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

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 Plan
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


Home
ALL NEWS ARCHIVE - REALLY - 9 YEARS OF IT!!!

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


All News Archive


2021

January 21 2021

Endurance: Pointless to Strengthen FEI Rules if Loophole isn’t Closed


2020

December 21 2020

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decisions in equine and human anti-doping cases


November 28 2020

UAE equestrian body welcomes the shortening of its Endurance suspension


November 26 2020

The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturns suspension imposed by the FEI Board on UAEERF


November 19 2020

Court rules on UAE federation’s suspension from horse sport


November 18 2020

CAS upholds suspension of UAE National Federation until end 2020


October 13 2020

UAE equestrian body intends to appeal its suspension from the FEI UAE equestrian body intends to appeal its suspension from the FEI


October 10 2020

FEI Braced for Multiple Appeals After Suspending UAE


October 5 2020

Will the UAE’s Suspension Trigger an Endurance Breakaway?


October 3 2020

FEI spells out what UAE suspension means to riders, officials and event organizers


September 28 2020

Endurance GB statement following suspension of UAE National Federation


September 28 2020

FEI suspends UAE National Federation for Rules violations


September 25 2020

FEI Suspends UAE National Federation for Rules Violations


September 25 2020

FEI Suspends UAE National Federation For Rules Violations


September 25 2020

Equestrian-UAE suspended from all international competition


September 25 2020

Equestrian- UAE suspended from all international competition


September 25 2020

UAE suspended from equestrian competitions for breaking rules


September 25 2020

Equestrian- UAE suspended from all international competition


August 17 2020

Endurance Report – No Rides, But Still Bad News Days


July 1 2020

CAS rules on appeal against horse abuse sanctions


June 27 2020

Clean Endurance welcomes Court of Arbitration for Sport decision on appeal by Mr al Ghailani (UAE) in horse abuse case


June 20 2020

FEI Tribunal hands down record sanction in horse abuse case


May 7 2020

Tales of the Unexpected in Doping Proposals for 2021


April 22 2020

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decisions, 7 in Endurance


March 28 2020

FEI warns Endurance officials for failing in their duty


March 23 2020

Clean Endurance welcomes FEI Tribunal decision that jabbing with a severe bit is abuse


February 11 2020

Riders at UAE President’s Cup Emirates Reminded Not to Abuse Horses


February 6 2020

Clean Endurance witnesses continued disrespect for FEI Endurance Rules at Al Ula (KSA) CEI 2*


January 11 2020

UAE 2020 Endurance: Business as Usual in the Killing Fields


January 3 2020

‘Shock and sadness’ after four horses sustain catastrophic injuries abroad


January 2 2020

Dutch equestrian body airs UAE endurance concerns


January 2 2020

Endurance GB issues statement on catastrophic injuries at UAE ride and underlines rules on British riders competing abroad


January 1 2020

Four Horses Suffer Catastrophic Injuries in Dubai CEN Endurance Races Over the Weekend


2019

December 20 2019

Record Fines for Endurance Riders on Doped Borrowed Horses


December 20 2019

UAE: Endurance Rider Suspended for Kicking Horse ‘27 times’ at the Finish


December 18 2019

FEI Tribunal sanctions rider in new Abuse Protest lodged by Clean Endurance


December 18 2019

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decisions, 4 of 5 involving Endurance


November 22 2019

FEI Votes for Changes Affecting Safety, Welfare


November 22 2019

FEI Drops High Profile (UAE) Steroids Case After Two-Year Legal Wrangle


November 20 2019

National delegates give green light to revamped Endurance rules


November 19 2019

Clean Endurance hopeful for real change as National Federations approve 2020 FEI Endurance Rules


November 19 2019

FEI General Assembly delegates focus on change at the dedicated Rules sessions


November 19 2019

Endurance: No Gain Without Pain, But Who Will Make the Sacrifice?


November 13 2019

UAE: Fine, suspension for Endurance rider over positive drugs test in horse


November 10 2019

Survival of Endurance rests on crucial vote, says advocacy group


November 5 2019

Clean Endurance urges National Federations to approve 2020 FEI Endurance Rules


October 25 2019

Final version of Endurance rules set to go to FEI General Assembly


September 6 2019

Great Britain, Talking Horses: BHA must respond over trainer's doping suspension


September 4 2019

Maktoum Family Endurance Horse Trainer Banned for Steroids Offence


September 3 2019

Fines, bans imposed over testosterone level in Endurance horse in Britain


August 20 2019

Outcry over death of horse at British endurance ride


July 3 2019

Endurance Officials Criticized as Tribunal Bans Three Riders for Abuse


July 2 2019

Clean Endurance commends the FEI Tribunal’s sanctions for horse abuse


May 23 2019

It’s Time for Equestrians to Get Clearer Rules About Rules


April 20 2019

Endurance advocacy group welcomes reform proposals for discipline


April 10 2019

The Heart(rate) Of The Matter: Endurance Committee Proposes Significant Changes At FEI Sports Forum


April 18 2019

New Mind-Set at the Heart of Latest Endurance Reforms


April 18 2019

Clean Endurance welcomes FEI Endurance Temporary Committee’s suggestions for reshaping Endurance


April 17 2019

Proposed Endurance reforms tackle cheating, reward good horsemanship


April 16 2019

Major reforms around officials, training proposed by Endurance committee


April 16 2019

FEI Session 7: Improvements and innovations to reshape Endurance


April 11 2019

FEI Seeks New Powers Over Suspensions and Yellow Cards


April 10 2019

Weed Out Weak Officials, If Endurance is to Have a Chance


April 4 2019

FEI Responds to Endurance Tack Abuse Photos


April 2 2019

No Tack Monitoring in Endurance Raises Welfare Concerns


March 20 2019

Drugs breach: Asking if a horse is “fine” is not enough, says tribunal


March 9 2019

It's Time to Wind Endurance Back to Zero


March 8 2019

Finding of horse abuse in Dubai endurance race: Fine and suspension imposed


March 8 2019

Dubai: Endurance Rider Suspended for Striking Horse with Slosh Bottle


February 24 2019

Radical changes may be needed to protect Endurance horses, committee told


February 13 2019

First Trainers Automatically Suspended Under New Anti-Doping Rule


January 18 2019

Major American Endurance body votes to cut ties with US Equestrian Federation


January 16 2019

Endurance Temporary Committee looks to trial lower heart rates



Endurance Temporary Committee continues work at second in-person meeting


January 9 2019

FEI uses emergency powers to improve care of seriously injured endurance horses


January 18 2019

Major American Endurance body votes to cut ties with US Equestrian Federation


January 16 2019

Endurance Temporary Committee looks to trial lower heart rates



Endurance Temporary Committee continues work at second in-person meeting


January 9 2019

FEI uses emergency powers to improve care of seriously injured endurance horses



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

FAKERY REVISITED: HOW SHEIKHS’ MATES REMAIN IMMUNE FROM THE RULES


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:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/CleanEnduranceAtoZCheatSheet_25_08_2018.pdf


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:
https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2018/08/26/grooms-error-endurance-horse-drug-tribunal/


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:
https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2018/08/25/endurance-horse-cocktail-controlled-medications/


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:

https://www.change.org/p/connie-caudill-fei-horse-welfare-reform-global-petition?signed=true

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:
https://horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/permanent-scar-sport/


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:
2018AERCLettertoWillConnellReWEG.jpg


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:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/fear-endurance-scandal-weg/


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:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/top-endurance-horse-tests-positive/


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:
http://www.grandprix-replay.com/uk/article/5665/world-number-one-endurance-horse-tests-positive-at-british-ride


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:
https://horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/shooting-messenger-setback-fair-play/


April 11 2018

Clean Endurance slams limited welfare progress in Middle East

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

April 11, 2018
Horsetalk.co.nz

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:
https://horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/foolproof-way-reduce-doping-violations-stop-testing/


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:
https://horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/just-thought-desert-endurance-couldnt-sink-lower/

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:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/tenth-endurance-horse-listed-dead-uae-winter-season/


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:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/borrowed-horses-dope-tests-uae-endurance/


February 11 2018

UAE: An 8 Minute Read

Facebook.com - Full Article

MAZTALKS FRENCH · SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2018

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:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/maztalks-french/an-8-minute-read/930802927075239/


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

February 8, 2018
Horsetalk.co.nz

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:
http://tracks.endurance.net/2018/01/aerc-letter-of-concern-to-usef.html

Will Connell's response letter is as follows:

15th January 2018

Mr Paul Latiolais
President
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:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/USEF_Response_to_AERC_Jan18.2018.pdf


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:
https://www.insidethegames.biz/index.php/articles/1060054/fei-provisionally-suspends-five-riders-after-horses-test-positive-for-banned-substances

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:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/catch-rider-uae-double-dope-test/


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:
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/sport/horses/us-calls-for-action-on-continued-deaths-at-endurance-events/news-story/44d4c932890757737f720b23deb1dc82


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
WConnell@usef.org

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.

Sincerely,

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:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/desert-endurance-jeopardize-equestrian-sport/


December 23 2017

Endurance deaths remain a stain on the sport

Horsetalk.co.uz - Full Article

December 23, 2017
Neil Clarkson

Any equestrian discipline must surely confront a simple and unappetizing truth when three horses perish in one contest, as happened in Dubai recently in a national 100km Endurance ride.

Clearly, the measures in place to safeguard the horses are not working.

Sadly, yet again, it is Endurance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sitting squarely in the spotlight.

There is a terrible sense of dread and inevitability with every shattering leg in the desert form of the sport of endurance.

Based on disclosures in the last week of worrying numbers of deaths, even the most impartial of observers would likely agree that the FEI has failed to get on top of the problem.

Research by the group Clean Endurance, whose volunteers have been poring through the FEI Database, has cast light on a series of deaths which had not initially been coded in the results as Catastrophic Injuries (CIs).

It is a poor look for equestrian sport, and the numbers publicized by the group would indicate this ranks as a major failure for the world governing body...

Read more at https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2017/12/23/endurance-deaths-stain-sport/#QsEkPd3TWzcw2Obc.99


December 19 2017

FEI Aims for More Transparency Over Endurance Horse Deaths

Horse-Canada.com - Full Article

December 18, 2017
by: Pippa Cuckson

The Emirates Equestrian Federation revised a number of historic endurance ride results on its website over the weekend, amid revelations that numerous fatal injuries on the field of play had to date been ‘airbrushed’ out of official ride results. In response, the FEI has announced a new procedure for its veterinary department to follow-up “unreported” endurance horse deaths.

The CI (Catastrophic Injury) results code was introduced in 2014 to improve transparency over the incidence of ride fatalities. But since then at least 26 horses who died during or hours after a ride have not been declared CI, according to volunteer researchers from the Clean Endurance community.

Clean Endurance compared dates of death later logged with the FEI registrations database with the date of the horses’ last CEI or CEN start. All were the exact same day. Yet on ride results sheets the 26 horses are noted either FTC (Failed to Complete) or eliminated without giving a reason. Between 2009 and 2013, over 50 further “hidden” deaths have been identified so far.

A Clean Endurance spokesman told Horse-Canada.com: “We think many more deaths are yet to be discovered. We have not made a clean-sweep of the whole FEI database. So far we have followed up FTCs that looked suspicious, or checked what happened to horses whose condition worried us when we saw them on the livestream...”

Read more here:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/fei-transparency-endurance-horse-deaths/


December 14 2017

FEI Issues Decision in Endurance Prohibited Substance Cases

FEI.org

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decision on Prohibited Substance Cases

12 Dec 2017

The FEI Tribunal has issued its Final Decisions on Prohibited Substances cases involving seven Endurance athletes, three trainers and nine horses from three different stables competing in Endurance events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai between 26 November 2016 and 14 January 2017.

Provisional Suspensions were imposed in January following positive findings in eight of the horses of the Controlled Medications Caffeine, Theobromine, Theophylline and *Paraxanthine - which at the time of the finding was a Banned Substance - and with the ninth sample also containing Flumetasone.

Since the proceedings were opened, the FEI Equine Prohibited List has been amended in order to downgrade Paraxanthine (the main metabolite of Caffeine) to a Controlled Medication and it has also been reclassified as a *Specified Substance, effective 1 January 2018.

The Tribunal has therefore agreed to the lift the Provisional Suspensions further to a request from the FEI given the reclassification of Paraxanthine.

“The FEI accepts that the circumstances of the cases to be exceptional on the basis that the Banned Substance Paraxanthine will be considered to be only a Controlled Medication rule violation in 2018,” explained Mikael Rentsch, FEI Legal Director.

The FEI Tribunal imposed two month suspensions on the athletes and trainers from 30 January with an exceptional six month suspension for the case involving Flumetasone, with fines of 1,500 CHF and contributions of 1,000 CHF towards legal costs per individual.

Details on these cases can be found here.

Prohibited substance case under FEI anti-doping rules

The FEI has also announced an adverse analytical finding involving Prohibited Substances.

The case involves the use of Nandrolone, its metabolite 5A-Estrane-3B 17A-Diol, and Stanozolol, which are *Banned Substances under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs):

Horse: 8 Minute (FEI ID 104BW22/UAE)
Person Responsible: Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (FEI ID 10093885/UAE)
Event: CH-M-YJ-E 120 - Valeggio sul Mincio (ITA) 23.09.2017

The athlete has been provisionally suspended from the date of notification (28 November 2017) until the FEI Tribunal renders a decision. The horse has been provisionally suspended for two months.

Details on this case can be found here.


December 5 2017

UAE: 18-year-old Rider at the Centre of Endurance Steroids Case

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

December 5, 2017
by: Pippa Cuckson

The horse at the centre of a blood controversy during the world young riders’ endurance championships in September, called 8 Minute, has now tested positive to three banned steroids.

The 18-year-old rider of 8 Minute, UAE team member Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri, faces a FEI Tribunal hearing to explain how stanozolol and two other steroids that have not previously featured in an FEI doping case – Nandrolone and 5A Estrane-3B,17A-DIOL – came to be in his horse.

This is the first time there has been a doping case involving banned substances at a FEI under-21s championship. It represents a major setback for the FEI’s education programme for endurance in the Middle East.

A second horse has also failed a dope test at the same medal event in Valeggio sul Muncio, Italy. Bahrain team member Poly de Coat Frity, ridden by Fahad Helal Mohamed Al Khatri, tested positive to the controlled anti-inflammatory Harpagoside.

Al Jahouri had already caused controversy as the first through the finish line in the 120km race.

Pictures showed what appeared to be blood tickling down the front of both of 8 Minute’s front hooves from the coronet band. After a social media storm, the original post of these images disappeared and was replaced with an identical shot but the hooves now clean...

Read more here:
https://horse-canada.com/horse-news/18-year-old-rider-endurance-steroids/


December 1 2017

FEI: New Endurance Rules Lost in Translation

Horse-Canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | December 1, 2017

British people, certainly my generation, can be very lazy about other languages. Much of the world has English as its first or second tongue, so we think we don’t have to bother. I was taught French in a very academic way in the 1970s, equipping me read Sartre without having to consult a dictionary too much, but not confident enough to chat for hours with an actual person.

I lost my nerve on a trip to Berlin years ago, when trying to give directions to a fellow tourist. After establishing we had a smattering of French in common I proudly escorted him to a watch shop a couple of blocks away. But he wasn’t saying he wanted a horlogerie. He was trying to find the Hard Rock Café.

Clumsy misunderstandings are not always a cause for levity. I have often felt that rules for horse sport drafted in English by someone who is not a native English speaker and then debated by people for whom English is also only a second or third language is a major handicap for the FEI. A number of FEI regulations do not actually say what people think they say.

All this came to a head at the FEI General Assembly in Uruguay last week where new endurance rules proposals were so incomprehensible, several delegates tell me, that after a closed debate they were all shelved till 2019 pending further discussions.

The official reason for delaying them is that it wasn’t fair on riders to introduce new rules part way through the qualifying period for the 2018 WEG. I don’t recall that ever being advanced as a reason for suspending new rules in other sports, even though jumping, dressage and eventing also have an Olympic qualifying cycle to cope with, unlike endurance.

The greater likelihood that the new endurance rules were shelved because they were not understood (also, I suspect, opening the door for a bit of brinkmanship from the UAE and others targeted by the welfare aspects.) This is evident in the final day’s debate that was held in public. If you have a spare half hour you can see the shambles in all its glory in this extract from the official livestream. I have watched it several times since and am still not sure what the hell was going on...

Read more/see video here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/new-endurance-rules-lost/


November 29 2017

2017 FEI General Assembly Meeting - Endurance DecisionsUAE: Boudheib Endurance Season Opener Puts the Welfare of the Horse First

HorseReporter.com - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

The Boudheib Initiative - Driving the Future of Endurance

26 November 2017, Boudheib, UAE ~ The first event of the 2017-2018 endurance season incorporating the Boudheib Initiative got underway at the Boudheib International Endurance Village outside of Abu Dhabi from 23-24 November 2017 with over 101 horses starting in the day one, 120km Open CEI** Al Ain Endurance Cup.

The idea to take back endurance and guard the welfare of the horse by reducing speeds to limit injuries on the endurance tracks is called the Boudheib Initiative and is sponsored enthusiastically by His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nayhan. The Boudheib endurance track features stretches of natural desert that work best if taken at the speeds recommended.

The two-day November program also included: 40km CEN & 80km CEN qualifiers, 80km CEI*, 120km JYR** & a 120 CEI**, and an 10km special introductory ride for young riders on Friday 24th...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/boudheib-endurance-season-opener-puts-the-welfare-of-the-horse-first/


November 28 2017

2017 FEI General Assembly Meeting - Endurance Decisions

FEI held its General Assembly 2017 meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay on 21 November. Decisions in the sport of endurance are as follows:

The General Assembly approved changes to the Endurance Rules to be implemented on 1 January 2019.

The General Assembly voted separately on a proposal to reduce the minimum weight for CEI 3, 4 and 5* and Championships from 75kgs to 70kgs. This was approved.

The General Assembly also voted separately on raising the competition age of horses for 5*, CEIOs and Championships, where horses must now be at least nine years of age (previously eight years) and for Young Horse Championships and Championships under 130km, where the minimum age must now be eight years (previously seven). This was approved.

Other main amendments approved en bloc (also to be implemented as of 1 January 2019) include: Increases in mandatory rest periods, based on scientific presentations at the FEI Sports Forum last April and the FEI Endurance Forum last May. An additional rest period of seven days will apply for horses that reach average speeds of 20 km/hr or higher at completion. This rest period will also apply to horses which do not complete the competition whose average speed of completed phases is 20 km/hr or higher.

A new star system for Endurance events, CEI 4* and CEI 5*, will be introduced to have prime events and a higher standard of competition for horses and athletes. The new star system is not solely defined by prize money, but sets specific requirements for organisers to ensure compliance with FEI rules and high standards of horse welfare.

In order to avoid having minors registered as trainers, the minimum age of a registered trainer has been set at 18 years old.

Qualifying criteria established for new 4* and 5* events, proving the full experience of athletes and horses to guarantee a high standard of competition level, and clarification to novice qualifying criteria in relation to experienced horses and athletes. Plus a new set of rules to define qualifications of horses and athletes for Regional Championships.

New general requirements and test event rules for Championships.

These changes can be viewed here in due course.

More information from the meeting can be seen here:
https://inside.fei.org/fei/regulations/endurance


November 20 2017

UAE: Dead or Alive? The Not So Strange Case of Altered ResultsUAE: Latest Endurance Horse Deaths Raise Concerns About “Airbrushing” Results

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

November 20, 2017
by: Pippa Cuckson

Concerns that endurance horse deaths are being airbrushed out of official results have been raised again following two deaths at the 120km Al Marmoom Cup in Dubai Saturday.

Catswhiskers Tiro Centauri and Kurrajong Unique were listed as Catastrophically Injured (CI) in the early stages, both travelling at about 25kph. At the end of the day Tawqeet, the Dubai-owned timings operator, amended their listings to show the pair as Failed to Complete (FTC) instead. Yet on Sunday both were shown as dead on the updated horse database held by the FEI.

The Al Marmoom Cup was a UAE national ride, though was staged under FEI rules under the terms of the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EFF) legal agreement with the FEI, signed when the EEF’s suspension for horse welfare issues was lifted in July 2015.

Four other horses were listed FTC at Al Marmoom. Only 32 of the 129 starters finished...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/endurance-horse-deaths-results-concerns/

UAE: Dead or Alive? The Not So Strange Case of Altered Results


The CI notation was later removed and does not now show up on the race stats Credit : Screen shot

Grandprix-replay.com - Full Article

Sunday 19 November - 17h52 | Lulu Kyriacou

For the second weekend in a row, there have been fatalities in a United Arab Emirates endurance ride, this time in the AL MARMOOM ENDURANCE CUP – CEN 120 KM. But the two horses concerned here are particularly special. They rose from the dead when the results were altered an hour or two after being published on the official scorer's website, Tawqeet.

THE ORIGINAL RESULT

The ride was organised by the Dubai International Equestrian Club in association with the Emirates Equestrian Federation. Catswhisker Tiro Centauri, a ten-year-old chestnut gelding, and Kurrajong Unique a 16-year-old bay gelding were both listed on the original live scores as CI, Catastrophically Injured. Catswhisker Tiro Centauri apparently met his end on the second loop, and poor Kurrajong Unique did not even get as far as that, he was out the first gate. The horses are both registered in the UAE and both appear to come from the same training stable although Kurrajong Unique was ridden by a Bangladeshi national Nur Mohommod Ali Bablu. Catswhisker was ridden by a more experienced rider, Khalifa Mohammed Saeed Salem ALKHYELI.

NOT DEAD AFTER ALL........ ?

An hour or so after the race finished a check on the results found that the CI had been changed to FTC (Failed To Complete)...

Read more here:
http://www.grandprix-replay.com/uk/article/5092/dead-or-alive-the-not-so-strange-case-of-altered-results

UAE Endurance - Brand New Season, Same Old Story

Grandprix-replay.com - Full Article

Sunday 12 November - 18h08 | Lulu Kyriacou

The first endurance races of the new United Arab Emirates were completed in the last few days but despite plans for new rules to be considered at this week's FEI General Assembly and the sterling efforts of Sheik Sultan's Boudheib Initiative, another horse has ended up dead. The Spanish bred ESTEL DE MONTFLUQ (UAE) FEI number 103MW80 was competing in the CEI1* ridden by Saqar Hilal al Marouqi was originally listed on 8th November on the offical Tawqeet scores as FTC (Failed to Complete) but the horse was listed as deceased on the FEI database the same day. The horse's FEI record was subsequently updated by the FEI on November 10th to CI (Catastrophically Injured).

​On this occasion it does not look as if speed was the determining factor alone as the horse was recorded on the loops at speeds of between 14 and 16.7kph and finished at 20kph but at the second gate the gelding took 20 minutes for his heart rate to come down to acceptable parameters, indicating that there was already an issue and the horse should have been vetted out at that gate...

Read more here:
http://www.grandprix-replay.com/uk/article/5077/uae-endurance-brand-new-season-same-old-story


November 8 2017

Endurance: So Much Wrong I Hardly Know Where to Start…

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | November 7, 2017

More new rules that attempt to slow riders down in endurance will be presented to the FEI General Assembly in 10 days’ time, following “official” research which shows the bleedin’ obvious: go too fast for too long and you will break your horse’s leg.

One proposed rule will add a further seven days mandatory rest if the horse has exceeded 20kph. By a not very amazing coincidence, that is the top speed “window” adopted by the Boudhieb Initiative, which is quietly gaining support and reaping positive results in other parts of the world.

But does anyone seriously think an increased rest is going to give the Group 7 (Middle East) riders and their copyists around the world a moment’s thought when belting along at 37kph at the end of a 120km race? A slightly longer lay-off won’t matter one jot when you have hundreds more horses to drag out of the barn.

UAE current registrations have just topped 7,000 – 7015 to be precise – 48.92% of the global population of active FEI registered endurance horses (14,339), without including the hundreds of UAE-owned horses administered by other national federations. This has risen from 46.79% since I wrote about this alarming trend in September. Seriously, why bother to stage a world endurance championship? The other nations surely can’t have any competitive horses left.

Do Group 7 riders even know the 20kph/longer rest rule is coming in? If so, they are unfazed. In the first three weekends of this 2017-2018 desert season, the winners’ final loop speeds were on average 5kph faster than at the equivalent rides last year. It won’t be long till 40kph is the norm. The global sport is merely a conveyor belt producing horses for destruction in the desert...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/endurance-much-wrong-hardly-know-start/


November 7 2017

Horse welfare and endurance: Is a 75kg minimum weight sensible?

Horsetalk.co.mz
November 7, 2017 David Marlin

As the FEI prepares to vote on imposing a minimum weight of 75kg for senior championship endurance events, equine exercise physiologist Dr David Marlin questions the sport’s weight requirements.

The FEI’s Endurance Technical Committee has outlined a series of changes around rider weights that will be considered by delegates at the 2017 General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, on November 21.

But does it make sense to have a 75kg minimum weight in endurance?

Minimum weight carriage was an important feature of both showjumping and the speed and endurance phase of eventing competitions in the early days of the sports. For a long time both disciplines used a weight of 165lb (75kg), which seems to have its origins in the average weight of a Cavalry soldier with kit.

Australian light horsemen riding waler horses. The soldiers are of the original contingent of the Australian Imperial Force and the photo was taken prior to their departure from Australia in November 1914. The soldier on the right is Trooper William Harry Rankin Woods, 1st Light Horse Regiment, who died of wounds on 15 May 1915, one of the first light horsemen to die during the Battle of Gallipoli."

The 165lb or 75kg minimum weight in horse sports seems to have its origins in the average weight of a Cavalry soldier with kit. Pictured are Australian light horsemen riding Waler horses.

The minimum weight requirement was first dropped from show-jumping and in eventing was reduced from 75kg to 70kg for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and then abolished for eventing in 1998.

As of January 1, 2016, there are a variety of FEI endurance rules relating to the minimum weight (tack + rider but excluding bridle):

Article 812 – Weights
812.1 At all senior CEI4* Championship, the minimum riding weight for Athletes must be 75kg to include all riding equipment.
812.2 At senior CEI3* the minimum riding weight is 75kg – details to be clearly shown on the approved ride schedule.
812.3 At CEI 1* and 2* alternative weight divisions or gender divisions may be allowed, subject to prior approval by the FEI, and must be clearly specified in the FEI schedule.
812.4 There shall be no minimum weight in Young Rider and/or Junior Competitions.

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has a different system with classes according to the weight of the rider and their tack (heavyweight > 211lbs (100kg); middleweight 186-210lbs (86-100kg), lightweight 161-185lbs (73-86kg) and featherweight < 160lbs (73kg). This system relies to some extent on the premise that riders will select an appropriate size of horse, ie, heavier riders will select larger horses to compete on. Of course, smaller riders could choose to compete on smaller horses but they could also choose to compete on large horses, which would give them a distinct advantage.

Read more at https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2017/11/07/horse-welfare-endurance-75kg-minimum-weight/#ojr2CDw7outwPROe.99


October 13 2017

Morocco & the Boudheib Initiative making history !

Clean Endurance

October 8 2017

This weekend saw the latest International Boudheib Initiative (BI) sponsored endurance event in Morocco's outstanding cedar forest of the Middle Atlas area of Ifran, and for the first time in Moroccan history, the first FEI CEI 1* 80km ride was held together with the BECA award for best condition. For the 2nd year since inception, His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan is delighted to encourage education of the 'welfare of the endurance horse' through BI ground breaking events worldwide and takes great pride in aiding development of the true sport of endurance at grass roots level proving time and again the value of strong partnerships between horse & rider. Great care was offered by the veterinary delegation headed by Technical Delegate, Mohamed Khalfan Alyammahi, and a full day of judge & vets briefing was held in order to work closely with newcomers to the FEI, explaining health & rules for the benefit of the horse and reminding them to not be flexible when it comes to rider security and horse welfare.

The picturesque trails were perfect, with good markings, loop speeds were low averaging around 15kph ensuring an excellent 80% completion rate throughout all rides including the 3 national qualifiers of 60km, 40km & 20km, for newcomers to the sport. There was a wonderful spirit throughout the day with everyone showing their willingness to learn and they are all looking forward to the future growth of this event and to returning next year.

Special thanks goes to event organiser, Dr. Mohamed Machmoum, Director of the upcoming Salon de Cheval at El Jedida, the veterinary delegation for their unfailing hard work and to the many dignitaries who attended the event, including Ahmed Al Reasi, Chairman of the Emirates Equestrian Federation, Dr. Hammou Ouhelli, Moroccan Minister of Rural Development & Forests, General Merzak El Habili, General Secretary of the Moroccan Royal Equestrian Federation and Zouhair Mohamed, General Secretary of Ifran, and of course not forgetting all the riders, grooms, owners & trainers and our valued partners, the horses, without whom none of the events could take place!

BOUDHEIB INITIATIVE - DRIVING THE FUTURE OF ENDURANCE www.facebook@boudheib

article & photos by Leigh Young Results:-

BECA results CEI 1* 80km 1st - no 7 Arrabiefi ridden by Hammadi Smail from Le Ferme Equestre
2nd - no 8 Tissir II ridden by Hamid Bouhout Mdl from the Garde Royale
3rd - no 3 Rose des Vents ridden by Bensaid Ali Adj also from the Garde Royal
4th - no 2 Toumira ridden by Meryem Keddara from RCE Menzeh

FEI 1* 80 km CEI Results
1st no 8 - Tissir II ridden by Hamid Bouhout Mdl from the Garde Royale
2nd no 3 - Rose des Vents ridden by Bensaid Ali Adj also from the Garde Royal
3rd no 7 - Arrabiefi ridden by Hammadi Smail from Le Ferme Equestre


September 21 2017

World Arabian Organization Shames Desert EnduranceUAE: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 19, 2017

The UAE desert endurance season is chugging into gear. It is accompanied by the annual spike in FEI horse registrations, mostly of the plane-loads of imported unfortunates set to hustle round the early 40km and 80km desert rides to “qualify” for the more onerous winter races to come. How much easier it must have been to invent the qualifying results in times past.

Current UAE endurance FEI registrations stand at 6,091 today, September 19th, out of 13,016 current FEI endurance horses worldwide. This is a 600% growth in 10 years, compared with 947 UAE horses in 2006. The biggest spurt was 2014-2015, around 1,500 extra horses year to year. That is depressing when you consider that by 2014 the abuses were more widely known, and that it might have occurred to people not to sell.

Last year, UAE registrations represented 46% of FEI endurance horses worldwide. Now it is 46.79%. No other country dominates horse ownership in any other discipline on this scale.

Worryingly, this figure taken in isolation makes it easy for the folks who support the warped notion of race-till-it-breaks to suggest that UAE domination means “best practice” and that they should be allowed to do what they want.

Even the FEI flags up that endurance is the world’s second fastest-growing horse sport: who they are trying to impress with that factoid, I don’t know. But it isn’t, anyway. Endurance is the fastest-growing sport in the UAE, but the UAE is just one of 130-odd countries affiliated to the FEI. The rest are not following at the same rate. Nothing like, in fact, and even if they wanted to, their best horses will quickly be sold to the UAE. What was it Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain said about Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics?...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/lies-damned-lies-and-statistics/


August 1 2017

World Arabian Organization Shames Desert Endurance

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

July 28, 2017
by: Pippa Cuckson

Endurance racing in the Middle East is sacrificing Arabian horses “on the altar of sport” and the FEI must take “firm and prompt action to definitely prevent another dismal catalogue of catastrophic injuries” next season.

Those are the views of Peter Pond, president of the World Arabian Horse Organisation (WAHO), who has written a forthright letter to FEI president Ingmar de Vos about the ongoing welfare crisis in the Middle East and the UAE in particular.

The WAHO executive resolved to approach the FEI during its annual conference in Bahrain in February, which was attended by delegates from 34 of WAHO’s 65 member countries. There Mr Pond gave an address underlining that the executive committee was “extremely disturbed by the chain of events” and that the “rate of attrition is serious abuse of all the horses taking part.” At that stage, there had been 11 reported deaths in the UAE national and international sport since the turn of the year.

He added: “Arabian horses have tremendous heart, tremendous courage and tremendous bravery, which is why they are the chosen breed for endurance. To stay silent and effectively abandon them to the fate would be to go against our core values and objectives...”

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/world-arabian-organization-shames-desert-endurance/


July 26 2017 2017

Forgery City

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | July 25, 2017

I don’t know what is worse, the imagination applied to forgery in international endurance or the fact the FEI seems resigned to it.

Of course, passing off a horse as something it isn’t is as old as time itself. And forging people’s signatures on documents is not exactly unknown in FEI endurance, either; one such incident even reached the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But fakery that compromises welfare again and again is plain evil. No horse sport is 101% squeaky clean, but I am staggered the other equestrian disciplines are still prepared to belong to the same international federation that ‘governs’ desert endurance when the rot we actually do know about is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

The infamy of endurance is spreading to unexpected quarters anyway. Ullrich Raulff, recently retired literary editor of famous German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has just written his own book Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship.

It must be a relief that so few reviewers have picked up this paragraph: “The Emirate of Dubai in particular and the United Emirates in general have gained a reputation for harsh endurance rides in the desert at high temperatures which have risked or indeed caused the deaths of countless horses. Here, too, the curious can take on the role of passer-by, watching online as horses are so badly flayed and severely injured that they collapse and have to be put out of their misery by a vet.” I guess the general reader could not imagine that Raulff is actually talking about a sport regulated by a body affiliated to the International Olympic Committee. Anyway, I digress.

This past week there has been a disturbing development in the Bahrain controversy raging since April which, like the Marmoog and Pang horse swaps and the bogus rides, also has at its core fakery aimed at masking welfare concerns. The FEI seems determined to take a blind eye on this one, falling back on the “this was a national ride so nothing to do with us – phew” excuse, despite evidence the incident did occur in a FEI ride and that the horse they say died wasn’t even there...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/forgery-city/


May 31 2017

Endurance Wastage: Even Worse Than You Probably Thought

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | May 30, 2017

I was sorry to miss the FEI’s endurance forum at Vic in Spain. I went to the 2014 version in Lausanne, the first specialist endurance open forum staged after the extent of the cheating, doping and attrition in FEI Group 7 and the UAE in particular came to wider attention.

Not much seems to have changed, other than officialdom now being less uncomfortable about openly naming the problem countries. And it would be difficult now not to name the UAE when they were suspended (2015) and stripped of running a world championship (2016) because of horse welfare concerns. Even three years ago it was taboo to mention a Group 7 federation by name in an open FEI endurance debate.

Given that weeny increase in transparency, I was disappointed to be told in February that the 2017 renewal was limited to national federations. By the time the FEI changed its mind in April and invited general observers, I had arranged to do something else, which could not be rescheduled without inconveniencing other people and causing me irrecoverable expense.

I am thus indebted to attendees who kept me posted and provided context to the presentations now available on the FEI website, and for amplifying the topics excluded from the FEI’s media round-up.

Much was made at both the main FEI sports forum in Lausanne in April and at Vic about extensive veterinary studies into bone fatigue and metabolic failures, and how they might be mitigated by extending rest periods. Another proposal that has got as far as a draft rule is adding an extra seven days’ rest where speed has exceeded an average 20kph. But why not actively cap high speeds, as successfully already trialled at Boudhieb? All the evidence is that Group 7 horses continue to train hard during compulsory “rests,” and turn up at national rides – over which the FEI is always keen to tell us it has no jurisdiction or knowledge. A half-way house measure will merely encourage Group 7 to buy even more horses...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/endurance-wastage-even-worse-than-you-probably-thought/


May 29 2017

Calls for attitude change at FEI endurance forum

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Sarah Radford
13:23 - 29 May, 2017

Introducing analytics into FEI endurance events will be about “changing psychology and attitude”, according to EquiRatings co-founder Sam Watson.

The FEI announced it had signed a four-year agreement with Irish data science company EquiRatings in April, with the aim of “working together on risk management initiatives” in both endurance and eventing.

At an FEI endurance forum this week, EquiRatings’ Diarmuid Byrne and Sam presented a potential model for an athlete index — which would identify those at higher risk of non-completions.

A similar EquiRatings Quality Index was found to be effective in Irish eventing last year and the pilot has been extended for 2017. The safety analysis tool uses algorithms to calculate the potential for falls, giving officials and riders the ability to monitor risk.

“We need to create awareness and provide a tool that can guide the level of responsible horsemanship and help maintain a standard for the sport around the world,” he said...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/calls-attitude-change-endurance-forum-621710#LGbMMpMosKzI3Eh6.99


May 27 2017

Challenges of regulating speed in Endurance discussed by forum delegates

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

May 27, 2017
Horsetalk.co.nz

Even small reductions in speed have large beneficial effects on bone fatigue for the fastest horses, delegate to this week’s FEI Endurance Forum were told.

A total of 100 delegates from more than 30 countries gathered in Spain to discuss the way ahead for the growing sport.

Horse welfare, education and the future direction of the sport were primary topics, with delegates weighing the challenges of keeping endurance horses healthy and free from injury in a discipline in which speeds are likely to increase through the likes of better training, breeding, feeding and riding.

The University of Glasgow’s Dr Euan Bennet took delegates through the highlights and main results of the first year and a half of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study, and Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne presented data on bone fatigue...

Read more at http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2017/05/27/speed-endurance-forum/#bH2jEzCsuKtt1PgY.99

‘Wrong Identity’ Claims Revive Bahrain Endurance Controversy

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

May 26 2017

The FEI has declined to review a controversial endurance fatality in Bahrain, despite new evidence suggesting both the dead horse and the ride were wrongly identified.

A grey French-bred mare, Samba d L’Ile, was belatedly named by the FEI after liaison with the Bahrain equestrian federation.

But now ride start lists have emerged, which appear to show that Samba was not a participant on March 4th. This raises new questions about the scope of the FEI investigation, especially in the light of its emphasis on the monitoring of Catastrophic Injuries (CIs): attrition was a major topic at the FEI Endurance Forum in Spain earlier this week.

The Bahrain saga dates back to distressing videos of a grey horse at the moment it broke its foreleg. They were posted on April 3rd by an outspoken blogger known only as “Fair Endurance,” who has been active for the past year, and has clear UAE sympathies. The clips also showed the horse – whose rider was unseated – valiantly trying to follow the rest, stumbling along on three legs while other riders did nothing to help.

The blogger did not identify the horse, but claimed the fatality occurred during the King’s Cup 120km CEI on March 4th and was not recorded in FEI results – an alleged breach of FEI rules. “Fair Endurance” also alleged that other CIs in Bahrain have gone unrecorded. The videos went viral, leading to strong criticism on social media of the FEI and of one of its most senior judges, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Al Hammad of Saudi Arabia. Dr Al Hammad was FEI Foreign Veterinary Delegate in Bahrain, where his responsibilities included immediate reporting of any fatalities to FEI HQ...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/wrong-identity-claims-revive-bahrain-endurance-controversy/


May 26 2017

FEI Endurance Forum 2017: Welfare, education and the future

FEI.org

26 May 2017

Welfare, education and the future direction of the sport were prominent topics at the FEI Endurance Forum 2017, which took place this week in Vic, Barcelona (ESP). A total of 100 delegates from over 30 countries gathered together at a pivotal time for the discipline of Endurance, which is seeing massive growth year on year across the globe.

Scientific presentations on Endurance risk factors, bone fatigue and risk management set the scene, providing a data-based approach for the Forum’s further discussions on education, rules revisions and the future of the sport. Key topics including horse welfare, speed, athlete education and how the elite level of the sport could look in the future were debated in an open and honest dialogue by representatives from across the Endurance community.

“This growth of the sport is remarkable and brings great opportunities but also presents challenges to the global endurance community”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said in her opening address. “Endurance is clearly appealing and has potential, but as we grow we need to secure the integrity of the sport with correct processes, and maintain the highest standards of horse welfare. We are all here because we want to ensure that Endurance continues to develop and thrive around the world. And we are also here because we want to ensure the very best for our horses, for our athletes and for the greater Endurance community.”

First presented at last month’s FEI Sports Forum 2017, Dr Euan Bennet from the University of Glasgow took delegates through the highlights and main results of the first year and a half of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study, and Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne presented data on bone fatigue. Both reiterated the message that speed and non-compliance with mandatory rest periods are the key risk factors, highlighting that an increase of seven days on the mandatory rest periods established in 2014 could potentially prevent 10% of the failed-to-qualify statistics and that small reductions in speed have large beneficial effects on bone fatigue for the fastest horses. It was unanimously agreed that key to injury reduction is a combination of rules revisions and education for athletes, trainers and all involved in the sport.

Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson from equestrian data science company EquiRatings, presented a potential model for an athlete index in Endurance, aimed at identifying those at higher risk of non-completion and following a similar concept to the ERQI model in Eventing. This was received with interest and generated discussions on data collection in the future to enhance this tool, possible applications to reward positive performance and good horsemanship, and potential application to trainers, and horse/athlete combinations.

EquiRatings founder Sam Watson explained: “It is about changing psychology and attitude. We need to create awareness and provide a tool that can guide the level of responsible horsemanship and help maintain a standard for the sport around the world.”

The new Endurance Education System for Endurance Officials was presented and received widespread support, with unanimous agreement on the benefit and importance of rewarding excellence and increasing experience. The introduction of job descriptions, promotional courses for top level Officials, horsemanship education for all Endurance Officials, requalification every three years and the introduction of a new 5* level of Officials were all on the agenda.

Wrapping up the first day’s proceedings, FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello led delegates in discussion around potential rule revisions aimed at improving horse welfare and based on the scientific findings relating to areas such as qualifications, speeds, rest periods and weight regulations.

There was widespread support for the creation of a new 5* level of elite competition, with further consultation needed on what form it will take, and a general consensus that there should be clear and increased qualification criteria for entry to 1* level and for progression onto 4* and 5*, however further work is needed to flesh out proposals for the introduction of completion rates for Championship qualifications.

Discussions also covered the need for any potential changes to mandatory rest periods to be clearly based on welfare and not as sanctions for speed. The extensive feedback will be discussed by the FEI Endurance Committee as the next step in this rules revision process.

Inspiration for the second day’s discussions on the future of the sport covered everything from event promotion, sponsorship, innovation in promotion, and what the sport could look like in the future, with presentations from across the spectrum of the sport: athlete Valerie Kanavy, Organiser Nick Brooks-Ward from Hpower Group, athlete and trainer Stephane Chazel and Spanish Chef D’Equipe Ignasi Casas.

Athlete education was again central to the debate as discussion turned to how speed relates to the future of the sport. Delegates noted that ultimately this is a sport against the clock, but this cannot be to the detriment of the horse, however as the sport progresses then speeds will get higher with better training, breeding, feeding, riding etc. However all acknowledged that speed contributes to injury, which is not acceptable for horse welfare and has a negative effect on the perception of the sport. Minimum weights and course design were discussed as examples of how to regulate speed but ultimately conversation came back to athlete responsibility and training, a key theme throughout the Forum.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez closed the forum with a commitment to continue organising these types of discussion forums for Endurance on a regular basis, commending the “productive and exciting meeting of such a wide group of people, with very diverse views yet working together and allowing each other to speak, with a real community feel for open dialogue.”

FEI Endurance Forum 2017 Report - by Linda Tanian

FEI.org

26 May 2017

Welfare, education and the future direction of the sport were prominent topics at the FEI Endurance Forum 2017, which took place this week in Vic, Barcelona (ESP). A total of 100 delegates from over 30 countries gathered together at a pivotal time for the discipline of Endurance, which is seeing massive growth year on year across the globe.

Scientific presentations on Endurance risk factors, bone fatigue and risk management set the scene, providing a data-based approach for the Forum’s further discussions on education, rules revisions and the future of the sport. Key topics including horse welfare, speed, athlete education and how the elite level of the sport could look in the future were debated in an open and honest dialogue by representatives from across the Endurance community.

“This growth of the sport is remarkable and brings great opportunities but also presents challenges to the global endurance community”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said in her opening address. “Endurance is clearly appealing and has potential, but as we grow we need to secure the integrity of the sport with correct processes, and maintain the highest standards of horse welfare. We are all here because we want to ensure that Endurance continues to develop and thrive around the world. And we are also here because we want to ensure the very best for our horses, for our athletes and for the greater Endurance community.”

First presented at last month’s FEI Sports Forum 2017, Dr Euan Bennet from the University of Glasgow took delegates through the highlights and main results of the first year and a half of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study, and Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne presented data on bone fatigue. Both reiterated the message that speed and non-compliance with mandatory rest periods are the key risk factors, highlighting that an increase of seven days on the mandatory rest periods established in 2014 could potentially prevent 10% of the failed-to-qualify statistics and that small reductions in speed have large beneficial effects on bone fatigue for the fastest horses. It was unanimously agreed that key to injury reduction is a combination of rules revisions and education for athletes, trainers and all involved in the sport.

Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson from equestrian data science company EquiRatings, presented a potential model for an athlete index in Endurance, aimed at identifying those at higher risk of non-completion and following a similar concept to the ERQI model in Eventing. This was received with interest and generated discussions on data collection in the future to enhance this tool, possible applications to reward positive performance and good horsemanship, and potential application to trainers, and horse/athlete combinations.

EquiRatings founder Sam Watson explained: “It is about changing psychology and attitude. We need to create awareness and provide a tool that can guide the level of responsible horsemanship and help maintain a standard for the sport around the world.”

The new Endurance Education System for Endurance Officials was presented and received widespread support, with unanimous agreement on the benefit and importance of rewarding excellence and increasing experience. The introduction of job descriptions, promotional courses for top level Officials, horsemanship education for all Endurance Officials, requalification every three years and the introduction of a new 5* level of Officials were all on the agenda.

Wrapping up the first day’s proceedings, FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello led delegates in discussion around potential rule revisions aimed at improving horse welfare and based on the scientific findings relating to areas such as qualifications, speeds, rest periods and weight regulations.

There was widespread support for the creation of a new 5* level of elite competition, with further consultation needed on what form it will take, and a general consensus that there should be clear and increased qualification criteria for entry to 1* level and for progression onto 4* and 5*, however further work is needed to flesh out proposals for the introduction of completion rates for Championship qualifications.

Discussions also covered the need for any potential changes to mandatory rest periods to be clearly based on welfare and not as sanctions for speed. The extensive feedback will be discussed by the FEI Endurance Committee as the next step in this rules revision process.

Inspiration for the second day’s discussions on the future of the sport covered everything from event promotion, sponsorship, innovation in promotion, and what the sport could look like in the future, with presentations from across the spectrum of the sport: athlete Valerie Kanavy, Organiser Nick Brooks-Ward from Hpower Group, athlete and trainer Stephane Chazel and Spanish Chef D’Equipe Ignasi Casas.

Athlete education was again central to the debate as discussion turned to how speed relates to the future of the sport. Delegates noted that ultimately this is a sport against the clock, but this cannot be to the detriment of the horse, however as the sport progresses then speeds will get higher with better training, breeding, feeding, riding etc. However all acknowledged that speed contributes to injury, which is not acceptable for horse welfare and has a negative effect on the perception of the sport. Minimum weights and course design were discussed as examples of how to regulate speed but ultimately conversation came back to athlete responsibility and training, a key theme throughout the Forum.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez closed the forum with a commitment to continue organising these types of discussion forums for Endurance on a regular basis, commending the “productive and exciting meeting of such a wide group of people, with very diverse views yet working together and allowing each other to speak, with a real community feel for open dialogue.”


April 19 2017

UAE: International endurance season under Boudheib rules announced

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

April 19, 2017
Horsetalk.co.nz

An international season for endurance under the rules pioneered at the United Arab Emirates’ Boudheib endurance center has been announced.

The proposed calendar lists races in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Jordan and Texas.

A statement from the Boudheib center lists Princess Alia, the sister of former FEI president Princess Haya, as the organizer of the Jordan event.

The proposed schedule and dates are listed below.

The Boudheib endurance facility in Abu Dhabi, owned by Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has been an oasis in UAE endurance, applying house rules insisted on by the sheikh that have all but eliminated the welfare issues that have plagued the sport in the region...

Read more at http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2017/04/19/international-endurance-season-boudheib-announced/#ZPiTlweRP6vexx0U.99


April 17 2017

It's Official: Speed Kills

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | April 17, 2017

You don’t need to be much of a horseman to know that if you persistently and rigorously work an unsound horse, it will break.

Now, though, we have compelling scientific evidence that the intensive training techniques and high competition speeds typical of Middle East (FEI group 7) endurance have a direct impact on bone fatigue and the Catastrophic Injury (CI) – a term unique to endurance lexicon.

Distinguished veterinarians Tim Parkin (GB) and Chris Whitton (Australia) presented their long-term studies on attrition to the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne. Whether their findings result in yet more endurance rules or change in group 7 mind-set remains to be seen.

Sadly, the conference chamber was not exactly awash with endurance practitioners – let’s hope more were watching online. Worryingly, Sheikh Khalid of Bahrain – which he flippantly described one of the “naughty” countries – said towards the end of the bone fatigue Q &A that he thought Whitton was recommending longer rest periods between LOOPS during a ride. In fact, Whitton was clearly urging an even longer mandatory rest period between RIDES.

Still the evidence that speed kills was there in print; and also in monochrome. Whitton produced disturbing visuals of “deforming” bones to illustrate that natural bone repair likes to follow its own schedule. A naturally-repairing bone adapts to the horse’s usual type of work; so galloping a horse who is just back from injury when he is more used to trotting causes more damage, and vice versa. With every stride a horse is one step closer to bone fatigue: ergo, the skilful horseman will do only the bare minimum needed to keep the horse competition-fit.

The stresses on bones were a shocker. Whitton said that the load on the fetlock joint walking at 4kph is 0.8 tonnes; trotting at 13 kph is 2.3 tonnes; cantering at 27 kph is 2.6 tonnes and galloping at 48 kph is 4 tonnes. Endurance is getting ever faster in the desert. In an end-of-season CEN in Dubai, one front-runner had a final loop average of nearly 41kph. No wonder legs are snapping right left and centre...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/its-official-speed-kills/

UAE: Successful Boudhieb Endurance Initiative Schedules 7 International Events in 2017

April 16 2017

BOUDHEIB INITIATIVE (BI) - 
DRIVING THE FUTURE OF ENDURANCE

So another endurance season is over here in the UAE as the temperatures are creeping up to 40 degrees!

The Boudheib Initiative has been very successful throughout our 2016/17 winter season and is helping the sport to return to its origins whilst the Best Endurance Challenge Award (BECA) is providing a good basic structure for the future 'Welfare of the Endurance Horse'.

In Boudheib, natural tracks now form up to 45% of some loops, and are naturally slowing down speeds; the strict 20kph speed rules, the 56bpm heart rate and 10 minute presentation time are also having the desired effect. It seems that the horses, riders and trainers are becoming more accustomed to riding and training for these trails and everyone is starting to enjoy the BECA challenge.

The hugely exciting 'Boudheib Worldwide' conference took place in Boudheib last month, with many international endurance guests taking part. Consequently great strides are being made in implementing the Boudheib Initiative Worldwide and many countries have come forward to request the use of the Boudheib rules, and BECA (Best Endurance Challenge Award) in their competitions.

We are proud to announce the support of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for 7 proposed international endurance events to take us through to the end of the year.

Boudheib's international season will start next month, May 27th, in South Africa. PWC Sondela Endurance Event Organiser, Susan Koekemoer is advancing well with arrangements and expects a total of 200 horses and riders to take part in 3 categories namely 40km, 80km and a 120km using Boudheib's BECA. The BECA protocol will run alongside their own National event and CEI1*. They even have participation from Botswana competitors who will travel over 350km to take part. An invitational team competition between Botswana and local South African club teams has been added to the event to promote the International spirit between teams. 5 riders in the 80km times predict their riding time and the team closest to their predicted time win the team competition.

The PWC Sondela Endurance Ride, hosted by Premier Equestrian Club, has been held in the beautiful Sondela Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa for the past 15 years. The success of the event can be attributed to the professionalism of the event organisation, the beauty of the trail within the Sondela Nature Reserve and the luxury accommodation offered by Sondela for the whole family, not just the competitors, to enjoy the event. Annual new initiatives at the event are always explored to maintain horse & rider interest.

Premier Equestrian Club's mantra is "progress through innovation" and this compliments the visions of the Boudheib Initiative. The mutual collaboration of the two entities and generosity of HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan will, without doubt, enhance every riders experience at the PWC Sondela Endurance event.

Premier Equestrian Club will be posting regular updates leading up to the event on facebook and anyone wanting to follow the event is welcome to send a "friend request" to Premier Equestrian Club.

www.facebook@boudheib

Boudhieb Initiative Proposed International Calendar of Events
Pretoria, South Africa May 27th 2017 Organiser: SAIC, Susan Koekemoer

Dwingaloo, Netherlands 10th June 2017 Organiser: Frans van't Zand

Marbech, Germany 21st July 2017 Organiser: Ahmed Samarraie

Aachen, Germany 22nd August 2017 Organiser: Nils Ischmer
Florac, France 10th September Organiser: Jean Paul Boudon

Jordan 15th November Organiser: Princess Alia of Jordan

Cat Springs, Texas 30 & 31 December Organiser: Emmett Ross

For more information contact: Leigh Young, email: leigh.harc@gmail.com


April 13 2017

Equine and human athlete welfare key focus on day two of FEI Sports Forum 2017

Inside.FEI.org

11 Apr 2017

The welfare of equines and human athletes was top of the agenda on day two of the FEI Sports Forum 2017. Scientific data on Eventing risk management, Endurance risk factors and bone fatigue was presented to more than 330 delegates gathered at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne (SUI) today.

The FEI has invested in substantial scientific research to evaluate risk factors and risk management and the sixth edition of the Sports Forum provided the platform for evidence-based data to be presented to the equestrian community.

Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor (USA), Chair of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group, shared moderation of the afternoon session on Eventing Risk Management with Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), chair of the FEI Eventing Committee.

David O’Connor, who was also involved in the Hartington Report into risk management in the sport in 2000, remembered how Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart had given him two messages: “If you have the technology and the ability you have to use it, and you will always be behind the curve, you will never think of everything.”

Co-founders of equestrian data science company EquiRatings, Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson, who signed a four-year partnership with the FEI earlier this month to work on risk management initiatives for Eventing, presented the rationale behind the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI) and its scope, with analysis of athlete and horse performance history one of the key elements in risk reduction in Eventing.

“Past performance helps us predict and plan future performance”, EquiRatings Managing Director Diarmuid Byrne said.

The Irish company is also working with a number of National Federations and their work in Ireland saw a 66% reduction in falls at national level last year. “It’s about introducing a mind-set of rider responsibility. Psychologically we don’t look at risk, and this tool allows us to step in when we ignore it.”

Presentations in the following session on Endurance risk factors and bone fatigue were well received by delegates, who were impressed by the detailed analysis of data. All three of the panellists - Dr Tim Parkin and Dr Euan Bennet from the University of Glasgow, who are conducting the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study, and Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne, were clear on the fact that speed and non-compliance with mandatory rest periods are the key risk factors.

Dr Euan Bennett stated that an increase of seven days on the mandatory rest periods established in 2014 could potentially prevent 10% of the failed-to-qualify statistics.

Professor Chris Whitton spoke about how intensive training results in an accumulation of damage and the inhibition of bone repair that occurs during rest. “Prevention is the key”, he said. “Once you’ve got the injury it’s too late. It may not be a catastrophic injury but that horse’s career is shortened. It’s not speed alone, and it’s not distance alone, it’s a combination of the two.”

In her wrap-up of key takeaways from the Endurance session, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said: “We really need to be attuned to our horses. We need to listen to them. They are equine athletes and they really need and deserve recovery time.”

Mark Samuel (CAN), Chair of the FEI Working Group on FEI Officials opened the day’s first session when details of 13 concrete recommendations were provided, including a code of conduct and job descriptions for officials, the withdrawal of the age limit, online education for officials and course directors, appointments and remuneration, and a mentoring programme for younger officials,.

Delegates were also gjven an update on the initial findings of the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group. The Group’s discussions, which have lasted for several months, were based on analytical studies of the current judging system and exploring judging procedures in other FEI disciplines, such as Reining and Vaulting.

The need to introduce a code of points and to concentrate further on education and training of judges across all levels are some of the long-term objectives proposed by the Working Group, with a revised multi-media FEI Dressage Handbook to be delivered as support.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos closed the FEI Sports Forum 2017 by thanking delegates and sponsors, and saying: “We’re very proud of the Sports Forum. This is what we need to do to fully engage with our community and take the necessary next steps. It is very important for the FEI to listen to what our National Federations and stakeholders have to say. The end of the Sports Forum means the start of a lot of work, but this is always a positive move forward.

“It was great to have so many young people contributing to the success of this year’s Sports Forum, and we very much hope to increase the participation of our youth in other editions of the Sports Forum.”

Panellists:

Officials: Mark Samuel, Group IV Chair – Moderator; Peter Bollen, FEI Jumping Committee member, Sönke Lauterbach, NF Germany Secretary General; Frances Heather Hesketh-Jones Triulzi, FEI Honorary Steward General Jumping; Brigitte Mathias, NF Namibia Secretary General.

Risk Management in Eventing: David O’Connor (USA), Chair FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group and Sydney 2000 Olympic champion; Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), chair of the FEI Eventing Committee; Equiratings’ Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson.

Endurance risk factors and Bone Fatigue: Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee John McEwen; Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee Brian Sheahan; Dr Tim Parkin and Dr Euan Bennet at the University of Glasgow; Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne.


March 19 2017

Will We Throw Stones from Afar, or BE A PART OF THE EVOLUTION OF EQUESTRIAN TESTS?

AwareWelfare.net - Full Article

We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them. — William Arthur Ward

By John Crandell

We’re high in the middle of yet another attention-grabbing season of endurance racing in U.A.E, and once again inflamed rhetoric is singeing the digital highways. I’d like to offer some perspective that might help keep these exchanges as genuinely constructive as possible, and in doing so will point out some specific reasons why some addresses have been counterproductive to the best interest of equestrian sports, and the respect our horses deserve.

Many stones are being cast from afar with little awareness of their actual effect at the point of impact, or the full perception of the recipients. There is an old Arabian proverb that translates something like: “I against my brother, my brother and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against the world”. In this is a reminder of the necessity of respecting social proximities when attempting to settle disputes and share challenging ideas. There are always a few in every large group of people that will have an open mind to our own perspectives. Those people are always the essential element of any lasting change. Change brought by force from the outside is never heartfully and durably absorbed. It’s nearly impossible to have an effective diplomatic discussion with someone while your associates are glaring through a pipe, overlooking their own vices, and throwing stones at his brother every time something offends them.

Those of us in the United States of America have the most to lose by continuing to act in this narrow field of vision. Our minds been bombarded with a century of hyper-anthropomorphism, amplified and fed back to us by a commercial entertainment media all too willing to capitalize on the allure of animations and illusions of animals that have exactly the perceptions and values humans have. Our own naivety and arrogance is fed back to us in volume, and our animals suffer for it as we cloud our ability to objectively learn their perceptions, their ethos, their needs for happiness. Stan Eichelberger DVM, once pointed out to me in the lobbies of an American Endurance Ride Conference convention that “Walt Disney has been the cruelest thing that ever happened to animals...”

Read more here:
https://awarewelfare.net/2017/02/12/will-we-throw-stones-from-afar-or-be-a-part-of-the-evolution-of-equestrian-tests/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog


March 17 2017

AERC and USEF Joint Statement Regarding Equine Welfare

March 17 2017

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) join other countries around the world in expressing increasing alarm over continued disproportionate equine deaths, equine doping and catastrophic injuries in National and International events held in Group VII.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has previously sanctioned the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with suspensions, rule changes and educational measures. Clearly, further intervention is required, and therefore, the USEF and AERC were very pleased to learn that the FEI is working with new leadership at the United Arab Emirate Equestrian & Racing Federation (EEF) to put in place and ensure compliance with safeguards to protect horses and when warranted, impose tougher and more severe sanctions.

USEF and AERC share strong beliefs and concerns regarding horse welfare and fairness in competition and we recognize that not all Group VII endurance venues are tainted by the lack of respect for horse welfare. Innovations in other regions of the UAE are to be commended.

The USEF and AERC are committed to working together and with the FEI and National Federations worldwide to ensure that the welfare of our horses and fairness in competition in the sport of Endurance is given the highest priority.


March 3 2017

The Rebirth of Endurance Tests - Parts 1 to 10

Awarewelfare.net - Full Article

By John Crandell

Contents

Prologue

The Time Is Now
The Genesis of Modern Endurance
Expansion Across North America
FEI Enters the Scene
Back in the USA
Our Issues are More Alike Than We Realize
A Rebirth Begins
Building Wise Endurance Testing Programs
Roadmap to the Future: Part 1
Creating Healthy Goalposts and Incentives (COMING SOON)

Prologue

Endurance riding was once on the vanguard of equine welfare, generating new definition in the meaning of equine welfare itself. Now that honorable position is obscured under a mountain of saddening imagery on the internet and a growing contempt from other equestrians over the level of equitation and horsemanship displayed at endurance races.

Who’s to blame? We all are, and perhaps especially those of us that have been engaged in the discipline as long as myself. I’ve been endurance racing for over forty years now; long enough to have won two Tevis and Haggin Cups, first to finish at six Old Dominion 100 mile Rides, and FEI championship medals as early as 1986 and as late as 2010. I certainly should have known better, should have spoken out more at the right time way back when. Well, no time like the present.

It’s impossible address the governance issues we’re now facing in a way that guarantees that they’ll never return if we can’t openly identify our collective mistakes that allowed this travesty to develop in the first place. So please notice that as I dissect this calamity of errors, I offend people on both sides of highly polarized positions equally. I have been party to both camps and am therefore as culpable as anyone.

I will show that the root issue here has been brooding for a long time, and goes back to a time before the involvement of the Federation Equestrian International (FEI) and well before the Persian Gulf countries participation in internationally sanctioned endurance racing.

The Time is Now

At this time the entire world, especially the equestrian community, is aware of the alarming spectacle of endurance racing activity in the United Arab Emirates. This has devastated the already fragile reputation of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), which sanctions these races. The FEI has been supplying the public years of image posturing and repeated announcements that is making “sweeping changes”, but the carnage has continued with its renewed sanctioning.

Meanwhile in the United States the endurance riding disciplines national governing body is in a different kind of downward spiral. The economic demography of the U.S.A. has lured the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) into a dangerous trap. When businesses and organizations here listen to their constituents too democratically what they will always hear most loudly is that “we want more quantity, less cost; and we enjoy being patronized gratuitously”. Following this mandate usually creates economic growth initially, but it then leads to departure from the organizations original purpose, alienation of its original supporters, and declining standards until there is nowhere lower to go in order to acquire new members.

This is written as a warning to other regions with developing equestrian programs not to follow in our footsteps. The following is chronical of the foolish choices we’ve made that led to this mess nationally and internationally. Review this history to learn by our mistakes as the modern endurance riding discipline begins an inevitable rebirth...

Read the full article here:
https://awarewelfare.net/2016/02/28/blog-post-title/


February 27 2017

UAE: BOUDHEIB - DRIVING THE FUTURE OF ENDURANCE

https://www.facebook.com/boudheib/posts/431796127164351

February 25 2016

H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
11th International Endurance Festival, 6 - 11th March 2017

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has for many years been concerned by the wonton waste of fine Arabian horses in the sport of endurance here in the region and decided to make changes with the consideration of the 'Welfare of the Horse' at its core.

As a result of recent developments of this sport in the desert regions of the world, speeds have increased from around 18kph in 1998 to current speeds nearing 40kph which exceeds the natural ability of most horses. In order to achieve such speeds, natural dune trails have been replaced by specifically prepared tracks that are maintained hard surfaces. Such tracks were originally necessary in order to preserve any semblance of soundness in horses of these regions, however as speeds continued to increase over the past two decades, so have the countless horse injuries and fatalities!

Sheikh Sultan decided to take a stand by introducing strict rules regulating speed and horse heart rates and so the 'Boudheib Initiative' was born. Returning to natural desert trails which have increased in length to as much as 50% as their Value has been proven time and again in naturally reducing speed and thereby vastly reducing horse injuries. Boudheib is proud to note that the Boudheib Endurance Village hospital is almost always empty, a fine achievement in less than two years.

Each year, to further improve horse welfare standards, His Highness Sheikh Sultan holds an annual Conference during the Boudheib International Endurance Festival, inviting top international speakers from around the globe to participate in sharing views to enhance the rules which are now being requested worldwide.

This year is no exception, the conference Boudhieb Initiative Worldwide is being held on 8th March at Boudheib Endurance Village at Al Khatem, Abu Dhabi, (registration 9.30). The organisers are delighted to announce a top class panel including :- Roly Owers, UK (World Horse Welfare), Melanie Scott, AUS (AERA President), Laurentinus (Franz) Arts, NED (Senior Endurance Vet), Sybille Merkhart North GER (Endurance Event Organiser), Ahmed Samarraie, GER (Holds National Champs), Kevin Croke IRE (FEI 4* Judge), Leonard Liesens, BEL (Head of Endurance), John Crandell, USA (Endurance Promotion), Kseniia Horbunova, Ukraine and Jean-Paul Boudon, FRA (Organiser FLORAC).

Another newly introduced initiative encouraging conference participation from local trainers, riders, owners and breeders is an invitation which has been accepted by celebrity football club Al Jazira. They will spend time discussing training tactics and injury rehabilitation which can be applied to the same training program for endurance horses. Once again Boudheib is making ground breaking progress!

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan also wants to tackle the future of endurance by educating young Emiratis in the art of true horsemanship and has put in place a series of beginners rides for both the Boudheib Academy Equestrian Centre Riding School under 16's and open events for young riders never having participated in endurance, this wonderful program teaches the youngsters horse welfare from a young age and both the boys and their horses are loving it.

Everyone is welcome, we have a full program of endurance rides and events with the main feature Boudheib Festival Cup 3 day 3* FEI 240km starting on 9th March

Come and enjoy the beautiful natural desert trails unique to Boudheib.

For festival information and timings visit: www.boudheib.ae or social media: - twitter, instagram & facebook @ boudheib


February 17 2017

No more starts for Germany's endurance riders in Dubai

St-Georg.de

[translation]

February 16 2017

After the recent incidents related to the distance races in the United Arab Emirates, the German Olympics Committee for Cavalry (DOKR) has now reacted.

The Executive Board has decided not to grant the German distance race any start-up permits for the participation in international distances in Dubai. If German riders are to take part in national races in Dubai, "the DOKR reserves the right not to nominate them in the future for the Championships or the Bundeskader", the wording in the document of the DOKR and the German Equestrian Federation (FN).

The DOKR goes even further. It calls on German organizers not to invite riders from the United Arab Emirates any more. The activities of the DOKR are expressly supported by the Presidium of the Verein Deutscher Abstandreiter und -fahrer (VDD). In fact, the VDD had even called the FN and the Weltreiterverband FEI to action .

Only two days ago eight other medication cases were known. In addition, in the first months of the year the reports of dead horses , which were killed in the races.

ABU DHABI DELIBERATELY EXCLUDED
Is there a bit of the question, why the start ban is limited to Dubai, where there were also dumped in the other Emirates and dead horses. On request, the press office of the FN said: "We have been looking at the events at which German riders are at all. These are the ones in Dubai as well as in Abu Dhabi. On the basis of our information, efforts are being made in Abu Dhabi to implement the FEI guidelines. Therefore, we deliberately restricted the ban to Dubai. "


February 16 2017

British authorities take action to ‘change mindset’ in endurance

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
16:17 - 16 February, 2017

Endurance GB (EGB) and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) have today revealed further details about their plans to “change the mindset of trainers and riders competing in this country.”

A new endurance working group will look at “parameters around optimum speed, heart rate and recovery times” to be trialled at Kings Forest (14-16 April), Haywood Oaks (28-30 April), Royal Windsor (12 May), and Euston Park (20-21 May).

The move follows growing global concern about horse welfare in the UAE, and also the involvement of the ruling Al Maktoum family of Dubai who remain involved promoting the summer Euston series.

Last year there was no significant reduction in average winning speeds at Euston by visiting riders from Dubai. Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum – currently suspended for an alleged FEI doping offence – won a 120km event at Euston on 13 August with Ajayeb, clocking up a final loop speed of 27.4 kph. At her next outing, the world championships in Samorin, Ajayeb sustained a fatal fracture...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/british-authorities-take-action-change-mindset-endurance-612726#U1gAso001M6iPbLS.99


February 11 2017

One More CI in Dubai President's Cup; 77 of 205 Horses Complete Race

The HH President of the UAE Endurance Cup FEI CEI 3* 160-km endurance race at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, concluded today with 77 finishers from 205 starters.

The 8-year-old gelding Dr Indio, ridden by the UAE's Mohammed Humaid Saeed Amer Al Neyadi, was listed as "Catastrophic Injury" on loop 4, bringing to 12 the recorded horse deaths in the UAE this season. Live feed from the FEI 3*** ride clearly shows crewing on course, cars on track, and some extremely underweight horses competing.

UAE swept 8 of the top ten spots, with Saeed Mohammed Kahlifa Al Mehairi winning aboard Shaddad in a scorching 6 hours 20 minutes and 51 seconds.

All top ten riders were awarded cars


February 8 2017

Equestrian Australia Urges FEI to Address Endurance Horse Welfare Issues in UAE

February 6 2017

Addressing the ongoing endurance horse welfare issues in the UAE, Equestrian Australia's Endurance Committee has sent a letter to the FEI urging immediate actions.

EA favors not shutting down endurance in the UAE, because there would be no rules at all to protect horse welfare, particularly if an alternate endurance organization was developed, as has been discussed in the UAE.

The Endurance Committee urges the FEI to immediately address the speed at which endurance horses travel during competition and the suspected practice of nerve-blocking horses. In addition, they suggest the mandatory and immediate implementation of lowered heart rates and shorter present times.

The entire letter can be read here.

Germany Addresses FEI Regarding Endurance Horse Welfare

February 4 2017

The German Endurance Federation sent a letter to the FEI regarding international endurance horse welfare issues.

The letter states:

"We- the Association of German Endurance Riders and Endurance Horse Drivers, Verein Deutscher Distanzreiter und -Fahrer e.V. – hereby disassociate ourselves from every incident connected with endurance rides in which our equine partner is not treated strictly according to the basic standards of animal welfare.

We urge the FEI, using every available means, that all respective incidents worldwide are thoroughly investigated and that the resulting findings are immediately made public and that strict penalties are imposed on those responsible.

It is of paramount importance that endurance riding and animal welfare go hand in hand if we are to ensure the future of our sport."

The letter can be seen here.

Norway Boycotts Group 7 Endurance Rides

8 February 2017

On the basis of a number of negative events in the UAE over the past four weeks with several doping cases and deaths among horses, and stating that horse welfare is of primary concern, the NRYF (Norwegian Federation) has announced that beginning today, Norwegian endurance riders will not compete in any Group 7 countries.

The Danish and the Swedish federations announced the same decision over the previous day.

Read the full text here:
http://www.hestesport.no/web.aspx?page=105234&newsarticle=55749

Statement from Endurance GB and the BEF regarding welfare concerns in the UAE

08 February 2017

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and Endurance GB (EGB) have jointly written to the FEI to express their profound concerns about the further catastrophic incidents to horses competing in the UAE and to call on the FEI to take firm and prompt action to address the recurrence of chronic injuries and unacceptable practices at both Dubai and Al Wathba venues.

EGB have also made it clear that they will not be submitting entries to the forthcoming HH President of the UAE Cup and the Crown Prince Cup in the light of these concerns. In addition, EGB will be writing to British riders based in the Middle East to urge them not to take part in events in Dubai and Al Wathba until confidence in the welfare procedures in place has been restored. EGB is currently considering withdrawing ‘No Objection Certificates’ from those who do intend to compete.

The BEF and EGB recognises the efforts of Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nayhan and the FEI to improve horse welfare in Endurance events through the development of the ‘Boudheib’ protocols where efforts have been made to tailor competition to the challenging natural terrain and environment, and to protect horses from the their impact by prescribing speed and recovery parameters with these in mind. We believe there is the scope for these to be adopted more broadly in the Middle East and in similarly stretching geographies. There is also a need for greater scrutiny of training practices and the degree to which these contribute to the development of pre-existing conditions which lead to chronic injuries in competition.

We recognise that the FEI is taking steps to investigate these extremely distressing events, and to develop measures to address the issues leading to them in the interests of equine welfare. With this in mind, we support their efforts to work with the UAE Federation as a force for change, rather than to separate from them. Nonetheless we believe a visible and decisive step needs to be taken in banning riders and trainers found to be involved in malpractices as a demonstration that these will not be tolerated and that equine welfare is of paramount concern in sustainable competition.


February 7 2017

Sweden and Denmark Will No Longer Send Endurance Riders to UAE

February 7 2017

Af of today, the Swedish Equestrian Federation made the decision to suspend, "until further notice," sending Swedish horses and riders to compete in the Group VII countries in the Middle East. The SEF also announced today that "until further notice" they

The Danish Equestrian Federation also announced this morning its decision that no Danish riders would start in the Group VII countries.

Last year, the SEF, together with organizations in the other Nordic countries agreed disallow competition in the Group VII countries on borrowed horses, although they were allowed to train and qualify and enter their own horses. This is no longer the case.

The original article is here:
http://www.tidningenridsport.se/Tavling/Distansritt/2017/2/Inga-mer-svenskar-till-skandal-landerna/


February 6 2017

BOUDHEIB: FEEDBACK AND CONTINUOUS INNOVATIONS

Prize giving ceremony with no longer "invisible" horses.

2 February 2017
by François Kerboul
FEI 4* Judge, TD & CD
Architect dplg

Now the international specialized press does not any longer use expressions like "group VII" or "UAE" as being entities one cannot divide. Indeed group VII includes very different countries such as the Persian Gulf Emirates, Tunisia, Algeria or Morocco which have nothing in common in the field of equestrian disciplines ...

From now on the press clearly makes the difference between Dubai (DIEC), Al Wathba (ADEC) and Boudheib (BIEV) as it does for all the other countries because it has noticed that various types of management exist. It acknowledges that it has become impossible to consider them as being part of an indivisible entity. It is important and this is not the least victory of Boudheib Endurance.

PRECISIONS ON THE PRESIDENT CUP RIDES

The President Cup competitions for Ladies, Horses Owned by Private Owners and Young Riders are traditionally held in Boudheib (BIEV) while the President Cup for Seniors is managed by ADEC (Al Wathba).

This year the winner of the President Cup for Young Riders (CEIYJ 2* 120km – 21 01 2017) finished the competition with an average speed (FEI) of 18.75 km/h. This speed is relatively common in Europe and elsewhere but it had never been seen before in the region. If we compare this result with the former years, one's note that the average speed of the winners from 2010 to 2015 was 26.61 km/h reaching 28.58 km/h in 2015. We also note that they did increase every season, 2010 being "modestly" 25.65 km/h.

It is also interesting to note that the winner did not exceed 21.53 km/h on his fastest phase. On the contrary the 3rd one ended his ride with a top phase speed of 34.02 km/h, which in 2013means a difference of almost 12.50 km/h with today's.

The speed decrease is significant. It is remarkable moreover when one knows that the President Cup for Young Riders is a kind of explosive cocktail since they are speed lovers, have top quality horses and are eager to win the prizes (even if 70% are for the BECA ranking).

Speed breaks horses. A recent study done by the École Nationale Vétérinaire de Maison-Alfort 's researchers (National Veterinary School of Maison-Alfort – France) based on the ATRM database confirms it once more1:

• Speed is a major factor of risk.
• The presentation time is an important sign of a good condition.

In conclusion of their study they advocate among other solutions:

• to slow down the horses during the competitions;
• to reduce the presentation time.

This is exactly what the Boudheib Protocol (BECA) has been doing for more than one year with convincing results.

The speed of the CEIYJ 2* of the President Cup is low but at the same time the percentage of qualified horse is correct however inferior to the ones of the former CEIs of the season held under the same protocol in Boudheib (respectively 79% and 61%). The noticeable difference is obviously due to the distance since those CEIs were 80 km long.

The distance factor was obviously coupled with a relatively bad management on the tracks. Numerous riders were seen galloping on the natural track as they always do on the prepared "traditional" ones. It increased their horses' tiredness as a result. That is why an unusual number of horses were disqualified due to the incapacity to be presented in time (10%), added to gait irregularities (14.5%) and horses declared "metabolic" (26.9%). One has to note that around half of the latter were above the 56 bpm authorized. 11.6% of the horses were retired by their riders, trainers and/or owners because, if they were, at that time, in good condition they were not fit enough to continue in the same condition according to the BECA parameters.

So one can estimate that around 30% of the horses did not finish the ride, either because they could not match the Boudheib Protocol parameters or because their riders, trainers or owners wished to preserve them...

Read the full article here


February 3 2017

FEI Secretary General Provides Overview of Measures to Address Horse Welfare Issues in Endurance

Inside.FEI.org

3 Feb 2017

The FEI Secretary General has today provided an overview of a series of measures to be implemented by both the FEI and the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation to address serious horse welfare issues in UAE Endurance.

In view of the deaths of seven horses in the UAE in the last four weeks, six at national Endurance competitions and one at an FEI event, and today’s news of seven adverse analytical findings, the FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez requested immediate action from the UAE National Federation (NF).

“I asked the UAE National Federation to urgently put in place measures that would specifically address the situation in the UAE and we welcome the speed with which they have responded to these very serious issues”, the FEI Secretary General said. “We have already expressed our concerns that the fatal bone fractures we are seeing in the UAE are possibly the result of over-training and are likely to be pre-existing injuries that haven’t been given sufficient time to heal.

“The studies that the FEI is undertaking and which will be first presented to the Sports Forum and then in more depth during the Endurance Forum in Barcelona on 23 and 24 May will help determine the causes so that actions can be taken to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

A session dedicated to risk factors and bone injuries in Endurance will be held on the second day (11 April) of the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI). Initial findings of the Global Injuries Endurance Study, conducted by Dr Tim Parkin and Dr Euan Bennet of Glasgow University, will be presented and Dr Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne will present on bone fatigue.

“If, following presentation of the scientific data, there is a clear consensus on immediate actions to be taken, I will propose the use of emergency procedures to speed up the implementation of new rules, as we have done previously when faced with similar issues”, the FEI Secretary General said.

In addition, the FEI will host a series of meetings with trainers and team veterinarians in the UAE specifically to address the high level of catastrophic injuries in the region.

In response to the demand for action from the FEI, the UAE NF has outlined measures that have now been put in place to reduce equine fatalities. These include:

• Requirement for stables involved in equine fatalities to provide full medical history for each horse and any medication administered; details of the horses’ nutritional programmes and training schedules, including the methods used, the hours of training and distances covered, the timing and venue conditions

• A study of each Endurance course in the region, including a detailed assessment of track conditions

• Inspections at all remaining Endurance events in the 2017 UAE season conducted by an expert panel of Endurance course specialists and experienced veterinarians, including the FEI Veterinary Director

• Working directly with local organising committees to investigate equine injuries at their venue

• Increased sanctions for those responsible for injury to horses, including imposing maximum permissible fines (€15,000 per offence) and penalty points

• Expanded scope of individuals that can be held accountable, in addition to trainers and veterinarians

“The new senior management at the UAE National Federation, who met with the FEI President last month, is far more engaged and transparent than the previous administration”, Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“We are hopeful that, through their continuing cooperation with the FEI, together we will make dramatic improvements in addressing the causes of these injuries and the high levels of positives. This is something that needs to be done from the inside out and, while we can and will help from an educational perspective, there needs to be a willingness to improve from within and that now seems to be the case.”

New UAE prohibited substances cases under FEI anti-doping rules

Inside.FEI.org

3 Feb 2017

The FEI has announced seven adverse analytical findings involving prohibited substances in UAE Endurance events. The horses were tested at four different events at the Al Wathba venue in Abu Dhabi.

All seven horses have tested positive to the same four prohibited substances, the stimulant Caffeine and its metabolites Theophylline, Theobromine and Paraxanthine. Equally, Theophylline, used for the treatment of asthma and various respiratory diseases, can be metabolised to Caffeine. One of the horses also tested positive to the corticosteroid Flumetasone, which is used in the treatment of skin disorders.

Theophylline, Caffeine and Theobromine are listed as Controlled Medication and Specified Substances under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules (EADCMRs). Paraxanthine is a Banned Substance under the FEI EADCMRs.

Samples taken at the CEI2* 120-kilometre ladies ride at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi (UAE) on 26 November 2016 from the horse Rafik de Kerpoint (FEI ID 103ZQ05/UAE), ridden by Amy Louise McAuley (FEI ID 10066318/IRL) tested positive for all four substances.

The horses Castlebar Lightning (FEI ID UAE41150/UAE), ridden by Saeed Sultan Shames Al Maamri (FEI ID 10048603/UAE), Intisaar (FEI ID ESP40786/UAE), ridden by Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum (FEI ID 10034071/UAE) and Mraseel (FEI ID 104ED73/UAE), ridden by Sheikh Sh Hamed Dalmook Al Maktoum (FEI ID 10073722/UAE) in the CEI2* 120-kilometre ride at Al Wathba on 17 December 2016, tested positive for the four substances. The horse Mraseel also tested positive for Flumetasone.

The horse Salam Banquetol (FEI ID 103YG68/UAE), ridden by Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (FEI ID 10054553/UAE) to finish second at the CEI2* 120 kilometre event at Al Wathba on 24 December, tested positive to all four substances, as did both Tom Jones TE (FEI ID 104ER04), ridden by Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (FEI ID 10054553/UAE), and Aspenview Amir (FEI ID 104OZ13), ridden by Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi (FEI ID 10084918/UAE) at the CEI2* 120-kilometre event at Al Wathba on 14 January 2016.

The seven athletes and the trainers Ismail Mohd, Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri and Mohd Ahmed Ali Al Subose have all been provisionally suspended from the date of notification (30 January 2017). The seven horses are also suspended for a two-month period from the date of notification.

Details on these cases are available here and here.

“We take all breaches of the FEI anti-doping regulations extremely seriously and these latest positives demonstrate clearly that those using prohibited substances will be caught”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“This is the first time that we have suspended the trainers at the same time as the athletes, but when there are multiple breaches by one trainer, it is clear that there is something wrong with the stable management. Suspending the trainers immediately, rather than waiting until the athlete has been prosecuted, confirms that the FEI will not tolerate any attempts to enhance the performance of the horse.”

The FEI Secretary General will give details of measures to be implemented to address horse welfare issues in the region later today.

More here:
http://inside.fei.org/news/new-prohibited-substances-cases-under-fei-anti-doping-rules

Seven endurance horses test positive for doping in UAE



When the drugs don’t work ...



Two members of Dubai's ruling al Maktoum family suspended by FEI



FEI Secretary General provides overview of measures to address horse welfare issues in Endurance

FEI act after positive tests and horse deaths in UAE



Endurance riding in the Middle East


February 2 2017

Australia: AERA Sends Letter of Concern to Equestrian Australia Re: UAE Horse Welfare

January 31 2017

The Australian Endurance Riders Association has sent a letter to Equestrian Australia about their concerns regarding Horse Welfare and the Catastrophic Injuries in the UAE.

Referring to the 8 reported horse deaths due to catastrophic injury in the UAE endurance races in the past few weeks, AERA requests that EA write to the FEI and recommend cancellation of all FEI events, and immediate suspension of the UAE Nat'l Federation for an indeterminate period until further investigations can be conducted.

The full letter can be read here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/01.2017.AERALetter.jpg

Endurance Death Toll Hits Double Figures


January 30 2017

Endurance events: Six horses die in Dubai


January 26 2017

The UAE Endurance Controversy Continues… 4 Years On

January 26 2017

In a controversy concerning UAE endurance horse deaths, doping, and cheating scandals spanning nearly 4 years, 8 more horse deaths this season (6 in the last month) has prompted AERC President Michael Campbell to pen another letter to USEF on behalf of AERC, strongly condemning the UAE's failure to adhere to horse welfare rules. While great progress has been made in Abu Dhabi, particularly by the Boutheib Initiative, Dubai has failed to show any such improvements.

In the letter, Campbell has urged USEF to register a protest with the FEI in the strongest terms, urging indefinite suspension of the UAE from all endurance competition until the Dubai endurance community can remedy the horse welfare situation. Removal of the 2016 WEC from Dubai, and previous suspension of the UAE from FEI competitions has failed to make an impression on Dubai.

The entire letter can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/AERC_Letter_to_USEF_Jan_2017.jpg

The 4 years of documentation of the ongoing UAE controversy can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/

Six horses die on Dubai endurance rides in 22 days



Dubai Endurance Remains Problematic As DIEC Venue Reports Five Recent Deaths



UAE: FEI Endurance Rules Under Review Again Following More Horse Deaths

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

January 25, 2017
by: Pippa Cuckson

Two horses sustained catastrophic injuries in a 40km qualifier at Dubai international Endurance City (DIEC) on January 23rd, bringing the total to five deaths at this venue in three weeks, and six since its winter FEI programme recommenced in mid-December.

After three fatalities earlier this month, the FEI met organisers and officials in Dubai. The renewed suspension of rides mentioned by the FEI as a possibility before the talks took place has not eventuated.

Instead the FEI will continue to work with new management at the UAE national federation, while the FEI endurance committee will revisit topics such as age of horse and rider, who can often be younger and less experienced than riders in other regions. It will also look at the “elite rider” status which, unlike other equine risk sports, allows riders in that category to start in championship events on horses they have not ridden before, never mind qualified...

Read more here:
https://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/fei-endurance-rules-under-review-again-following-more-horse-deaths/

Dubai Endurance Remains Problematic As DIEC Venue Reports Five Recent Deaths



Six horses die on Dubai endurance rides in 22 days



Selling Souls


January 22 2017

UAE: Boudheib Initiative - 120km 2* CEI J/YR Presidents Cup a Success

January 22 2017

The last race in the Boudheib 3 day series of the Presidents Endurance Cup took place Saturday with the final of the 120km 2* CEI Junior Young Riders. Two rides take place within the one challenge using both the FEI rules and the Boudhieb Initative Best Endurance Challenge Award (BECA).

The BECA awards go to Magic Glenn All Dun ridden by Imke Lamsma from the Netherlands with an average speed of 15.602 and total points of 100.81. Magic Glenn is strained by Anzaq Mahmood from Al Maneyah Endurance Stables. Closely followed In 2nd place was Winca on 100.15 points, ridden by Ali Mohammad Al Hammadi and trained by Omar Rashid Al Jarwan from Al Nasr Endurance Stables and in 3rd position came A P Piton ridden by Shannon Cossor on 97.93 points - trained by Anzaq Mahmood from ABH Endurance.

The results are in for the FEI award going to Al Fatin in 1st place with an average speed of 18.750, ridden by Shaikh Hamad Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum trained at the M7 enduranece Stables. 2nd place goes to Tao Du Cavallon ridden by Hassan Jumaa Hassan Al Hamadi, trained by Abdul Kader Abdul Sattar from Al Maghaweer Stables and in 3rd place Willowmere Encore ridden by Ahmed Yousef Al Bloushi, trained by Tahnoun Ahmed Al Bloushi of Nad Al Sheba Stables.

For full details see: atrm-systems.fr


January 21 2017

UAE: Boudheib's Beginners Endurance Rides

Boudheib Initiative Endurance

January 20 2017

Today Boudheib Endurance Village saw the start of yet another initiative endorsed by H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Boudheib Academy for young Emirati students launched the first in what is to be a series of 'beginners endurance rides'. The course was set for 12km consisting of 2 loops with a vet check at the 6km stage. The young riders, ranging from 10 to 18 years of age, were charged with saddling their own mounts before setting off in 3 staggered groups at only walk and trot (cantering would amount to disqualification), frequent essential water stops along the way and attending to their horses needs at the finish (no grooms participation allowed).

The ride has been a resounding success, no disqualifications, and a fine time was had by all. On completion one young rider, when asked if he'd enjoyed it said 'it was perfect!". A great experience that these future endurance stars will remember for the rest of their lives and at the same time understanding the respect for their partner, the horse!!

Huge thanks go to Boudheib Academy trainer Kieran Treacey for the care and energy that he put into creating this event and the welfare of both his students and horses - congratulations Kieran.


January 16 2017

FEI imposes two year suspension in endurance case

Inside.FEI.org

16 Jan 2017

The FEI Tribunal has issued its Final Decision in the case involving Dr Pasha Syed Kamaal (IND), identified as support personnel in the 2012 equine anti-doping case of Glenmorgan (FEI ID UAE40813).

Samples taken from the horse, which was ridden by HH Sheik Hazza bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE) in the CEI3* 160 km at Al Wathba (UAE) on 10 February 2012, returned positive for the Banned Substance Propoxyphene, an opioid analgaesic, and its metabolite Norpropoxyphene.

In its Final Decision, the FEI Tribunal has imposed a two-year suspension on Dr Kamaal as a member of the Support Personnel, in accordance with Article 169 of the FEI General Regulations and Article 10 of the Equine Anti-Doping Rules. The period of Provisional Suspension, effective from 16 November 2015, has been credited against the period of ineligibility, meaning that Dr Kamaal will be ineligible through to 15 November 2017.

The Tribunal also imposed a fine of CHF 2,500 and costs of CHF 1,000.

Dr Kamaal has 30 days from the date of notification (13 January 2017) to appeal the decision to the CAS.

The FEI Tribunal had previously imposed a 27-month suspension on HH Sheik Hazza as the Person Responsible. This was reduced to 18 months on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), although the CAS upheld the FEI’s principle of strict liability in the application of its equine anti-doping rules. During the FEI Tribunal and CAS proceedings, Dr Kamaal stated that he had administered the product Fustex to the horse the night before the event. Fustex contains Propoxyphene, although it is not listed as an ingredient.

Following the original case, the FEI issued a communique to stakeholders in July 2015 urging caution over the use of Fustex, an Argentinian product used to promote muscle growth. The communique stated that lack of knowledge regarding the ingredients of Fustex would not be a valid excuse in any equine anti-doping procedures.

Further details on the case can be found here.

Endurance UAE - Good, Bad, and Ugly

Grandprix-replay.com - Full Article

16 January - 10h09 | Lulu Kyriacou

Endurance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to make equestrian headlines this week although not only for bad reasons. Although the FEI will be holding urgent talks with the UAE endurance organisers this coming week there was also a lengthy statement from 4* judge Francois Kerboul in support of Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Boudhieb Endurance Challenge which is aiming to change the current face of the sport within the Arabic nations.

In total three horses were listed as catastrophically injured during the recent Maktoum Cup meeting at the Dubai Endurance International City, the venue that was deposed as hosts for the 2016 World Championships when horse welfare could not be guaranteed according to the FEI. Since then a further sanction preventing international competition was imposed on the venue and the Maktoum Cup Festival of Endurance was the first CEI 160 to be held after this sanction was lifted. Another horse died during that race, making four at the venue in total and five in the Dubai area in the last three months. According to endurance expert Pippa Cuckson in her latest column for Horse Canada, the FEI are looking into improvements in training regimes as all four of the horses died on the first loop of the rides, leading to a suggestion that the horses may already have been suffering from pre-existing conditions caused by training techniques. It is also just as possible that these sort of injuries are caused by incidents during the mass starts of dozens of horse and it must be asked why the FEI are entering into what amounts to speculation on incidents that are not exactly a rarity.

A spokesperson for the FEI told Cuckson that "The catastrophic injuries that have occurred this season have all been in the first loop, so it suggests that these are pre-existing fractures and that there is a serious issue with training techniques. Data from all events, including national fixtures, is being fed into the Global Endurance Injuries Study (GEIS) and Equi-ratings is also providing the FEI with statistics for surveillance and monitoring.

“The FEI will continue to work closely with the new management at the Emirates Equestrian Federation and a strong course of action will be agreed upon depending on the outcome of these meetings, including a requirement for reduced speeds and heart rates, shorter presentation times to enforce slower speeds and/or potential suspension of CEIs in the calendar.”

​All about the money?

Unfortunately, the FEI can do little to stop large amounts of foreign riders accepting invitations to compete, many of whom are no doubt lured by the €25'000 guaranteed prize money just for completing...

Read more here:
http://www.grandprix-replay.com/uk/article/4359/endurance-uae-good-bad-and-ugly


January 14 2017

BOUDHEIB ENDURANCE HAS DEVELOPED ITSELF AND CARRIES ON

THE NEED FOR COMMUNICATION

After more than one year of existence, the necessity of building a structured communication network has become obvious to convey what is happening in Bouthib.

We have seen and we know that names and designations are not always easily transcribed from one language to another, mainly when different alphabets having nothing in common are concerned (in this case the Arab characters and the Latin ones with English phonetic predominance). This is why the spelling fluctuates between Bouthieb, Boutheib, Bouthib or even Bou Thib according the transcribers' will more or less phonetically right. But if you really wish to communicate, you have to decide which spelling is suitable and stick to it. This is why Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan has decided that, from now on, the right spelling in English is "Boudheib", which phonetically speaking is the nearest possible way to write it in English.

Then a logo was created to clearly identify the Organizing Committee and avoid calling it "the one of Bouthieb" or "the organization of Bouthieb", etc.

The official logo of Boudheib Endurance

"Boudheib Endurance" has become the official name of the entity managing and promoting the innovations taking place in Boudheib.

The Bouthieb Protocol has become the "Boudheib Endurance Challenge Award" or "BECA".

But orthography and a name are certainly not enough. Communication is more demanding, otherwise nothing or almost nothing of what one does has a true existence in the eyes of others. Of course, the articles written and distributed throughout the world, with the multiple developments it generates are an efficient means, but it does not replace the other media anchor which penalized the action.

It has now been done with the opening of a Facebook page ("Boudheib Initiative") and a website to come soon (www.boudheib.ae). This website will broadcast the live results of the events taking place in BIEV (official abbreviation of "Boudheib International Endurance Village"), situated among the dunes, next to Al Khatim in the center of Abu Dhabi. These results are at present exclusively broadcasted through the ATRM website which has a worldwide extent and shares the diffusion of the Boudheib Endurance events and will continue doing so.

Being aware that images have a tremendous power on the public, Boudheib Endurance has decided to have the BIEV events broadcasted on a live mode. Broadcasting live by streaming on Internet was preferred to the "traditional" TV process which is heavier to handle, more expensive and has less geographical extent than what the Internet network easily provides. The rides of January 5th and 6th 2017 were a successful test of that mode.

Read the full article here

François Kerboul
FEI 4* Judge, TD & CD
Architect dplg 13 01 2017


January 13 2017

UAE: More Horses Die During Dubai Endurance Rides

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

January 12, 2017
by: Pippa Cuckson

Four horse fatalities in three rides have put endurance organisers in Dubai under threat of further disaffiliation from FEI competition.

Urgent meetings will take place in Dubai next week, where the FEI is expected to insist on tougher measures to reduce high speeds. Two of the four horses died in a single ladies’ ride on January 4th, both from the same barn. The FEI has also taken the unprecedented step of suggesting the fatalities could result from pre-existing fractures due to training techniques.

All four catastrophic injuries occurred at Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai International Endurance City on December 12th, January 4th and January 7th. DIEC had only started staging FEI rides again in December, after the FEI imposed a seven-month moratorium on considering schedules for any type of event from DIEC. Last April, the FEI also removed the 2016 world championship event from DIEC, on the grounds that “horse welfare could not be guaranteed.”

A FEI spokesman said: “The FEI is extremely concerned that there have been a number of in-competition endurance fatalities in the UAE this season and has put in place a series of urgent high level meetings in Dubai next week to discuss the current issues...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/more-horses-die-during-dubai-endurance-rides/


January 7 2017

Shut it Down. Right Now.

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | January 6, 2017

If you want just a glimmer of understanding about what officials are up against in UAE endurance, watch this interview during a FEI ride at Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) on Wednesday (January 4th).

[video]

It’s nine minutes of hysterics in both senses, from the shrillness of the discussion to the content which would be hilarious if it not so serious. It is a snapshot of the institutionalised disrespect for sporting authority in that region. It is also just a tiny component of the overwhelming evidence that, despite efforts to reform in recent years, desert racing has no business whatsoever sitting alongside properly regulated disciplines within the FEI family.

I have never seen anything like this shouting match between a TV presenter – from endurance specialists YAS Sport – and a senior judge in my 35 years reporting top level equestrianism. You’d almost be forgiven for thinking the cheaters are somehow the injured parties.

Hats off to the ground jury president for valiantly standing his ground regarding the process of fair play, horse welfare, and that he can’t know about rule-breaking that does not happen in front of his own eyes if he is not told about it – endurance isn’t exactly a contained arena sport!

The topic is less significant than the anarchic attitude, though this spat happened to be about ear-plugs, banned under FEI rules since January 2016. Their routine use, in tandem with extreme blinders, is a symptom of shoddy preparation. The trainers need another way to cocoon novice horses from the chaos of a mass start where they may be knocked about by other equally inexperienced horses piloted by people of limited skill.

Some readers may recall the picture that went viral after the 2015 President’s Cup, of the horse wearing taped-shut blinders and earplugs. He turned out to be one of the 500-odd “starters” in the “phantom rides” scandal. He was not, in reality, qualified to start the 160km President’s Cup. For all we know, that was his first ride ever.

The ear-plug ban is yet another FEI rule of which participants claim to be either unaware, notwithstanding their status as “professional” trainers at the premier UAE barns, or aware but proud to ignore. At this far from lady-like ladies’ ride at DIEC, the YAS presenter is claiming trainers cheerfully admitted to sending out horses in ear-plugs (also referred to as “blocks”). Yet, incredibly, the trainers reckon it’s the ground jury, not the trainers, who are at fault for catching and punishing some of the ear-pluggers, but not the others!...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/shut-it-down-right-now/


January 6 2017

Endurance - Log In! 'Boudheib Initiative' joins facebook

Endurance riders & horses enjoying natural tracks through the UAE's forestry reserves, unique to Boudheib.

4.1.2017

We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Boudheib Initiative facebook page.

Join us in our cause for the 'welfare of the endurance horse' and returning the sport of endurance back to its origins.

For results, debate, rules, events live streaming, current topical conferences, protocol issues & ideas and lots more besides. See you online.

Happy New Year from His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and all of us at the Boudheib Initiative team.

www.boudheib.ae (arriving soon)


January 6 2017

Dubai: Dead horses at a distance race - St-georg.de


January 5 2017

LADIES RACE KILLS TWO MORE HORSES - Grandprix-replay.com


October 3 2016

Equestrian Australia Pens Letter to FEI Regarding Slovakia WEC

October 3 2016

Equestrian Australia has sent the attached letter to the FEI, on behalf of the EA Endurance Committee, following on from the running of the World Endurance Championships.

The letter offers suggestions for ways that completion rates for Championship events can be increased, and the level of horse welfare improved.

They include compulsory walk in/walk out water points on each loop to slow horses down and let them catch their breath a bit; institute lower heart rate and recovery times on flat courses; and encourage more technical courses requiring more horsemanship.

The full letter can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/Oct2016AustraliaLetter.pdf


September 26 2016

AERC President and AERC International Committee Chair Pen Letter Regarding Slovakia WEC

September 26 2016

AERC President Michael Campbell, and chair of AERC's International Committee Dr Meg Sleeper, have written a letter in response to the recent World Endurance Championship in Slovakia.

Addressed to USEF's President, Chrystine Tauber, Campbell and Sleeper express their great disappointment at both the outcome of the WEC - a needless equine fatality, and numerous eliminating due to over-riding - and at FEI's appearing to initially "spin" a story about the breakdown, instead of stating what happened.

AERC "is very concerned about ongoing abuses in international endurance riding" and requests several recommendations be forwarded to FEI, including designing championship courses with technical variations, instead of flat for speed only; continued stringent drug testing, including sensitivity tests on horses' legs to detect nerve blocking agents; more emphasis on the goal of "fit to continue"; crewing on trail should be drastically reduced or eliminated all together; significantly increased and serious suspensions for stables, owners, trainers, and riders whose horses have been metabolically compromised from over-riding.

While veterinary standards and rules appear to have improved over the past year, events at the 2016 WEC show there is still a long way to go with horse welfare in FEI endurance events.

The full letter can be read here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/USEFLetSept2016.pdf


September 23 2016

INVESTIGATION INTO UAE DEAD HORSE DUMPING



Was fatally injured endurance horse taken to livestock crematorium?

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
18:46 - 23 September, 2016

The FEI’s equestrian community integrity unit is to investigate allegations that the body of Ajayeb, the mare who broke a leg at the world endurance championships at Samorin, Slovakia, was diverted to a livestock crematorium instead of being taken directly to a pathology lab for her compulsory autopsy.

The FEI ordered the investigation on Friday afternoon after hearing allegations that Ajayeb, the ride of UAE team member Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, was traced to the crematorium by vets suspicious about her whereabouts..

As part of tougher rules for endurance imposed in 2014, the FEI has insisted autopsies be held for all at-competition fatalities...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/was-fatally-injured-world-endurance-championships-horse-ajayeb-taken-to-livestock-crematorium-598436#RRRkkqVcVF1KddKY.99


September 19 2016

UAE Endurance: The Shameful Saga Continues

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 19, 2016

Hands-up anyone who seriously thought the UAE would be on best/better behaviour at Saturday’s world endurance championship (WEC) ride in Samorin, Slovakia?

Having learned nothing whatsoever from the litany of criticism, FEI suspensions and legal agreements, the UAE delivered even worse results than at WEG 2014 and managed to kill their stable star. Not one individual got round by using their trademark burn-out strategy.

Yet all were mounted on seasoned troopers, some prepped by their trainer-mentor Juma Punti Dachs, who steamed through to take two WEC golds for his native Spain with Twyst Maison Blanche. The defending champion Sheikh Hamdan went out for lameness at gate 4 having led with Ramaah.

Only 47 finished out of a field of 134. The sport should be ashamed by both the 35% completion rate and that the provisional first three were eventually ruled out, two for lameness and one for metabolics. Two were Emiratis, one a Uruguayan, another nation fixated on the racing-style sport.

There was some good riding but the overall picture was dire. At Rio, experienced Paralympic dressage rider Philippa Johnson-Dwyer was eliminated for a small spur mark on her horse’s flanks under the blood rules. Philippa lost the use of an arm and has spinal injuries, so any tiny abrasion could possibly have been caused by a totally understandable momentary loss of balance on her part. Yet at a world title endurance ride, for every sympathetic rider you’ll see another that has barely mastered rising trot yet is permitted to crash along for 100 miles hanging on to a mouthful of hardware that would shame the Spanish Inquisition. But then again, large numbers of the public are less likely to watch endurance than an arena sport on TV like dressage: silly me.

The UAE also lost Ajayeb, ride of Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum. Ajayeb sustained an open fracture of the cannon bone, the sort seen too often in the desert rides. To add to the catastrophe, witnesses tell me that Ajayeb broke free from a makeshift screen made of sheets and tried to run on three legs after her companions whose riders had continued on their way. She had been up with the front-runners in loops 1, 2 and 3.

Ajayeb was clearly a very special robot who has been passed round the wider Maktoum clan so they can all win something big. Yamamah, winner of WEG 2014, is a previous holder of this dubious honour. Ajayeb won the 2015 Europeans, also at Samorin under Punti Dachs. In January she won Dubai’s most prestigious ride, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup under Sheikh Hamdan...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/uae-endurance-the-shameful-saga-continues/?utm_source=Enews+Sept+19%2C+2016&utm_campaign=EnewsSept192016&utm_medium=email

‘A very tough day’: horse dies at world endurance championships

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Rachael Turner
11:58 - 19 September, 2016

A horse has been put down at the FEI world endurance championships at the weekend (15-18 September).

Ajayeb, ridden by UAE rider Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, tripped and fell on the fourth loop of the 160km track in Samorin, Slovakia.

The 15-year-old chestnut mare suffered “an irreparable leg injury” to her off fore and had to be put down.

“It was a very tough day”, said Spanish rider Jaume Punti Dachs, who took team and individual gold at the competition.

“There were magnificent horses in front of me, but endurance sometimes happens like this. You do everything right and then something goes wrong. It’s like life..."

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/tough-day-horse-dies-world-endurance-championships-597513#162v67m4eM6Ub5Ox.99


June 15 2016

Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 Allocated to Slovakia

FEI.org

15 Jun 2016

The Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 will be held in Samorin (SVK) following a decision at yesterday’s FEI Bureau monthly teleconference meeting. A unanimous proposal from the FEI Endurance Committee recommending the Slovakian venue received the support of the full Bureau.

Three bids to host the Championships were received when the bid process was reopened in April of this year following the decision to reallocate the event. Also bidding were Fontainebleau (FRA) and San Rossore, Pisa (ITA), but the Bureau ruled that neither of these two venues were suitable due to concerns over welfare and safety. Both venues proposed mid-October dates, meaning that the rides would start and finish in the dark, potentially putting horses and riders at risk. There is also increased potential for heavy rain in these areas at that time of year.

Samorin Equestrian Centre, the brain-child of Slovakian businessman Mario Hoffmann, staged very successful FEI European Endurance Championships last year. The 2016 World Championships will run from 15-18 September, with the qualification period ending on 16 July.

The Championships had originally been allocated to Dubai and were scheduled to be held in December of this year, but at its spring in-person meeting on 6-7 April, the FEI Bureau voted to remove the Championships from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it felt that the UAE National Federation is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected.

“We were very happy to receive three bids and appreciate the willingness to support the FEI at such short notice for this year’s World Championships”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but the Bureau had no hesitation in opting for Samorin. Horse welfare has to be the most important element in the allocation of these major events and Samorin has a proven track record, having already run both the young horse and European Endurance Championships very successfully.

“The timing of the Championships was also important and, with the three bids all coming from Europe, the Bureau felt that a September date was more appropriate. Both Fontainebleau and San Rossore were proposing mid-October when the reduced daylight hours could potentially have an impact on safety. Safeguarding the safety and welfare of the equine and human athletes is our top priority in all our disciplines.”

Driving Championships

Additionally, the Bureau allocated the FEI World Driving Championships for Young Horses 2016 to Mezöhegyes (HUN). The Championships, which were reallocated following the withdrawal of original host venue, Conty (FRA), will run from 8-11 September.

Slovakia steps in to host FEI World Endurance Championships after Dubai's axing over horse welfare - Insidethegames.biz

Slovakia to host world endurance championships - Horsetalk.co.nz

2016 WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS ALLOCATED TO SLOVAKIA - Horse-canada.com


June 13 2016

Will the FEI break its own rules?

Fair-endurance.com - Full Article

June 9 2016

5. No NFs shall be allocated two (2) consecutive FEI World or FEI Continental Championships in the same Discipline for the same Category of Athletes, unless there are no other suitable applications.

How do you understand this point?

Option 1: No country is allowed to host 2 consecutive World Championships or 2 consecutive European Championships, right? If World Endurance Championship 2014 was held in France in Normandy, so, World Endurance Championship 2016 can’t be held in France again, right?

Option 2: Or can we interpet this point as “no country is allowed to host the Championships for 2 consecutive years”? If Samorin was the host of European Championship 2015, it can’t be the host of World Championship 2016, isn’t it?

As we know now, there are three bidders for the World Endurance Championship 2016: Fontainebleau (FRA), Samorin (SVK), San Rossore (ITA).

If we interpret the Article 106.5 in first supposed way, then Fontainebleau is ineligible, because in such case France will host two consecutive World Championships (2014 and 2016).

If we interpret the Article 106.5 in second supposed way, then Samorin is ineligible, because in such case the same venue will host the Championships for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016).

Both Fontainebleau and Samorin are ineligible, because we have another application from third bidder: San Rossore.

So, if the FEI Bureau will announce the new venue of WEC 2016 in Fontainebleau or Samorin, it will be the violation of own rules of the FEI...

Read more here:
http://fair-endurance.com/will-the-fei-break-its-own-rules/


June 3 2016

FEI announces two banned substance positives for UAE Riders

FEI.org

3 Jun 2016

The FEI has announced two adverse analytical findings involving prohibited substances.

Samples taken at the CEI1* in Doha (QAT) on 22 April 2016 from the winning horse Centurion, FEI ID 102RM71/QAT, ridden by Abdulla Mubarak Rashed Al Khaili, FEI ID 10076760/UAE, have returned positive for the banned substance human Erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is a banned substance under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs).

Samples taken at the same event from the horse SUR (Mabrouk), FEI ID UAE01796/QAT, ridden to second place by Mohd Butti Ghemran Al Qubaisi, FEI ID 10092584/UAE, also returned positive for human EPO.

EPO is a peptide hormone that is produced naturally in the body. It is released from the kidneys and acts on the bone marrow to stimulate red blood cell production. An increase in red blood cells improves the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry to the body’s muscles.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Rules, EPO has been banned as a performance enhancing substance for human athletes since the early 1990s, but a reliable testing method was not in place until 2000. EPO has been banned for equine use under the FEI’s EADCMRs since 2010.

“EPO is well known in human endurance sports in which an increased number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells is an advantage, but the substance has little benefit in equestrian sport and this is the first time we have seen FEI horses testing positive for EPO”, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “Horses have a large natural reserve of red blood cells stored in their spleen, and the use of EPO would actually have a negative effect in many horses as the increased level of red blood cells would slow down blood circulation.”

“Clean sport is a top priority for all governing bodies”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “and a key part of that is protecting our clean athletes. So we will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that there is no room in our sport for those who attempt to gain a competitive advantage through the use of prohibited substances.”

Both athletes have been provisionally suspended from the date of notification (2 June 2016). The two horses have also been provisionally suspended for a two-month period.

Further details on these cases can be found on this page.


April 25 2016

FEI suspend United Arab Emirates from equestrianism following spate of scandals

April 25 2016

A Facebook group, "Fair Endurance," for "Endurance riders, horses, trainers and owners of the horses," has created a petition on Change.org.

Countering the 6600-plus-signature petition that was started in February to remove the WEC from Dubai - which the FEI subsequently did - the Fair Endurance group, citing "FAIR PLAY FOR ATHLETES," initiated the petition to reinstate the 2016 FEI World Endurance Championship in Dubai as it was legally appointed by the FEI Bureau in December 2014. "Play sports, not politics!"

The petition further states:

On 7 April 2016 the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI - the International Federation for Equestrian Sports) suddenly cancels the 2016 World Endurance Championships in Dubai that was legally appointed in December 2014.

Read official statement of the FEI Bureau.

Two months ago the FEI and Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) made an agreement that established stricter conditions of all Endurance competitions in the UAE.

Trying to punish UAE riders, indeed the FEI punished all riders from all the world that come to the UAE to start in Endurance competitions.

SO FEI PLAYS POLITICS, NOT SPORTS!

We ask all equestrian people to sign this petition, because that agreement between FEI and EEF should be voided as illegal. Any amendments to the FEI Endurance Rules must be approved by all the National Federations at FEI General Assembly, not by separate agreement between FEI and EEF.

--------------------------------------------

We hereby petition the FEI to revoke the unwarranted and prejudicial ‘Final Exams Maximum Pulse between 56 and 60 bpm within 10 and 15 minutes’.

• These rules are not practical and affecting us as riders, negatively.

• We are unable to compete in such unfair situations, without achieving the goal of successfully finishing the ride.

• There is no level-playing field by implementing such stringent measures for the purpose of punishing any country or any region.

• FEI published Endurance Rules to be followed in all international competitions, Article: 814.1.5.5: “At the Final Inspection, the Maximum Pulse shall be 64 bpm within 30 minutes”.

Furthermore, we request the FEI to reinstate the FEI World Endurance Championships to take place from 10-17 December 2016 at the Dubai Equestrian Club (UAE).

If a different venue be chosen, we as riders will be affected because of the following reasons:

• Advancing the qualification dates and the event dates, will in turn put the pressure on riders and horses to qualify within such a short period.

• This will not give enough time to qualify the riders & horses, which is not fair.

• Training plans will have to be changed, based on the climatic conditions & track.

• Deciding the venue, just two or three months prior to the event, will affect horses results and welfare of horses will be of high concern.

• The terrain and climatic conditions will not be known until the 14 June 2016, for a high level championship happening in September/October 2016.

• Planning the budget is more crucial and now it is too late and almost impossible to find the money to prepare all arrangements for a different venue, which is still not known yet.

For more information see:
https://www.facebook.com/fairendurance/


April 13 2016

FEI suspend United Arab Emirates from equestrianism following spate of scandals

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Concerns over horse welfare, doping, the use of 'ringers’ and phantom races in the Middle East country lead to shock decision

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent
12 Mar 2015

World equestrianism’s governing body (FEI) took the dramatic step on Thursday of suspending the United Arab Emirates from the sport following scandals over horse welfare, doping, the use of 'ringers’ and phantom races.

The full ramifications of the FEI’s shock decision to exile the UAE federation and all its athletes in the discipline of endurance racing may not emerge for weeks, but Ingmar de Vos, FEI president, said that “indeterminate suspension“ was “the only option left” after UAE riders – many from stables owned by the ruling families of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Maktoums and the Nayhans – failed to reduce catastrophic horse injuries or adhere to FEI rules during their current winter season...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11468943/FEI-suspend-United-Arab-Emirates-from-equestrianism-following-spate-of-scandals.html


April 12 2016

US endurance body welcomes removal of world champs from UAE

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 12 April 2016

The removal of this year’s world endurance championships from the United Arab Emirates has been welcomed by the body that runs the discipline in the United States.

The event was to have been run in Dubai in mid-December, but the FEI Bureau decided to remove it amid a background of ongoing welfare concerns in the discipline in the region.

American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) president Michael Campbell said his organization was pleased the FEI had taken strong steps to ensure the welfare and safety of endurance horses by moving the event from Dubai to another venue.

“AERC understands that this is a painful lesson for Dubai, but we believe it serves the best interests of endurance riding worldwide,” he said...

Read more at: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/04/12/us-endurance-body-world-champs-uae/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare#axzz45gas5DOi


April 10 2016

Does a 2016 WEC Serve Anyones Best Interest?

Awarewelfare.net - Full Article

by John Crandell
April 9 2016

Many of the worlds equestrian enthusiasts are heartened by the FEI’s recent withdrawal of its 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) from Dubai. Before we emotionally declare a victory and hurry to re-organize a WEC in another location, some objective consideration of the current state of international endurance racing is in order. There is a lot to be gained or lost for the discipline hinged on just how we proceed.

This is a moment of great opportunity. It’s a chance to do much more than simply put the discipline back on the same tracks from which it has been derailed. We have a delicate moment here to create a fundamental shift in the guidance of international endurance racing. If we act with wise conviction now, we can ensure that the dysfunctions of the recent past cannot return, and secure an enduring future for the discipline...

Read more here:
https://awarewelfare.net/2016/04/09/does-a-2016-wec-serve-anyones-best-interest/


April 9 2016

AERC Responds to FEI Decision to Remove the World Endurance Championships from UAE

AUBURN, California – April 9, 2016

As the governing body for endurance sport in the United States, the American Endurance Ride Conference has long been a proponent for fair play and a custodian of horse welfare in endurance sports worldwide. In the past year, the AERC has been a vocal supporter of the FEI’s sanctions against the UAE, proactively leading the condemnation of widespread violations in the UAE.

AERC’s Board of Directors and the AERC International Committee have been united with their 5,000 members across the U.S. and Canada in expressing their outrage at the cheating and abuse at many rides in FEI’s Region VII, while praising those ride managers and riders who uphold the strict standards that are the norm for the sport around the globe.

Today AERC President Michael Campbell issued a statement, speaking on behalf of the organization in response to the FEI’s decision to remove the World Endurance Championships, originally scheduled for December 2016, from the UAE and to reopen the bidding process for the event.

“AERC is pleased to note that the FEI has taken strong steps to insure the welfare and safety of endurance horses by rescheduling the World Endurance Championship 2016 from Dubai to another venue. AERC understands that this is a painful lesson for Dubai, but we believe it serves the best interests of endurance riding worldwide. AERC further applauds the United States Equestrian Federation in accurately relaying the sentiments of American riders to the FEI. AERC joins other countries throughout the world in expressing gratitude to FEI for taking this courageous and considered action. FEI President Ingmar De Vos received a petition that was circulated worldwide and included over 6500 signatories from riders, trainers and owners from dozens of countries recommending this action. FEI listened to the outraged cries from around the world and responded appropriately.”

The AERC will continue to monitor the situation and keep members apprised of developments.

About the AERC

In addition to promoting the sport of endurance riding, the AERC encourages the use, protection, and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historic significance. Many special events of four to six consecutive days take place over historic trails, such as the Pony Express Trail, the Outlaw Trail, the Chief Joseph Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The founding ride of endurance riding, the Western States Trail Ride or Tevis Cup, covers 100 miles of the famous Western States and Immigrant Trails over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These rides promote awareness of the importance of trail preservation for future generations and foster an appreciation of our American heritage.

The American Endurance Ride Conference, established in 1972, is headquartered in Auburn, California, “The Endurance Capital of the World.” For more information please visit us at www.aerc.org.


April 8 2016

World endurance championships: The UAE vets out

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 8 April 2016

The Emirates Equestrian Federation will undoubtedly be distressed that its plans to host the World Endurance Championships in Dubai this December have been scuppered by the FEI Bureau.

The bureau, meeting in Switzerland this week, decided that the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) still had welfare concerns in endurance that needed to be resolved before it could host the event.

Or, to frame it in the bureau’s own words: “The FEI Bureau is of the opinion that the UAE national federation is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected at an FEI World Endurance Championship in the UAE this year.”

Stripping a world championships from a nation in such circumstances is a pretty big deal, and I don’t doubt that the Emirates Equestrian Federation will be smarting from the news for some time.

The event had been under a cloud over welfare concerns in the sport in the UAE for a while, and in recent weeks several strong endurance nations signalled that they were unlikely to go if was held in the country...

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/04/08/world-endurance-championships-uae-vets-out/#ixzz45FLjgbN6


April 8-10 2016

2016 World Endurance Championships Removed From UAE

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 8 April 2016

The Emirates Equestrian Federation will undoubtedly be distressed that its plans to host the World Endurance Championships in Dubai this December have been scuppered by the FEI Bureau.

The bureau, meeting in Switzerland this week, decided that the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) still had welfare concerns in endurance that needed to be resolved before it could host the event.

Or, to frame it in the bureau’s own words: “The FEI Bureau is of the opinion that the UAE national federation is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected at an FEI World Endurance Championship in the UAE this year.”

Read more:
http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/04/08/world-endurance-championships-uae-vets-out/#ixzz45YdRtMvl

UAE stripped of endurance worlds over horse welfare concern - Centredaily.com



UAE loses event over horse welfare concern - Toledoblade.com



UAE stripped of endurance worlds over horse welfare concern - Dailymail.co.uk



UAE NO LONGER HOSTS THE WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS AFTER FEI DECISION - Equnews.com



United Arab Emirates stripped of world endurance championships - Horsetalk.co.nz



Dubai stripped of World Endurance Championships - Horseandhound.co.uk



UAE stripped of endurance worlds over horse welfare concern - Newsobserver.com



UAE stripped of endurance worlds over horse welfare concern - NZHerald.co.nz



International Equestrian Federation strips UAE of World Championship over horse welfare concerns - Insidethegames.biz



WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS REMOVED FROM DUBAI - Horse-canada.com



Equestrian: UAE stripped of world endurance event over horse abuse - Globalpost.com



UAE stripped of endurance worlds over horse welfare concern - Valdostadailytimes.com



UAE STRIPPED OF WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS OVER HORSE ABUSE


April 7 2016

2016 World Endurance Championships Removed From UAE

April 7 2016

At the FEI in-person Bureau meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 7, 2016, the FEI made a key decision regarding endurance and the UAE.

From the report:

The FEI Bureau acknowledged the efforts that have been made by the United Arab Emirates National Federation (UAE NF) in Endurance since the reinstatement of the National Federation in July 2015. However, despite the hard work and progress to date, the FEI Bureau is of the opinion that the UAE NF is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected at an FEI World Endurance Championship in the UAE this year.

As a result, the Bureau decided to remove the FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 from the UAE. The Championships, which were scheduled to take place from 10-17 December 2016 at the Dubai International Equestrian Centre (DEC), were originally allocated to the EEF by the Bureau in December 2014.

The bid process will now be reopened to find a replacement venue outside the UAE for the Championships. The deadline for receipt of bids is 18 May and the allocation to a new host will be made during the Bureau teleconference on 14 June. It is expected that the Championships will now take place in September or October, so the qualifying period will be moved back by two months and results starting from October 2014, instead of December 2015, will now count for qualification. At the same time, there was also unanimous agreement among the Bureau Members that rule breaches are absolutely unacceptable and that the FEI must work even more closely with the UAE NF to guarantee the National Federation’s full implementation of FEI Rules and Regulations as well as on the July 2015 agreement which will guarantee the welfare of the horse in National and International events. Additionally, and until further notice, the FEI will not sanction any events organised by the DEC.

The full FEI report can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/FEI_Bureau_7 April_2016_report.pdf


April 4 2016

New Fair Play of the FEI

Equestrian.center - Full Article

28 March 2016
Equestrian.Center

CEI 3* 140 WAS CANCELLED IN DUBAI ON 19 MARCH 2016 Exclusive Story About What Happens Behind This Cancellation

Dubai International Endurance City hosts big event that brings the curtains down on Dubai’s endurance season – Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup.

As you may know, during last month there were some tensions between FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) and EEF (Emirates Equestrian Federation).

After the juniors and young riders 120 km ride that was held in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi on 30 January, where “gross offenses” have occurred, FEI suspended remaining CEI rides in UAE until EEF to set an agreement on the proposed measures, with the caveat that no further events would be held in the region until agreement on these measures had been reached.

So, FEI decided to punish UAE riders by doing this. On 13 February FEI and EEF were set this agreement that contains twelve approved measures, which will be applied for the rest of the UAE Endurance season.

Among those 12 measures there are two significant changes:
3. Heart rate presentation times reduced to between 56 and 60 bpm for all loops in one-star competitions, and in the final loop for two- and three-star CEIs and CENs.

4. Recovery time reduced to between 10 and 15 minutes for all loops in one-star and in the final loop for two-and three-star CEIs and CENs.

Again, these restrictions were set to slow down UAE riders. But overseas riders and horses, that arrived to UAE just a week before the date of start, are never raced with such fast speeds.

Long flight from Europe, America and other continents to UAE, sharp change of climate and very hot temperature are the great stress for overseas horses. Their goal are not to race with a speed of 30-35 km/h, their goal are just to successfully finish in competing against the new terrain, hot temperature and unusual climate without having an enough time for acclimatization.

So, these new restrictions should not be applied to invited overseas riders and horses, competing in UAE. Overseas riders are just guests. They are not even trying to chase for local riders because they know it is just impossible to finish with a speed that they never show in Europe and other continents...

Read more here:
http://equestrian.center/fei/new-fair-play-of-the-fei/


April 3 2016

Endurance: How Much Longer Can the FEI String Out the Agony?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | April 1, 2016

An occupational hazard of journalism is that when you ask a tricky question of a governing body, the answer often bears no resemblance to the points raised. Quite a few of us compare notes, and frequently receive identical replies even when we have all asked quite different questions. Needless to say, this applies especially to endurance in the Middle East.

There is still considerable speculation about what really went on at Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) on March 19th. If even half of what I have heard from normally reliable sources is true, surely this time the UAE has behaved badly enough to be suspended indefinitely (though that would be a tough call on Bouthieb, and might be complicating any such decision) and for DIEC to be stripped of the world endurance championship in December.

The petition calling for the world championships to be moved, by the way, has now reached 5,632 signatures; pretty good for a niche interest area.

Worryingly though, the FEI does seem to be giving the UAE federation (EEF) an increasingly amount of latitude, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of its endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/uae-endurance-how-much-longer-can-the-fei-string-out-the-agony/


April 1 2016

UAE: Bouthieb 2015 - 2016: The unbelievable season

Full piece with photos archived at http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/

Bouthieb 2015 - 2016: The unbelievable season

A noticeable impact

In HH Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan's very words, what has been achieved in the Bouthieb Endurance Village (Abu Dhabi, UAE) is simply "unbelievable". Clearly he did not expect such a result in one single season, same as those around him who put all their energy into the project. At Bouthieb, indeed, endurance has changed course and what the FEI has called the "Bouthieb Protocol" has travelled around the world.

The FEI itself has used this project to impose similar rules on the country. It is yet only partially successful, but the FEI has not said its last word. The off-season (April to October) will clearly be exploited to reach further agreements and obtain full satisfaction.

The winners of these new rules are certainly the horses. The number of horses in health care has dropped dramatically throughout the season in Bouthieb. This rate has reached unprecedented low levels and the last day was like the first when the new rules were enforced: an empty clinic with rare and short appearances of horses. This is a direct consequence of the new rules implemented and it was also one of their goals. The saturated Bouthieb Clinic with buildings surrounded by horses that must be treated outside because there is no more space available is now an old and sad memory.

In Bouthieb, it was shown that by rolling up one's sleeves, one could, with simple but sensible ideas, do what some people around the world had decided to believe impossible, namely, change the game and return to the path of a healthy sport in the UAE with horses as respected partners.

Manuel Bandeira de Mello, head of the FEI endurance department, was present in person for the last session which was held from March 7th to 13th. He could see, appreciate and analyze by himself the progress made in Bouthieb. He was obviously pleased to see the strong commitment of Sh. Sultan, without whom this would have been impossible. His approach is to move positively rather than the contrary. Too many people tend to expect the opposite of the FEI. Being poorly informed and seeing the situation from too far away they have a distorted understanding of a locally complex situation which, obviously, does not prevent them from having a severe and always negative opinion - with few exceptions-.

The number of riders of the National Federation of the UAE (EEF) represents 10.8% (or 957) of all the FEI riders in the world. This places it in the 2nd position after France which accounts for 22.7% (or 2,012 riders). What happens there is therefore neither insignificant nor without an impact on the entire discipline and we understand why the FEI takes particular care in having endurance properly performed there. Therefore Bouthieb is in this sense a new, positive and indispensable ally in this regard.

Flawless support

March 13th 2016 was the last day of the 2015 - 2016 season in Bouthieb. It was the day of the arrival of the CEI 3* 240 km in 3 days which was the main event of the 10th "Sh Sultan's Equestrian Festival".

Full Article here


March 30 2016

UAE Endurance: The real-life soap opera continues

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 30 March 2016

Television soap operas are a pretty poor substitute for the ongoing dramas we have seen unfolding in endurance in the United Arab Emirates.

In the latest gripping episode, we are left second-guessing events that unfolded around the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup, raced over 120km on March 19.

The FEI has said precious little about it, which has left the endurance community pondering whether a great deal of trouble is brewing or whether the FEI has its head buried in the desert sand.

My personal view is that another endurance storm is looming, and it could well blow up in the next few days.

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/03/30/uae-endurance-soap-opera/#ixzz44OqrjqqT

More Endurance Deaths in UAE?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

March 29, 2016
by: Horse-Canada.com

Three closely-spaced endurance rides in March at Dubai International Endurance City in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw at least two suspected and unreported horse deaths, and the downgrading of a scheduled CEI*** to a CEN, likely to avoid the FEI’s strict new measures regarding endurance.

Endurance racing in the UAE had been suspended earlier this year over continued concerns of horse welfare, including several equine deaths and video evidence of multiple cases of horse abuse. The FEI permitted the sport to resume under the FEI banner after the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) agreed to 12 welfare measures.

Despite the agreement, however, the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup held on March 19th was downgraded to a national event, but had previously been listed on the FEI calendar as a CEI*** and a qualifying event for the 2016 World Endurance Championship hosted by Dubai this December. The FEI does not have jurisdiction over national competitions...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/more-endurance-deaths-in-uae/


March 22 2016

UAE endurance: Gauging the depth of frustration

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 22 March 2016

Petitions have been a time-honored way to highlight a cause, and the one that seeks to have this year’s World Endurance Championships moved from the United Arab Emirates has certainly done that.

Petitions can be treated purely as a numbers game, but the internet has changed the terrain somewhat.

What constitutes a good number of signatures on a petition about an equestrian discipline that is little known outside the horse world? A thousand? Two thousand? Fifty thousand?

Who knows? The Change.org petition that targets the Dubai event had 5385 at the time of writing, which I would suggest is a solid show of support, indeed, for a sport with a modest international profile.

The first tranche of 4000 online signatures went to FEI President Ingmar De Vos on February 10.

For me, the comments posted by the mix of individuals who signed the petition provide valuable insight into the prevailing views on this matter.

One hopes that De Vos and the FEI’s endurance chiefs have taken the time to read the responses, for they paint a picture of a very angry horse community...

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/03/22/uae-endurance-depth-frustration/#ixzz43eAU49lR


March 14 2016

Endurance: Tales from the FEI’s X-Files

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 14 March 2016

Many years ago, when I was at the bottom of the pecking order in a newsroom, it was my job to sort the morning mail and distribute it to the reporters.

I worked with a lovely woman named Gaynor Loriman. Every month or so, Gaynor received a mailed newsletter from the South Korean embassy in New Zealand. It was addressed to Gay Nor Fori Mar.

Years later, when I was picture editor at another newspaper, I got my very own letter from the Korean embassy. In the days before digital pictures, they had kindly sent me an updated head-and-shoulders file photograph of their beloved president. I opened the cardboard cylinder and pulled out a poster, measuring 1 metre by 1.5 metres.

This is the same nation that went on to give us Psy and Gangnam Style. That, I guess, is just how the quirky South Koreans roll.

I have been pondering these past few days about how the FEI rolls, as we digest the two FEI Tribunal decisions relating to the series of rides in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which the results inexplicably mirrored those of previous races...

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/03/14/endurance-tales-fei-x-files/#ixzz42tRCANmz


March 13 2016

Endurance in UAE has outpaced skills of trainers and riders, expert suggests

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 13 March 2016

Endurance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has grown faster than the skills of trainers and riders, an American specialist in the discipline who once worked as a trainer in the region told an international conference.

Emmett Ross told delegates to the inaugural International Bou Thieb Endurance Conference of the need for education to further the sport in the region.

Ross is a past chef d’equipe to the US Endurance Team and is shortly to take on the organization of the endurance section for the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Bromont, Canada.

Ross suggested that the intense pressure to win from many owners and the high levels of prize money had given rise to many of the region’s problems...

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/03/13/endurance-uae-outpaced-trainers-riders-expert/#ixzz42ndpjafN


March 11 2016

UAE Suspensions: Return of the Bogi

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 11, 2016

News that Dr Hallvard Sommerseth has been suspended for a mere two years for his role in the submission of over 500 sets of bogus endurance results to the FEI makes you wonder exactly what heinous crime a senior figure in global equestrianism has to commit to get the possible lifetime FEI ban for fraud. I guess that holding up the FEI accounts department and demanding all the Longines money would result in little more than polite escort from the King Hussein building and a nice box of Swiss chocolates to eat on the way home.

Abdul Aziz Mohammed Yasin Sheikh, head of the endurance department at the UAE federation, is also suspended for just 18 months for his part in this fiasco. Both will also have to re-qualify as four-star judges before they are allowed to officiate again. Well, that’s an extra bummer for them – not.

To introduce some much needed levity when unravelling the Bogus Rides scam 12 months ago, my plucky helpers christened the perpetrators “the Bogi.”

Well, it looks like the Bogi will return soon. As they receive credit for time served already, Sommerseth can return to judging next year. He has no doubt been able to claim back his derisory 4,000 Swiss francs fine as a business expense from his employers...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/return-of-the-bogi/

2 UAE equestrian officials banned in endurance race scandal - KentuckyNewEra.com



FEI Tribunal Issues Decisions in UAE Endurance Cases - Thehorse.com



UAE rider’s ban extended over breaches of suspension - Horsetalk.co.nz



FEI Tribunal rules against two officials in UAE endurance scandal - Horsetalk.co.nz



Boudheib Endurance Rules Put Welfare of the Horse First

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

"Reform or stop, no compromise," said HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

11 March, 2016, Abu Dhabi ~ The 1st International Boudhieb Endurance Conference was held on 10 March, 2016 outside Abu Dhabi at the Boudhieb Endurance Village. Disrupted by extraordinary storms and a deluge of rain, the 1st International Endurance Seminar had to be postponed for a day, but this did not stop participants and guests from enjoying a most interesting and thought provoking event which set out to discuss and expand on what has become to be known as the Boudhieb Rules.

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nayhanthe moving spirit for not only the Conference but also for the Boudhieb Rules was present throughout, and he was delighted by the attendance and appreciated the strong support his ideas received from the speakers and guests.

The Boudhieb Rules have sparked an intense debate both Nationally and Internationally about the meaning of endurance, whether the long distance flat races run against the clock as seen in UAE can legitimately be called endurance or whether other criteria which ensure the welfare of the horse are not more relevant to the spirit of the sport. For His Highness there is no doubt and the Boudhieb Rules reflect his ideals. He issued an ultimatum, “Reform or stop – no compromise...”

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/boudheib-endurance-rules-put-welfare-of-the-horse-first/

FEI Tribunal publishes decisions in UAE Endurance cases

FEI.org

11 Mar 2016

The FEI Tribunal has this week published decisions in three Endurance cases in the United Arab Emirates involving Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, Abdul Aziz Sheikh and Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi.

Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, former Head of the Veterinary Department at the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), has been suspended as an FEI Official for a two-year period for non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations and his involvement in a number of events from which duplicate results were submitted to the FEI.

The FEI Tribunal found that Dr Sommerseth had been “grossly negligent with regards to his duties as an FEI Official” during the events. Dr Sommerseth had been provisionally suspended by the FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez since 31 August 2015.

The FEI Tribunal suspension, which prevents Dr Sommerseth from acting as an FEI Official or having any involvement in FEI activities at a national or international level, runs through to 15 April 2017. The FEI Tribunal, which also fined Dr Sommerseth CHF 4,000 and ordered him to pay CHF 1,500 towards the costs of the legal procedure, took into account the ongoing provisional suspension imposed by the FEI Secretary General and the period from 12 March to 27 July 2015 when the EEF was suspended.

Dr Sommerseth has 21 days from the date of notification (10 March 2016) to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The full decision is available here.

Abdul Aziz Sheikh, former Head of the EEF Endurance Department, has been suspended from acting as an FEI Official or having any involvement in FEI activities at a national or international level by the FEI Tribunal for an 18-month period.

Mr Sheikh was provisionally suspended by the FEI Secretary General on 13 October 2015 for consistently failing to observe the FEI Rules and Regulations over a period of several years and for allowing a number of Endurance events to proceed without accurate timing systems.

The FEI Tribunal has now suspended him until 12 April 2017, taking into account the provisional suspension imposed by the FEI Secretary General. Mr Sheikh has also been fined CHF 3,000 and ordered to pay CHF 1,500 towards the costs of the legal procedure.

Mr Sheikh has 21 days from the date of notification (10 March 2016) to appeal the decision to CAS.

The full decision is available here.

The FEI Tribunal has also issued a decision in the case against Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi (UAE) regarding breaches of the terms of a four-year suspension imposed in March 2012 following an Equine Anti-Doping Rules violation. Under the terms of the suspension, Mr Al Muhairi was not allowed to participate in any capacity or be present at any Event authorised or organised by the FEI, other than as a spectator. The FEI Tribunal extended the period of ineligibility through to 21 April 2016 and ordered Mr Al Muhairi to contribute CHF 500 towards the costs of the legal procedure.

The Parties have 21 days from the date of notification (10 March 2016) to appeal the decision to CAS.

The full decision is available here.


February 26 2016

New UAE endurance rules fail to slow down riders

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson10:55 - 26 February, 2016

“Strong” new measures applied in the UAE from 13 February failed to reduce speeds in the first two endurance rides to apply them.

The Gamilati Cup for mares on 18 February, and a juniors’ race the next day both recorded some of the fastest aggregate speeds over 120km this season.

Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum won the Gamilati Cup with a final loop speed of 32.11kph and average speed of 27.05kph...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/speed-still-an-issue-in-uae-endurance-despite-rules-527979#KCSheMfEP5EOm0Wl.99


February 22 2016

UAE: Just Who is in Charge?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 22, 2016

Well, as an American endurance chum put it, that was as useful as a bucket of warm spit.

I don’t know a single sceptic who wouldn’t have been ecstatic to be proved wrong about the efficacy of the “strong new measures” put in place on February 13th for the remainder of the UAE winter season.

There has been no dancing for joy this week among the “clean” endurance community, though. The FEI’s stated aim is to reduce the speeds associated with catastrophic injury. But at the first two rides last week under the “new” constraints, some of the fastest aggregate speeds of any national or FEI 120km ride this season were recorded, with completion rates as dire as ever.

Endurance is about training horses for recovery, and thus a mystery to most other horse disciplines. I have only recently grasped enough of it to appreciate why the correlation is so fascinating and absorbing to those who love classic endurance.

But in the UAE, it’s taken to extremes. They can afford to buy the very best selectively-bred Arabian super-horses. Their agents round the world target horses who are not just fast but that can present at vet gates within minutes, a trait the UAE trainers then refine through methods the rest of us can only imagine.

But presumably the FEI’s own endurance experts don’t understand it, because otherwise they would have foreseen this: if you set a lower heart recovery rate (60bpm in final loop compared with 64 before), but with no other complementary constraint as enacted at Bou Thib, riders will simply delay a few minutes in presenting, having belted along even faster on the loops!...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/just-who-is-in-charge/

Bouthieb (UAE): Why and how does it work?

Enduroonline.com.br - Full Article

Summary of the situation

In Bouthieb, there are no more dead horses during the competitions or horses put down due to redhibitory fractures.

In Bouthieb, the speed is not the main obsession at the expense of the horses.

In Bouthieb, we obtain a rate of no-treatments that would make many organizers, many federations around the world green with envy.

In Bouthieb, ensuring above all the welfare of the horses is about to become again commonplace.

In Bouthieb, the horse has left the status of a tool to become a partner with whom we play.

Bouthieb is the rebirth place by means of the establishment of a concrete way of doing based on obvious facts, all this being made possible by the courage and determination of a prince who is not afraid to upset the world in order to "simply" return to the fundamentals of endurance.

Is it so hard to do the same somewhere else?

ORGANIZING ENDURANCE COMPETITIONS in the UAE

Every year, the National Federation of the UAE publishes the calendar of the season which will be amended if necessary as the weeks go by. It is the result of negotiations between the three organizing committees and the federation.

The resulting official calendar is made in such a way that the distribution of the rides is balanced equally. There are 22 competitions in each of the three venues for the 2015/2016 season, totaling 66 for the country (January 1st 2016 edition).

Bouthieb alone represents 33% of the UAE competitions for the current season. So it is not a minor venue. We could even add that the "qualifiers" being more numerous, the number of horses that pass through Bouthieb make it the most important venue. A more detailed study would probably show that for an average year this site has between 40 and 45% of the overall number of horses in competition.

Then we must stop focusing on Dubai and Al Wathba thinking that Bouthieb represents a small thing in a corner of the UAE. Yet this is what surfaces in the news we can read here and there over the world.

It must be said that many articles are written from far away, and everyone knows that the longest the distance is, the more schematic, the more generalized the result is. And as sensationalism does not come from what is positive but almost always from what is negative, one darkens the picture, stigmatizes easily, turns over and over because of his resentment and forgets what is right and good, though it is necessarily where the future lies.

Without forgetting what is wrong and should not be, we will talk here of what happens in Bouthieb and the booming success of the new rules implemented, which have made the FEI move faster than any other measures had done before...

Read more here:
http://www.enduroonline.com.br/Bouthieb-Why-and-how-does-it-work.php


February 16 2016

Equestrian Australia demands action on endurance events - Weeklytimesnow.com.au



Endurance Stop Press? Don’t bother, I’ve heard it all before

HOrse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 15, 2016

wo days ago, the FEI wrested its latest second/third/fourth-chance agreement from the UAE over the breaking of endurance rules and the breaking of horses.

There is no black and white solution. After 20 years of doing exactly what they want, the UAE was never going to roll over in a matter of months.

At first glance, the Emirates federation (EEF) is still bluffing the FEI. The “new” measures agreed on February 13 for the rest of the winter season are a partial re-hash of extant rules that the UAE has cheerfully flouted for years.

But the UAE still hasn’t been quite brave enough to walk away and start its own desert racing governing body (I use the word “governing” loosely.) We can assume they want to stay in the FEI, and so I hope stripping Dubai of the 2016 world championship event remains a live threat that can yet have an effect.

I recently asked the FEI if the likely difficulty in finding a replacement championship venue was influencing its handling of the crisis. I received an unequivocal No...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/endurance-stop-press-dont-bother-ive-heard-it-all-before/


February 15 2016

Death by a thousand cuts in equestrian sport

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 16 February 2016

It’s summer in the southern hemisphere – the season for sand and sandals. In horse sport, it seems to be the season for sand and scandals.

Yes, we’re living the dream. Or is it a nighmare? Followers of horse sport will be well aware of the endurance troubles in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that hit the headlines this past month.

We now have a new deal and, who knows, maybe the dust will finally settle around UAE endurance and the FEI can return to happy families.

It is now a matter of waiting to see if the new measures will make any significant difference, which provides a nice window to look at the issue of reputational damage to horse sport.

Scandals are never far away in any number of sports, it would seem. And the damage can be very real...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/16/death-thousand-cuts-equestrian-sport/#ixzz40HVxlywT


February 14 2016

Dozen measures agreed to enable endurance racing to continue in United Arab Emirates - Insidethegames.biz



FEI and Emirates Equestrian Federation agree on 12 endurance measures - Horsetalk.co.nz


February 13 2016

FEI and EEF Agree Endurance Measures for 2016 Season

FEI.org

13 Feb 2016

The FEI, as part of its continued efforts to ensure strong measures for Endurance in the UAE are taken, has today held talks with the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) in Abu Dhabi (UAE).

FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello met with EEF Vice President Mohammad Alkamali, EEF Secretary General Taleb Dhaher Al Mheiri and EEF Executive Board Member Faisal Al Ali to work through the exact measures that will be implemented at international (CEIs) and national (CENs) Endurance events in the UAE for the remainder of the current season, which runs until early April.

These talks follow recent meetings between the FEI and the EEF in both Switzerland and the UAE, after which the EEF postponed four Endurance events so that agreement could be reached on proposed measures to urgently address a number of serious issues in Endurance in the region. The CEI1* in Dubai on 8 February was postponed, along with national events on 4, 5 and 6 February. In addition, the EEF took further action, suspending five riders and five trainers for a six-month period and imposed fines following what they termed “gross offences” at the national junior and young rider 120km ride at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, on 30 January.

The FEI had set the deadline of 11 February for the EEF to come back with an agreement on the proposed measures, with the caveat that no further events would be held in the region until agreement on these measures had been reached.

The CEI 3* 160km HH The President of UAE Endurance Cup, attended by Mr De Mello, took place today in Al Wathba, following agreement with the FEI on the measures. The event, held at the Emirates International Endurance Village, was well organised with the winning combination averaging a speed of 26.3 kph and all horses crossing the line in good health.

The twelve approved measures, which will be applied for the rest of the UAE Endurance season, are:

1. Reduced number of events for the rest of the season. *Events for the rest of the international season will be confirmed on the FEI Calendar; the EEF will confirm its national events in due course

2. Limit the number of horse and rider combinations entered into each international and national event to 150.

3. Heart rate presentation times reduced to between 56 and 60 bpm for all loops in one-star competitions, and in the final loop for two- and three-star CEIs and CENs.

4. Recovery time reduced to between 10 and 15 minutes for all loops in one-star and in the final loop for two-and three-star CEIs and CENs.

*Heart rates and recovery times will be monitored closely by the FEI and EEF, with action taken where needed (if athletes exceed these limits they will be eliminated)

5. Rest periods between loops will be reviewed by Veterinary Officials to determine whether 50-minute holds will be more beneficial to the horses.

6. The last 2-5 kms of the final loop will be designated and controlled so that no cars or crews can access.

7. In the final loop, crewing in the form of offering cooling water bottles will only be allowed at designated crewing points every 2-5 kms - no other crewing will be allowed.

8. In all CEI 3* and CEI 4* events, all horses will be confined in Secure Overnight Stabling, in accordance with FEI Regulations.

9. The Official TV Broadcasters have been named; as such the film/video recordings are the official record of the event and hence legal actions may be taken against the violators of any regulation viewed on this footage.

10. Crews will be identified with numbered bibs that match the number of the horse to enable easy identification; should a horse be eliminated from the competition, the bibs will be surrendered immediately; only those people with a numbered bib matching that of the horse still in competition will be allowed to crew or to accompany the horse at any time during the event.

11. A ride briefing will be held at each event to review regulations, and to update everyone involved of any changes in regulations for the event; attendance will be compulsory; failure to attend shall result in immediate elimination from the event.

12. All officials will now be appointed by the EEF instead of Organising Committees; no non-EEF appointed officials will be able to officiate at international and national events.

“We need to change hearts as well as minds, and the solution lies in education and dialogue, as well as taking a tough line with sanctions,” explained FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez.

“The Emirates Equestrian Federation has been bold, taking stringent action as seen recently with the suspension of events and sanctioning athletes and trainers, clearly demonstrating their commitment to work together with the FEI to eradicate the incidents that have tarnished the sport. We will continue to work together to ensure progress.

“Protecting horses comes first and we are determined that this specific value is upheld at international and national level Endurance competitions. While the FEI does not have jurisdiction over national events, we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that changes at an international level are also felt nationally.

“It is clear for everyone what is at stake, and the FEI is working closely with the EEF to make sure that any challenges to run the sport within the FEI’s clearly mapped rules are overcome, and that everyone in the sport understands the importance of standing by the measures implemented for the rest of the season.

“By continuing to work together we feel we can greatly impact the sport in the region long term.”

Final roll of the dice for UAE endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 13 February 2016

Today, endurance racing resumes in the United Arab Emirates, with 10 four-wheel-drives up for grabs in a 160km contest at Al Wathba, in Abu Dhabi.

It all seems rather hasty. The Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) has forwarded its list of proposed changes, and the FEI seems happy enough at this stage.

It will be a busy day. On a day when one of biggest rides of the season in the United Arab Emirates unfolds, its endurance people will be meeting with FEI officials to finalise the exact details of the measures.

So, understandably, details are still a little sketchy...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/13/final-roll-dice-uae-endurance/#ixzz404V6ZzCe

Australian Statement Regarding Horse Welfare

Equestrian.org.au

11 February 2016

Statement 11 February 2016

Equestrian Australia (EA) continues to advocate for an end to the horse welfare issues occurring in endurance internationally.

EA has maintained regular dialogue with the FEI regarding this matter and has been assured by the FEI in a letter to national federations this week that action is being taken.

EA will continue to lobby the FEI to ensure that horse welfare remains a paramount consideration of all national federations and their equestrian events, regardless of discipline or classification.

The Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee, Australian Veterinarian, Dr Brian Sheahan, is addressing the EA endurance committee Thursday evening (11 February) regarding the progress of horse welfare issues in the United Arab Emirates.

FEI welcomes “bold decisions” by UAE in endurance - Horsetalk.co.nz



Endurance racing adopts Sheikh''s own rules - Telegraph.co.uk


February 12 2016

UAE endurance rides to resume under new measures

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
12 February, 2016

Endurance rides in the UAE have been allowed to resume in time for the prestigious 160km President’s Cup tomorrow (Saturday, 13 February), on th condition that new measures are applied that bear close resemblance to the “Bou Thib initiative”.

Sport was halted last week after a further escalation of horse welfare issues. The Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) was given until Thursday 11 February to propose new controls and gain agreement from the FEI.

The FEI has tightened its own endurance rules twice in 18 months to try to curtail the doping, horse fatality and cheating scandals that have blighted the sport in the UAE. However, they have proved largely ineffective during the current season...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/uae-endurance-rides-to-resume-under-new-measures-526675#6pXJlMPYi6LuadZG.99

Emirates Equestrian Federation lifts temporary ban from rides

Khaleejtimes.com - Full Article

Filed on February 12, 2016

At least five trainers who were overseeing the horses and riders have been banned, while the grooms of the five horses had forfeited their licences.

The Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) has announced the lifting of the temporary ban on endurance rides in the UAE starting today.

Mohammed Al Kamali, Chairman of the Executive Board of the EEF reiterated that the executive board has taken stock of the situation and found the conditions favourable to re-start the endurance rides with immediate effect.

Last week, the EEF had handed out a temporary ban valid till Feb.11 on all activities related to horse endurance based on short-comings noted during the UAE Youth Endurance Ride (120 kms) held on Jan. 30. As many as 55 horses had participated in this ride, and five riders and their mounts were eliminated after some offences had been discovered.

At least five trainers who were overseeing the horses and riders have been banned, while the grooms of the five horses had forfeited their licences. Each of the five stables involved in the violations had also been slapped with fines of $100,000 (Dhs 365,000) each.

After imposing the ban, the EEF conducted its own internal enquiry to ensure the sport does not come into further disrepute in the eyes on the world. "We will never compromise on the safety of the horses or the riders, and compliance with all rules and regulations is of utmost importance to the integrity of our sport. We owe it to the future generations that our remains authentic and welfare of the sport," Mohammed Al Kamali said at the conclusion of a meeting late on Wednesday...

Read more here:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/horse-racing/emirates-equestrian-federation-lifts-temporary-ban-from-rides

The Bouthieb initiative: The new way ahead for endurance?

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Contributor | 11 February 2016

Endurance is again embroiled in controversy, with welfare concerns in the United Arab Emirates again taking centre-stage. One of its venues, Bouthieb, has taken a different approach, with rules designed to safeguard horse welfare. It has been stunningly successful. Four-star endurance judge François Kerboul, who was involved in setting up the Bouthieb initiative, explains how it works, and provides some insights into UAE endurance.

Endurance competitions at Bouthieb essentially ensure that speed is not the main obsession at the expense of the horse.

Its rules, in which speeds are GPS-monitored and the majority of prize-money is allocated to the best-conditioned horses, have resulted in remarkably few horses requring veterinary treatment, and even then for only minor issues.

Bouthieb’s rules were made possible by the determination of the venue’s owner, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was not afraid to return to the fundamentals of endurance.

Is it so hard to do the same elsewhere?...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/11/bouthieb-initiative-new-way-ahead-endurance/#ixzz3zyrVppS0

Olympic riders among top names to campaign against endurance scandals

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
10 February, 2016

An online petition demanding the FEI removes the December 2016 world endurance championship from Dubai reached 4,000 signatures over night (Tuesday 9 – Wednesday 10 February).

It has also attracted high-profile support from outside endurance, with British Olympic rider Jennie Loriston-Clarke among signatories from all over the world.

The petition was launched by the continental-based “clean endurance” community last Friday afternoon (5 February). The group says it will advise FEI president Ingmar de Vos of the interim results before the FEI meets the Emirates Equestrian Federation tomorrow (11 February) to discuss solutions to the latest welfare scandals that brought UAE endurance to a halt on 4 February.

However, the petition will remain open...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/olympic-riders-among-top-names-to-campaign-against-endurance-scandals-526455#WL7cd5jcy4ddTQxI.99

Swiss Demand New Venue for 2016 Endurance Championships

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

February 10, 2016
by: Swiss Equestrian Federation

Following further incidents during the endurance season in Group VII of the FEI in the Middle East, the Swiss Equestrian Federation (SEF) is strongly opposed to the intended venue for the Elite Endurance World Championships in December 2016, namely Dubai (UAE).

Since the beginning of the season in October 2015, 10 Catastrophic Injuries have been reported to the FEI, with seven horses confirmed dead.

After persistent criticism from around the globe, the FEI amended the regulations for endurance competitions in 2014, with the protection and welfare of horses as well as equal treatment for all competitors as the main objectives...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/swiss-demand-new-venue-for-2016-endurance-championships/


February 11 2016

Swiss federation wants endurance world champs moved from Dubai - Horsetalk.co.nz


February 9 2016

UAE under pressure as host of Endurance Horse-racing Championship over abuse scandal


February 8 2016

Pressure mounts to strip Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai venue of 2016 world championship endurance event

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

American Endurance Ride Conference – pioneers of the “classic” sport since 1972 – is demanding that the FEI relocate over cruelty to horses

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent
8:39PM GMT 07 Feb 2016

The International Equestrian Federation is under pressure to strip Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai International Endurance City of the 2016 world championship event, as the horse welfare crisis in the United Arab Emirates sport escalates.

The FEI and Emirates Equestrian Federation halted all UAE long-­istance race-rides last Wednesday until at least Feb 11 while further solutions were sought. The flogging of five exhausted horses by riders and their grooms during in a 120-kilometre youth ride at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi on Jan 30 was witnessed by thousands of horrified viewers on the event’s live-stream.

Now, the American Endurance Ride Conference – pioneers of the “classic” sport since 1972 – is demanding that the FEI relocate the 2016 world title event, and imposes a new, minimum one-year suspension on the EEF.

The Swiss federation has suggested a boycott, while the Dutch announced on Friday that if the FEI could not wrest back control, it would consider its own measures...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/12145562/Pressure-mounts-to-strip-Sheikh-Mohammeds-Dubai-venue-of-2016-world-championship-endurance-event.html

Petition asks FEI to move world endurance champs from Dubai - Horsetalk.co.nz



Requests Mount For Relocation Of World Championships After Additional UAE Endurance Infractions - Chronofhorse.com



Petition Against Endurance in the UAE - Horse-canada.com


February 7 2016

US endurance officials baulk at world champs in Dubai

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 7 February 2016

The United States is unlikely to be represented at this year’s World Endurance Championships should it go ahead in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) president Michael Campbell, writing to the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) on behalf of its membership and board of directors, said it wanted the world championships to be removed from the UAE to a “more suitable location”.

Campbell said the AERC was of the view that, should the FEI resist moving the venue from Dubai, the US Equestrian Federation should forego plans to send an endurance team to the championships...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/07/us-endurance-officials-baulk-world-champs-dubai/#ixzz3zV2cf28H

And the dying goes on... - In-The-Focus.com


February 6 2016

Endurance Day of Reckoning

Equinerescuefrance.org - Full Article

Posted by ERF on Feb 6, 2016

Apologies for this being a blog of links. There is so much information currently flying about that it’s easier to collate in one place.

The EEF have cancelled all races until the 11th February 2016 as a result external pressures from the rest of the world having viewed the appalling scenes and news of abused, exhausted and vanished horses coming from the Dubai ride at the weekend. Unsurprisingly, the restrictions just stop short of the high profile President’s Cup, due to be held on the 13th of February 2016.

More info below:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/04/fei-uae-eadline-serious-endurance-issues/#axzz3zNZ12D7I

The initial purpose of this blog is to share the petition far and wide about stopping the UAE and other Group VII countries from the ongoing extreme abuse to horses, and taking the privilege of hosting the WEC away from them.

Primarily, please sign and share the below link:

https://www.change.org/p/ingmar-de-vos-president-fédération-equestre-internationale-say-no-to-2016-world-endurance-championships-in-horse-hell

Read more here:
http://www.equinerescuefrance.org/2016/02/5759/

Dutch KNHS has Contact with FEI on Recent Endurance Events

KNHS.nl

[google translate]

February 5, 2016

The KNHS once again in the international equestrian federation FEI expressed its concern to the FEI to take action against the recent controversial practices during endurance races in the UAE.

The KNHS noted improvements in recent months, but is nevertheless shocked by the [Young Rider] race in Al Wathba, UAE. The FEI worked last year, imposing all new regulations to improve the welfare of the horses in the Middle East. In that process should, according to the KNHS, more stringent steps to be put.

KNHS will support any upcoming FEI measures. If these, in the opinion of the KNHS, prove ineffective, the KNHS will take its own measures.

Source: KNHS

Emirates Equestrian Federation suspends 5 endurance riders



Emirates Equestrian Federation suspends 5 endurance riders - WTop.com


February 5 2016

Petition to Stop 2016 World Endurance Championships in Dubai Circulates

READ THE PETITION

Owing to the most recent endurance debacles in Dubai, UAE, a petition has sprung up and circulated on the internet to remove the 2016 World Endurance Championships from Dubai, and have them "staged in a country which upholds the values of Clean Endurance."

The controversy involving the UAE over endurance horse welfare, cheating, horse swapping in mid-race, and more, has continued for 3 years and outraged people from around the world.

FEI suspended the UAE at the end of last year's endurance racing season, warning them to clean up the abuses. UAE was reinstated at the beginning of this year's racing season, yet the abuses and horse deaths continue, with the latest debacle coming from the finish of a Junior/Young Rider Endurance Cup where 3 of the first finishers were disqualified for overriding and beating their exhausted horses, and grooms ran onto the track to haze them. All was caught on the live video stream of the race.

The FEI has taken rather quick action to suspend races in the UAE for the next few days, but it is not enough action for the endurance world outside Group VII, since this same action last season proved to have little effect in ultimately protecting horse welfare in endurance races in Dubai. This petition, started by Clean Endurance, targets the World Endurance Championship in Dubai in December 2016.

"The 2016 World Endurance Championships have been awarded to Dubai despite the fact that horses continue to suffer or die at every endurance competition there. Despite the UAE's previous suspension for abuse and cheating, horse welfare has not been improved. Please sign if you agree the World Endurance Championships, scheduled for December 2016, should be removed from Dubai and staged in a country which upholds the values of Clean Endurance."

To read or sign the petition, see
https://www.change.org/p/ingmar-de-vos-president-f%C3%A9d%C3%A9ration-equestre-internationale-say-no-to-2016-world-endurance-championships-in-horse-hell?recruiter=482965402&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

$100,000 fines for stables involved in endurance horse-beating incidents

Horseandhound.co.uk

Five endurance stables involved in the horse-beating incidents at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, last weekend (30 January) have been locally fined $100,000 dollars each, with their trainers suspended, as the horse welfare crisis in the United Arab Emirates escalates.

The FEI is also under growing public pressure to reallocate the 2016 world championships from Dubai.

Today, a petition calling for a new venue was launched on Change.org.

The Swiss Equestrian Federation has publicly suggested a boycott, while the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) also wants the venue moved.

In a letter to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), AERC president Michael Campbell said: “The suspension imposed on UAE by FEI last year has not made a lasting impression, with the exception of Dr Sheikh Sultan in Bou Thib.

“As the endurance affiliate in the US, AERC requests that USEF register strenuous objections with the FEI regarding the over-riding and equine abuse that continues in the UAE.

“This continued abuse is a blight on the sport of endurance riding throughout the world. The desert-style racing of UAE is not endurance riding as most other countries define it. Endurance communities in many other countries are expressing the same feelings to their national governing bodies.”

Five riders, including the first three past the post, were disqualified on Saturday from a 120km youth event, where a horse also died. Shocking footage showed the youngsters, abetted by numerous grooms illegally on the field of play, bullying and shoving exhausted horses to the finish.

[Read More ...]

‘We are deeply concerned and shocked’: Endurance GB calls for further action in UAE welfare case

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Amy Mathieson
5 February, 2016

Endurance GB (EGB) has responded to scandals in the sport in the UAE, saying the organisation is “deeply concerned and shocked” by recent footage that has emerged.

On 30 January five riders — including the first three over the line — were disqualified from a junior/young riders 120km ride at Al Wathba for beating their exhausted horses.

A video clip of the final stages of the race went viral, leading for many calls on social media for the UAE to be resuspended immediately (news, 4 February).

“The board has been closely following with interest the progress of the FEI in improving horse welfare in the UAE, in accordance with the agreement put in place with the Emirates Equestrian Federation [EEF],” read a statement.

“While there have been reports of numerous improvements, especially at the Bou Thib venue, we are deeply concerned and shocked by the video that has emerged from a CEN [national] event at Al Wathba on the 30 January...”

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/we-are-deeply-concerned-and-shocked-endurance-gb-calls-for-further-action-in-uae-welfare-case-526017#hr4x8EIQw2XRrTRG.99

UAE: Five endurance riders, trainers suspended

Gulfnews.com

EEF chairman Al Kamali says compliance with all rules and regulations of utmost importance

Staff Report
February 5, 2016

Dubai The head of the Emirates Endurance Federation (EFF) has emphasised that a zero tolerance policy in the sport will be implemented after the suspension of at least five endurance riders that has led to a temporary suspension of all endurance related activities in the UAE.

Mohammad Al Kamali, Chairman of the Executive Board of the EEF and General Secretary of the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) told Gulf News that any violation of rules and regulations laid out by the sport’s governing, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), would not be tolerated.

“The safety of horses and compliance with all rules and regulations is of utmost importance to the integrity of any sport. Endurance riding is comparatively new and it is essential and crucial that we maintain its authenticity to ensure a bright and healthy future for the sport,” Al Kamali told Gulf News following a closed-door meeting of the EEF Executive Board on Wednesday.

“The EEF is closely monitoring the situation of our riders, horses and stables and we will show zero tolerance towards any breach of rules and regulations.”

The swift action was initiated following lapses and violation of rules and regulations during the 120km UAE Youth Endurance Ride held on January 30.

As many as 55 horses participated in the ride, and five riders and their horses were eliminated due to the contravention of FEI rules wherein they were deemed to have excessively whipped their horses in the final stages of the ride.

On Thursday, the EEF suspended the five endurance riders and temporarily suspended all endurances rides and allied activities in the UAE till February 11.

Additionally, at least five trainers who were overseeing the horses and riders have been temporarily banned, while the grooms of the five horses have forfeited their licences.

Each of the five stables involved in the violations have also been handed fines of Dh100,000 each.

The Executive Board also asserted that all Endurance Villages, Endurance Riding Clubs and Stables must adhere to a uniform process of registering all personnel, including service crew associated with the sport.

All personnel will be issued permits which must be displayed during the course of the rides in the future.

“What has happened is unfortunate, not just for the riders, the horses and the stables. But the rules and regulations are clear and as sportsmen it is the obligation of everyone involved to simply adhere to the rules,” Al Kamali said.

“The ultimate objective of this exercise is to protect the sport of endurance riding, and one of the ways to do so is to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed by one and all.”

American Endurance Ride Conference Responds to Latest UAE Controversy

Letter from AERC to Will Connell, USEF International Disciplines Council Liaison

Dear Mr. Connell,

On behalf of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) membership and Board of Directors, I am writing to request that the United States Equestrian Federation register the outrage of the endurance community in the United States over the appalling mistreatment of horses at the Al Wathba endurance ride in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last weekend, January 30, 2016. Evidence of this equine abuse has been widely circulated on social media around the world.

The suspension imposed on UAE by FEI last year has not made a lasting impression on most of the venues in the UAE, with the exception of Dr. Sheik Sultan in Bouthieb. As the endurance affiliate in the U.S., AERC requests that USEF register strenuous objections with FEI regarding the overriding and equine abuse that continues in UAE.

This continued abuse is a blight on the sport of endurance riding throughout the world. The desert style racing of UAE is not endurance riding as most other countries define it. I know that endurance communities in many other countries are expressing the same feelings to their national governing bodies.

AERC further requests that stricter sanctions be imposed on UAE to drive home the lesson that mistreatment of horses in endurance rides is intolerable to the United States and the rest of the endurance world. At this point, a one year suspension would be reasonable.

Finally, AERC requests that the venue for the World Endurance Championship be removed from the UAE to a more suitable location. Should FEI resist moving the venue, AERC requests that USEF forego plans to send an endurance team to the WEC.

Sincerely,

Michael Campbell, Ph.D.
President
American Endurance Ride Conference

Endurance Great Britain weighs in on UAE controversy

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 5 February 2016

The board which oversees endurance in Britain has voiced its concerns over the controversy unfolding in the United Arab Emirates, saying the FEI has a duty to address a culture of riding horses beyond their means in the discipline.

The board, in a post on the endurancegb.co.uk website, said it had been closely following the progress of the FEI in improving horse welfare in the UAE under an agreement between the world governing body and the Emirates Equestrian Federation.

The board said that while there had been reports of many improvements, especially so at the endurance venue in Bouthieb, where local “house” rules are in place to effectively safeguard the welfare of horses, it was deeply concerned and shocked by the video that emerged from a CEN event at Al Wathba on January 30...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/05/endurance-great-britain-uae-controversy/#ixzz3zJGrOSKz

Endurance racing in UAE brought to halt as FEI seeks assurances about horse protection

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Emirates Equestrian Federation told it has until February 11 to explain how it will solve its “serious issues"

By Pippa Cuckson
3:41PM GMT 04 Feb 2016

Endurance racing in the UAE has again been brought to a halt as the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) tries to wrest further undertakings about horse protection from the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF).

Four upcoming race-rides were notified to EEF members as “postponed” on Tuesday night, with no reason initially offered.

However FEI endurance director Manuel Bandeira de Mello flew into Abu Dhabi for an emergency meeting on Wednesday. He later told Telegraph Sport the EEF has until February 11 to explain how it will solve its “serious issues.” Until then, rides are called off, including three at Sheikh Mohammed’s venue, Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC).

Last March, the UAE was suspended for four months, after a catalogue of doping scandals and horse fatalities. Endurance horses race over 80km-160km in a single day – though in the desert sport, many of them under jobbing jockeys who have never seen their mounts before, and over punishing, fast sand tracks.

Many scandals have been exposed by the Telegraph, including the running of ringers by sons of Sheikh Mohammed, and extensive falsifying of results by the EEF...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/12140747/Endurance-racing-in-UAE-brought-to-halt-as-FEI-seeks-assurances-about-horse-protection.html

UAE Endurance stables fined $100,000 each for abuse - Telegraph.co.uk



Emirates Equestrian Federation given February 11 deadline after new welfare scandal in endurance racing - Insidethegames.biz



Emirates Equestrian Federation metes out $500,000 in fines - Horsetalk.co.nz



EEF suspends five endurance riders




February 4 2016

Letter from Endurance Great Britain regarding UAE

Endurancegb.co.uk

04 February 2016

The Board has been closely following with interest the progress of the FEI in improving horse welfare in the UAE, in accordance with the agreement put in place with the EEF (Emirates Equestrian Federation). Whilst there have been reports of numerous improvements, especially at the Bou Thib venue, we are deeply concerned and shocked by the video that has emerged from a CEN event at Al Wathba on the 30th of January.

We have today written to the BEF [British Equestrian Foundation] to share our concerns and have asked that they are passed to the FEI. We have requested that further action be taken and that this is made public as soon as possible. The FEI have a duty to address a culture of riding horses beyond their means in the sport of endurance.

The Board fully support the FEI to intervene and implement new measures that protect horses and the sport worldwide.


February 3 2016

FEI gives UAE a deadline to remedy “serious” endurance issues

Horsetalk.co.nz

The FEI has given the United Arab Emirates (UAE) until February 11 to come up with an agreement that will remedy what the world governing body calls serious issues in endurance in the region.

The FEI issued a statement early today from its endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, who is understood to be in the UAE.

It said the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) had postponed four endurance events in coming days “so that agreement can be reached on proposed measures to urgently address a number of serious issues in endurance in the region”.

The EEF’s calendar shows it has also postponed a fifth ride, a 100km ride restricted to private stables and individuals, set to be run in Dubai.

The four postponed events are the Rashidiyya Ladies Cup, which was to be run today; the Jumairah Endurance Cup for private owners, set for tomorrow; the Emirates Championship, scheduled for February 6; and the AlBarsha CEI 1* endurance ride on February 8.

[Read more ...]

UAE endurance rides ‘postponed’ with no explanation

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
3 February, 2016

Five endurance rides in the UAE due to be staged in the next few days were announced as “postponed” last night (Tuesday 2 February), as worldwide outrage over the horse welfare crisis continues to escalate.

And while H&H was waiting for official confirmation from the FEI this morning (Wednesday 3 February), in another surprise move all remaining rides in Dubai for the rest of the season have disappeared from the calendar of the Dubai Equestrian Club.

The Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) emailed the postponements to its members overnight on Wednesday, without giving a reason.

However, earlier that day FEI endurance director Manuel Bandeira de Mello flew into Abu Dhabi for an emergency meeting. The week before, the EEF was summoned to FEI headquarters in Lausanne.

The FEI has yet to provide reason, though speculation is growing on social media that the season’s most prestigious ride, the 160km Presidents Cup, the following weekend, must also now be at the risk and that a further suspension is imminent...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/uae-endurance-rides-postponed-with-no-explanation-525745#ZEqhOmeEHBdFs7bm.99

Next five endurance rides on UAE calendar postponed

Horsetalk.co.nz

The next five endurance rides on the Emirates Equestrian Federation’s calendar have been postponed.

The development comes amid ongoing controversy in the sport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Two rides set down for February 4 have have been postponed in Dubai – one a 100km ride restriced to private stables and individuals; the other a CEI 1-star event over 80km.

A CEN 100km ride for women set down for February 5, also in Dubai, has similarly been postponed.

A CEN 120km ride at Al Wathba on February 6 and a CEI 1-star over 80km in Dubai on February 8 round out the list.

The reasons for the postponements have not been posted on the Emirates federation’s website – or at least not in the English version.

The news comes amid reports that the FEI’s endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, has arrived in Abu Dhabi as the world governing body pushes for endurance reforms in the UAE.

His arrival follows a meeting last week at FEI headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, with members of the Emirates Equestrian Federation to discuss the endurance issue.

The FEI is hoping that the UAE will adopt rules similar to those adopted at Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan’s endurance facility at Bouthieb in Abu Dhabi.

The local rules are designed to keep speeds, which are GPS-monitored, down to 20kmh. The majority of prize-money goes to the best-conditioned horses, judged on the accumulation of scores from each vet gate.

[More ...]

UAE Endurance Races "Postponed"


February 2 2016

FEI endurance boss understood to be in the UAE

Horsetalk.co.nz

The FEI’s endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, is understood to be in Abu Dhabi as the world governing body pushes for endurance reforms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

His arrival follows a meeting last week at FEI headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, with members of the Emirates Equestrian Federation to discuss the endurance issue.

The FEI is hoping that the UAE will adopt rules similar to those adopted at Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan’s endurance facility at Bouthieb.

The local rules are designed to keep speeds, which are GPS-monitored, down to 20kmh. The majority of prize-money goes to the best-conditioned horses, judged on the accumulation of scores from each vet gate.

The results have been stunning, with only a handful of horses requiring moderate veterinary assistance among more than 1000 which have competed under the rules so far.

Bandeira de Mello, in a statement last month, acknowledged the six fatalities that had occurred in UAE endurance up to that point.

“It is abundantly clear,” he said, “that speed is a major factor in these incidents and that it is necessary to introduce measures to slow down the horses in order to reduce the number of catastrophic injuries.

“The FEI is in urgent discussions with the Emirates Equestrian Federation and individual event organisers to introduce similar protocols to those used so successfully at the recent event in Bouthieb to reduce the speed.

[More ...]

UAE endurance: Come on FEI, you’ve got to be kidding me

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 2 February 2016

Normally, when my colleague calls me over to her computer to watch a video, it’s going to show a fluffy kitten doing something insanely cute, a horse unlatching his stable door, or a dog proving that he’s smarter than his master.

But yesterday I was instead subjected to 7 minutes and 53 seconds of endurance from the United Arab Emirates. More specifically, the Sheikh Zayed Bin Mansoor Al Nahyan Junior & Young Riders Endurance Cup, raced over 120 kilometres on Saturday at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi.

I wrote about this particular race the day after the event, having read the results.

The results, I felt, spoke for themselves in terms of the issues with UAE endurance. There were 55 starters, only 18 of whom successfully completed the four-loop race. Of the 37 eliminations, 19 were recorded as going out because of an irregular gait (including one before the race even started); another because of an irregular gait and metabolic issues; three were listed as failing to complete; five were retired by the rider; one was disqualified for departing 10 minutes early; one was listed as being out of time; and six were disqualified for beating their horse. A horse named Ainhoa Catharissime, a grey Arab mare, went out on loop three after suffering a catastrophic injury.

Now, having watched the video, which shows the closing stages of the race, I find myself almost lost for words. There is no point in me providing a forensic analysis of the video – you can watch it for yourself – but it is not pretty. In fact, it’s appalling...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/02/02/uae-endurance-fei-kidding-me/#ixzz3z1kAvPXY


February 1 2016

UAE: Endure or Disappear

Equinerescuefrance.org - Full Article

Posted by ERF on Jan 31, 2016

In the video in this article, it shows the end of the 120 km Endurance ‘competition’ at Al Wathba in Dubai. FIVE riders were disqualified for beating horses. One rider/crew wasn’t reported in time for beating his horse, so wasn’t disqualified. There is no further punishment. This is difficult viewing, but it must be seen. One horse is reported as having sustained a CI (catastrophic injury) the end result for which should necessarily be euthanasia. Several horses just ‘vanished’ mid ride. No vet saw them, they didn’t return to the gates.

Here are some stills from the video – all these people chasing individual horses that are so tired they are close to collapse. Imagine if this happened in eventing or racing in the UK? Or even anywhere else in Europe. The ariel view has ONE horse in it. ONE.

The FEI have to act – how can they entertain the Endurance World Championships being held in Dubai with these levels of abuse, never mind the blatant rule breaking that is going on?

Below is a take on why this is happening, from Rachel Marty, a Dutch Endurance rider. Although a fascinating read, it doesn’t offer much hope for the horses in the Group VII countries. A huge thanks to Rachel for taking the time to write this.

Norm Change and UAE Endurance

This video shows exactly what the problem is with UAE endurance: the horse is solely seen as a means to an end. A machine carrying riders/trainers/owners to a desirable result. A thing that is used until it breaks. Nobody of the visible spectators seems to care about the fate of these animals. There is a mass of people that simply chooses to ignore that these horses are simply too tired to go on. Mass of people that even participates to their destruction.

Personally, I find this video more disturbing to see than the pictures of poor Bundy who was photographed stranded in the UAE sand during the Al Reef Cup last year with his two broken forelegs. Yes, of course I also found that disturbing, don’t get me wrong. But this video shows even more clearly the lack of any kind of humanity, decency or empathy towards the horses. And then I ask myself: is it even possible to change such characteristics and turn them around into the norm we would so much like to see employed: the endurance horse as a partner, companion and priority to its rider/trainer/owner? Is the step from one to the other not simply too big?...

Read more here:
http://www.equinerescuefrance.org/2016/01/endure-or-disappear/

UAE: They Are Not Worthy

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 1, 2016

I am sorry, folks, to write about endurance three blogs in a row, but I cannot deny my rising anger at the FEI’s abject failure to get a grip of the UAE.

After just eight rides over three weekends, Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan has achieved significant improvements – well documented on this blog and elsewhere – at his own Bou Thib venue by the simple but genius expedient of attaching best condition criteria to 70% of the prizes. (Why did the FEI’s much vaunted, six-figure budget strategic planning group not think of that?)

But elsewhere, the catalogue of rule-breaking, land-speed record attempts, knackered horses and brutal harassment (“hazing”) of horses by hooligans in four-wheel drives with no business to be on the piste, is worse than last season and all caught on camera by the official live stream, YAS. I am utterly bewildered why a renewal of the UAE suspension has not already been applied.

By the way, the 10th Catastrophic Injury of the current UAE season was recorded at this same ride, another landmark moment – not. We have been hastily advised that some CIs listed since October are mistakes and downgraded to Irregular Gait (IG). Is that all right then? Not really, as it says rather a lot about the competence of a vet who can’t spot the difference between a snapped cannon bone poking through the skin and a bit of unlevelness.

But this is not what has upset me most this weekend. Of course I am distressed about the latest CI, though if Ainhoa Catharissme really is dead then at least her miserable existence is over and she has found peace in horse heaven, where she has, no doubt, already hooked up with old chums from the barn.

No, I and a host of others are sickened by the closing stages of the Sheikh Zayed Al Nayhan Junior and Young Riders Cup at the infamous Al Wathba track...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/they-are-not-worthy/

UAE: Endure or Disappear

Equinerescuefrance.org - Full Article

Posted by ERF on Jan 31, 2016

In the video in this article, it shows the end of the 120 km Endurance ‘competition’ at Al Wathba in Dubai. FIVE riders were disqualified for beating horses. One rider/crew wasn’t reported in time for beating his horse, so wasn’t disqualified. There is no further punishment. This is difficult viewing, but it must be seen. One horse is reported as having sustained a CI (catastrophic injury) the end result for which should necessarily be euthanasia. Several horses just ‘vanished’ mid ride. No vet saw them, they didn’t return to the gates.

Here are some stills from the video – all these people chasing individual horses that are so tired they are close to collapse. Imagine if this happened in eventing or racing in the UK? Or even anywhere else in Europe. The ariel view has ONE horse in it. ONE.

The FEI have to act – how can they entertain the Endurance World Championships being held in Dubai with these levels of abuse, never mind the blatant rule breaking that is going on?

Below is a take on why this is happening, from Rachel Marty, a Dutch Endurance rider. Although a fascinating read, it doesn’t offer much hope for the horses in the Group VII countries. A huge thanks to Rachel for taking the time to write this.

Norm Change and UAE Endurance

This video shows exactly what the problem is with UAE endurance: the horse is solely seen as a means to an end. A machine carrying riders/trainers/owners to a desirable result. A thing that is used until it breaks. Nobody of the visible spectators seems to care about the fate of these animals. There is a mass of people that simply chooses to ignore that these horses are simply too tired to go on. Mass of people that even participates to their destruction.

Personally, I find this video more disturbing to see than the pictures of poor Bundy who was photographed stranded in the UAE sand during the Al Reef Cup last year with his two broken forelegs. Yes, of course I also found that disturbing, don’t get me wrong. But this video shows even more clearly the lack of any kind of humanity, decency or empathy towards the horses. And then I ask myself: is it even possible to change such characteristics and turn them around into the norm we would so much like to see employed: the endurance horse as a partner, companion and priority to its rider/trainer/owner? Is the step from one to the other not simply too big?...

Read more here:
http://www.equinerescuefrance.org/2016/01/endure-or-disappear/


January 31 2016

The problems in UAE endurance are far from over

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 31 January 2016

It does us all good, from time to time, to ponder the challenges we present to the horse.

We ask a lot of these animals. For the most part, they are compliant in partnering with us in our many riding endeavours.

Horse sport is unique. We join with a horse to race, jump, dance, pull chuckwagons, race around barrels, and any number of other athletic pursuits.

It is our responsibility as guardians – from the president of the FEI right down to the horse owner – to ensure that everything we do in these pursuits begins and ends with respect for the horse.

Those who watch horse sport, and wider members of the public with an affinity for animals, don’t much care for seeing them breaking their legs on racetracks or tumbling over jumps in any discipline.

Horse-sport administrators recognise this and have been doing what they can to lower injury and mortality rates in most horse-related disciplines, albeit with mixed success.

Any horse-related discipline that fails to tackle its welfare obligations head-on is on course for deep trouble.

Followers of endurance will be familiar with the controversies that have plagued the sport for years. Most of these headline-grabbing problems have centered on the United Arab Emirates, where I believe the fast desert courses, jockey-style riders, and high stakes have proven to be a dangerous combination for the endurance horse...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/01/31/problems-uae-endurance-far-from-over/#ixzz3yq0Xp7gP


January 30 2016

Bouthieb (Abu Dhabi – UAE): The Revolution Goes On

Enduroonline.com.br - Full Article

Text and photos: François Kerboul - FEI 4*

The new rules introduced in Bouthieb under the leadership of HH Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of the President and Chairman of the Emirates Heritage Club (EHC), have, so far, been implemented on three events totaling eight competitions -from December 31, 2015 to January 23, 2016, i.e. over a period of 3 weeks and two days – involving 1077 horses.

Of that number only 5 horses, whose neither life nor athletic future were in danger, required significant care. These horses all left the clinic in the afternoon.

We can only welcome such a result both because it is exceptional and also because it's simply unprecedented.

This dramatic decline in the number of horses requiring unavoidable clinical care, this disappearance of horses who died of exhaustion or were put down because of fractures, is certainly the most important and most visible consequence of the revolution taking place in Bouthieb.

But do not forget that this is part of an ongoing broad programme of education / rehabilitation which has several other aspects.

Here are a few of them.

On the Track

What can I say except that it's just as different as night and day from what went on before?

The cars have access only if they have the badge (authorization) that was given to them. Their number is limited to one vehicle for 5 horses per trainer. In order to ensure effective control, the badge is not a small discreet label that gets stuck in a corner of the windshield and that the stewards or the police will have no time to read, but a big sticker (30 cm x 30 cm) which does not allow fraud.

The riders' track is lined with linear mounds prohibiting crew vehicles to mix with horses and cross their path. Cars drive on the right or the left track, in principle, depending on the wind so as not to disturb the horses with dust. It is the third year that this provision has been introduced in Bouthieb, but it is only a first step because they are thinking of improving the tracks by making them more technical and by separating them from the vehicle assistance for the next season. The contact points (crew points) would then only be water points as in the rest of the world. Riders would be even more responsible, being no longer practically guided by their trainers. This can only be beneficial for the horses as by becoming more independent, riders will be more responsible and will certainly be more attentive to their horses.

The prohibition of continuous watering and the creation of water points has put an end to the dangerous and unreasonable 4WD race cutting and intersecting the trajectory of the horses at the mercy of the crews fantasies. We no longer see ten 4WD for one horse slaloming 5 or 6 abreast and watering continuously throughout the track...

Read more here:
http://www.enduroonline.com.br/bouthieb-abu-dhabi-the-revolution-goes-on.php

Bouthieb turns its back on “insane gymkhana” of UAE endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 30 January 2016

Bouthieb continues to be an oasis in the tough world of desert endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates.

The Bouthieb endurance facility in Abu Dhabi is owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has spearheaded stringent local rules designed to safeguard the welfare of horses.

Speeds must be kept in check and are monitored by GPS. Bouthib particularly rewards the conditioning of the horse over speed, which is reflected in the distribution of prize money.

The results have been stunning in terms of horse welfare...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/01/30/bouthieb-turns-back-insane-gymkhana-uae-endurance/#ixzz3ykEZPmbA


January 25 2016

Enduring Bullwarp

Equinerescuefrance.org

Posted by ERF on Jan 24, 2016 in Association News

As has been documented elsewhere, despite the FEI short term suspension of the UAE in order for them to clean up their act, nothing has radically changed. At least 5 deaths so far this year. No information forthcoming on what happened to horses attributed the generic FTC, or horses that didn’t reach vet gates and are down as RET, or more remarkably horses that have sustained a catastrophic injury (CI) and magically not been euthanased? Even taking into account the horses whose exits are documented clearly in the results, many of those are out lame by the second vet gate. The appalling completion rates, 40kmph average speeds on loops in 160km races, footage of illegal practices such as ear twitching in vet gates and the somewhat bizarre belief that horses don’t need to drink on track if they’re sloshed with water indicates the welfare issues are still very significant.

There is one lone participant, Dr. Sheikh Sultan, who is attempting to use his influence and facilities to alter the status quo. A top class article by Pippa Cuckson details the situation HERE.

Social media has been used to highlight the cruelty in the UAE, and there has been a strong push to inform those still selling to Group VII countries of the horrors awaiting horses sent over there. As ever, there are those that prize the dollar and self-interest over the horse as a sentient being.

The big sellers suggest that those highlighting the abuse are somehow determined to destroy the sport of Endurance by creating divisive feeling within the sport. One very interesting diatribe by someone who sells a lot to the UAE concentrated entirely on how much this person and family enjoyed endurance, how selling abroad allowed them to continue and how wonderful the sport was. Not only is that entirely missing the point of endurance being at heart about partnership of rider and horse, but there is no real understanding of the sport’s financial dynamic as a result of selling the good horses abroad. Any equestrian sport wishing to be healthy nationally, and successful globally, has to keep it’s best horses within the country’s NF. This encourages flourishing competition and attracts sponsorship to grow the sport and support the grass roots whilst giving young riders something to aim for. If top horses continually leave a country, competition becomes poor, interest will wane and the sport will deteriorate. That has been proven in other countries, in other equestrian sports...

Read more here:
http://www.equinerescuefrance.org/2016/01/enduring-bullwarp/


January 21 2016

Bouthieb (Abu Dhabi): The Mutation

Enduroonline.com.br - Full Article Coming closer for a better understanding

May 10 2014
by François Kerboul

From far away, we often see undefined blocks, groups, masses, and we end up very quickly - if not invariably - making snap judgments and deciding, once for all, that "they are like that". Thus we have "Indians", "Blacks", "Arabs", "Chinese", etc.

From far away we see an anonymous figure, which as it gets nearer, becomes a man who is actually a woman and we soon discover that she is not the unknown one we had suspected... In short, when getting closer we become aware that reality is always more complex than the idea we had of it before.

For the Yemeni who has never left his native mountain, or for his Chinese counterpart, "Europeans" (or "Westerners ") are seen as a global and undifferentiated entity. For us, Europeans, it is clear that this is an absurd shortcut because we know that there is little relationship between a Sami (Lapp) and a Basque or even a Southern Californian. But seen from afar...

It's the same in reverse for us and we cannot completely avoid the trap created by distance.

Group VII, The Emirates, The Arabs, etc.

For many Europeans all that is about the same and one is satisfied with the recent global anathema (doping, cheating) without further questioning. You can even hear some people talk of the need for their exclusion from the FEI, which would in itself mean the beginning of the end of the international federation.

So take a magnifying glass and come closer to understand better.

Here we will talk of what is happening today in Bouthieb, one of the three endurance villages in the UAE (and also the oldest), as you would do for example to explain what we are trying to do and how we do it in Fontainebleau (FRA) or Rascafría (ESP) to an Indonesian.

Doing so, we will leave Manichaeism and monolithic thinking to replace it by the description of the real men and their intentions. A little bit of information, a gust of fresh air on the issue.

Brief And Essential Background

When in the 50s it was discovered that the underground of the northern Arabian Peninsula was full of oil, SH Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, understood very quickly that this resource required the emirates to unite (unity is strength) and that the country would inevitably be overwhelmed by the sudden change induced by this extraordinary resource and the new era to come with it.

He managed to convince his counterpart neighbors to form a federation whose name is the one we know today: UAE (United Arab Emirates).

His second priority task was to set up a body to preserve the cultural heritage for the future generations. This great idea took shape under the name of Emirates Heritage Club (EHC). Its purpose is extensive. It spreads from the preservation of the culture of the past to the latest study on the environment, youth training and education, promotion of tolerance and peace, etc.

In this context horses were of course present.

Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, second son of the UAE founder, the late Sh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, currently a member of the government, is the president of the EHC. He created in Bouthieb the first endurance village in the UAE, some 100 km inland among sand dunes, not far from his palace.

Each year five to six weekends of endurance competitions are held there. It is currently the largest center in the world by the number of participating horses each time. For example, on January 23rd to 25th 2014 nearly 800 horses over three days with 340 on the second day participated in the competitions.

The Prince's Will of Renewal

A few years ago, the prince told us his annoyance at seeing that the UAE had created a new type of endurance race he called "flat endurance race" in which speed was privileged at the expense of the horses' safety. That was far in advance of the recent controversy. His voice was not heard despite his conviction...

Read more here:
http://www.enduroonline.com.br/endurance_news_bouthieb_the_mutation.php


January 19 2016

Epiphany 2: FEI Grasps the (UAE) Bou Thib Initiative. Yes, Really!

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | January 19, 2016

Well, I thought I’d never see it, but little pink porkers genuinely have sprouted wings.

The measures drawn up by Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi to reform endurance at his Bou Thib venue gained massive credence in a short time, but did anyone seriously think the rest of the UAE would join him voluntarily in respect for the horse?

But now, in the wake of yet another chaotic death on Saturday, they might just have to, for something extraordinary has happened. The FEI has grown a pair of something that isn’t wings and wants all UAE rides to adopt similar measures to Bou Thib, to reduce the killer speeds.

Yes folks, it’s true. For all the FEI working groups, strategic planners, consultancy exercises, seminars, rule reviews, and no doubt hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of legal fees over the past two years to sort out the travesty in the UAE, the FEI has now resorted to a single page of commonsense from by a wise, genuinely horse-loving Sheikh...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/epiphany-2-fei-grasps-the-bou-thib-initiative-yes-really/


January 11 2016

How an Unsung Sheikh has Forced an Epiphany in Endurance

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | January 11, 2016

Only keen students of Middle Eastern politics have probably heard of the intriguingly named Dr. Sheikh Sultan, but 2016 could be the year in which his body of admirers spreads far outside the Emirates.

First, though, some background for those whose geography etc. is a bit scratchy.

The UAE comprises seven sheikhdoms (or emirs), of which Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most powerful, ruled by the Nahyan and Maktoum families respectively.

Dubai is perhaps the more famous, as a business hub and tourist magnet and because of the stratospheric profile of its Thoroughbred racing through the involvement of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai. However, the overall UAE presidency is with the Al Nayhans, currently Sheikh Khalifa. So Sheikh Mohammed is not the quite the most senior person in the Emirates, being overall UAE vice president and UAE prime minister.

One of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters is married to famed soccer patron Sheikh Mansour Al Nahyan, UAE deputy Prime Minister, though despite this romantic alliance there is rivalry between the two families.

Mohammed and Mansour also own the two busiest endurance venues – Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC), due to host the 2016 world championships unless the UAE gets suspended again, and Al Wathba.

One Sheikh is moving mountains to reform endurance. Sadly it’s neither of these two.

Our unsung hero is His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan, a former deputy UAE prime minister, Mansour’s much older half-sibling and three-quarters sibling of president Khalifa. Sultan was part-educated outside the UAE, including a spell at Millfields, a famous British school renowned for its sporting prowess and values.

Sheikh Sultan is keen on endurance too, and owns the UAE’s third busiest venue, Bou Thib.

For eons he has despaired about the evolution of the desert racing and yearned for “classical” endurance, or indeed anything that doesn’t view the horse as expendable. But he was a voice in the wilderness, quite literally...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/how-an-unsung-sheikh-has-forced-an-epiphany-in-endurance/

UAE: 'Disaster' in Bouthieb - Empty clinic, result of the new parameters enforced

Enduroonline.com.br - Full Article

Text and Clinic Photo: François Kerboul - FEI 4 *

Thursday, December 31 was a historic day in Bouthieb Endurance Village (Al Khatem, Abu Dhabi, UAE): During the CEN 1* 90 km Emirates Heritage Club for Ladies with 59 competitors, the clinic remained desperately empty, which, according to officials, had never happened since the beginning of endurance in the UAE. HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Representative of the President and Chairman of the Emirates Heritage Club (EHC) -, the organizing committee, the officials, the participants, etc. everyone felt authorized to say, with undisguised pleasure and black humor, that this was a true disaster ... for the employment of treating veterinarians, who were overwhelmed with joy having spent a very boring day.

It's clean, it's all ready, it's empty. In the background, a "desperate" veterinarian is waiting.

The second day of competition, January 1, was similar with 2 events (CEI 1* 80 km Emirates Heritage Club Cup in 3 phases and 89 competitors, plus a CEN 1* 100 km Emirates Heritage Cup for Pvt. Owners in 4 phases with 39 competitors) accumulating a total of 128 horses on the track. The day passed with a single mild metabolic case receiving only a treatment of 5 liters of fluid without any additives, a sort of comfort treatment. And nothing else.

The third day, January 2, there was a CEIJY 2* 120 km Emirates Heritage Cup in 5 phases with 55 starters on the track. Only 3 horses were presented, they had lost their riders who had fallen down on the first phase in the light sandstorm with reduced visibility and which were caught and taken to the clinic, then immediately released as nothing justified their presence. On the third day 3 there were 3 metabolic cases, 2 without any treatment and 1 receiving 10 liters of fluid without any additives, plus 3 lamenesses of which one only was treated with a small dose of anti-inflammatory. And that's all.

So, in three days of racing, four competitions, 242 horses, only 3 horses received a light medical treatment mainly out of caution.

This was a remarkable way to end 2015 and start 2016 in Bouthieb Endurance Village. The new competition parameters, implemented regularly for the first time (including 10 minutes of recovery time, even for the finish with a maximum heart rate of 56 bpm and hold time of 50 minutes each loop) produced more effect than we all hoped and there reigned an unprecedented atmosphere of surprise, satisfaction, analysis and research, intellectual ferment mixed with a previously unknown joy. For the first time HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (photo), who usually did no more than pay one or two visits per season, remained permanently on the site during the three days and even chaired the Wednesday briefing of the first competition.

The new president of the national federation – a show jumping rider - came many times, to visit the clinic, going around the venue, to go on the tracks, unlike its predecessor who had never been seen there...

Read more here:
http://www.enduroonline.com.br/Disaster-in-Bouthieb-Empty-clinic-result-of-the-new-parameters-enforced.php


January 7 2016

UAE: Endurance riders to vie for unique new one metre high trophy

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Gulfnews.com - Full Article

London jewellers craft Wimbledon salvers, FA Cup and ICC trophies too

January 7, 2016 Gulf News
Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer

Dubai: Competitors in the ninth annual HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup, presented by Longines on Saturday, will be vying for the honour to lift a unique trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the renowned 160km contest.

The trophy, created by Royal Jewellers Asprey of London, stands one metre in height and weighs 20 kilograms.

It is topped by a three-dimensional horse and rider - the figure representing the victory by HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. in the 2012 FEI Longines World Endurance Championships held in Euston Park, England.

Shaikh Mohammad’s arm is raised overhead in victory and holds a single .32 carat diamond in his hand...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/endurance-riders-to-vie-for-unique-new-one-metre-high-trophy-1.1649934

Uneventful time for vets at recent UAE endurance gathering

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 7 January 2016

A four-star judge and technical delegate says only three horses required light medical treatment among the 242 who took part in three days of endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates recently.

François Kerboul provided an account of racing at Bouthieb. The first day, on December 31, saw the staging of a CEN 1* race over 90km for women. It attracted 59 competitors.

The veterinary facilities remained unused through the day, which had not happened since the beginning of endurance in the UAE, he said...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2016/01/07/uneventful-time-vets-uae/#ixzz3wZfGJIuF


January 4 2016

Great Strategy Ensures Top Endurance Rider Challenge Win in UAE

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

4 January 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Outside Abu Dhabi, the Boudhieb Endurance Village hosted several endurance rides over 3 days on the weekend of 1-3 January to celebrate both the 2016 New Year and HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s new scheme designed to support the general welfare of horses and good equestrianism. The Top Endurance Rider Challenge (ERC) makes awards placing great emphasis on the technical skill of the rider and trainer through strict management of heart rate and recovery presentation time rather than just pure speed was a great success.

The main event of the weekend was the 120km CEIYJ** ERC Endurance Cup for Juniors & Young Riders which incorporated the new Top Endurance Rider Challenge for the first time. The race was won by Ahmed Yousef Al Baloushi riding Bac Dayre for Nad Al Sheba Stables trained by Yousef Ahmed Al Baloushi. Young rider Baloushi was supervised by assistant trainer Mohammed Nasser and was carefully guided through strategy to take this prestigious award. Meanwhile the winner of the speed version of the ride was Ali Mohammed Al Hosani riding Shanelli Park Judaan for Al Reef Stables...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2016/01/04/great-strategy-ensures-top-endurance-rider-challenge-win-in-uae/


December 22 2015

The Swiss Equestrian Federation SEF remains committed to endurance being respectful of horse welfare

FNCH.ch

22 Dezember 2015 11:57

A delegation of the Swiss Equestrian Federation SEF has liaised with the director of the FEI endurance in order to discuss the suggested measures to ensure the development of the discipline and improvement of the respect for horses. The SEF has stressed the need to improve the qualifying system for the elite races and for finding a competition format for the WEG consistent with the current competition schemes.

During a workshop at the headquarters of the FEI in Lausanne, a delegation of the SEF comprising of president Charles Trolliet, Dominik Burger and Claude Nordmann, expressed the reflections and position of Switzerland concerning the current issues of the discipline to the director of Endurance of the FEI, Manuel Bandeira de Mello. Discussions included qualification criteria for major events, the new competition format during the World Equestrian Games and finally the monitoring of the situation in the Middle-Eastern countries (group VII of the FEI).

The SEF has suggested to include a provision in the regulations stipulating that it is the horse/rider pair who needs to qualify in two races in order to participate at the next level. Endurance being the demonstration of the rapport and understanding between horse and rider i.e. horsemanship, this provision would certainly ensure an improvement of horse welfare and contribute to reducing excessive speeds and other occurring issues. This request remains valid and the Swiss delegation insists that it be incorporated during the next thorough revision of endurance regulations. The discipline’s credibility is at stake. The SEF has made itself available to carry out statistics concerning this subject.

The SEF is also ready to bring forward proposals in order to develop with the FEI an attractive competition format for the World Equestrian Games. This will allow for only the best pairs to reach the World Championship by qualifying for various geographically distributed races during the two years preceding the final. The SEF has reiterated its firm opposition to any format planning races over two days as this format, only practiced at the WEG, would only encourage excessive speed and pose more risks for the horses.

Finally, after analysing the situation in group VII’s various countries especially in the UAE, the SEF has reminded that it would remain vigilant and await the end of the racing season in the Middle East to decide on the possible Swiss participation in the World Championships which are scheduled for December 2016 in Dubai.

Manuel Banderia de Mello has noted with interest the Swiss proposals and has been thankful for the frank discussion. He expressed readiness to continue a regular dialogue with the Swiss Federation.

Additional Information:

Dr. Claude Nordmann, International Relations, Swiss Federation for Equestrian Sports

Tel. +41 79 353 75 54 E-mail: claude.nordmann@bluewin.ch


December 2 2015

Regulated Endurance Rides in Abu Dhabi Support Responsible Riding

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

December 1 2015

Endurance Rule Change for Boudhieb Endurance

1 December 2015, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ For the remainder of 2015 and in advance of the Endurance season of 2016, His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has taken the state of affairs in Group 7 endurance racing extremely seriously, in particular in the UAE, and for some time has been in discussion with a number of people and bodies concerning the welfare of endurance horses and how to bring back respect for the horse and skill of the rider in successfully completing endurance competitions.

It is the considered opinion of HH Sheikh Sultan that speeds now reached in local endurance rides have exceeded the natural capacity of the average Arabian horse and that allowing speed, and therefore the culture of First past the post as the sole winning factor, has led to many problems...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2015/12/01/regulated-endurance-rides-in-abu-dhabi-support-responsible-riding/


November 29 2015

Tough new local rules designed to reform UAE endurance

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
29 November, 2015

A member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family aims to reform UAE endurance with tough new local rules.

FEI rules still apply, but at the Bou Thib venue of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, prizes will only be awarded to combinations meeting new best condition-orientated criteria. These include a GPS-controlled maximum speed of 20kph, 10-minute vetting time, 50-minute compulsory hold, hypersensitivity tests to discourage nerve-blocking, and a bid to reduce “mobile crewing” by limiting following cars to one per five horses and providing official crew points every kilometre...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/tough-news-rules-reform-uae-desert-endurance-518775#wxr8tUvbM55Dxx6f.99


November 21 2015

FEI General Assembly Concludes with Approval of Endurance Rule Modifications

14 November 2015

The FEI General Assembly concluded in Puerto Rico on November 14, 2015.

During the annual meeting, member National Federations voted on a wide range of topics.

For Endurance, the General Assembly heard an update on the application of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) recommendations, the majority of which have been implemented. Endurance Committee Chair Brian Sheahan gave a report to delegates, detailing additional key recommendations that are being implemented.

These recommendations include:

• Key Performance Indicators consisting of the number of NFs organising Endurance events; number of CEIs; number of registered horses and athletes; number of starters; the relationship between metabolic issues and lameness; horse fatalities; number of horses leaving competition per year; number of doping cases; and promotion of officials.

• A lifetime ban for a horse that suffers a fifth consecutive disqualification for gait irregularity at FEI and national events

• An increase to 80 penalty points (from 50) for an athlete whose horse suffers a catastrophic injury

• Ranking lists, including additional ranking points for athletes with no penalty points

• Online publication of progress reports

• Coaching development programme

• Generating sponsorship

• Endurance Organisers Guide (to be ready in March 2016)

• Endurance FEI Coaching System (to commence in February/March 2016)

The General Assembly approved the modifications of the FEI Endurance Rules. The 9th edition, effective 1 January 2016, will be available on the FEI website here.


November 20 2015

21 yellow cards issued in first weekend of UAE endurance season

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
12 November, 2015

Twenty-one yellow warning cards were handed out in a single weekend at the start of the UAE endurance season, as the crackdown on rule-breaking steps up.

Numerous violations were spotted on the livestream from the first major CEI/CEN at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi on 22 October, in addition to many sanctioned on the day by the ground jury.

There was a completion rate of just 18% in the CEI 100Km (20 of 108 starters), no reduction in average speeds, instances of extra-long reins used as whips, and riders retiring just before vet-gates to avoid the penalty points and mandatory rest periods that follow disqualification for metabolics.

The UAE was suspended in March, reinstated only after signing a legal agreement. The FEI declined to comment how long the UAE has to improve standards before another suspension is considered...

Read more here:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/uae-endurance-yellow-cards-516971


November 11 2015

Apathy Society

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | November 9, 2015

I meant to tell you the Apathy Society cancelled its meeting due to lack of interest, but I couldn’t be bothered...

How many tens of thousands of man-hours have been expended thinking up new formats for the Olympics and WEG, only to end up not far from where we started?

In April, I spent four days travelling to Switzerland, sitting through the FEI sports forum debates on this huge topic, and writing it up for several publications. Multiply that by 270 other delegates, and that’s 1,350 days of collective effort, before you consider all the time put in by FEI executives, committees and stakeholder groups before and since.

Now, on the eve of the FEI General Assembly in Puerto Rico, the results of a further survey of all national federations (NFs) have been published, which by no means endorse the FEI’s Olympic format preferences. However, the FEI could easily argue that strongly articulated opposition to, say, separate contests in eventing for individuals and teams, is not the majority view.

This brings us to a truth that various movers and shakers sometime utter to me in private, but baulk from saying in public.

Only 47 (35%) of the 133 member NFs bothered to respond to the most important thing they will be asked about in the next four years, apart from re-electing a president. That’s 10 fewer than the nations represented at the April forum; just seven more than competed at London 2012; and 27 fewer than represented at WEG 2014. If you don’t have long-term international ambitions, why join a global federation?...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/apathy-society/#.VkDzJhHV-TM.facebook

Endurance officials: The gait keepers of equine welfare

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 9 November 2015

...Horses are nigh-on perfect. Powerful, fast, agile, perfectly balanced. And they’re tractable enough to allow us to climb on their backs and do our bidding for us.

We marvel at their sheer speed on the racetrack and admire their endurance when we ask them to compete over 100-mile distances.

The sport of endurance, at its pinnacle, is about the partnership between horse and rider. Yes, horses are pushed hard, but the rider is attuned to their mount and can sense its performance as surely as any race-car driver can monitor his engine with a myriad of gauges in front of him.

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/11/09/endurance-officials-gait-keepers-welfare/#ixzz3r0cQyC2G


November 7 2015

Endurance bosses urge officials to stay vigilant over welfare

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 7 November 2015

Endurance officials are being urged to be vigilant by two of the most senior figures in the discipline, who warn that serious welfare incidents had the potential to irreversibly harm the sport.

The chairman of the FEI’s Endurance Technical Committee, Brian Sheahan, and the FEI’s endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, in a letter to officials, said endurance had developed into a highly professional equestrian sport over the past decade...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/11/07/endurance-bosses-vigilant/#ixzz3qqauGAgo


November 3 2015

FEI get-together: What’s going down in Puerto Rico – other than the daiquiris?

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 3 November 2015

Puerto Rico, where national delegates are about to gather for this year’s FEI General Assembly, can lay claim to no fewer than five Miss Universe pageant winners. One imagines that the beautiful people of the FEI would fit in very nicely there.

Its capital, San Juan, oozes character, with its blue cobblestone streets, friendly inhabitants and copious quantities of the local delight, rum. And let’s not forget that this is the home of the beautiful Paso Fino horse.

So, in between downing rum-laden daiquiris, what can we expect from the movers and shakers of the equestrian world?

Here’s a few snippets to whet your appetite:

Endurance

What a year it has been. Negative headlines have abounded, almost exclusively centred on the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The country was provisionally suspended in March amid welfare concerns, but has since been welcomed back after agreeing to reforms...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/11/03/fei-general-assembly-puerto-rico-daiquiris/#ixzz3qRmNmYfM


October 28 2015

UAE endurance: Eliminations loom large in season opener

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 28 October 2015

It was the American writer Mark Twain who popularised the expression, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

It refers to the usefulness of statistics to boost pretty much any argument you choose.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to compare the results of the big national (CEN) 100km endurance ride staged at Al Wathba, in Abu Dhabi, on Thursday last week.

The endurance results on the Emirates Equestrian Federation website show a few qualifying events in the previous month, but the Al Wathba race was billed in the media as the season opener – and, of course, was staged under FEI rules...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/10/28/uae-endurance-eliminations-season-opener/#ixzz3psZgWSZ1


October 21 2015

New UAE endurance season kicks off at Al Wathba

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Over 130 riders to vie for honours as revamped FEI rules come into place

Published: 17:20 October 21, 2015
Staff Report

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s 2015-2016 domestic endurance season gets off to a promising start on Thursday, with over 130 riders entered for the 100-km CEN Al Wathba Endurance Ride. The ride will be held at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

“Under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, we are extremely delighted to announce that all preparations are in place to kick start the endurance season,” said Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

“So far we have received over 130 entries and the ride will get off to a mass start at 6am on Thursday. It will be run in three phases of 40km, 40km and 20km.

“There will be five 4WD cars up for grabs for the top five finishers,” he added.

“I would like to thank our official sponsors and partners, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, National Feed & Floor Production & Marketing and Al Masaoud.

“We will be adopting the new rules from the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) on water points, vehicles on the ride route and persons accompanying the horse inside the Vet Gate.

“Water supply points have been clearly marked along the ride route while only five cars for each horse will be permitted to drive through and only two persons will be permitted to accompany the horse inside the Vet Gate during the veterinary check,” Al Nuaimi stated...

Read more here
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/new-uae-endurance-season-kicks-off-at-al-wathba-1.1604588


October 20 2015

Fakers May Get Off Lightly Due to the Impossibility of Proving a Negative

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | October 20, 2015

What a difference a year-and-a-bit makes. Or rather, what a difference it makes when a picture of an endurance horse perched on two shattered forelegs causes a global public relations disaster, and when a national federation is exposed as so cavalier it fobs off the international governing body with fabricated results.

In February 2014, not a single Middle Eastern federation sent delegates to the FEI endurance forum, convened as a direct result of the welfare and cheating crisis the UAE has caused.

Wind on to October 2015, when 1,347 UAE trainers, riders and officials attended educational workshops, prior to the start of their winter FEI season. This was a non-negotiable condition of the FEI lifting their suspension which, lest we forget, was imposed for “major” horse welfare issues – the first time in history any horse country has been so shamed.

It’s said that when you have got someone by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow. I am not convinced just yet. Remarks in the FEI press release that these sessions were “successful” and “effective” seem premature. We can only say that if we reach the President’s Cup next February without having seen another Splitters Creek Bundy or a Marmoog, and no positive dope tests.

However, it’s a start. The FEI is responsible for letting endurance get out of control in Group VII in the first place. However, as well as new education and supervisory programs, the FEI is moving mountains behind the scenes to plug many gaps...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/fakers-may-get-off-lightly-due-to-the-impossibility-of-proving-a-negative/


October 15 2015

Hugely Successful FEI Endurance Courses Attract Almost 1,400 Delegates in UAE

FEI.org

14 Oct 2015

Close to 1,400 people have attended a series of FEI Endurance educational courses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (UAE) over the past four days in advance of this week’s Endurance season opener, a CEI1* 80-kilometre ride. The attendees, numbering 1,347 in total, included athletes, trainers, grooms, Veterinarians, Judges, Technical Delegates and Stewards. The courses were an important element in the legally binding agreement signed between the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) and the FEI prior to the lifting of the provisional suspension at the end of July. The FEI Bureau had suspended the EEF in March of this year following an investigation into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the country.

Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee, Brian Sheahan, acted as Course Director alongside Dwight Hooton (USA) a member of the FEI Veterinary Committee and veterinary advisor to the EEF, and FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello. The EEF Assistant Secretary General Faisal al Ali attended the first session on 10 October, and Dr Ali Al Twessi from the EEF Endurance Department was also on hand to offer translation services.

The athletes, trainers and grooms’ sessions, which attracted 1,065 attendees, 25% of which were female, covered FEI and national rules, mandatory rest periods, penalty points, the entry system, field of play and veterinary aspects, including Vet Gate procedures, anti-doping rules (human and equine) and medication procedures.

John Robertson, Deputy Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee, was in charge of the courses for FEI Judges (Levels 1, 2 and 4), Stewards and Technical Delegates. A total of 190 Stewards attended, including 160 from the police force who will be working at events, as the national rules are now fully compliant with FEI rules.

Brian Sheahan and Dwight Hooton also ran a course for Veterinarians, with 68 attendees. Both the Veterinarians and Judges were then required to sit an exam, with a 100% pass rate.

The EEF’s new entry system, delivery of results to the FEI, horse welfare issues including cars in the field of play, video cameras in the stabling area and prevention of accidents in the vet gate area were discussed at two separate meetings, one with Adnan Sultan Saif Al Nuaimi, General Manager of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, and the other with Dubai Equestrian Club General Manager Mohammed Essa Al Adhad.

There was a general consensus that the courses and the individual meetings had all been extremely successful and effective. “We have a fantastic sport in Endurance and it was wonderful to have had such successful courses in Group VII, particularly from an attendance perspective but also for the enthusiasm of all the delegates”, FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello said at the end of the four days. “The courses were really interactive and there was a huge thirst for knowledge and a desire to increase the depth of understanding of all aspects of the discipline from everyone who attended. There has been great team work here in Dubai, and everybody is fully committed to success.”

Provisional suspension

As part of the ongoing clean-up of the discipline in Group VII, Abdul Aziz Mohd Yasin Sheikh, Head of Endurance at the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), has been provisionally suspended as an FEI Official by the FEI Secretary General, Sabrina Zeender, for consistently failing to observe the FEI Rules and Regulations at a number of events from which duplicate results were submitted to the FEI.

The provisional suspension, which is in accordance with Article 156.1 of the FEI General Regulations and which comes into immediate effect, is for an indefinite period. For the duration of the suspension, Mr Sheikh may not take part or be involved in the organisation of any FEI competitions or events, or any event under the jurisdiction of a National Federation.

Mr Sheikh has 30 days to appeal the decision to the FEI Tribunal from the date of notification (13 October 2015). He is the second UAE official to have been provisionally suspended by the FEI Secretary General following the suspension of Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, Head of the EEF Veterinary Department, last month. Both suspensions have the full support of FEI President Ingmar De Vos

The events and duplicate results in the UAE that were used specifically for qualification purposes have now been deleted by the FEI IT Department. Any horse/rider combinations that used these duplicate results as qualification for subsequent events, and were therefore ineligible to compete, have now been disqualified.

FEI suspends UAE endurance boss

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 15 October 2015

The head of endurance at the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation has been provisionally suspended as an FEI official.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender has suspended Abdul Aziz Mohd Yasin Sheikh “for consistently failing to observe the FEI Rules and Regulations at a number of events from which duplicate results were submitted to the FEI”.

The suspension was made as part of the ongoing clean-up of the discipline in Group VII, in which the UAE’s equestrian federation was provisionally suspended by the FEI Bureau in March. It followed an investigation into what the world governing body characterised as major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with its rules...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/10/15/fei-suspends-uae-endurance-boss/#ixzz3oeCfMm8i


October 7 2015

FEI President Pushes 'Clean Sport' Message

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 7 October 2015

Shortly after the election of FEI President Ingmar De Vos, a wag cheekily suggested I should ask him what it’s like to be the world’s most famous Belgian.

Come on, I replied, the world is full of famous Belgians.

Admittedly, names didn’t immediately spring to mind.

If only a website were devoted to such a worthy subject. As it happens, there is!

I surfed on over to Famousbelgians.net, where an exhaustive account of Belgium’s best and brightest can be found, along with a gentle front-page chiding for those who believe the world lacks famous Belgians.

Naturally, I made my way to the list entitled “The current Top 10 famous Belgians”, to find no sign of De Vos. A mistake, surely?...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/10/07/ingmar-da-boss-first-10-months-helm-fei/#ixzz3ntccXYsT


October 5 2015

FEI President Pushes 'Clean Sport' Message

Thehorse.com

By Edited Press Release
Sep 1, 2015

Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) President Ingmar De Vos has sent a strong message to the equestrian world on the importance of the FEI Clean Sport campaign in the countdown to the rollout of the FEI’s global Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Program (EADCMP) on Jan. 1, 2016.

The FEI headquarters currently coordinates administration of the EADCMP in FEI Regional Groups I and II (Europe), while administration of the program in the rest of the world has been undertaken through national anti-doping programs or national federations. In January the FEI headquarters will take over administration of the program worldwide.

In advance of the implementation of the worldwide EADCMP, the FEI will upscale its awareness and education campaign amongst national federations, athletes, and their entourages in order to prevent inadvertent positives.

“It is vital for the integrity of all sport that it is clean and fair, but it is even more important when there is an animal involved because of the welfare implications”, De Vos said. “The FEI has a stringent anti-doping policy in place to protect horse welfare and maintain a level playing field. Horse welfare and fair play have always been and always will be two of the central pillars of the FEI.

“We have close to 4,000 international events on the FEI calendar now and, as the international governing body, it is our responsibility to safeguard our athletes and the sport itself, and part of that is protecting our clean athletes,” he continued. “We have a rigorous testing policy and the FEI prohibited substances list contains over 1,000 substances, so it is crucial that our athletes and their vets are aware of what they are giving their horses.

“Of course our horses have to be treated if they are injured or sick, but anything given to the horse must have been eliminated from the body of the horse by the time of competition so that we can maintain the integrity of our sport. Boosting awareness and education is key. Keep it clean is the message.”

De Vos’ statement comes following news that the FEI has imposed provisional suspensions on two athletes whose horses have tested positive for prohibited substances.

Samples taken at a CEI1* 80km endurance event at Miramas, in France, on May 3 from the horse Buenaventura, ridden by Candice Pilloni (FRA), returned positive for the banned substance oxycodone (an opioid analgesic) and the controlled medication substance lidocaine and its metabolite 3-hydroxylidocaine (a local anaesthetic).

Further, samples taken at the North American Juniors and Young Riders Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 16 and 18 from the horse Why Not, ridden by Sophie Simpson (USA) in jumping, returned positive for the banned substance capsaicin, a topical analgesic or irritant.

Both athletes have been provisionally suspended from the day of notification (Aug. 31). Additionally, the two horses have been provisionally suspended for two months. The athletes and the horse owners have the opportunity for a preliminary hearing before the FEI Tribunal to request the lifting of the provisional suspensions.


September 19 2015

Bahrain: Sheikha banned over positive drug finding in endurance horse

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 19 September 2015

A member of Bahrain’s ruling family has received a two-year ban from the FEI Tribunal after her mount tested positive for a banned substance after an Italian endurance race a year ago.

Sheikha Najla Bint Salman Al Khalifa’s horse, Salahdin Du Lauragais, tested positive for the long-acting sedative reserpine, after the 120km 2* star ride in Verona San Martino Buon Albergo in July last year...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/09/19/sheikha-banned-positive-drug-finding-endurance-horse/#ixzz3mC10yonR


September 18 2015

FEI Tribunal questions whether trainer doped endurance horse for ‘revenge’ as claimed

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
18 September, 2015

“Serious doubts” have been expressed about the authenticity of a trainer’s “confession” exonerating a member of the Bahraini ruling family from blame in a reserpine doping offence.

The FEI Tribunal found that the endurance rider, Sheikha Najla bint Salman Al Khalifa, had not established the fundamental principle of “no fault no negligence” for the presence of the banned sedative in her ride Salahdin du Lauragais at the 120km CEI in Verona, Italy, on 26-27 July 2014. It suspended her for two years.

In its 13-page decision notice, the Tribunal queried at length the veracity of a statement purportedly submitted by trainer Narendrha Singh, admitting injecting the horse “between 2 and 7 July,” without the Sheikha’s knowledge, out of “revenge”...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/fei-tribunal-trainer-singh-confessed-doping-510553#ZBt4UsfB6PvKYWUk.99


September 14 2015

Leading endurance official suspended in connection with ‘fake rides’ Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/dr-sommerseth-suspension-fei-endurance-510035#ZuEeCWhRCSV5oCTz.99

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

September 14 2015

Dr Hallvard Sommerseth (pictured), a leading figure in world endurance, has been provisionally suspended as an FEI official in connection with the UAE “fake rides” scandal.

Dr Sommerseth is a former FEI bureau member, when chair of its endurance committee.

Originally from Norway, he has worked in the UAE for many years and, in his current role as head of the UAE federation’s veterinary department, was in a position to influence ride organisation.

The FEI stated that Dr Sommerseth had also shown a “consistent failure to comply with FEI rules and regulations over a period of several years.”

The fake rides came to light in March when H&H was tipped off that President’s Cup qualifier, purportedly staged on 21 January, did not take place...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/dr-sommerseth-suspension-fei-endurance-510035#ZuEeCWhRCSV5oCTz.99


September 9 2015

Simply Shameless

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 1, 2015

Lots of people have asked me why I didn’t launch into print the day the FEI lifted its suspension of the UAE. Well, the short answer was that it was a suspension, not a ban, and was always going to happen at some point. After all, the only way the UAE can prove they can behave themselves in FEI rides is by taking part in FEI rides.

The other factor was that I was so completely turned-off the subject by the cringe-worthy “welcome back” afforded to the UAE on social media from countries one rashly hoped were the decent practitioners of endurance. Most of the posters genuflecting and squealing “we’ve missed you” were youngsters who don’t maybe yet know better, or folk who make their living selling horses to the UAE. But still – yuck.

Even though some memories are short, happily today we have another jolt about the utter shamelessness of senior figures in UAE endurance community and their acolytes. Thirty horses (yes, 30) have just been disqualified from February’s President’s Cup as a result of falsified qualifications.

The FEI said all along it would excise the faked results from its database. It has now commenced this plus the marathon task of adjusting the results of real races where multiple participants were not qualified to start.

The UAE has certainly been given enough rope to hang itself by the FEI, in the conditions set for its return to competition. Bearing in mind this most outrageous piece of fakery, out of so much other fakery, occurred in January and February this year when the UAE was already on notice from the FEI that it was in very serious trouble indeed, is it likely to have undergone a collective personality transplant in a matter of months?

The horses disqualified from the President’s Cup come from 13 stables variously owned by the ruling Maktoum and Nayhan families. They represent 20 per cent of the President’s Cup starters. They include the runner-up, Kalifa, ridden by Suhail Al Ghailani. Hadeer, the ride of world champion Sheikh Hamdan, was not qualified for this or his previous two races with other riders...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/simply-shameless/

The ghosts fixed the match

Playthegame.org - Full Article

09.09.2015
By Declan Hill

The fixing of fictitious matches is among the outcomes of a sports data revolution that is currently transforming sport, writes Declan Hill, and examines the newest phenomenon in the world of match rigging; ghost-fixing.

...A Real-Life Dick Francis Novel

At least, the Slovenian ski officials actually staged a race and then tried to fix the data coming out of the event. The ‘industrial-scale’ ghost-fixing in endurance horse racing that took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sounds like a plot from a Dick Francis thriller.

Long-distance – endurance - horse racing was originally inspired by the feats of the Russian and Polish cavalry in the First World War. The sport is now a matter of extraordinary prestige on the Arabian Peninsula. The races range from 50 to 160-km and the horses and riders can race for hours across a hot terrain.

The problem is that the sport in the Middle East has been marked by just about every scandal possible – in at least three cases riders allegedly changed horses in mid-race, there are numerous cases of doped horses and the sheer abuse of the animals can be horrendous. In March of 2015, an Australian horse dropped to its knees in mid-race with two shattered legs, prompting one observer on social media to write that, “the rider should be immediately taken to the stable and shot”.

However, all those scandals pale in comparison with ghost-fixing – or ‘phantom riding’ – that erupted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this year. ..

Read more here:
http://www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2015/0068_the-ghosts-fixed-the-match/


September 8 2015

Former FEI Endurance Committee head suspended over UAE race controversy

The FEI has provisionally suspended a veterinarian who once chaired its Endurance Committee for allegedly failing to follow the rules and his purported involvement in several events in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which duplicate results were submitted.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender said the suspension of Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, who heads the Veterinary Department at the UAE Equestrian Federation, was for an indefinite period.

Read more ...

UAE Veterinarian Provisionally Suspended as FEI Official

Thehorse.com

By Edited Press Release
Sep 8, 2015

Hallvard Sommerseth, DVM, head of the veterinary department at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Equestrian Federation (EEF), has been provisionally suspended as a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) official.

Sabrina Zeender, FEI secretary general, suspended Sommerseth for noncompliance with FEI Rules and Regulations and his involvement in a number of events from which duplicate results were submitted to the FEI. The secretary general’s decision has the full support of FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

The provisional suspension, which is in accordance with Article 156.1 of the FEI General Regulations and which comes into immediate effect, is for an indefinite period. For the duration of the suspension, Sommerseth may not take part or be involved in the organization of any FEI competitions or events or any event under the jurisdiction of a national federation.

The suspension has been imposed as a result of Sommerseth’s consistent failure to comply with FEI Rules and Regulations over a period of several years. Zeender stated that Sommerseth had failed to observe the FEI Rules and Regulations while acting as an FEI official at a number of FEI international endurance events over a three-year period from April 2012 to February 2014. By allowing the events to take place without accurate timing systems he failed in his responsibility as technical delegate and this failure was a contributory factor in duplicate results being submitted to the FEI. In addition to his role as a technical delegate, Sommerseth also acted as a ground jury member at several of the events.

The suspension is based on the findings in a report produced by the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit, which was tasked by the FEI Secretary General earlier this year to investigate duplicate results that had been submitted to the FEI from endurance events in the UAE. The report indicates that timing systems were not used at these events and accurate timings were not taken of each competitor’s phases, which must be done in accordance with the FEI endurance rules. Instead, the times submitted in the official results provided to the FEI were copied from other events.

Sommerseth was a member of the FEI Bureau from 1998 to 2007 during his term as chair of the endurance committee and subsequently became an honorary bureau member. He was also a member of the FEI Veterinary Committee from April 2007 until November 2011. He became a course director for endurance judges, technical delegates, and veterinarians in September 2009, and was also a 4* endurance course designer (from January 2013), a 4* endurance veterinary treatment official (January 2012), and a 4* endurance judge (January 2009). He has been an official veterinarian for jumping, dressage, and endurance, and a 4* endurance technical delegate, since January 2009.

Sommerseth has 30 days to appeal the decision to the FEI Tribunal from the date of notification (Sept. 1).

Under the terms of the legally binding agreement signed by the FEI and the EEF at the end of July, the EEF agreed that any sanctions imposed by the FEI would also be implemented and enforced at national level.

The events and duplicate results in the UAE were used specifically for qualification purposes. The FEI IT department is currently removing all such events from the FEI calendar and deleting all duplicate results. Any horse/rider combinations that used these duplicate results for qualification for subsequent events, and were therefore ineligible, have already either been or will be disqualified.


September 2 2015

30 horses disqualified as FEI begins clean-up of ‘phantom’ endurance rides

Thirty horses, the majority trained in 13 stables owned by the ruling Maktoum and Nayhan families, have been disqualified from the UAE’s most onerous endurance race, the 160km President’s Cup, as the clean-up of the “phantom” rides begins.

The FEI has commenced the marathon task of deleting 15 faked rides from its database, and adjusting results of real races whose participants were not qualified to start.

The 30 horses represent 20% of the President’s Cup starters. They include the runner-up, Kalifa, ridden by Suhail Al Ghailani. Hadeer, the ride of world champion Sheikh Hamdan, was not qualified for this or his previous two races with other riders.

Read more ...

FEI database being updated in wake of so-called “phantom races”

Changes are under way to the FEI database as the fallout from the so-called phantom endurance races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues.

The UAE national federation was provisionally suspended last March following an investigation by the FEI into what it called major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with the rules in endurance.

Around the same time, evidence emerged of UAE endurance races for which blocks of results in the FEI database appeared to mirror those of earlier races. This issue was unrelated to the suspension.

Read More ...

Two riders suspended as FEI boss says “keep it clean”

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 2 September 2015

Two riders have been placed under provisional suspension after their horses returned positive tests for prohibited substances, just before FEI President Ingmar De Vos announced a further push for awareness and education to prevent inadvertent positives.

Samples taken at a CEI1* 80km endurance event at Miramas in France on May 3 from the horse Buenaventura (FEI ID 104TD11/FRA), ridden by Candice Pilloni (FRA), returned positive for the banned substance Oxycodone, an opioid analgesic, and the Controlled Medication substance Lidocaine and its metabolite 3-Hydroxylidocaine, a local anaesthetic.

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/09/02/two-riders-suspended-fei-boss-says-keep-clean/#ixzz3lGXxJldp


September 1 2015

Simply Shameless

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 1, 2015

Lots of people have asked me why I didn’t launch into print the day the FEI lifted its suspension of the UAE. Well, the short answer was that it was a suspension, not a ban, and was always going to happen at some point. After all, the only way the UAE can prove they can behave themselves in FEI rides is by taking part in FEI rides.

The other factor was that I was so completely turned-off the subject by the cringe-worthy “welcome back” afforded to the UAE on social media from countries one rashly hoped were the decent practitioners of endurance. Most of the posters genuflecting and squealing “we’ve missed you” were youngsters who don’t maybe yet know better, or folk who make their living selling horses to the UAE. But still – yuck.

Even though some memories are short, happily today we have another jolt about the utter shamelessness of senior figures in UAE endurance community and their acolytes. Thirty horses (yes, 30) have just been disqualified from February’s President’s Cup as a result of falsified qualifications.

The FEI said all along it would excise the faked results from its database. It has now commenced this plus the marathon task of adjusting the results of real races where multiple participants were not qualified to start.

The UAE has certainly been given enough rope to hang itself by the FEI, in the conditions set for its return to competition. Bearing in mind this most outrageous piece of fakery, out of so much other fakery, occurred in January and February this year when the UAE was already on notice from the FEI that it was in very serious trouble indeed, is it likely to have undergone a collective personality transplant in a matter of months?

The horses disqualified from the President’s Cup come from 13 stables variously owned by the ruling Maktoum and Nayhan families. They represent 20 per cent of the President’s Cup starters. They include the runner-up, Kalifa, ridden by Suhail Al Ghailani. Hadeer, the ride of world champion Sheikh Hamdan, was not qualified for this or his previous two races with other riders...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/simply-shameless/


August 20 2015

Further endurance bans in Middle East

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
20 August, 2015

Two more Middle Eastern endurance riders have been suspended for two years each, after their horses tested positive having allegedly consumed Fustex — a supplement that the FEI has repeatedly warned against.

Horses competed by Mohammed Shafi Al Rumaithi (Royal Des Fontaines, UAE) and Ali Yousef Al Kubaisi (In Situ, Qatar) both tested positive to propoxyphene, a narcotic pain reliever. Al Rumaithi’s owner Jumaa Mohamed Khamees Alromaithi was also banned for two years after admitting buying Fustex...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/middle-eastern-endurance-riders-suspended-fustex-506571#7Y2XHcgGYzzockpA.99

August 11 2015

Dirty Laundry List

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Blogs Straight-Up | August 8, 2015

Well, if there was ever any doubt about the extent of the UAE’s reprehensible behaviour in Endurance racing (and there wasn’t as far as I’m concerned), the FEI’s press release of last week certainly wipes it out. Nothing like a list of what someone is not allowed to do to confirm what that person or group has been up to. I mean, when someone is let out of jail on probation, the terms of the probation aren’t likely to list criminal activities of the sort that the person hasn’t committed. If you stole a car, the probation isn’t going to mention domestic violence, is it?

Here is the list of ‘thou shalt not’ activities contained in a new agreement signed by the UAE and FEI:

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/straight-up/dirty-laundry-list/


July 30 2015

UAE endurance: There’s one more issue to mop up

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 30 July 2015

Acronyms and abbreviations drive me crazy. We’re not talking Dance Around The Arena Naked kind of crazy, but if I ever developed a facial tick, I have no doubt that acronyms and their ilk would be to blame.

To be strictly correct, I’m talking about abbreviations, contractions, acronyms and initialisms.

Which makes me hate them even more.

This obsessive dislike becomes a major problem when you start writing about the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU)...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/07/30/uae-endurance-theres-one-more-issue-to-mop-up/#ixzz3hPdc6x3u


July 28 2015

UAE endurance: Final call for drinks at the Last Chance Saloon

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 28 July 2015

The barman has called for final drinks at the Last Chance Saloon, where the FEI and the United Arab Emirates have been holed up for four months trying to broker a deal over endurance.

Early in March the pair had a very public showdown in the Main Street, after the FEI suspended the UAE over concerns around horse welfare and non-compliance with the world governing body’s rules.

The UAE appealed and it was looking very much like pistols at dawn, as the two gun-toting parties squared off.

Who would blink first?...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/07/28/uae-endurance-final-drinks-last-chance-saloon/#axzz3hC2Ss8Cf

After probe of horse abuse, equestrian body reinstates UAE with 2016 endurance worlds at stake - TheRepublic.com



Endurance deal reached: UAE returns to FEI fold - Horsetalk.co.nz


July 27 2015

UAE endurance riders free to compete from Tuesday after FEI lift suspension

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent
3:50PM BST 27 Jul 2015

The unprecedented temporary ban was put in place after multiple horse welfare scandals

United Arab Emirates endurance riders are free to compete from Tuesday with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI’s) decision to lift their national federation’s unprecedented suspension.

Monthly performance reviews, the application of rigorous FEI rules at national competitions, attempts to reduce fatalities and respect for mandatory rest periods are among a raft of conditions negotiated since the UAE was grounded in March after multiple horse welfare scandals highlighted by Telegraph Sport. Any future breaches could result in further suspension and the withdrawal of the 2016 world endurance championships in Dubai in December 2016...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11765759/UAE-endurance-riders-free-to-compete-from-Tuesday-after-FEI-lift-suspension.html

FEI lifts ban on UAE equestrian federation - Horseandhound.co.uk


UAE back in world equestrian body after endurance race probe - ESPN


UAE endurance suspension lifted by FEI - Horseandcountry.tv


UAE back in world equestrian body after endurance race probe - Bellinghamherald.com


UAE back in world equestrian body after endurance race probe - Yahoo News


UAE back in world equestrian body after endurance race probe - Foxsports.com

UAE National Federation suspension lifted by FEI Bureau following signature of agreement

FEI.org

27 Jul 2015

The FEI Bureau has unanimously approved the immediate reinstatement of the United Arab Emirates National Federation to full membership of the FEI following signature of a legally binding agreement between the two parties in which the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) guarantees that horse welfare will be fully respected and that FEI Rules will be stringently enforced at all Endurance events, both national and international, in the country.

The agreement has been signed by FEI President Ingmar De Vos and Secretary General Sabrina Zeender, and by EEF President HE Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Secretary General Taleb Dhaher Al Mheiri, and Mohammad Al Kamali, Secretary General of the UAE National Olympic Committee.

The EEF was provisionally suspended by the FEI Bureau in mid-March following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in Endurance in the UAE.

Following the suspension and at the request of the FEI Bureau, the EEF proposed an extensive list of actions it would undertake to address the issues. These were integrated into a draft agreement that the EEF sent to the FEI in early June. The FEI Bureau unanimously welcomed the proposals, but informed the EEF that more areas needed to be covered before the agreement that would allow the provisional suspension to be lifted could be signed. The two parties have spent the intervening weeks reviewing and revising the terms of the agreement.

Under the key terms of the agreement, the EEF must ensure that:

Protocols are put in place to avoid equine fatalities;
Applicable rest periods are respected;
Horses on rest periods are blocked from entry in national events (the FEI system already blocks entries in international events);
Use of prohibited fluid administration and any substances prohibited under the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs) in and around the Field of Play and at the Vet Gate is prevented;
Prohibited substitution of horses is prevented;
Prohibited vehicles on the Field of Play are prevented;
Any individual or horse suspended by the FEI is automatically blocked by the EEF IT system from competing at national events;
The role and authority of officials in carrying out their duties is respected at all times;
Training and education of Athletes, Trainers, Support Personnel, National Federation Staff Members and Stable Veterinarians is conducted prior to the start of the 2015/2016 Endurance season in October;
FEI rules on post mortems are adhered to and, where possible, the same procedure is applied in the event of fatalities at national competitions;
A national Independent Governance Advisor, approved by the FEI is appointed; Conflicts of interest are avoided;
Distribution of prize money is in accordance with the FEI approved schedule;
Rules for National Endurance events in the UAE are fully compliant with the FEI Rules and Regulations.

The EEF will provide monthly written reports during the 2015/2016 season on steps taken to ensure ongoing compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations, and agrees to abide by any further recommendations put forward by the FEI. Following completion of the 2015/2016 season, the EEF will provide reports whenever requested by the FEI.

Additionally, the EEF will support a research project to evaluate the causes of injuries linked to the design of desert endurance courses. Endurance Trainers will be obliged to cooperate with this research project.

The agreement also details the new legislation that has been introduced in the UAE prohibiting the trade or use of banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sports in the country and the sanctions that will be imposed for breaches.

“We are very pleased that, after four months of very hard work, the United Arab Emirates have demonstrated with the signature of this agreement that they are fully committed to ensuring horse welfare and complying with FEI rules at both international and national level in the country”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina said. “They are absolutely committed to making this work so that they can return to playing an active and leading role in Endurance once again and, to demonstrate that commitment, they have included the UAE’s highest sporting body, the National Olympic Committee, in the agreement.”

"We are very pleased that the FEI Bureau has unanimously agreed to lift the suspension based on the considerable actions and solutions we have put in place together”, EEF Secretary General Taleb Dhaher Al Mheiri said. “We will continue to work with them to ensure all their requirements are applied in endurance racing across the UAE. As the governing body of equestrian sports in the UAE we take our responsibility seriously. It is our goal to pursue excellence while promoting the growth of the sport and safeguarding the welfare of equine and human athletes.”

Separately, the FEI had commissioned the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) to conduct an extensive inquiry into allegations of fake events and duplicate results in the UAE. These allegations were not taken into account when the FEI Bureau imposed the suspension, and were dealt with independently, but provisions have been included in the agreement to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

The EEF cooperated fully with the inquiry and the detailed report has now been received by the FEI. The report is currently being reviewed by the FEI and a file will be submitted to the FEI Tribunal for further action. Sanctions will be taken against any FEI Officials found to be involved. In addition, the FEI will annul all duplicated results and review any connected results.

At the same time, the EEF Endurance Committee conducted its own investigation into the allegations and has authorised sanctions on any Organisers and EEF staff that are found to be involved. The EEF is currently restructuring its organisational policies to ensure that similar events cannot occur again and will put rules in place for all future FEI events under which either the National Federation or the Organising Committee must provide all equipment, including the timing system.

The EEF accepts that the FEI will be entitled to impose sanctions in case of non-compliance with all the terms of the agreement. These sanctions would include, but are not limited to, the immediate reinstatement of the suspension and withdrawal of the allocation of the 2016 FEI World Endurance Championships, which are due to be held in Dubai in mid-December next year.

The agreement will remain in effect for a three-year period. During that time, the FEI and EEF will meet at least once a year for an in-depth review, in addition to the monthly written reports required under the agreement. The FEI reserves the right to extend the term of the agreement if appropriate.


July 23 2015

Outrage after suspended endurance trainer is seen helping British riders

HOrseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
23 July, 2015

Endurance GB has declined to comment on why a suspended UAE trainer was allowed to assist British riders at last week’s King’s Forest endurance international (12 July).

The prominent Dubai-based trainer Anzaq Mehmood was seen using slosh bottles at crew points in photographs (not pictured above), which caused a storm on social media.

However, his status has fallen into a “grey area.”

Crewing was not specifically addressed in FEI guidelines about the practical application of the UAE suspension. However, an existing rule prohibits suspended persons from stepping on to the field of play, and was applied in a 2011 case involving Maktoum trainer Ali Al Muhairi...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/endurance-gb-declines-to-comment-suspended-uae-trainer-anzaq-mehmood-kings-forest-international-503159#rgv9ode4wMkgpXhT.99


July 6 2015

FEI Tribunal Exposing Truth and Lies in Endurance

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | July 6, 2015

The 27-month FEI suspension on a virtually unknown Qatari endurance rider Nasser Khalifa NJ Al Thani received a lot of media coverage recently.

There is nothing new, of course, about an endurance rider from Group 7 (Middle East) being banned for doping, but the reason it is now News with a capital N is simple: the FEI has a new policy of issuing press releases about Tribunal decisions. To date, they have only issued statements about cases with an Olympic or World Equestrian Games connection – with the obvious exception of the Jock Paget case, the subject of media frenzy.

This welcome initiative means those interested no longer have to consult the Tribunal database every other day, waiting for something new to pop up. In future, every media outlet will receive a ready-to-use story. If this spurs more colleagues to then read the much juicier, full decision notice I am all for it. The detailed evidence therein provides a snap-shot of the some very strange goings-on.

I am only sad this publicity drive didn’t happen much, much sooner, and that large numbers of people were not reading and thus reacting to these serial endurance horror stories decades ago...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/fei-tribunal-exposing-truth-and-lies-in-endurance/

Enduring Observations

Equinerescuefrance.org - Full Article

Posted by ERF on Jul 4, 2015

ERF is very grateful to Australian Vet and Endurance Rider, Anna Erickson, for allowing us to reproduce her comment on Endurance riding from her perspective.

This is even more significant as news is filtering through from the Middle East that various UAE Endurance Stables are insisting that the FEI has lifted the ban. Which of course is entirely untrue.

“After yet another scary looking pic and yet another argument about how to interpret it along with the usual comments that we “weren’t there so we don’t know” and “it’s rare” and “I’ve seen horses as bad as that in Australia” I feel compelled to write. As a vet who also rides endurance (which many of my clients know) I just want to say “the (horse) world is watching”! Many of my clients who don’t ride endurance have asked me:

1. Have you seen that picture? (Splitters Creek Bundy)
2. What in the hell is going on in endurance?
3. Have you seen anything like this here?
4. How do people justify still selling horses to the UAE?

To which my answers are:

1. Yes
2. I don’t really know but clearly we have a problem in the Middle Eastern countries and we need to sort it out
3. No
4. I have no idea.

These are not endurance people, but they are concerned horse people...

Read more here:
http://www.equinerescuefrance.org/2015/07/enduring-observations/


July 5 2015

Judges and officials to ‘police’ equestrian events

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
4 July, 2015

Judges and officials at international shows and events are being encouraged to become “amateur policemen” in the fight against cheating, with the distribution of new “evidence-gathering guidelines” by the FEI.

The FEI ramped up its fight against doping and rule-breaking with a review of legal procedures to close loopholes following the collapse last year of the Sheikh Hamdan/Marmoog horse swap enquiry on a legal technicality.

In a further step, the guidelines emphasise the importance of officials minutely recording dates and times of witnessed incidents.

They recommend carrying resealable plastic bags and labels, a digital camera and disposable gloves, to prevent contamination or accusations of “tampering”...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/fei-rule-breaking-500662#jUaeLf6gE9oiwjBj.99


June 29 2015

Reform in horse-sport: What changes will the FEI get over the line?

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 28 June 2015

The big questions around horse-sport reform have been served up to national federations, as the FEI works to establish what changes might ultimately get some traction.

Reform questions dominated the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland, late in April, with delegates from around the globe hearing the reasons behind the need for change, as well as some options offered up by the FEI’s technical committees in each of the disciplines.

The central aims revolve around making the disciplines more consistent, easier to understand, simpler, and more exciting as a spectacle...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/28/reform-horse-sport-changes-fei-over-line/#ixzz3eTVhYwyn


June 24 2015

Endurance riders banned by FEI for doping

Horseandcountry.tv - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 24th-Jun-2015

Two endurance riders have been banned from the sport by the FEI after their horses tested positive for banned substances.

Not allowed in competiton

Nasser Khalifa NJ Al Thani’s horse Brookleigh Caspar tested positive at the 120km one-star endurance competition at Mesaieed in Doha on 11 April 2014.

The banned substance heptaminol was found in his system, along with the controlled medications phenylbutazone, meloxicam and dexamethasone.

Heptaminol is a stimulant that dilates blood vessels. Phenylbutazone (bute) and meloxicam are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for pain relief, while dexamethasone is a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effect. Controlled medications are substances regularly used to treat horses, but which are not allowed in competition.

Read more at http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2015/06/24/endurance-riders-banned-fei-doping

Sheikh challenges standing of FEI’s strict liability principle in anti-doping cases

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 24 June 2015

The world’s highest court for sport-related cases has reduced the suspension imposed by the FEI Tribunal on Sheikh Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan over a positive test for a banned substance in an endurance horse he rode in Abu Dhabi early in 2012.

During the hearing, the sheikh’s legal team took issue with key elements of the FEI’s strict liability principle that holds the rider as the Person Responsible for any drug or medication infraction in a horse unless they can prove no fault or negligence. That has proved to be a very high bar to clear in cases that have gone before the FEI Tribunal.

The sheikh was appealing the FEI Tribunal decision from April 7 last year over what had been his winning ride on Glenmorgan in a CEI3* race at Al Wathba on February 11, 2012, after which the horse tested positive for propoxyphene and its metabolite norpropoxyphene...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/24/sheikh-fei-strict-liability-principle-anti-doping/#ixzz3dzIWHZMO

South African Endurance rider submitted to polygraph test in bid to clear name

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 24 June 2015

South African endurance rider Gillese De Villiers has received a six month suspension and a fine of 500 Swiss francs over her mount’s positive test for phenylbutazone and a related substance at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy last year.

De Villiers’ submissions to the FEI Tribunal even included the results of a polygraph (lie detector) test.

De Villiers’ mount, Tra Flama, who vetted out at the second vet gate on the WEG endurance course, tested positive for phenylbutazone and its metabolite, oxyphenbutazone...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/24/endurance-rider-polygraph-bid-clear-name/#ixzz3dzG8p0MF

The FEI’s tight rein in the fight against drug breaches

Horsetalk.co.nz | 24 June 2015

It is impossible not to feel some sympathy for South African endurance rider Gillese De Villiers, who has been fined and suspended for six months over her mount’s positive test for phenylbutazone and a related substance at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy last year.

De Villiers has been an endurance rider for 25 years and has completed 18,000km. She has regularly been a member of the South African team for the last eight years...

Read more at http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/24/fei-tight-rein-fight-drug-breaches/#ixzz3dzFfAGs6

Fine, suspension for Qatari endurance rider

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article
Horsetalk.co.nz | 24 June 2015 p> Qatari endurance rider Nasser Khalifa N.J. Al Thani has received a 27-month suspension after the horse he rode in a 120km endurance race tested positive for four substances which breached FEI drug rules. p> Al Thani, who was under 18 when his race entry was submitted, rode Australian-bred Brookleigh Caspar in the 120km one-star Endurance competition at Mesaieed in Doha. p> Urine and blood samples taken from the horse that day for drug testing came back positive for the banned substance Heptaminol and controlled medications Phenylbutazone, Meloxicam and Dexamethasone... p> Read more at http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/24/fine-suspension-qatari-endurance-rider/#axzz3dzAxNstN


June 23 2015

FEI Tribunal and CAS Decisions

FEI.org

23 Jun 2015

The FEI Tribunal has issued its Final Decision in the case involving Nasser Khalifa N.J Al Thani (QAT) and the horse Brookleigh Caspar (FEI ID AUS40748) at the 120km one-star Endurance competition at Mesaieed in Doha (QAT) on 11 April 2014, following a positive finding for Prohibited Substances.

Samples taken from the horse on 11 April 2014 returned positive for the Banned Substance Heptaminol and Controlled Medications Phenylbutazone, Meloxicam and Dexamethasone. Heptaminol is a stimulant that dilates blood vessels. Phenylbutazone and Meloxicam are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for pain relief, and Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effect.

Controlled Medications are substances that are regularly used to treat horses, but which are not allowed in competition in order to maintain a level playing field. Banned Substances should never be found in the horse. The FEI Tribunal has imposed a 27-month suspension on Al Thani, effective immediately from 18 June 2015, in accordance with Article 169 of the FEI’s General Regulations and Article 10 of the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs).

Al Thani has been fined CHF 5,000 and will contribute CHF 2,000 towards the costs of the judicial procedure. He has 30 days from the date of notification to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The FEI Tribunal’s Final Decision on this case can be viewed here.

The FEI Tribunal has also issued its Final Decision in the case involving Gillese De Villiers (RSA) and the horse Tra Flama at the Endurance competition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, following a positive finding for a Controlled Medication Substance.

Samples taken on 28 August 2014 from the horse returned positive for the Controlled Medication substance Phenylbutazone and its metabolite Oxyphenbutazone. Phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used for the treatment of pain. Tra Flama was vetted out at the second Vet Gate on the Endurance course.

The FEI Tribunal has imposed a six-month suspension on De Villiers, effective immediately from 21 June 2015, in accordance with Article 169 of the FEI’s General Regulations and Article 10 of the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations.

De Villiers has also been fined CHF 500, will cover the B Sample analysis costs and contribute towards the costs of the judicial procedure. She has 30 days from the date of notification to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The FEI Tribunal’s Final Decision on this case can be viewed here.

Separately, the CAS has upheld the FEI’s principle of strict liability in the application of the EADCMRs in an appeal lodged by HH Sheikh Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE) against the FEI Tribunal ruling of 7 April 2014, but has reduced the period of suspension for the athlete from 27 to 18 months.

The horse Glenmorgan, which HH Sheikh Hazza rode to win the CEI3* in Al Wathba (UAE) on 11 February 2012, tested positive for Propoxyphene and its metabolite Norpropoxyphene. Propoxyphene, which is an opiate analgesic, is classified as a Banned Substance under the FEI’s EADCMRs. As the rider and therefore the Person Responsible, HH Sheikh Hazza was immediately suspended from 12 March 2012, the date on which he was notified by the FEI of the positive case. A two-month provisional suspension was imposed on the horse from the same date.

HH Sheikh Hazza conducted extensive investigations to establish the source of the Propoxyphene between mid June 2012 and late February 2014. In its Final Decision, the FEI Tribunal imposed a 27-month suspension, taking into account a previous rule violation by Sheikh Hazza in early 2005. Sheikh Hazza lodged an appeal with the CAS against the findings on 6 May 2014.

The CAS rejected the athlete's argument that making the rider the Person Responsible (PR) for the horse is an unnecessary and/or disproportionate interference with fundamental rights, and so unlawful and therefore outside the powers of the FEI. The CAS accepted the FEI’s argument that the PR and strict liability provisions simply mean that if the horse has a prohibited substance in its system, the athlete's results with the horse are automatically disqualified and the athlete will be banned unless he/she can show that the substance got into the horse's system through No Fault or Negligence of the athlete.

The CAS took into account that systems had been set up by Sheikh Hazza to avoid inadvertent doping, and therefore decided that the athlete's fault was “not significant”. As a result, the appeal was partially upheld, with a partial amendment to the FEI Tribunal’s Final Decision. Sheikh Hazza remains disqualified from the event, but his suspension was reduced.

The full text of the CAS decision is available here.

Banned Substances & Controlled Medications

Banned Substances are substances that are completely prohibited for use in FEI horses at any time. Controlled Medications are substances that are regularly used to treat horses, but which are not allowed in competition in order to maintain a level playing field. As part of FEI Clean Sport, the live Prohibited Substances Database provides an easily accessible online platform on which Banned Substances and Controlled Medications are clearly distinguished.

The FEI’s General Regulations are here and the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations are here.


June 18 2015

New FEI rules will close loopholes for rule-breakers

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Horse & Hound
18 June, 2015

Horse & Hound has played a part in provoking drastic changes to the FEI’s legal processes, that will prevent future rule-breakers escaping punishment on legal technicalities.

H&H’s coverage of the endurance scandal has revealed significant loopholes in provisions for reporting of offences.

The successful protest against horse abuse at CEI Sakhir, Bahrain, lodged by H&H contributor Pippa Cuckson and former editor Lucy Higginson in March 2014, highlighted the impracticality of the deadline for reporting abuse within 30 minutes of a confirmed result.

H&H then led coverage of the Marmoog horse-swapping scandal. Pictures of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum riding the real and “fake” Marmoogs in 2012 were unearthed by Pippa Cuckson last year — 18 months too late to meet the previous deadline...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/fei-legal-processes-changed-endurance-scandal-498478#pYt8FxYumOlBxk5A.99


June 10 2015

Emirates provides plan for endurance reform

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | 10 June 2015

The Emirates Equestrian Federation has provided the FEI with a list of proposals aimed at reforming the sport of endurance in the UAE, as the country works toward having its suspension lifted.

Next year’s world endurance championships will remain in Dubai for now.

The FEI Bureau imposed an interim suspension on the UAE on March 12, citing horse welfare concerns and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in endurance.

The UAE initially appealed, but later withdrew it and entered talks with the FEI in a bid resolve the issues between them.

The bureau, which meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday, unanimously agreed to the next step in the UAE’s endurance proposals, which were sent to FEI secretary general Sabrina Zeender last Friday...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/10/emirates-plan-endurance-reform/#axzz3cfVi2XOw

FEI Bureau Hears United Arab Emirates Endurance Proposals

Thehorse.com


June 9 2015

FEI Bureau Unanimously Agrees Next Steps on United Arab Emirates Endurance Proposals

FEI.org 9 Jun 2015

The FEI Bureau has today welcomed a series of proposals for reform of the Endurance discipline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but agreed unanimously that further information needs to be provided by the UAE National Federation before lifting of the provisional suspension can be considered. The FEI Bureau provisionally suspended the UAE National Federation in March of this year following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in Endurance.

The Bureau gave a clear mandate to FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender to work with the relevant departments in FEI Headquarters and seek additional feedback from the FEI Bureau members, before requesting more concrete details on the proposals from the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF). The proposals were contained in a 10-page document, which was sent to the FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender on Friday 5 June.

The EEF proposals include:

• Creation of an EEF Endurance Committee of Enquiry to oversee full application of the rules;
• Involvement of the National Olympic Committee and National Anti-Doping Committee;
• Training and education of athletes, trainers, owners and officials;
• The possibility to ban organisers for non-compliance with the rules;
• Ensuring EEF national rules are fully in compliance with the FEI rules and regulations;
• Working more closely with the FEI, including welcoming FEI observers at EEF national events;
• Full cooperation with the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit inquiry into the duplication of results at a number of events in the country.

The EEF accepts that any breach of these commitments could result in the suspension being reinstated and the withdrawal of the 2016 FEI World Endurance Championships, which were allocated to the UAE in December 2014.

The EEF also detailed the new legislation that has been introduced in the UAE prohibiting the trade or use of banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sports in the country and the substantial fines that will be imposed for breaches.

The Bureau discussed the proposals in detail before reaching unanimous agreement that the Secretary General and FEI Headquarters should work together with the EEF to finalise the agreement between the two organisations. At that point, and only once the Bureau is completely satisfied that horse welfare will be ensured at all times, that FEI Rules and Regulations will be fully implemented and rigorously enforced, and that all pending issues have been addressed, the Bureau will vote on the lifting of the suspension.

“We welcome the proposed agreement of the UAE and see it as a very positive development that they are working to come to a solution”, the FEI President Ingmar De Vos said today. “The provisional suspension can only be lifted if there is a clear commitment to respect the rules before the Bureau can consider the lifting of the suspension. It is clear that more still needs to be done and we require some further work on the details, but their proposals are a very good start to work on the process for reinstatement.”


June 6 2015

Format changes could be in place for WEG in 2018, says FEI president

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 4 June 2015

Format changes in the key disciplines could be in place for the next World Equestrian Games, FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos says.

De Vos, who ended a New Zealand visit yesterday, provided a potential time-frame for the implementation of changes which the FEI hopes will result in tighter and easier-to-follow formats that are likely to win greater favour with broadcasters...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/06/04/format-changes-weg-2018-fei-president/#ixzz3cCBVYcsH


June 2 2015

UAE: Khalifa issues law on horse racing

Emirates247.com - Full Article

Cabinet issues implementation regulations

By Wam
Published Monday, June 01, 2015

The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued Federal Law No. 7 of 2015 to combat the trade or use of banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sports events in the UAE. The Cabinet has also issued the Implementing Regulations of the new law.

The law aims to protect legitimate competition in the sport and eliminate fraud while promoting the principle of sportsmanship. It will also encourage research on combatting banned materials in horse racing and equestrian events, help develop the detection process in order to maximise the effectiveness of preventive strategies and educate owners and professionals about the seriousness of the use of prohibited substances.

The new law is applicable in equestrian sports that include any local, regional and international contests or competition dedicated to horses, which include, without limitation, Endurance, Flat, training of horses, polo and events related to beauty...

Read more here:
http://www.emirates247.com/news/government/khalifa-issues-law-on-horse-racing-2015-06-01-1.592527


May 30 2015

Emirates Equestrian Federation launches new Committee to review and strengthen UAE Endurance riding

EEF.ae

Underlining its commitment to maintaining the highest standards in the sport, the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) has established an Endurance Committee to oversee a review into national and international endurance rides in the United Arab Emirates. The Endurance Committee, which will be under the direct observation of the UAE's National Olympic Committee, will seek to work closely with the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) to ensure that the world governing body's rules and regulations are applied in all endurance races in the UAE.

The review follows the FEI’s decision in March to suspend the EEF following an investigation into endurance racing in the UAE.

Taleb Al Muhairi, Secretary General of the Emirates Equestrian Federation, said: "As the governing body of equestrian sports in the UAE, it is our goal to pursue excellence while promoting the growth of the sport and safeguarding the welfare of equine and human athletes. We recognise the best way to achieve this is to work closely with the FEI, the international governing authority, and as such have decided to withdraw our appeal against the suspension.

"The EEF has always sought to uphold the highest standards in horse and athlete welfare and integrity. The Endurance Committee will look to build further on those standards, working in collaboration with the FEI, and ensure that the FEI's rules and regulations are applied in endurance racing across the UAE.”


May 28 2015

Emirates endurance: Actions speak louder than words

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | May 27, 2015

I don’t share my compatriots’ obsession with soccer, but have been wedded all day to the BBC’s 24-hour news channel to follow the gripping developments in the FBI arrests of FIFA officials, dragged from their beds in a luxury Zurich hotel at dawn on charges of corruption.

The US attorney general gave a press conference in New York and explained why decent folk won’t tolerate FIFA’s criminal tendencies any more.

Is it too much to hope we are on the cusp of a new global movement to throw the book at all the talentless suits whose involvement in sports is purely self-serving or nefarious? If so, credit to the FEI for taking tough action against the bad apples in equestrianism before being publicly shamed into doing something by a much higher authority – or worse still, having matters taken out of its hands, as is now happening to FIFA.

Or at least I think so: it’s kinda interesting that the head of the UAE national Olympic committee visited FEI headquarters Lausanne yesterday, the same day as UAE equestrian representatives met the FEI to discuss the long road back from their suspension over the endurance crisis. The UAE Olympic body will be supporting a new committee set up to “strengthen” UAE endurance.

Maybe the IOC has given relevant stakeholders a quiet nudge, but there is no doubt the FEI swiftly developed unexpected steeliness upon the departure of Princess Haya (whose brother, Prince Ali, oddly enough, is the sole candidate taking on Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential election on Friday, should it still go ahead, of course).

Take for instance, the wording of the FEI press release outlining the discussions at yesterday’s (May 26th) meeting. It’s clear the FEI is offering the UAE no cosy solution. We may never be told the details, but I would be surprised if the UAE doesn’t have to demonstrate respect for horse welfare and FEI rules at its national rides before they can claim to have got the picture. Unless the UAE can schedule some night rides in the next few weeks, which is hardly ideal, there will be no chance to experiment with the horses-come-first mindset until daytime temperatures drop in the Fall...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/a-new-world/


May 27 2015

Emirates endurance: Actions speak louder than words

Horsetalk.co.nz

Neil Clarkson | May 27, 2015

Welcome news emerged today that the Emirates Equestrian Federation had come to the table to talk with the FEI about the issues surrounding endurance in the region.

The Emirates national body agreed to withdraw its legal challenge to its suspension, which was apparently an FEI requirement before round-table talks on the issues could begin.

The UAE federation’s secretary general, Taleb Al Muhairi, has set a conciliatory tone and there are naturally hopes that significant improvements will result.

The FEI Bureau imposed the provisional suspension on March 12 in response to what it described as horse welfare issues and non-compliance with the world governing body’s rules and regulations in endurance.

The fact that the Emirates federation decided to appeal the suspension was disappointing on many levels. Lawyers were never going to solve the issues in endurance in the UAE, and the fact its national federation chose to pursue this route hinted at a worrying lack of contrition.

Even putting that aside, the legal route struck me as very challenging for the Emirates. Had it succeeded, it would hardly have been welcomed back into the international fold with open arms.

The only way that was ever going to happen was if it came to the table and started dealing with the issues that gave rise to the suspension in the first place.

It now appears that the Emirates federation has come to that realisation. The first talks have been held in Switzerland and the FEI has laid out its requirements.

It would be nice to think that this was the end-game in what has been a long and sorry saga, but I believe the challenges ahead remain significant.

It will, ultimately, be a test of the rules of endurance as well as a test of the willingness of the Emirates to bring about change.

Read more...

FEI meets with United Arab Emirates delegation on Endurance issues

An initial meeting between the FEI and representatives of the United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee and National Federation was held at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) this afternoon to discuss the actions that need to be undertaken by the UAE National Federation before the FEI Bureau can consider lifting the suspension currently imposed on the UAE National Federation.

The FEI Bureau provisionally suspended the UAE National Federation in March of this year following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

Today’s meeting was chaired by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender. The FEI was also represented by Brian Sheahan, Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, FEI Endurance Director, and Mikael Rentsch, FEI Legal Director. The UAE delegation was made up of Taleb Daher Al Muhairi, Secretary General of the Emirates Equestrian Federation, Faisal Al Ali, Assistant Secretary General, and Abdullaziz Sheikh, Head of the Endurance Department.

“This was a very constructive meeting, during which we informed the National Federation exactly what they need to do before there can be any possibility of the suspension being lifted”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender said. “We are now writing to them to explain all the elements they need to fulfil and requesting a detailed plan on how they will deliver on this and the timelines involved. The meeting, which we hope was the first in a series, was only possible following the withdrawal of the UAE’s appeal against the suspension.”

The FEI made it clear to the UAE delegation that only the FEI Bureau can lift the suspension and confirmed that the suspension will remain in force until the Bureau has agreed that all necessary processes have been put in place by the UAE National Federation to ensure horse welfare at all times and that FEI Rules and Regulations will be fully implemented and enforced.

Prior to the meeting, FEI President Ingmar De Vos had welcomed to FEI Headquarters Mohammad Al Kamali, Secretary General of the UAE National Olympic Committee, who had accompanied the UAE National Federation representatives to Lausanne. Neither Mr De Vos nor Mr Al Kamali attended today’s meeting.

AroundTheRings.com


May 25 2015

UAE withdraws appeal against equestrian suspension

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

By David Owen
Monday, 25 May 2015

Taleb Al Muhairi, secretary general of the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), is to meet International Equestrian Federation (FEI) officials in Lausanne on Tuesday (May 26), amid signs that efforts to persuade the FEI that it can justifiably lift a suspension imposed in March are getting under way.

The EEF has now launched a new committee to oversee a review into endurance racing - the discipline that aroused the FEI’s concerns - in the United Arab Emirates.

The Endurance Committee, which is to be under direct observation of the UAE’s National Olympic Committee, will seek to work closely with the FEI to “ensure that the world governing body’s rules and regulations are applied in all endurance races in the UAE”.

The UAE was suspended from the FEI in March following an investigation into “major horse welfare issues” and allegedly faked results in endurance events.

The governing body’s Bureau, chaired by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, ruled that the EEF “may not attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organise any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events”, although UAE athletes from disciplines other than endurance would be permitted to compete under the FEI flag in international competitions organised outside the country.

In notably conciliatory remarks coinciding with the announcement of the new committee, Al Muhairi said: “As the governing body of equestrian sports in the UAE, it is our goal to pursue excellence while promoting the growth of the sport and safeguarding the welfare of equine and human athletes...

Read more here:
http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1027533/uae-withdraws-appeal-against-equestrian-suspension


May 21 2015

Dutch endurance coach departs in midst of fake permit allegations

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
21 May, 2015

The Dutch equestrian federation has sacked its successful endurance coach Emile Docquier in the midst of allegations of fraud over a permit issued to UAE-based Pakistani endurance trainer Anzaq Mehmood.

The federation says it has parted company with Docquier due to “difference of opinion.” However, their decision came just days after it emerged that the permit, allegedly issued by the Pakistan federation, accompanied entries for a national ride at Schilde, Belgium sent in by Docquier’s office.

Dutch endurance enjoyed a boost last year after collaborating with Mehmood, who trains for the Al Qasimi family in Dubai. Mehmood – who has spent time in the UK, at King’s Forest – prepared Laiza de Jalima, with whom Marijke Visser won individual silver at WEG...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/pakistani-endurance-trainer-investigated-for-allegations-of-fraud-hh-vip-2-494350#4V0w0lPmXzg3i2Jf.99


May 12 2015

UAE suspension: What we know so far

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | May 12, 2015

The sun is shining and the temperature climbs to around 40 degrees Celsius across the United Arab Emirates at this time of the year.

It is safe to assume that the air conditioning in the Abu Dhabi headquarters of the Emirates Equestrian Federation is set to a much more comfortable level.

Despite that, we are led to believe the federation is still feeling the heat over its interim suspension by the FEI over concerns in the discipline of endurance...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/05/12/uae-suspension-what-know/#ixzz3Zw576Brn


May 10 2015

Getting Away With it is Part of the Fun

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | May 8, 2015

It’s been interesting to read reaction on social media to the FEI’s suspension of the UAE, posted by disparate (and maybe desperate) parties around the world who make their living selling endurance horses to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It is strongly rumoured that if the suspension drags on, the UAE will simply set up an independent regulatory body to organise its favoured style of racing-speed, high attrition endurance. By all accounts, their public disgrace has not hindered the UAE’s current buying spree in Europe.

My first, admittedly facetious, reaction was: why bother with the farrago of creating a new governing body? Just as easy to pick a piste and charge off, mob-handed, cobbling up a results sheet later just in case anyone wanted one, as is already a well-honed practice in those parts?

But then I realised that the UAE actually like a semblance of rules. Half the fun is in breaking the rules, and seeing just how much they can get away with. They just can’t help themselves – so much so that one rider has triggered a brand-new scandal even while grounded...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/getting-away-with-it-is-part-of-the-fun/


May 8 2015

UAE fails in bid to have FEI suspension stayed

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | May 8, 2015

The interim suspension of the United Arab Emirates from the FEI over welfare concerns in endurance was putting all equestrian sport in the country in danger, the FEI Tribunal has been told.

The assertion was made during a hearing in which the Emirates Equestrian Federation sought to have its interim suspension set aside pending the outcome of its appeal.

The three-man panel, chaired by Henrik Arle, of Finland, dismissed the request...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/05/08/uae-fails-bid-fei-suspension-stayed/#ixzz3ZYYJNSa7


May 7 2015

The Future of FEI Endurance

May 7 2015

The future of FEI Endurance racing was discussed at April's FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Statistics were presented at the endurance session, showing correlations between injuries for event levels and speed of horses at WEG and World Championship events. As one might expect, the higher the level of competition (i.e., CEI1* vs CEI2* vs CEI3*), the higher the injury rate, in numbers and percentages; and as the speed of WEC and WEG horses increased over the years from 1986 to 2014, horse completion rates decreased at roughly the same rate.

An alternate format for the next World Equestrian Games Endurance event was proposed: from a 160 km 1-day format to a 2-day, 100km per day race with a Grand Prix finish (first across the finish line wins, and other finishers must finish within 20% of the winning time), and a next-day mounted Best Condition competition.

Thought is that the format change will provide more strategic and technical competition, rather than all-out racing for 160-km, and that the overnight rest period will benefit horses. Another motivating factor for change is to make the endurance event more spectator friendly, make it easier on organizers to map a shorter course closer to the WEG venue, and increase revenue for the Organizing Committee.

The full document can be reviewed here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/05.2015.FEI_Sports_Forum_Endurance_Proposal.pdf

FEI Tribunal dismisses UAE request to lift suspension

FEI.org

7 May 2015

The FEI Tribunal has dismissed a request from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Federation for an interim lifting of its suspension from the FEI. The Tribunal’s decision means that the suspension remains in force pending the final outcome of the formal appeal by the UAE National Federation against the suspension.

The FEI Bureau provisionally suspended the UAE National Federation on 12 March 2015 for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

The request for interim relief prior to a full hearing was considered by a three-member FEI Tribunal panel made up of Henrik Arle (FIN), who chaired the panel, Erik Elstad (NOR) and Pierre Ketterer (FRA). The full merits of the case will be heard by the same Tribunal panel at a later date.

In its decision, which has been published on the FEI website today, the FEI Tribunal stated that it had “taken note of the FEI’s argument that the FEI Bureau Decision had been taken primarily on horse welfare grounds, due to consistent rule breaching by the Appellant, the effects of which was jeopardising horse welfare . . . The Tribunal therefore finds that the Appellant’s interest in having the suspension lifted does not outweigh the FEI’s interest in protecting horse welfare.”

The FEI Tribunal also ruled that the FEI Headquarters should continue to issue passports for non-Endurance horses from the UAE. This followed a request from the UAE National Federation to be allowed to issue horse passports for non-Endurance horses.


May 1 2015

AERC Maintains Support for FEI Position in UAE Suspension

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUBURN, California – April 30, 2015 – In March 2015, the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) Board of Directors formally requested that the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) remove the 2016 World Endurance Championship from Dubai to another venue or cancel the event altogether. The AERC also issued a statement of support when the FEI provisionally suspended the UAE National Federation on March 12, 2015, for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

This week the AERC learned that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Federation has lodged a formal appeal to the FEI Tribunal against its provisional suspension from the FEI after a formal request to lift the suspension by the UAE was denied by the FEI Bureau. In a statement FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender expressed disappointment that the UAE has chosen to lodge a formal appeal and pursue this matter legally.

AERC President Michael Campbell today reiterated the organization’s support of the FEI Secretary General, and joined her in expressing disappointment in the UAE by stating: “Our hope was that the suspension would encourage reflection and action from the UAE in the form of a change in behavior. It is unfortunate that the UAE has taken legal action instead,” Campbell continued. “We stand behind the FEI and believe that the sanctions are justified and necessary to ensure that horse welfare and fair play are restored to endurance competition in the UAE.”

About the AERC
In addition to promoting the sport of endurance riding, the AERC encourages the use, protection, and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historic significance. Many special events of four to six consecutive days take place over historic trails, such as the Pony Express Trail, the Outlaw Trail, the Chief Joseph Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The founding ride of endurance riding, the Western States Trail Ride or Tevis Cup, covers 100 miles of the famous Western States and Immigrant Trails over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These rides promote awareness of the importance of trail preservation for future generations and foster an appreciation of our American heritage.

The American Endurance Ride Conference, established in 1972, is headquartered in Auburn, California, “The Endurance Capital of the World.” For more information please visit us at www.aerc.org.

Media Contact:
Candace FitzGerald
Dobbin Group
candace@dobbin-group.com

603-738-2788


April 29 2015

FEI Endurance Proposals : Qualification Procedures

FEI.org

Forums:
Non-Olympic disciplines and Para-Equestrian Future

Wed, 2015-04-29 — Claude NORDMANN
Statements of the FN Switzerland:

For the welfare of the horses and to apply the basic principles of the endurance, we insist on a qualification procedure which considers also the rider-horse combination.

That means we propose that the last two qualification steps have to be done as a couple. This is the only way to guarantee at best the horsemanship and the welfare of the horses. For the public, but also everyone in the equestrian world, it is not understandable, that in a high-performance sport including metabolic and other health risks, riders should compete at championships without ever having ridden the respective horse before.

Wed, 2015-04-29 — Claude NORDMANN

Statement of the FN Switzerland : Format for the WEG

The Swiss Federation welcomes all the efforts in direction of technical tracks and a strict qualification procedure.

But the Swiss Federation is not favourable to the new proposed format of 2 x 100 at WEG for several reasons: all statistics of the last 20 years clearly show up, that the shorter the races, the more dangerous they are for the welfare of the horse. 2 x 100 km as a championship would invite riders to take more risks than at a 160 km format. In addition, breeding, selection, education and training for 160 km races have much evolved in the last years for the benefit of the horses, and a change of the format would not produce the desired increase of animal welfare. Specially also regarding the fact, that European and World championships would still take place using the old 160 km format. In conclusion with the new proposed format of 2 x 100 km no increase of welfare and no better image in the public are to be expected.


April 27 2015

FEI Sports Forum Opens with Discussion on Future of WEG

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

April 27 2015

FEI Sports Forum 2015 opens with discussion on future of FEI World Equestrian Games™

The FEI President Ingmar De Vos welcomed 270 delegates representing the International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Federations (NFs), riders’, trainers’, and organisers’ clubs, sponsors, experts, media, guests and FEI staff to the fourth FEI Sports Forum which opened this morning at the prestigious business school IMD in Lausanne (SUI).

“We are all here because we care about our sport,” De Vos said in his opening address. “We need to be open and honest about the challenges we are facing as a sport but more than that we need to be proactive and brave enough to consider changes that will address these challenges. I remember a quote from IOC President Thomas Bach who said “change or be changed.

“So it is absolutely not about change for the sake of change and by no means is there any desire to lose or replace the values and traditions of our sport. But we need to be open-minded to look at changes that can improve our sport and its legacy for the generations to come. What should be changed and how is why we are here today and I am grateful to each and everyone one of you for taking the time to participate in this Sports Forum,” he said.

Professor James Henderson, Dean of Programmes and Innovation at IMD welcomed participants to the renowned school. “It is a great honour to host you at the wonderful institution that is the IMD,” he said. He outlined the school’s mission of educating the world’s leaders to lead transformation journeys in times of turbulence and support others to embrace change in a spirit of dialogue, openness and transparency. Professor Henderson emphasised the importance of innovation and change and wished the delegates open, inspired and pioneering discussion...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/fei-sports-forum-opens-with-discussion-on-future-of-weg/?utm_source=EnewsApr27&utm_campaign=EnewsApr272015&utm_medium=email


April 24 2015

Good Lord!

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Blogs Straight-Up | April 23, 2015

Over the past couple of years, I have hammered on pretty annoyingly (to some) about the highly dubious objectivity of the FEI’s repeated use of Lord John Stevens and his company Quest in its investigations into various and sundry scandalous situations which have primarily involved Endurance. Well guess what. Turns out I had a point.

Two weeks ago, the British papers were all fat-kid-on-Smartie over the news that Lord Stevens is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/straight-up/good-lord/


April 23 2015

UAE endurance appeal: Well, I guess we can rule out contrition

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | April 23, 2015

It was Kenny Rogers who sang the immortal words:
“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em,
Know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run”.

The conversation in the famous song, The Gambler, occurs on a “train bound for nowhere”, which sounds a lot like the current state of endurance.

News emerged today about the decision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to challenge its provisional suspension from the FEI, imposed over welfare issues in endurance.

The appeal is a surprising move, and one that clearly disappoints the FEI...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/04/23/uae-endurance-appeal-rule-out-contrition/#ixzz3Y8rc63qH

United Arab Emirates appeals against FEI suspension

Horsetalk.co.nz | April 23, 2015

The United Arab Emirates is appealing its suspension from the FEI, imposed by the world governing body over welfare concerns in the discipline of endurance.

The FEI Bureau imposed the suspension on March 12 over what were described as major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with the rules of endurance.

The suspension followed an investigation by the FEI.

The bureau made it clear that any potential reinstatement to FEI membership was dependent on the country’s national federation signing an agreement under which it pledged to take any action deemed necessary to assure the FEI and stakeholders that it was protecting the welfare of horses and complying fully with FEI rules and regulations.

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/04/23/united-arab-emirates-appeals-fei-suspension/#ixzz3Y92I7Teq

UAE launches appeal against FEI ban

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Amy Mathieson
22 April, 2015

he United Arab Emirates (UAE) national federation has lodged a formal appeal to the FEI Tribunal against its provisional suspension from the FEI.

In an unprecedented move, the FEI suspended the national federation of the UAE for an “indeterminate period” on 12 March. This followed an investigation into “major horse welfare issues” and “non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations” in endurance.

The decision was made unanimously by the FEI bureau — which was chaired by president Ingmar De Vos — and the suspension was imposed immediately.

Prior to lodging its appeal, the UAE national federation had sent a formal request asking the FEI Bureau to lift the suspension.

However, the request was rejected by the FEI Bureau and, as a result, an official appeal has been lodged by the UAE national federation.

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/uae-launches-appeal-against-fei-ban-483180#KLEocSRzFaUwfSMR.99

Equestrian body unhappy at UAE appealing suspension


April 22 2015

UAE National Federation appeals suspension to FEI Tribunal

FEI.org

22 Apr 2015

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Federation has lodged a formal appeal to the FEI Tribunal against its provisional suspension from the FEI.

The FEI Bureau provisionally suspended the UAE National Federation on 12 March 2015 for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

Prior to lodging its appeal, the UAE National Federation had sent a formal request asking the FEI Bureau to lift the suspension. The request was rejected by the FEI Bureau and, as a result, an official appeal has been lodged by the UAE National Federation.

The appeal process will be managed in accordance with Art. 165 Appeals of the FEI General Regulations and the Internal Regulations of the FEI Tribunal.‎

“It is disappointing that an appeal has been lodged and that the UAE National Federation has chosen to go down the legal route rather than seeking ways to solve the issues and make a lasting commitment to improving the welfare of the horse at Endurance events in which it is involved”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender said.


April 20 2015

Let's Hope for Revolution, Not Revolt

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | April 20, 2015

In seven days’ time, the FEI and stakeholders gather in Lausanne, Switzerland to debate the most significant shake-up ever of its elite sport.

It’s surprising there has been so little media attention thus far, because each discipline is set to undergo – at global championship level at least – remodelling as drastic as the axing of steeplechase, roads and tracks was to eventing in 2004. There is also a move to limit all teams to three with no drop score...

More...
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/lets-hope-for-revolution-not-revolt/?utm_source=April+20%2C+2015&utm_campaign=EnewsApr202015&utm_medium=email

...By far the most numerous authentic posts at the time of writing are, ahem, all about endurance. The key change there is a proposal, from the FEI endurance committee, that the WEG championship ride becomes a two-day, 100km-per-day contest. The ambition is to re-establish the notion of partnership, so that the rider reads his horse and keeps enough fuel in the tank. It is clearly intended as an antidote to the lets-go-really-fast-on-a-horse-we-don’t-know-and-somehow-waggon-it-over-the-finish travesty allowed to develop in the UAE and sadly now spread elsewhere.

On that subject, it’s still business as usual in the UAE. Clearly the penny still hasn’t dropped about what has to be done before the Emiratis can return from FEI exile.

There were six rumoured equine deaths at their last national ride of the season 10 days ago. Yes, you read that right: six, a figure from sources 100 per cent reliable in the past. Such slaughter doesn’t even warrant a headline now. We are so conditioned to what Pierre Arnould so aptly described as the UAE’s “industry of cheating and death” that it will only be news the day the UAE stages a ride without killing anything...

More:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/lets-hope-for-revolution-not-revolt/?utm_source=April+20%2C+2015&utm_campaign=EnewsApr202015&utm_medium=email


April 15 2015

WORLD MANIFESTO for the Future of Endurance


Wednesday April 15 2015

A website, world manifesto, and petition have been organized in support of the Emirates Equestrian Federation of the United Arab Emirates regarding their suspension from the FEI world governing body of horse sport on 12 March 2015.

The group of riders, trainers, grooms, breeders, horse owners, veterinary surgeons, farriers, organising committees, public agencies, private bodies and associations, assert that compliance with rules, fair play and safeguard of horse's welfare are the main principles on which their experience in endurance is based.

The manifesto states that the suspension of the UAE "leave an indelible mark on the history of endurance" and risk development on an international scale. The EEF has for many years, the mission statement claims, "helped promote the development and success of endurance throughout the world, bringing it to the fore through increased membership and contributing to its popularity in an ever increasing number of countries."

The EEF has brought advantages to the sport of endurance racing, including "the development of horse’s performances and for the quality, genealogy and number of foals born per year in terms of the breeding," and economic opportunities "which absolutely cannot be ignored." Already the suspension has "triggered a spiral that is affecting directly and irreparably tens of thousands of people, who very soon run the risk of finding themselves without employment."

With already over 400 signatures, this Manifesto will be presented to the FEI, urging them to review its position on the UAE suspension and consider the damage in "the development and expansion of endurance and its economic and financial consequences."

It further urges the FEI to look for a joint solution "with Emirates Equestrian Federation and all those involved in the sport in order to enforce the rules, the fair play and to safeguard the horse’s welfare."

The full manifesto can be seen and signed here:
http://www.futurendurance.com/



Change in WEG Format to be Discussed at FEI Sports Forum

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
April 15 2015

While "Olympic Agenda 2020" will be a major focus at the FEI Sports Forum 2015 on 27-28 April, 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland, the second day's session 6, "Endurance Future," is guaranteed to be a well-attended hot topic.

The Endurance Technical Committee will propose for discussion that the Endurance competition for the WEG change from a 160-km format to a 2 day, 100 km per day competition.

The purpose of the format change from a 1-day 160 km to a 2-day 100-km race is "to create a technical competition to test the skill and the fitness of the [horse and rider] over a course that needs a strategic approach rather than reliance on speed alone to successfully complete." Specific new qualifications would be required to qualify for the WEG to accommodate this change, including 2 day 100-km races for riders and for horses.

Additionally, Best Condition competition will be assessed under saddle to a prescribed test the day after the race is complete.

The Session 6 - Non-Olympic Sports Future (Endurance) session outline can be seen here.


April 13 2015

No nukes please, we’re the FEI

Horsetalk.co.nz
Neil Clarkson | April 13, 2015

It seems that the world’s major powers have struck a deal with Iran over the future of its nuclear programme after lengthy talks in Lausanne.

There are still the details to be thrashed out, of course, but the negotiators seem cautiously optimistic.

One suspects these aren’t the toughest talks that will unfold in the Swiss city this year.

Up the road, staff in the Lausanne headquarters of the FEI face the joyous prospect of trying to strike some kind of accord with the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation over endurance.

It doesn’t look easy to me. The UAE federation had its FEI membership suspended last month over what the world governing body described as welfare concerns.

[Read more ...]


March 29 2015

Endurance world champion at centre of rides scandal

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
29 March, 2015

The reigning world champion Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (pictured top), is among a number of big names in Middle East endurance caught up in the “bogus” rides scandal.

The Crown Prince of Dubai is listed as taking part in one of the 13 rides under investigation by integrity services agency, Quest.

In addition, hundreds of horses from stables variously owned by Sheikh Hamdan and other members of the ruling families of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also implicated.

If the results are proved to have been falsified, the FEI faces an unprecedented exercise in mass disqualification. Asked about possible sanctions for the listed riders and owners, and also those who competed unqualified horses in longer distance rides, a FEI spokesman said: “We will need to wait for the conclusions of the investigation before deciding on the next steps...”

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/endurance-world-champion-at-centre-of-rides-scandal-479305#2vhpzbfUwHLKhztb.99


March 26 2015

Australia's AERA Supports FEI Suspension of UAE

March 26 2015

In a statement issued on 26 March 2015, the Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) expressed solid support of the FEI's decision (26 February 2015) to suspend the remaining two FEI events scheduled to be held in the UAE, and to suspend the National Federation of the FEI (12 March 2015) for an indeterminate period due to major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations.

Additionally, the AERA requests that the FEI reconsiders holding the 2016 World Endurance Championships in Dubai.

Further, in support of the FEI's decision to suspend Emirati athletes from Endurance events, AERA will not permit Emirati athletes to enter AERA affiliated endurance events, including the 50th Tom Quilty to be held 6-7 June 2015.

And while the AERA will not deny Australian endurance riders participation in UAE-based National events, it requests that any AERA members "give careful and measured consideration to competing in the UAE under the current circumstances…"

The full letter can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/03.2015.AERALetter.jpg


March 23 2015

UAE: Not So Untouchable?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 23, 2015

For years, the FBI failed to pin down Al Capone for racketeering, but a special squad known as the “Untouchables” finally found a way to send him prison – tax evasion.

For years, the FEI has failed to nail UAE endurance for horse abuse, the running of ringers and field-of-play violations on an industrial scale, due to the reluctance of witnesses, the turning of a blind eye by corrupt or lazy officials, and the invidiousness of the 30-minute rule for protests.

But now there is a glimmer of hope that at least the UAE’s equestrian federation, the EEF, is not quite as untouchable as it thought...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/not-so-untouchable/


March 21 2015

France pushes anti-doping stance at Dubai Horse Fair

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 22, 2015

France’s arabian horse society is using its stand at the Dubai Horse Fair to promote clean sport within endurance riding.

The Dubai Horse Fair opened this weekend, and François Atger, the chairman of the French Arabian Horse Society (ACA), said the organisation wanted to take a stand against doping.

“I am personally scandalized by the lack of reaction on the part of our national bodies. Such shortcomings have motivated us all the more to become implicated in public awareness and to appeal for everyone to come to terms with an ethical practice of the sport. Hence the reason for us being here at the Dubai International Horse Fair and the message we wish to convey,” he said...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/22/france-pushes-anti-doping-dubai-horse-fair/


March 20 2015

AERC President Requests Voluntary AERC Member Support of UAE Suspension

March 20 2015
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

In light of the FEI's suspension of the UAE National Federation from international equestrian events for "an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance," current AERC President Michael Campbell has issued the following statement:

"I have a personal request, just from me, for AERC members. While the UAE is suspended by FEI for various acts of cheating and equine abuse, I ask that AERC members forgo riding in UAE events and refuse to sell their horses to UAE purchasers. I also ask that AERC [Ride Managers] refuse entry to riders from the UAE until the suspension is lifted. I hope AERC will support the FEI suspension until UAE is rehabilitated and may be welcomed back into the sport."

The FEI/UAE controversy has been building since 2013, and the multiple scandals, including alleged cheating, horse drugging, 'ringers', and faked races, finally led to the UAE suspension on March 12 2015.

It should be noted that at the AERC Conference in Reno, Nevada on March 6 and 7 (before the UAE's suspension), USA International rider Heather Reynolds announced that the USA horses and riders that were invited to compete in a 160-km race in the UAE this spring had already declined to participate, in support of the AERC's stance regarding the FEI/UAE.

Equestrian Podcast: Endurance Revealed - Pippa Cuckson & Michael Campbell

Womeninsport Podcast - listen!

March 19 2015
with Chris Stafford

British journalist Pippa Cuckson who writes for the Horse Canada.com website under The Cuckson Report, and Michael Campbell, President of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) discuss the latest scandals and rule infringements that have recently been exposed and the implications to the sport. You can read Pippa's Blog here and visit the AERC website here. Post your comments and questions on the Facebook Page at Chris Stafford Radio and follow on Twitter @chrisestafford.

Listen!:
http://chrisstafford.podbean.com/e/equestrian-endurance-revealed-pippa-cuckson-michael-campbell/


March 19 2015

Significance of FEI suspension ‘not yet fully understood by UAE riders’

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
19 March, 2015

World Horse Welfare has been joined by major equestrian nations in applauding the FEI’s suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over the escalating crisis in desert endurance racing.

The charity’s Roly Owers hoped the FEI’s unprecedented move heralded the end of a “dark period”.

“In many ways this is a sad day,” he said. “However, the FEI’s drastic move to suspend the UAE federation is a reflection of the seriousness of the situation.

“We hope this action will be the end of a dark period in international endurance and demonstrate to all that the FEI Welfare Code of Conduct must be at the heart of international equestrian sport.

“The focus is now on the UAE to undergo a fundamental change in attitude.”

The FEI bureau took its “unanimous” decision last Thursday (12 March), also ordering an investigation into allegations, first exposed by H&H, that the UAE has been faking ride results for several years...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/significance-of-fei-suspension-not-yet-fully-understood-by-uae-riders-478116#7jTBV21tTUBQ5Ftp.99

UAE welcome back when they follow rules, says FEI vice-president

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

Wednesday, 18 March 2015
By Emily Goddard at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami

John Madden, first vice-president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), has said the United Arab Emirates will be "perfectly welcome" back into the sport when it shows exactly how it will follow the rules.

The FEI Bureau, chaired by President Ingmar De Vos, unanimously agreed to suspend the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) last month following an investigation into "major horse welfare issues" and allegedly faked results in endurance events.

The immediate ban means the nation "may not attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organise any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events".

It also follows a move at the beginning of the month to strip the UAE of two endurance races scheduled to be held later this month.

However, Madden, who is also chair of the FEI jumping committee, made clear the nation can come back into competition when it provides evidence of change.

"It's very sad that we've had to suspend the United Arab Emirates Federation," he told insidethegames here at SPORTELAmerica.

"But they are welcome back in the FEI at any time when they can demonstrate to us and explain to us exactly how they are going to protect horse welfare and following the FEI rules.

"It's not good enough to say yes we are going to do it they need to demonstrate exactly how...

Read more here:
http://www.insidethegames.biz/sports/summer/equestrian/1026218-uae-welcome-back-when-they-follow-rules-says-fei-vice-president


March 18 2015

Britain backs endurance stance; FEI spells out details of UAE suspension

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 18, 2015

Endurance officials in Britain have voiced support for the FEI in its efforts to sort out the issues in the sport which led to last week’s suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Their backing came as the world governing body spelt out the practical implications of the suspension.

The FEI suspended the UAE over what it said were welfare concerns and non-compliance with its rules and regulations in endurance. The suspension would remain in place until the UAE was able to satisfy the FEI it could meet the standards required.

The chairman of Britain’s endurance board, John Hudson, said on Tuesday that the endurance board supported the FEI fully in its determination to ensure endurance was properly regulated and that its code of conduct for the welfare of horses was always respected.

“We hope that the necessary changes are made to the FEI’s satisfaction,” Hudson sad.

[More ...]


March 17 2015

FEI Clarifies Details of UAE National Federation Suspension

March 17 2015

Sabrina Zeender, Secretary General of the FEI has sent a letter to the National Federations clarifying the details of the unprecedented suspension 12 March 2015 of the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation from FEI, due to major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in endurance.

The letter outlines all aspects of the suspension, including what UAE athletes and officials can and cannot do, whether in endurance or other disciplines; prohibiting the UAE from organizing any International events in any discipline; and prohibiting the UAE flag from being displayed at any venue or event during the suspension.

The entire letter can be seen here.


March 16 2015

Wardrobe malfunction in the FEI over endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | March 16, 2015

There’s something just a little mysterious about the FEI Bureau. Its 18 members wield a lot of power in the world of horse sport, but we never get to see the inner workings, with meetings behind closed doors.

It certainly would have been illuminating to hear the bureau’s recent discussion on the joys of endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates, before its members agreed unanimously to suspend the UAE Equestrian Federation.

The FEI, after endless months of grinding diplomacy during its endurance rule reform process, has shown some welcome mettle.

The world governing body said the suspension followed an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with its rules and regulations in endurance.

Followers of endurance don’t need to be reminded about the storm of controversy around the death of Splitters Creek Bundy as a result of two broken legs in a race in Abu Dhabi late in January, or the big questions that now swirl around a dozen races in the UAE after duplicated results were revealed by British equestrian writer Pippa Cuckson.

So, let us tip our riding helmets to the FEI for its decisive, if belated, action. But, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the world governing body has, to a fair degree, been caught with its pants down in this latest round of endurance controversy...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/16/wardrobe-malfunction-fei-over-endurance/


March 15 2015

Abdulla Al Marri 'shocked' by FEI decision to ban entire Emirates Equestrian Federation

by Reem Abulleil
Sunday 15 March 2015

Showjumper Abdulla Al Marri has described the decision of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to suspend the entire Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) over horse welfare and rule infringements in endurance events as “ridiculous” and a “slap in the face” to those competing in other disciplines.

The FEI announced last Thursday their decision in an official statement posted on their website that read: “The FEI Bureau has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

“The Bureau, chaired by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, was unanimous in its decision.”

The suspension entails that the UAE will not be allowed to host any international equestrian meets. All UAE endurance riders are banned from international events, apart from national competitions, while Emirati riders in other disciplines may compete internationally but only under the neutral FEI flag.

Al Marri, who has represented the UAE in showjumping in countless international shows including last year’s Asian Games, finds the decision shocking and unfair to the jumping community.

“We don’t follow that sport (endurance) as much as ours to be honest. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything like this before, banning an entire federation,” Al Marri told Sport360°.

“It’s something we (showjumpers) had nothing to do with. For us, it’s just a shock.

Why can’t I ride under my country’s flag? They should punish the person responsible. If a showjumper is accused of doping a horse, the rider is involved in it then he or she is punished. Why is that not the case this time?

“It’s ridiculous. Okay, we’re all under one federation but I think it’s drastic that [showjumpers] pay for it.”

While many showjumpers benefit from competing in a host of international shows held in the UAE as part of the Arab League, Al Marri says what hurts the most is not how this affects his calendar, but the fact that he can’t represent the UAE internationally.

“We do this for our country, and the fact that we can’t represent our own country, that’s the most painful thing. Being patriotic is very important to us, especially where we’re from, we’re very proud of where we come from.

“One of the biggest steps in our sport was taken just two weeks ago when Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum won the 5* show in Ghantoot. And suddenly we get this slap in the face.”

De Vos admits the decision was drastic but that the world governing body had no choice.

“The decision to suspend a National Federation is not something that is taken lightly and we only should do this if no other remedy can be found,” De Vos said.

“Sadly, this was the only option left, but we have to take our responsibility and must never be afraid of tackling major issues head-on. Where horse welfare is concerned the FEI has to show leadership and solve problems in a structural way without making any concessions.”

No one from the EEF was available for comment, but they do have 30 days to appeal the decision.

Read More...


March 14 2015

Endurance: Swiss Equestrian Federation Approves of the Latest Decisions made by the FEI

FNCH.ch

12 March 2015

The Swiss Equestrian Federation FSSE, which has committed itself for over two years, so that competing in endurance events all over the world are in compliance with not only the welfare of the horse but also sporting fairness, has taken note with satisfaction, of the decision made by the Bureau of the International Equestrian Federation FEI to suspend the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates UAE for an indeterminate period, following serious cases of horse abuse and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations within this discipline (press release of the FEI).

Having taken this decision, the Bureau of the FEI and its new President demonstrate courage and send a strong message in favor of the welfare of horses to all member federations. The FSSE gives its full support in this matter.

In light of this suspension, the FSSE has decided to further reinforce the measures it announced last February 24th (press release of the Swiss Equestrian Federation) by prohibiting its riders as well as its endurance officials to participate in any endurance competition in the UAE for as long as this federation is suspended by the FEI.

Furthermore, it reiterates its strong reservations about the holding of the World Endurance Championship planned in Dubai in 2016. The FSSE will pay close attention to the developments of this current situation before considering whether to participate in the championships or not.

Additional Information:

Dr. Charles F. Trolliet, President of the Swiss Equestrian Federation,
Tel. +41 79 205 32 91, e-mail: trolliet@swissonline.ch

Dr. Claude Nordmann, International Relations, Swiss Equestrian Federation,
Tel. +41 79 353 75 54, e-mail: claude.nordmann@bluewin.ch


March 13 2015

UAE suspension reflects seriousness of endurance situation – charity

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 14, 2015

The suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the FEI will hopefully end a dark period in international endurance, World Horse Welfare says.

The British-based international charity said it welcomed the suspension of the UAE following a catalogue of significant horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in endurance.

The charity, which is an independent welfare adviser to the FEI, said it was ready and willing to help the UAE Equestrian Federation implement the changes necessary to bring it back into the international fold.

“In many ways this is a sad day,” World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said of the suspension.

“However, the FEI’s drastic move to suspend the UAE federation is a reflection of the seriousness of the situation within endurance.

“We hope that this action will be the end of a dark period in international endurance and demonstrate to all that the FEI Welfare Code of Conduct must be at the heart of international equestrian sport.

Read more...

American Endurance Ride Conference Requests New Venue for 2016 World Endurance Championship

MARCH 13, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In the wake of unprecedented scandal and corruption in the sport of Endurance Riding coming from the United Arab Emirates, the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has formally requested that the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) remove the 2016 World Endurance Championship from Dubai to another venue or cancel the event altogether.

Reports this week indicate that the Emirates Equestrian Federation falsified the results of at least 12 endurance rides in reports to the FEI in an attempt to fraudulently qualify inadequately prepared horses and riders for international competition. This action puts horses in peril by making it appear that they have been properly trained and conditioned for long distance competition when that may not be the case. Horses that are not properly conditioned and qualified are at risk for fatal injury such as that experienced by Splitters Creek Bundy, a horse who was photographed at the January 2015 Al Reef Cup ride in Abu Dhabi with both front legs fractured.

Last year, the AERC Board of Directors unanimously passed a motion expressing its outrage at these violations. AERC vowed to explore other options for international competition unless measurable progress was shown by FEI in curbing these offenses.

AERC applauds the action of FEI in removing two UAE rides from their calendar of competition for the remainder of the 2015 season and suspending UAE endurance competition in FEI events. AERC also commends FEI for retaining Lord Stevens to investigate the latest travesty. However, the AERC Board of Directors does not believe that these sanctions go far enough in protecting horses and the sport of Endurance Riding. The AERC Board unanimously voted last week to request that FEI take the further step of canceling the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Dubai, reopening bids for the venue and denying the UAE the opportunity to bid on the venue.

Denmark and Switzerland have already indicated that they would not send teams to compete in Dubai. Germany is likely to follow suit. AERC invites other like-minded countries and equine disciplines as well as the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to join us in repudiating the UAE distortion of Endurance Riding. We especially look to USEF for strong leadership in supporting fairness and safety in Endurance Riding. Since its inception in 1972, AERC has supported equine welfare and longevity as well as fair play for all competitors. AERC stands for clean endurance.

More information on the American Endurance Ride Conference is available by visiting www.aerc.org or by calling the AERC office at 823-2260. By request, the office will send out a free information packet to prospective members.

Chronofhorse.com: AERC Requests New Venue For 2016 World Endurance Championship



USEF Response to Suspension of UAE National Federation

RELEASE: March 13, 2015
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. - In an unprecedented move, the FEI has suspended the national federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following a thorough investigation into major horse welfare issues and rule non-compliance. UAE has been suspended for an "indeterminate period" from attending FEI meetings, organizing international events, and participating in international events. However, UAE athletes - in disciplines other than endurance - competing in international competitions outside of the UAE may participate under the FEI flag.

This decision to suspend the UAE was made after extensive efforts to curb catastrophic horse injuries and rule non-compliance failed. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has and will continue to support fully the actions of the FEI and applauds their positive and aggressive action. As President Ingmar De Vos states, "Sadly, this is the only option left...Where horse welfare is concerned, the FEI has to show leadership and solve problems in a structural way without making any concessions." "Having spent many years addressing this issue within the FEI Bureau, the USEF is proud to stand with the international equestrian community in condemnation of horse abuse," stated Chris Welton, USEF CEO.

High Noon for world endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson
March 13, 2015

The pistols finally came out of their holsters today as the FEI moved to head off ongoing endurance controversies.

The world governing body announced it had suspended the national federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), citing what it called major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with the rules of endurance.

The announcement is the latest chapter in a remarkable few days in the sport, as the UAE – arguably the best-resourced endurance nation in the world – came under ever-increasing scrutiny...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/13/high-noon-world-endurance/


March 12 2015

FEI suspend United Arab Emirates from equestrianism following spate of scandals

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Concerns over horse welfare, doping, the use of 'ringers’ and phantom races in the Middle East country lead to shock decision

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent
10:30PM GMT 12 Mar 2015

World equestrianism’s governing body (FEI) took the dramatic step on Thursday of suspending the United Arab Emirates from the sport following scandals over horse welfare, doping, the use of 'ringers’ and phantom races.

The full ramifications of the FEI’s shock decision to exile the UAE federation and all its athletes in the discipline of endurance racing may not emerge for weeks, but Ingmar de Vos, FEI president, said that “indeterminate suspension“ was “the only option left” after UAE riders – many from stables owned by the ruling families of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Maktoums and the Nayhans – failed to reduce catastrophic horse injuries or adhere to FEI rules during their current winter season.

Attempts to address the crisis through diplomacy have failed, and the FEI is understood to have been considering suspension even before Telegraph Sport’s revelation on Thursday that 12 races staged in the UAE since 2012 carried duplicated results data, which suggests they never took place...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11468943/FEI-suspend-United-Arab-Emirates-from-equestrianism-following-spate-of-scandals.html

FEI suspends UAE National Federation

Endurance.net

FEI PRESS RELEASE
Lausanne (SUI), 12 March 2015

The FEI Bureau has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

The Bureau, chaired by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, was unanimous in its decision to suspend the UAE National Federation.

Under the terms of the suspension, which has been imposed immediately, the UAE National Federation may not attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organise any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events. However, the Bureau has ruled that UAE athletes from disciplines other than Endurance may compete under the FEI flag in international competitions organised outside the UAE.

The Bureau has clearly outlined to the UAE Federation that any potential reinstatement to FEI membership is dependent on the UAE Federation signing an agreement with the FEI under which the UAE Federation pledges to take such action as the FEI Bureau deems necessary to assure the FEI and all stakeholders that the UAE Federation is protecting the welfare of the horse and complying fully with the FEI Rules and Regulations.

"The decision to suspend a National Federation is not something that is taken lightly and we only should do this if no other remedy can be found,” the FEI President said. “Sadly this was the only option left, but we have to take our responsibility and must never be afraid of tackling major issues head-on. Where horse welfare is concerned the FEI has to show leadership and solve problems in a structural way without making any concessions.

"We were confident that strict enforcement of the new rules implemented on 1 August 2014 following adoption of the recommendations from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group would be effective in reducing the numbers of catastrophic injuries and fatalities in the UAE, but regretfully this has not been the case. There have also been other major non-compliance issues, so in the end we had no other choice than taking this drastic measure to deal with an unacceptable situation.”

As an interim emergency measure to protect horse welfare and preserve the integrity of FEI rules and regulations at FEI events while the FEI Bureau was considering the Executive Board’s recommendations for further action, the Secretary General Sabrina Zeender removed the two remaining Endurance events in the UAE from the FEI calendar two weeks ago, a move that garnered widespread support from National Federations and welfare groups.

The UAE National Federation has been notified of the suspension by the FEI Secretary General today, 12 March 2015. The UAE Federation has 30 days to appeal the suspension to the FEI Tribunal.

Separately, the FEI has requested the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit to conduct a full investigation into allegations of fake events and the duplication of results at FEI Endurance events in the UAE.

*Breaking news* FEI suspends UAE equestrian federation

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Horse & Hound
12 March 2015

In an unprecedented move, the FEI has suspended the national federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an “indeterminate period” following an investigation into “major horse welfare issues” and “non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations” in endurance.

The decision was made unanimously by the FEI bureau — which was chaired by president Ingmar De Vos — and the suspension has been imposed immediately.

The suspension means the UAE national federation cannot attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organise any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/breaking-news-fei-suspends-uae-equestrian-federation-477414#UZkrMBgTTc0fyly2.99

A dozen endurance races in UAE now called into question

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 12, 2015

An investigation by equestrian writer Pippa Cuckson, aided by a small team of experienced endurance riders who helped her scan through official results, has unearthed evidence that raises serious doubts over the running of 12 races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Cuckson, writing last week in the Daily Telegraph, raised questions about the results officially posted on the FEI website in respect of two races in the UAE.

One was a 120km race on January 21 in Dubai; the second an 80km event on December 23 in Abu Dhabi. She identified some remarkable similarities between finishing times and loop times with previous races.

In fact, the results logged on the FEI website for the leading 47 horses in the December 23 race were identical to those of the 10th to 56th-placed horses from a race at Bou Thib on November 21-22. In the case of the January 21 race results, Cuckson identified extraordinary similarities with finishing data from riders in a contest in Dubai on December 19...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/12/dozen-endurance-races-uae-question/

UAE suspended by International Equestrian Federation over concerns about horse welfare following Al Reef Cup scandal

Dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

By MARTYN HERMAN, REUTERS
PUBLISHED: 08:55 EST, 12 March 2015

*Three horses died at 74-mile Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi on February 1
*Pictures showed one appearing to have broken both front legs
*Two endurance races in the UAE were cancelled after Al Reef Scandal
*Now the IEF have suspended UAE indefinitely

The United Arab Emirates have been suspended by the International Equestrian Federation indefinitely over horse welfare and rule infringements in endurance events.

Under the ban UAE riders will not be allowed to compete for their country in any international events, although they will be allowed to compete under an FEI flag in non-endurance disciplines outside of the Emirates.

There has been growing concern over the treatment of endurance horses in the UAE and the world body recently stepped in to remove two endurance events in UAE from the winter season.

Three horses were reported dead at the 74-mile Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi on February 1 and one, Splitters Creek Bundy, appeared to have broken both front legs.

FEI president Ingmar de Vos said the FIA's Bureau had been unanimous in suspending the UAE federation.

'The decision to suspend a National Federation is not something that is taken lightly and we only should do this if no other remedy can be found,' he said in a statement...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-2991576/UAE-suspended-International-Equestrian-Federation-concerns-horse-welfare-relation-endurance-races.html#ixzz3UDNYJMlH

BBC.com: UAE suspended from equestrian events over endurance races

Ledger-Enquirer.com: UAE equestrian body suspended for abuses in endurance events

SanLuisObispo.com: UAE equestrian body suspended for abuses in endurance events

GreenfieldReporter.com: World equestrian body to investigate United Arab Emirates for alleged fake endurance races

Cambridgetimes.ca: UAE investigated for alleged fake endurance horse races

IdahoStatesman.com: UAE equestrian body suspended for abuses in endurance events

Insidethegames.biz: United Arab Emirates suspended by FEI following alleged horse welfare abuses

Daily Racing Form: United Arab Emirates banned from endurance races

Kentucky.com: UAE equestrian body suspended for abuses in endurance events

Metronews.ca: UAE equestrian body suspended for horse abuse, doping in endurance events

Ca.Sports.yahoo: UAE equestrian body suspended after probe into 'major horse welfare issues' in endurance races

DailyMail.co.uk: Equestrian-UAE suspended over horse welfare issues

NZHerald.co.nz: UAE investigated for alleged fake endurance horse races


March 11 2015

Sensational twist in the tale of ‘bogus’ UAE endurance rides

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

by Pippa Cuckson
11 March 2015

The “bogus” endurance ride mystery has taken a sensational new twist with the FEI decision to investigate allegations that results of a number of UAE races were “lifted” from previous FEI rides.

Last week H&H reported allegations from sources in the UAE that a ride listed for Dubai on 21 January did not take place.

Now at least 12 rides in recent UAE seasons have been discovered to have identical data to previous rides on the FEI database.

When first asked about the “bogus” race on 21 January, the FEI explained it was properly entered in the calendar as a Presidents Cup qualifier and that paperwork was in order.

After evidence of duplicate data was shown to the FEI, it asked the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit, Quest, to investigate. The data for 21 January, a 120km 2* race, is embedded in a 230-starter race from 19 December 2013. The speed and loop data of the “top three” are identical to the 13th, 14th, and 16th placed horses from 19 December, with the remaining 39 identical to completions further down the list...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/fake-uae-endurance-rides-477224#zk3SQoDaY1FXpWsA.99

Endurance Wars: The Phantom Menace

Neil Clarkson. March 11 2015. Horsetalk.co.nz

There has been a disturbance in the Force – an anomaly so extraordinary that the endurance community is still trying to comprehend exactly what it could mean for the sport.

Social media has been abuzz since British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson unearthed what would seem to be an impossible coincidence in the results of two races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Cuckson, in her March 6 piece published by the Daily Telegraph, raised questions about the results officially posted on the FEI website in respect of the two races, both of which provided qualifiers for the rich President’s Cup, run over 160km.

One was a 120km race on January 21 in Dubai; the second an 80km event on December 23 in Abu Dhabi. Cuckson noted that finishing rates for the fixtures were much higher than the local average.

But, most controversially, she identified some quite remarkable similarities between finishing times and loop times with previous races.

In fact, the results logged on the FEI website for the leading 47 horses in the December 23 race are identical to those of the 10th to 56th-placed horses from a race at Bou Thib on November 21-22.

[Read more ...]

UAE: Equestrian corruption crisis: Lord Stevens to lead investigation into 12 separate 'phantom' races

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Endurance racing facing huge scandal as Telegraph finds evidence UAE-hosted events never actually took place

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent

11 Mar 2015

The global body governing equestrian sport has ordered an independent investigation after Telegraph Sport uncovered 12 separate allegedly 'bogus' UAE-hosted endurance races.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) asked Quest, the integrity services agency run by former Met police chief Lord Stevens, to examine evidence compiled by the Telegraph that none of the 12 races were ever run, even though detailed results data from them appears on the FEI's official website.

Telegraph Sport exposed last week that 'bogus' or 'phantom' races were the latest scandal to hit the crisis-torn sport of endurance racing, detailing how two races purportedly staged on December 23 and January 21 appeared to exist only as sets of results, and were never actually staged...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11463573/Equestrian-corruption-crisis-Lord-Stevens-to-lead-investigation-into-12-separate-phantom-races.html

FoxSportsNews.com: UAE investigated for alleged fake endurance horse races

YahooNews.com: UAE investigated for alleged fake endurance horse races

Hutchnews.com: UAE Investigated for alleged fake endurance horse races

TheNewsTribune.com: UAE investigated for alleged fake endurance horse races

March 10 2015

Equine Canada Supports Endurance Reform

Equinecanada.ca

March 10, 2015
by: Equine Canada

As the national governing body for equestrian sport and recreation, horse welfare is paramount to Equine Canada (EC). Therefore, EC strongly supports the recent actions taken by the FEI to reform the sport of endurance in Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Region Group VII.

EC also fully supports the FEI in its decision to cancel the remaining international endurance events scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2015.

EC feels that these emergency measures implemented by the FEI are necessary to protect horse welfare, and uphold the integrity of the rules governing FEI competitions.


March 6 2015

UAE: Further questions raised over legitimacy of endurance races

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Allegations have arisen that two President's Cup qualifying races in the UAE never actually took place

By Pippa Cuckson
7:09PM GMT 06 Mar 2015

The crisis in endurance racing took a further twist on Friday night, as questions were raised about whether two races recorded as having taken place in the UAE were actually run.

The races both provided qualifications for last month’s 160km President’s Cup, the richest race in the Middle East winter season. The first of the rides in question was a 120km race on January 21 in Dubai, which independent sources in the UAE have alleged did not take place; the second an 80km race on December 23 in Abu Dhabi.

The results and data from both have been recorded on the official website of the equestrian world's governing body (FEI) and last night remained there despite the concerns over their authenticity. That data includes detailed speeds and loop (ride segment) times identical to data from other previous races which definitely did take place...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/11455916/Further-questions-raised-over-legitimacy-of-endurance-races.html

UAE: Too Good to be True?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 5, 2015

My phone has been red hot this past week, with colleagues keen to discuss the politics behind the FEI’s unprecedented cancellation of two UAE CEI’s as the endurance crisis escalates. So it was a relief when one buddy called with this practical query: will disaffiliating these rides affect horse and rider FEI qualifications for anything important?

I replied: “It’s funny you should ask.” Because I was just completing enquiries into a 120km CEI qualifier (for last month’s President’s Cup) whose results listings on the FEI database suggest that when you are short of qualifications for something important, one simple solution might be to apply a bit of creativity!

A few weeks ago, colleagues at Horse & Hound and myself were tipped off, by different people, that a scheduled ride in Dubai on January 21at was not all it seemed. I then asked further local sources who were genuinely surprised to learn that a FEI 2* qualifier took place on January 21st and could not understand how they had managed to miss it. Everything about it reads oddly...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/too-good-to-be-true/


March 5 2015

UAE: Doubts raised over ‘bogus’ endurance race

Horse & Hound

Pippa Cuckson, March 5 2015

Allegations that a qualification race held in Dubai last month (21 January) was bogus has led to questions on how the FEI verifies the authenticity of competition results.

Sources in the UAE have told H&H that a 120km CEI listed ride did not take place. It was a late addition to the FEI calendar, and records a completion rate of 91% (41 horses out of 45), which surpasses any ride in Europe during 2014 and is nearly three times the normal completion rate in a Middle East CEI.

No overseas riders or officials were listed as participating, despite the large winter presence of visiting riders. No pictures can be traced and it is not mentioned on the UAE federation or Dubai Equestrian Club websites.

A FEI spokesman told H&H: “The CEI2* Dubai, which took place on 21 January 2015, was run as a qualifier for the President’s Cup (CEI3* Abu Dhabi, Al Wathba). The event was properly entered in the FEI calendar and, as per FEI requirements, a draft schedule was submitted and approved by the FEI headquarters. The results, officials’ reports, and vet cards were received on time and validated by the FEI headquarters.

“There was certainly a high completion rate at this particular event, but the efficacy of any set of rules in any discipline cannot be judged on the basis of a single event.

“The FEI is constantly assessing its rules to ensure that they remain relevant.”

[More ...]


March 2 2015

Middle Eastern endurance: Do not pass Go, do not collect $200

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | March 2, 2015

My friends gave up playing Monopoly against me many years ago. Apparently, I’m not much fun to play against.

It wasn’t about cheating. Apparently, I’m too officious and determined, and revel in the fact I’m slowly grinding my opponents into poverty with my hefty rents and expansive property holdings.

It was a case of going directly to the doghouse without passing Go and without collecting $200.

The lesson, learned rather belatedly, is that if you don’t play nice, eventually no-one will want to play with you.

It seems, after several years of controversy around welfare issues, doping infractions, and what would seem to be a pretty loose interpretation of the rules, the nations at the centre of the endurance controversy in the Middle East might have to learn this lesson, too...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/02/middle-eastern-endurance-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-200/

Endurance GB halts sponsorship with Meydan

Horseandcountry.tv - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 2nd-Mar-2015

Endurance GB has announced its sponsorship negotiations with Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan corporation have been put on hold.

Sensitivities

The news follows the FEI’s decision to remove United Arab Emirates (UAE) endurance events from its 2015 calendar.

Endurance riding in the Middle East has been under scrutiny for some time, with concerns over doping and equine welfare. Things finally came to a head, following the footage of a horse breaking both his front legs in a race in the Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi.

“In view of current national and international sensitivities and pressures surrounding the sport of endurance, the board of Endurance GB has decided to suspend sponsorship negotiations with Meydan until further notice,” John Hudson Chairman Endurance GB...

Read more here:
http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2015/03/02/endurance-gb-halts-sponsorship-meydan


March 1 2015

British endurance officials back away from Meydan sponsorship proposal

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz
March 1 2015

Endurance officials in Britain have suspended negotiations with the Dubai-based Meydan Corporation over a major sponsorship deal for the sport.

The decision was made by the board of Endurance Great Britain following fresh controversies around horse welfare within the sport in the Middle East, centred on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The latest controversy blew up with the widespread circulation within social media of an image showing an Australian-bred endurance horse, Splitters Creek Bundy, stricken with two broken forelegs during the Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi, which, like Dubai, is one of emirates...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/01/british-endurance-cans-meydan-sponsorship-proposal/


February 28 2015

Rrench Equestrian Federation backs the FEI’s endurance move

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson
February 28 2015

The French Equestrian Federation has voiced its approval of the FEI’s decision to remove two international endurance events from its calendar that are set to be run in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March.

The world governing body calls the move an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and preserve the integrity of its rules at FEI events, as the fallout from events in the Al Reef Cup, run in Abu Dhabi late in January, continues...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/28/french-equestrian-federation-backs-the-feis-endurance-move/

British endurance racing rips up Sheikh Mohammed sponsorship deal

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article Endurance GB takes 'difficult' decision because of horse welfare crisis in Middle East

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent
4:05PM GMT 28 Feb 2015

Endurance GB has dropped a proposed “blanket” sponsorship deal from Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Meydan corporation for this season, as the crisis about horse welfare in the Middle East sport rages on.

EGB’s decision represents a second major setback for the UAE in 48 hours, following the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) cancellation of the UAE’s FEI rides scheduled for March, in the wake of widespread flouting of the rules, welfare concerns and global outrage about Splitters Creek Bundy, the horse who fatally broke both forelegs in a race ride on January 31.

EGB chairman John Hudson told members: “Sponsorship negotiations with Meydan will be suspended until further notice. This has been an extremely difficult decision but we believe, in view of the current national and international sensitivities and pressures surrounding the sport of endurance, it would not now be in Endurance GB’s interests to enter into a sponsorship agreement...

Read full article here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/11442015/British-endurance-racing-rips-up-Sheikh-Mohammed-sponsorship-deal.html

Endurance Great Britain Suspends Meydan Negotiations

Endurancegb.co.uk

Update on the Meydan sponsorship negotiations - (Published:28 February 2015)

We regret to inform you that, after much deliberation, taking into account the recent announcement by the FEI and following consultation with the BEF, the Board of Endurance GB has decided that the sponsorship negotiations with Meydan will be suspended until further notice. This has been an extremely difficult decision but we believe, in view of the current national and international sensitivities and pressures surrounding the sport of endurance, it would not now be in Endurance GB’s interests to enter into a sponsorship agreement at this time.

As a consequence of this decision, we are unable to proceed with the three rides scheduled for Euston Park in 2015.

I hope you will understand and respect our decision which has not been taken lightly. We will be looking at ways to try and deliver at least some of our exciting plans to improve the sport of endurance for all Members, although without sponsorship this will be a significant challenge. However this does not affect our normal activities which will continue to offer a wide range of local, national and international rides at all levels throughout England and Wales.

Best regards

John

John Hudson
Chairman EGB
For and on Behalf of the EGB Board


February 27 2015

French Endurance Federation (FFE) Supports FEI Cancellation of UAE Races

FFE.com

27/02/2015

(translated from google)

Temporary removal of Equestrian Endurance Race

The French Equestrian Federation approves the action taken by the International Equestrian Federation removing from the official calendar the next two international Endurance races Endurance in the United Arab Emirates. This decision follows the incidents where trained horses died in the sands of the Emirates during endurance races.

FFE has been involved for many years in a policy of respect for the health of horses, including the establishment of appropriate national sporting regulations. The federal teams of technical staff working in the coasts of the FEI on this subject. Future work will focus on the development of rules on the responsibility of the competitor Endurance rider.


February 27 2015

Australia: Statement Endurance

Equestrian.org

Posted by Equestrian Australia on 27/02/2015

Equestrian Australia (FEI) welcomes the announcement from the FEI overnight, advising of the removal of UAE international endurance events from the official calendar (see statement HERE).

At a meeting to discuss the recent horse welfare incident involving Australian bred horse ‘Splitters Creek Bundy’ and the current state of horse welfare in endurance internationally, the national endurance committee and EA have resolved to maintain a close dialogue with the FEI and other national federations on this matter.

EA supports the FEI’s course of action in investigating this issue and will continue to push for swift action to ensure horse welfare remains a priority for all sectors of the equestrian community. EA is encouraged by the action taken by the FEI to curb some of the ongoing horse welfare issue through changes to the endurance rules and encourages all national federations to adopt stringent horse welfare protocols at all equestrian events.

EA also remains in contact with the Australian Endurance Riders Association regarding this issue.

FEI Removes UAE Endurance Events from Official Calendar

Thehorse.com

By Edited Press Release Feb 27, 2015

Following the first meeting of the new Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) executive board, Secretary General Sabrina Zeender has removed the two remaining international endurance events scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2015 from the FEI calendar in an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the federation's rules and regulations.

The move follows a mandate from the FEI Bureau to the executive board to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE. The executive board will now finalize its recommendations to the bureau.

“We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the bureau for urgent consideration,” recently elected president Ingmar De Vos said after the meeting.

In addition to De Vos and Zeender, the meeting was attended by 1st vice president and chair of the Jumping Committee John Madden (USA), 2nd vice president and chair of FEI Regional Group VII HE Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa (BRN), chair of the Dressage Committee Frank Kemperman (NED), and chair of the Athletes’ Committee Maria Gretzer (SWE). Luiz Roberto Giugni (BRA), chair of FEI Regional Group VI, was unable to attend due to meetings in Brazil on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The endurance rules were strengthened last year specifically to protect and promote horse welfare following recommendations from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group. The widely supported measures include additional doping testing, injury surveillance and reporting, athlete penalties for equine injuries, and extended rest periods. Other measures increase the responsibility and accountability of riders, trainers, and officials, as well as steps to address any conflicts of interest.

FEI strips two international endurance events in UAE from its calendar

Horsetalk.co.nz | February 27, 2015

Two international endurance events set to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month have been removed from the FEI calendar in what the world governing body calls an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and preserve the integrity of its rules at FEI events.

Secretary general Sabrina Zeender took the action following the first meeting of the new FEI Executive Board, chaired by president Ingmar De Vos.

The move follows a mandate from the FEI Bureau to the Executive Board to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/27/endurance-events-uae-stripped-fei-calendar/

Belgium ponders whether to go to endurance champs in Dubai

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | February 27, 2015

Belgium equestrian officials are pondering whether to send riders to the world endurance championships in Dubai next year as the fallout from the death of Splitters Creek Bundy continues.

A statement from the Royal Belgian Federation for Equestrian Sports (FRBSE) came as the FEI announced that it was stripping two international endurance events to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month from its calendar. It called the move an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and preserve the integrity of its rules and regulations at FEI events.

The furore over the death of Splitters Creek Bundy in the Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi late last month has been raging since harrowing images of the stricken horse emerged and circulated widely in social media...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/27/belgium-ponders-endurance-champs-dubai/


February 26 2015

FEI cancels UAE races in 'emergency measure' over horse welfare

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Escalating concerns over the treatment of endurance horses in the United Arab Emirates leads to equestrianism's governing body stepping in

By Pippa Cuckson
10:38PM GMT 26 Feb 2015

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has removed the remaining two FEI endurance rides of the winter season in the United Arab Emirates from its official calendar as an “emergency measure” in the wake of escalating concerns about horse welfare.

The FEI has been sharply criticised for its reactive stance to regular horse abuse scandals in the Middle East sport. But in a surprise move its newly elected executive board, chaired by FEI president Ingmar de Vos, has disaffiliated the two FEI rides scheduled for next month “to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules and regulations at FEI events”. According to a statement, the move follows a mandate from the FEI Bureau, which is responsible for the FEI’s general direction, to the executive board “to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE”.

“We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the bureau for urgent consideration”, said De Vos, who was FEI secretary-general before succeeding Princess Haya as president in December.

Doping scandals, fatal injuries, rule-breaking and the running of “ringers” in Middle Eastern endurance, many of which have been exposed by Telegraph Sport, have centred around the many large stables owned by Princess Haya’s husband, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed, and other members of the Maktoum family...

Read more here:
a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/telegraphsportnews/11438699/FEI-cancels-UAE-races-in-emergency-measure-over-horse-welfare.html">http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/telegraphsportnews/11438699/FEI-cancels-UAE-races-in-emergency-measure-over-horse-welfare.html

Shock FEI decision to cancel UAE international endurance events

by Sophia Heath
26 February 2015

The FEI has removed United Arab Emirates (UAE) international endurance events from its official calendar in an “emergency” move to “protect horse welfare”.

The announcement comes after a series of serious issues involving doping and injuries during races in the region.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of the new FEI executive board, chaired by recently elected president Ingmar De Vos. The FEI has confirmed that secretary general Sabrina Zeender has removed the two remaining international events scheduled to be held in the UAE in March.

“The move follows a mandate from the FEI bureau to the executive board to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE,” a spokesman said.

The executive board will now finalise its recommendations to the bureau.

“We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the bureau for urgent consideration,” the FEI president said after the meeting...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/fei-endurance-uae-475957#eRz067TZGI5r4h8i.99

FEI scrap endurance events in United Arab Emirates after horses die at Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi

Dailymail.c.uk - Full Article

* Three horses were reported dead at the Al Reef Cup earlier this month
* Two events scheduled for March have been scrapped
* The FEI is investigating despite initially saying the event was outside the governing body's jurisdiction

By DAVID KENT FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 11:28 EST, 26 February 2015

The FEI has reacted to the Al Reef Cup scandal and removed the two remaining international endurance events due to be held in the United Arab Emirates from the calendar following a string of serious issues during races in the region.

Three horses were reported dead at the 74-mile Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi on February 1 and one, Splitters Creek Bundy, appeared to have broken both front legs.

The decision to cancel the March events, according to the governing body, is 'an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules and regulations at FEI events.'

'The move follows a mandate from the FEI bureau to the executive board to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE,' a spokesman said.

The board is now due to finalise its recommendations to the bureau.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2970526/FEI-scrap-endurance-events-United-Arab-Emirates-horses-die-Al-Reef-Cup-Abu-Dhabi.html#ixzz3StXnsvjP

FEI removes UAE international Endurance events from official calendar

Aroundtherings.com - Full Article

02/26/15

Following the first meeting of the new FEI Executive Board, chaired by recently elected President Ingmar De Vos, Secretary General Sabrina Zeender has removed the two remaining international Endurance events scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2015 from the FEI calendar in an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules and regulations at FEI events.

The move follows a mandate from the FEI Bureau to the Executive Board to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE. The Executive Board will now finalise its recommendations to the Bureau.

“We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the Bureau for urgent consideration”, the FEI President said after the meeting, which was held at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI)...

Read more here:
http://www.aroundtherings.com/site/A__50322/Title__FEI-removes-UAE-international-Endurance-events-from-official-calendar/292/Articles

Horse abuse leads world body to drop UAE endurance races

http://news.yahoo.com/horse-abuse-leads-world-body-drop-uae-endurance-154431728.html

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Equestrian Federation has acted on reported horse abuse in endurance racing by removing two meetings in the United Arab Emirates from its calendar.

The FEI says its executive board "took an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules."

The international races in March were scheduled at Bou Thib, Abu Dhabi and the Crown Prince Cup in Dubai.

The FEI board was asked to "urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE..."

Read more here:
http://news.yahoo.com/horse-abuse-leads-world-body-drop-uae-endurance-154431728.html

Endurance races dropped on reports of horse abuse in UAE

The Associated Press Published Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:57AM EST

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The International Equestrian Federation has acted on reported horse abuse in endurance racing by removing two meetings in the United Arab Emirates from its calendar.

The FEI says its executive board "took an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules."

The international races in March were scheduled at Bou Thib, Abu Dhabi and the Crown Prince Cup in Dubai.

Read more here:
http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/endurance-races-dropped-on-reports-of-horse-abuse-in-uae-1.2254635

Belgium Considers 2016 World Endurance Championships Boycott

Horse-canada.com

February 26, 2015
by: Royal Belgian Equestrian Federation

The Royal Belgian Equestrian Federation (FRBSE) has released a statement to express their disappointment in the state of endurance racing in the UAE. In it, they urge their members not to participate in any events held in these countries, and note that they may not send a team to the 2016 World Endurance Championships.

To follow is a translated version of the FRBSE’s statement:

The Royal Belgian Equestrian Federation has, for years, worried about the evolution of endurance races (CEN and IEC), and especially in some countries in the Persian Gulf, and regrets the incidents that occurred on January 31st, in Abu Dhabi at the Al Reef Cup, where three horses were killed, including at least one in terrible conditions.

Because the FRBSE finds that it is not a one-off event, they can only conclude that the United Arab Emirates does not estimate correctly the situation, despite the efforts of the FEI, who are making extra efforts to find a positive solution to these abuses through the formation of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group, and Task Force, as well as by making changes to regulations and officials for example.

The FRBSE wishes to state its commitment to participating in a sport where animal welfare and respect for the rules are adhered to. Consequently, pending a complete reversal of the situation, the FRBSE strongly discourages its members from participating in any endurance race organized in one of the countries concerned. At the same time, they are considering whether or not to send a Belgian team to the next World Endurance Championships in 2016, which was awarded to Dubai.

FEI removes UAE international Endurance events from official calendar

26 Feb 2015 - FEI.org

Following the first meeting of the new FEI Executive Board, chaired by recently elected President Ingmar De Vos, Secretary General Sabrina Zeender has removed the two remaining international Endurance events scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2015 from the FEI calendar in an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules and regulations at FEI events.

The move follows a mandate from the FEI Bureau to the Executive Board to urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE. The Executive Board will now finalise its recommendations to the Bureau.

“We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the Bureau for urgent consideration”, the FEI President said after the meeting, which was held at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

The Executive Board meeting was attended by the FEI President, 1st Vice President and Chair of the Jumping Committee John Madden (USA), 2nd Vice President and Chair of FEI Regional Group VII HE Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa (BRN), Chair of the Dressage Committee Frank Kemperman (NED), Chair of the Athletes’ Committee Maria Gretzer (SWE), and FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender (SUI). Luiz Roberto Giugni (BRA), Chair of FEI Regional Group VI, was unable to attend due to meetings in Brazil on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Endurance Rules were strengthened last year specifically to protect and promote horse welfare following recommendations from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group. The widely supported measures include additional dope testing, injury surveillance and reporting, athlete penalties for equine injuries, and extended rest periods. Other measures increase the responsibility and accountability of riders, trainers and officials, as well as steps to address any conflicts of interest.

Notes to Editors:

The removal of international events from the FEI calendar is covered in the FEI General Regulations. Article 112 states: "The Secretary General shall have the authority to remove any Competition and/or Event from the Calendar if justified circumstances relating to a Competition or the Event are established."


February 25 2015

FEI must find ways to impose sanctions, says Swiss federation

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | February 25, 2015

The Swiss Equestrian Federation has responded to the furore in endurance following the death of Splitters Creek Bundy in the Al Reef Cup race in Abu Dhabi, saying the FEI must find ways to apply sanctions against national federations.

The Swiss body, responding to what it called the dramatic incidents of recent weeks, especially during the Al Reef Cup, expressed its outrage...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/25/fei-sanctions-swiss-federation/


February 24 2015

Swiss Threaten to Boycott 2016 World Endurance Championships in Dubai

February 24 2015

Statement of the Swiss Equestrian Federation regarding various incidents in endurance races

(English version of the Swiss press release)

The Swiss Equestrian Federation SEF is outraged by recent dramatic incidents that have arisen in endurance, especially during the Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi. It calls upon the International Equestrian Federation FEI to examine the conditions, both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (UAE), to take immediate and effective measures as well as to continue to act accordingly. It is paramount that the welfare of the horse comes first. As the governing body of equestrian sports, the FEI must find ways to enable the application of sanctions against national federations, which tolerate mistreatment during their national races. Furthermore, the SEF reserves therefore the right under these circumstances to not attend the Elite Endurance World Championships 2016 in Dubai.

In recent weeks the endurance season (group VII of the FEI) in the Middle Eastern countries has been in full swing. Some events left strong traces in the media and on other social platforms and have indicated again in dramatic proportions, that the new regulations of the FEI have not been adopted by all national associations and have respectively not been sufficiently enforced by the FEI officials.

The SVPS is outraged with regard to the horrific events i.e., (multiple fractures in racing, positive doping tests, prohibited manipulations, various rule infringements, as well as too many grooms and vehicles per horse etc...) in various national and international events. It calls urgently upon the FEI, to take immediate and effective measures and to act accordingly.

Given the dramatic incidents of recent weeks, the Danish Federation has already issued a conditional start ban for its riders on events of the group VII of the FEI. The SVPS also strongly advises its endurance riders not to start in eventual races in these countries. Taking part in such races is currently incompatible with Membership of the Swiss elite team.

Under the circumstances, the SEF finds it at this moment also impossible and incompatible with its mission statement for the welfare of the horse, to participate in the next Elite World Endurance Championships 2016 in Dubai (UAE). The SEF, therefore, reserves the decision, to not attend the WEC 2016 and to not send any riders.

Additional Information:
- Dr. Charles F. Trolliet, President of the Swiss Federation for Equestrian Sports,
Tel. +41 79 205 32 91, e-mail: trolliet@swissonline.ch
- Dr. Claude Nordmann, International Relations, Swiss Federation for Equestrian Sports
Tel. +41 79 353 75 54 E-mail: claude.nordmann@bluewin.ch


February 20 2015

Five Ways to Torment an Endurance Horse, with Total Confidence so that Officials will Look the Other Way

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 20, 2015

In Middle East endurance, the number of FEI disqualifications and yellow cards dished out are inversely proportional to the number of offences occurring.

Dip randomly into any live-stream from the Middle East winter season, or any collection of photographs, of which thousands are archived on the websites of commercial snappers, and you’ll come across aberrations like this without even trying. No wonder no one bothers to attempt enforcement amid all this mayhem. You’d hardly know where to start.

No, this is not a scene from Arachnophobia. This horse is looking like an insect due to the bizarre Group 7 fad for duct-taping blinkers and visors to limit vision to a weeny slit. Admittedly, there is not much to look at the desert, so he’s not missing out, but it’s no time for flippancy. This is an unkind means of de-sensitising the horse (note also the earplugs), resulting presumably from his rider’s inability to keep the horse’s mind on the job through sympathetic means. This poor fellow, Embrujo, completed the 160k Presidents Cup in this blinding garb, though some shots from the later stages show the slit had been widened by about an inch.

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/five-ways-to-torment-an-endurance-horse-with-total-confidence-so-that-officials-will-look-the-other-way/


February 17 2015

Australian officials to meet over demise of Splitters Creek Bundy

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | February 17, 2015

Senior endurance figures in Australia will meet with board members from Equestrian Australia this week, as the fallout from the death of Splitters Creek Bundy from two broken front legs in an Abu Dhabi endurance race continues.

The Australian-bred horse suffered the fatal injuries late last month in the Al Reef Cup, with harrowing images of his plight before euthanasia causing outrage in the global endurance community...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/17/australian-officials-demise-splitters-creek-bundy/

NZ adds voice to rising tide of concern over death of Splitters Creek Bundy

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | February 17, 2015

The head of Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ), responding to the harrowing demise of Splitters Creek Bundy in an Abu Dhabi endurance race, says her organisation will take a strong stance against any individual or organisation that fails to endorse high standards of horse welfare.

Chief executive Vicki Glynn added her voice to the rising tide of international concern over the death of the Australian-bred horse, who suffered two broken forelegs during the Al Reef national endurance event late last month.

“Endurance is an extreme sport and protecting our horses has to be the highest priority, always over and above the importance of the competition,” Glynn said...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/17/nz-voice-global-concern-death-splitters-creek-bundy/


February 15 2015

Crisis Mis-Management

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 13, 2015
by Pippa Cuckson

Two weeks after the Al Reef double fracture scandal, the FEI president has finally managed to say something, in this email today to national federations, a cut-and-paste embellishment of something sent to the many individuals and groups who have already written in to complain.

Call me a cynic, but it’s funny how the damage limitation machine only started to crank into action after the Daily Mail‘s Martin Samuel, a top sports columnist in the UK, queried on Monday if there was any sports body “less effective” than the FEI, and opined it was time for the International Olympic Committee to intervene.

I criticized the deafening silence from the FEI earlier this week, but maybe I should take it all back; it’s better for the morale of the global equestrian community to hang on to the hope that the FEI is taking this all seriously, than to see written confirmation that there is no such hope.

Here is Ingmar De Vos’s statement in full, with my comments bracketed in italics as we go along:...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/crisis-mis-management/#.VN4mj-ME4iU.facebook

Ninth global equestrian discipline announced: FEI Bashing

Horsetalk.co.nz

Neil Clarkson | February 15, 2015

Today is a red-letter day in international horse sport, with the first formal recognition of FEI Bashing – the ninth equestrian discipline to fall under the jurisdiction of the world governing body.

The FEI Bureau is expected to meet in coming days to form a committee which will develop the rules and formulate the all-important Code of Conduct.

The new sport already has a small band of hardened professionals playing within its ranks, with legions of amateurs, armed with keyboards and social media accounts, making a pretty good fist of it, too.

The new discipline is expected to enter the FEI’s ranks in the top tier, in terms of the number of participants. There is no need for pesky horses, nor expensive tack. FEI Bashing represents fun for all the family, and can even be played by those who don’t know the biting end of a horse from the kicking end.

[Read more ...]


February 14 2015

Al Reef fatality: Investigation our top priority, says FEI president

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 14, 2015 in News

FEI President Ingmar De Vos has written to national federations amid the growing storm around the Abu Dhabi endurance race in which a horse shattered his two front legs, assuring them that the world governing body’s investigation was a top priority.

Splitters Creek Bundy suffered his catastrophic leg breaks during the Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi late last month. The race was a national event run under the rules of the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation and was not under the jurisdication of the FEI...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/14/al-reef-fatality-investigation-priority-fei-president/#ixzz3RjZfrROJ

Danish equestrian body acts over Group 7 horse fatality

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 14, 2015 in News

The Danish Equestrian Federation has imposed restrictions on the country’s riders wanting to compete in Middle Eastern endurance races staged under local rules, as the fallout from the death of a horse in an Abu Dhabi race continues.

The Dansk Ride Forbund says riders from the country will not be permitted to ride in Middle Eastern endurance races staged under national rules by any of the FEI’s Group 7 nations until the world governing body has provided clarifications around endurance practices in the region...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/14/danish-horsesport-body-acts-group-7-fatality/#ixzz3RjZKRfS6


February 13 2015

Crisis Mis-Management

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 13, 2015
by Pippa Cuckson

Two weeks after the Al Reef double fracture scandal, the FEI president has finally managed to say something, in this email today to national federations, a cut-and-paste embellishment of something sent to the many individuals and groups who have already written in to complain.

Call me a cynic, but it’s funny how the damage limitation machine only started to crank into action after the Daily Mail‘s Martin Samuel, a top sports columnist in the UK, queried on Monday if there was any sports body “less effective” than the FEI, and opined it was time for the International Olympic Committee to intervene.

I criticized the deafening silence from the FEI earlier this week, but maybe I should take it all back; it’s better for the morale of the global equestrian community to hang on to the hope that the FEI is taking this all seriously, than to see written confirmation that there is no such hope.

Here is Ingmar De Vos’s statement in full, with my comments bracketed in italics as we go along:...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/crisis-mis-management/#.VN4mj-ME4iU.facebook

Al Reef Cup Endurance Fatality Incites Outrage, FEI Investigation

Chronohorse.com - Full Article

By: Jasmine Wallace
February 1 2015

The death of Splitters Creek Bundy on course at the Al Reef Cup, a 120-kilometer endurance race in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), has caused international uproar. The Al Reef Cup, a national endurance event, was held on Jan. 31. Of the 100 horses that started the race, only 30 finished. The region’s desert courses are known for being flat and nontechnical, inviting fast-paced riding.

Splitters Creek Bundy collapsed on his second circuit of the track with two apparently fractured forelimbs. Reports indicate that fellow competitors and vehicles following the race passed him without stopping to offer aid during the 20 minutes it took for a veterinarian to arrive. The Australian-bred gelding was euthanized on the scene.

The American Endurance Ride Conference quickly reacted to Splitters Creek Bundy’s death and the two other unconfirmed equine fatalities at the Al Reef Cup.

“We’re trying to confront that tragedy, and we want to send a strong message that this is not something that this sport is about; this is not the kind of thing endurance riders around the world will tolerate,” said AERC President Dr. Michael Campbell. “Before you do a 100-mile race, you’ve probably been working that horse for a couple of years, and that’s three to four times a week. You know that horse very well, and he or she is a part of your life at that point. Treating them like so much cannon fodder is just disgusting to American riders...”

Read more here:
http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/al-reef-cup-endurance-fatality-incites-outrage-fei-investigation


February 12 2015

Horror endurance pictures continue to shock

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

by Pippa Cuckson
February 12 2015

The FEI and national governing bodies around the world have started to react to the Al Reef endurance scandal — as pictures of Splitters Creek Bundy, the horse with two broken forelegs, continue to cause a storm on social media nearly two weeks after the event.

Images captured from the Dubai Racing TV livestream showed Bundy collapsing over his shattered cannon bones towards the end of the second loop of the 120k Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi on 31 January.

Because the race was a CEN (national) event, a FEI spokesman said it was out of FEI jurisdiction and initially declined to comment...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/fei-reacts-shocking-endurance-pictures-474110#dK3o23XKswxcGsJd.99

American Endurance Ride Conference Board Expresses "Anger and Disgust" After Horse Fatalities in Abu Dhabi

Equusmagazine.com Blog - Full Article

AERC CONDEMNS RULE VIOLATIONS AND RACING OF HORSES AT BLISTERING SPEEDS, LEADING TO CHRONIC INJURIES, FRACTURES AND DEATH

By Fran Jurga | Feb 11, 2015

An international outcry is echoing around the world this week in protest to reports of the death of at least three horses in a non-FEI endurance event in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Particularly provoking have been photos said to show an Australian-bred mount with two broken front legs that did not receive immediate veterinary attention. The race had a low completion rate, and critics complain that there is no way to know how many horses that are removed from the event location die later off premises.

The FEI's response to critics demanding action has been that this particular event was not an FEI-sanctioned event but rather one governed by national rules that are not required to comply with FEI international standards of equine welfare.

The Board of Directors of the American Endurance Ride Conference published the following news release today. It is published here as issued by the AERC...

- See more at: http://equusmagazine.com/blog/american-endurance-ride-conference-aerc-protest-region-vii-horse-deaths-27394#sthash.zh2awsLt.dpuf

FEI must tackle endurance problems, say US officials

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 12, 2015 in News

The governing body for long-distance riding in the United States wants the FEI and US Equestrian Federation (USEF) to show their commitment to endurance reform, following the distressing demise of a competition horse in Abu Dhabi with two broken front legs.

The harrowing image of 12-year-old Australian-bred Splitters Creek Bundy, circulated widely in social media and published by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, shows the horse standing helplessly, having snapped both his cannon bones in the Al Reef Cup, staged in Abu Dhabi on January 31...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/02/12/fei-tackle-endurance-problems-us-officials/#ixzz3RXsspZ4c


February 11 2015

AERC Board of Directors Appalled at Equine Deaths in Abu Dhabi CEN Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
American Endurance Ride Conference Board of Directors
Date: February 11, 2015

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) Board of Directors is expressing anger and disgust following reports of three equine fatalities which occurred at a national Concours Endurance Nationale (CEN) event held in Abu Dhabi January 31, 2015.

Horrifying photographs show Splitters Creek Bundy, a 12-year-old Australian-bred gelding, collapsing into the sand with catastrophic fractures of both front legs, while vehicles and onlookers continue along the course. The bay gelding had failed to finish in his last three competitions, all held in the United Arab Emirates, but had previously been raced seven times at distances from 80 to 120 km (50 to 75 miles) at an average speed of 22.6 km/hr (14.04 mph).

The flat, non-technical courses in this region have been criticized worldwide for their emphasis on punishing speed and increasing rates of forelimb fractures, many of which remain unreported by relevant national and international governing bodies.

AERC’s president, Dr. Michael Campbell, said, “AERC is appalled at the Al Reef tragedy, and does not condone or support this type of riding or treatment of horses. Such abuse of equines is inexcusable and disgusting in the extreme. This is not what we stand for.”

Endurance riding, which AERC can claim originated in the United States almost 60 years ago as an organized sport, is sanctioned internationally by the Federation Equestre International (FEI). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member of FEI Regional Group VII, which has drawn harsh international criticism for repeated reports of equine abuse, positive drug tests, and illegal switching of both horses and riders during competition.

While FEI instituted new rules to improve equine welfare in August 2014, forward measurable progress remains slow. When pressed by journalists in regards to the three equine deaths at the Abu Dhabi competition, representatives of FEI stated that the Al Reef race was a national event and thus out of their jurisdiction.

At the March 2014 AERC Convention and Annual Board of Directors Meetings, John Long, then-CEO of the United States Equestrian Federation, met with the AERC Board of Directors to address the mutual concerns regarding reports of equine abuse, positive drug tests and blatant rule violations largely occurring within members of Group VII. At that time, AERC was considering a motion to withdraw from participation in international endurance competition until such time as FEI could demonstrate adequate control and reform of the crisis. After lengthy discussions, Mr. Long, who has since retired, stated USEF’s firm commitment to aggressively address change and improved rule enforcement within FEI. At that time, Mr. Long stated, “If we stay together and nothing good comes out of this over the next six months or a year, then we’ll walk away from it together. We’ll do it together.”

AERC’s board members strongly condemn the continuing trend within some Group VII participants towards rule violations and the racing of horses at blistering speeds leading to chronic injuries, fractures and death. The 26-member board urges USEF and FEI to demonstrate their previous commitments to change and reform the egregious offenses occurring within the international arena of endurance riding.

Contact: Troy Smith
American Endurance Ride Conference
www.aerc.org
endurancenews@foothill.net
866-271-2372, 530-823-2260


February 10 2015

The Silence of the Lambs

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

by Pippa Cuckson
February 10 2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s just as well, because the greater the scandal, the briefer the utterance we get out of the FEI.

I refer of course, to the hideous image of Splitters Creek Bundy perched on his shattered forelegs at the CEN in Abu Dhabi on January 31st, which the FEI said it could do nothing about because the Al Reef Cup was a national event.

Disgust on social media at the FEI’s inertia is still running a close second to the outcry at the grotesque fate of Bundy as the battalion of following vehicles ploughed on regardless, no doubt horns blaring and with one eye on the speedometer to see just how fast the remaining cannon-fodder could be hazed into running. No one has denied reports that it took a veterinarian 20 minutes to arrive...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/the-silence-of-the-lambs/


February 7 2015

Enduring to the End

Epona.tv/blog - Full Story

Written by Julie Taylor on 07.02.2015 in Welfare

In an article by Pippa Cuckson in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, the FEI claimed to be powerless to act in the matter of endurance horses keeling over with broken legs at unsanctioned endurance events in the United Arab Emirates. I'm thinking that can't be right. I'm thinking if the FEI can't do anything about this, the FEI needs to fix things so that it can.

The first aspect to strike me was that this prestigious 120 km race sounded kind of international to me. I went and checked the start list and sure enough, it featured riders of diverse nationalities: Uma Mencia Uranga (ESP), Charlotte Withofs (BEL), Gerda Petronella Burger (RSA), Catalina Basons (ARG) and Giulia Vigevani (ITA). Obviously in addition to those many international UAE riders who attended. In total, I count 36 non UAE riders out of 121 names on the start list.

I'm told that 120 km is an advanced distance which would mostly be covered in races by horse and rider combinations of international capacity. FEI riders are prohibited by the FEI General Regulations from participating in non FEI sanctioned international events.

"An Athlete and/or Horse, even if registered with the FEI, is not eligible to participate in an International Event or National Event (and so may not be invited by an OC to such Event or entered by an NF in such Event) if that Athlete and/or Horse has participated, in the six (6) months prior to the first day of the International Event or National Event in question, in an Unsanctioned Event."

- See more at:
http://epona.tv/blog/2015/february/enduring-to-the-end#sthash.iU3Q2Pf6.dpuf

FEI plays get-out-of-jail-free card in latest endurance controversy

HorseTalk.co.nz

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the FEI has chosen to play a get-out-of-jail-free card over the harrowing demise of an Australian-bred endurance horse in a race in Abu Dhabi.

An image which has circulated in social media, and was published by Britain’s Daily Telegraph on Friday, shows Splitters Creek Bundy standing helplessly, having snapped both his cannon bones in the Al Reef Cup, staged a week ago.

The problem? The race over 120km was not an FEI-sanctioned event. It was run under less stringent rules adopted by the United Arab Emirates’ equestrian federation for some domestic endurance races. On that basis, the FEI has no jurisdiction, or, as the Telegraph reported, the world governing body asserted it was “powerless to act”.

[Read More ...]


February 1 2015

Abu Dhabi: Argentinian jockey Sabrina rides Spaucay to victory in the Al Reef Cup

Khaleejtimes.com - Full Article

Hisham A Gizouli (Chief Reporter) / 1 February 2015

The race was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Abu Dhabi: Top Argentinian rider Sabrina Magali Mendiz, astride 11-year-old Part Arab gelding Spaucay, representing Al Reef Stables, made a smooth progress to land the Al Reef Cup CEN 120km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba on Saturday.

UAE’s early leader Salem Hamad Malhoof, riding eight-year-old Anglo Arab gelding Du Bas Four, from Al Asafa 2 Endurance Stables, was relegated to second in the final loop and behind them came compatriot Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi onboard 10-year-old Unknown mare JJ Princess from the F3 Stables.

The race was attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Shaikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor and Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The race was held under the directives of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and sponsored by the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

The winner has covered the 120k distance in 4 hours, 12 minutes and 24 seconds at an average speed of 28,526 km/hour to lead by just six seconds ahead of the runner up...

Read more here:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/horseracing/2015/February/horseracing_February1.xml§ion=horseracing


January 28 2015

FEI Clean Sport Updates

Read the whole banana

FEI CLEAN SPORT UPDATES - 23 January 2015
Table of Contents

Introduction to the changes in the Human and Equine Anti-Doping Rules
FEI Anti-Doping rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA)
WADA's Prohibited List (Humans)
FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMR)
FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List
Supplements
New Worldwide FEI Equine and Human Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication
Program - Clarification

INTRODUCTION TO THE CHANGES IN THE HUMAN AND EQUINE ANTI-DOPING RULES

The World Anti-Doping Code 2015 has been substantially revised, resulting in a new version, effective 1 January 2015. To comply with the WADA Code, the FEI’s equine and human anti-doping rules have been significantly amended and approved by the FEI General Assembly. This FEI Update outlines the key changes made to the rules and some of the resulting practical implications. In addition, WADA has published a useful reference guide for Athletes and Athletes are encouraged to consult this.

More...


January 15 2015

Endurance Great Britain secures controversial funding with Meydan

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

15 January 2015

Endurance GB (EGB) has accepted a “blanket” sponsorship from Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan corporation, following an unprecedented members’ ballot of 570 to 405.

“A majority of EGB’s members have voted ‘yes’ in the recent ballot regarding proceeding with a proposed sponsorship agreement with Meydan,” said John Hudson, chairman of EGB.

The overall turnout was 55.2% (1010 members), with 56.4% (570) votes in favour of accepting the sponsorship, with 40.1% (405) against and 3.5% (35) abstentions.

“The proposed agreement, which offers benefits for all levels of the EGB membership, will enhance EGB’s ability to realise its long-term strategy and vision: to enable more people and horses at all levels to enjoy the sport of endurance to the highest standard of excellence,” added Mr Hudson...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/endurance-gb-secures-controversial-funding-meydan-470945#iv4hqARMssCTEXOW.99


January 12 2015

Meydan Group Extends Support for Endurance Riding in 2015 and Beyond

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

January 8, 2015
by Pamela Burton

FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders & Juniors will be held under the sponsorship of the Meydan Group from 23-24 October in Chili

7 January 2015, Dubai ~ Meydan Group and the UAE’s support of endurance riding is to be extended in 2015 and beyond with significant announcements that include an International Endurance Series to be held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and sponsorship of the 2015 FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders & Juniors to be held in Chile.

Devised by Meydan Group and the organizing committees of four European countries, the concept for an International Endurance Series includes high-profile rides to be held during the Summer and Autumn of 2015. The rides will take place in key locations in Italy, England, France and Spain, culminating in Dubai. The top-finishing horse-and-rider combinations from the four European rides will earn automatic entries into the 2016 HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup presented by Longines, at Dubai International Endurance City.

Later in the year the endurance community will travel to Chile, where the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders & Juniors will be held under the sponsorship of the Meydan Group. The championship will be staged on October 23-24 near the coastal town of Santo Domingo...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2015/01/08/meydan-group-extends-support-for-endurance-riding-in-2015-and-beyond/


January 9 2015

FEI appoints Endurance Independent Governance Advisors

FEI.org

9 Jan 2015

The FEI has named three Independent Governance Advisors (IGAs), with the first due to start work this weekend.

FEI 4* judge Roderick Fisher (GBR) will be the first IGA to attend an Endurance event in this new role, travelling to the CEI 3* Dubai (UAE) tomorrow, 10 January.

The IGAs were created following the recommendations of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG). The IGAs will travel to CEIs and provide a detailed report to the FEI on the organisation of the competitions, the venue and the course, and the performance of the on-site officials. The IGA will also suggest areas for improvement if required.

The two other IGAs named by the FEI are Carlos Ponferrada (ESP) and Maurizio Stecco (ITA). The three Advisors have been appointed for a period of two years. In accordance with FEI Endurance Rules, during this period they cannot accept any other FEI officiating positions.

The IGAs will be travelling to selected events throughout the year.

“The FEI is diligently proceeding with the implementation of the recommendations made by the Endurance Strategic Planning Group,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos commented. “All three Independent Governance Advisors are highly experienced officials and I am confident that their input will be extremely valuable and will be beneficial for the entire discipline.”

FEI faces backlash after Maktoum 'ringer' inquiry ends with no disciplinary action

White out: Sheikh Juma’s horse (No 33) had different facial markings at the start and end of the race

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Exclusive: Equestrianism's ruling body under pressure to explain lack of action over endurance racing's latest 'ringer' case

By Pippa Cuckson
9:57PM GMT 08 Jan 2015

Equestrianism’s governing body, the FEI, was under pressure on Thursday night to explain why an investigation into a new alleged case of a ‘ringer’ being used in endurance racing by members of Dubai’s ruling Maktoum family has failed to result in disciplinary action.

The FEI yesterday admitted that it had investigated allegations that a horse competing in an endurance race in Numana, Italy, in June 2012 was replaced by another during the 160km (99.4 miles) event. The race was sponsored by Maktoum-related companies.

But the FEI declined to answer further questions about the investigation and its outcome, instead referring The Daily Telegraph to its Equine Community Integrity Unit. The ECIU, established to deal with disciplinary cases on behalf of the FEI, is serviced by former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens’ company Quest. It did not respond last night when asked for details of the investigation.

Pictures archived on the website of equestrian photographer Cidihna Franzao show rider 33, Sheikh Juma Dalmook al-Maktoum, starting Numana on a white-faced chestnut entered in the name of Pang. However, in later stages Sheikh Juma’s horse has minimal facial marks, apparently very different from the original Pang. He retired at the fourth “gate” (vet check area), failing to qualify for the World Championships at Euston Park, Suffolk, that August...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11334418/FEI-faces-backlash-after-Maktoum-ringer-inquiry-ends-with-no-disciplinary-action.html


January 8 2015

Dubai: Horse racing-Prize money for Endurance Cup boosted to $2.6 mln

dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

By REUTERS
PUBLISHED: 16:14 EST, 8 January 2015

DUBAI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Dubai's government-owned developer Meydan Group has boosted the prize money for Saturday's Endurance Cup to almost $2.6 million and announced a series of European races to promote endurance riding, it said on Thursday.

"We feel that endurance has been left out so the prize money was enhanced to benchmark with other sports," said Saeed Humaid al-Tayer, chairman of the group that runs Dubai's opulent racecourse.

Each foreign rider, except Gulf Arab nationals, who completes the challenging 160km (99 mile) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Endurance Cup will receive 100,000 dirhams ($27,226). About 190 riders are expected to participate.

"For us the welfare of the horses is very important and we want to achieve the highest completion possible," Tayer told a news conference at the Meydan racecourse...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-2902488/Horse-racing-Prize-money-Endurance-Cup-boosted-2-6-mln.html#ixzz3OL2JpQPj

Dubai’s 2015 Al Maktoum Cup: “To Finish is to Win”

January 8 2015

Perhaps reflecting the efforts to bring about change for the better in endurance racing in the UAE, and heavily promoting “To Finish is to Win,” it was announced at the press conference for the CEI*** 160-km HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup to be held in Dubai on Saturday, January 10, that every rider who completes the race will be awarded 100,000 Dirhams (approximately $27,000 U.S. dollars).

Kat Irvine, one of the Canadians participating in the ride on her mare Nightwind’s Savannah, commented, “It gives a whole new meaning to "To Finish is to Win" [fellow rider] Jess [Manness] says to me after the meeting. Once I had the hair on the back of my neck lay down, I realized that this, no doubt, was a gesture to show a change in attitude toward winning being the only thing.”

To follow the events of the race, see:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2015MaktoumCup/


January 6 2015

Endurance Great Britain Accepts Meydan Sponsorship Package

Endurancegb.co.uk

Correction issued. Date of original blog posting:

January 6 2015

An Update from The Board of Endurance GB - (Published:06 January 2015) A majority of Endurance GB’s Members have voted ‘Yes’ in the recent ballot regarding proceeding with a proposed sponsorship agreement with Meydan.

The overall turnout was 55.2% (1010 Members), with 56.4% (570) votes in favour of accepting the sponsorship, with 40.1% (405) against and 3.5% (35) abstentions.

The Board of EGB will therefore proceed to contract discussions with Meydan.

The proposed agreement, which offers benefits for all levels of the EGB Membership, will enhance EGB’s ability to realise its long term strategy and vision: to enable more people and horses at all levels to enjoy the sport of endurance to the highest standard of excellence.

John Hudson
Chairman EGB
Endurance GB Board
Category:General


Endurance GB members quit over sponsor controversy

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Endurance GB votes to accept Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan backing

By Pippa Cuckson
9:29PM GMT 06 Jan 2015

Endurance GB is to accept a “blanket” sponsorship from Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan corporation, following an unprecedented members’ vote.

Debate has raged for months about the wisdom of allying the British national governing body with Dubai, where the Sheikh’s stables have been at the centre of doping and horse-injury scandals for more than a decade.

Voting in favour were 570 EGB members, with 405 against and 35 abstentions. This represents a 55.2 per cent turnout by a small membership organisation that is under-funded compared with show jumping, dressage and eventing. Already some “no” voters have taken to their members forum to announce they will not rejoin.

The three-year deal, for an undisclosed sum, covers EGB’s entire international calendar, the cost of new technology – required under new FEI rules directly aimed at combating types of rule-breaking such as horse-swaps and short cuts alleged to be common among Middle East riders – and training bursaries.

It also means the reinstatement of Euston Park, Suffolk, a ride venue long-leased by Sheikh Mohammed but closed in 2013 after media revelations about doping. It was at the Euston 2012 World Championships that Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum jnr rode a horse under the false identification of Marmoog...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11329077/Endurance-GB-members-quit-over-sponsor-controversy.html


January 1 2015

Spot-the-Marmoog – the new Christmas party game for all the family!

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Blogs Cuckson Report | December 31, 2014
by Pippa Cuckson

A couple of posts ago http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/hiding-in-plain-sight/, I remarked that anyone who searched randomly through the FEI database was likely, within 20 minutes, to chance upon a horse whose provenance did not stack up. This followed revelations about the failed FEI investigation into whether dressage horse Wily Earl and the three-years-younger Golden Coin were one and the same, a case drawn to my attention after the collapse of the Marmoog horse-swap enquiry on a legal technicality.

Quite a few of you took my 20-minute challenge seriously, and have referred me to horses who seem to have started their careers rather late in life. Others who have caught Marmoog fever tell me they’ve scoured endurance pictures on the internet in search of mid-ride horse swaps. There’s certainly a buzz when you think you’ve spotted a ringer. (This new-found party game has quickly gained popularity thanks, no doubt, to Christmas TV schedules rarely living up to expectations, or running out of things to say to your elderly aunt. It’s fun for all the family, with no prior horse knowledge required – all you need is normal eyesight).

Following the Marmoog affair, the FEI acknowledged “loopholes” in its horse ID systems. During the London International Horse Show (Olympia) I found myself in the same hospitality box as John McEwen, the FEI’s ex-vice president. He talked me through many new measures to thwart passport fraud and horse-swappers that are in the rules for 2015. We were not alerted to these revisions in missives from the FEI General Assembly the previous weekend. Having now read them online, I am not surprised the FEI was reluctant to spotlight them. The relationship between microchip and passport was not so much of a loophole as a sink-hole!...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/blogs/spot-the-marmoog/

World Horse Welfare to take part in Endurance GB panel

Worldhorsewelfare.org

23/12/2014

World Horse Welfare, the international horse charity and independent welfare advisor to sport regulators, has agreed to take part in a Review Panel for the proposed sponsorship contract for Endurance GB with the Dubai-based group Meydan.

The sponsorship is a sensitive issue given the controversy that the international sport of endurance has experienced in recent years, following the excessive rate of injuries and fatalities of horses in some parts of the sport.

Roly Owers, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We fully support the responsible use of horses in sport which means placing the welfare of the horse above all other considerations. We want to see the sport of Endurance continue to thrive in the UK with the welfare of the horse at its heart. We are entering this process with an open mind on the agreement, which we understand will include clauses on both equine welfare and fair play. I have been assured that World Horse Welfare will have the ability to act as it sees fit to fulfil a monitoring function, which I look forward to carrying out with my fellow panel members.”

- See more at: http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/Article/World-Horse-Welfare-takes-part-in-Endurance-GB-panel#sthash.WU5zB9xk.dpuf


December 28 2014

Great Britain: Meydan Sponsorship Deal Criticized

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Horse Sport December 23, 2014

by: Horse-Canada.com

At the beginning of December, Endurance Great Britain (EGB) approached members with proposed sponsorship package from Meydan, a company owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The package proposed providing EGM with a large but undisclosed sum of money to support EGB while also providing new ride opportunities in Great Britain. However, given the terrible troubles facing Endurance as a result of serious rule infractions committed by riders in Group 7, including members of the Maktoum family, many EGM members have voiced serious concerns about accepting sponsorship proposal. Herewith is an open letter written to the board of EGB:...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/meydan-sponsorship-deal-criticized/

Great Britain: Intrepid Reporter Gets More Accolades

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Horse Sport December 19, 2014
by: Horse-Canada.com

Equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson has received the Liz Dudden Memorial Trophy in recognition of her tireless quest to expose horse welfare issues at the highest level of sport. Her ongoing coverage of the Middle East endurance scandals in international media outlets, including her blog at horse-canada.com/cuckson-report, has shone a light on these issues, and demanded improvements.

Presented by the British Equestrian Writers Association (BEWA), the Liz Dudden Memorial Trophy recognizes outstanding contributions to equestrian sport. Cuckson accepted the award at the BEWA annual awards ceremony, held December 18th at the Olympia Hilton, at a special luncheon during the London International Horse Show at Olympia.

BEWA president, Alan Smith, explained that the Liz Dudden award was started in 1993 in honour of accomplished journalist Liz Dudden. “She died, all too early, of cancer,” said Smith. “So, we decided to give an award in her honour to someone other than a competitor: e.g. a team trainer or manager, a show organiser or official. Generally speaking, we prefer to give it to someone outside our profession, but felt that Pippa’s work, especially on endurance and associated horse welfare, warranted it this year.”

Cuckson is only the second journalist to receive the award...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/intrepid-reporter-gets-more-accolades/


December 18 2014

Belgium’s Ingmar De Vos elected as FEI President

FEI.org

14 Dec 2014

Ingmar De Vos (BEL) was today elected as President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) by an overwhelming majority in the first round of voting, earning 98 votes out of a possible 131.

De Vos, 51, Secretary General of the FEI since May 2011, was elected to take charge of the world governing body of equestrian sport during this morning’s session of the FEI General Assembly in Baku (AZE).

The result was announced by HRH Princess Haya, the outgoing President, with the simple words, “I am pleased to announce we have a new FEI President, Ingmar De Vos”. Her words were met with prolonged applause from close to 350 delegates representing 91 National Federations, stakeholders, sponsors and international media.

“I’m really very honoured and overwhelmed by this enormous support,” a clearly emotional De Vos said, “and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your confidence. Baku will be in my memory forever.

“Elections are always difficult, as it splits a little bit the family, but I guarantee that I will be the president of all of you, I will serve all the members of our community and I will work very hard to keep this unity.”

He went on to thank his great friend and mentor Jacky Buchmann, who has recently been re-elected as President of the Belgian Equestrian Federation. And finally, with great emotion, he thanked outgoing President Princess Haya.

“Words cannot explain what she has done for our organisation. She has shown leadership, she has guided us through difficult waters, she has innovated us, she has modernised us. She has left us with a great legacy and I believe, together with many of you, that it is our responsibility to preserve the legacy and go on with the roadmap she has shown us. Words are not enough to thank her. Over the years we have become good friends, and I am thankful and grateful for your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Congratulations from IOC President

Shortly after his election, De Vos received a letter of congratulations from IOC President Thomas Bach. “Please accept my congratulations on your election as President of the International Equestrian Federation. The IOC enjoys a long-standing relationship with FEI, its elected members and administration. We are sure that FEI will continue its growth under your leadership. Your previous experience in different positions of the Equestrian sports will be invaluable for you in this new office. On behalf of the IOC and the entire Olympic Movement, I wish you every success in the new role you are undertaking.”

De Vos takes over the reins as FEI President at the conclusion of today’s FEI General Assembly for a four-year term, and is eligible for re-election for up to three consecutive terms. He has stated that he will resign as Secretary General as soon as he takes over the Presidency this afternoon and will appoint an interim Secretary General to take over the role until a permanent replacement is found.

The other candidates standing for election were Pierre Durand (FRA), Pierre Genecand (SUI), John McEwen (GBR), and Ulf Helgstrand (DEN). Helgstrand withdrew his candidacy before the vote, and a sixth candidate, Javier Revuelta del Peral (ESP) withdrew from the election process in November.

Notes to Editors

FEI General Assembly 2014 – how the votes were cast:

Ingmar De Vos (BEL) 98
Pierre Durand (FRA) 21
Pierre Genecand (SUI) 6
John McEwen (GBR) 6

A total of 131 voting boxes were distributed to National Federation delegates, with 131 valid ballots cast. A total of 91 National Federations present for the vote and there were 40 proxies.

Ingmar De Vos (BEL)

Ingmar De Vos (51) holds degrees in political science, business administration and international and European law, and started his career as an advisor to the Belgian Senate. He joined the Belgian Equestrian Federation as managing director in 1990, and held the additional role of Secretary General from 1997 to 2011.

During his time at the Belgian National Federation, De Vos was chef de mission for the Belgian Equestrian Team at all FEI World Equestrian Games™ from 1990 to 2010 and at several Olympic Games. He was also Secretary General of the European Equestrian Federation from 2010, the year the organisation was formed, until 2011, when he joined the FEI.


December 17 2014

FEI: Is Welfare ‘Paramount’ – or Just a Pain in the Neck?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | December 15, 2014
by Pippa Cuckson

On Saturday, I went National Hunt racing to support a friend’s horse. He was caught on the line for third place, but connections were thrilled as he has come back from a couple of niggles last year and runs and jumps better every time. At 15-1, it was also a profitable each-way bet. This prodded to me ponder that no bookmaker would have offered odds on the dead-certainty that Ingmar de Vos would be voted new president of the FEI. The only wager you might have considered was the extent of Ingmar’s landslide.

Thanks to modern technology, I was able to follow the “meet the presidential candidates session” in Baku from the racecourse’s owners and trainers bar. What a futile session that must have seemed for the four other candidates, who already realized they were going to be hammered at the polls (De Vos, 98 votes; Durand, 21; Genecand, 6, McEwen, 6; Helgstrand – dropped out before ballot). Even the FEI’s press release about that session was brief, containing as much information about the marvelousness of Princess Haya as it did about the vision of the quintet vying to be her successor. Maybe profitable bets can be placed on how many times the FEI can magic-up a reason to mention Princess Haya in its future press releases, even though she is longer in office.

You can read about General Assembly decisions on the FEI website or click here. These include positive innovations and other revenue achievements. What you won’t find flagged-up is the day’s most articulate and thought-provoking address, given by Roly Owers of World Horse Welfare.

On Sunday, I followed the GA throughout by livestream, from 5:00 a.m., UK time. The mantra “welfare is paramount” was dropped into several discussions, but there was not much actual discussion about what this means...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/is-welfare-paramount-or-just-a-pain-in-the-neck/


December 16 2014

FEI: ‘Systemic Ineptitude’ Has Put All Sports Horses at Risk

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

CUCKSON REPORT | DECEMBER 9, 2014
by Pippa Cuckson

One of my all-time favourite films is All The President’s Men, about the Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, who unravelled the Watergate scandal and ultimately forced the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Woodward had a source known as “Deep Throat,” whom he met in a basement garage.* Deep Throat never gave away solid information; instead, he offered cryptic clues. About 18 months into the investigation, Woodward tells Deep Throat that he and Bernstein are still baffled why the Nixon entourage’s covert operations were thought necessary in the first place. Deep Throat replies: “Forget the myths the media has created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”

It reminds me so much of the FEI. For sure, it’s appalling that the Marmoog horse swap enquiry dragged on and on. But when they’d already left it eight months why announce the non-result just a week before the General Assembly and presidential election, digging two of the candidates into a bigger hole than they are already in as representatives of the current regime, by highlighting that horse ID, biosecurity and legal processes are not fit for purpose?

And why has the FEI chosen this week to virtually concede that these oversights are being addressed, years overdue, only because the public finally found out about a scandal the FEI knew of NINETEEN months before?...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/systemic-ineptitude-has-put-all-sports-horses-at-risk/


December 11 2014

Dubai chosen to host 2016 World Endurance Championship by FEI

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

Thursday, 11 December 2014
By Emily Goddard

Dubai will host the 2016 World Endurance Championship ©Getty ImagesThe International Equestrian Federation (FEI) today revealed that Dubai will stage the 2016 World Endurance Championship as it allocated its Championships and finals for the next two years.

The FEI Bureau, currently meeting in Baku, announced that the United Arab Emirates city will host the discipline's flagship event in the December, with the exact date yet to confirmed.

It also named Sithonia in Greece as the host of next year's Balkan Jumping Championship for Seniors, Young Riders, Juniors and Children, which is scheduled to take place on September 3 until 6 and the Turkish city of Istanbul as the stage for the Balkan Dressage Championship for Seniors, Young Riders, Juniors and Children due to take place July 29 to August 2, with Ruse in Bulgaria hosting next year's Balkan Endurance Championship on October 2 until4.

Meanwhile, the European Dressage Championship for Young Riders, Juniors and Children is due to take place in Madrid, Spain on July 6 until 10, 2016, the World Jumping Challenge Final heads to Zhitnica, Bulgaria, on July 2 until 6 next year and the World Cup Vaulting Final will be staged in the Austrian city of Graz on February 19 to 22 also next year...

Read more here:
http://www.insidethegames.biz/sports/summer/equestrian/1024301-dubai-chosen-to-host-2016-world-endurance-championship-by-fei


December 2 2014

Marmoog Watch: The Final Insult

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

CUCKSON REPORT | DECEMBER 2, 2014

Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai, will face no action over the “Marmoog” horse swap allegations after the FEI announced today that “no legal action can be taken for procedural reasons and due to a lack of conclusive evidence.”

However, the FEI has simultaneously announced that as a result of “loopholes” found by the investigation, it is reviewing horse identification processes and undertaking a “full review of its legal system.” This can at least be regarded as a result – assuming, of course, the new procedures are actually enforced, about which I am not holding my breath.

I was, of course, disappointed that Sheikh Hamdan’s cronies will get away with not having to provide a public explanation as to why “Marmoog” sprouted a white face during the 2012 Endurance World Championships. But I am not entirely surprised, due to the futility of the very tight deadlines – a mere 30-minutes after the event – set by FEI regulations for members of the public to report suspected violations to the ground jury. Sheikh Hamdan would not have needed to hire a very expensive lawyer to point out that get-out.

So while incriminating pictures of the two Marmoogs were handed to the FEI by myself on behalf of London’s Daily Telegraph on March 7th were 18 months, 16 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes too late, I am pleased at least to learn from the FEI today that the nonsense of the 30-minute rule will be included in the legal review...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/marmoog-watch-the-final-insult/

FEI Elections: "A Shadow of Doubt"

Chevalarabenews.com - Full Article Special FEI Election Issue
“A shadow of doubt”

by Annaïk Le Floc'h
December 9 2014

Six days from now, the FEI will have a new President – there is no female candidate since Princess Haya decided not to stand for a third term in spite of having prompted a change in the Statutes for that purpose last spring. The number of candidates competing for this position is unprecedented: there are still five people in the running since the Spaniard Javier Revuelta Del Peral withdrew. In alphabetical order: Ingmar De Vos (BEL), Pierre Durand (FRA), Pierre Genecand (SWTZ), Ulf Helgstrand (DEN) et John McEwen (GBR).

But these elections are a cause of concern, distrust and suspicion, including among some of the candidates for the presidency. The Spaniard Javier Revuelta announced he was withdrawing his candidacy on November 12, one month ahead of the election. He accuses Ingmar De Vos of “conflict of interest” as a result of being the current Secretary General and as such able to make use of the whole FEI apparatus to campaign, and of blatantly trying to influence a number of decisions during the election period. In his letter withdrawing his candidacy he says “I think Mr. De Voss should have resigned from his position as Secretary General the day he announced he was a candidate: being both Secretary General and Candidate flies in the face of all the principles of impartiality and equality during the election process...”

Read more here:
http://www.chevalarabenews.com/images/CAN-5-EN.pdf


September 8 2014

Compiegne Horse Death Case Closed; Transparency in Question

September 8 2014
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Following the Open Letter to Endurance by French veterinarians, Doctors Pelissier, Seguin, Benamou-Smith, Romantzoff, and Leclerc, concerning high speeds, "tired over-run horses in the vetgates", high number of treatments required, attempts to "cheat systematically" by some competitors, and in particular the death of one mare at the May 2014 Compiegne endurance races, this group of veterinarians has responded to the FEI's investigation into the horse's death.

Of the mare Elmerita di Gallura's death FEI concluded, "results from the anti-doping test are negative and the post-mortem examination did not explain the cause of death."

Veterinarians Benamou-Smith, Pelissier, Romantzoff, and Sequin express strong objection to this apparent dismissal of the incident, and do not accept that the FEI, "whose self-professed mission is to lead an enquiry into the death of a competing horse, produces such a statement. In order to show a real transparency (the key factor in 'clean sport') in ethics and sports, the complete scientific results of these tests, which are known to the FEI since June, should to [sic] be published."

The veterinarians can't help but draw a parallel to another horse in the 2012 Florac race, which "died in very strange clinical circumstances. The horse was sampled post-mortem at the venue. No less than 21 controlled substances were identified by the french MCP (medication control program) laboratory LCH." However, the veterinarians are still waiting for the FEI to release the results of these samples from 2 years ago.

Another mare from the same stables as Elmerita di Gallura was also treated at the May Compiegne ride and received invasive treatment because she was metabolically compromised. In such cases, FEI has instituted mandatory rest periods for the safety and well-being of the horses; and in this case, the mare was entered to race in Italy 17 days later, without being blocked by FEI, "which defies official mandatory rest periods and common sense."

While FEI has publicly expressed their intention and campaign to fight doping, and to have a "clean sport," these incidences continue to show the great distance between expressed intent and execution, and the reputation of the sport of endurance suffers while the horses continue to pay the price.

The French veterinarians insist that the FEI live up to their "transparency" goals. "Although the intention expressed by the FEI to fight doping has never seemed stronger, we still have the feeling that actions are not yet sufficient to attain the declared objectives."

See the complete letter here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/Lettre_Compiegne2.pdf


June 22 2014

5 Top French Endurance Veterinarians Present Open Letter to Endurance After Compiegne Controversies

June 22 2014

After a long weekend of endurance at Compiegne, France on May 23-25, five officiating endurance vets were left "tired, puzzled and bitter" after several unfavorable events occurred, among which were a photo of a "skeletal horse" that was allowed to compete that went viral, and a mare that died during the race.

While the event looked good on paper and appeared organized, late entries led to understaffing of officials, and the ground jury "had to cope with constant intense pressure from some competitors who constantly aim to appeal against judgments and try to cheat systematically." Treatment veterinarians also had to struggle with too many metabolic eliminations which required treatment.

"Our analysis of the reasons for this situation," the veterinarians wrote, "is that current practices of endurance in some group 7 countries is very far removed from the original spirit of our sport. These riders no longer follow the principle of making the most of the horse's performance on the day by listening to their mount, but push their horse beyond its capacity, which only a few of the best manage to tolerate the harmful effects. This kind of dangerous attitude goes beyond what actualy experienced vetgates and their team can cope with, and thus safety of the competing horses cannot be guaranteed anymore."

A large number of the treated horses recovered well, but a few who "were pushed too far" required further treatment. One of those horses, a mare who "developed a neurologic syndrome at the third vetgate" could not be saved by treatment and died.

These veterinarians have seen the progression of endurance racing in Europe from poorly ridden and managed horses, to "numerous elaborate and constantly evolving veterinary examinations at regular vetgates" which have improved the safety of the horses and awareness of the riders who have learned to take responsibility of their mounts, to a degradation of the sport where "jockeys" ride horses which they know nothing about, and doping agents "markedly mask typical symptoms of fatigue."

"At present, we are unfortunately faced with some riders who barely know their horses, do not respect them, and who are in the habit of cheating, lying and concealing information. In these conditions, 'modern' endurance cannot ensure the safety of horses and as practicing veterinarians we are faced with a situation we disapprove of, as well as the ineffectiveness or lack of real commitment from the FEI to solve this problem.

"These horses are put in grave danger by what we consider to be unethical and anti-sportive practices. Other riders and teams also disapprove of this situation which makes them cynical about the ethics of this competitive sport, and needs to be fought with great force."

These veterinarians recommend witness from outside endurance provide hindsight and objectivity to situations of abuse, and they call upon riders "to exert a respectful and ethical care upon riding their horses," and national and international organizations to implement strong measures to prevent abuse, particularly regarding doping.

The original letter went out in French on June 11, and has been officially translated. You can read the entire English version here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/open_letter_to_endurance_June_2014_EnglishVersion.pdf


June 20 2014

New FEI rules in endurance a 'great step foward'

Horseandcountry.tv - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 20th-Jun-2014

New endurance rules, which address “horse welfare and fair play”, have been approved by the FEI in time for the World Equestrian Games.

Step forward

The “fundamental" rule changes are in line with the recommendations of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) and will be implemented on 1 August 2014.

The ESPG was set up by the FEI last year to develop a 10-year plan to address the current problems in endurance riding. “The new rules for endurance are a great step forward for horse welfare and fair play, and we strongly believe they address the key issues that the discipline has been facing,” said Brian Sheahan, chair of the FEI endurance committee and member of the ESPG...

Read more here:
http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2014/06/20/new-rules-endurance-great-step-foward


June 19 2014

Second Yellow Card Suspends Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa

Chronical of the Horse
By: Taylor Joyce

The Fédération Equestre Internationale has suspended Bahrainian endurance rider Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa beginning June 12 after he received his second yellow warning card in four months, this time during his ride at the Compiegne CEI** (France), May 23-25. He was charged with “abuse of horse.”

Compiegne marked Mubarak's first ride back at an FEI competition since the Sakhir CEI** (Bahrain) on Feb. 8, where he received a yellow warning card and a fine of $560 after a video brought to light maltreatment of his horse by people on foot as they neared the finish line in the lead. They chased Tarabic Carl and even possibly hit him to encourage him to keep going. Mubarak was charged with “abuse of horse” and “non-compliance with applicable endurance rules” at Sakhir after the video went viral, causing an Internet uproar. At that point, the Bahrainian National Federation suspended both the rider and the groom involved in the incident until the end of the endurance season.

Because Mubarak’s two offenses took place within a 12-month period, he’s banned from FEI competition for two months. His suspension will end on Aug. 11.

Five riders in total received yellow cards at Compiegne. Three of those were horse-related abuses. In addition to Sheikh Mohammed, Faleh Nasser S.S. Bughenaim of Quatar and Sheikh Hasher bin Mhod Thani Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates received yellow cards for "maltreatment of a horse."

Compiegne was also the event where an extremely thin horse was allowed to start the 160-kilometer CEI. Bahrainian rider Raed Mahmood rode Shakla's Sudden Impact. The horse did vet out at the second gate for lameness. Another horse, L Emerita di Gallura, died after being vetted out for metabolic reasons at gate 2 in the CEI.

Full article, Chronicle of the Horse

New measures against horse doping a step closer in UAE

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Jun 19, 2014 in Focus

The United Arab Emirates is a step closer to enshrining new measures against horse doping in law, after an advisory council approved draft legislation that outlines fines and bans for breaches.

The draft law passed by the government advisory council outlines fines ranging from Dhs20,000 ($US5400) to Dhs500,000 (US$136,100).

The proposed law covers all equestrian sports, including racing, endurance, and polo.

Bans on individuals range up to three years, with life bans possible for repeat offenders...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/06/19/tougher-measures-horse-doping-uae-step-closer/#ixzz355n1Fn63


June 17 2014

Horse racing-UAE govt advisory council passes draft law to combat horse doping

Reuters

By Maha El Dahan and Martin Dokoupil

ABU DHABI/DUBAI, June 17 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government advisory council passed a draft law against horse doping on Tuesday, aiming to clear a reputation tarnished by doping scandals in flat and endurance races.

The bill, which covers all equestrian disciplines from racing to polo, outlines financial penalties from 20,000 to 500,000 dirhams ($5,400-$136,100) for various doping offences.

A supervisory authority can also ban individuals from the sport for three years. In case of repeated offences a lifetime ban is an option.

"This is the first legislation on the level of law. Before there were just some regulations governing it," Rashid al-Shuraiki, the head of a Federal National Council (FNC) committee in charge of drafting the bill, told Reuters.

"We tried ... to have everything in it and not leave any loopholes, to give confidence to all participants in races in the UAE and to the UAE when it participates in races abroad," he said on the sidelines of a six-hour discussion about the draft.

Angered by doping in his Godolphin stables last year, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum initiated last May a decree that made the import, sale, purchase or use of anabolic steroids in horse sports a criminal offence under the UAE penal laws.

Godolphin's reputation suffered a serious blow when the British Horseracing Authority banned former trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni for administering anabolic steroids to horses at his Moulton Paddock stables in Newmarket.

U.K. border authorities last year also seized a shipment of unlicensed veterinary goods from a Dubai government jet.

The incidents caused serious embarrassment to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed, Britain's leading racehorse owner and the world champion in endurance, who closed Zarooni's stables with around 200 horses and ordered internal investigation.

FORBIDS TRADING

Zarooni won the 2012 Dubai World Cup - the world's richest horse race - for Godolphin with Monterosso, as well as English Classics the St Leger and 1,000 Guineas.

In September, Sheikh Mohammed's wife Princess Haya, who may run for re-election as a president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), appointed former London police chief Lord Stevens to oversee an internal inquiry into the sheikh's global equine interests.

Lord Stevens's report cleared Sheikh Mohammed of any wrongdoing and concluded that Zarooni had acted alone.

In a document to the 40-member FNC explaining reasons behind drafting the law, the committee noted "a lack of consistency in test results from laboratories" which led to credibility doubts, adding international certification would be required.

The government is expected to send the draft to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan for signing into law.

The draft law also forbids trading in banned substances and the purchase of such a substance is only allowed with special permission from the government. Controlled substances used for treating horses for ailments do not require such a permission but they are banned during the competition season.

The use of a number of mechanical and electrical devices used to massage horse muscles will also be banned, the FNC voted despite objections by a government minister that their use cannot be tested.

Endurance racing in the UAE, where both horses and riders often battle gruelling heat and desert dust in races as long as 160 km (99 miles) in one day, has been also mired in doping and horse welfare controversy.

The draft spelled out several doping cases where UAE riders were suspended as a result over the last two years. The FEI revised the discipline's rules earlier this month, saying its task force is looking at ways that new technology can be used to ensure horse welfare and provide a level playing field globally. (Writing by Martin Dokoupil; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)


June 12 2014

New rules for endurance to be operational on August 1

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Jun 11, 2014

New endurance rules, sparked by concerns over excesses in the sport centered on the Middle East, have been approved by the FEI Bureau.

The rules will become operational on August 1, meaning they will be in place for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

The rule revisions are the end of a process that began last year, after several national equestrian federations in Europe raised concerns over what they viewed as excessive fracture rates and worrying numbers of doping infractions centered on the Group VII nations of Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/06/11/new-endurance-rules-operational-august-1/#ixzz34R0dPb5j


June 11 2014

FEI Bureau approves Endurance rules revisions

10 Jun 2014

The FEI Bureau has today approved the revised Endurance rules during the second day of its in-person meeting in the FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI). The revised rules, which are in line with the recommendations of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) and which received widespread support at the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI) in April 2014, will be implemented on 1 August 2014.

Additionally, and in order to more formally recognise the HRH Princess Haya’s previously stated conflict of interest with regard to the discipline, the Bureau voted unanimously to officially mandate the 1st Vice President John McEwen to take over full responsibility for the entire Endurance discipline during Princess Haya’s term of office.

The FEI and the National Federations have consistently stressed the importance of putting the new rules in place as soon as possible rather than waiting for a vote at the FEI General Assembly in December, which would mean delaying implementation until 1 January 2015. Under Article 20.3 of the FEI Statutes, the Bureau can, in emergency situations, pass resolutions that are normally voted on at the General Assembly.

Brian Sheahan, Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee and a member of the ESPG, welcomed the rapid implementation of the new rules. “The new rules for Endurance are a great step forward for horse welfare and fair play, and we strongly believe they address the key issues that the discipline has been facing,” he said.

“We are all aware that the discipline has faced a number of difficult challenges recently, but the combination of the ESPG, the consultation process with the National Federations and other stakeholders, and the determination of the Endurance Committee and the team at FEI Headquarters to address the issues within the discipline has resulted in some fundamental rule changes specifically aimed at improving horse welfare protocols and ensuring a level playing field globally.

“Now we can go forward with confidence to the World Equestrian Games, knowing that we have the right regulations and the right officials in place to ensure horse welfare and fair play, and also knowing that the athletes and their teams are confident in the rules and their implementation. While we will of course continually monitor the effectiveness of the new rules to make sure they are fit for purpose, this is definitely a major breakthrough for Endurance that means that we can now turn the focus back onto the sport.”

In addition to the new rules and in response to one of the ESPG recommendations, the Endurance Task Force is looking at ways that new technology can also be used to ensure horse welfare and provide a level playing field for Endurance events around the world.

Following on from the strong support for the far-reaching initiatives outlined at the special Endurance session at the Sports Forum, a large number of the leading Endurance National Federations have expressed their further support in writing.

Notes to Editors:

Under Article 20.3 of the FEI Statutes, National Federations have 30 days to object to the amendments to the Endurance rules, but further changes can only be made if a majority of National Federations register their objections within the specified timeframe.

The new Rules for Endurance to be implemented on 1 August 2014 will be published shortly on the FEI website here. Any media requiring a copy of the rules should contact the FEI Press Team at press@fei.org.


May 30 2014

France: Thin endurance horse passed fit to race ‘horrifies’ riders

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

30 May 2014

Horse sport’s governing body has defended the inclusion of an exceptionally thin horse in the 160CEI at Compiègne, France, last week (23 May).

A photograph of the horse — described as “disturbing” by a leading equine welfare charity — was widely circulated on social media.

The FEI has not confirmed the horse’s identity, but it is understood to represent one of the Middle Eastern teams based in Europe for the summer.

The main outcry centred on a Facebook group for endurance specialists, who are familiar with the sport’s tough demands, but were “horrified” and “ashamed” by the horse’s appearance at the initial inspection.

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/thin-endurance-horse-passed-fit-race-horrifies-riders/#pfb1PXuOdkmo6CUM.99


May 29 2014

France: Skeletal images of endurance horse Shakla’s Sudden Impact sparks outrage in equestrian community

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

International Equestrian Federation told to tighten rules after pictures emerge of emaciated horse who was passed fit to compete at World Equestrian Games

By Pippa Cuckson
9:51PM BST 28 May 2014

The International Equestrian Federation is under increasing pressure to tighten its rules on endurance racing after controversial images emerged of a “skeletal” horse competing in a 100-mile race in France.

Vets have described the picture of Shakla’s Sudden Impact, from Bahrain, as “disgusting” while a leading horse welfare group called for a more rigorous enforcement of safety rules.

Shakla’s Sudden Impact was passed fit to race at Compiègne by the same judges who will officiate at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy in August.

The horse ran 46 miles before being withdrawn by vets, but the pictures which sparked the furore were taken before the start of the race...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10861031/Skeletal-images-of-endurance-horse-Shaklas-Sudden-Impact-sparks-outrage-in-equestrian-community.html


May 26 2014

France: Enduring Abuse

Equinerescuefrance.org - Full Article

Posted by Jenny on May 26, 2014

There’s yet more disturbing news coming out of the world of International Endurance.

On May 23, an emaciated horse was passed fit to compete at the initial vet check.

SHAKLA’S SUDDEN IMPACT, ridden by RAED MAHMOOD, was competing from the stables of the ROYAL ENDURANCE TEAM of BAHRAIN.

This photo understandably began to go viral across the internet, including into the inbox of the President of Compiegne endurance, Christian Depuille.

The Courrier Picard wrote an article, I’ve put the translation of his response here;

“This is the first time we’ve had to address this type of criticism ,” he says. « The photo is taken in backlight. The light brings out the hips and the withers. But if you look at an Ethiopian marathon runner, you will find them equally thin! The horse in question is certainly not fat, but perhaps is naturally like that, and it has been prepared for the competition. In any case, I was at the veterinary control and did not noticed it.”

And Depuille insisted:
“All the horses are inspected before, during and after endurance races. If a veterinarian determines that an animal can no longer continue, he stops it...”

Read more here:
http://www.equinerescuefrance.org/2014/05/enduring-abuse-2/


May 5 2014

Switzerland's Pierre Genecand Confirms Candidacy for FEI President

In a letter released May 5th, 2014, Pierre Genecand of Switzerland confirmed his candidacy for FEI President. He originally announced his bid on February 17th, when it was officially registered by the FEI. Genecand will run against Princess Haya, who will be running for an unprecedented third term of 4 years, after all but 3 member nations opposed changing the statute on April 29th to allow Haya to run again.

See Genecand's letter here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/FEI_Presidency_candidacy_Pierre_Genecand.pdf


Endurance Horse Welfare Initiatives Introduced


TheHorse.com

Yesterday the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) announced bold steps designed to improve endurance horse welfare, proposing unprecedented athlete penalties for equine injuries, extended rest periods, and increased accountability. The moves were fully supported by delegates attending the endurance round table on the second day of the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“The welfare of the horse is not just a veterinary issue, it’s an issue for all those who work in the sport,” said John McEwen, FEI first vice president and chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee.

Proposed rule changes relating to officials’ accountability and responsibility, increased protection of horses through athlete penalty points and extended rest periods, appointment of independent governance advisors, and improved conflict of interest regulations received wide support from attendees.

There was also wide support for the new FEI Endurance Codex, which the endurance committee has produced to cover endurance officials, and separately endurance athletes and registered trainers. The codex—which defines responsibility, accountability, and sanctions for those in breach of the rules—already exists for FEI veterinarians.

The rule changes will be circulated to national federations for final review prior to going before the FEI bureau at its in-person meeting on June 9-10 for approval and immediate implementation.

During the debate session that followed, there was a call for information about injuries at national events to be included in the Global Endurance Injuries Study (GEIS); this was backed by Tim Parkin, BSc, BVSc, PhD, DECVPH, MRCVS, whom the FEI commissioned to set up the study.

“The FEI has done a great job of demonstrating what can be done with data that is currently available from FEI events and it is clearly going in the right direction,” Parkin said. “Adding in data from national events is only going to improve that situation. The new regulations have an impact that is really beneficial to the welfare of the horse.”

Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, also voiced his support for the GEIS and improved monitoring: “The need to make evidence based decisions is so important for equine welfare and I fully support the FEI’s injury surveillance program. Notwithstanding the limitations on data from national competitions, I would urge national federations to provide data to the GEIS and for the FEI to use all its influence to make that happen.”

Andrew Finding, chair of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG)—which was tasked with producing a long-term plan for the discipline—expressed his appreciation for the support of the group’s recommendations.

“I would like to express on behalf of myself and my colleagues on the ESPG our gratitude for the support and the determined effort made by the FEI to put in place our recommendations,” he said. “You should be applauded for that work, and we are grateful for the diligence you have applied.”

Brian Sheahan, chair of the endurance committee, added, “To protect the welfare of the horse, we need to know that we’re doing the right thing. I would like to see increased completion rates, reduced injuries and illness in the horse, and better course design.

“To maintain the integrity of our sport, we need a reduction in doping, improved compliance by athletes and trainers and improved rule enforcement by officials,” he continued. “This sport should demonstrate the highest standards of sportsmanship in a fair and equal competition. And may the best combination of horse and athlete win.”

An online discussion platform to continue the debate on all topics discussed at the 2014 FEI Sports Forum is available online. http://sportsforum.fei.org/

Full article, TheHorse.com


April 30 2014

Fast desert endurance courses out of favour under proposed new rules?

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Apr 30, 2014

The fast desert courses favoured in endurance in the Middle East may struggle to meet rule requirements under proposed changes put before delegates at the Endurance Round Table of the FEI Sports Forum yesterday.

One proposed addition to the rulebook stipulates that loops of a course must not be specially designed and constructed for high speeds likely to subject the horses to increased risk of injury during competition...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/04/30/fast-desert-endurance-courses-rules/#ixzz30PGBN4fM

Princess Haya wins landslide vote to be allowed to stand for third term as president of the FEI

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Equestrianism asks Sheikh Mohammed's wife to lead fight for Olympic future despite scandals engulfing endurance racing

By Pippa Cuckson
7:39PM BST 29 Apr 2014

Princess Haya looks likely to lead the fight for equestrianism within the Olympic movement, following a landslide vote at the International Equestrian Federation extraordinary general assembly in Lausanne.

The horse-welfare crisis centred around the Dubai endurance stables of her husband, Sheikh Mohammed, has heightened concerns about International Olympic Committee scrutiny of equestrianism, but that did not convince delegates to oppose a change of statute permitting Haya to stand for a third term as FEI president. The vote was 103 to three.

Princess Haya has previously insisted that she will retire this December, and will not confirm her further candidacy till June. But she said: “I’m very honoured for the opportunity to be available as a future president of the FEI for a third term. I don’t want to go further than that because there’s the possibility there’ll be other candidates. But you have my commitment to you...”

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10797018/Princess-Haya-wins-landslide-vote-to-be-allowed-to-stand-for-third-term-as-president-of-the-FEI.html

Tougher injury penalties, longer rests for endurance

Unprecedented penalties for equine injuries, extended rest periods and increased accountability received the backing of national delegates at the FEI Sports Forum yesterday as the world governing body pressed on with reforms.

The FEI described the initiatives as far-reaching, following the endurance round table on the second day of the third annual sports forum.

The latest moves in the FEI’s bid to rein in excess fracture rates and other welfare concerns in the sport centred around the more aggressive flat desert form of endurance racing seen in some Group VII nations had the full support of delegates in the session in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“The welfare of the horse is not just a veterinary issue, it’s an issue for all those who work in the sport,” said FEI 1st vice-president John McEwen, who also chairs the FEI Veterinary Committee.

[Read more ...]


April 29 2014

Princess Haya clear for 3rd term as FEI president

Bradenton.com - Full Article

BY GRAHAM DUNBAR
AP Sports WriterApril 29, 2014

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND — Princess Haya of Jordan will seek four more years as president of the International Equestrian Federation after overcoming critics of the body's links to her husband's operations.

FEI member countries voted 103-3 to abolish a two-term limit she introduced, clearing their president to serve three consecutive terms.

"I am very honored for the opportunity that you have given me to be available as a future president of the FEI," said Princess Haya, who did not take part in the debate or vote.

The three "no" votes followed recent criticism of apparent conflicts of interest for the princess, who was elected in 2006 as a reformer to clean up the sport.

Thoroughbred and endurance racing operations of her husband, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, have been implicated in doping and welfare allegations...

Read more here:
http://www.bradenton.com/2014/04/29/5127285/princess-haya-clear-for-3rd-term.html#storylink=cpy


April 18 2014

Sheikh Mohammed's plan to fund endurance task force ended by International Equestrian Federation

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Dubai ruler's controlling role in clean up of endurance racing is ended following a shock about-turn by the International Equestrian Federation

By Pippa Cuckson
10:32PM BST 15 Apr 2014

Sheikh Mohammed will no longer fund the clean-up of endurance racing and two of his senior employees have been dropped from the newly-announced task force in a sensational about-turn by the International Equestrian Federation.

News that an apparent controlling role had been offered to Sheikh Mohammed – first revealed by Telegraph Sport last Friday – caused shock waves around the equestrian world as his Dubai stables are at the centre of the horse welfare crisis engulfing the sport.

On Tuesday, the Dutch and Swiss equestrian federations strongly criticised what they called “collaboration” between the Sheikh and the governing body.

Their joint statement said: “Even if His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is the current world endurance champion, his six-month suspension for using prohibited substances [in 2009] cannot be denied, not mentioning more than 24 positive cases concerning horses from his stables in past years...”

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10769063/Sheikh-Mohammeds-plan-to-fund-endurance-task-force-ended-by-International-Equestrian-Federation.html

FEI confirms that Sheikh Mohammed is funding the task force responsible for cleaning up endurance racing

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Sheikh Mohammed's funding of clear-up operation not perceived as a conflict of interest despite his Dubai stables being at centre of a doping and injury crisis

By Pippa Cuckson
5:32PM BST 11 Apr 2014

Sheikh Mohammed, whose Dubai stables are at the centre of the doping and injuries crisis engulfing endurance racing, is funding the task force responsible for cleaning up the sport, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has confirmed. Two of the six task force members – lawyer Andrew Holmes and Mohammed Essa Al Adhab – are close to the Sheikh.

This follows media pressure on the FEI to clarify its statement earlier this week that Sheikh Mohammed – whose family’s stables have provided more than 24 doping cases – had offered “full support” for the drastic new measures, after meeting FEI personnel on March 30.

Other observers have inferred the FEI had no jurisdiction over Dubai equestrian sport without the Sheikh’s permission. He is the world endurance champion and husband of FEI president Princess Haya...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10760944/FEI-confirms-that-Sheikh-Mohammed-is-funding-the-task-force-responsible-for-cleaning-up-endurance-racing.html


April 16 2014

Changes to endurance task force following criticism

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Apr 16, 2014

The FEI Bureau has changed the make-up of the task force charged with finding practical solutions to the problems within endurance, following criticism of its composition. It has also changed its position on accepting funding for the task force from Dubai.

The FEI said the bureau decided during its monthly telephone conference on Tuesday to review the membership following what it said were comments from several national federations.

The two United Arab Emirates representatives, Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, who is general manager of the Dubai Equestrian Club, and lawyer Andrew Holmes, will be removed.

The first replacement is Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, of Bahrain, who chairs the FEI Regional Group VII, which has been at the centre of a year-long storm over welfare concerns and what some national federations view as a cavalier approach to the rules by some riders and some officials. Federations have also been angered by the level of doping infractions in the region in recent years.

The FEI said Al Khalifa had a full understanding of the situation in the Middle East...

Read more here:
http://news.endurance.net/2014/04/changes-to-endurance-task-force.html


April 15 2014

Sheikh Mohammed's plan to fund endurance task force ended by International Equestrian Federation

Dubai ruler's controlling role in clean up of endurance racing is ended following a shock about-turn by the International Equestrian Federation

By Pippa Cuckson
10:32PM BST 15 Apr 2014

Sheikh Mohammed will no longer fund the clean-up of endurance racing and two of his senior employees have been dropped from the newly-announced task force in a sensational about-turn by the International Equestrian Federation.

News that an apparent controlling role had been offered to Sheikh Mohammed – first revealed by Telegraph Sport last Friday – caused shock waves around the equestrian world as his Dubai stables are at the centre of the horse welfare crisis engulfing the sport.

On Tuesday, the Dutch and Swiss equestrian federations strongly criticised what they called “collaboration” between the Sheikh and the governing body.

Their joint statement said: “Even if His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is the current world endurance champion, his six-month suspension for using prohibited substances [in 2009] cannot be denied, not mentioning more than 24 positive cases concerning horses from his stables in past years.”...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10769063/Sheikh-Mohammeds-plan-to-fund-endurance-task-force-ended-by-International-Equestrian-Federation.html


April 14 2014

Official Swiss Statement

Horsesportinternational.com - Full Article

I received an email from Claude Nordmann at the Swiss Federation this morning, with a press release attached and a request that I share it with readers. As Pippa’s guest blog of today has revealed, things have gone from bad to worse to insanely awful this past week. At least the Swiss and Dutch federations are standing up as the members to which the FEI is ultimately accountable. They are almost alone among their fellow member nations, all of whom have apparently drunk the Royal Kool-Aid.

Here is the official statement issued by the Swiss and Dutch federations today (it has tomorrow’s date on it – that’s how fresh it is):

Media release

Bern, 15th of April 2014

The Dutch and the Swiss Federations regret the FEI collaboration with HH Sheikh Mohammed and the composition of the FEI new task force on endurance

The Dutch and the Swiss Federations are satisfied, that the FEI is still and further on taking the issues in Endurance very seriously as related in recent press releases. But both Federations are questioning the choice of HH Sheikh Mohammed as a sort of consultant in doping prevention, the composition of this new task force and the on going evolution in endurance.

The Dutch and the Swiss Federations are pleased to notice that the FEI endorses the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) recommendations and pushes ahead with its implementation as stated in the press releases from the FEI dated 8th and the 11th April 2014.

Nonetheless, they express their regrets concerning the superficial attendance of formation of the riders, the trainers and the officials, as well as the selection of HH Sheikh Mohammed for an essential role on the way of finding solutions concerning the issues in endurance.

Even if HH Sheikh Mohammed is the current World Endurance champion, his 6 months suspension for using prohibited substances* cannot be denied (Not mentioning more than 24 positive cases concerning horses from the stables of HH Sheikh Mohammed the past years (all equine anti-doping decisions here).

Further, the Dutch and the Swiss Federations are extremely concerned about the choice of the participants in the new Task Force consisting of six persons: Two are very close to HH Sheikh Mohammed, one is specialist in racing. No Europeans or Americans have been selected, although the movement against the issues in endurance started in Europe and the Americans were the initiators of the discipline. During the Round Table and the presentations at the General Assembly and the Endurance Conference, it was clearly requested not to split the discipline of Endurance in “flat racing” and “classical Endurance” and to keep it in the spirit of its original definition for the welfare of the horse.

The mission of this new Task Force is to look for deployment of “modern technology” but the basic as education of all the parties involved, the transparency in the reporting etc. are not part of its objectives. For the Dutch and Swiss federations there are evident conflicts of interest.

Both federations are still extremely worried about the evolution in endurance. The development is more and more going in the direction of “flat endurance-racing”. This should not in any case be supported by the FEI, because of severe horse welfare concerns.

Even if the issues in Endurance are discussed for more than one year, almost nothing has changed. It is not the creation of new bodies, committees, commissions which will cure the situation in Endurance but the full implementation of the existing rules in all part of the world by incorruptible officials for the sake of horse welfare and sport equity.

* (Guanabenz, 16-b Hydroxy-Stanozolol) in two different events on the horse Tahhan – as described in the decision of the FEI tribunal dated 31st July 2009 which can be found here)

For further information:

- Dr Charles F. Trolliet, President of the Swiss Equestrian Federation, Tel. +41 79 205 32 91, E-mail: trolliet@swissonline.ch

- Dr. Claude Nordmann, International Relations, Swiss Equestrian Federation, Tel. +41 79 353 75 54, E-mail: claude.nordmann@bluewin.ch


April 13 2014

Task Force Conflicts Cause Shockwaves

Horsesportinternational.com - Full Article

Horse Sport International’s “Insider,” Pippa Cuckson provides a special report on the Endurance Strategic Planning Group:

Colleagues often preface emails with the phrase “you couldn’t make it up” when discussing the latest surreal missives from FEI press office. These words are inadequate to describe the emanations of the past few days. If anyone still needed written confirmation that the FEI is owned by the Maktoums, this was it.

News that the task force that will apply (ha!) the proposals of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) is not only being funded by Sheikh Mohammed, but that the six task-ees include three people close to the Maktoums, has sent shock waves around the world. Worldwide, that is, apart from the countries of Group 7, and also amongst FEI senior staffers whose capabilities to assess the perceptions of the wider horse community are surely “zapped” the second they first set foot in the King Hussein building in Lausanne – presumably by the same sort of device used to disable a horse identity microchip.

How do I know this? Well, at the time of writing, my short report about the task force had knocked the Oscar Pistorius trial and Mo Farah’s London Marathon bid off the top of the “most-read” articles on Daily Telegraph Sport online. And also I’ve had to cancel my entire weekend plans to cope with the deluge of messages, many from vets, judges, chefs and former champions in the (non-desert) endurance about the enormity of this latest crisis-in-the-crisis.

How ironic that the final recommendations offered by ESPG put further weight on measures to quash conflict-of-interest by endurance officials and to deter financial bribes...

Read more here:
http://www.horsesportinternational.com/2014/04/task-force-conflicts-cause-shockwaves/


April 11 2014

FEI announces mission and structure of Endurance Task Force

FEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 11 April 2014

FEI announces mission and structure of Endurance Task Force

The composition and remit of the FEI Endurance Task Force, announced by the FEI Executive Board on 8 April, have been finalised.

The mission of the Task Force is to develop practical solutions to ensure horse welfare and a level playing field at Endurance events globally, and to look at deploying modern technology to achieve the goals of equality and integrity in all Endurance competitions.

As part of its remit, the Task Force will review a number of initiatives that can offer a workable solution for varying terrains and climatic conditions to ensure that they can be implemented globally.

The Task Force will be chaired by FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos, and its members are Brian Sheahan, FEI Endurance Committee chair; Jim Ellis, Equestrian Sports New Zealand Chief Executive; Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager Dubai Equestrian Club; Andrew Holmes, legal advisor; and Alain Storme, racing and equestrian sports expert.

Experts from IMG will also be included amongst the core members of the Task Force. IMG is a global leader in sports management with extensive experience in reviewing and modernising competition structures in other sports.

The Task Force has a wide range of experience in Endurance and racing, as well as operations roll out and technology. In addition, FEI 1st Vice President John McEwen and members of the FEI Veterinary Committee will be on hand in an advisory capacity and the Task Force also has the mandate to call in, on an ad hoc basis, any other experts that may be required to facilitate its work.

“The Endurance Task Force will be looking at systems that will ensure horse welfare and a level playing field, and the use of modern technology is a key component of that,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said.

“While it is of course important that we consider the financial systems of our National Federations, we cannot compromise on quality. We have to find the formula to ensure that this technology is financially available to all our NFs, including the developing nations, but it is vital that we have the best technological solutions available to ensure enforcement of and compliance with our rules.”

It is intended that some of the solutions offered by the Task Force will be ready for implementation in time for the Endurance competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014. The FEI will work closely with the Organising Committee in Normandy, and any new systems used at the Games will have been fully trialled in a test environment prior to the event.

The Endurance Task Force will hold its first meeting in Lausanne (SUI) on 27 April, the day before the start of the two-day FEI Sports Forum on 28-29 April.

Media Contacts:
Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
‪‪+ 41 78 750 61 42‬‬

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
‪‪+41 78 750 61 33‬‬

April 11 2014

FEI announces further concrete steps to implement ESPG recommendations

FEI PRESS RELEASE Lausanne (SUI), 11 April 2014

FEI announces further concrete steps to implement ESPG recommendations

During the meeting on 30 March held between the FEI and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, where the FEI was represented by its two Vice Presidents, John McEwen and Pablo Mayorga, and FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos, some additional but significant points were discussed to create a more equitable field of play and enhance the integrity of the Endurance discipline.

During these discussions, HH Sheikh Mohammed pointed out to the FEI that Meydan is the regulator in Dubai for various equine related matters and that so long as it remains a regulator it would be prudent for it to withdraw its sponsorship of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian™ Games. Consequently Meydan will withdraw its sponsorship from the 2014 Alltech World Equestrian™ Games.

Separately, and in order not to disadvantage the Organising Committee of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ and ensure all financial obligations are met, the FEI Commercial Department has worked with the office of HH Sheikh Mohammed to secure a new sponsor to replace Meydan at the 2014 Games. SOBHA Group, a multinational, multiproduct group headquartered in Bangalore, India with significant developments and investments in India, UAE, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei and Tanzania has offered to take over the sponsorship, which matches its global marketing objectives, and assume all of the obligations of Meydan. 

The acceptance of SOBHA as a replacement for Meydan will be considered for formal approval by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ Board next week on Thursday 17 April 2014.

Meydan will however sponsor the work of the FEI Endurance Task Force to enable it to create and implement the technical solutions necessary to ensure fairness on the field of play at the 2014 Games in Normandy and beyond. This sponsorship complements its current role as an equine regulator. HH Sheikh Mohammed has also confirmed that he will facilitate through the FEI Commercial Department the provision of onsite hospitality facilities during the Endurance competition day in Normandy so that all athletes can benefit from equal facilities.

On a related matter, during the Endurance Conference in Lausanne in February chaired by FEI 1st Vice President John McEwen, it was also highlighted that commercial activities and sport need to be clearly and formally separated. For this reason, the Technical Committee and the Endurance Sports Department cannot be involved in any commercial activities and transactions and this will now be the sole responsibility of the FEI Commercial Department led by Lisa Lazarus.

With regard to the officials, the FEI Secretary General has already made it clear to the organisers of Endurance Events that the officials need to be informed about the conditions such as accommodation, transport, per diems and reimbursement of costs prior to the competition and that payments can only be made by the Organising Committee. Additionally, the FEI will look at the possibility of centralising these payments made by the Organising Committee of reimbursement of expenses and per diems in order to guarantee equal treatment of officials and to preserve their integrity.

Media Contacts:
Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45‪‪+41 78 750 61 45‬‬

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33‪‪+41 78 750 61 33‬‬


April 3 2014

A Tale of Two Horses…and Three Names…and Two Microchips

Horsesportinternational - Full Article

This is not an endurance story. It’s a story of cheating and corruption. And it’s far from over.

The characters include what we could now consider ‘the usual suspects’:

1. The Maktoum family, in the form of Sheikh Hamdan, Sheikh Mohammed’s second son (one of Sheikh M’s 23 offspring). The son of Sheikh M’s senior wife, Hamdan is the Crown Prince of Dubai. In 2008 he was chosen by his father to be the hereditary prince. ’Step mother’ is not quite the right term for what HRH is to Hamdan, since the term refers to a situation in which a man has children with a wife, then divorces and remarries – whereas Sheikh M is concurrently married to both women (among others). Sheikh Hamdan fell close to the tree in that he really digs endurance racing.

2. The horse Marmoog, aka Prince de la Sabliere, aka JSAS, a horse that has more results on the FEI database than actual miles under his girth, and whose microchip number recently changed on an event’s entries list.

3. Lord Stevens’ company Quest, which has of late been buttering its bread on both sides, working for both Sheikh Mohammed AND the FEI in investigations into alleged cheating by the Sheikhs’ own family.

4. The FEI, that cozy little corner where all the players converge...

Read more here:
http://www.horsesportinternational.com/2014/04/a-tale-of-two-horses-and-three-names-and-two-microchips/

Is global unity still possible in the world of endurance?

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Neil Clarkson on Apr 03, 2014 in Comment, Featured, News

The endurance juggernaut grinds on, with only optimists still believing a solution is within reach at this month’s FEI Sports Forum in Switzerland.

The much-publicised issues centre on several Middle Eastern nations within the FEI’s Group VII.

The wider endurance community has grown increasingly vocal over the number of doping infractions, excessive fracture rates, wider horse welfare issues, and what many consider to be some Middle Eastern competitors’ cavalier attitude to the rules...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/04/03/global-unity-endurance/#ixzz2xpvVkcRo

More rule breaking in Middle East endurance

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

3 April 2014

Riders from stables owned by members of the ruling Maktoum family of Dubai received 3 of the 4 yellow warning cards handed out in Dubai (21-22 March). This comes as the FEI clamps down on rule-breaking in Middle East endurance.

2 broke multiple rules and administered unauthorised fluids and were also disqualified. 2 others showed “incorrect behaviour” towards officials...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/maktoum-family-riders-receive-3-yellow-cards-endurance/#iyrbyXwQQOfUKPHV.99


April 2 2014

Proposed rule changes spelled out for endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Apr 02, 2014 in News

Proposed changes to the rules of endurance spell out more clearly the responsibilities of riders and trainers, and explains potential conflicts of interest for event officials.

The proposals will be put to FEI member nations at the endurance roundtable talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, late in April on the second day of the world governing body’s Sports Forum.

The proposed rule changes are the result of a months-long consultation process, sparked by growing concern among some FEI nations centred on welfare issues in endurance in the Middle East...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/04/02/proposed-rule-changes-endurance/#axzz2xjmojZmD


April 1 2014

Great Britain: Timeform lambast BHA over handling of Godolphin steroids scandal

Theguardian.com - Full Article

British Horseracing Authority urged to widen drug testing and seek greater control over vets

Tony Paley - theguardian.com
Tuesday 1 April 2014

British racing's rulers have come in for stinging criticism from the respected Timeform organisation over their handling of the Godolphin steroids scandal last year.

The comments are made in the latest edition of Timeform's Racehorses annual covering the 2013 Flat racing season and will make for uncomfortable reading for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

Timeform argue that the damage caused by the Mahmood al-Zarooni case will take "years to repair" and call on the BHA to widen the scope of its drug testing and seek greater control over vets involved with racing stables. "Any sport that fails to police its doping problems with the utmost rigour pays a heavy price," they conclude...

Read more here:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/apr/01/timeform-godolphin-steroids-scandal


March 29 2014

AERC Takes Action As International Endurance Abuses Continue

Chronofhorse.com

Original article appeared in The Chronicle of the Horse

As the sport of endurance has grown more popular, so have the cheating and welfare issues, and the American riders want to protect the sport they helped create.

BY ERIN HARTY

This is a story of international intrigue, of power and influence, of drugs, cheating and preferential treatment. It involves sheikhs, princesses and cowboys, viral Internet videos and lumbering bureaucracy.

It’s also the story of how the participants and enthusiasts of perhaps the most organic of all the international equestrian sports—the pursuit of riding a horse as fast as you safely can from point A to point B across natural terrain—are trying to save the sport from its own success. This story begins in the deserts of the Middle East and ends in a conference room in Atlanta where people who share a common interest in endurance all agree there is a problem and are having a healthy debate about how to fix it.

Are you intrigued yet?

To follow this story, let’s start at the beginning...

Read full article:
Erin_Harty_Article_on_AERC_to_FEI_Motion.pdf


March 20 2014

UAE: Marmoog's second name change adds fuel to 'ringer' endurance racing allegations

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Horse previously known as Prince de la Sabliere had his name officially changed to JSAS which has wiped the name Marmoog from archived results on the FEI database

By Pippa Cuckson
10:00PM GMT 19 Mar 2014

Allegations that there was a 'ringer' in the United Arab Emirates' 2012 world champion endurance team have been complicated by the unexplained decision to change the horse’s name a second time, and the discovery that he has a dual microchip identity.

Last week new evidence provided by The Telegraph prompted the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to reopen its previously inconclusive investigation into Marmoog, the championship ride of HH Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Sheikh Hamdan rode a markedly dissimilar horse using the same identity in the 100-mile qualifier at Numana, Italy, two months earlier.

It has now emerged that Marmoog – also previously known as Prince de la Sabliere – had his name officially changed to JSAS on Sunday by the UAE federation five days after the Telegraph broke the story. This has the effect of wiping 'Marmoog' from archived results on the FEI database...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10709885/Marmoogs-second-name-change-adds-fuel-to-ringer-endurance-racing-allegations.html


March 19 2014

FEI approves revised agenda for the Extraordinary General Assembly

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

March 19, 2014

The FEI Bureau held its monthly teleconference on Thursday, 13 February, and approved a revised agenda for the Extraordinary General Assembly which will take place on 29 April in Lausanne (SUI).

The agenda includes two proposed changes to the FEI Statutes: the extension of the term in office of the FEI President and the creation of a new FEI body, the FEI Olympic Council. The main goal of the new Council will be to create a permanent liaison between the FEI and the members of the Olympic Family with an equestrian background.

The FEI Bureau also decided to postpone the ordinary FEI General Assembly 2014 until after the Extraordinary Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which will be held in Monaco on 8 and 9 December. Key decisions concerning the Olympic Programme are expected to be taken by the IOC Session. As a result, the FEI General Assembly, which was originally scheduled to take place from 3 to 6 November 2014, will now be organised from 11 to 14 December 2014. The venue for the General Assembly remains unchanged (Dubai, UAE)...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2014/03/19/fei-bureau-news/


March 18 2014

Could a breakaway endurance body succeed?

The world is littered with the rotting carcasses of breakaway sporting groups.

Some, in high profile sports, have had millions of dollars in backing, yet still failed to prosper. Think Australian media mogul Kerry Packer’s rebel cricket league of the late 1970s and the Australian Super League war of the 1990s.

In the ranks of professional sport, breakaway groups have been formed for a variety of reasons, primary among them being player dissatisfaction over money or conditions, and television rights.

They struggle for much the same reasons that any business venture struggles. These alternative sporting leagues are invariably expensive to set up and face the task of luring fans (and players) from the established version of the sport. If they don’t get the fans at the grounds or in front of television sets, they don’t get the revenue.

So, with this in mind, is there any realistic prospect of success for a breakaway group in the world of endurance?

[Read more ...]


March 14 2014

AERC Presses for Horse Welfare Reforms

Thehorse.com

By Edited Press Release
Mar 13, 2014

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has negotiated the final details in a motion designed to make clear the organization’s condemnation of abuses in international endurance riding competitions. Fatalities, drug violations, and fractures in international competition have been an increasing concern among riders worldwide, the group says.

Over the past several months, the AERC board has received input from members across the United States and Canada, who felt strongly that AERC should take a stand against horse abuses while supporting the American riders who wish to compete in international endurance events.

“The board received more than 600 comments from AERC members,” noted AERC vice president Lisa Schneider. “The directors spent quite a bit of time considering all aspects of this very complex issue, and worked very hard to find a solution that would communicate our strong commitment to horse welfare as well as support our AERC International riders. All the committees weighed in with their concerns and it was a true group effort to hammer out this solution.”

The board members gathered at AERC’s annual convention, held March 7-8 in Atlanta, Ga. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the U.S. governing body for international endurance riding, shared AERC’s concerns and has been working diligently with the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) to address those concerns, the group said.

USEF CEO John Long “provided helpful information to the board and forthrightly answered direct and blunt questions from the board members in an open and honest exchange,” said newly installed AERC president Michael Campbell, PhD. “The AERC board is determined to work with USEF to correct abuses of FEI rules to ensure fair enforcement of rules for our athletes and the safe treatment of horses in FEI competition.”

The organization's directors ultimately came to an agreement March 9 on a motion that gives the FEI until Jan. 1, 2015, to make measurable progress in addressing the group's concerns, including “greater transparency in public reporting of fatalities and fractures occurring at or associated with FEI endurance rides.”

The wording of the final motion reads:

In order to address the growing alarm among AERC members that mounting drug violations and fatalities and fractures in international endurance riding conducted in some Region VII countries by the FEI are injuring the reputation of our sport worldwide, the AERC shall immediately notify the FEI, through USEF, in writing of:

1. The AERC’s grave concerns that drug violations and horse fatalities and fractures are excessive in FEI endurance events by some participants from Region VII countries, that the flat courses and high speeds characteristic of FEI international rides contribute to horse injuries increasingly similar in severity and frequency to those occurring in flat track racing, that some FEI officials inadequately enforce the FEI’s own rules, and that the administration of FEI events favors certain competitors and member countries over others.

2. The AERC’s intention to consider joining the exploration with like-minded endurance groups in other countries of the formation of a new international organization to conduct international endurance riding events if the FEI does not demonstrate measurable progress towards addressing the AERC’s concerns by Jan. 1, 2015. Measurable progress would include, but not be limited to, greater transparency in public reporting of fatalities and fractures occurring at or associated with FEI endurance rides.

The AERC looks forward to working with the USEF to prepare a joint response to the ESPG Report that meets both organizations’ interests. The AERC’s International Committee is directed to monitor and evaluate the FEI’s progress towards meeting the AERC’s concerns. The AERC’s International Committee is also directed to prepare periodic reports to the AERC board who will determine yearly if meaningful and measurable progress is being made. The AERC shall continue to support the efforts of the USEF to improve the FEI’s conduct of international endurance riding and shall remain affiliated with USEF.

“AERC will continue to work closely with USEF to achieve the goal of fair and safe endurance competition throughout the world,” said Campbell.

American endurance body talks of breakaway international group

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Mar 14, 2014 in News

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has signaled the possibility of a breakaway international endurance body if the FEI fails to rein in controversial practices in the sport in the Middle East.

The AERC has given the FEI until January 1 to make “measurable progress” in addressing its concerns...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/03/14/american-endurance-body-breakaway-international-group/#ixzz2vx4H7Mqk


March 12 2014

New inquiry into Sheikh Hamdan's world championship 'ringer’

By Pippa Cuckson
10:30PM GMT 11 Mar 2014

The International Equestrian Federation is to reopen an investigation into allegations that HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, rode a “ringer” in the winning UAE team at the 2012 World Endurance Championships. The IEF is acting on fresh evidence given to it by The Daily Telegraph.

The FEI’s Equine Community Integrity Unit was passed the material after rumours about the true identity of Sheikh Hamdan’s team gold medallist, Marmoog, resurfaced last week.

The FEI revealed that Marmoog had been investigated soon after the 100-mile world-title ride at Euston Park, Suffolk, but the ECIU reported that “available evidence was not considered sufficient for further action”.

[More ...]

AERC presses for horse welfare reforms in international riding

Just hours after swearing in six new board members, the American Endurance Ride Conference negotiated final details in a motion designed to make clear the organization’s condemnation of abuses in international endurance riding competitions. Fatalities, drug violations and fractures have been an increasing concern among riders worldwide, and center on some riders within the Federation Equestre International (FEI) Region VII, which encompasses much of the Middle East.

The board members gathered at AERC’s annual convention, held March 7 and 8 in Atlanta, Georgia, knowing they had to come to a final agreement on the motion. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the U.S. governing body for international endurance riding, shared AERC’s concerns and has been working diligently with the FEI to halt the abuses now coming to light.

USEF CEO John Long addressed the board at their first convention meeting. “Mr. Long provided helpful information to the board and forthrightly answered direct and blunt questions from the board members in an open and honest exchange,” said newly-installed AERC President Michael Campbell, PhD. “The AERC board is determined to work with USEF to correct abuses of FEI rules to ensure fair enforcement of rules for our athletes and the safe treatment of horses in FEI competition.”

Over the past several months, the board has taken input from AERC’s members across the U.S. and Canada, who felt strongly that AERC should take a stand against horse abuses while supporting the American riders who wish to compete in international endurance events.

“The board received more than 600 comments from AERC members,” noted AERC Vice President Lisa Schneider. “The directors spent quite a bit of time considering all aspects of this very complex issue, and worked very hard to find a solution that would communicate our strong commitment to horse welfare as well as support our AERC International riders. All the committees weighed in with their concerns and it was a true group effort to hammer out this solution."

As the Sunday, March 9, board meeting opened, it was not clear that the organization’s directors could come to an agreement, as original wording on the motion included the possibility of AERC endurance rides not allowing co-sanctioning with FEI, depriving members the opportunity to earn FEI-recognized ranking points at AERC rides. After much discussion and deliberation, a consensus was reached and the vote on the final motion was unanimous.

The motion gives the FEI until January 1, 2015, to make measurable progress, including “greater transparency in public reporting of fatalities and fractures occurring at or associated with FEI endurance rides.”

“AERC will continue to work closely with USEF to achieve the goal of fair and safe endurance competition throughout the world,” said Dr. Campbell, of Salado, Texas.

The motion’s author, Southwest Region Director Randy Eiland, said, “The AERC board deserves a big thanks for protecting our own AERC members who enjoy and pursue international competition while condemning the guilty parties.”

The wording of the final motion reads: “In order to address the growing alarm among AERC members that mounting drug violations and fatalities and fractures in international endurance riding conducted in some Region VII countries by the FEI are injuring the reputation of our sport worldwide, the AERC shall immediately notify the FEI, through USEF, in writing of:

“1. The AERC’s grave concerns that drug violations and horse fatalities and fractures are excessive in FEI endurance events by some participants from Region VII countries, that the flat courses and high speeds characteristic of FEI international rides contribute to horse injuries increasingly similar in severity and frequency to those occurring in flat track racing, that some FEI officials inadequately enforce the FEI’s own rules, and that the administration of FEI events favors certain competitors and member countries over others.

“2. The AERC’s intention to consider joining the exploration with like-minded endurance groups in other countries of the formation of a new international organization to conduct international endurance riding events if the FEI does not demonstrate measurable progress towards addressing the AERC’s concerns by January 1, 2015. Measurable progress would include, but not be limited to, greater transparency in public reporting of fatalities and fractures occurring at or associated with FEI endurance rides.

“The AERC looks forward to working with the USEF to prepare a joint response to the ESPG Report that meets both organizations’ interests. The AERC’s International Committee is directed to monitor and evaluate the FEI’s progress towards meeting the AERC’s concerns. The AERC’s International Committee is also directed to prepare periodic reports to the AERC Board who will determine yearly if meaningful and measurable progress is being made. The AERC shall continue to support the efforts of the USEF to improve the FEI’s conduct of international endurance riding and shall remain affiliated with USEF.”

AERC’s commitment to horse welfare has been a vital part of the organization since its founding in 1972. The organizations’ Veterinary, Research and Welfare of the Horse committees work together to ensure AERC does all it can to protect equines who participate in the sports events, which range from 25 to 100 miles per day.

American Endurance Riding Conference


March 10 2014

United States threatens breakaway in row over endurance horse racing

Sunday March 9 2014

After much lively discussion at the AERC Convention in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend, the AERC Notice to FEI Motion passed unanimously by the Board of Directors.

According to Director at Large Randy Eiland, "The Motion establishes AERC's official statement on the abuses of equines, rules, and also the lack of transparency in reports on fatalities and catastrophic injuries. It removes the threat to our own innocent AERC members (AERC-I) but does include a strong consideration to investigate the formation of a new international competition association with like minded federations if FEI doesn't show measurable progress in resolving the issues in some Region VII countries and with some FEI Officials.

"I believe this statement will be well received by the international community in Europe and other continents - it will help shore up and supports their condemnations of the wrongdoing and it gives our membership a moment to be proud of AERC for taking an official stand on the issue (the first time in memory)."

MOTION PROPOSAL
Motion Name: AERC NOTICE TO FEI
Proposing Committee: SPONSORSHIP
Date of Motion: PASSED AT ANNUAL BOD MEETING – MARCH 9, 2014

Motion: In order to address the growing alarm among AERC members that mounting drug violations and fatalities and fractures in international endurance riding conducted in some Region VII Countries by the FEI are injuring the reputation of our sport worldwide, the AERC shall immediately notify the FEI, through USEF, in writing of:

1) The AERC’s grave concerns that drug violations and horse fatalities and fractures are excessive in FEI endurance events by some participants from Region VII countries, that the flat courses and high speeds characteristic of FEI international rides contribute to horse injuries increasingly similar in severity and frequency to those occurring in flat track racing, that some FEI officials inadequately enforce the FEI’s own rules, and that the administration of FEI events favors certain competitors and member countries over others.

2) The AERC’s intention to consider joining the exploration with like-minded endurance groups in other countries of the formation of a new international organization to conduct international endurance riding events if the FEI does not demonstrate measurable progress towards addressing the AERC’s concerns by January 1, 2015. Measurable progress would include, but not be limited to, greater transparency in public reporting of fatalities and fractures occurring at or associated with FEI endurance rides.

The AERC looks forward to working with the USEF to prepare a joint response to the ESPG Report that meets both organizations’ interests. The AERC’s International Committee is directed to monitor and evaluate the FEI’s progress towards meeting the AERC’s concerns. The AERC’s International Committee is also directed to prepare periodic reports to the AERC Board who will determine yearly if meaningful and measurable progress is being made. The AERC shall continue to support the efforts of the USEF to improve the FEI’s conduct of international endurance riding and shall remain affiliated with USEF.


March 9 2014

United States threatens breakaway in row over endurance horse racing

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

The United States governing body has voted to attempt to withdraw from the International Equestrian Federation if a clean-up of the sport does not prove successful this year.

By Pippa Cuckson
Mar 2014

The United States, who can claim to have invented equestrian endurance, have unanimously voted to form a breakaway global governing body if the International Equestrian Federation cannot prove its clean-up in the Middle East is effective this year.

This damning indictment of the FEI’s handling of the endurance crisis comes just seven weeks before the FEI votes on whether Princess Haya, whose husband Sheikh Mohammed’s stables are at the centre of the controversy, should have the option of a third term as FEI president.

The American Endurance Ride Conference resolved to invite other major players to form an alternative international body “if the FEI does not demonstrate measurable progress towards addressing the AERC’s concerns by January 1, 2015”...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10686997/United-States-threatens-breakaway-in-row-over-endurance-horse-racing.html


March 8 2014

FEI clarifies procedures in anti-doping cases

FEI PRESS RELEASE
Lausanne (SUI), 7 March 2014

In response to recent discussions in the equestrian community about the length of time that FEI anti-doping cases may take to prosecute, the FEI is keen to clarify its procedures.

“It is the FEI’s role to ensure the full integrity of competition and fair play, while at the same time ensuring that the rights of the athlete are fully protected,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said.

“As an international governing body, the FEI cannot allow that athletes would ever be condemned or sanctioned without having the proper opportunities to defend themselves. It is of course regrettable, on every level, whenever there is a positive finding, but the FEI has to follow due process in the interest of all parties involved.”

Following the confirmation of a positive sample, it is the FEI’s duty to prove to the Tribunal that there has been a violation of the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMR). A positive finding is simply the start of the process.

In the event of a provisional suspension being imposed following a positive finding, the Person Responsible (PR) can apply at any time for a preliminary hearing to request lifting of the provisional suspension.

The PR has the right to contest the positive finding, including challenging the sample collection and analysis procedures to the Tribunal. The PR also has the right to provide an explanation for the presence of the prohibited substance in order to reduce or eliminate the applicable sanction.

The finding whether there has been a rule violation can only be made once the case has been heard by the Tribunal. It is only when the Tribunal confirms in its Final Decision that there is a rule violation that the automatic disqualification from the competition can be applied. Other sanctions may also be imposed by the Tribunal.

The FEI is a signatory to the WADA Code and has to respect the WADA principles, which include the right to a fair hearing. All parties involved have to be given time to prepare their submissions in order to properly defend themselves. Signatories to the WADA Code apply the same principles, and sports involving animals have to be consistent with the WADA Code.


March 6 2014

Key Defra body ignored in Lord Stevens’ drugs raids investigation for Sheikh Mohammed

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Veterinary Medicines Directorate was not asked to supply input for report and disputes claim that seized products were not intended for use in UK

By Pippa Cuckson
9:05PM GMT 05 Mar 2014

Defra’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the body that seized 124 unlicensed drugs from Sheikh Mohammed’s Newmarket stables in August, has revealed it had no input into Lord Stevens’s subsequent investigation for racing’s most powerful owner.

Further, the VMD disputes a claim recorded in the report that the seized drugs were not intended for use in the United Kingdom...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/10679378/Key-Defra-body-ignored-in-Lord-Stevens-drugs-raids-investigation-for-Sheikh-Mohammed.html

UAE: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Horsesportinternational.com - Full Article

Karen Robinson
March 1 2014

"...even the most basic rules of horse welfare are so far from being enforced at middle eastern endurance races that they are a complete farce, an absolute joke, and an insult to the principles that supposedly govern the FEI."

Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain permission from the photographer to publish the photo that I wanted to share with you, so instead I will use the proverbial thousand of these one dimensional little things to describe it.

It was snapped during the recent President World Cup Endurance race in Abu Dhabi, and the person who sent it to me sent it with the subject line ‘spot the horse’. The photo could also have been titled ‘where’s Waldo’ – if Waldo were a horse.

See, the horses are not the most prominent feature in this shot of the endurance race. The cars are. Roughly 100 cars, pick-ups, SUVs and those silly little Japanoid van/pick-ups are crowded so thickly along the white racetrack fencing that keeps them off the track that you can barely see that there are actually horses in the frame. Also obscuring a clear view of the horses is a pink haze caused by a combination of churned up sand and exhaust from what are surely hundreds of vehicles – if we make the reasonable assumption that all the cars chasing the race did not miraculously squeeze into this one photo. If you didn’t notice the horses you would think it was a traffic jam in the desert...

Read more here:
http://www.horsesportinternational.com/2014/03/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/


March 3 2014

Cuckson lodges formal protest over endurance race in Bahrain

Horsetalk.c.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Mar 03, 2014 in News

British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson has been joined by the editor of Horse & Hound magazine in lodging a formal protest with the FEI over the treatment of the winning horse in the February 8 running of the King’s Cup 120km endurance race in Bahrain.

The letter, under the Horse & Hound letterhead, is co-signed by Cuckson, who is a freelance contributor to the magazine, and its editor, Lucy Higginson...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/03/03/cuckson-formal-protest-endurance-race-bahrain/#ixzz2uun3GdZm


February 28 2014

Great Britain: Racing authorities "lack conviction" on drugs

Youtube.com

David Walsh on C4's Morning Line

Published on Feb 22, 2014

David Walsh, the award-winning journalist from the Sunday Times who uncovered much of the Lance Armstrong saga, says "it's a big worry when officials outside of racing unearth a drugs problem." He says the Mahmood Al Zarooni case and the ongoing Philip Fenton issue reveal that "Authorities are ambivalent... I don't sense true conviction..."

See the video interview here:
[embedded]

or link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auB4raU0uvU&feature=em-share_video_user


February 27 2014

Meydan Group to Sponsor 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

HORSE SPORT FEBRUARY 26, 2014
BY: HORSE-CANADA.COM

The Meydan Group has signed on to sponsor the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, which will be held August 23- September 7 in Normandy, France.

Malih Lahej Al Basti, vice-chairman of Meydan Group, said statement: “We are pleased to demonstrate [our passion for equestrian sports] through our role as an official sponsor of the Games. This is a prestigious competition that is truly international in its reach. The event provides Meydan with an excellent means to communicate our role in equine sports and highlights our exciting commercial ventures here in Dubai...”

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/meydan-group-to-sponsor-2014-alltech-fei-world-equestrian-games/


February 26 2014

Changes in saddle at Godolphin to ensure Dubai operation’s firm hold on operations

Thenational.ae - Full Article

Geoffrey Riddle
February 25, 2014

A Godolphin restructure was inevitable. From a small, elite band of equine talent when it started in 1992 under the guidance of Simon Crisford and Saeed bin Suroor, the international stable has mushroomed into an enterprise that spans the world.

The equine empire of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, goes beyond the Royal Blue silks of Godolphin, which have raced in more than 16 countries.

The huge Darley Australia operation and a blossoming presence in Japan is a growing aspect to Sheikh Mohammed’s global outlook.

The racing and breeding operation is without comparison and has moved to address the shortcomings exposed by last year’s Mahmoud Al Zarooni doping scandal...

Read more here:
http://www.thenational.ae/sport/horse-racing/changes-in-saddle-at-godolphin-to-ensure-dubai-operations-firm-hold


February 24 2014

"One of the Greatest Scandals of Modern Horse Sport"

February 23 2014

In a comment column in Great Britain's Horse & Hound, editor Lucy Higginson blasted the equine doping violations and injuries involving the Middle Eastern nations and plaguing FEI endurance racing, calling it "…one of the greatest scandals of modern horse sport. It is a convoluted saga that has involved drugs, ghastly injury rates and inadequate reporting systems."

Great Britain's The Telegraph and Horse & Hound (primarily with freelance reporter Pippa Cuckson) have led the way in bringing to the world's attention the atrocious doping incidents and high fracture rates in endurance racing in the group 7 Middle Eastern countries, and FEI's responses to the worldwide uproars these have caused.

A new article by Pippa Cuckson, "Progress made - but key nations stay away" can be obtained by subscription to Horse and Hound here:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/


February 22 2014

It’s not all black and white when it comes to FEI yellow cards

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

The yellow-carding of a rugby or football player is, in my view, a sporting spectacle in itself.

It’s the sense of anticipation that draws me. One can sense 30,000 bottoms sliding forward on their stadium seats as the referee summons a player after some egregious sin.

It is clear what’s coming. The referee is strutting and looking especially officious by this stage.

The player receives a brief dressing down and the referee, in a grand flourish, reaches for his pocket and pulls out the yellow card, or possibly even a red card.

Dramatic stuff.

The FEI has a yellow-card system, too. However, their use does not generate anything like the same drama and spectacle.

In equestrian sport, the yellow card is essentially a small yellow form which is printed out and given to the offending rider by the president of the ground jury at an event. No drama. No theatrics. That, my friends, is the FEI way.

[More ...]


February 19 2014

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour steps into endurance racing row

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, owner of Manchester City, is understood to have intervened in the clean-up of endurance racing at the President's Cup ride in Abu Dhabi

By Pippa Cuckson

Six yellow warning cards were handed out, with two riders disqualified, at the 100-mile President's Cup ride in Abu Dhabi on Saturday as organisers finally reacted to global pressure to punish rule-breaking and horse abuse in Middle East endurance racing.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and owner of Manchester City, is understood to have intervened in the clean-up, and been instrumental in the installation of security cameras at vet-gates (vet check) areas and on the “crew” cars following the horses.

Representatives of Lord Stevens’ intelligence services company Quest, and International Equestrian Federation (FEI) endurance director Ian Williams were on hand to support officials.

The unprecedented move came days after Telegraph Sport’s exposure of horse-beating by a running groom, caught on video at a ride in Sakhir, Bahrain, on Feb 8.

The FEI later announced that the rider, winner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, received a yellow card and was suspended.

The Telegraph


February 16, 2014

How to Piss off the Swiss

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

February 15 2014
Karen Robinson

When you refer to someone as ‘being Switzerland’, you aren’t likely to be accusing that person of being full of holes like Swiss Emmental, or delicious like Toblerone, or tall and slim like the Matterhorn. Chances are what you mean is that the person is refusing to take sides in a dispute, instead remaining neutral – much to the immense frustration of everyone on both sides. Switzerland is where the world’s great warring factions go to try and talk things out, such as the recent Syrian Peace Talks which took place in Montreux, the very same Montreux where the 2013 FEI GA was held. There is no doubt about it. The Swiss are world leaders at sitting on the fence.

So what does it take to get the Swiss riled up? I’m heartened to report a very worthy cause: the situation with FEI endurance that has completely exhausted my vocabulary for negative adjectives. Of all the national equestrian federations around the world, Switzerland is sticking to its guns more than anyone. My first exposure to Swiss backbone was at the GA in November, where I had the opportunity to meet the Swiss Fed’s Chef de Mission, Claude Nordmann. In spite of the fact that his federation played host to the 2013 GA (and ironically, hosted the cocktail party that followed the endurance presentation), Claude clearly identified much more with the shocked media than with the ecstatic majority who leapt to their feet to show their undying adoration for HRH and all that she does.

Since the GA, ground level realities continue to deteriorate at endurance races, and the Swiss federation has made no bones about its escalating disgust. On February 4th it issued a statement titled “Unsatisfactory starting point for the forthcoming endurance conference”, which you can read here. On February 12th, this piece appeared in The Guardian: “Swiss equestrian federation questions neutrality of Godolphin inquiry”. Yes indeedy. The Swiss are pissed...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/straight-up/how-to-piss-off-the-swiss/

Pippa Cuckson: Guest Blog from the FEI Endurance Conference

Horsesportinternational.com - Full Article

February 15 2014

When the editor kindly offered me a guest blog about the FEI endurance conference in Lausanne on February 9, I decided to wait a day or so. I had already written five different news reports about it and wanted to crystallise some thoughts.

I also wanted a few hours off to play my viola and hug my horse. If you had just sat through an intense debate which included a serious discussion about the desirability of honouring horses that are still living five years after retiring from endurance, you’d be craving some normality, too.

Other stuff then happened to push the conference onto the back-burner. So here is my take on yet another you-couldn’t-make-it-up week of the unvarnished awfulness that defines endurance in the Middle East.

First – the decidedly unrevelatory Quest report into wrong-doings at Sheikh Mohammed’s various UK properties last year. Quest has provided the FEI’s integrity unit since 2010 yet accepted a commission direct from the FEI president’s husband to investigate the background to the Al Zarooni racehorse doping incidents, plus the drugs raids on Sheikh Mohammed’s Moorley Farm East stables, Newmarket – where he bases his endurance horses for the European season – and his private plane. Lord Stevens has stressed Quest’s impartiality and insisted that his investigating teams remain separate...

Read more here:
http://www.horsesportinternational.com/2014/02/pippa-cuckson-guest-blog-from-the-fei-endurance-conference/


February 14, 2014

DubaiGate: Go... the Mass is ended

www.endurance-belgium.com - Full Report

13 February 2013
Leonard Liesens - Endurance-belgium.com

    According to chats after the conference, it appears that several chef d’equipe fear the backslash for their team at upcoming championships. Are they suffering from acute paranoia or will the course of events prove they were right?

The ESPG showed self-satisfaction, more exactly relieve to have completed its mission without too shootout of the federations .

Yet its most active and most clear in his statements, namely Jean- Louis Leclerc, did not seem to be lulling into complacency during and after the conference.

Most European federations were represented. Yeah, but some showed a passivity and extreme shyness. We did not hear the UK or Italy , Sweden, Portugal, Czech Republic. Spain intervened but in a minor key and swinging raw truths.

France has expressed clearly and politely , by the voice of Christophe Pélissier . It is not obviously useful to raise your voice to be heard and Pelissier has nevertheless not failed to come back especially on the subject of veterinary reports ( 2012 Florac presumably) sent by France to the FEI and which did not land on the right FEI desk (or maybe better land directly in the bin) .

While the FEI had just told the organisation hardly received damning reports from official bodies. But once again, Ian Williams was able to maneuver to claim not to have received / seen these reports. And no one in the assembly dared intervene to push and dig more about this particular subject. We therefore remained the polite exchange of good intentions, it was congratulated , we even made hugs in front of the stage. There was no ' selfies ' (maybe the non French readers will not understand but the recent visit of President Hollande to Obama was a good occasion for journalist to picture themselves inside the White House) but we were not far away.
Clip-Devos-RapportsFEI

The two representatives of Italy did not say a word, they just came to listen, make an appearance and enjoy the lunch buffet - BTW delicious and flavorful. Bravo to the FEI for that. It must be said that Italy is entangled with a league judicial review and intergovernmental cooperation agreements with Emirates. Must not offend the patron.

According to chats after the conference, it appears that several chef d’equipe fear the backslash for their team at upcoming championships. Are they suffering from acute paranoia or will the course of events prove they were right?

It is once again Pierre Arnould (which is still part of the FEI Endurance Committee, but was "impeachment" in relation to ESPG and therefore could speak freely on behalf of the Belgian Federation) was the most incisive. He was also the first to intervene in the afternoon, after everyone fell asleep during presentations of self-satisfaction orchestrated by ESPG .

It was right before that, at the start of the conference, that we had to listen to a guy from ESPG reading a strong statement responding to the open letter sent by the Swiss Federation, concerning the lack of professionalism of the compilation of the responses of the federations. A sudden cold wind was then blowing thru the assistance, like someone opened the door overlooking the nice Lausanne Lake Leman…. oddly the Swiss did not respond .

Arnould began the debate by asking the killing question (La Question qui tue) :

"We are here to discuss a problem that affects 10% of federations who practice endurance , namely the Middle East, while they have not deign to come.As long as there is no clear answer to the question of whether you prefer the economic and financial aspects of our sport ethics and respect for our horses , all the debates and change regulations will be useless. "

Clip-Video-Arnould ici

He has obviously not received a response from the FEI or the ESPG . He was even retorted that his thinking did not advance the debate. When is the next "Verbal Warning" ?

He was unequivocally supported by the Team Leader of USA, Emmett Ross , convinced that sport has lost its identity , all because of the Middle East. As might be expected, all federations have all voted for a return to classic endurance, technical, tactical. Endurance that allows horses to have a long career, riders express their riding skills and horsemanship. But does money not command?...

For more, including video clips click here:
http://www.endurance-belgium.com/n-gazette/dubaigate.htm#espg1201


February 13, 2014

Swiss equestrian federation questions neutrality of Godolphin inquiry

Theguardian.com - Full Article

Lord Stevens' report, as commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed, demonstrated a 'clear conflict of interests' and the 'findings are nothing special', a leading international equestrian body said

James Riach
The Guardian, Wednesday 12 February 2014 15.50 EST

A leading international equestrian federation has heavily criticised a report exonerating Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the UK's leading racehorse owner, of having any knowledge of three drug-related scandals involving his organisation last year, lamenting the inquiry's "conflict of interests" after being commissioned by the Sheikh himself.

Lord Stevens, the former chief of the Metropolitan police, was employed by Sheikh Mohammed and his wife Princess Haya to investigate three separate incidents involving his equine operations, including the doping of Godolphin racehorses with anabolic steroids by the disgraced trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni and two seizures of "potentially toxic and dangerous" veterinary goods at Stansted airport and Moorley Farm, owned by the Sheikh's Darley Stud, in Newmarket...

Read more here:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/12/godolphin-al-zarooni-scandal-stevens-report-slammed

FEI Endurance Conference in Switzerland Feb 9

The FEI held an Endurance Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland on February 9, 2014. Representatives from 20 member nations attended, though noticeably absent were members from region VII (Middle East), the nations in the focus of the doping scandals and horse abuses addressed by this conference.

The information from the conference, including the Conference Presentation, Plan on a Page, and Participant List, can be seen here:
https://docs.fei.org/docs/nfs/endurance-conference

Sheikh Mohammed exonerated by Lord Stevens' report into doping scandal

Theguardian.com - Full Article

• Investigation clears head of world's largest equine operation
• Management failings and complacency highlighted by review

James Riach
theguardian.com, Wednesday 12 February 2014 07.00 EST

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the UK's leading racehorse owner, has been cleared of having any knowledge of three drug-related incidents involving his organisation last year, according to a report commissioned by the Sheikh himself.

Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police chief commissioner, was employed to investigate a series of damaging incidents and interview a series of key figures. The report concluded that the seizures of unlicensed veterinary goods by British authorities resulted from "a sense of complacency" within the Sheikh's management structure.

Stevens interviewed several figures within Sheikh Mohammed's equine operations, including the disgraced former trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni who was banned by eight years by the British Horseracing Association in April 2013 for injecting thoroughbreds at the Godolphin stable with performance-enhancing anabolic steroids.

As revealed by the Guardian in September, the thoroughbred scandal was followed by later incidents within Sheikh Mohammed's endurance set-up, with veterinary goods described as "potentially toxic and dangerous to horses" seized from a Dubai Royal Air Wing flight at Stansted airport by the UK Border Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in May...

Read more here:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/12/sheikh-mohammed-exonerated-lord-stevens-doping-scandal

Operation Desert Storm: A test of endurance or patience?

The legendary equestrian explorer, Aimé Tschiffely, who rode 10,000 miles from Buenos Aires to Washington DC in the late 1920s, faced a myriad of challenges, but perhaps none more so than the prospect of crossing a stretch of Peruvian coastal desert called Matacaballo – the Horse Killer.

The Swiss-born Argentine professor knew it was a high-stakes undertaking and planned carefully. He decided against carrying water for his magnificent Criollo mounts, Mancha and Gato, rightly believing it was a race against time in the scorching heat, and they needed to travel light.

Read More ...


February 12, 2014

Bahrain endurance incident was handled by authorities – FEI

The Bahrain incident in which an endurance horse was struck across the rump by support crew as it neared victory in a prestigious 120km desert race resulted in a formal warning to the rider and a ban, the FEI confirmed early today (NZ time).

However, equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson, who brought the matter to wide attention in a piece in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, questioned why the incident resulted in the winner of the event receiving only a warning, despite what appeared to be multiple breaches of endurance rules.

Read more...

Cuckson to complain to FEI over contents of endurance video footage

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 12, 2014 in News

British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson confirms she is sharpening her pencil to lodge a formal complaint to the FEI over horse welfare concerns arising from video footage of a recent endurance race in Bahrain.

The footage shows a person who was presumably a member of the rider’s support crew appearing to strike a horse in the rump area near the end of a 120-kilometre endurance race...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/02/12/cuckson-complain-fei-endurance-video-footage/#ixzz2t7e7lyHR

Middle East Absent From FEI Endurance Conference

Chronofhorse.com - Full Article

February 9, 2014
By: Pippa Cuckson

Delegates largely backed proposals to clean up endurance at the one-day Fédération Equestre Internationale conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb. 9, but the Middle Eastern federations at the center of the doping and fractures scandals were absent.

FEI vice president John McEwen urged delegates to generalize when speaking, rebuffing Belgian national coach Pierre Arnould for not being “helpful” when he claimed that “90 percent of the problems are caused by the federations who are not here.”

But Arnould was backed by U.S. Chef d’Equipe Emmett Ross.

“What Pierre says is correct,” said Ross. “Most countries do the right thing. I spent 10 years in Group 7 [Middle East] and am proud of that. I have good friends there. We were teaching and learning. But we can’t avoid what’s going on there now. Where has our leadership been?

“The American Endurance Ride Conference is the largest organization in the world, with 973 races last year and 19,000 riders, and they are about the kick us [FEI endurance] out,” Ross continued. “We cannot afford to stage our own races.”

Ross also expressed fears about the sport’s apparent inability to control the four-star races. “When I spend thousands of dollars to shift six horses [to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France)] this summer I want to know there is more than one steward in a car supervising the field of play. That is not adequate...”

Read more here:
http://chronofhorse.com/article/middle-east-absent-fei-endurance-conference


February 10, 2014

FEI Conference delegates give positive response to Endurance strategic plan

FEI.org

9 Feb 2014

Delegates from 23 countries reached a broad consensus on the strategic plan for Endurance sport at the one-day Endurance conference in Lausanne (SUI) today.

The conference was attended by more than 70 delegates, with a total of 20 National Federations represented. Other bodies attending the conference were the European Equestrian Federation, World Horse Welfare, American Endurance Ride Conference and the Equine Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), as well as members of the media. FEI President HRH Princess Haya attended as an observer, along with members of the FEI Executive Board.

The morning session focused on feedback from the National Federations on the proposals outlined at the 2013 General Assembly in November 2013 by the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG).

Of the 47 National Federations involved in the sport, of which 33 run elite Endurance events, 20 Federations returned responses via the electronic survey, a further six sent additional comments. A team of veterinary surgeons also held its own scientifically based review and shared its views with the ESPG.

ESPG Chair Andrew Finding summarised the results from the survey, in which 32 of the Group’s 37 recommendations received an approval rating of over 80%.

“The consultation was never intended to be a referendum, it was designed to add value to the work we have been doing and vitally to give every National Federation an opportunity to comment,” he said. “Some decided to comment, many did not but every National Federation had an opportunity to do so.”

Andrew Finding pledged that every comment received would be addressed by the Group and, where appropriate, covered at the operational planning level. He also stated that the Group had recommended that members of the Endurance Committee should be tasked with a specific area of responsibility to cover each of the critical success factors outlined by the ESPG – culture and behaviour; structure and governance; foundation for growth, and communications and marketing.

His presentation then focused on the five recommendations that had a lower approval rating, but still in excess of 50%. These were the designation of Persons Responsible, and whether trainers should be included alongside riders, ride qualification standards, a trainers ranking list, awards for completions, and awards for officials. He also covered five other areas that National Federations had raised in their responses to the survey and which the ESPG felt had not been covered fully in its recommendations.

Debate during the day focused on the key areas of horse welfare; clean sport and the rules, which were widely accepted as fit for purpose; support for officials on enforcement of those rules; transparent and consistent reporting; the use of technology; rider competence and horsemanship; cost implications; sponsorship; the technicality of courses to help resolve speed-related issues; technical criteria during competitions; individual and team performance; and ensuring the long-term development of the sport.

There was also considerable discussion on the traditional Endurance rides, which are now being referred to as Classic Endurance riding, and Endurance Racing. There were mixed views on whether a different set of rules should be used, but it was generally agreed that the rules cover both elements.

Part of the afternoon’s session was devoted to establishing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which will be used to evaluate the success of the strategic plan.

During his summing up of the day’s proceedings, moderator John McEwen thanked Andrew Finding and the ESPG members for all their work. “This conference was to complete the work of the ESPG,” he said. “I want to thank them all individually and personally and Andrew for leading them.”

“Endurance sport has expanded thanks to the expansion in Group VII; we mustn’t lose sight of that expansion,” he continued. “How we handle the expansion of the sport is down to you and it’s important we handle that right for the future of the sport.

“You’ve all said that actually the structure and governance is in place. Yes we need to implement it in slightly different ways in certain aspects. We have the guidelines from the ESPG, which are extremely helpful in helping us to do that. I think the feeling in general is that we want this to remain one sport. I am passionate about this and I believe that we need to stay as one sport and that is only possible if people are open-minded and have wide vision.”

The ESPG will now use the input from today’s conference to finalise its report, which will be presented to the FEI Bureau for further consideration. The FEI Bureau and the Endurance Committee will report at a special session on Endurance at the FEI Sports Forum (28-29 April 2014) about the follow-up on the conclusions of the ESPG.

Notes to Editors:
The 20 National Federations represented at today’s conference were from Belgium, Botswana, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Italy, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, United States of America.

The FEI Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG), set up last year following the Endurance round table on 24 July, was tasked with creating a long-term plan for the discipline to tackle the issues currently being faced in Endurance. The ESPG is chaired by Andrew Finding, European Equestrian Federation Board Member and CEO of the British Equestrian Federation.

The members of the Group are veterinarian Brian Sheahan (AUS), chair of the FEI Endurance Committee; Joe Mattingley (USA), international Endurance rider; Saeed H Al Tayer (UAE), Vice President of the Dubai Equestrian Club and organiser of FEI World Endurance Championships; and veterinarian Jean-Louis Leclerc (FRA), an internationally respected and very successful chef d’équipe and team manager within the discipline.

Middle Eastern countries boycott International Equestrian Federation conference on endurance racing

Footage of multiple rule breaches in a 120km ride in Bahrain has provoked outrage and renewed concerns that Middle Eastern countries are not embracing the clean-up of endurance racing.

The footage was revealed on social media as stakeholders from the region boycotted the global conference called to debate the crisis in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The conference was the latest stage of the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) strategy to address doping and horse injuries in the high speed version of endurance practised by Middle Eastern countries, where stables owned by Sheikh Mohammed have been at the centre of scandals highlighted in the past 12 months.

But none of their member federations was present to hear about drastic proposals primarily aimed at them.

Read more...


February 9, 2014

Endurance: “I believe that we need to stay as one sport”

The FEI says there is a broad consensus among endurance nations on the future direction for the sport, but views are mixed are whether there should be different rules for the more aggressive distance racing which finds favour in the Middle East.

Delegates from 23 countries have met in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a one-day endurance conference, where they showed strong support for most of the recommendations for reform proposed by the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG), formed after several FEI member nations voiced concern about welfare issues and the worrying number of drug infractions in horses centred on Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain – all members of FEI regional group 7.

Read more...


January 14, 2014

FEI Plan To Clean Up Endurance Won’t Include A Change In Person Responsible

Chronofhorse.com - Full Article

January 14 2014
By: Pippa Cuckson

Andrew Finding, chairman of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group, has said there’s no intention to change the status of rider as the principal “person responsible” in doping and other disciplinary matters, as confusion has emerged ahead of the endurance conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb. 9.

Concern that trainers could be slated in preference to the rider is a strong theme of responses, circulated last week, to the ESPG’s drastic proposals to clean up endurance in the Middle East. Most consultees would oppose any such move, which was favored by ESPG member Saeed Al Tayer, a senior employee of Sheikh Mohammed, during his presentation at the Fédération Equestre Internationale Generaly Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, in November.

Many feel that making the trainer the PR would disadvantage the amateur sport in the rest of the world while reflecting circumstances that are unique to the Middle East. There, horses are trained out of large professional barns and mostly allocated to riders “on the day” who could hypothetically then be excused from doping violations...

Read more here:
http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/fei-plan-clean-endurance-won%E2%80%99t-include-change-person-responsible

Pressure mounts on FEI over endurance racing abuses in Middle East

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Leading equestrian nations increase pressure on the International Equestrian Federation to act over the abuse of horses in endurance racing in the Middle East

By Pippa Cuckson
14 Jan 2014

Leading equestrian nations have increased pressure on the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to act over the abuse of horses in endurance racing in the Middle East.

One senior figure has even called for endurance racing in the Middle East to be disowned by the FEI, while the national governing body of the sport in America is considering banning FEI competitions being hosted alongside national events – a common practice worldwide – if the crisis is not addressed this season.

Last summer, Princess Haya, president of the FEI, convened the Endurance Strategic Planning Group in response to mounting global outrage about doping and the number of horses suffering fatal or serious injuries. Endurance stables in the Middle East, particularly those owned by the world’s most powerful racehorse owner Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, were at the centre of horse-doping and injury scandals...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10572626/Pressure-mounts-on-FEI-over-endurance-racing-abuses-in-Middle-East.html#disqus_thread


January 11, 2014

AERC-I Responds to AERC Sponsorship Committee Motion Proposal

January 11 2014

AERC-I is the AERC liaison in the USA for FEI International Equine Endurance Rides. The group has responded to the AERC Sponsorship Committee's motion which proposes temporary suspension of concurrent FEI events with AERC rides.

This is continued fallout from the FEI Endurance Controversy and doping scandal that began last summer with the illegal seizure of "thousands of pounds" of illegal equine drugs seized from a private plane, and a subsequent raid of illegal veterinary drugs from Shaikh Mohammed's endurance Moorley Farm East in Newmarket, and the consequent exposure of endurance horse doping positives and deaths, particularly in the FEI Group VII are (which includes the Middle East and North Africa).

A complete history of the scandal can be reviewed here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/

Following is AERC-I's response to the AERC Sponsorship Committee Motion Proposal: (link here; letter is printed below)
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/AERC_I_ResponseToSponsorshipCommittee_Motion_Proposal.doc

AERC-I Response to Sponsorship Committee Motion Proposal

The International Committee of AERC vehemently opposes the Sponsorship Committee Motion Proposal to temporarily suspend sanctioning of FEI events, effective July 1, 2014.

Approval of this motion proposal would be a counter-productive method to effect the changes desired by AERC. A much better solution is for AERC to remain in its current active and positive role and thus retain its voice and strength to help direct the changes that will be made within FEI.

Approval of the motion would, in the first place, not effect the desired changes, and in the second place, have unintended negative consequences for AERC, all the while doing absolutely nothing to promote global horse welfare.

1. Approval of this motion would in no way effect changes desired within FEI.

• The US does not hold leverage over FEI, and US withdrawal from the FEI Endurance arena will not have the effect of coercing any action for positive change

• Withdrawal of the US from FEI will in fact destroy our credibility and our voice within International endurance. We currently have some of the most experienced and respected individuals we have ever had within our FEI framework, and we are poised to be able to have some actual, very positive, influence within the organization. Our current committee members, leaders, and our Chef d’Equipe will work with those representatives from other countries with similar opinions to our own, and our united voices will be heard within FEI. Withdrawal will take away our right to have a voice, our ability to be heard within the FEI arena, and will completely strip us of any ability to effect positive changes. It will also cause us to abandon our allies from other countries, thus weakening all of our collective voices.

• There is much concern over public perception and a negative image for the sport of endurance. This seems to be the major impetus driving the current controversy and motion proposal to separate AERC from FEI. The fact is that such a separation will NOT change any public perception. The supposed bad name of endurance will be out there, and the public will not make any distinction between AERC Endurance and FEI Endurance. The public will only see a negative perception. Therefore, and this is a very important point, the best way out of this maze for AERC is not to abandon the cause, but to stay in the fight, and to be a part of making the change from negative to positive public image! The same is true for actual horse welfare, above and beyond the public perception issue. Only by retaining a right to be heard and a right to shape the future of all Endurance around the world, can we genuinely say that we are horse welfare advocates.

• Radical activist groups will attack at their own whim, regardless of whether or not AERC is affiliated with FEI. If we divide ourselves, we stand ready to fall. United, we will prevail.

2. Approval of this motion would have unintended detrimental consequences for AERC.

• 100 mile rides: International member may only be 7% of the AERC membership population, but they are directly responsible for 42% of the 100 mile rides. At one time in AERC history, any ride shorter than 100 miles was not considered to be “endurance.” In this day and age, we are long removed from that sentiment, but there are some who still hold the opinion that the 100 mile ride is the Crown Jewel of our sport, and should be regarded as something worth preserving. Of the 14 100 mile rides on the US AERC calendar at the time of this writing, seven are dual-sanctioned with FEI. Of those seven rides, only one would exist without the dual-sanctioning. Most of these seven rides would never have been started without FEI, in the first place, and most of them would be in jeopardy without the FEI sanctioning, increased numbers of entries, and personnel support system that comes with FEI sanctioning. Of the ones in jeopardy, two are so dependent upon FEI riders for numbers of entries, the entire ride, all distances, would likely cease to exist. These two rides are the historic Biltmore ride, as well as the Pioneer ride FITS. Riders of all levels, not just those interested in International, will be negatively affected by the loss of FEI sanctioning. LD riders, 50 mile riders, and pioneer riders need to recognize how unalterably interwoven are all of our interests in this issue. Loss of FEI sanctioning would not just do away with half of our 100 mile rides, but would cause the loss of other distances available for everyone, as well.

• Financial impact: see above for loss of ride entries/per-rider fees/ride sanctioning fees. In addition, there would be a reduction of 75 mile rides, as the FEI star rating system has necessitated a resurgence of this intermediate distance.

• Unknown impact for insurance and drug testing programs, associated with USEF.

• Legal impact: AERC would not be upholding its affiliate responsibilities for USEF. In addition, AERC may be on rather murky legal grounds if they attempt to rescind ride sanctioning without good cause.

• Junior/Young Riders: International is a huge supporter of our youth riders. There is unprecedented financial and educational support and encouragement available for AERC youth riders within the FEI arena. Our Juniors and Young Riders have had opportunities to travel and compete in foreign countries, as well as to experience a higher level of championship competition on our own turf. FEI supports competitions exclusively for Juniors and Young Riders, and gives them their own level playing field, thus encouraging them to rise to better levels of global humanitarian perspectives, overall horsemanship and sportsmanship, and insightful personal achievement.

The AERC International Committee agrees that action must be taken to clean up the FEI house. This is not the issue in question. The contention lies with the method to be employed. Attempting to strong-arm the FEI by threatening our withdrawal if our criteria are not met is NOT the answer. Educating our membership as to the actual issues and supporting our very fine members who are in the debate representing us IS the answer. The Committee has much confidence in our representatives and in their abilities to work with representatives from other nations with similar strong ethics and beliefs to effect definite, positive, and timely change within FEI. Furthermore, USEF has such high regard for our representatives and their credentials, that Valerie Kanavy was just elected to the USEF Board of Directors representing the Non-Olympic disciplines, and Joe Mattingley was elected as the Chairperson of the International Disciplines Council.

The AERC International Committee feels very strongly that any careful consideration of the true issues at hand cannot lead to any conclusion other than that we and the horses and the sport we wish to honor and protect will be best served by putting forth a united voice. The consequences of division would be far-reaching, unforeseeable in totality, and potentially extremely damaging. The impetus for change within the FEI governing structure has reached a point of inevitability, and the opportunity for AERC to be an integral part of that change should be enthusiastically cultivated.


January 10, 2014

FEI Endurance Rules Changes in Effect in 9th Edition, 2014

A few changes were made to the FEI Endurance Rules, which took effect January 1 2014. The changes are as follows:

801 THE COURSE/*Field of Play:
801.8
The finish must be long and wide enough to enable several horses to finish at speed without interfering with each other , and must provide sufficient run - out to allow Athletes to safely come to a stop after crossing the finishing line in any potential sprint or gallop. It must be situated as close to the Vet Gate as possible.

1. The ‘field of play’ is defined as; the defined course (loops or phases), the defined crewing areas on course or within the vet gate, the vet examination area and the hold area at or within the vet gate. For Championships, there will be restricted access to the field of play as defined in the schedule.

2. The maximum number of grooms allowed within the vet gate will be 5 per horse to take into account availability of space or too ensure that the horse is allowed sufficient space to rest. A ccess to the vet gate and the vet gate examination area may be 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.

815.3 Mandatory Rest for Horses:
815.3.1
After competing in a CEI events, a horse must be given a mandatory minimum rest period, as defined, before it is again eligible to participate in a National or FEI competition (Rest Period commences at Midnight on the day that the ride finishes as denoted by the maximum ride time allowed and finishes at Midnight, the day before published ride start time):
Distance completed
start – 40 km - 5 days (retirement only)
start – 80 km - 12 days
Over 80 – 120 km - 19 days
Over 120 km-140 km - 26 days
Over 140 Km - 33 days

817.4 Teams and Individuals
817.4.1
Teams: If an NF starts three or more combinations all results are available to establish their Team result and are also eligible for individual classification and placing/awards. Only the highest placed three members shall count as the Team for classification and to receive a team medal. Should any combination whose result was available to count towards Team Classification, subsequently fail an FEI sampling procedure which results in the loss of that individual’s result(s) within the event, the classification of that entire team will become null and void. Such loss of Team classification will not affect the individual classification of the other members of that team. 825,4 CEI 1 & 2 Star Endurance Events
Where a Foreign FEI Official is required within the terms of Art. 825, such Foreign Official cannot be resident in the same country or time zone in which the event is taking place. See the complete 2014 9th Edition FEI Endurance Rules here:
Clean version: http://www.horsesport.org/sites/default/files/Endurance_Rules-2014-clean_11Nov2013.pdf
Mark-up version:
http://www.horsesport.org/sites/default/files/Endurance_Rules-2014-markup_11Nov2013_0.pdf


A Program for Welfare of the Endurance Horse

by Stagg Newman

A Program for Welfare of the Horse
An Open letter to the AERC BoD and Members

AERC in the past took the initial lead in establishing standards for endurance riding that promoted the welfare of the horse but has lost that leadership position as discussed below. AERC should reclaim the global leadership role for welfare of the horse in the sport of endurance. To do so AERC should undertake a comprehensive program to protect our horses that includes
-education,
-research, and
-rule changes

AERC is to be commended for past actions to protect the welfare of the horse. AERC was formed in the 1970s to provide protection for horses competing in endurance at a time when horse fatalities in endurance racing were common and there were no or minimal rules. AERC brought veterinary controls to the sport. The initial AERC rules fit on one piece of paper. Underlying those rules was an assumption that endurance riders were knowledgeable, experienced and responsible equestrians. Most endurance riders had grown up with horses. In the ‘80s as a result of a still unacceptable fatality rate, particularly experiences at the Tevis ride, some leaders in AERC started advocating for more stringent rules. Around 1990, AERC developed the current Fit to Continue criteria that became the global standard for vet checks in endurance competitions. In the 2000s AERC led the way in investigation and publication of horse fatalities, i.e. transparency. That is an admirable foundation.

However, we have not successfully reduced the fatality rate in the past 15 years. Moreover, the reality is AERC is no longer regarded globally as a leader in the sport, particularly with respect to protecting the welfare of the horse. Many other national and local organizations have taken stronger actions recently than AERC to protect our horses (see Appendix A).
Therefore, we need to ask – and demand an honest answer -- whether the original assumption that all AERC riders are knowledgeable, experienced and responsible equestrians is really valid. In fact, many endurance riders like this author did not grow up riding horses. Rather many of us started riding horses after we were well into our adult years and have learned to be equestrians as we did endurance rides.
The articles by Dr. Jerry Gillespie, Chair of the Research Committee, and Dr. Jay Mero, Chair of the Veterinary Committee, in the January EN make a strong case for why AERC needs to do more to protect the welfare of our horses.

So we now need to ask what more AERC needs to do. I would like to engage the membership in discussing this issue leading up to the AERC convention in Atlanta which appropriately this year has the theme “Horses First”.

First we need to acknowledge that endurance riding does bring increased risk to our horses. Olin Balch on the Research Committee has done an excellent job of analyzing the fatality record for the period of 2002 to 2012. I would recommend reading his one page report on the AERC web site. The following table from his report indicates the risk inherent in our sport.

Table 2 - Effect of ride length on fatalities: '02 – '12
All ridesLD's50 milers75 milers100 milers
Starts234,07288,358128,5364,3589,764
All fatalities801142120
Starts per fatality2,9268,0333,0384,358488
Exercise-related Fatalities*58934114
Starts per endurance related fatality4,0369,8183,7804,358697

*Exercise-related deaths are those associated with the exercise demands of the sport such as with metabolic disease induced by the demands of endurance riding. Non-exercise-related deaths include but were not limited to falls off trails, vehicle collisions, nighttime corral escapes, coincidental colics, sudden exsanguinations, and an enterolith obstruction of the colon.

As two reference points to compare to this table use the following:
1. for horses in the general equine population, in the 5 to 20 age category over a two day period the data available indicates an expectation of about 1 fatality per 14,000 horses.
2. for horses entered in flat track dirt racing in the U.S., the data available indicates an expectation of about 1 fatality per 588 starts.

An oversimplification of the statistical implications of this is that a horse incurs about a 5 fold increase in risk as a result of entering an endurance competition compared to staying at home. Horses entering a 100-mile competition are at similar risk of dying as a result of going to and entering the event as a horse entering a flat track race in the U.S. For this author who has focused on and completed well over 50 100-mile competitions, this was a sobering statistic.

So we need to ask what we can do to mitigate this risk.
We should analyze steps that our sport can take to improve the welfare of the horse and mitigate risks in three areas:
I. Horse and Rider Qualification
II. Ride Design
III. Veterinary Control

Appendix A provides examples from either local organizations (e.g. the Western States Trail Ride, aka Tevis) or national organizations of other countries (their equivalent of AERC) of controls that have been implemented to improve the welfare of the horses. These examples are given to initiate discussion and not necessarily to advocate for these ideas. Each idea needs to be analyzed on its merits and applicability for AERC.

We in AERC should compile a far more complete list of ideas from
-the ideas of our membership
-the practices of other local and national organizations
-a survey of the research literature including the work of the AERC Research Committee

These ideas can form the basic input for developing a long term program of education, research, and improved rules for the welfare of the horse. The author understands that a set of near term actions is being considered by the Vet Committee and the Research Committee and commends that effort. This effort is intended to complement that effort to create an on-going program that improves the welfare of our horses.

Stagg Newman
AERC Member 6477
Past President of AERC

Appendix A – Early Draft
Local and National Endurance Organization Rules to Promote the Welfare of the Horse
Examples – not a complete list
The following list is intended to stimulate discussion. The author is not advocating for these ideas per se nor against them.
I. Horse and Ride Qualification Rules
A. Australia
From http://www.aera.asn.au/

R3 Novice Rider
3.1 A person is deemed to be a novice rider until the requirements of the following sub-rules have been complied with:
a) The person must successfully complete two affiliated training rides before entering an affiliated endurance ride as a novice rider. Logbook(s) or vet cards must be presented to prove completion.
b) The novice rider must then enter a sufficient number of affiliated endurance rides as a novice rider to successfully complete 240 kilometres at any time and in any riding section (excluding training rides). Logbook(s) must be presented to substantiate the distance completed.
3.1 When the requirements of the above rule have been complied with, the person will be issued with a standard Membership Card by the State Management Committee.
3.2 Pending receipt of the standard Membership Card the person may enter any affiliated endurance ride and is not required to enter as a novice rider, provided they show sufficient proof by presenting Logbooks as referred to above with their novice rider endorsed Membership Card.
3.3 A novice rider must not be entered in an affiliated endurance ride when the total distance of the ride is more than 120 kilometres to be ridden in one day.
3.4 Novice riders must attend the pre-ride briefing and will not be permitted to participate in the ride if they have not attended.
3.5 The minimum riding time for all novice riders in each leg of an endurance ride shall comply with one of the following:
a) shall comply with a minimum riding time determined by the ride committee in consultation with the Chief Steward and Head Veterinarian. The minimum riding time shall be calculated by dividing the distance of the ride or leg by 14 km/h or less;
b) shall ride behind a pace rider as defined in the TRAINING RIDE RULES. The pace rider shall not complete the distance of any riding leg in a time less than that as determined in R.3.6a) above.
Endurance Rider
4.1 An endurance rider is a member who has successfully completed 240 kilometres as a novice rider and been issued a standard Membership Card and who has not been reduced to novice status by any provision of a rule.

B. Brazil
Brazil now requires several novice (LD level) competitions before a horse can compete in an open level competition (details to be supplied later)

C. Great Britain
Endurance Great Britain (EGB) requires horses and riders to compete at a novice (30-50 km) before they can move to the open level (equivalent to endurance riders of 50 miles or more in the U.S.)
From http://www.endurancegb.co.uk/html/novice.html

Novice Level Riders and Ride Rules
The minimum age for any horse to take part in a Graded Endurance Ride (GER) is 5 years. The age of a horse is deemed to change on 1st January of the current year irrespective of the actual birth date during that year A Novice horse aged 5 and in its first season may only compete at Novice Level. All Novice horses in their first season may not start in more than ten Graded Endurance Rides (GERs) and must only start rides to a maximum distance of 450km whether or not the rides are completed successfully. A horse presented to the pre-ride veterinary inspection is considered to have started the ride.
Rides available to Novice Horse/Rider combinations are from 30-50km and are to be completed at between 8-15kph.
A Novice Level horse aged 6 yrs or over in its first season may complete Open qualification ready to compete at Advanced level from the start of its second season - providing the maximum distance is not exceeded.
A horse and rider must compete at the lowest qualification for the combination. For example, an Open Level rider riding a Novice Level horse can only compete at Novice Level.
First season horses may complete their novice and open qualifications, providing age requirements are satisfied. They must not upgrade or compete at advanced level within one season.
However riders may progress to Advanced Level within one season.

Minimum Requirements for Novice Horse or Rider to Progress to Open Level

Minimum age of horseRide TypesMinimum No of Successful CompletionsDistance km +/-5%Conditions
5GER (Graded Endurance Rides)330-50None (rides may be completed in any order of distance)

Horses may not compete in Open GERs until they are 6years old.
Furthermore EGB has additional requirement to compete at open rides of 65-80 km before horses or riders can advance to the advanced level.
From http://www.endurancegb.co.uk/html/open.html
A first season horse, which has completed qualification to Open, may not start GERs exceeding a total distance of 450km during that season.
Rides available to Open Horse/Rider combinations are GERs of up to 90km in one day or a maximum of 130km over two consecutive days. The rides should be ridden at speeds between 10-18kph.
However, an Open Level horse/rider combination may, if they wish enter a Novice class. When an Open level horse and rider enter a Novice class this must be indicated clearly at the top of the vet sheet prior to presenting for vetting. Failure to do so may result in the horse being classified as Open/Advanced. If an Open level horse enters a novice class then it will not receive grading points – only distance points will be awarded.
The speed parameters in a Novice class are 8-15kph. If entering a Pleasure Ride (PR) the speed parameters are 8-12kph.

Minimum Requirements for Open Level Horse or Rider to Progress to Advanced

Minimum age of horseRide TypesMinimum No f Successful CompletionsDistance mms (+/-5%)Conditions
6GER265-80kmAt least one must be 80 km in one day

D. Tevis
The Western States 100 mile ride, the foundation ride of our sport now has explicit rider qualifications and strong recommendations on horse qualifications.
From http://www.teviscup.org/

“Riders must be qualified by having completed a minimum number of sanctioned distance riding miles. You are qualified if, at the time of application, you have completed at least 300 cumulative lifetime miles of competition in AERC, NATRC, or competitive rides of 50 miles or longer approved as equivalent by WSTF ride management, or you have completed the Tevis Cup Ride. Riders fully completing the Tevis Educational Ride and Seminars will be given credit for 150 miles for a two day ride and 75 miles for a one day ride toward the 300 mile requirement. The Veterinary Committee of the Western States Trail Ride strongly recommends that horses entered in the Ride have at least 300 miles of completed distance competition in events of 50 miles or longer.

II. Ride Design
A. Australia
THE FOLLOWING vet-gate-into-hold GUIDELINES HAVE BEEN ADOPTED TO PROTECT THE WELFARE OF THE HORSE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THAT VET-GATE-INTO-HOLD VET CHECKS ARE RUN IN CONJUNCTION WITH SHORTER LEG LENGTHS. AS THE HORSE IS PRESENTED TO THE VET IN A MUCH SHORTER TIME-FRAME THAN UNDER NORMAL VET CHECK STANDARDS, THE ASSESSMENT OF THE METABOLIC STATUS OF THE HORSE IS CONSIDERABLY MORE DIFFICULT.
12.1 The heart rate is to be set no higher than a maximum of 60 beats per minute, unless run in conjunction with an FEI ride as per Rule V9.
12.2 Rides of 119 kilometres or less should have a minimum of 3 legs if vet-gate-into-hold procedures are to be used. The last leg should be shorter in distance and of lesser intensity where possible.
12.3 Rides of 120 kilometres to less than 160kilometres should have a minimum of 4 legs if vet-gate-into-hold procedures are to be used. The last two legs should be shorter in distance and of lesser intensity, where possible.
12.4 Rides of 160 kilometres are to have a minimum of 5 legs if vet-gate-into-hold procedures are to be used. The last two legs should be shorter in distance and of lesser intensity, where possible.

From http://www.aera.asn.au/

B. Brazil
Brazil now has a standard that all holds must be a minimum of 40 minutes so horses can rehydrate and get nourishment.
C. Biltmore Challenge
The Biltmore Challenge has the ride finish line 1.2 miles away from camp in large field for safe area for race at finish away from all dirt roads that could have car traffic.
D. Vermont
The Vermont rides now frequently require a 10 to 15 minute mandatory hold between 10 and 15 miles out for horses to have an opportunity to rehydrate. This also breaks the early race brain mentality for excitable horses.
E. Research from Canada by Drs. Lindinger and Ecker (need to get more precise details and references)
-the sweat loss early in a ride has a much heavier concentration of electrolytes and thus is far more detrimental to a horse
-horses need to have an opportunity to rehydrate within the first 16 miles or so of the start of the ride to avoid getting into a substantive hydration deficit situations. Moreover horses should as the ride goes beyond the 30 miles mark or so accumulate at least 2 minutes of hold time for each mile of trail covered.

III. Veterinary Control
A. Australia -
From http://www.aera.asn.au/
13.1 The following guidelines are to ensure horse welfare issues can always be dealt with, especially where horses are required to be treated during a ride.
13.2 For all rides with a standard 30 minute veterinary check there should be a minimum of two veterinarians for up to 60 horses. For each additional 30 horses, another veterinarian should be provided.
13.3 For vet-gate-into-hold rides, the recommended ratio is one veterinarian per 15 horses.
13.4 For rides of 120 kilometres or more, a separate additional treatment veterinarian is required, present at the ride base. Note that these ratios do not necessarily apply to the pre-ride vet check.

January 7, 2014

IAEJ Announce Winner Of 2013 Bureau Award: Pippa Cuckson (GBR) for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism

Equijournalists.com

The International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists (IAEJ) has announced today that British journalist Pippa Cuckson has been awarded the 2013 Bureau Award, which is decided by members of the IAEJ Bureau. Cuckson has long been a credit to her profession but it is her intrepid reporting of the scandal surrounding the endurance sport in the Middle East for which the Bureau wishes to recognize her with the award for 2013.

Established in 2012, the award was created to honor members of the equestrian community for outstanding contributions to the industry. George H Morris was the inaugural recipient.

Cuckson has boundless enthusiasm for getting to the heart of the matter while always adhering to the principles of journalism. Having started out in newspapers, she spent 20 years on the editorial team at Horse & Hound, latterly as deputy editor. Following a seven year break working in the racing industry, Cuckson resumed journalism as a freelance in 2009, contributing regularly to The Daily Telegraph, H&H, Horse Sport International and Chronicle of the Horse. She is also a frequent contributor to Country Life writing on a range of topics, notably classical music and renewable energy, the latter for which she was recently presented with a journalism award by leading UK political weekly, The Spectator.

Cuckson’s concern about the high rate of horse fatalities, injuries and doping cases in Middle East Endurance, goes back to the late 1990s, when she was deputy editor of Horse & Hound. In April 2012 she attended the endurance debate at the FEI open forum and made the salutary discovery that things had become significantly worse in the last decade. She reported the debate in a number of publications but then began to dig deeper. “Largely though, I was unable to interest anyone in stories about it, firstly because of the distraction of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and also the reluctance, fear even, of critics to go on the record,” says Cuckson. “This is still a factor now. A number of key stories circulating on the internet still have not had the proper scrutiny they deserve in mainstream publications.”

Finally, a window of opportunity came in April 2013 with the doping scandal at Godolphin.

“A number of racing media were looking for connections between Sheikh Mohammed’s racing and endurance operations, because his disgraced Godolphin trainer, Al Zarooni, had previously worked in an endurance stable run by trainer Mubarak Bin Shafya who is well known to the FEI Tribunal,” explains Cuckson. “I then spent four solid days reading every single FEI Tribunal report involving the UAE, and tortuously tracking who owned the horses through the FEI database and national federation website. The sheer weight of doping cases from stables owned by Sheikh Mohammed or other members of his immediate family was astonishing.”

Timing is everything. Just as Cuckson was coming to grips with the enormity of the problem and the implications for horse welfare, the Belgian and Swiss Federations were intensifying their lobbying of the FEI. “I wrote a piece for the Daily Telegraph pulling the various strands together and it has snowballed from there.”

Cuckson does not view her commitment to this issue as a crusade.

“I am just doing what any news reporter ought to be doing, because this issue provides a snapshot of the two issues that will ultimately destroy equestrian sport as we know it – our responsibilities to horses when we use them as a piece of sporting machinery; and how the moral compass of stakeholders seizes up when they get a sniff of big money.”

Cuckson will be presented with the award at the IAEJ General Meeting during 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.


January 4, 2014

US National Endurance Organization Feels the Heat

January 4 2013

by Merri Melde - Endurance.net

The FEI Endurance Controversy regarding positive horse dopings and deaths which caused a world-wide uproar beginning in the summer of 2013, is trickling down to the foundations of the sport, which originated in the USA in 1955 with the birth of the 100-mile Tevis Cup in California.

The raging international controversy has inspired much consternation and reform demands by many nations outside the FEI Group VII area (which includes the Middle East and North Africa), from where most of the violations have originated.

Due to the public outcry, an Endurance Strategic Planning Group was formed to meet during the November 2013 FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland. This group set forth proposals designed to address the contentious issues in international Endurance, particularly the incidences of doping and injuries, and misconduct of officials.

While it is a step in the right direction, many feel the FEI is moving far too slowly in dealing with the crises, and repercussions may spill out into non-FEI-related endurance riding.

In the USA, the AERC - American Endurance Ride Conference - is currently recognized as the "affiliated endurance organization" by USEF - United States Equestrian Federation, the USA Federation member of FEI. AERC is to encourage and promote the direction of growth of the endurance discipline.

AERC and its members have been swept up into the FEI debate, worrying that the current state of the FEI sport of endurance racing has tainted the original idea of the sport of endurance riding, and will negatively affect its existence in the USA.

AERC was founded in 1972 "as the national governing body for long distance riding. Over the years it has developed a set of rules and guidelines designed to provide a standardized format and strict veterinary controls." Part of AERC's mission statement is to "attract and reward members who act to insure the highest priority for their horses' immediate and long-term physical and emotional health and well-being." Many feel FEI endurance racing has become the antithesis of this mission statement.

While all of AERC members who have voiced opinions agree that the FEI rule infractions are wrong and unacceptable, they are divided on whether or not AERC should completely divorce itself from FEI, or to try to use its influence and its reputation as promoting endurance horse welfare to improve the situation. Only about 6.3% of the AERC membership are also FEI members.

While members on one side of the debate insist that AERC can have a good influence on FEI, members on the other end of the spectrum argue that AERC never has and never will have any influence on FEI, and that the bad press, the breaking of and blatant disregard for FEI rules in Middle Eastern countries, and the drugging and deaths of endurance horses will blanket the AERC organization in America and paint them with the same brush.

AERC originally responded to the FEI Endurance controversy with a letter to USEF in June of 2012, voicing strong alarm "in regard to profoundly disturbing evidence of deficiencies in horse welfare issues, including an increase in equine fatalities, orthopedic injuries and serious drug violations." The letter urged USEF to submit a letter to FEI regarding these concerns.

AERC followed up with recommendations to ESPG's proposals on December 19, 2013, including demanding FEI's commitment to change, transparency of equine fatalities, major penalties for rule-breakers, extensive drug testing at major competitions, limited competitors per team, and disciplinary action for rule infractions.

The AERC Sponsorship Committee, chaired by AERC Board Member Randy Eiland, has now offered a motion for discussion, which proposes temporary suspension of concurrent FEI events with AERC rides. In part, it states: "If FEI has not incorporated enforcement of the policies approved by AERC in its December, 2013 Letter to FEI, on or before June 30, 2014 then on July 1, 2014 AERC will decline sanctioning of rides that intend to hold an FEI event concurrently with the AERC event. This action by AERC will be rescinded when either 1) FEI accepts and begins enforcement of the policies found in Exhibit “A”; or 2) FEI begins enforcement of policies that are acceptable to AERC. "

The complete proposal can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/AERC_Motion_Proposal_Jan2014.doc

A complete recap of the news regarding the FEI Endurance Controversy over the last year can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/index.html


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/12/29/ecuadorian-rider-warned-horse-owner-banned-doping-case/#axzz2oz8GZfxQ


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:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/tougher-bans-riders-way/#tGpGH1mFCggQ5jqI.99


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:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2013/11/26/important-changes-to-usef-and-fei-drugs-medications-rules-for-competition-horses-will-affect-the-2014-competition-year/


December 8

Two more doping cases under the UAE's belt

Endurance-belgium.com

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
160km-results
120YR-results


December 4

The ESPG proposals... Why will that not work

Endurance-belgium.com

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

Endurance-belgium.com

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10492792/Leading-French-rider-Morgane-Payen-claims-she-was-offered-12400-for-her-mobile-phone.html?fb


December 3

Would the Accused Stand


Endurance-belgium.com
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

Endurance-belgium.com

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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/29/bureaucracy-will-clean-endurance/#.UpkXSmRDtLU


November 27

Endurance Strategic Planning Group seeks National Federations agreement for proposals

FEI.org

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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/26/endurance-group-feedback-measures/#axzz2llZ40e6B

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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/26/stricter-access-endurance-courses-support-crew-proposed/#axzz2llZ40e6B


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
https://secure.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Pour_la_preservation_des_chevaux_de_courses_dendurancefor_the_preservation_of_the_endurance_horses/?copy

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10455028/American-Endurance-Ride-Conference-deeply-troubled-with-equestrian-world-governing-body.html


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/21/fei-presidency-smoke-mirrors-montreux/#axzz2lOADSimS


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:
http://www.horsereporter.com/?p=8245


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:
http://www.horsesportinternational.com/2013/11/pippa-cuckson-guest-blogger/


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 Plan
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:
http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2013/11/07/pleas-princess-haya-stand-third-term

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:
http://eventingnation.com/home/fei-vs-reality-lets-break-it-down.html

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/10431700/FEIs-general-assembly-proposes-hard-hitting-measures-against-endurance-riders-who-cause-injury-to-their-horses.html


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/06/endurance-singled-out-suggests-danish-official/#axzz2jpaMd7tM


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:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/Crandell.html

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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/04/endurance-controversy-showtime/#axzz2jgthCO4s


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
http://endurance-belgium.com/


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/11/01/endurance-horsesmonitored-training/#axzz2jP4liT8F


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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10415930/Drastic-action-planned-to-protect-horses-and-crack-down-on-crisis-in-endurance-racing.html

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:
http://www.horsenation.com/2013/10/30/fei-eff-up-posterchild-for-endurance-doping-featured-on-weg-poster/


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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10410319/Equestrian-bodies-under-attack-for-failing-to-respond-quickly-enough-over-horse-welfare.html


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/10/28/endurance-rider-banned-steroid-breach/#axzz2j1hpLdOI



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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10406385/Endurance-racing-left-reeling-as-Mohammed-Ali-Al-Shafar-is-banned-after-latest-positive-doping-test.html

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:
http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2013/10/23/sport-endurance-crisis

Sport is not about driving horses to their deaths

Dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

By MARTIN SAMUEL
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:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2472492/MARTIN-SAMUEL-Sport-driving-horses-deaths.html


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/10/21/fei-endurance-problems-haya/#axzz2iMpGR9UL

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:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/uae-horse-dies-in-120km-race/

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10393474/Princess-Haya-says-equestrianism-is-working-hard-to-stamp-out-doping-and-welfare-issues-endurance.html


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:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/10/19/trouble-fei-playground-arnould-on-report/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trouble-fei-playground-arnould-on-report#.UmKcgyQd4qy



DubaiGate - October 19

http://endurance-belgium.com/

---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


Endurance-belgium.com

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/10388754/FEI-are-working-to-address-doping-and-horse-deaths-in-endurance-racing-says-Ingmar-De-Vos.html

FEI Secretary General reacts to Endurance Committee member’s statement

FEI.org

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/10384375/Doping-issues-and-horse-deaths-may-lead-to-ban-on-endurance-racing-warns-Pierre-Arnould.html


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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/10357456/FEI-clamps-down-on-unauthorised-medicating-of-horses-during-competition.html


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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/10348317/International-Equestrian-Federation-to-introduce-injury-surveillance-system-over-allegations-of-horse-deaths.html

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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/10346444/Sheikh-Mohammed-under-further-scrutiny-as-trainer-banned-for-doping-continues-to-work-in-his-Dubai-stables.html


September 30

Sheik Mohammed suffers more shame as Dubai drug scandal grows

Dailymail.co.uk - Full Article

By MARCUS TOWNEND
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:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-2440411/Sheik-Mohammed-suffers-shame-Dubai-drug-scandal-grows.html?ito=feeds-newsxml


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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/10345923/Revealed-the-equine-drugs-seized-by-police-on-Sheikh-Mohammeds-Dubai-government-jet.html

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

By JAMES RUSH
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:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2438560/Scandal-hit-racehorse-owner-Sheikh-Mohammed-orders-probe-banned-equine-drugs-board-Dubai-government-private-jet.html

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

Dailymail.co.uk

- 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:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-2438614/Sheik-Mohammeds-reputation-takes-almighty-hit.html?ico=sport%5Eheadlines


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:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2013/sep/29/bha-sheikh-mohammed-drugs


September 25

GreatStatement from FEI President HRH Princess Haya on FEI Governance

FEI PRESS RELEASE
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:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/10318497/Princess-Haya-of-Jordan-faces-fight-to-continue-as-FEI-president-due-to-Sheikh-Mohammed-conflict-of-interest.html


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:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/sheikh-mohammed-rogue-trainers-2271812


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:
http://www.racingpost.com/news/horse-racing/nothing-sinister-in-drugs-seizure-says-endurance-trainer/1528353/top/#newsArchiveTabs=last7DaysNews


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:
http://www.racingpost.com/news/horse-racing/sheikh-mohammed-unauthorised-medicines-seized-at-sheikhs-stud/1527628/#newsArchiveTabs=last7DaysNews

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:
http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/80589/meds-seized-at-sheikhs-farm-overseas


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:
http://dgkelly84.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/raided-moorley-farm-east-newmarket-dopinginsport/


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:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/illegal-drugs-seized-at-stansted-airport/#JO0ESwiJ222OfFyE.99