This morning I had the opportunity to speak with Patrik Kittel about the 4:26 video excerpt of his ride aboard 10 yr old Dutch stallion Watermill Scandic, at the World Cup dressage qualifier in Odense, Denmark.

When did you first hear about the video?
The person who took the video contacted me after the show and after she had posted it on line. She did not lodge a complaint against me at the show, nor did she confront me privately or at the press conference.

What was your reaction when you saw it?
My reaction was more about the text and the video put together, which basically present that I was riding my horse cruelly for 90 minutes, which is utterly not true.

I watched the slow motion, the editing, the decision to post only those few minutes of my ride and not my warm-up, or walk breaks, and how neatly the images supported the accompanying text – all presenting me as abusing my horse.

What was happening with the horse’s tongue?

Scandic got the tongue between the bits or over the bit, as horses occasionally do. It took me about a half a round to notice it and then I corrected it. Of course the circulation to the tongue is compromised for those few seconds, but I corrected it the moment I saw it, as any other rider would do if their horse got his tongue over the bit. For the rest of the video, you can see that the mouth is completely closed and the horse is foaming.

Do you understand why people are so upset about the video?
With the way that the video and text are put together, I understand why people get upset. This video is a very brief clip taken totally out of context and the accompanying text is inflammatory and untrue.

How long did you ride Scandic for that session?
I didn’t time my ride, but rode as was needed on the particular day. ALL of my rides include a walk warm-up, a slow trot to warm up his muscles, long and low stretching and walk breaks. None of that was included in the video footage, nor mentioned in the accompanying text.

I love all my horses and Scandic has a special place my heart. He has an incredible personality and I would never ever try to break his spirit – it’s what makes him so special and such a great partner. I have educated him myself and he has always been there for me. I hope everyone will try to view my kur from Odense. You will see his spirit and his happiness to perform and you will understand our special bond.

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Comment by Gary Stuart on January 18, 2010 at 5:50pm
Comment by k innes on December 27, 2009 at 12:06pm
despite stating the rollkur was used for a brief period of time, it does not account for the rider's need to use it - their is no excuse for inadequate schooling, riding and setting of an example in an arena of any kind
Comment by veronica coolie on November 14, 2009 at 4:25pm
slc --

The level of denial exhibited in your rebuttal is astounding...almost impressive.

Anyone who has their eyes (and heart) open knows that what we see in this video is unjust and wrong. What we see, what we can simply witness by just observing, clearly belies the blind rationalizations coming from you and others who are comfortable justifying this abuse.

The power and purity of honest human discernment cannot be undermined by such disillusioned and faulty reasoning. The absence of compassion in the face of such obvious mistreatment speaks volumes. When words and actions are so glaringly opposed -- and no subsequent effort is made to acknowledge or reconcile this fact -- we have evidence of insanity taking over. To continue to proclaim innocence when there is unmistakable proof of wrongdoing is just plain madness.
Comment by veronica coolie on November 14, 2009 at 2:40am
"Evidently the horse got the tongue between the bits and Kittel corrected it...Horses often do this - the advice in all classical texts is to stop and put the tongue back into position. I've seen people do this from the saddle effectively before."


In all my years of being with horses, I have never witnessed a horse being ridden with a lifeless blue tongue dangling out of its mouth. Are you seriously claiming that you have seen this before? And what's more, you have seen a blue tongue being stuffed back into a horses mouth while the rider is still mounted, and then watch him continue on his merry way with no concern whatsoever that his horse's tongue was blue? How can you witness something so obviously wrong and still think it is okay? A blue tongue is simply not okay. A blue tongue cannot be justified.To continue to insist that this isn't a problem just adds to the insanity of this denial.

If your own tongue were to turn blue, slc, tell me -- would you not view that as rather serious. Not just sticking out, but BLUE. A blue tongue is a sign of trauma; this really can't be denied. Would you maybe want to rest a bit if your own tongue were blue? Perhaps take a break -- immediately, right? Or would you just shove your blue tongue back into your own mouth and continue on like it wasn't a problem.

At the very, very, very the very bottom of basic human decency, a blue tongue would signify to a normal person that they should GET DOWN off of the horse for a little while and offer him some rest. Perhaps wipe the horse down a bit, cool him off. This would be showing the bare minimum of human stewardship and responsibility. How can that not be evident?

To continue to act as if nothing was wrong, to not take responsibility for what is blatantly obvious to anyone who has eyes, just makes it all more horrifying. A blue tongue is evidence that something is indeed very wrong. Period.
Comment by johanna macarthur on October 27, 2009 at 3:18am
Barbara perhaps you would care to comment?
Comment by johanna macarthur on October 27, 2009 at 3:18am
SLC do you know anything about EPONA? do you know why they are undercover investigative journalists?

Because they care - not becuase they will benefit tremendously - gosh! "Is there much money to be made in undercover reporting, in the horse world?".... der dont think so!

Why has the so called interview appeared here (without evidence) and why would Kittel place 'his side' of the arguement on a blog? when he's under FEI investigation and the legal implications of that?

FACT - He rode in hyperflexion for nearly 120 mins, the tongue of the horse was blue at the beginning - for whatever reason - and he should have allowed release after reinjuecting it into scanic's mouth - he didnt.

I strongly suggest before you tap off a comment you check the facts they are on the EPONA website and eventually the results of the FEI investigation will be covered too.
Comment by TheVikings on October 26, 2009 at 1:40pm
Hear, hear!
Comment by johanna macarthur on October 26, 2009 at 1:37pm
I know this statement by Kittel is not true - EPONA TV have 120 mins of footage which includes the Odense tannoy system calling classes and the times - Kittel worked his horse mainly in rolkur for the majority of the time without release.

Epona tv warned Kittel they were recording his telephone interview - he knew this.

Journalist are observers - not participators?!! this is mainly why they did not raise a complaint and in any case they were told by the head steward that they had received a complaint about kittel and Epona thought that action would have been taken on the day.

who do I believe ? - Epona TV of course!

Kittel just doesnt understand does he - we dont want or like rollkur and we will stop riders usingit!
Comment by TheVikings on October 26, 2009 at 1:32pm
It would be so nice and comfortable if only it was so simple....

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