Danish Riding Instructor Association Expels Four Riders Based on Operation X

Thu, 11/30/2023 - 18:40
Footage from Operation X

The repercussions of the Operation X documentary about alleged horse abuse at Andreas Helgstrand's sales yard in Denmark continue. 

In an extraordinary general assembly of the Danish Riding Instructor Association (DR-IF) on 30 November 2023 the board or directors has decided to expel four of members which played a role in the footage of documentary. 

Andreas Helgstrand, Thomas Sigtenbjerggaard, Maria Anita Andersen and Ole Hummelshøj have been expelled. This means they are no longer allowed to have students who are in the DR-IF's professional rider education programme. Helgstrand Dressage was allowed to have both A- and B-students at their yard (part of a 6-year pogramme)-

"It will then be up to a future general meeting whether they can be admitted to the association again," DR-IF stated

What is the DR-IF?

DR-IF states, "the purpose of the association is to gather all instructors in Denmark in one association, so that we stand together to spread knowledge of correct, classic riding. Just as the association, in collaboration with the Danish Riding Association, is behind the Riding School Manager training as well as the Riding Instructor and Rider training. The association is open to everyone who has teaching/riding as a profession."

They run the official educational programme for professional riding school managers, riding instructors and riders, which takes either two or four years. Helgstrand Dressage was on official yard where these students could do their internships. More info here.

The full list of DR-IF members is here.

Helgstrand Responds

On 1 December, Helgstrand Dressage made the following statement on Facebook.

"We have unfortunately received notice from the Danish Equestrian Federation and the Danish Riding Instructor Association that they are terminating our cooperation agreement as an apprenticeship training site for the Master Rider education as of December 31st, 2023."

They continued, "we have extended an open invitation to both the Danish Equestrian Federation and the Danish Riding Instructor Association for a dialogue and to visit Helgstrand Dressage to see firsthand what our practice is like as an apprenticeship and how we have improved many of our conditions over the past year. We are very disappointed that neither the federation nor the association has chosen to accept our invitation. Our invitation remains open: both are welcome to drop by - also unannounced, where they can make the necessary inspections of both horses, training, and students."

Related Links
Helgstrand Excluded from Danish Team Until 1 January 2025
Danish Equestrian Federation Excludes Helgstrand from National Team and Team Activities
Danish Associations and Former Team Trainer React on Social Licence to Operate Following Operation X
Operation X Documentary Causes Cascade of Anger, Indignation, Disapproval