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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 28 2018

FEI Board moves swiftly to close loophole over catastrophic injuries in Endurance

December 23 2018

FEI Board moves swiftly to close loophole over catastrophic injuries in Endurance

December 21 2018

Endurance Department Updates

December 19 2018

UAE: Outcry after horse breaks leg in ride caught on video

December 14 2018

‘Cheating must be stamped out’: new endurance committee faces up to challenges

December 13 2018

Endurance committee takes first steps to clean up sport

FEI Endurance Temporary Committee Holds First In-Person Meeting

Endurance: No more start permits for German riders at international tournaments in Dubai [translated]

December 10 2018

Can This Latest Endurance Review Make a Difference?

December 10 2018


December 7 2018

Valerie Kanavy Joins Endurance Temporary Committee

December 5 2018

FEI announces new member of Endurance Temporary Committee

November 23 2018

FEI, UAE vet tells of time at forefront of equine welfare developments

November 14 2018

UAE Endurance Season Begins with More Horse Deaths

October 26 2018

Endurance ended 2017 with worst record of drug infractions among disciplines

October 23 2018

FEI orders endurance review in bid to return discipline to its roots

Committee to Create Roadmap for the Future of FEI Endurance

October 22 2018

FEI Bureau sets up Temporary Committee to create roadmap for the future of Endurance

October 19 2018

2 Endurance Riders and Trainer in UAE Races Suspended

October 12 2018

Round Up of Recent Endurance Doping Case Rulings

October 4 2018

Has Endurance Racing Morphed Into ‘Win At All Cost’ Flat-Track Racing?

October 1 2018

American endurance officials condemn “extreme” flat-track form of discipline

September 26 2018

Endurance Trainers to Face Automatic Suspension for Doping

September 3 2018

IVEC to Present "Traditional versus Modern Endurance" Round Table

November 7 2018

Proposed rule change targets endurance trainers for drug breaches

August 27 2018

New A-to-Z guide targets endurance cheats

August 27 2018

Clean Endurance: A Guide For Spotting Cheating and Abuse

27 August 2018

How to spot cheating and abuse – and what to do about it 1 A guide to spotting rule breaches and cheating in equestrian endurance is published today (August 25, 2018) by Clean Endurance. The informal “A to Z” format aims to make this very serious subject accessible. Clean Endurance has produced the A to Z in response to the many enquiries it is now receiving from observers and volunteer helpers at endurance rides who think they saw a violation taking place, but were unsure how to respond or whom to alert.

In recent years the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) has acted to address welfare issues, doping and rule-breaking on the field of play. The FEI is constantly reviewing endurance rules to combat the types of foul play highlighted in the A to Z. Sadly, the accompanying picture collages and press archives which can be found on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cleanendurance/ show that many FEI rules are still being openly and routinely broken.

More Yellow Warning Cards are awarded for “not conforming to applicable sport rules” and horse abuse (in conjunction with disqualification) than for any other offence in endurance. Disrespect of officials has increased, causing the FEI Endurance Department to introduce special measures to deal with this. Receipt of an Endurance Incorrect Behaviour Yellow Warning Card triggers an automatic two-month suspension. This topic appears in the A to Z under U for Unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Another major issue is dealt with under K for Knowing the 30-minute rule and Keeping proof. A particular barrier to fair play is that endurance is subject to the same 30-minute rule for lodging protests as the arena-based sports. But because endurance can span 160km (100 miles) of unsupervised open country, photographic or video evidence often only emerges hours or days later – too late for the Ground Jury to act upon. Only the reporting of alleged horse abuse is not time-limited (see A for Abuse).

O is for Obstructing the horse from view in grooming areas and vet-gates - against FEI rules. Why a horse might be concealed is explained in C for Crew, I for Invasive treatment and N for Nerve-blocking.

For those not involved in endurance, training for heart rate recovery is fundamental to the sport since the clock only stops once the horse drops below a maximum heart rate. While the naked eye cannot spot a horse that has been medicated to reduce its heart-rate (D for Doping), there are plenty of other visible tricks to gain an unfair advantage before or after entering the vet-gate: see E for Ear-twitching, G for Gaining time, J for Jammed heart-rate monitors and Q for Queuing for a favourite veterinarian.

Clean Endurance is a global collective of volunteers who are pledged to restoring the traditional values of their sport. They have an informal working relationship with the FEI; several recent FEI rule changes, procedures as well as sanctions have been developed from matters they have raised.

Clean Endurance is happy to supply links for further reading, including coverage in bona fide news media about many of the field-of-play incidents highlighted in our A to Z.

The A to Z is by no means exhaustive and will be revised and updated from time to time. Clean Endurance welcomes comments and suggestions.

Find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cleanendurance/ and contact them through the message button or email contact.cleanendurance@gmail.com.

The Clean Endurance A to Z Guide can be seen here:

August 26 2018

UAE: Groom’s error led to endurance horse’s positive drug test, tribunal told

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

August 26, 2018 Horsetalk.co.nz

A mistake by a groom was behind a failed drug test in an endurance horse who competed in an 80km race in the United Arab Emirates last February, the FEI Tribunal was told.

The horse Maximal Phoenix Sterling was ridden by Aqal Muhammad Said Muhammad in the CEI1* event at Bou Thib in mid-February.

The horse subsequently tested positive for dexamethasone and betamethasone, which are corticosteroids with anti-inflammatory effects...

Read more here:

August 25 2018

Endurance horse tested positive for “cocktail” of five controlled medications

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

August 25, 2018 Horsetalk.co.nz

A stable has blamed miscalculation and miscommunication for an endurance horse entered in a 120km race in Dubai testing positive to five prohibited substances.

The horse Al Wafyah, registered in the United Arab Emirates, was ridden by a Pakistan-registered rider, Asghar Ali Muhammad Faiz, in the CEI2* event.

Al Wafyah tested positive for flunixin, phenylbutazone, oxyphenbutazone, dexamethasone and clenbuterol, all of which are classified as controlled medications under the FEI’s anti-doping rules.

Flunixin, phenylbutazone and oxyphenbutazone are anti-inflammatory drugs with pain-killing effects. Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effects. Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator used to treat bronchitis and allergic airway disease...

Read more here:

August 23 2018

Global Petition for FEI Horse Welfare Reform

August 23 2018

Galvanized by the latest in a string of years of endurance racing debacles abroad, and concerned that the upcoming World Equestrian Games Endurance event in Tryon, North Carolina, on September 12th may be negatively affected by the controversies, 25 AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) Board Members have posted a Global Petition for FEI Horse Welfare on Change.org.

"The purpose of this petition," AERC Board member Connie Caudill-Burns posted, "is to clarify for FEI that the endurance riders and supporters worldwide demand a return to the traditions of our sport with emphasis on the proper care for endurance horses everywhere by allowing the horses to compete on their own natural abilities without performance enhancing drugs. The petition also requires increased rest periods for excessive speed and stiffer penalties for those who would abuse these animals. This petition has the support of 25 American Endurance Ride Conference Board members and we expect the public support of relevant committees and organizations from endurance organizations all around the world.

"FEI must take a stand for endurance horse welfare reform worldwide before equestrians lose the privilege of competing in equestrian sports. We request that FEI accept and enforce the following 9 rules that will punish the cheaters and abusers of horses that believe in “winning at all cost”. Enough is enough, endurance athletes and horse enthusiast globally demand change in the FEI organization.

"1. Increase penalties for positive drug tested horses- Higher fines as well as stiffer suspensions on the horses. At least a year suspension (not the current 2 months). (May depend on the type of drug))

"2. Strong penalties on Trainers/Athletes/Owners who have 3 positive drug violations within a 5 year period. (5 year suspension)

"3. Positive drug violations for anabolic steroids, (such as testosterone) the horse will be banned for life. Possible life ban on –Athlete/Owner/Trainer

"4. Have mandated drug test on all 4* and 5* and Championship rides. Increase the drug testing fees in this type of race to help pay for the extra testing. Take a blood draw on ALL at check in (hair follicle possibly in future drug testing programs). At the finish always drug test top 10-20 horses in these types of races, then others at random. (4* is a 160K with prize money of $10,000-$50,000, 5* prize money greater than $50,000)

"5. Check for sensitivity of the horses' lower legs at initial vetting, during the ride at the vet checks and upon completion. Strong penalty for violation.

"6. Athletes/horses must maintain a completion rate of 66%. If either fall below a 66% completion rate (Retired/Rider Option will not count against them) they will immediately go back to restricted or controlled speed (which currently is no greater than 16kmh or 10 mph). They will stay at this rate for at least 6 months and if their completion rate has improved above the 66% they can go back into open speed, if it has not improved they will remain in the controlled speed category another 6 months until they can improve their completion rate.

"7. Remove elite athlete status. (Elite status only comes into play at championship rides). All athletes must qualify on the horse that is to be ridden in the championship ride, no special status for elite athletes.

"8. Eliminate current COC timing. (This promotes fast flat courses only.)

"9. Increase rest periods for all horses that exceed average speeds of 16kmh (10mph). Reduce rest period by 50% when average speed is less than 16kmh (10 mph)."

This world-wide petition has garnered over 2400 signatures in just over 24 hours.

Additionally, an AERC members-only petition, drafted by Randy Eiland, is also making the rounds for signatures. This petition is also aimed at improving endurance horse welfare, by making "a statement to the world that AERC Members support our Purposes, Principles, and EQUINE WELFARE."

While Eland's petition is only available only for AERC members to sign, the Change.org petition can be read and signed by anyone worldwide, and can be viewed here:


Temporary Scar on Polk County: Permanent Scar on the Sport

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | August 22, 2018

I almost checked my calendar when I saw this – surely an April Fool? If only it were a subject for levity.

The Tryon Daily Bulletin labels itself the world’s smallest daily newspaper; not difficult because Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina has a population of just 1,700. I’d wager that article has garnered more page views than anything else they’ve published this year. It was shared like topsy around the global endurance community, which then did its collective nut.

The news story describes the incredible 60-mile excavation frantically underway to complete the track for the World Equestrian Games endurance ride which is, er, due to run three weeks today (September 12th).

The article begins: “Amber Hall owns A & M Site Services in Columbus. She, along with her husband Milford and their crews are responsible for making the trials safe and making sure they meet all the Fédération Equestre Internationale rules and regulations. It has to be 30 feet wide and 14 feet high, completely clear of rocks, holes and tree limbs for 100 miles.”

That statement, as writ, is a gross distortion of FEI technical spec. It’s beyond tragic that this contrived track is being represented as what a championship ride should be. So many had pinned hopes on the return of the world championship endurance ride to its spiritual home. Surely at last we’d see riders win medals for actually being able to do steering, and for the tactical conservation of their horse (heck, a horse they even know by name) over a natural trail...

Read more here:

August 22 2018

AERC President Pens Letter to USEF Regarding Concerns about WEG

August 14 2018

The August 14, 2018, letter from AERC President Paul Latiolais to USEF officials voices concern over the Endurance event at the upcoming World Equestrian Games in September in Tryon, North Carolina.

Going by past equine neglect and abuse, poor sportsmanship and cheating in certain previous FEI endurance races, AERC is concerned that any perception of abuse at WEG will have a backlash on the sport of endurance riding in the USA.

AERC also expressed disappointment that FEI chose to advertise the endurance event as "Meydan Endurance," when Meydan is a business arm of the UAE, which is the center of many FEI endurance controversies.

AERC asked that USEF spare no effort in ensuring a level playing field for all participants and place a supreme emphasis on equine welfare, since all the world will be watching.

The letter can be seen here:

August 21 2018

Fear Grows About Endurance Scandals at Tryon

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

August 21, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

Fear over a horse welfare scandal in endurance on the opening day of the World Equestrian Games have come to a head in recent days. A letter setting out the concerns of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) to USEF has been widely shared on social media, while a top French endurance vet has announced he is giving up after 33 years, in protest about the ongoing crisis in the sport. “The unacceptable fact I have had to see since these last years are peanuts comparing with what is coming next,” warns Dr Pierre Romantzoff.

With endurance having its roots in the US, the AERC had hoped Tryon would showcase the classic sport, using a natural, technically demanding trail. However, recent pictures from the venue show a 30ft-50ft wide manicured piste which, while designed to fulfil USDA’s tick-control requirements, will undoubtedly favour the racing style of the Group 7 countries.

AERC members have also taken to social media in recent weeks, aghast that Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan corporation is title sponsor of the ride. At WEG 2014, Meydan stood itself down as sponsor because UAE controversies were at the centre of a media storm.

In his letter, AERC president Paul Latiolais points out the reputational damage to the national sport if there is a “mishap” in front of thousands of public with cameras...

Read more here:

August 16 2018

World's Top Endurance Horse Tests Positivie to Banned Substance

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

August 15, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

The world’s top-ranked endurance horse Shaddad will be unavailable for the UAE’s WEG squad after testing positive to the banned substance testosterone at a UK ride last month.

Shaddad, who is owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s premier MRM barn, was sampled after placing second in a 160km race at Euston Park – the Dubai squad’s summer competition venue – on July 13th.

Shaddad’s 21-year-old rider Saeed Mohd Khalifa Al Mehairi is also provisionally suspended till FEI Tribunal renders its decision, as is the veteran Maktoum barn trainer Ismail Mohammed. The horse is suspended for the standard two months, meaning he must miss Tryon.

Shaddad, a 14-year-old Anglo Arab, was imported by Dubai from France in 2011 and has an incredible record, including a win and a fourth in consecutive years in the gruelling 160km Presidents Cup, Abu Dhabi. He has enjoyed 11 top three placings in his last 18 FEI starts with Al Mehairi and other riders and was a member of the UAE world championship team in 2016.

Al Mehairi participated in the WEG test ride at Tryon with another horse in April...

Read more here:

August 15 2018

World Number One Endurance Horse Tests Positive at British Ride

Grandprix-replay.com - Full Article

Wednesday 15 August - 10h50 | Lulu Kyriacou

An endurance horse, currently ranked number one in the world, has tested positive for a banned substance at Euston Park, the premier British endurance venue.

Shaddad (previously known as QUERSICK NIELLANS) is a 14 year old bay gelding who was competing in the CEI3* 160km ride at Euston Park in Suffolk on July 13th where he finished second and was therefore routinely tested. Ridden by Saeed Mohd Khalifa AL MEHAIRI who has already won on the horse this season at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, over a similar distance, the horse is trained by Ismail Mohd who has had the horse in his charge for several periods since 2015. The rider and trainer are also suspended.

​The combination were likley to be selected for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) team for the coming World Equestrian Games (WEG) after a string of good places at endurance' highest level.

​Ismail Mohd was previously a competitor himself but has been training since 2014 and is responsible for a number of horses according to the FEI database including three recent registration in the UK, apparently specifically to compete at the UK Endurance Festival.

​The dope test fail was for testosterone, considered performance enhancing, and is a major blow for both UAE and Euston Park credibility. The ruling Maktoum family have significant endurance interests and despite concerns over a potential conflict with the FEI after various other doping, welfare and rule breaking scandals within endurance, they are the title sponsors for WEG endurance under their Meydan banner...

Read more here:

August 2 2018

Clean Endurance slams limited welfare progress in Middle East

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | August 2, 2018

This blog might appear to be about a domestic issue this side of the pond, but there are important lessons for all. Please bear with, for there’s essential background reading first.

First, in endurance, mandatory rest periods are applied to horses after a ride, for obvious welfare reasons. The duration relates to the distance, with days added if you’re vetted out.

In 2016, FEI endurance also introduced a “de-merit” system, with penalty points for issues that prove the most problematic. Accumulating 100 points in 12 months means an immediate two-month ban for the rider with no appeal.

Metabolic elimination = 10 penalty points.

Essential invasive treatment by official vet = 25pts

Catastrophic [fatal equine] Injury during ride = 80pts

Competing horse during mandatory rest; failure to present to final vet; incorrect behaviour = 100pts each, plus automatic two-months rider suspension.

So, as you can see, the FEI puts competing a “resting” horse in its tier of most serious rule-breaches.

Secondly, a bit about “Clean Endurance” – a global alliance of folks with a common interest in salvaging their sport from doping, cheating and fatalities. I first encountered them in early 2015, about two years after I began writing about the UAE et al in-depth. I’d discovered the UAE was faking entire rides on an industrial scale. Some of the Clean volunteers helped me unravel how the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) had forged results (and qualifications) of over 500 horses in 13 rides so convincingly that no-one noticed for years.

The FEI’s Equine Community Integrity Unit readily took up our research in its subsequent official investigation, and two senior EEF executives were eventually suspended (though other implicated officials went unpunished).

Since then, Clean Endurance has regularly engaged with FEI HQ in Lausanne, notably flagging up the many anomalies hiding in plain sight on the FEI database; this includes identifying the horses starting in rides they are not qualified for, which still occurs a lot, even on the basis of un-faked results...

Read more here:

April 11 2018

Clean Endurance slams limited welfare progress in Middle East

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

April 11, 2018

Desert endurance racing in the Middle East continues to exact a heavy toll on horses, four years on from what should have been a watershed moment for the sport, according to the group Clean Endurance.

The group says it is dismayed that, four years after the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) set out a blueprint for change, there have been no concrete signs of improvement in the FEI’s Group 7 region, in the Middle East.

The FEI formed the ESPG in 2013 amid growing concerns about horse welfare, doping and rule-breaking. Delegates included representatives from Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the European Equestrian Federation, the FEI Endurance Committee and FEI headquarters.

All had agreed, according to Clean Endurance, that, globally, all efforts had to be made to reduce the numbers of horses testing positive for prohibited substances and suffering injuries.

On November 6 that year, ESPG chairman Andrew Finding opened his presentation to the FEI General Assembly session on Endurance in Montreux, Switzerland, with the words: “President, ladies, gentlemen, friends: we have a serious problem to resolve for Endurance sport and thus for all equestrian sport. We may not like the nature of the media coverage, we may feel that it is not all correct, but we cannot deny the fact that the levels of doping and the incidence of catastrophic injury to horses are unacceptable.”

The ESPG, after months of consultation, presented 41 recommendations to the FEI Sports Forum in April 2014.

“The ESPG’s clear-cut approach gave campaigners cautious hope,” Clean Endurance said.

Four years later, Clean Endurance has revisited the recommendations. It believes that half of them were never adopted. Others, it says, have been only partially executed so far.

“In some respects, the situation has worsened in the desert rides since 2014,” it says...

Read more at https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2018/04/11/clean-endurance-limited-welfare-progress-middle-east/#fafcxTFuGmjTBj1k.99

March 27 2018

The Foolproof Way to Reduce Doping Violations: Stop Testing!

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 26, 2018

The endurance “round table” at the 2012 FEI sports forum was the first time stakeholders started to openly shame the desert sport.

The evening before I was introduced to the UAE delegate Dr Hallvard Sommerseth. Perhaps anticipating the next day’s debate, he told me the only reason the UAE recorded far more doping violations than anyone else was because the UAE had far more horses and did far more sampling than anyone else.

While this had a simple logic, I am always sceptical when people justify their position to someone they’ve only just met. That is sometimes a good instinct; three years later the FEI suspended Dr Sommerseth for faking ride results on an industrial scale.

Dr S might, of course, have given me 100% bona fide information about the UAE’s anti-doping measures in 2012, though I wouldn’t have been able to check it out independently; back then the FEI only divulged anti-doping returns from competitions staged in Europe.

In 2012, though, you could at least get a snapshot of Dubai’s attitude to doping from a decade’s worth of sampling returns from Euston Park, Sheikh Mohammed’s satellite venue in the UK. Sampling was undertaken at just 11 (40.7%) of Euston’s 27 FEI fixtures, and the only time horses ridden by Sheikh Mohammed himself were sampled there was the 2012 world championship – compulsory testing because it was a FEI medal ride and he won it...

Read more here:

February 24 2018

Just When You Thought Desert Endurance Couldn't Sink Any Lower…

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 23, 2018

While the world obsessed about alleged abusive riding by Shelley Browning in the US and Bernhard Maier in Austria, a proven horse abuse case was quietly adjudicated by the FEI last week.

The incriminating video wasn’t circulated on social media. But an account of the sustained whipping of endurance horse Happy Jack appeared last week, in the FEI Tribunal decision to suspend the rider for three months.

FEI endurance rules expressly disallow spurs or carrying anything that could be used as a whip. Thus striking an endurance horse AT ALL is abuse. This interpretation was thoroughly tested by Tribunal in 2014 in the first-ever protest by members of the public against abuse on the field of play – lodged by me and colleague Lucy Higginson.

In that disgraceful episode from a 120km ride at Sakhir, Bahrain on February 8, 2014, grooms leapt from the accompanying vehicle and ran onto the field of play, one of them whacking the tiring leader Tarabic Carl with a hand-held instrument. I asked for the FEI’s integrity people to enhance the images in order to identify the gadget, but recall being fobbed off, to the effect that fantasy procedures you see on NCIS can’t be done in real life. Hmm...

Read more here:

Tenth Endurance Horse Listed Dead in UAE Winter Season

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

February 23, 2018 |
by: Pippa Cuckson

The number of horses officially listed as dead in the current UAE winter endurance season rose to 10 today (February 23rd).

Australian-bred nine-year-old Amihh PP sustained a fatal injury in the second loop of a national ladies race at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, after leading the first loop with an average speed of 30.2 kph. He was ridden by Natasha Zakaria, 29, of Jordan, who last week was eliminated from a FEI ride at Boudhieb for “not conforming to many rules” with another horse.

The fatal race was quite a step up in pace for Amihh PP, bought by Nad al Sheba Stables in 2015. He was last ridden in the 120km CEN Jumeirah Endurance Cup in December where he retired at gate one. He also completed a CEI 80km on the October 30, 2017, also under Zakaria, at an average speed of 17.3kph...

Read more here:

February 12 2018

Five Borrowed Horses Fail Dope Tests in UAE Endurance

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

February 12, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

Five endurance horses loaned to foreign nationals for rides in the UAE this winter have failed dope tests, with half the 2017-2018 desert season still to go.

According to listings recently updated by the FEI, there have been more three more positive findings since the two both involving Argentine visitor Daiana Chopita in December.

Uruguay’s Jonatan Rivera Iriarte, 34, is now provisionally suspended pending a FEI disciplinary hearing, after the borrowed HV Chairu tested positive to the banned substance Diisopropylamine and the controlled/specified substance Hydroxyxylazine, a sedative, when placing third in the Al Reef Cup on January 13th. Rivera Iriarte is a hugely experienced competitor who represented Uruguay at the 2016 world championships, where he finished in the leading group but was vetted out, and the 2017 Pan Am Games. He was having only his second FEI ride on the 11-year-old HV Chairu, trained by Al Reef Stables. Diisopropylamine is a Vasodilator used in the treatment of peripheral and cerebral vascular disorders.

US rider Azul Caronia, 21, paid the “fast-track” administrative sanctions fine of 1500 Swiss francs and accepted disqualification after her ride, Argentine-owned HCE Burbello SU, tested positive to the synthetic corticosteroid Triamcinolone Acetonide at the Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum Cup CEI3* 160km on January 6th...

Read more here:

February 11 2018

UAE: An 8 Minute Read

Facebook.com - Full Article


This little mare, named 8 Minute won the President Cup CEI 160 km 3* yesterday, the 10th February 2018. But many people feel she should not have been allowed to participate in the ride at all.

8 Minute was first over the line at the FEI World Championships for Young Riders and Juniors held in Italy on the 23rd September 2017. Photos circulated, showing blood flowing down the front legs of the little mare after having completed the last loop at 33.6 km/h (just under 21mph). There was a social media storm, and the photos were removed, only to reappear with the blood mysteriously gone.

8 Minute was dope tested and the results came back to show she was positive for Nandrolone, Stanozolol and 5AESTRANE-3B,17A-DIOL (Banned Substances). She was given the standard 2-month suspension. Her rider Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (UAE) and trainer, Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (UAE) were also suspended...

Read more here:

US endurance body to consider withholding approval to compete in Middle East

February 8, 2018

A director of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) wants the organisation to refuse to approve any riders seeking to compete in endurance in the Middle East for two years, with the exception of the Boudheib venue, where “house” rules have proved effective at maintaining horse welfare.

A lengthy resolution, proposed by AERC director Paul Sidio, is to be considered by the organisation’s board of directors during its telephone conference call on February 12.

A copy of the resolution is laid out in the draft agenda...

Read more at https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2018/02/08/us-endurance-body-middle-east/#pfoyUyCzoIRPEBFk.99

January 17 2018

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

January 17 2018

Will Connell, Director of Sport at USEF (United States Equestrian Federation), has penned a response to AERC's Letter of Concern regarding the ongoing endurance horse crisis and abuse in the some Group VII countries, namely the UAE.

While Abu Dhabi's Boudthieb Initiative has taken the lead on horse welfare, statistics venues at Dubai and Al Wathba still produce routine drug violations and catastrophic injuries in endurance races, and it is this ongoing situation that the AERC addresses with its proposals to promote endurance horse safety and welfare. You can read the AERC letter here:

Will Connell's response letter is as follows:

15th January 2018

Mr Paul Latiolais
American Endurance Ride Conference

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your letter dated 29th December 2017. As I indicated in my email, I apologize for the delay in responding but I wanted to clarify a number of the points you raised with the FEI. I have now had a very useful call with the FEI and they were able to provide the detail I requested and a valuable insight in to how the UAE Equestrian Federation is approaching the governance of Endurance in their country, which is where regrettably recent fatalities have taken place, with five reported at National and two in FEI Events.

Of course these are unacceptable, a sentiment shared by all parties, and we agree that fatalities damage the reputation of equestrian sport in general and endurance in particular. Whilst there are not yet statistics in the public domain that analyze the impact of the procedures put in place by the FEI and the UAE during 2017 the reports are that there has been a very positive change in attitude and far more effective communication and the sharing of information with the FEI. There has also been the introduction of training and education courses for officials, grooms, trainers and athletes in UAE. I know the FEI will be monitoring these changes and the impact they have. In March 2015 the FEI suspended the UAE National Federation, demonstrating that the FEI will take severe measures if needs must. The US Equestrian Federation has full confidence in the leadership of the FEI and supports the steps they have taken to address horse welfare in Group VII. However, US Equestrian will continue to require that at the appropriate time the FEI backs up progress reports with analytical facts.

Like the AERC, US Equestrian applauds the steps taken by HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan through the Bouthieb Initiative. These initiatives will contribute to the sustainability of the sport of Endurance and we would support the FEI in promoting these initiatives throughout Endurance.

Having discussed the subject with the FEI, it is clear that the UAE Federation recognises its responsibilities in managing and governing a sport that is growing annually in terms of numbers of athletes, horses and events. They are also aware that the increasing numbers of starters can result in increased number of injuries. Of course what we must all focus on is ensuring that the percentage of injuries versus starters is reduced and dramatically reduced when it comes to catastrophic injuries.

The UAE Federation has taken strong action to minimise injuries and fatalities at its national events, and introduced increased sanctions in February 2017, in the form of fines, penalty points and suspensions for:

* Catastrophic Injuries and metabolic issues (for both athlete and trainer) 

* Non-compliance with mandatory rest periods 

* Breaches of equipment and weight regulations 

* Unauthorised substitution of athlete or horse 

* Unauthorised veterinary treatment

Information on the Rule changes can be found at; 
http://emiratesequestrian.com/Content/Files/Endurance/Circular/2017/AmendmenttotheUAE EnduranceNationalRules-SanctionsWithEffectivefrom19-2-2017%D8%B4%D8%B4.pdf

My understanding is that the UAE Federation is the only National Federation (NF) that imposes additional sanctions on athletes and trainers linked to eliminations and minimum rest period offences. The UAE NF also supplies the FEI with all results and information on its National rides, including details on injuries and fatalities, and is the only NF to do so. Sadly, there have been a number of fatalities this season, including two at international rides, and the FEI has assured USEF that they continue to work closely with the UAE Federation to ensure that both FEI and national rules protecting horse welfare are adhered to.

Where it is felt the UAE Federation could be more effective is in communicating what sanctions have been applied at a National level and also the extent of the testing they are carrying out at National level. US Equestrian has requested that the FEI request of the UAE that this information is published. The FEI have agreed to make this request. 

The Emirates also recently (December 2017) held its first meeting of the Emirates Equestrian and Racing Federation (UREEF) Disciplinary Committee. As with the increased sanctions and their implementation, it will be the actions of the Committee that will cause change and they should be judged by those actions but the Head of UREEF, Major General Dr. Ahmed Nassar Al- Rissi was clear that their focus is to ensure a clean sport and to protect horses from abuse.

The second part of your letter proposes some Rule changes. US Equestrian completely supports the proposal to remove or significantly decrease the speed requirement linked to the Certificate of Capability. We have lobbied the FEI on this and will continue to do so. We agree that there is a welfare issue but also we are very concerned that the speed requirement is impacting on Events that have traditionally been run over terrain where the required speed would be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

The balance between “winning and finishing” is an interesting proposal. Requiring athletes and or horses to maintain a completion rate of above 66.6% could encourage athletes to continue in a competition when the “right” thing to do would be to retire and save their horse for another day. There are, within FEI Rules (Article 815), sanctions for athletes that are eliminated and also mandatory rest periods for horses; I am sure you are familiar with these. In discussions with the FEI I have asked that the FEI’s Endurance Technical Committee consider how athletes that do maintain a high finishing percentage could be recognized. We would welcome suggestions from AERC as to how US Equestrian and AERC could work together to recognize U.S. athletes and horses that achieve sustained completions.

Under existing FEI Rules, Trainers can and have been suspended for Clean Sport violations. The AERC’s proposal that when Trainers are suspended they be suspended from training “any of the horses listed under them” makes perfect sense. Our understanding, following discussions with the FEI, is that the principle applied (this is of course flexible and each case would be looked at on its merits) by the FEI is that Trainers are sanctioned, including suspensions, when there are two or more doping violations recorded against them. Suspensions of course mean they cannot train any horse at any FEI Event.

We agree with AERC (and the wider Endurance community) that Trainers must be held responsible for their actions and we will continue to be proactive in pushing for this. For example, US Equestrian successfully lobbied for an FEI Rule change that was approved by the 2017 General Assembly that states that the Trainer as well as the athlete receives 100 penalty points if the Horse is not brought to the Final Horse Inspection. Recent media reports, following the publication of positive test results, have again emphasized the need for Trainers to understand that if they do not follow the Rules they will be sanctioned.

The need for Trainer education and Trainer sanctions (when applicable) will again be emphasized by USEF to the FEI.

There is a necessary rule change process that, as an NF, we need to follow with the FEI. We welcome suggestions and proposals which we channel through our Endurance Sport Committee to the FEI. As you will be well aware, the Rule changes are discussed by the FEI Endurance Technical Committee, presented to NFs for comment and then voted on at the FEI’s annual General Assembly.

We join the AERC in looking forward to a wonderful World Equestrian Games in September, which celebrates and promotes the rich tradition of Endurance that exists in the U.S. WEG is of course run by the Organizing Committee in partnership with the FEI. The USEF is a co-signatory to the Hosting Agreement and supports the Organizing Committee and the FEI where possible and when permitted (i.e. we cannot gain a competitive advantage over other Nations). We are very pleased that a number of U.S. officials have been appointed to officiate at the WEG Endurance competition and are certain that they will maintain the high standards that collectively we expect of Endurance competitions in the U.S.

In closing, we would like to work with the President of the AERC, the FEI and HH Sheik Sultan to try to facilitate a visit by the President of AERC to Bouthieb and an Endurance event in the UAE (maybe the President’s Cup). We hope that this would allow AERC to better understand, first hand, what progress is being made.

Kind regards

Will Connell
Director of Sport
Office 8592257682

You can see the original letter here:

January 16 2018

Endurance GB sets out commitment to welfare

January 16 2018

Endurance GB, the National Governing Body for the sport of Endurance Riding, has set out its agenda for 2018 which defines its commitment to the positive promotion of the sport, in particular ensuring horse welfare.

Under the new elected Chair of Endurance GB, Nicki Thorne, the organisation has detailed its plans to lead from the front to change attitudes in regard to welfare. Endurance GB is introducing a number of initiatives to address these changes proactively, and has called on the FEI for dialogue on this vision and values which has been received positively.

Included in the strategy is Endurance GB’s plans to continue developing initiatives such as the Leading Rider Award and the Best Condition Award with ride organisers. This includes HPG Endurance Ltd, organisers of the Euston Park rides where HPG Endurance Ltd and Endurance GB are working closely together to implement a number of additional measures in 2018 including increased on course veterinary presence and other innovations agreed with the FEI.

Central to implementing change within the sport is to ensure that Endurance GB members uphold its values on horse welfare, which has led to the development of ‘British values for British riders’ which will provide a foundation of agreement between British riders abroad and Endurance GB, to ensure standards and welfare meet requirements at all times.

Endurance GB will also continue to conduct regular research with its own national database to further their training and development plans, which will be furthered with the recent appointment of Dr David Marlin, a Scientific and Equine Consultant.

Nicki Thorne, Chair of Endurance GB, said: “Welfare is at the heart of our sport and a fundamental pillar for all of our activities. Safeguarding the future of Endurance in this country is pivotal for all of us and we hold horse welfare in the highest regard. We are justly proud of our excellent welfare record within the UK and we wish to reiterate Endurance GB’s firm commitment as a leader in welfare practices, with research, innovation and development driven from the UK.”

New for 2018, Endurance GB will be hosting a series of Horse Welfare seminars, kicking off in February 2018 with a talk on Welfare of the Competing Horse from Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare, and a presentation from Prof. Tim Parkin from Glasgow University. For more information visit endurancegb.co.uk.

For more information contact GUNG HO Communications on 0121 6046366
Paul Phedon Paul@gunghoco.com
Pippa Routledge Pippa@gunghoco.com

January 12 2018

FEI provisionally suspends five riders after horses test positive for banned substances

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

By Liam Morgan Friday, 12 January 2018

Five riders have been provisionally suspended by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) after their respective horses tested positive for banned substances.

The Indian trio of Sarvesh Singh Pal, Apurva Dabhade and Raj Kumar, along with Argentina's Daiana Chopita and Waad Nadim Bou Moghlbay of the United Arab Emirates, have all been given provisional bans by the worldwide governing body.

Chopita has been sanctioned for two separate breaches of the FEI's anti-doping rules.

A sample provided by Chopita's horse J C Cahuel returned a positive test for trometamol at an endurance competition in Abu Dhabi on November 9.

Another horse ridden by Chopita, HLP Gadafi, tested positive for the substance at an event in the same city the following month, held on December 23.

Moghlbay's horse, JLB Noche, also failed for trometamol in Abu Dhabi...

Read more here:

Catch Rider's UAE Trip Ends in Double Dope Test Shock

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

January 12, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

The risks of accepting “catch rides” in Middle Eastern endurance was highlighted again this week by revelations that two of the horses lent to Argentina’s Daiana Chopita during her first winter season in Abu Dhabi turned out to be doped.

Borrowed rides JC Cahuel and HLP Gadafi tested positive to banned diuretic Trometamol after both placing third under Chopita in their respective FEI rides on December 9th and December 23rd. The two race rides, both at Abu Dhabi’s premier venue Al Wathba, were only Chopita’s second and third ever CEI starts in the UAE. She had ridden neither horse in FEI competition before.

The 23-year-old is now provisionally suspended, pending a FEI Tribunal hearing. Two other top placed horses in the same rides ridden by Emirati jockeys also tested positive – JLB Noche to Trometamol and Crazy Antar to controlled and specified substances Theophylline, Caffeine and Paraxanthine...

Read more here:

January 9 2018

US calls for action on continued deaths at endurance events

WeeklyTimesNow.com.au - Full Article

FRAN CLELAND, The Weekly Times
January 9, 2018 5:00am

THE US Equestrian Federation has protested what it says is the continued abuse of horses owned by endurance stables in Group VII nations after more deaths in competitions.

In a strongly worded letter to the Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI), the official sporting body said sanctions and rule changes were not having sufficient effect after more than eight equine fatalities at the Dubai and Al Wathba venues in the first five weeks of this season due to catastrophic injury. They follow a dozen similar deaths at these same venues the previous seasons...

Read more here:

January 3 2018

AERC letter of concern to USEF Regarding UAE

January 3 2018

AERC President M Paul Latiolais has written a letter on behalf of the AERC board and members to Will Connell, USEF director of sport programs, regarding the continued abuse of horses in some Group VII competitions. You are invited to read and send your own letters to Mr. Connell at the address on the letter below.

December 29, 2017

Mr. Will Connell, Director of Sport Programs

United States Equestrian Federation

P.O. Box 83, Gladstone, NJ 07934-2053

Dear Mr. Connell,

I am writing on behalf of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) members and Board of Directors to request that the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) register to the Federation Equestrian Internationale our disappointment, outrage and protest at the continued abuse of horses owned by certain stables in Group VII nations.

Social media around the world has circulated details of more than eight equine fatalities at the Dubai and Al Wathba venues sustained in just the first five weeks this season, each due to Catastrophic Injury. A dozen similar deaths occurred at these same two venues the previous seasons.

These catastrophic injuries and obvious lack of concern of the violating parties is now a very serious liability not only for the sport of endurance, but for all equestrian sports worldwide. Various animal rights groups are getting stronger every year, and these deaths are adding fuel to their fire. If the FEI is not implementing drastic measures now to curtail these disasters occurring in Group VII, the equestrian sports worldwide will be jeopardized. Even the Olympic Equestrian Disciplines won’t get spared from the backlash these irresponsible actions of some in Group VII are exposing all of us to. We are concerned that the sanctions imposed by the FEI and the recent FEI rule changes are not having sufficient effect on the issues at hand. We are deeply troubled that the risk of leg fractures at Group VII endurance events is similar to that documented in flat-track racing. That being said, we see a bright light in the Bouthieb Initiative set out by Sheik Sultan. This format is showing promise with a definite decrease in the number of fatalities at this venue.

We would like to propose some changes that we feel would help promote horse welfare for the sport of endurance.

• The requirement of the “set speed” Certificate of Capability (COC) needs to be abandoned. Unfortunately, the current format for the COC has forced organizing committees worldwide to create faster, flatter courses to make it easier for horses and riders to qualify. This has promoted faster and faster winning times and ultimately has caused horse welfare issues. We feel that the COC is outdated and unnecessary.

• There should be a balance between winning and finishing endurance events. We suggest that both horses and riders need to maintain a 66.6% completion rate (finish two out of three attempts).

• There should be an increase in the number of events that horses and riders need to complete before they are allowed to promote to the next level. Horses and riders would need to complete three 1* events prior to being allowed to compete in a 2*, complete two 2* events prior to being allowed to compete in a 3*, and complete two 3* events prior to being allowed to compete in a 4* event. The 66.6% completion rate needs to extend through these additional requirements.

• If a horse or rider falls below the 66.6%, they would have 24 months to raise their “score” or they would lose the level that they are qualified for.

• When a rider is suspended, especially for a drug violation, the trainer should also receive a suspension – a suspension that would not allow them to train any of the horses listed under them for the period of the suspension.

As the recognized endurance affiliate in the U.S., the AERC not only asks USEF representatives to register our ongoing concerns with the FEI, but join with the AERC in celebrating sustained equine performance and multi-year completion records as well as individual victories. By bestowing such awards such as the AERC’s Decade Team Award (based on equine and rider teams who have completed at least one 50-mile endurance ride or more each year for 10 years), USEF can help demonstrate that long-term health and active careers for competition horses is attainable, regardless of the specific sport.

With USEF’s support, we believe it is possible for the 2018 WEG to not only remain fatality free, but also be remembered as a celebration of the horse-human bond.

We would greatly appreciate USEF’s support in joining us and forwarding our concerns about the issues we are unfortunately still seeing in Group VII. With the 2018 WEG being on U.S. soil, we hope that we will all be able to remember it as a celebration of the horse-human bond, not as something that will taint all of equestrian sport.


Paul Latiolais, President
American Endurance Ride Conference

January 6 2018

Desert Endurance Could Jeopardize All Equestrian Sport, Says AERC

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

January 5, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

Fears that a welfare scandal at the 2018 Tryon World Equestrian Games will taint all equestrian sport are highlighted in a strong letter to the US Equestrian Federation from the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC.)

AERC president Paul Latiolais cited his members’ “outrage and protest” about the continued abuse of horses in the FEI Group VII (Middle East) and hinted this could soon attract the attention of the animal rights lobby.

The letter was posted in full on AERC’s Facebook page in the wake of the current desert racing season’s attrition rate, and the UAE’s failure to acknowledge measures repeatedly put in place since 2013 to clean up sport in their region...

Read more here: