The difference between parallel bars and touch.

Parallel bars in showjumping
Guided touch includes haptic stimulus mode

Another scandal in equestrian sports: Ludger Beerbaum jumpers are said to have used a forbidden training method: parallel bars. Bierbaum denies the accusation and says he used the permitted touch. We asked FN Training Director Thies Kasparit to explain why the guidelines differentiate between touch and parallel bars and if there is a rule change on the horizon.

CAVALLO: During training, the FN rules distinguish between prohibited parallel bars and permitted touch. How to properly use touch as a friendly training method for horses and beyond Why is it necessary at all?


Thies Kasparit: Touch is allowed as a training method under very specific circumstances, but may not be used in tournaments. Touch involves sensitizing the horse by specifically touching the horse’s legs during the jumping process. This is to encourage the horse to increase his attention and coordination again. However, no pain, suffering, or harm may occur to the horse. This training tool should be used with extreme caution and does not replace actual training for a jumping horse. All training methods should always be used in a professional and horse-friendly manner. How to use touch professionally is described in Ride and Driving Instructions Volume 2. In general, touch is only accepted by the FN as a training aid if it is performed in an equine-friendly manner and by experienced and experienced professionals with adequate feel, sensitivity and experience. Before touching, it must be ensured that inadequate riding, lack of horse permeability, lack of coordination or conditioned abilities or jumping technique of the horse, training structure and basic training or health factors are not a reason for unclean jumping. The horse must have good mobility and be able to ride to jump evenly and confidently. Equipped with a solid foundation for riding, the rider must approach individual obstacles with good judgment and be able to frame the horse securely between aids in every situation. Only touch rails with a maximum weight of 2,000 grams and a length of three meters can be used. The rod body shall be round with a smooth surface made of non-splitting material. However, it should not be made of metal. Touching certain parts of the leg while jumping helps the horse to bend the wrist and wrist joints more while jumping, that is, bend the legs more to avoid contact with the shaft. If the above conditions are met, you jump over a low obstacle. Lifting of the bar should be from the height of the upper obstacle bar. The ‘Tactile Trainer’ holds the touch bar so that the front legs or hind legs are touching while jumping. Differentiation from parallel bars: 30 years ago, in the context of the so-called “Bar case”, FN, in a complex process with scientists, animal welfare organizations and equestrian sports experts, made a clear distinction between barred parallel bars, which are inconsistent with animal welfare, and permitted training method out to touch, which are still strictly defined in the ride and driving instructions. The legal use of touch involves raising a bar as described above to make a connection designed to enhance attention while maintaining the horse’s confidence. However, hitting a horse’s legs with a rod/something that causes severe pain, as defined in animal care guidelines as parallel bars is not used, however. We strongly reject the use of force in horse training. The foundation of trust between the rider and the horse is an absolute prerequisite: only if there is a basis for trust, the horse will perform well or even at its best. Consistent touch involves providing a tactile stimulus, similar to dropping a barrier, not adding pain. Feeling the pain may cause the horse to lose confidence. This loss of confidence is in complete contradiction to the goal of showing the horse the way to very good performance during training.


In the video sequences entered into the RTL, you can see and hear how the horses are affected while jumping. Is this training appropriate for horses and does not cause unnecessary pain to the animals? Can the events presented be interpreted as poignant, and if so, why?


In order for us to seriously clarify these exact questions, all video materials are required to be analyzed in relation to all details including the behavior of the horse before and after jumping.


When with the results of the commission by the FN for clarification Instructed to account?


After extensive work on the content and discussion, the Commission is currently dealing with whether modifications to the set of rules are possible and reasonable. We are confident that the Commission’s recommendations on how to deal with this issue will be available in the spring.


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