What’s All the Fuss About With GEG CEO Andreas Helgstrand?

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🐴 Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  • What’s exactly going on with Andreas Helgstrand, co-owner of Global Equestrian Group?: Explanations and speculations.

  • Perhaps the biggest virtual equine library ever is coming: Thanks to a partnership with this French institution and the FEI.

  • Is California the next big thing in winter equestrian?: Our podcast with Tori Bilas, comms & PR at Desert International on The Pegasus Podcast.

  • The gig economy also exists in equestrian?: Yes it does thanks to ShowAssist, here’s our interview with their founders on The Pegasus Podcast.

  • Final Foals: Check them out after the second story of this edition.

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🇩🇰 What’s Going On With Andreas Helgstrand, Co-owner & CEO of Global Equestrian Group?

What happened?

  • In response to an undercover investigative report aired on November 22 by the team “Operation X,” the Danish Equestrian Federation has removed Andreas Helgstrand from its national dressage team and denounced the training practices exhibited at his extensive stables.

  • He’s not just a successful rider, Andreas Helgstrand is also a billionaire in his home country of Denmark and is one of the owners and the CEO of the Global Equestrian Group, which owns The Chronicle of the Horse and Wellington International, among other brands.

Our jump on the subject

Undercover footage obtained by the Danish investigative program Operation X has exposed questionable training practices at the stables of renowned equestrian Andreas Helgstrand.

The footage, captured by a reporter who embedded themselves as a groom at Helgstrand’s stables, reveals methods that have been condemned by the Danish equestrian federation.

While the full broadcast is restricted to Danish viewers, excerpts have been shared internationally, sparking outrage among horse enthusiasts.

Andreas-Helgstrand

Andreas Helgstrand. Source.

Some of the things the documentary caught include but aren’t limited to…

  • Concealing Wounds: Injuries caused by spur marks and whip use were allegedly concealed using shoe polish and prevented from healing properly before the horses were subjected to further spurring and whipping.

  • Forcing Horses to Perform Despite Pain: Horses continued to be ridden despite experiencing mouth bleeding.

  • Exploiting Grooms: Grooms were reportedly underpaid, subjected to verbal abuse, prohibited from taking photographs, and coerced into signing non-disclosure agreements.

  • Misrepresenting Training Methods: Grooms were allegedly instructed to conceal the use of draw-reins during visits from owners or potential customers.

The Danish Federation has terminated its partnership with Helgstrand as a promoter of national competitions and of the upcoming Danish championships.

“The DRF board strongly denounces the unacceptable riding, training methods and treatment of the horses, as the broadcasts clearly show. Therefore, it is now clear that Andreas Helgstrand, based on the broadcasts, cannot represent DRF.”

Danish Equestrian Federation

 

Additionally, the federation will request that the FEI review Helgstrand’s involvement in a leg of the EEF Nations Cup scheduled for May. (Helgstrand served as a major sponsor for last year’s World Championships in Herning.)

The latest reporting shows that Helgstrand won’t be up for selection again for Denmark’s national team until at least January 1st, 2025.

Upon receiving the Danish NF’s request, the EEF stated that they will conduct an “immediate” investigation.

Global Equestrian Group’s ownership of both Wellington International and Chronicle of the Horse has been relatively recent. They were both acquired from Mark Bellissimo—their former owner, who is now also an investor in GEG.

Combining all of GEG’s brands together, GEG employs hundreds of employees in the United States alone. One wonders if its brands will serve as collateral damage for their association with Helgstrand via his ownership and chief executive role.

Helgstrand legally fought until the very end to not allow Operation X to have been aired, arguing that Operation X’s reporting methods were “invasive and potentially illegal.”

 

📚 Will This Be the Biggest Digital Equine Library Ever?

What happened?

  • The FEI has established a collaboration with the Maison de la Recherche en Sciences Humaine MRSH, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique MRSH CNRS (Human Sciences Research Centre, National Centre for Scientific Research) at the University of Caen to support La Bibliothèque Mondiale du Cheval (The Global Library of the Horse), a digital library dedicated to equestrian literature.

  • Currently housing over 16,000 books, the library has digitized more than a quarter of its collection and continues to expand its digital offerings.

Our jump on the subject

According to FEI President Ingmar De Los, this is perhaps the first time such a comprehensive collection of equestrian knowledge has been made available in the academic realm.

In alignment with this partnership, a conference titled “Sports Équestres, Jeux et Enjeux” (Equestrian Sports, Games and Stakes) will be held on August 1, 2024, during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The conference will take place at the Château de Versailles, the iconic venue for the Olympic equestrian competitions.

Screenshot_2023-11-30_at_5.22.44_PM Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Source.

The conference will bring together a diverse range of speakers, including historians, researchers, and academics, to explore the multifaceted world of equestrian sports.

The event will delve into the rich history of equestrianism, examining its cultural, social, and economic significance.

Additionally, it will address the current state of equestrian sports, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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Source.

The Global Library of the Horse has already digitized over four thousand of its over sixteen thousand books, with some of them being rare works.


 

🐴  This Week’s Final Foals

🏅🇫🇷 Megan Thee Stallion is ready for the Ah-lympics. Are you?

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