About Helgstrand Dressage in Operation X

november 21. 2023

About Helgstrand Dressage in Operation X

What we see in TV 2's footage makes a big impression on us. It is not okay. It is poor riding and treatment of horses that we do not want to see at Helgstrand Dressage. It does not live up to our guidelines and values, and it is not representative of our culture. We need to correct this.

We can see that there has been a shift in our values, and it is our responsibility as leaders to ensure that our training and treatment of horses are done in the best possible way. We can see in the programs that this has not happened. We can and must do better.

That's why we take the content of the programs very seriously. The recordings are from January 2023, and we have thoroughly reviewed our work processes both before and since the recordings and introduced a wide range of measures and improvement points for our animal welfare, business management and conditions for our employees.

Our Training Culture
It is central to our work that our horses are well. We train elite dressage horses that, together with their riders, should be able to perform at the highest level. We can only succeed if our horses thrive, and there is trust between rider and horse. Elite sports are demanding. But like other athletes, a sports horse needs to feel good to deliver results, which is why we must always be attentive to the way we train our horses.

Here at Helgstrand Dressage, we train about 350 horses a day and ride 10,000 rides a month.
Like the experts, we can also see that there is conflict behavior in some of the cases in the programs. This is unacceptable, and we are reacting to this.

Our Training Methods
We have 60 professional riders and grooms who work hard every day to train our horses in the best possible way. It is our responsibility to ensure that our guidelines are followed and that training methods are used correctly and always with the health and well-being of the horse as the main priority.

We can see that some of our training equipment has been used incorrectly in the recordings. It should guide and correct the horse, but it should never be used as punishment. We would like to make it clear that rollkur and excessive use of whip or draw reins are not accepted by us. The same applies to covering spur marks with colored cream. Therefore, we have made it clear that no form of colored cream is accepted by us. We acknowledge that our horses may occasionally have sores in the mouth. This can be from biting themselves in the mouth or the tongue or grinding their teeth. That said, no horse should be ridden with sores that require care and rest. We have since introduced a thorough check of our horses every 14 days, where our stable managers assess the physical and mental condition of the horses.

We must ensure a good culture
At Helgstrand Dressage, we have chosen not to participate in the Operation X programs about us because we are fundamentally against TV 2's use of hidden recordings. But there should be no doubt that we take the content very seriously.

That is why, we have listened to the criticism and have already introduced a number of improvements in our business. You can read more about them here: Improvement points