Germany to re-examine draw reins rules

  • Germany is now looking at rules regarding draw reins following Switzerland’s announcement last week that the national federation was taking a stand and banning the training aids at shows at national level.

    Draw reins are currently allowed under Swiss showjumping rules during the warm-up prior to the first fence and in prize-givings.

    However, from 1 January 2016 they will not be allowed at national shows, in an attempt to improve the profile of horse sport.

    The Swiss Equestrian Federation said it wants to “engage continuously and proactively in the welfare of the horses and the reputation of equestrian sports”, adding that draw reins paint a negative image for non-riders.

    A spokesman for the German Equestrian Federation told H&H that the “use of draw reins at riding shows in Germany is under discussion”. Currently they are allowed in prize-givings and flat work before jumping.

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    Draw reins are already banned everywhere except prize-givings under Dutch rules.

    H&H asked British Showjumping if it was considering taking action, but the organisation didn’t answer the query. The British Equestrian Federation declined to comment.

    At shows run under FEI rules in Germany and the Netherlands, draw reins would still be permitted in the warm-up. However, it is hoped by some riders, including trainer Christopher Bartle, that the rule change could have far-reaching consequences and lead to riders training differently.

    H&H readers agreed with the ban to be enforced by Switzerland.

    “About time. If your horse is correctly trained then draw reins aren’t needed. They are a poor excuse for poor training regimes,” said Beth Scott.

    Sylvia Frehner also said it was “about time this happened,” while Millie Wilkinson said she “completely agrees with this move”.

    Lauren Hoare added: “Well done Switzerland.”

    However, many countered that in the correct hands they can be useful.

    “There’s nothing wrong with draw reins if used in the correct manner by the right person as a training aid,” said Kay Edwina Coates.

    What do you think? Email hhletters@timeinc.com

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