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    Re: [RC] AERA Letter to FEI re Jerez 16.10.02 - Karen J. Zelinsky

    Thank you so much for bringing this extremely well-written and important
    letter out for us to read.
    I hope it brings very quick change to the manner in which international
    rides are executed, with the constant, number one concern being the
    welfare of the horse and the rider.
    Karen Zelinsky, ESMT
    On Tue, 29 Oct 2002 08:19:40 -0700 "Steph Teeter" <steph@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
    > From:
    >  Australian Endurance Riders Association Inc.
    > Inc. No. Y1458516        ABN 14 684 748 206        ARBN 095 622 914
    > 1327 Belli Creek Road.,
    > RIDGEWOOD via COOROY   QLD   4563
    > Phone: (07) 5447 9308
    > Fax:     (07) 5447 9162
    > Mobile: 0427 479 308
    > International:  Phone:  61 7 5447 9308
    >                          Fax:      61 7 5447 9162
    > Email:              secretary@xxxxxxxxxxx
    > 16th October 2002
    > Dear Sir,
    > WEG 2002.
    > The AERA would like to raise some problems that arose at the WEG 
    > with the
    > FEI. Whilst the problems are raised with the benefit of hindsight we 
    > would
    > like to point out that the way in which the FEI reacts to our 
    > concerns may
    > determine our future relationship with the FEI.
    > Our concerns come under three headings: -
    > The organisation of the ride by the OC and the TD
    > The operation of the ride on the day and the management of the ride 
    > by the
    > Ground Jury.
    > The demise of two horses and the control of horse welfare by the 
    > FEI.
    > 1           The organisation of the ride by the OC and TD
    > There are a number of issues surrounding the Organisation of the 
    > ride that
    > are of concern. As it takes up to three weeks for endurance horses 
    > to
    > acclimatise thus necessitating a local presence well prior to the 
    > event, the
    > lack of information forthcoming from the OC was a cause of concern 
    > to Chef d
    > ?Equipes.  For example information on the track was only available 
    > in
    > Spanish on the Web Site until just prior to the event. Chef d?Equipe
    > meetings were disorganised and very poorly structured. Strong 
    > direction and
    > presentations from the TD, and Presidents of the GJ and VC would 
    > have
    > helped. A distinct lack of coordination between the OC, TD and GJ 
    > was the
    > overwhelming impression emanating from those who were responsible 
    > for the
    > regulation of the event. The FEI should show leadership by producing 
    > a guide
    > to the running of a World Championship Event so that the same basic 
    > mistakes
    > are not repeated in future competitions.
    > Having had the benefit of running the trial ride with its disastrous 
    > vet out
    > rate we had hoped that the OC would make the event a much more horse
    > friendly ride. Certainly this was promised for the event.
    > We are concerned that a hold time of 30 minutes for each of the legs 
    > was
    > ever considered, as it does not show sufficient appreciation of the
    > difficulty of the conditions with which the horses had to cope.  The 
    > ability
    > of the TD, GJ and OC to show greater depth of understanding of the 
    > need to
    > change such aspects of the ride when faced with adverse weather is a 
    > crucial
    > factor in the administration of such rides.  It seems that the GJ 
    > did want
    > to alter some of these aspects further but were prevented from doing 
    > so by
    > the OC.  This does not appear to be in accordance with the FEI 
    > rules. We are
    > aware that hold times were increased, but in our view not enough, 
    > and we are
    > also aware that the bottom end speed limit was dropped. We think the 
    > bottom
    > end speed limit is an encouragement to override your horse and has 
    > no place
    > in endurance events ever.
    > We are concerned that the fourth leg of the ride was clearly the 
    > most
    > difficult, and that this contradicts standard course design practice 
    > whereby
    > the more difficult legs are done first, for obvious horse welfare 
    > reasons.
    > For the OC/TD to establish/approve a track, which required horses 
    > and heavy
    > vehicles to travel down a tar road with no shoulder, was not what we 
    > would
    > expect in a ride of this standard.  Did the TD understand the issues
    > involved in the fourth leg and the open road section of the ride?
    > To have the horses stabled 1.5ks from the ride base was always going 
    > to
    > cause logistic problems
    > To have the area within the hold area tent too small for 6 horses to 
    > be
    > dealt with at once was a problem that occurred at Compiegne and we 
    > thought,
    > should have been understood following criticism of that ride.
    > The fact that the vet-commission had a large number of 
    > Spanish-speaking only
    > personnel led to significant communication problems between them and 
    > the
    > riders. How many were accredited FEI endurance Veterinarians with
    > international competition experience? Were the treatment vets 
    > practising
    > equine vets with experience in endurance sports medicine?
    > 2           The operation of the ride on the day and the management 
    > by the
    > ground jury and other officials.
    > We have significant concerns about the GJ allowing the ride to start 
    > in the
    > dark in the middle of a thunderstorm.  There are obvious added risks 
    > with
    > this, and these were very seriously compounded by the situation 
    > where cars
    > and riders were all trying to exit the secure area before the start, 
    > with
    > some of the people in cars hooting and pushing horses out of the way 
    > to get
    > to the start. We were surprised to see the chairman of the FEI 
    > Endurance
    > committee at the forefront of this.
    > We were gravely concerned by the situation where a Russian horse, 
    > obviously
    > suffering considerable stress, was eventually (after two hours) 
    > given fluids
    > in full view of all, including the subsequent press photographers 
    > who turned
    > up to photograph it. We would have thought that the stewards would 
    > stop this
    > instantly. However, they were unaware of the problem until Australia 
    > and the
    > USA made a complaint.
    > The standard of vetting ? in particular of determining lameness ? 
    > seemed to
    > demonstrate considerable inconsistency. To put this politely the 
    > winning
    > horse seemed to display a pronounced gate abnormality.
    > 3           The demise of two horses and the control of horse 
    > welfare by the
    > FEI.
    > We do not want to comment on the specifics of the deaths of the two 
    > horses
    > on the day as we hope that the FEI will release the details of this 
    > matter
    > in the very near future.
    > We are utterly amazed that the FEI could grant the Malaysian NF or 
    > indeed
    > any NF, exemption from the requirement for either its horses or its 
    > riders
    > to meet the absolutely minimal qualification standards that were 
    > required of
    > other NFs to compete in this ride. Unfortunately, the granting of 
    > this
    > exemption can now be seen, correctly or otherwise, as being directly
    > responsible for the demise of the Malaysian horse. We trust that a 
    > full
    > explanation of this situation will be forthcoming and that those 
    > responsible
    > for this lamentable situation will be sanctioned appropriately.
    > The AERA has been highly critical of the horse welfare regime at FEI 
    > rides
    > for several years. We have been roundly criticised in the media by 
    > the FEI
    > for this stance. It is indeed most unfortunate that our predictions 
    > have
    > come to pass in such a public forum that it may well have set back 
    > endurance
    > ridings? prospects by many years. We hope that the FEI will now 
    > grasp this
    > nettle and institute requirements within each NF, which in the long 
    > term
    > will help to solve the problem. We do not think that this is a 
    > veterinary
    > problem; we think that the veterinary standards for invasive 
    > treatment are
    > satisfactory. This is a rider problem and until riders are 
    > sanctioned if
    > they damage their horses, the FEI rules are not strong enough, we 
    > believe,
    > to discourage overriding.
    > Summary.
    > Australia has been actively managing horse welfare for many years, 
    > with our
    > current system being developed and refined considerably in the last 
    > ten
    > years, and, while our record is, of course, not perfect, we believe 
    > we have
    > had a considerable amount of success in achieving good Horse Welfare
    > outcomes.  We are happy to assist the FEI in strengthening its rules 
    > and
    > procedures with the aim that similar outcomes be achieved elsewhere 
    > in the
    > world.  To do this, we feel that the following should happen:
    >  The FEI Endurance Committee needs to be restructured so that it is 
    > truly
    > representative of the sport.  We would suggest that, at the very 
    > least, this
    > committee should have a representative who is a nominee from each of 
    > the
    > regions/zones of the world, and not individuals who are pre-selected 
    > by the
    > FEI EC before they are nominated.
    >  The FEI should insist that all NFs that want to be affiliated with 
    > the FEI
    > have a suitable Rider Qualification Procedure and Horse Welfare 
    > monitoring
    > system, and that this be maintained and subject to ad hoc inspection 
    > by the
    > FEI.
    > Australia would welcome a member of the FEI EC to come and discuss 
    > with us
    > these aspects of the sport.  The management of the sport in 
    > Australia has
    > been highly supportive of the FEI and of encouraging the running of 
    > FEI
    > rides and the subsequent participation in international events.  
    > However,
    > there is increasing pressure from our members to make sure that any 
    > further
    > involvement by Australia is not done in any way, which will 
    > compromise the
    > integrity of our sport.  We are not convinced that we can do this 
    > unless the
    > FEI gives serious and fast consideration to the points raised above.
    > Yours sincerely
    > Anne Jones,
    > Secretary AERA
    > Cc: - Members FEI Endurance Committee, Michael Stone, and EFA. (By 
    > email).
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     Information, Policy, Disclaimer: http://www.endurance.net/Ridecamp
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     If you are an AERC member - PLEASE VOTE in the upcoming By-Laws 
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