North Rhine-Westphalia: Horses on festival parades: Are they completely relaxed or completely smashed?

As of: 07/18/2022 6:09 PM

After a horse collapses during the Schützenfest parade in Düsseldorf, the use of animals is discussed at customs, as was the case at Carnival – including the “serenity test” of horses.

While the Dusseldorf shooters want to lay off the horses this year, nothing will change for the Neuss Nationals bowlers. According to the club president, horses are traditionally part of the Schützenfest.

Beta: movement causes stress to animals

Peter Hofkin of PETA sees things differently. The expert believes that forcing horses to participate in such walks causes stress among the animals. “Even normal people can see that horses just want to get away from this forced situation,” Hofkin told WDR. After all, horses are flying animals, but they do not have this option in processions and parades.

New slate in NRW

However, the horses used in NRW for traditional events are especially well prepared for these marches, Andre Coleman of the Rhineland Equestrian Sports Federation told WDR Monday. Much has already been done years ago in cooperation with carnival clubs and other customs representatives. Since January, there has also been a new guideline on the use of horses in customs at NRW.

Break rules and weight limits

“This applies not only to ceremonial parades, but of course also to gun clubs or other customs—regardless of the size of the parade,” Coleman says. It states, for example, that a vet must always be on site and that the passenger is not allowed to drink alcohol. One of the main innovations in the guidebook, for example, is the maximum weight for riders. Coleman himself helped formulate the guideline. The Ministry of Environment also agreed together on a maximum period of movement, so that the animals need a break every four hours.

What was previously the norm and is now stipulated in the guideline is the requirement for a horse to pass a test of composure.

PETA: “Experience of serenity breaks the will of the animal”

During the serenity tests, horses will be constantly exposed to noises and objects will be thrown at them, animal rights activist Hofkin said Sunday at the current hour. The awnings were opened, and there was loud music going on. “It’s not something you want an animal to do, that way they become insensitive and compliant.”

serenity test

Andre Coleman can’t understand it. Before taking a test of composure, which is mandatory for participation in traditional parades with riders, there is always a guided quad test.

Only when the horse and rider have achieved a school grade of “satisfactory” in the test taken can they apply for passing the failing test. If this is passed by the number 3, the rider can use it for the moves.

Horses must bear the rumble of chariots and orchestras

The course consists of six compulsory tasks and four tasks that can vary. Mandatory tasks include, for example, carrying balloons rising from behind a fence, as well as opening spray bottles, rattling carts and parachutes.

Other tasks will now be specifically discussed with the implementing clubs prior to the move. Conditions should be as realistic as possible. For the carnival, a drum band or a full brass band was sometimes used to test for serenity.

Similar stress level as in competition

In a Scandinavian study, this desensitization proved particularly successful. What it means to run in procession for horses has not been scientifically researched. A master’s thesis at the University of Zurich in 2017 found that horses in competition had similar stress levels to horses in showjumping or dressage competition. The researchers concluded that the values ​​are acceptable. It is physically reasonable for animals to walk with movement.

Horses – lovable and beaten

7/18/2022 7:10 PM


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