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Re: [RC] Compiègne ? two CEIO's in a row - Steph Teeter

There are more reasons than just fun and money that people do horse sports. and racing is whole 'nuther thing. Some folks are naturally competitive, and thrive on the race/competition challenge. (look at the marathon runners - there isn't much money, and it sure doesn't look like fun - but a lot of people do it. ) People will race for any reason - the effort, the thrill, the win. Plenty of reasons to do it.

However... from my observations over the years, a large part of the sport (endurance racing) has evolved primarily around money. Prize money (especially in the Middle East, and Malaysia), and money from selling horses (primarily to UAE/Bahrain/Qatar buyers), and money from being funded to raise and train horses (again, largely the same pool of money), and money from sponsors to host big events. I think that Compiegne represents the epitome of this. The young horse divisions are primarily to show off young potential winners, and there are usually plenty of buyers in the wings. The winners of the races are typically bought right away by agents. There is a huge endurance horse industry largely supported by the UAE, and France is probably the largest participant in this industry.

But... I think we may start seeing a decline in the industry. Between the shaky economy and Dubai's Shk. Mohamed FEI drug bust, I'm thinking (this is ONLY MY OPINION) that things are going to slow down a bit. Dubai has pulled many of it's horses-in-training out of the USA. There weren't as many agents buying horses at this year's Compeigne. (tho I didn't see a slow-down in Uruguay - maybe that's the hotspot now since horses are relatively cheap, and Uruguay has a reputation for fast horses).

And I wonder if folks will tire of the fast courses if there isn't as much money incentive in the sport. Leo said that people will do them because they must adapt to stay in the International game. (and horse market). Again, only my opinion, but I think the FEI may have painted themselves into a corner by moving the sport towards absolute speed performance on a fast course, rather then relative speed over a challenging course. They recently reduced the qualification requirement for championships to 100 miles in under 12:30 - which eliminates most technical courses. So now if (in theory only, and only my increasingly cynical view) the money starts drying up that has supported (and directed) this version of the sport - and if numbers decline, what will they have? It's a different sport than many of us are passionate about - a fast/flat course can be fun sometimes, but if that is all there is to endurance, then it certainly doesn't hold much interest over the long run.


On Jun 7, 2009, at 3:41 PM, rides2far@xxxxxxxx wrote:

This is a view of endurance. Flat circuit, foolish speed, technical
skill reduced to a minimum. Many riders didn't like too much the new
face of the race, but one has to adapt to new situations. The first
race was the CEIOYR on the distance of 130km. It was crazy… Speed,
stress, animosity, closed faces. This is how competitive endurance
has become.

I can only imagine 2 reasons for doing this sport. Fun, or money. This doesn't sound like fun and I'll bet there are easier ways to make money. Some could say it's for "National Pride" I suppose, but what is there to be proud of...a horse can change nationalities at the last minute just by passing money. Heck, one country *could* retain more "pride" by sticking to their convictions that the risk isn't worth it and they refuse to do what it takes to run at such speeds. What's the point?

Angie McGhee

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