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    [RC] AERA Letter to FEI re Jerez 16.10.02 - Howard Bramhall

    You go Australia.  I like the way these guys think (and talk)!  I would love for AERC to copy this letter and forward it to the Foreign Endurance Idiot (FEI) Committees with the following comments:  "DITTO with the Aussies.  And, if you don't get your act together, we're out of here!"
    The horse must always come first (after the KIDS) and if FEI cannot differentiate a 100 mile endurance ride from a mile and a quarter thoroughbred racetrack then they should get out of the endurance business completely.  I hope ya'll noted who is running for the Director(s) at Large positions who mentioned this very thing.  They got my vote, I hope they got yours also.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Steph Teeter
    Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2002 10:18 AM
    To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Subject: [RC] AERA Letter to FEI re Jerez 16.10.02

    Australian Endurance Riders Association Inc.
    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

    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......................


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