Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home 2013 FEI Controversy
Quick Links
Clean Endurance Facebook page
Telegraph.co.uk/sport - Pippa Cuckson

Swiss letter to FEI:
March 26 2012

Belgian letter to FEI:
October 2 2012

French letter to FEI:
October 12 2012

AERC letter to USEF
June 25 2013

Dutch letters to FEI:
June 19 2013
August 13 2013

Jamaica's letters to FEI:
October 23 2013 - page 1
Oct 23 - Page 2
October 25 2013
October 29 2013 - page 1
Oct 29 - Page 2
October 31 2013

John Crandell's letter to AERC:
October 30 2013

Endurance Strategic Planning Group:
November 2013
ESPG Script
ESPG Vision

John Crandell's Perspective on ESPG Proposal:
November 21 2013

AERC's Recommendations to ESPG Plans:
December 9 2013

January 2014

AERC Proposes Temporary Suspension of Concurrent FEI Events:

AERC-I's Response to AERC Sponsorship Committee Motion Proposal (Revised):
January 2014

French Vets' Open Letter to Endurance after 2014 Compiegne
June 2014

French Vets' Open Letter to Endurance after 2014 Compiegne mare's death case is closed without transparancy
September 2014

May 2015

FEI Denies UAE Appeal of Suspension

May 2015

FEI Sports Forum Endurance WEG Change Proposal

John Crandell's Rebirth of Endurance Tests/ Roadmap to the Future/ Part 1: Endurance Testing Conceptual Chart
March 2016

Francois Kerboul's Bouthieb 2015 - 2016: The unbelievable season
March 2016

2016 WEC Removed from UAE
April 2016

AERC President and AERC International Committee Chair Pen Letter Regarding Slovakia WEC - Sept 2016
September 2016

Australia's Letter to FEI Re: Slovakia WEC - Oct 2016
October 2016

AERC's Letter to USEF Re: More Dubai horse deaths
January 2017

AERA's Letter to AE Re: More Dubai horse deaths
January 2017

Germany's Letter to FEI regarding Int'l Horse Welfare
February 2017

Australia's Letter to FEI regarding UAE Horse Welfare
February 2017

AERC letter of concern to USEF Regarding UAE
January 2018

USEF Letter of Response to AERC's Letter of Concern Regarding UAE
January 2018

USA Letter to USEF Regarding Upcoming WEG
August 2018


OR, if the whole shebang is just too much, here it is by the years:
2013 || 2014 || 2015 || 2016 || 2017 || 2018 || 2019 || 2020 || 2021

HUMOR, if there is any in the situation || More HUMOR


December 29

AERC BOD Provides Recommendations to ESPG's Proposed Plans

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Dec 29, 2013

Young Ecuadorian rider Daniela Moreno has received a formal warning after the horse she was assigned to ride in an FEI-sanctioned event tested positive for phenylbutazone and flunixin.

The breeder who rented the horse to her copped a two-year ban and was fined 2000 Swiss francs (CHF), plus costs...

Read more here:

December 20

AERC BOD Provides Recommendations to ESPG's Proposed Plans

December 19 2013

On November 7, 2013, following the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) circulated their “plan on a page” for proposed changes within FEI to correct and reform the current egregious issues in regards to equine injuries, fatalities and positive drug tests within the endurance discipline. During a subsequent conference call with the AERC Board of Directors, it was requested by Joe Mattingly, Vice President of USEF and Chair of the High Performance Endurance Committee, that AERC’s Board of Directors provide their specific recommendations in regards to the ESPG’s proposed plan.

The below list is in response to that request.

• Commitment to change. Above all, AERC is concerned as to whether there is a true commitment to change and reform within FEI infrastructure, rather than just rhetoric and “words on a page”. While we understand that some proposed changes may take more than a few months to show measurable improvement, we recommend an immediate demonstration of commitment through a change of leadership within FEI, and especially within the endurance leadership of FEI, that will demonstrate and symbolize FEI’s dedication towards correcting the increasing international perception of compromised integrity within FEI.

• Transparency of equine fatalities. AERC sets an example of transparent reporting of all known equine fatalities related to or occurring during competition. Moreover, AERC subsidizes necropsies for all those fatalities to more completely understand underlying causes of death. We recommend that FEI adopt similar policies, and that results of those fatality investigations be openly published on their website. Additionally, we request that FEI endurance fracture statistics be similarly reported to the general public, scientific and veterinary community.

• Major penalties for responsible individuals, not excluding rider, veterinarian, trainer, owner and stable for infractions of FEI rules and FEI code of conduct. If both riders and owners or stables are sanctioned and prohibited from participating with any horse for a significant period of time following rule infraction, even to the extent of a permanent ban, then steps will be taken by those in the position of authority to ensure all personnel under their influence take care to stringently comply with rules. The results of all disciplinary hearings, sanctions and penalties should be made publicly available. We further recommend that any prize money and placings be forfeited as a mandatory result of rule infraction, and that fines be levied that significantly exceed prize monies.

• Extensive drug testing at major competitions. We recommend increased and extensive drug testing at any FEI ride which is 2* or above, as well as any FEI rides involving substantial prize money or awards.

• Limited competitors per team. We strongly recommend repealing the recent rule change that allows more horses per team, of which the results of only the top three are counted towards awards. This rule contradicts the commitment to equine welfare, as it promotes the ability to compete numerous horses as expendable commodities, rather than striving towards the goals of high completion rates amongst the entirety of the team. As such, we recommend that each team be limited to a maximum of four riders, of which the top three members will count towards a team score, and all four stand on the podium if medaling.

• Certificate of Capability. We recommend that time requirements to qualify for a COC be a reflection of the technicality of the individual course, as opposed to a set and immobile time for distance, regardless of terrain. We are concerned that in response to current requirements, FEI endurance racing has evolved to emphasize courses that are essentially extended flat track courses in order to maximize speed. This has resulted in an increase in the frequency and type of serious injuries to horses previously only associated with flat-track thoroughbred racing. We recommend that COC requirements be redirected to include and emphasize more technical courses, including the practices that allow successful and safe negotiation of difficult terrain.

• Disciplinary action. FEI officials are obligated to promptly investigate and respond to reported rule infractions occurring at events. Officials failing to do so will be severely sanctioned, suspended and/or otherwise removed from officiating duties and opportunities.

• Crewing from moving vehicles. Horses may not be assisted or accompanied in any manner during competition by one or more moving vehicles. Not only does this practice endanger all participants within the immediate area, but doing so also constitutes ‘hazing’ of the target horse to unfairly increase its speed. Crews violating this rule will result in the immediate disqualification of the horse and rider with which they are associated.

• Sponsorship Entities providing significant financial support to the event that constitute a conflict of interest may not be provided with special privileges or allowances as a result of their sponsorship. No VIP passes may be given that allow an unfair advantage to the associated team, or otherwise interferes with the assurance of a level playing field for all participants.

December 14

Tougher bans for riders could be on the way

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

December 13 2013

Suspended riders may struggle to sustain a living in the horse industry if the FEI adopts the revised WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) code effective from 2015.

To date, most equestrians cope with doping bans by continuing to teach, produce and sell horses, and can spectate at FEI events. But WADA’s newly approved article 2.10 forbids anyone competing in elite sport having “professional association” with suspended persons.

WADA is also increasing the minimum ban for most offences from two years to four...

Read more here:

December 10

Important Changes to USEF and FEI Drugs & Medications Rules for Competition Horses Will Affect the 2014 Competition Year

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

By Pamela@horsereporter

November 26, 2013 -From the USEF Communications Department ~

Prohibited Practices

A new category of rules referred to as Prohibited Practices has been introduced to the USEF Rule Book which will take effect December 1, 2013. The first rule to be adopted in this category is commonly referred to as the “12 Hour Rule“. It was introduced in March of 2013 by the USEF Veterinary Committee and following extensive feedback from USEF Technical Committees, Working Groups, and from attendees at USEF Town Hall Meetings held in Florida in March, and via interactive webcast in June, the USEF Board of Directors at their mid-year meeting approved the proposal which is printed in its entirety here:

GR 414 Prohibited Practices:...

Read more here:

December 8

Two more doping cases under the UAE's belt


4 December 2013
Leonard Liesens

Normally the endurance news should be a bit lethargic in this time. Nope... It isn't!

The TWO WINNERS of the Zakrzow endurance in Poland which took place in october have been listed as positive in the FEI list of doping cases. The must tear their hair out at the FEI in Lausanne.

Two horses from the UAE, both from the Mohamed al Subooshi stables are listed. The first on the 160km, U Violino ridden by Moh Ahmed Bin Suroor Al Mazrooi. The second, Cinnamon Sky with on board Saeed Hamoud Saeed Al Khayari. Respectively winner of the 160km and the 120YR.

It is weird that the FEI on-line ranking have not been updated as these horses are still the winners of these events. If the FEI has some trouble with the IT-equipment or IT-projects, there are many good companies that we could recommand.

Linked information : FEI-Admin-sanctions

December 4

The ESPG proposals... Why will that not work


by Leonard Liesens
December 1 2013

Even if we have been very sarcastic at the time of the cration of the ESPG group, we have to admit that the message some of their members delivered at Montrex was strong. Strong against the FEI who was passive in this case, strong against the authors of cheating and horse abuses.

Now the very nice Powerpoint presentations are now followed by questionnaires sent to the federations, with actions to be taken on short- and long tem. Once the replies will have been analyzed, after meetings, after one forum, updates and amendments, after the FEI Bureau, after the drafting of the season is over in the Middle East at that time.

All good, but all these actions are defined to cure a patient from sicknesses he doesn’t admit. The patient – or maybe better the guilty- of course are of course the Middle East stables. But this patient doesn’t live, doesn’t act and react, doesn’t think like us the Westerners. Even if these countries have embraced the worst excesses of our civilization, it is not sure they adopted our values. Our cultures are different, our political systems do not compare.

Things will not be changed by –even drastic- regulation changes. They are used to be obeyed, to request, to work around, to buy and corrupt if necessary , to be capricious. First they were colonized, then surrounded by courtesans. Now they buy everything: companies, horses, football clubs, officials.

Forget about it !

Do we believe that some officials incorruptible will lay dawn laws in the Gulf? We are making a big mistake. Possibly, some competitions in Europe will enforce a strict regulation, but let’s forget about putting that in place on events sponsored by the Middle East.

Eventually, who is forcing us to change a well-working regulation? The three countries from Middle East. These changes will have consequences on 90% of the riders and federations of the world, and first in Europe where are most of the endurance riders. Without this eventual new regulation forcing the Middle East stables to change their way of considering endurance. More bureaucracy is introduced with the new trainers ranking, with the database of accidents. More reasons for the FEI to present excuses for not taking action.

The notion of ‘trainer’ (see the slideshow of Saeed al Taher who didn’t even make the effort to come in Montreux) and the correlated changes in the regulation put forward by the later do not concern us. Who knows a rider in Europe not training his horses by himself? We don’t care about this concept. This proposal if the obvious evidence that the UAE do not want changing their system of endurance racing. This is not even endurance anymore. This is long distance flat racing! They adopted exactly the same structure as flat racing: owners, stables, trainers, jockeys and lads. In case of abuse, that will be the poor Pakistani trainer who get his ass kicked and will be sent back to his country, not the local one who pulls the strings! This one will remain in the shade and of course unsanctioned. The ESPG is not made of idiots and they know that perfectly.

The system for reporting fractures and accidents and fatalities is a bureaucratic monster. It will just pull the wool over the eyes of the 'naives'. Tee ESPG doesn't say how the data will be processed, who wil do, in which delay. Nothing about any sanction that should normally follow and be examined by the tribunal. No word about a 'supreme court' to control what's going on inside FEI. A 'supreme court' staffed by representatives of riders, officials, veterinarians, organizers should receive a copy of all data to make sure there is a follow-up. Too many cases transmitted by TD or Foreign Vet have finished in the bin or have been lost or declared invalid. Recent examples? (2013) Eclipse euthanized after Tarbes WEC2013. The horse has been injected during the competition. This has been withnessed and reported by a letter. No post-mortem, no doping control. Django de Vere euthanized after a joke of a race in Italy. No post-mortem, no action taken by the FEI. (2012) Three fatalities in France. Post-mortem have been done by veterinarians and the reports were damning. No reaction from FEI.

So what to do then to make our sport clean ?

1. Let them do what they want in the Gulf as long as they do not export their manners. Make their events non-FEI ones like CEN or others ; linking endurance racing with the racing industry would be perfect
2. Develop a global sponsoring model for endurance, like it exists for other equestrian disciplines; FEI should take action as it has been done with Longines for example; Championships must not be sponsored anymore by dummy companies (Meydan or Emirates Airline for example), which would give the free reins to the organizers
3. Put into practice one part of the ESPG actions : everything relating to the officials and thir probity and their capability to sanction without default the abuses and all excesses generated by the Middle East stables since a decade (grooms’ armada, wild and unauthorized crewing, disrespect of nature, VIP area, flat course, Elite statute, etc.)
Putting under scrutiny the events where Middle East countries are taking part : 4. a. No VIP statute to anyone – no access to VIP areas for riders during the event (there is no reason for giving an advantage over other competitors ; is this taking place in other sports ?) – no VIP cars on the trail except if accompagnied by steward – no special grooming and resting area
b. Appointement of incorruptible and intransigeant stewards capable of showing immediately YELLOW CARDS to riders not respecting the rules
c. Grooming area managed by the organizer. Shareable water tanks to be permanently filled-up by the organizers and limited in size and number. Access regulated by stewards. Only one liter bailer allowed. Only three grooms (wearing one bib with the horse number) are allowed. The slightest breach to be sanctioned by an immediate YELLOW CARD.
d. Only one or two crewing points per loop. Crewing only with one liter bailers and buckets distributed by the organizer. Crewing by the three grooms wearing the bibs with the horse number. Strict enforcement by stewards showing YELLOW CARDS at the slightest infraction.
e. Horses in the stables at least 48 hours before the start. No needle allowed during the 48 hours preceding the start (no fluids, no ‘vitamins’, no ‘protectors’, nothing, nada, niente). Immediate elimination in case of violation of the rule and transmission to the FEI Tribunal for further sanctions.
f. Strict limitation of the access to the field of play : start/finish, grooming area, vetgate area, exit of vetgate, rest area. YELLOW CARD showed to the rider in case of people breeching the rule (Are we allowing people walking on the show-jumping arena? Are we allowed to ramble on a golf green? On a football field? On a polo field? Of course NOT!!!
g. European Championships must be closed, with only competitors from Europe. This would at least ensure a fair competition. Anyway the FEI has decided this year that this will be the case. But the community has to be vigilant.

Wishful thinking? Maybe not if the endurance community stands up.
Léonard Liesens

Yellow Cards in Endurance


December 2 2013
by Leonard Liesens

Let's compare endurance and eventing

Endurance has broken all doping records. Very sad. And even, these records are only showing the top of the iceberg. The ugly truth, the monster, is hidden deep inside the sands of the Middle East training tracks. Seeing how fast horses are bought everywhere in the world by the Middle East stables, there must be thousands of endurance horses now broken.

It is unacceptable to watch the death of horses during sport events. Who among us didn’t see a horse lying down in a treatment box? There is no way you can forget this experience! How can we now imagine having been the rider of such a horse, the one who pushed him to the metabolic collapsing, to the leg fracture. How can these people still sleep, how can they ride again? For what? For killing another one...

A horse having an accident during a steeple chase or at a military competition is an unfortunate accident – even if there are many. But how can we compare accidents like that with horses ran until they collapse by a stupid rider lead by his ego?

An endurance horse (not doped) will progressively get tired, will display several signs : his heart rate will raise suddenly, the metabolic parameters will be alarming, such a horse will have to be pushed by the rider, his gaits will become erratic, rhythm changes will become impossible, he will stumble, he will forge… We all –ALL!!!- have got a tired horse during a ride. The ones pretending they never experienced that are just liars! We ALL know how it happens, which are the alarming signs. This horses lead to exhaustion in the Middle East and in Europe have been ‘helped’ by artificial means (forbidden medications or not) administered by wizards. Up to the final end or –is it better?- to laminitis or colic or permanent disabilities.

Endurance is now the second FEI discipline, using the number of riders and events. A little bit above 3 days event. So let’s compare the two disciplines...

Endurance counts 10 yellow cards, including the 5 cards showed to the chef d’equipe during the WEC2013 for young riders because these teams were carrying illegal products in their containers. This brings the number to 5 yellow cards showed to riders. Let’s consider the military… During this calendar year – are you well seated?- , 134 yellow cards and warnings were showed to riders. The previous year, the number of yellow cards was similar. Follow this link for details : eventing

Now, let’s have a look at the eventing regulation… The cases where riders can receive yellow cards can be compared with endurance: pushing a tired horse, excessive use of aids (in endurance, all kind of natural means can be used, bottles, long reins, branches, sticks, taser), riding a visibly lame horse, desensitizing the legs, not having full control of the horse. Follow this link to read the regulation : eventing-regulation.

Of course, there would be more cases where yellow cards can be given : crewing outside designated areas, vehicles on the trail, grooming at the entrance of vetgate, number of grooms per horse, bottles left on the trail, inappropriate trotting if the horse to hide lameness, inappropriate riding attire, etc

The regulations for eventing are simple, transparent, easy to enforce. The regulation of endurance is complex, nebulous, fastidious… almost impossible for a steward to give a yellow card! In eventing, any steward can request a yellow card. A steward has as duty to report any abuse and take all necessary actions to insure the horse/rider/public safety. For example, a steward working at a fence sees a rider using his whip abusively, he reports it immediately to the chief steward, on the next fence same scenario and same report. Then the chief steward will decide to eliminate this competitor and show a yellow card. Simple...

Leading French rider Morgane Payen claims she was offered £124,000 for her mobile phone

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Extraordinary accustaions have been made by a top rider as the controversy over the fate of Eclipse continues.

By Pippa Cuckson

7:33PM GMT 03 Dec 2013

A top French rider says she was offered €150,000 (£124,000) for her phone by the handlers of a Maktoum stables-trained endurance horse, Eclipse, which later died, after they spotted they were being filmed in the vetting area.

The claim is made in leading French equestrian magazine L’Eperon by Morgane Payen, after months of speculation about the fate of Eclipse at the Young Riders World Championships at Tarbes.

He finished second under Saaed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi but was eliminated for lameness and euthanised two days later...

Read more here:

December 3

Would the Accused Stand

From left to right: Mr De Vos, Mrs Haya, Mr Buchman

December 1 2013 Leonard Liesens - Endurance-belgium

Would the accused stand! That's the title of the article published in the Belgian magazine "Hippo Revue", the biggest equestrian publication in dutch in Belgium. Mark Wentein is the main actioner but also the President of the Flemish wing of the Belgian Federation.

Follow this link to display the copy of the article: Hippo-Revue-Article

In a six pages article, mark Wentein starts by listing the events that lead to the whole endurance scandal, as it has been also published in many daily newspapers in French, English, German languages: Sh Mohammed suspension in 2009, the scandals of the flat racing stables in Newmarket, doping cases in endurance, the interview of Pierre Arnould ran by Pippa Cuckson of The Telegraph, the reaction of FEI...

Arnould says to Hippo Revue : "the non-disclosure document I signed doesn't forbid me to say what I think about what's going on in endurance in the Middle East, come on". Wentein adds his comment and regrets the unilateral behaviour of the FEI (and De Vos in particular).

A Blacklist published by Hippo Revue:

- permanent conflicts of interests
- FEI representatives and FEI officials seen in the VIP tents of the Gulf countries during the course of the event
- when a VIP is suspended, private races are organized (with the help and the active working of FEI representatives and FEI officials and veterinarians), like the 'Ride with the Stars' at Euston in 2009
- the night before the race, but also during rest periods, horses are put on drip and doped. This is a systematic way of doing in the Middle East but it also took place in Europe, for example at Euston Park WEC2012(Ali Kalfan), Czech Rep 2006 (Warsan team)
- cheating about the minimum weight, even in Europe (Compi7gne, Dillingen, Assisi)
- cheating with the qualification rules for horses (systematic in Middle East)
- racing of horse on CEI while these never appeared at national level
- disrespect of the maximum speed for qualification events, disrespect of the minimum rest time between events
- frequent changes of horse names (and of labels of chipnumbers on FEI passports) to enter horses more frequently on races without respecting rest time
- disrespect of the course; VIPs can use shortcuts on the trail while officials are keeping their eyes shut; obviously the total length of the course doesn't correspond to the FEI schedule in the Middle East
- frequent use of long reins to use it as whip to push horses
- most of the sanctioned riders are from the Middle East
- little reaction from the FEI in inquire about causes and responsibles in case of horse fatalities and fractures; obviously no sanctions of the responsibles persons: 3 deaths in France in 2012 (Qatar); 2 deaths in Europe in 2013 (Dubai); 80 deaths during season 2011-2012 in Group VII (obviously not an official number-officially FEI reports 10 fatalities)
- exchange of horses on one event without any reaction from the officials or from the FEI (photos of evidences forwarded to FEI)
- use of two different saddles during event, one heavy (for weighting), one light (for racing), reporting for example at Dillingen 2013 with photos
- active corruption of officials by distributing envelopes and benefits in kind

Hippo Revue reports also the Jaume Punti episode where FEI answered: "this falls under the British juridiction so this is not the FEI business". Hippo Revue compares this case with Lance Armstrong not giving back his Tour de France Yellow Shirts while convinced of doping in USA.

Finally Hippo Revue relates the FEI GA at Montreux. The petition ran by the emerging countries and not supported by most of the major European Federations. But this was weirdly supported by Belgium, well by Jacky Buchmann the President while the rest of the Belgian delegation was furious and ashamed at the same time. Hippo Revue put this back into its context reminding the excellent relationship between the President of the Belgian Federation and Princess Haya and also the big support given by Buchmann to Ingmar de Vos for accessing at the FEI Sec Gen duties. (nftr: that's the reason finally)

John Crandell Responds to FEI's Endurance Strategic Planning Group's Proposal

November 21 2013

The reports from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) presented at the FEI general assembly depict an earnest and hardworking effort by some to salvage FEI endurances status and reputation. This report also demonstrates the “systemic” problems, as described by Chairman Andrew Finding, that have plagued the FEI permeate the ESPG as well.

It is clear the ESPG recognizes the scope of issues is vast and must reach into many areas of the organization at once to incite real and lasting change. The very professionally developed schematic format and its “Plan on a Page” represented considerable expertise in planning. This work indicates that the ESPG wisely recognizes that we need to carefully develop consensus on schematic levels of this initiative before we can effectively develop details of a comprehensive overhaul.

I was very pleased to see some emphasis on education and reminders of the history of endurance riding as part of the program. Endurance testing could play a unique role in mankind’s relationship with animals if we define and regulate the discipline thoughtfully. It can even be an essential force in the long term health and happiness of equines as a sustainable species if we do this very well. We all need to remember both the noble and productive, as well as the cruel and destructive moments in endurance riding history and pre-history, to guide our path into the future. The modern era of equine endurance, the transformation of the practice into a socially acceptable and regulated form of equine testing, was founded on the interest of dedicated horseman. These were passionate enthusiasts looking for an academically valued way to identify great horses and horsemanship based on a natural spectrum of the species’ most definitive and historic abilities. The discipline has proven that it can be an engaging sport and economically sustainable, even in its most academic forms. The stringent preservation of this academic aspect of the discipline is essential to the nobility of the sport, its long-term net value to the equine species, and is at the core of any meaningful philosophy of respect for the horses...

Read All of Crandell's Response

December 2

Horse Eclipse euthanized after Tarbes


December 1 2013

L'Eperon is the biggest and most respected French magazine. In the december edition, finally, an article relates the events leading to the euthanasia of Eclipse. What is very interesting in this article are the new facts brought forward by the French journalist. Thanks to the interview of the main witness of the horse abuse, Morgane Payen. Morgane is not just another spectator at this event; she is a well respected endurance rider who has won Florac. She said: "After the finish, the horse was lead by his armada of grooms outside the grooming area. I followed them as I had my doubts. In the rest area, they put the leg of the horse in a bucket of ice, but I saw a person with a syringe in his hand putting his wrist in the bucket. A friend of mine filmed the scene, but then I have been put under pressure to stop. Somebody even offered me to buy my phone for 150,000 euros." The journalist gives details about the person offering money, details obtained from another source: a frech broker using to work for the Al Wathba stables at Abu Dhabi and the Emaar's at Dubai. Morgane Payen had after that drafted a letter to the person responsible for the MCP control (Jacques Nardin): "I wanted that this letter serves to stop these abuses and land on the desk of the FEI director of endurance, Ian Williams". But the FEI and Williams didn't deign to react. There were no doping controls done on the horse, nor post-mortem afterwards. The reason officially given : not enough stewards at the venue (come on Messieurs, there were enough stewards and enough time to take blood samples of Eclipse; he was standing in the treatment box for hours long after the end of the competition). Also Dr Fred Barrelet, a Swiss veterinarian co-owning a clinic at Newmarket explains : "The bucket of ice was there to desensitize the leg and the syringe probably contained an analgesic". He continues : "The FEI has recently added a product on the list; it is a product based on ammonium chloride produced by an Argentinean lab".

How can we believe that things will change. The whole mentality is wrong!

Follow this link to display the article : L'Eperon.

November 29

More bureaucracy will not clean up endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Nov 29, 2013

Endurance reform requires the eloquence of wisdom, not the burden of more bureaucracy, suggests leading American endurance rider John Crandell, who has represented the United States internationally.

The reports from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) presented at the International Equestrian Federation’s General Assembly depict an earnest and hardworking effort by some to salvage endurance’s status and reputation within FEI nations.

This report also demonstrates the “systemic” problems, as described by chairman Andrew Finding, that have plagued the FEI permeate the ESPG as well.

It is clear the ESPG recognizes the scope of issues is vast and must reach into many areas of the organization at once to incite real and lasting change...

Read more here:

November 27

Endurance Strategic Planning Group seeks National Federations agreement for proposals


25 Nov 2013

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) has today sent its detailed proposed recommendations to the National Federations requesting rapid feedback. The proposals are designed to address the issues within Endurance and are specifically geared towards reducing the incidence of doping and injuries, as well as putting in place a strategic plan to support the long term sustainability of the sport.

The seven-page consultation document, which details a total of 37 recommendations, is a follow-up the ESPG presentation of its proposals during the FEI General Assembly in Montreux (SUI) earlier this month. The introduction delivered by ESPG Chair Andrew Finding at the General Assembly, plus the presentations given on the day and the Group’s “plan on a page” have also been sent to the National Federations as part of the ongoing consultation process.

The ESPG asks for comments from the National Federations on each of the recommendations, grouped together into four categories: Foundation for Growth; Culture and Behaviour; Structure and Governance; and Communications and Marketing.

Both immediate and longer-term actions are detailed, and the ESPG, while agreeing that consultation is a necessary part of the process, is also keen that much of the proposed plan should be put into action without delay. The Group urges immediate actions be implemented as soon as possible.

The ESPG notes that important projects such as the Injuries Surveillance System (ISS) and increased levels of testing are already in place. These are both included in the Culture and Behaviour section, which also calls on the National Federations to provide leadership and drive culture change in anti-doping and horse welfare.

The Structure and Governance section has the highest number of proposed actions – 12 in the immediate action category and a further three in the longer-term. Key amongst these are the proposal to enforce out of competition testing, a review of disciplinary procedures for athletes, trainers and officials and severe penalties for transgressors, a register and ranking list for trainers, the requirement for a medication and treatment logbook for all horses, and a proposal for trainers to becomes Persons Responsible with their riders.

Feedback from the National Federations will be incorporated into a final set of proposals which will be further debated at the Endurance Conference in Lausanne (SUI) on 9 February 2014. At that session, it is proposed that the National Federations set Key Performance Indicators as part of the discussion.

A special session on Endurance will be included in the FEI Sports Forum (28-29 April 2014) at which National Federations will be asked to support the strategy in its final form before it is approved by the FEI Bureau in May 2014.

“It is our hope that all National Federations will accept our final proposals, take ownership of the plan and, together with the FEI, provide the leadership we believe is necessary for it to succeed”, ESPG Chair Andrew Finding writes in the final pages of the document. “It will not be easy for all to accept, there will be costs to bear for us all but we believe our proposals must be implemented to secure the long term sustainability of the sport. Success in implementing these proposals depends on the willingness of everyone involved in the sport to be self-disciplined and to take personal responsibility.”

He reiterates one of his most powerful messages from the Endurance session at the FEI General Assembly. “Apply these values of clean sport, welfare, integrity and partnership and we live and work together. If you do not subscribe to them, our message is, simply, leave us,” and finishes with the line: “Failure is not an option”.

“We believe there is a bright future for the sport. Together we must grasp it and move on with a determination that we should never again have to face these challenges.”

November 26

Endurance Group Seek Feedback on Tougher Rules

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Nov 26, 2013 in News

Out-of-competition testing, tougher penalties, the requirement for medication logbooks for horses, and holding trainers accountable alongside riders are among measures to clean up endurance that have gone out to member nations of the FEI for consideration.

The world governing body’s Endurance Strategic Planning Group has taken its next step toward reforms aimed at cleaning up welfare issues in the sport, sending its detailed proposed recommendations to national federations...

Read more here:

Stricter access to endurance courses by crews proposed

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Nov 26, 2013 in News

Proposals to change endurance include tougher ride qualification standards, more technical courses, stricter rules over access to courses by support personnel and annual appraisals for officials.

The seven-page document released today to national federations by the FEI’s Endurance Strategic Planning Group outlines 37 proposals for change, with urgent feedback sought as the world governing body works to get a full set of measures in place by May 14...

Read more here:

November 23

Petition: For the Preservation of Endurance Horses

November 13 2013

A petition "For the Preservation of Endurance Horses" has been created on Avaaz.org, the largest global online citizen movement for change.

The petition has been created "To support the work of the different federations and personalities that require immediate and strong measures to protect horses during endurance races, the petitioners request that the protection of the horse is a priority in its preparation, the management of its competition and According competition! The anti-doping controls and penalties is strengthened. That these measures are taken by a meeting of independent persons having no share in competitions, and that these measures are effective before WEG 2014! The whole situation has been described in the letters of federations and in public statements!"
[google translation]

With a goal of 5000 signatures, the petition currently has 663 signatures. The petition will be delivered to the FEI when the goal is reached.

For more information, and to sign the petition, see

American Endurance Ride Conference 'deeply troubled' with equestrian world governing body

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Senior figures in US endurance riding are considering separation from the international sport in the wake of doping and injury concerns in the Middle East.

By Pippa Cuckson
8:00AM GMT 14 Nov 2013

Last week far-reaching measures to solve the horse welfare crisis were unveiled at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) General Assembly in Montreux.

But five board-members of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) are not convinced and on Wednesday floated concerns in a 2,000-word open letter.

The USA pioneered modern endurance and the annual Tevis Cup ride in California has iconic status. But the American maxim “to finish is to win” has become increasingly incompatible with the high speed race-riding of the Middle East.

The AERC board members are “deeply troubled” by the “toxic nature” of the controversy, at the centre of which are stables owned by Sheikh Mohammed whose wife Princess Haya is president of the FEI. They also claim the FEI is non-transparent in its refusal to publish traumatic injury statistics...

Read more here:

November 22

The FEI presidency: Smoke and mirrors in Montreux

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Neil Clarkson on Nov 21, 2013

...This month’s FEI General Assembly in Montreux delivered its own share of drama and intrigue. There was no fiery ceiling, no Frank Zappa, and no smoke on the water, but FEI train-spotters cannot deny that the whole Princess Haya presidency issue is a fascinating affair.

Delegates from the world’s national equestrian federations were a rather more subdued lot than Zappa’s followers, but they still had the unmistakeable air of fans about them...

Read more here:

November 21

FEI General Assembly Updates

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

November 16, 2013
By Pamela@horsereporter

November 16, 2013 ~ The FEI General Assembly 2013 held in Montreux (SUI) from 4 to 7 November.
FEI General Assembly Highlights

Modifications to Endurance Rules

Location of General Assembly 2014

Possible Third Term for FEI President

Appointment of Veterinarians

*Endurance Rules Modifications

In the recent FEI General Assembly, the discipline of endurance came under scrutiny to regulate unfair practices. The Strategic Planning Committee has committed to bring tighter regulations to assure a field of fair play. See article: http://wp.me/p26iCL-28H

Modifications were made to the FEI Endurance Rules and were approved. All of the rule changes relate to bettering the competitive environment in terms of fair play, the welfare of the horse, and the highlighting of those who fail to take responsibility and comply with the regulations. The main changes are as follows:...

Read more here:

November 18

FEI: New study is tasked with investigating endurance injuries

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

18 November 2013
Pippa Cuckson

A new Injuries Surveillance System is being rolled out in international endurance as the FEI struggles to allay the escalating crisis about doping and life-threatening stress fractures in the Middle East.

Dr Tim Parkin of the University of Glasgow has been commissioned to conduct the study, having previously researched injuries in thoroughbreds for several racing authorities around the world.

However, his data will only extend to diagnoses at competitions.

The FEI admits “there is no obligation for organisations to report fatalities to the FEI outside of competition”, inevitably casting doubt on the accuracy of official FEI figures about injury-induced euthanasia.

The FEI says that worldwide there were 10 fatalities in endurance this year, 14 in 2012 and 11 in 2011, but critics believe there are dozens a year in the Middle East alone...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/new-study-is-tasked-with-investigating-endurance-injuries/#M6SOHC2XkIdf3l2B.99

November 14

Pippa Cuckson: reflections on an FEI GA gone wild

Horsesportinternational.com - Full Article

Today, dear readers, a very special treat. I am delighted to share with you the ruminations of journalist extraordinaire, Pippa Cuckson. I’m even more delighted to read her post and realize that she and I are on exactly the same page when it comes to the momentous events of last week in Switzerland. Sometimes, as a journalist toiling away in the vacuum that is a freelancer’s existence for at least 350 days a year, one begins to doubt one’s judgment. One’s confidence can be so shaken by the kinds of accusations that were tossed about on the floor of the GA last week, one may even come close to succumbing to the charming pressures of the one who rules the roost. Which is why it was critically important that there were enough of us sitting there at the GA last week, sharing glances of incredulity with one another as the events I’ve already reported on were unfolding, and realizing that we all saw the same thing, which is apparently very much not what most of the delegates around us were seeing.

Without further ado, here is Pippa’s guest post. Thank you Pippa, for sharing with us.

Pippa Cuckson: reflections on an FEI GA gone wild

I was amongst the small media presence at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, where six of the scribblers had a total of more than 150 years experience in reporting FEI politics. The Thursday was certainly one of the most astonishing days any of us have sat through.

The strain on the faces of FEI senior personnel was evident earlier in the week, even in the jolly environment of the first night party where, prophetically, entertainment was provided by acrobats, fire-eaters and contortionists.

Yet by Thursday there was near-delirium as federations pleaded to reinstate a third term for Haya, after all.

Just days before, journalists around the world had been prodded to report that Haya would face calls to quit because of the doping and injuries crisis in endurance. Some – not lots, but some – national federations were briefing media that’s what they were going to ask for, oh yes, most definitely. Reporters didn’t need to make this stuff up – there is still enough shocking material about Middle East endurance riders and trainers, and the shameless behaviour of so-called officials who let them get away with it, to keep headlines going for months without resorting to invention.

But on the day, the federations we’d expected to pipe up changed their minds or lost their nerve. There are three main reasons why:

Read more here:

November 12

FEI: Endurance Strategic Planning Group Proposals

November 12 2013

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG), organized by the FEI to address the crisis in endurance racing and to develop a 10-year plan to eliminate the horse dopings and deaths, presented their findings at the FEI General Assembly held in Lausanne, Switzerland last week.

The six-member industry-expert group consisted of Brian Sheahan of Australia, Jean-Louis Leclerc of France, Saeed Al Tayer of the UAE, Joe Mattingley of the USA, and Chairman Andrew Finding of Great Britain.

A number of proposals include registration of endurance trainers with the FEI, code of professional conduct for officials and competitors; education, mentoring, and leadership training for endurance officials, a "formal declaration before event" of any conflicts of interest; review of disciplinary procedures and penalties for athletes and officials; and education for officials and riders.

The findings of the committee will be presented at another endurance conference in Lausanne in February. More conferring and conclusions will be shared with the FEI in March, and final conclusions and proposals will be presented and made public at yet another special endurance session in Lausanne in April.

The complete plans and proposed solutions can be seen here:
ESPG Script
ESPG Vision

Pleas for Princess Haya to stand for third term

Horseandcountry.tv - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 7th-Nov-2013

HRH Princess Haya has been begged by national equestrian federations from around the world to stand for a third term as FEI President.

Seeking her return

Representatives from Belgium, Mauritius, Sudan, Chinese Taipei, USA and Jamaica made speeches at the FEI general assembly in Switzerland, calling for the Princess to reconsider her decision to stand down when her presidency ends in November 2014.

“It’s ironic to think that, from the media perspective, we were told that we would be coming here to seek her resignation, but in reality we’re seeking her return,” said United States equestrian federation secretary general John Long...

Read more here:

Code of conduct' aims to clean up endurance

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 12th-Nov-2013

Horse & Country

Issues of doping and deaths in the sport of endurance are to be tackled by a newly formed group led by Andrew Finding, chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation.

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) comprises six industry experts, and was set up by the FEI to develop a 10-year-plan to erradicate the problems that the sport is currently facing.

Andrew, who is the ESPG chair, opened their first face-to-face meeting, held in Lausanne, Switzerland last week (6 November), stating that endurance needs a “clear vision and a strong strategy”.

“The strategic plan we propose sets out a vision and a set of values we will expect everyone to adhere to if they genuinely want to be an active part of our family,” he said. “Those who do not should be asked to leave us.”

Read More Here...

November 7

Main decisions of the FEI General Assembly 2013

The FEI General Assembly 2013 was held in Montreux (SUI) today, 7 November. The quorum consisted of 99 National Federations: 77 represented in person and 22 by proxy.

The main decisions taken by the General Assembly are outlined HERE

Decisions pertaining to FEI Endurance Discipline include Rule changes as follows:

The modifications to the FEI Endurance Rules were approved. All the rule changes relate to bettering the competitive environment in terms of fair play, the welfare of the horse, and the highlighting of those who fail to take responsibility and comply with the regulations.

The main changes are as follows:
• Level the playing field for competitors by restricting the number of grooms within the vet gate.

The newly approved Article 801.2 is:
2. The maximum number of grooms allowed within the vet gate will be 5 per horse to take into account availability of space or to ensure that the horse is allowed sufficient space to rest. Access to the vet gate and the vet gate examination area may be further restricted by the Organiser under advice from the FEI Technical Delegate. Such restrictions must be clearly shown in the FEI approved schedule.
3. All horses must remain at all times clearly under observation of FEI Veterinary Officials, Ground Jury and Stewards.

The reason behind this change is that horses must be allowed proper rest during the hold time in the vet gate area. In addition, horses must be clearly observable at all times whilst within the field of play. Too many attending 6 grooms or individuals in the direct vicinity of the horse may obstruct such observation.

• The rest period for horses after competing in events greater than 140km has been increased to 33 days (Article 815.3.1) .

Recent data on horse injuries suggest that the increased rates of fractures may well be related to insufficient rest periods between events.

The free speed competition used in novice qualification administered by the NFs has been withdrawn (Article 816.1)

The independence of foreign officials has been reinforced.

Article 825 “Officials required for International Endurance Events” has been modified to include wording specifying that, “Foreign Officials cannot be resident in the same country or time zone in which the event is taking place.”

The qualifying requirements for treatment veterinarians have been refined.

These changes will come into effect on 1 January 2014. The modified FEI Endurance Rules will be posted on the FEI website HERE

FEI vs. Reality: Let’s Break it Down

Eventingnation.com - Full Article

By Wylie on November 7, 2013 3:00 PM

The FEI posted a press release today titled “National Federations call on HRH Princess Haya to stand for third term as FEI President.” Which struck me as strange because I’d just read this other story in The Telegraph on Tuesday titled, “FEI president Princess Haya faces calls for resignation over doping and horse welfare crisis.” Hmmm. Somebody has clearly been snacking on coo-coo puffs … but is it the FEI or the free press?

Let’s break down the FEI press release paragraph by paragraph in an effort to figure out what’s really going on:

Representatives from National Federations on four continents made impassioned pleas for HRH Princess Haya to reverse her decision not to stand for a third term as FEI President during today’s FEI General Assembly in Montreux (SUI).

The calls came after 100 National Federations signed a petition requesting the convening of an extraordinary general assembly as soon as possible for the purpose of amending the Statutes in order to prolong the term of the FEI President.

A stark contrast to the first two paragraphs of the Telegraph story: “Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, is expected on Wednesday to face calls to resign as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) over the doping and horse welfare crisis in endurance racing.

“The FEI’s three-day general assembly began on Tuesday and will confront the global outcry over the drug abuse, horse deaths and brazen rule-breaking in the Middle East which have propelled the previously little-known equestrian discipline — in which horses compete over distances of up to 100 miles a day — into notoriety.”

Are they even talking about the same assembly?...

Read more here:

FEI General Assembly: No place in endurance for cheating, delegates told

“There is no room or place in our sport for rule violations leading to cheating. There is no place for doping. There is no place for our partner the horse to end an event suffering from a life threatening, irreversible or untreatable illness or injury.”

FEI Endurance Committee head Dr Brian Sheahan makes a point during the endurance session at the FEI's General Assembly.

FEI Endurance Committee head Dr Brian Sheahan makes a point during the endurance session at the FEI’s General Assembly. © Edouard Curchod

With those words, the Australian head of the FEI’s Endurance Committee, Dr Brian Sheahan, encapsulated the sentiment that pervaded the special two-hour endurance session at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, today.

[Read more at Horsetalk.co.nz ...]

FEI General Assembly: Endurance group negotiated ‘trickiest of waters’ – CEO

Equestrian Sports New Zealand chief executive Jim Ellis writes: “In most countries where endurance is practised, even in Europe, the playing field is relatively level, but that ends abruptly when you view the sport in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

“In fact, and this is perhaps the key point, in those nations endurance is not really a sport at all. It is another form of the racing industry where rides are known as races, coaches are trainers with huge strings of horses and the fundamental purpose is compete at speed, rather than complete.

“This is not necessarily a criticism of these Middle Eastern nations, but rather an inevitability; the purpose of endurance in these nations is different than in Oceania.

[Read more at Horsetalk.co.nz ...]

FEI's general assembly proposes hard-hitting measures against endurance riders who cause injury to their horses

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Radical measures against endurance riders who injure their horses may have laid the ground for Princess Haya to stand for a third term as FEI president

By Pippa Cuckson, in Montreux
9:25PM GMT 06 Nov 2013

A raft of hard-hitting measures, including banning riders who cause horses serious injury, have been proposed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in an attempt to combat the growing crisis in endurance racing.

The plans, which came out of the FEI’s general assembly here in Switzerland on Wednesday, were more radical than expected. They also include formal registration of professional trainers and sanctions against officials who fail to enforce the rules.

However, the positive mood they created could be undermined by a proposal to give a third presidential term for Princess Haya...

Read more here:

November 6

Endurance being singled out, suggests Danish official

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Nov 06, 2013 in News

Organisers of the 2015 Open European Endurance Championship have waded into the debate over welfare in the sport, suggesting the issue is not restricted to just one equestrian discipline.

The head of the organising committee, Peter Christiansen, condemned the “unilateral focus” on endurance riding and specific countries...

Read more here:

November 5

FEI president Princess Haya faces calls for resignation over doping and horse welfare crisis

Full article at Telegraph.co.uk

Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, is expected on Wednesday to face calls to resign as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) over the doping and horse welfare crisis in endurance racing.

The FEI’s three-day general assembly began on Tuesday and will confront the global outcry over the drug abuse, horse deaths and brazen rule-breaking in the Middle East which have propelled the previously little-known equestrian discipline – in which horses compete over distances of up to 100 miles a day – into notoriety.

Pressure has built on Princess Haya because the endurance stables of her husband, who is also the biggest single investor in British racing, have been at the centre of much of the controversy.

Read full article

November 5

USA Chef d'Equipe Weighs In on FEI Endurance Controversies

November 5 2013

Even before a raid on a private Dubai Royal Air Wing plane on May 3 at Great Britain's Stansted Airport and the subsequent seizure of an illegal shipment of unlicensed veterinary goods (incorrectly labeled "horse tack") destined for Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Moorley endurance farm sparked a spate of growing worldwide outrage and concern over druggings, breakdowns, and fatalities of international endurance horses, the USA had already added its voice to the increasing clamor.

A June 25, 2013 letter from the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) to USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) delineated its concerns over international endurance horse welfare.

In part, the letter stated: "We share the alarm voiced by the European federations of Belgium, France, and Switzerland in regards to profoundly disturbing evidence of deficiencies in horse welfare issues; including an increase in equine fatalities, orthopedic injuries and serious drug violations. We note that these letters have been widely circulated throughout world press, and that the reputation of the sport and all those federations involved is likely to become irreparably tainted if decisive action is not taken at once to resolve these issues."

The letter was subsequently formalized by USEF and submitted to the FEI in July.

USA Endurance Chef d'Equipe Emmett Ross released a statement to Endurance.net on October 30, 2013, concerning the controversies currently gripping the sport of endurance racing.

"What is happening in endurance is not acceptable and abhorrent to all…

"A letter sent from the AERC several months ago through our national federation, USEF, along with its own stated concerns prompted the FEI to include our Joe Mattingly to the small but fully charged review commission of 5 persons. Joe and the other few prestigious members have had several very serious meetings and must present their findings and solutions of correcting many of the problems, especially horse welfare items, to the FEI's annual General Assembly meeting next week.

"I know there are skeptics regarding this commission's abilities to recommend and enact changes. But I hope and fully expect some dramatic changes will be immediately laid down to correct many of the issues.

"I also expect the FEI officials assigned to the rides at the Championship races to take better and full control (required) of the existing rules and be unafraid on who the sanctions are given to or they potentially could lose their licenses."

The FEI's 2013 General Assembly, which acts as a platform for discussions and voting on the major decisions of the FEI and the governance of the sport, will convene in Montreux, Switzerland, November 4-7.

November 4

Current FEI Endurance Rules "fraught with pretenses of equine welfare": John Crandell

November 4 2013

"Our current FEI [endurance] rules are founded on ethical compromise, bias, and the warped sense of reality of powerful people that do not represent the perspective of the endurance community worldwide," says John Crandell III, in part of his letter to the AERC Board of Directors last week.

AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) is the National Affiliate of USEF (United States Equestrian Federation), the National Governing body of endurance in America.

Crandell, a long-time successful USA national and international endurance rider - accomplishments which include 2006 Tevis and Haggin Cup winner on Heraldic, and 2008 and 2012 USA Endurance Team member - spoke out regarding international endurance horse welfare, after a number of horse drugging and death scandals on the international scene began sparking worldwide outrage this summer.

In his letter, Crandell points to a deeply flawed qualification system for FEI endurance horses, which is "entirely focused on simple speeds… and quantity of completion."

"…something is deeply, and fundamentally wrong with the system," Crandell states, which has resulted in "fundamental rules and qualification constructs that are only thinly veiled as protections for the horse."

Crandell calls for changes in the international FEI organization "with the integrity to uphold competitive standards, justice and elemental respects for life." He calls for an entire re-invention of the endurance qualification rules that "will be an integral and essential part of any effort by the FEI to genuinely restore its integrity and respectability.

"The challenge before the FEI is more than just a matter of controlling some forms of injustice and enforcing the rules it now has. "

Crandell's entire letter can be read here:

The endurance controversy: It’s showtime!

Horsetalk.co.uk - Full Article

By Neil Clarkson on Nov 04, 2013 in Blogs, Featured, News

Most Las Vegas shows needs a headline act – a big-name star to generate publicity and get bums on seats for the show of a lifetime. It costs casinos millions.

The FEI, on the other hand, has the remarkable ability to get gifted a headline act just about every year for its annual General Assembly.

In recent years we’ve seen squabbles over drugs lists, a fascinating challenge to Princess Haya’s presidency...

Read more here:

November 3

FEI Controversy: Supporting the Endurance Sport

November 3 2013

Jean-Pierre Allegret and Gilles Carbardos of France have added their voices and support to the push for immediate action and reform by the FEI regarding the recent worldwide uproar concerning the allegations of cheating, doping, and horse abuse and deaths in the sport of endurance racing.

Allegret, a 4* President of jury in France and abroad, stated, in part: "My support may look a bit late. It is not because I'm denying all cheating and doping issues which are making our sport so dirty. I have been witnessing (and victim also) as a judge and as organizer... "The message of the Belgian federation goes completely in the same way as my thinking. I wish the French federation would make the same move…"

Carbardos, President of France's Fontainebleau CEI*** event, and member of the ADOCEE (the association of Endurance Organizers of France), said, in part, regarding Pierre Arnould's letter to FEI: "I salute Pierre Arnould for not only denounce doping practices and horse abuse, but also for proposing short-term actions." Acknowledging FEI has a unifying role, he continues, "To my mind, the global action must forget about division of opinion or attempts to denounce some riders or countries. The problem is global and could only be raised by a collective consciousness and global actions. I'm ready to take part."

The complete statements by Allegret and Carbardos can be read at

November 1

Endurance horses may be monitored in training

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Nov 01, 2013 in Focus

Horses could be monitored during training as part of efforts to reduce worrying welfare issues in endurance, centred in the Middle East.

Proposals include higher qualification demands for riders and horses in long-distance events and extended recovery periods for mounts, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) says.

Endurance has been in the spotlight in recent months over high fracture rates and doping infractions centred on the United Arab Emirates (UAE)...

Read more here:

October 31

Drastic action planned to protect horses and crack down on crisis in endurance racing

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

eminar proposes monitoring of horses in training and longer post-ride recovery periods to resolve horse welfare crisis in endurance

By Pippa Cuckson
7:31PM GMT 30 Oct 2013

The monitoring of horses in training and longer post-ride recovery periods were among drastic proposals targeting the horse welfare crisis in endurance discussed at a seminar in Abu Dhabi.

The seminar came days before the annual General Assembly of the International Equestrian Federation in Montreux, Switzerland, from Nov 5-7.

Endurance will inevitably dominate debate there too, with FEI president Princess Haya likely to face further allegations of “conflict of interest” as the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, the biggest global player in both racing and endurance stables...

Read more here:

FEI Eff-up: 2014 WEG poster features doping posterchild

Horsenationa.com - Full Article

by Wylie

The poster surfaced on the Normandy WEG Facebook page and vanished shortly thereafter… but not before Endurance Belgium captured it via a screenshot.

The screenshot, taken Friday afternoon (if you click on this link to the page it no longer works).

Seems pretty innocuous, right? But, as reported by The Daily Telegraph, the poster was “hastily pulled” when people began noticing that the front-and-center rider was Ali Al Muhairi, an United Arab Emerates endurance competitor who is currently serving a record four-year ban for doping. So... kind of like featuring Lance Armstrong on a poster for the Tour de France.

Al Muhairi has been banned for doping twice–he got 10 months for etorphine in 2009 and four years for steroids in 2011. Etorphine is an opioid analgesic over 1,000 times more potent than morphine. In its 2009 decision notice, the usually restrained FEI Tribunal recorded its “abhorrence” that Al Muhairi had ridden a horse for 160 kilometers after administering this substance...

Read more here:

October 30

Equestrian bodies under attack for failing to respond quickly enough over horse welfare

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Concerns that equestrian bodies are not reacting fast enough to public outcry about horse welfare in the sport of endurance racing have heightened.

By Pippa Cuckson
9:00PM GMT 28 Oct 2013

It emerged on Monday that the International Equestrian Federation had only recently inquired about two United Arab Emirates fatalities from the summer, and that a rider twice banned for doping featured in promotional material for the World Equestrian Games.

The FEI’s slow response to the euthanasia of Eclipse and Django de Vere in July and August has raged on endurance forums for months. Both are registered as owned by the Maktoum family’s Fazaa stables and were ridden by Saeed Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi, who, though only 16, is already the world No  6-ranked rider.

But the FEI admitted to The Daily Telegraph that it approached the UAE only last week after learning of the deaths “from third parties” and needs responses before deciding how to proceed. Eclipse was eliminated for lameness at the fourth vet check of the World Young Riders 120km (75-mile) championship at Tarbes, France. Al Harbi completed the previous loop at 17.7mph . Under FEI rules, deaths after championships must be investigated. International rider Leonard Liesens, who runs the Endurance-Belgium website, said: “It is well known in the endurance community that Eclipse was euthanised within days, yet we hear nothing about an investigation”...

Read more here:

October 28

UAE: Endurance rider banned over steroid breach

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Oct 28, 2013 in News

An endurance rider from the United Arab Emirates has received a two-year ban from the FEI for a doping infraction, adding another case to the Middle East’s sorry record of endurance drug breaches in recent years.

The case, involving Mohd Ali Al Shafar, is sure to add fuel further to the controversy around fracture rates and doping breaches centred on the Middle East...

Read more here:

October 26

Endurance racing left reeling as Mohammed Ali Al Shafar is banned after latest positive doping test

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Rider is banned as prohibited steroid is found in the horse he rode to win one of the most prestigious races in the United Arab Emirates

By Pippa Cuckson
9:44AM BST 26 Oct 2013

Attempts by the United Arab Emirates to show it is combating doping in endurance racing have suffered a major setback with news that Mohammed Ali Al Shafar has been banned for two years after the horse he rode to win one of the most prestigious races in the Gulf had been given banned steroids.

Al Shafar’s horse, Orman de Cardonne, tested positive for the prohibited substance 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone hexanoate after winning the 100-mile UAE Presidents Cup in Abu Dhabi on Feb 16. It is the 34th doping case from a prominent UAE stable heard by the tribunal of the sport’s governing body, the FEI, since 2005, although a first from Al Shafar’s Al Reeh Stables in Dubai.

Earlier this week, delegates from around the world attended the annual endurance conference in Abu Dhabi, where the escalating crisis about doping and horse injury rates dominated debate. Afterwards, the German Equestrian Federation issued a statement that said endurance had fallen into “discredit, especially in the Arab world through accidents, tampering and doping”...

Read more here:

Is the sport of endurance in crisis?

Horseandcountry.tv - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 23rd-Oct-2013

Pierre Arnould, the Belgian national coach and a member of the FEI endurance committee, has spoken out about his sport’s doping scandals and the rising number of deaths in horses taking part.

Shame on the sport
According to Arnould, dozens of horses died during the 2011-2012 season in the Middle East.

Further to this, a total of 33 FEI tribunal hearings concerned the doping of endurance horses from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). More than 20 of those were trained at stables owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, and other members of his family. Qatar and Bahrain have also been implicated in doping.

“Everything would be idyllic but for three federations who cast shame on the sport,” Arnould said in the Telegraph. “Because of this infamous trio, endurance is now in the front pages of the world press who, truly, denounce serial scandals: cheating, doping, corruption, conflicts of interest.”

Read more here:

Sport is not about driving horses to their deaths

Dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

PUBLISHED: 17:55 EST, 22 October 2013

It is hard to nail down the official number of equine deaths in the 2011-12 endurance racing season, but unofficial estimates suggest around 80. That means there were probably more.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) recorded nine deaths in international events alone in the Group VII area that embraces the Middle East and North Africa.

The following season, 13 horses died in Group VII international competition. There are nine regions that hold endurance races worldwide, so the general pattern is a worrying one.

And these figures govern international, not domestic events, remember. The FEI’s statistics are limited. Horses that are put down as a result of injuries after returning home are rarely included in the figures, meaning the FEI is reliant only on information from national organisations at events.

The statistics would be troubling enough without national bodies choosing to volunteer further bad news.

Read more here:

October 21

FEI will sort out endurance problems – Haya

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Oct 21, 2013 in News

FEI president Princess Haya has moved to assure national federations that the world governing body is working hard to sort out the problems within the sport of endurance.

Haya was commenting following a report in The Telegraph in Britain in which Belgian official Pierre Arnould voiced his fears for the future of endurance unless the FEI reined in what he viewed as the excesses of a clutch of Middle Eastern countries...

Read more here:

Italy: UAE horse dies in 120km endurance race

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

21 October 2013

A prominent Italian horse welfare charity is continuing to demand an official investigation into the death of UAE horse after an international endurance ride in Sardinia — despite being ignored by Italian authorities.

Django De Vere was rushed to a veterinary hospital, where he died after finishing 3rd in the 120km “Endurance Lifestyle” ride on the island of Sardinia on 31 August.

Sonny Richichi of the mainland-based Italian Horse Protection Association (IHP) demanded the provincial public prosecutor seize the body for post mortem, and that the Italian equestrian federation (FISE) investigate. Richichi says both bodies ignored his repeated requests.

On 8 October he asked the FEI to intervene. 2 days later he received a short reply, stating: “We have now forwarded your note to FISE and asked them to follow up. The FEI is monitoring closely.”

Richichi was concerned about Django’s extreme heart rates — recorded as returning to normal in 37 and 52 secs respectively at the first two vet-gates but taking 30 minutes, significantly longer than any other horse, at the last.

“Is it possible that a horse that has just covered 30 kilometers at 29kph can return to a normal heart rate in just 37 seconds?” asked Richichi...

Read more here:

Princess Haya says equestrianism is working hard to stamp out doping and welfare issues endurance

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

FEI president Princess Haya writes to members of governing body to stress controversies surrounding sport of equestrianism are being addressed

By Pippa Cuckson
11:32AM BST 21 Oct 2013

FEI president Princess Haya has moved to assure national federations that the world governing body of equestrianism is working hard to sort out the problems in endurance.

Haya was commenting following Telegraph Sport’s interview with Belgian national coach, Pierre Arnould who feared endurance would be banned by a higher authority if doping and welfare concerns in the Middle East are not addressed.

Arnould is a member of the FEI endurance committee and had earlier been chastised by FEI secretary general Ingmar de Vos for speaking to the media without having first consulted FEI colleagues. De Vos accused Arnould of bring the sport into “disrepute”, even though Arnould’s remarks were summarising issues widely reported worldwide for the past six months.

Princess Haya wrote a personal note to the FEI’s 130 member national federations, setting out what the FEI had aimed to achieve while stressing it cannot react as quickly as the media.

Princess Haya is married to Sheikh Mohammed, whose family owned stables in Dubai have been linked to over 20 cases of doping infraction since 2005...

Read more here:

October 19

Trouble in the FEI playground: Arnould on report

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article By Neil Clarkson on Oct 19, 2013

....Belgian endurance official Pierre Arnould has leaned forward from the precision ranks of the FEI and, if I may continue the school theme a little longer, received a caning from FEI secretary general Ingmar de Vos for his trouble.

It seems he is on report, with de Vos refusing to rule out more consequences for Arnould....

Read full article here:

DubaiGate - October 19


---Update 20 Oct---

Translated from CEERMP.ORG, blog written by François Kerboul, France
October 19, 2013

FEI Secretary General rebelled against the words of Pierre Arnould .

In a statement released yesterday, the day of the publication of the interview of Pierre Arnould in the Telegraph (see below) , the Secretary General of the FEI , Ingmar de Vos, reacts strongly against Pierre Arnould behavior

We are delighted to see the rapid response (less than 24 h) indicating that the FEI can react quickly when it wants.

We are not surprised that the secretary general protests formally and not versus the content , because it can not in his position do much better. He could still have been, being a bit courageous and forgetting the politically correctness, higlighting the tension taking place inside the endurance committee. He could have taken the opportunity to present some concrete actions in place of the well-known and obsolete speeches. But nope, he just speaks about the betrayal of somebody who apparently signed a non disclosure convention (ndlr: this doesn’t seem to really be the case).

Should we be surprised or disappointed by this reaction ?

The interview of Pierre Arnould has already reached its goal, position Arnould as the one who dares to loudly speak and stands against! The Belgian Federation supports his action and probably in the near future, others will follow.

Will the FEI do like others did when quickly condemn Manning, Snowden, Assange to circumvent the problem without tackling it REALLY? It is for sure that this protesting communiqué can not be a satisfactorily answer. That the world of equestrians expects more.

To be continued ... Read also endurance-belgium.com

October 18

DubaiGate - October 18


Leonard Liesens

October 18 2013

FEI, thru the voice of its Secretary General Ingmar de Vos has immediately reacted on what has been said by Pierre Arnould to The Telegraph. The communiqué is displayed on their website.

By doing that, FEI shows once again its incapacity of tackling the problem and acting quickly and effectively, without protecting this or that group.

So it is Pierre Arnould who is guilty of reporting the system and of speaking publicly because he thinks it is his duty as member of this FEI endurance committee to work on the welfare of his discipline.

In its high level speech about “Clean Sport”, FEI claims all the time they are working for the horse welfare and don’t want seeing any horse entering an event helped by forbidden medication.

But... What did FEI up to now to tackle the problem with concrete actions? Despite having been warned by several federation –and not the least ones- Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, France since many months now.

Why each horse fatality taking place on an event or the day after –and duly known by the endurance community- is not the subject of an investigation? Why –if those investigations have taken place- are the results not transmitted to the FEI Tribunal like it is the case with doping cases? Why are riders who have repeatedly killed horses not pursued?

Who is aware of the reason of the horse death at Florac, horse ridden by a rider from Qatar? Which products have been discovered in the port-mortem? Where are the reports and the punishment?

What about this horse collapsing and dying in Sardinia-Italy recently? The same rider was also riding Eclipse at Tarbes and leading him to euthanasia.

From our sources, we can claim that the Belgian Federation is giving full support to Pierre Arnould and will shortly decides which actions to be taken.

It is also now clear that Pierre Arnould is not alone fighting. Several European figures are also nauseous and want this to stop and our sport recovers its nobility.

FEI didn’t like the Toulouse Group which was led by the late Pierre Cazes. Will this group revive thanks to another Pierre? In any case we are behind him and all men and women of good will are welcome. Send an email to endurance.belgium@gmail.com.

Are we the only website devoted to endurance which dare to publish on the subject ? Are the others with their head in the sand so they don’t want seeing what happens?

Now that the general press has embraced the topic, how can we figure that the process will stop? The forums are dumb, mum's the word because you never know…

FEI are working to address doping and horse deaths in endurance racing, says Ingmar De Vos

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

International Equestrian Federation secretary general Ingmar De Vos denounces remarks by Belgian national coach that endurance riding could become a banned sport due to crisis about doping and horse welfare issues

Hard work: Ingmar De Vos has rubbished claims that endurance racing could be banned

By Pippa Cuckson
18 Oct 2013

International Equestrian Federation (FEI) secretary general Ingmar De Vos has denounced remarks by Belgian national coach Pierre Arnould, made in an interview with Telegraph Sport on Tuesday, that endurance riding could become a banned sport if the FEI cannot end the escalating crisis about doping and horse welfare issues in the Middle East.

Mr De Vos said that Arnould, a member of the FEI endurance committee, had made "unsubstantiated allegations" without first consulting his FEI colleagues. "As an individual Pierre Arnould can speak his mind, but he cannot speak on behalf of an FEI committee without consulting its chair and his fellow members," said De Vos.

"This is not just a legal issue. His actions show a total lack of respect. Mr Arnould is in clear breach of this signed agreement and his behaviour is totally unacceptable.

"I am currently looking into whether any further action needs to be undertaken..."

Read more here:

FEI Secretary General reacts to Endurance Committee member’s statement


18 Oct 2013

FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos has today reacted to Endurance Committee member Pierre Arnould’s public statement on Endurance.

“I do not accept the statement made public by Pierre Arnould, a member of the FEI Endurance Committee, for a number of reasons:

Mr Arnould has made unsubstantiated allegations about the sport and, in so doing, has brought the sport and the FEI into disrepute.

Mr Arnould has stated publicly that the FEI Bureau has rejected proposals put forward by the Endurance Committee. This is absolutely untrue.

Mr Arnould spoke as a Member of the FEI Endurance Committee without either mandate or consultation. The Chair of the Committee has written to Mr Arnould on this issue.

Like all FEI Committee Members, Mr Arnould signed a non-disclosure document and a declaration agreeing to support and actively endorse FEI policies.

As an individual Pierre Arnould can speak his mind, but he cannot speak on behalf of an FEI Committee without consulting its Chair and his fellow Members.

This is not just a legal issue. His actions show a total lack of respect for his colleagues on the Committee, but also for other volunteers within our organisation. Mr Arnould is in clear breach of this signed agreement and his behaviour is totally unacceptable.

In my capacity as FEI Secretary General, and in consultation with the relevant bodies within the organisation, I am currently looking into whether any further action needs to be undertaken.

In response to Mr Arnould’s statement, I state categorically that the FEI is working to address the issues in Endurance and has been for some time.

Additionally, in 2012 the FEI undertook a full review of the Endurance rules, including a full Endurance session at the Sports Forum, in order to address the issues that arose from the strong growth of this discipline. These efforts continued in 2013.

With the organisation of a round table session, the creation of the ESPG and the start of an Injuries Surveillance Study, the FEI is clearly fully committed to safeguard the further development of this discipline.

In preparation for next month’s General Assembly, the FEI President has sent a statement on Endurance to all member National Federations today.”

October 16

Doping issues and horse deaths may lead to ban on endurance racing, warns Pierre Arnould

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Belgian coach and FEI committee member Pierre Arnould says endurance racing could be made illegal if action is not taken to solve doping and horse welfare issues

By Pippa Cuckson
16 Oct 2013

Endurance racing could become extinct if the world governing body of equestrianism cannot solve the horse welfare crisis in the Middle East, according to a senior figure in the sport.

Pierre Arnould, Belgian national coach and a member of the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) endurance committee, believes the FEI is not coping with the doping scandal afflicting the second horse sport in which Sheikh Mohammed is the major global player.

Aside from doping, stress fractures in the high speed form of endurance racing favoured in the Middle East are an escalating concern. Arnould says dozens of horses died in or after competitions during the 2011-2012 Middle East season.

“I do not want to be fighting any country involved in endurance,” Arnould told Telegraph Sport. “I want my children to have the same long career in endurance I enjoyed, but if we don’t do something quickly, endurance will not exist in a few years – someone will have banned it.”

Endurance is the FEI’s fastest-growing discipline but received little media attention until the parallel scandal at Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin racing stables in April. UAE endurance horses figure in 33 FEI Tribunal doping hearings, with more than 20 trained at stables owned by the ruler of Dubai and other members of the Maktoum family.

Arnould and others have attempted solutions from within in recent years. He says the FEI endurance committee – specialist senior riders, judges, trainers and vets – agreed “drastic” measures with FEI secretary-general Ingmar de Vos in June which included tougher penalties covering horse-owners, federations and officials as well as riders and trainers, and lifetime bans; and the “creation of an incorruptible committee to observe the behaviour of officials”.

Arnould says money has been offered during rides to officials, and that he has witnessed testimony supporting his allegations...

Read more here:

October 12

Toads, snake poison and dead horses

NZZ.ch - Full Article

Doping in endurance riding
October 12 2013

[google translation from German]

The Endurance is horrible because of doping-like practices continue in the headlines. For Princess Haya, President of the International Equestrian Federation, a huge burden. Because her husband is brought into connection.

by Peter Jegen

Etti Plesch, born Countess Maria Wurmbrand-Stuppach 1914 in Vienna, had a penchant for fast horses and rich men. "Horses and Husbands" is the name for the biography published after her death in 2003, starting with the fact that the total of six times married woman twice the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe won with the gallopers and Psidium Henbit, at a young age with An American millionaire's son was verkuppelt. Because the poor family only possessed the title of nobility.

"Horses or spouse" according to the biography would be called, which could draw the Jordanian Princess Haya bint al-Hussein one day once. For the life of the President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) her husband is becoming increasingly difficult to stressful mortgage.

Sheikh Mohammed and the doping

The 39-year-old Princess Haya is a second wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the 64-year-old ruler of Dubai. This maintains one of the largest horse with Godolphin racing stables in the world, was hit in the spring of a big doping scandal. Full coverage anabolic steroids were administered as a control training in Newmarket (England) showed.

Guilty as the trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni was branded, meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed immediately cooperated with the authorities to close the affected stall left in his emirate of Dubai exacerbated the doping regulations.

The damage was done, however, and the efforts to achieve a drug-free sport horses seemed hardly credible, because Sheikh Mohammed did not come out of the headlines. He himself was as endurance riders already closed due to doping, and in one of his English stables where horses are trained for endurance riding, in a raid in September 124 medical products were confiscated, which are not authorized in the UK for horses.

An explosive Fund because the Endurance as opposed to horse racing, a discipline of the FEI, with the Princess Haya to act as the President for an ethical handling of horses and against doping. Of which her husband apparently seems not too much to keep.

As in the Chamber of Horrors

Efforts to ease term limits on the FEI peak at the beginning of November in Montreux upcoming General Assembly from 8 to 12 Years, Princess Haya recently declined with thanks. You will not be the end of their term of office end of 2014 continue to be available, they left with reference to their statements made to the office know.

However, as they are likely to have influenced the recent events, especially the Swiss Equestrian Federation for months by the FEI and a workup of doping in endurance riding, the so-called Endurance calls. A FEI Commission has now established, but lack the independence, from the Swiss. Also complained that primarily improve the situation in the future, but not proven doping should be worked up.

The latter is urgently needed because it seems like going to and fro in the chamber of horrors. The Swiss Association President Charles Trolliet, himself vet says that the FEI has tested positive between January 2010 and December 2012 at 41 international events horses in Endurance, primarily on steroids, anti-inflammatories and painkillers. The figures come from a statistic that has for the same period, 29 tested positive for jumping horses and states that 82.9 percent of cases in the Endurance rider from the Arab concern.

Cocktails with toads and snake poison

"Le Monde" wrote a few days ago even of dead horses. The French association had three deaths at endurance events in 2012 registered. And over the sheet tells of a veterinarian that horses will injected intravenously vodka, enriched with the painkiller Sarapin, an extract of the pitcher plant, and toads or snake venom.

What sounds like a horror story, might not be so far-fetched. Reported in the previous year, "New York Times" about similar practices in American horse racing. There were about 30 horses tested positive for dermorphin, which originates from South American frogs. The agent should numb pain, but also make the same hyperactive and thus be more effective than just pain-suppressing cobra venom.

As FEI President still viable?

If the situation continues to worsen and the horses empire of Sheikh Mohammed does not come out of the doping headlines, inevitably raises the question of whether his wife is even more portable than FEI President. Princess Haya is to finish the second term? A withdrawal before the end of next year would in the face of widespread outrage against the conditions in the Endurance hardly surprising.

A premature withdrawal would certainly be a distressing line under a presidency that began so promisingly. Princess Haya, FEI transformed the antiquated in a modern global sports federation and brought a lot of character (Arabic) money. Achievements, currently stand in the shadows, throwing her husband about the equestrian sport.

October 4

FEI clamps down on unauthorised medicating of horses during competition

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is clamping down on unauthorised medicating of horses during competition as the crisis over doping and horse injuries in endurance racing deepens.

By Pippa Cuckson
04 Oct 2013

Just three days after revealing the FEI is rolling out a new injuries surveillance system (ISS), Telegraph Sport has learnt the FEI is banning ammonium chloride – a substance primarily associated with controversial analgesic technique of “nerve-blocking” – and proposing to limit crew numbers so that horses cannot be concealed from officiating vets.

The Swiss, Belgian and French equestrian federations were lobbying the FEI about “inequities” in Middle Eastern endurance before the drugs raids in May and August on properties owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the reigning endurance world champion and the most powerful owner in thoroughbred horseracing.

The source of the illegal drugs is now being investigated on Sheikh Mohammed’s behalf by his wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, president of the FEI, and Lord Stevens’ intelligence company Quest.

Endurance, which involves races up to 160km, is the only equestrian sport applying vet checks on the field of play during the event. Critics have cited the large size of “crews” – grooms and physios – employed by teams, sometimes as many as 12 per horse, for effectively obscuring it from view.

FEI judge Juliette Mallison told the leading German equestrianism magazine Reiten St Georg that when she was officiating in Dubai in February, two members of her veterinary team saw “a horse surrounded by numerous grooms, the neck covered with a towel, and a further groom inserted the catheter into the [jugular] vein for the infusion disguised in his jacket sleeve.” The horse was disqualified, the officials receiving “ the trainer’s angry abuse”...

Read more here:

October 3

Sheikh Mohammed: Swiss Federation questions inquiry

A leading equestrian federation has questioned the independence of a probe into Sheikh Mohammed's equine business.

Former London police chief Lord Stevens was called in by the sheikh's wife to oversee an internal inquiry after illegal veterinary drugs were seized from a stables and private jet.

Sheikh Mohammed is the world's biggest owner of racehorses, but the latest questions focus on endurance racing.

The Swiss federation's Claude Nordmann would prefer an external investigation.

[More ...]

October 1

International Equestrian Federation to introduce injury surveillance system over allegations of horse deaths

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

The governing body of equestrian sport has pledged to introduce an injury surveillance system (ISS) this autumn in response to allegations that dozens of horses die each season while competing in Middle East endurance racing.

By Pippa Cuckson
10:00PM BST 01 Oct 2013

Following lobbying from European federations, who have observed a link between endurance racing in the Middle East and stress fractures, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has decided to monitor injuries more closely. In Europe and North America, endurance racing is slower paced but the Middle Eastern sport often produces average speeds of 26kph on 160 kilometre (100 mile) championship tier rides.

Last year, a study in the British Veterinary Journal highlighted injury-inducing averages of 35kph in the last 15-20km of the straighter, flatter desert tracks.

Two recent seizures of unlicensed drugs – one in Newmarket in August and the other on a private jet at Stansted in May – were both linked to Sheikh Mohammed, the world’s ­leading racehorse owner and current endurance world champion. They included extensive anti-inflammatories and analgesics which Swiss equestrian federation president Charles Trolliet, also a vet, described as the “classic endurance cocktail”...

Read more here:

Sheikh Mohammed under further scrutiny as trainer banned for doping continues to work in his Dubai stables

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Sheikh Mohammed has opened himself up to further embarrassment following news that a former trainer who was banned for doping continues to work at Dubai stables owned by the Godolphin boss.

By Telegraph Sport
5:30PM BST 01 Oct 2013

Mubarak bin-Shafya was banned from endurance racing for two years in 2011 after several of his horses tested positive for stanozolol.

However, that has not prevented him from training thoroughbreds from the Al Aasfa Stables, owned by the Sheikh, near Dubai City.

And while there is no suggestion Sheikh Mohammed is involved in wrongdoing, the ongoing link with Bin Shafya, who is also a former colleague of disgraced Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni, will cast yet further suspicion on the endurance horse operation.

More than 20 endurance horses trained in Dubai at stables owned variously by Sheikh Mohammed and other senior members of the Maktoum family have been involved in doping cases since 2005.

According to publicly available archives, 16 of the horses tested positive in competition to natural or manufactured steroids...

Read more here:

September 30

Sheik Mohammed suffers more shame as Dubai drug scandal grows

Dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

PUBLISHED: 16:48 EST, 1 October 2013

Further embarrassment has been heaped on Sheik Mohammed with confirmation that another horse trained at stables he owns has tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid.

The Federation for Equestrian Sport yesterday confirmed a hearing is pending after the discovery of 17-Hydroxyprogesterone Hexanoate — an anabolic steroid banned in male horses — in Orman De Cardonne.

The 11-year-old, ridden by Mohammed Ali Al Shafar and trained at Al Reef stables, tested positive after winning the President of the UAE Endurance Cup in Abu Dhabi on February 16. The case is yet to be submitted to tribunal.

Read more here:

September 30

Revealed: the equine drugs seized by police on Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai government jet

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

An illegal shipment of equine drugs seized at Stansted Airport from a private jet owned by the Dubai government consisted of more than 200 doses of 15 different medicines.

By Pippa Cuckson
30 Sep 2013

Among them were injectables which should only be given by a vet and 100 doses of Tildren, a drug which encourages regeneration of bone tissue, and which if prescribed would only be given to a horse once or twice a year.

The extraordinary haul of medicines, which are not licensed for use in the UK, was seized and destroyed by the UK Border Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in May. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the most powerful figure in British racing, has opened an internal investi­gation into how the plane was discovered to be carrying an array of powerful medicines of a kind which are prohibited under anti-doping rules in the sport of endurance racing.

The Stansted raid, revealed by The Daily Telegraph in September, was followed in August by a seizure by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of other unlicensed equine drugs at Moorley Farm. The farm, near Newmarket, is owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s ­Darley breeding operation and used as a summer base for his endurance racing horses, who spend the rest of the year in Dubai...

Read more here:

Scandal-hit racehorse owner Sheikh Mohammed orders 'junior wife' to head probe into banned equine drugs found on board Dubai government private jet

Dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

• Banned equine drugs discovered at Stansted on flight from Dubai
• Sheikh Mohammed has now ordered an investigation into the seizure
• His wife Princess Haya is to carry out the investigation
• British Horseracing Authority confident drugs were not for racehorses

PUBLISHED: 05:25 EST, 30 September 2013

The owner of the scandal-hit Godolphin stable has ordered a new investigation after banned equine drugs were discovered on a Dubai government private jet when it was searched at Stansted airport.

Officers from the UK Border Agency, along with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, seized the unlicensed products from a Dubai Royal Air Wing flight earlier this year, it has been reported.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, monarch of the gulf emirate, has now ordered his junior wife Her Highness Princess Haya, president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, to carry out an investigation into the incident.

Read more here:

Sheik Mohammed's reputation takes another almighty hit just months after Al Zarooni's eight-year ban


- Full Article By MARCUS TOWNEND
PUBLISHED: 05:41 EST, 30 September 2013

For the reputation of Sheik Mohammed – indeed the whole of Dubai - on the international stage of equine sport, suddenly the words damage limitation are starting to seem inadequate.

The revelation that a consignment of unlicenced veterinary products was destroyed earlier this year after being seized on a Dubai government jet which had landed at Stansted airport thrusts the ruler of Dubai into an unwanted spotlight once again.

The seizure of products one veterinary expert has described as ‘potentially toxic and dangerous to horses’ is connected to another find which emerged earlier this month at a farm near Newmarket which was part of the Sheik’s estate.

It was being used for the training of Endurance Horses...

Read more here:

September 29

Great Britain: BHA is too quick to insist drug seizures nothing to do with racing

Theguardian.com - Full Article

Greg Wood
The Guardian, Sunday 29 September 2013 17.24 EDT

Sheikh Mohammed's endurance horse operation comes under scrutiny after drugs seized from Dubai government jet

When it emerged earlier this month that 124 illegally imported veterinary products had been seized in a raid at a property in Newmarket owned by the world's most powerful racehorse owner, the British Horseracing Authority appeared adamant it had nothing to do with them.

"This is a matter for Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which conducted the raid]," a BHA spokesman said. "In the view of Defra, there is no link between the seizure and the racing industry and the products were not intended for use on thoroughbreds."

Even then, it seemed quite casual, not least in the context of the Godolphin doping scandal which broke in April.

The horses which were found to have been doped with anabolic steroids by Mahmood al-Zarooni, including Encke, a Classic winner, are still serving their six-month bans from the sport. The account given by the BHA, which ejected Zarooni from racing with what felt like extraordinary speed a few days after the first positive tests at his stable, offers a vague and scarcely credible account of how he could have acquired industrial quantities of banned steroids.

Nor has it produced a satisfactory explanation of how he then managed, with the help of three junior staff, to dope at least 22 of his horses, and probably more, on a near-daily basis without anyone else realising what was happening. Zarooni did all this, apparently, while also spending all but a few days of the winter in Dubai.

Now, as it becomes clear that the structures and accountability in Sheikh Mohammed's endurance horse operation leave a lot to be desired, the BHA's breezy dismissal of any possible link with the racing side of the Sheikh's equine interests appears unwise at best...

Read more here:

September 25

GreatStatement from FEI President HRH Princess Haya on FEI Governance

Lausanne (SUI), 25 September 2013

Statement from FEI President HRH Princess Haya on FEI Governance

In my first meeting in Lausanne with the FEI Bureau after my election in 2006, I proposed limiting FEI Presidents to two four-year terms. I suggested that reform, which was later adopted as an FEI Statute, because it is essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement within the leadership of an International Sport Federation.

Whilst I very much appreciate and am honoured by efforts of the FEI Regional Group Chairpersons and the National Federations to amend the FEI Statutes to permit me, or any FEI President to seek a third term, my views on the benefits of a two-term limit have not changed since the day I was elected. I love being FEI President. I am passionate about the work and our sport. I love the people I work with at the National Federations and at headquarters.

However, I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me. I am deeply grateful to all the National Federations that favour changing the Statutes to allow me a third term. I am confident they will understand why I feel I must keep my word when my current term ends next year.

I was first elected to this job seven years ago because our National Federations wanted transparency, good governance and change and I promised a transformational presidency. Together, through thick and thin, we have achieved more than 80% of all pledges laid down in my manifesto and programme in an open, democratic and transparent manner. I am so very proud of the people who worked together with me to achieve this.

My focus in my final year in office is on delivering the remaining pledges. I will complete this shared mission with respect, determination and energy — and with the support of the entire community and above all the help from 132 National Federations.

I intend to leave the FEI in November 2014 knowing that our International Federation is fit for the future. I will work as hard as ever towards that goal until my final day in office. And then I will step aside, confident that I have done the right thing.

September 18

Princess Haya of Jordan faces fight to continue as FEI president due to Sheikh Mohammed 'conflict of interest'

By Pippa Cuckson
18 Sep 2013

International Olympic Committee member Princess Haya was elected to the FEI in 2006 on a clean sport mandate, and stood herself down from the disciplinary processes in 2009 while the ruler of Dubai himself was given a six-month endurance ban in connection with a positive steroids test.

But FEI attempts to reduce overall doping offences in endurance — more than 20 positive tests since 2005 involved horses trained in Maktoum family-owned stables — are undermined by “conflict of interest in the highest appointment of the FEI”, says Charles Trolliet, president of the Swiss equestrian federation.

The Swiss and Dutch will now oppose changes in FEI statutes that would allow Princess Haya to stand again when her second term ends in 2014.

This comes after months of lobbying by the Swiss, Dutch, French and Belgians for action over doping and horse injury in Middle East endurance.

Concerns about endurance — in which Sheikh Mohammed is world champion — pre-date the horseracing doping scandal at his Moulton Paddocks racing stables in Newmarket...

Read more here:

September 14

Latest drugs scandal casts shadow over Sheikh Mohammed - the most powerful man in racing

Mirror.co.uk - Full Article

14 September 2013
by David Yates

Backer: Horseracing would be in dire straits without Sheikh Mohammed's cash

It was back in June 1977 that the John Dunlop-trained Hatta won Brighton’s Bevendene Maiden Stakes to give Sheikh Mohammed his first victory as a racehorse owner.

In the intervening years, the sheikh, his family and associates have won thousands of races — including hundreds at the highest level — and reshaped the landscape of the British turf.

The universally accepted way of viewing the Maktoums’ patronage of racing — not once have I heard contrary sentiments expressed in public — is to see it as nearly four decades of beneficence.

Racing is needy and the Maktoums are wealthy. We are lucky to have them — but, in every relationship, there is a tipping point. On Tuesday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced the seizure of a cache of 124 unlicensed veterinary medicines at Moorley Farm, part of Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall Stud estate in Newmarket.

Moorley Farm is where endurance horses — who compete in long-distance events of up to 100 miles, held in Britain and all over the world — not thoroughbreds, are housed, so the British Horseracing Authority immediately distanced itself from action.

On Wednesday, the Maktoums’ endurance trainer Jaume Punti Dachs issued a statement to protest there was “nothing sinister” about the affair — although DEFRA has yet to conclude its report, and a criminal investigation by the police remains a possibility...

Read more here:

September 11

Great Britain: Nothing sinister in drugs seizure claims trainer

Racingpost.com - Full Article

By Tony Smurthwaite 7:25PM 11 SEP 2013

THE endurance trainer at the centre of latest furore to hit Sheikh Mohammed's Newmarket headquarters has insisted that there was nothing sinister about the consignment of 124 unauthorised equine medicines seized by government officials last month.

On the contrary, Jaume Punti Dachs, who trains endurance horses on part of Sheikh Mohammed's Dalham Hall estate at Moorley Farm East in Newmarket, said that Defra's Veterinary Medicines Directorate was concerned only that he had bought them overseas and imported them rather than buying them in the UK.

Punti Dachs and his wife Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton compete regularly in endurance sport and claim to expect such official visits. In addition to releasing a statement in which he denied any suggestion of wrongdoing, the trainer listed the names and quantities of medication he had brought in from overseas alongside the equivalent product, some under different trade names, he had ordered later that day and which were delivered to him the following day from the Newmarket Equine Hospital.

His statement read: "My stables in Newmarket was visited by the Defra Authorities in early August, where they searched the premises and found normal medications that I brought to the UK and they confiscated them because they were not licensed in this country...

Read more here:

September 10

Great Britain: Unauthorised medicines seized at Sheikh's stud

Racingpost.com - Full Article

By Graham Green 4:56PM 10 SEP 2013

SHEIKH MOHAMMED is facing fresh embarrassment following the seizure of 124 medical products, none of which have been approved for use on horses in Britain, at part of his Dalham Hall Stud operation in Newmarket.

Although there is no suspicion the haul was destined for the thoroughbred side of the sheikh's operation, the discovery of so many unauthorised medicines on the premises comes in the wake of the doping scandal earlier this year caused by disgraced Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, since banned from the sport for eight years.

The products, which have not been named, were found at Moorley Farm East, which provides the base within the sprawling estate for the endurance horses owned by members of the Maktoum family...

Read more here:

Great Britain: Meds Seized at Sheikh's Farm Overseas

Bloodhorse.com - Full Article

By Claire Novak, @BH_CNovak
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:57 PM

Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has seized 124 veterinary medicinal products not authorized for use in the United Kingdom from a farm in Newmarket housing endurance horses owned by the Maktoum family, the Racing Post reported Sept. 10...

Read more here:

September 9

Great Britain: Raided: Moorley Farm East, Newmarket #DopingInSport

Daniel Kelly Blog - Full Story

September 9 2013

On the back of Horse & Hound’s article published yesterday, http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/illegal-drugs-seized-at-stansted-airport/ I’ve spent most of the day trying to find out further details regarding this flight. However, I seem to have stumbled across something bigger.

While British trainers have been raiding prizes throughout the racing world in recent weeks, DEFRA sent a raiding party of their own to Moorley Farm East, Newmarket.

http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/public/enforcement_notices.aspx#seizure Moorley Farm East, Newmarket. 124 veterinary medicinal products were seized because they were not authorised in the UK and had not been imported into the UK in accordance with the Regulations. These medicines, in varying quantities, were to be used on horses and included injectables, anaesthetics, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.

Moorley Farm East is listed on the Directory Of The Turf as part of the Darley Stud Management Company...

Read more here:

September 5

Great Britain: Illegal veterinary drugs seized at Stansted Airport

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

5 September 2013
Sophia Heath

A shipment containing thousands of pounds worth of unlicensed veterinary goods — including steroids, bute and anti-inflammatories — was stopped and seized at Stansted Airport at the beginning of the summer (3 May), it has emerged.

The shipment is understood to have contained performance-boosting drugs. They were listed as “horse tack” and brought in on a private plane, which was seized by Border Force officers.

“These medications have the potential to be used to enhance performance in horses, as well as more routine use in general equine practice to combat disease,” said H&H vet Karen Coumbe...

Read more here: