Danish Equestrian Federation Excludes Helgstrand from National Team and Team Activities

Thu, 11/23/2023 - 11:02
Andreas Helgstrand at the 2022 World Championships Dressage hosted in Herning (DEN). As CEO of Helgstrand Dressage he is held accountable for the training practices that happen in his sales yard :: Photo © Astrid Appels

In the morning of 23 November 2023 the Danish Equestrian Federation announced that it will be excluding Andreas Helgstrand from the national team and national team activities following the airing of the Operation X documentary.

Officials at the Danish Equestrian Federation had seen footage of the documentary already months ago, but decided to wait with action until after the broadcast.

At the end of September Ulf Helgstrand already took leave from his position as chair of the Danish Equestrian Federation for apparent conflict of interest in Helgstrand's disqualification case due to non-compliance with procedure concerning the medication of his horse Jovian at the Danish Equestrian Federation. 

Today the Danish Equestrian Federation stated

Based on TV 2 and Operation X’s recent two TV broadcasts; The Secrets of the Horse Billionaire, the Danish Equestrian Federation (also known as “DRF”) have decided to exclude Andreas Helgstrand from the national team and all national team activities for the time being.

The board of the DRF dealt with the matter at a board meeting on Wednesday the 22nd of November at 5 pm, after watching the broadcasts via the streaming service TV 2 Play. The board of DRF strongly distances itself from the unacceptable methods of riding, training, and treating horses the broadcasts clearly show. Therefore, it is now clear, that Andreas Helgstrand, based on the broadcasts, can no longer represent the Danish equestrian federation as a national team rider. As a national team rider, you are, among other things, obliged, according to the sports plan, to comply with our Code of Conduct, guidelines for ethically correct use of horses for equestrian sports as well as act as good role models.

A strong appeal for the participating riders

Jakob Blicher Ravnsbo, who succeeded Ulf Helgstrand
as chair of the Danish Equestrian Federation
The riders participating in TV 2’s recordings are, as you know, blurred. The board of DRF therefore strongly encourages the riders in the recordings, to bring themselves before the disciplinary committee. DRF will initiate measures with the purpose of identifying the riders and reporting them to the disciplinary committee, should this request not be met.

All collaboration with Helgstrand Event ceases

Helgstrand Event is a part of the Helgstrand Group. The unacceptable culture and approach to training and treatment of the horses, which the broadcasts clearly show, is not compatible with the fundamental values and principles of horse welfare. This means that the board of DRF Wednesday evening even decided to let all collaboration with Helgstrand Event end. This includes national higher level competitions as well as national and international championships for the time being. In 2024, this concerns the Danish championships for the senior-, under 25- and para dressage-riders in May, as well as the Nordic Baltic Championships in dressage, showjumping, para dressage and vaulting in June.

Helgstrand Event also made an agreement with the international equestrian federation (FEI) to host an EEF Nations Cup in showjumping in May. DRF will ask the FEI to reassess the agreement based on the two broadcasts.

Related Links
Danish Equestrian World in Turmoil as Ethics of National Federation Are Questioned
Operation X Documentary Causes Cascade of Anger, Indignation, Disapproval