Exclusive sneak peek from our honorary and founding fellows: Part 4 Dr. Frank Ödberg


Discussing his recent presentation at the International Meeting of the Collectif Pour les Chevaux along with other professional and personal updates.

Professor Frank Ödberg is our recent honorary mention and has a distinguished background in applied ethology since 1968, holding a PhD in Experimental Psychology and an MSc in Zoology, Professor Ödberg has become a trailblazer in understanding and addressing complex aspects of horse behaviour.


At the core of Professor Ödberg's work is an unwavering passion for understanding horse behaviour. His research navigates the ethological and neurobiochemical intricacies of conflict-induced stereotypies, shedding light on issues that impact the well-being of horses. Beyond academia, Professor Ödberg's actively participates in dressage, aligning himself with the animal-friendly Baroque riding philosophy.


Recent Presentation at the International Meeting of the Collectif Pour les Chevaux:

In a recent presentation at the International Meeting of the Collectif Pour les Chevaux, Professor Ödberg delved into a critical issue: hyperflexion in competition horses during warm-ups. The replay of this insightful presentation, titled "How Do We Address Hyperflexion? Exploring Collaborative Solutions to Ensure the Well-being of Competition Horses in Warm-Ups," can be found on YouTube. You can also find more videos hosted by The Collectif Pour les Chevaux and its owner DVM Eva Van Avermaet here.


Global Perspective on Hyperflexion and Advocacy for Ethical Riding Practices:

Dr Ödberg states his personal position is that there is a difference between the flexion as such on the one hand, and the way it is performed on the other hand (as explained in his presentation). Some chiropracts put horses in a quite similar position but gradually and only luring the horse with a carrot. The animal remains free. 

Baucher in the early 19th century developed flexions but as far as one can understand his writings he did it gradually without coercion. Of course, control will be a problem: how can a steward decide the flexion is carried out too brutally and too long? That’s why some people advocate a general prohibition. Dr Ödberg states he would like to see a general improvement in riding, i.e. that the judges start to reward lightness and true collection (in fact really enforcing the rules the FEI pretend to impose).