ridden by Michael Eilberg, was awarded a final score of 9.88!! (




That brings us back to dressage scores again<g> so  once more,  The Question:

WHY can we not have the SCORES-BY-MOVEMENT TEST SHEETS made public?

The judging of the performance is the linchpin of dressage competition.

It seems an excellent way to grow interest in the sport, educate future and present judges, and generally give this highly subjective sport some much needed gravitas.

Other big  dressage shows provide score-by-movement. It seems only right and fair that the Olympics—dedicated after all to sport and the absence of politics, yadda-yadda, should get on with it and provide this information.


Back after Tuesday’s Grand Prix Special.







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