“Riders need freedom to ride in a way they feel is right and don’t have to feel guilty about,” said President of the International Dressage Rider’s Club Margit Otto Crepin during the Global Dressage Forum, Holland, 29-30 October.

The former Olympian felt that debate comparing the use of different neck frames in schooling (including low, deep and round, hyperflexion or rollkur) was preventing riders from training as they thought best.

“We need to concentrate on the body of the horse and the best way to train that individual,” she said.

This comment came after Spanish national coach Jean Bemelmans refrained from demonstrating hyperflexion (or rollkur) in his lecture, preferring to stretch the horses’ necks with their noses out.

Afterwards he admitted: “I don’t have a problem with hyperflexion, I use it at home sometimes for short moments. I’ll use draw reins, too, just not everyday. It’s when people exacerbate these methods that it’s wrong.”

Dutch Olympian Coby van Baalen has come under fire from the press and welfare groups after pictures were published of her lunging Power And Paint in short side-reins at the European pony championships.

In her demonstration at the Global Dressage Forum, she said: “It was a mistake that the reins were so short and it was corrected after a short time, that is the truth.”

The photographer who took the images claimed the pony was in short side reins for at least 10mins. The Dutch Federation have launched an investigation into the incident.

To find out how riders felt about the idea of a 70 second grand prix test, plus debate on more topics from the Global Dressage forum, don’t miss Horse&Hound 8 November issue.