Trying to influence public opinion about horse racing by focusing on things that go wrong. That does seem to be becoming more the rule than the exception. And you guys are just letting yourselves focus on the exceptions.
As an equestrian sector, we have a responsibility, and that is to make insightful and transparent what we are doing as a sector. Why? Because we deal with animals on a daily basis. Indeed, this very point is where Arjen Lubach (and many others with extreme views on our wonderful sport) find the hook to lash out at. The good thing about this is, it is unsubstantiated and focuses on exceptions that even we don't want to see. The bad thing about this? The video is incredibly well put together and could destroy our sport.
Let's be very clear. Equestrianism is a sport that has evolved, and certainly belongs in this day and age. I'm not going to elaborate on the fact that every example deserves a counter-example, that a top sport horse enjoys what he or she is doing and that accidents also occur during what we pets do. No, I'm going to tell you that as an officially accredited Sport Innovator Center (yes Lubach, it's a sport) we do everything we can to make sure that all people can enjoy the beautiful sport for years to come. We are concerned with knowledge and innovation. And above all knowledge is an important one.
But let me say up front: This knowledge revolves around how the sector in general (and there the top athlete is the inspiration for the grassroots sport, the example - yes Lubach, here they also excel in welfare) is doing with sport. Because focusing on exceptions is what we call particularly bad management in business. After all, there are always exceptions and you deal with them separately. In the case of sports, this is through regulation by the association and international federation. And precisely the countries where regulation is not yet so good need us, with the right development of knowledge to make better regulation possible.
Good animal welfare is a given for us. We practice the sport with a teammate, who like the rider or amazon must be mentally and physically at peak fitness. And that includes rest, recovery and happiness. Smartly mounting statements about how we as humans can't tell a horse that weighs a lot what to do or the fact that Anky also sometimes does something she doesn't want to (all without context, by the way) is not what it's about. As equestrians, we know that exercising is something that also excites the horse on a daily basis. The point is to show you that we are engaged in research, and continue to innovate our sport daily with it.
At EquInnoLab. we are involved daily in all areas of sport and horse husbandry to ensure that our horses are healthier, perform well and recover. We are even conducting research that provides insight into the behavior of horses that train versus horses that do not actively train. That's what you're accomplishing something with. All from the belief with that we are doing good and because we want the best for our horses. But unfortunately also desperately needed to compared to you, do come up with informed answers and be at the forefront of overseeing a modern equestrian sport.
And now on a personal note. Dear Arjen, I am never (you are the first) tempted to react to these kinds of issues. I always try to look forward positively. And why do I do so now? Actually just to your introduction: That it is not important to talk about the NK jumping at our location in Deurne. You do with this many people, including children, a lot of grief. They work very hard together with their horses to become better every day and deserve that homage of a National Championship. So to all the champions Children, Juniors, Young Riders and Seniors: Congratulations and on to the next one!
Alain D. Broft
Manager of Innovation at EquInnoLab.
– photo by Francky Papelard