”The day before yesterday, I posted a press release on Helgstrand Dressage's homepage and my FB page as a response to the still photographs from the warm-up at the show in Falsterbo, as pictures have flourished in public for the last days. Link to press release.
My comments have resulted in numerous positive and supportive comments, which I appreciate very much.
I have for instance received the following pictures and written message from an independent Swedish journalist and photographer Kim Lundi:
”As the only freelance writer and photographer dedicated to dressage coverage I attended Falsterbo Horse Show, stayed during the whole event, all days with scheduled dressage competitions from dusk til dawn.
This year I spent some time in the warm-up area to observe the combinations.I observed Andreas Helgstrand and Stamina twice in the competition ring and twice in the warm-up, the first time early in the week.When I attend a warm-up I have my radar on for what is going on there, ready to document questionable incidents - regardless of which riders are involved.
That is my job as writer/photographer.During the time by the warm-up I acknowledged to myself how much calmer Stamina appeared in relation to previous competitions during the year. It is a horse I have seen during many years, often very hot.I took a few photos of Andreas Helgstrand and Stamina, as I took of most combinations.
Eventually I did not end upp with a lot of photos as nothing close to rule violations occurred. The difficult weather during the week had caused problems form many combinations, the warm-up was hence very lively some days. ”
Kim Lundin, freelance writer/photographer equestrian media
"I was not contacted, during warm-up nor at any other time during the entire show in Falsterbo by a steward, official, tecnical delegated or ground jury, who always supervise the warm-up non-stop at a 5 star FEI-show, like this show.
Today, I have asked FEI for a copy of the ”normal event report”, which according to the media's quotes from high-ranking employees in FEI, has been given to FEI long ago; this will enable me to find out whether any criticism was reported to the officials despite the fact that no one contacted me.
Stamina is an incredibly supple horse, and with a rider in the saddle, she naturally bends into dressage posture. The horse can easily be ridden in a snaffle bridle or completely loose curb rein. Consequently, I use a baby double bridle for training and shows.
If it was allowed to ride the higher classes without a double bridle, I would be happy to show Stamina in a snaffle bridle, also the high level exercises.
New talented young mare
Yesterday, August 27, a new very talented 3-year-old mare arrived at our stables. Casablanca has just passed her riding test in Germany, and the test rider gave her e.g. a 10. We have been looking forward to getting her home to our stables.
Our master rider apprentice, Søren, rode her for the first time in the arena this morning; and we made a short video of their ride. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for such a talented young horse.
Casablanca is by Conen / Fiedertanz / Weltmeyer.
”During the warm-up at the Falsterbo show this summer, we once again experienced photographers standing and leaning over the fence with whirring cameras very close to Stamina and me. They shot many, many pictures each second, resulting in noise from the cameras.
Due to the photographers' conduct and the noise from the cameras, Stamina and I both got tense.
I stopped in front of one of the most persistent photographers and asked politely whether it was necessary to take that many photos of us. His answer was that I should focus on my riding and mind my own business!
With modern photo equipment, it is very easy to take so many pictures in a second that you get still photographs where a horse, a rider or an equipage looks either fantastic or hopeless, simply because the photograph only shows a tiny part of a continuing movement; which, especially during warm-up, might be influenced by many factors.
However, still photographs are not a suitable factor to evaluate the quality of riding.
At Helgstrand Dressage, we strive to educate and ride all our horses in a way that enables each individual horse to reach the highest possible level. We are athletes and our horses are athletes.
Force, violence or other types of abuse are contra-productive to our goal and against our fundamental values.
We train and compete according to the rules and assessments of the judges in our sport.
I am very sad that some medias apparently wish to keep harassing my team and me, and it makes me sad that some people publicly support these actions; however, this does not change our values, objectives and work with the many talented horses, which we are entrusted to ride, educate and develop.