Tuesday, May 11, 2021

UAE Breach of Foreign Rider Rules ‘Knowing and Deliberate’: CAS

HorseSport.com - Full Article

CAS partially dismisses appeal against suspension, leaving race promoters to pay the FEI over $1m in fines and organisers’ dues.

By: Pippa Cuckson | May 10, 2021

The United Arab Emirates committed a “severe” violation of FEI rules by running two premier endurance races as national events last winter, in a “knowing and deliberate” response to the robust new FEI endurance rules.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an appeal against last fall’s suspension of the UAE federation by the FEI. The appeal was lodged jointly by the UAE federation and the organisers of the two races, Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) and the Emirates International Endurance Village (EIEV) in Abu Dhabi.

While CAS reduced some of the sanctions, this still leaves ride organisers having to pay the FEI a total of CHF 887,448 (CAN $ 1,194613) in fines and organising dues.

CAS’s operative decision was announced earlier this year but its full reasoning has only recently been published.

Last September the FEI Board suspended the UAE following an investigation into the 160km Sheikh Mohammed Cup at DEC in January 2020 and 160km President’s Cup at EIEV in February 2020. These races should have been have been staged (as previously) as International Endurance Events (CEIs) because the foreign riders far exceeded the quota permitted CENs are limited to four National Federations (NFs) and/or no more than 15 foreign athletes aside from “athletes living outside their country of nationality.” Investigators Bird & Bird LLP found that 93 foreign riders from 24 different countries participated in the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and 88 from 21 in the 2020 President’s Cup...

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Pisa Becomes Global with the Longines FEI Endurance World Championship 2021

EWC2021.com - Full Article

8 May 2021 – Two weeks before the start of the Longines FEI Endurance World Championship 2021, planned for May 22nd at San Rossore in Pisa, the chefs d’équipe of the Federations of the countries competing made official the names of the horses and riders (56% men and 44% women) who will compete over the 160 kilometres of the course created inside the San Rossore Estate. Representing all 5 continents, there will be 32 countries of which 13 also competing for the team titles, ready at the start at 7am on Pisa’s racecourse.


The definitive entries sent by the various National Federations have confirmed the top level of competitors taking part in the Longines FEI Endurance World Championship 2021. Most attention will be concentrated on the current world champion, Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs, riding to defend the title he won in 2016 in Samorin (Slovakia). He will be challenged by the best riders in the world, first among them his wife Maria Alvarez Ponton, World Champion in 2008 in Terengganu (Malesia) and in 2010 in Lexington (United States). Spain’s Alex Luque Moral and Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa (Bahrain), respectively Silver and Bronze medallists at the 2016 World Championships in Samorin are also hot favourites.


Pisa and Tuscany are preparing to welcome delegations from Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Oman, Portugal, REF, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America and Uruguay...

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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

CAS upholds athlete appeal against 20-year horse abuse sanction


4 May 2021

The FEI Tribunal’s 20-year suspension of UAE Endurance athlete Sh Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal Al Qasimi has been overruled on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In its decision, the CAS has eliminated all sanctions, ruling that in its view the burden of proof of horse abuse had not been sufficiently met by the FEI.

The initial FEI Tribunal ruling involved the horse Castlebar Contraband, ridden by Sh Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal Al Qasimi at the CE1* in Fontainebleau (FRA) on 15 October 2016. The horse suffered an open fracture to its front right cannon bone during the event and had to be euthanised.

Blood samples collected from the horse post mortem revealed the presence of the Controlled Medication Substance Xylazine, which is used as a sedative, analgesic and muscle relaxant but is prohibited in competition. The substance, which is rapidly excreted from the body, is known to be used in Endurance to lower the heart rate. No valid Veterinary Form, the equine equivalent of a Therapeutic Use Exemption, exists for this Substance.

The FEI Tribunal accepted the explanation of the Treating Veterinarian who performed the euthanasia that she had followed the standard protocol, which did not include the use of Xylazine, refuting the claim by the defendant’s legal team that Xylazine had been used in the euthanasia process.

The post mortem report revealed the appearance of multiple lesions with a highly targeted location, consistent with recent injections, which the FEI stated demonstrated that the horse had been nerve blocked (desensitised) in training, and both before and during the competition. The FEI’s view was that this desensitisation, in combination with osteoarthritis in the right front fetlock joint, resulted in stress fractures that ultimately caused the catastrophic injury.

In his report for both FEI Tribunal and CAS proceedings and during cross-examination, FEI Veterinary Director Dr Göran Åkerström stated that nerve blocking removes the “very fundamental protective function of sensitivity” and increases the risk of catastrophic injury. This is especially relevant for fractures that are due to bone fatigue (stress fractures) as a horse will not show any signs of pain, such as lameness, while under the influence of an injected substance.

In its decision, the CAS Panel stated that neither the athlete nor his Veterinarian could have “reasonably detected” alleged bone fatigue in the horse. Despite extensive veterinary evidence presented by the FEI and its expert witnesses, the CAS Panel found that there was no proof that the horse had been nerve blocked or abnormally desensitised in competition.

The CAS Panel stated that as the horse had passed the horse inspection the day before the event and had also passed the veterinary checks at the Vet Gates during the competition, it could not be ruled as being unfit to compete. The Panel ruled that the FEI had failed to establish that the athlete competed on an exhausted, lame or injured horse or committed “an action or omission which caused or was likely to cause pain or unnecessary discomfort to a horse”.

As a result, the CAS Panel found that the athlete had not committed a violation of Article 142.1 of the FEI General Regulations and that, therefore, no sanctions for abuse of horse could be imposed. The Panel ruled all findings and sanctions imposed by the FEI Tribunal to be “ill founded” and ordered that they be set aside.

The CAS Panel noted “while it is true that circumstantial evidence may have some probative value, the fact remains that, in a case such as the present, which concerns severe allegations of abuse of horse that may, if established, entail heavy sanctions for the Appellant, there must be cogent evidence establishing the commission of the alleged rule violation”.

“Although we respect the CAS decision, we are extremely disappointed”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The FEI has to stand up for horse welfare and clamp down on horse abuse, so to lose this case on appeal is more than disheartening. The FEI believed that this was an important case to prosecute in order to protect horse welfare, and the FEI Endurance Rules have been further improved from a welfare perspective since this 2016 case. However, the CAS Panel has been clear that they feel that there was insufficient substantive evidence for them to uphold the sanctions imposed by the FEI Tribunal.

“The FEI will of course continue to investigate and prosecute horse abuse cases and we will also work hard to ensure that this CAS decision does not discourage third parties from bringing horse abuse cases forward to the FEI. We need to work together to ensure that those who abuse horses are brought to justice, but we also need to ensure that we have solid and irrefutable evidence.”

The FEI Veterinary Director, who was an expert witness in both the FEI Tribunal and CAS proceedings, was also disappointed with the result. “We are incredibly frustrated to have lost this CAS appeal, especially as the catastrophic injury to this horse involved a combination of risk factors that ultimately led to its death”, Dr Åkerström said.

“But this particular case was one of the main drivers for the development of the FEI Hyposensitivity Control System, which provides physical evidence of nerve blocking, something that was virtually impossible previously. So while the CAS decision sadly does not provide justice for this individual horse, it has resulted in a system that is already being used and which will help prevent similar tragic injuries in the future.”

The CAS decision is published here.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Italy: FEI Technical meeting in San Rossore for World Endurance Championship


28 April 2021 – A FEI technical meeting was held today at San Rossore racecourse, in Pisa, in view of the Longines FEI Endurance World Championship 2021.

The meeting was attended by the event director of the World Championship, Irishman Brian Colin Dunn, Franco Pitti, assistant to the FEI technical delegate Sharon Du Plessis, Mimmo Fratini, race track setter, Wolfgand Schindle of Sport Traxx, a company dealing with race track tracking via GPS, Andrea Miglio, TV director of the event, Luca Ferretti, building manager and Claire Barone, responsible for the management of the COVID protocol.

During the meeting, the reconnaissance and GPS survey of the race track took place, all the procedures for the arrival of the horses and the subsequent stabling were discussed, as well as the verification of the Field of Play and all the facilities for the horses and riders who will take part in the race on May 22.

Today’s meeting was also an opportunity to share with all those present the programme for the days of the World Championship, from the moment the delegations from the 35 participating countries arrive in San Rossore and enter the venue, to ensure maximum health safety, in compliance with the regulations in force to fight the spreading of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the perfect success of the event.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Entries from 35 countries for world endurance champs

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

April 24, 2021

Nominations for the 2021 Longines FEI Endurance World Championships in San Rossore, Italy, have closed with riders from 35 nations declaring their intention to compete.

Iraq will also field a national team for the first time.

The San Rossore venue, the historic home of racing in Italy, previously hosted the FEI European Endurance Championship for Junior and Young Riders in San Rossore in 2018 and, in 2019, the FEI World Endurance Championship for Junior and Young Riders and the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Endurance GB confirms Covid-19 restrictions force abandonment of British entry at World Championship


Web Admin
19 April 2021

Press Release re World Championship

Endurance GB confirms Covid-19 restrictions force abandonment of British entry at World Championships

• Longines FEI Endurance World Championship 2021 scheduled to take place in Pisa, Italy on 22nd May
• Nominated entries close for event close on 21st April
• Tough decision to abandon British entry based on current Covid guidance and interests of safety of team and officials says Chair of Endurance GB
• Home Internationals 2021 set to be delayed to later in season

Endurance GB has announced that it is abandoning plans to send a British team to the Longines FEI Endurance World Championship scheduled to take place in Pisa, Italy on 22nd May.

"The absence of clear steps towards travel both into and out of the UK for a sport not designated as 'elite' for the purposes of the UK Covid Regulations means that riders have to abide by the rules currently applying to international travel for holiday makers and while the earliest possible date for foreign travel was previously given as 17th May, timings have not been confirmed. Uncertainties around a traffic light system set to be announced in early May involving as a minimum, testing for travel to green light countries but with a 10-day quarantine for countries on the amber and red list, have also played into the decision.

Four qualified riders from Great Britain had hoped to the go to the Championships; USA-based Carmine Villani, who is ranked number one in the world, along with three members of the 2019 European Championship squad Nicki Thorne, Rachael Atkinson and Annette Masterson.

Endurance GB Chair Phil Nunnerley said: “The challenges of travel restrictions both into and out of the UK for a sport not recognised in the UK as elite and concerns for the well-being of riders, officials and crew, travelling to an area still facing its own tight restrictions in the face of the continuing number of COVID cases, have led to this very disappointing but perhaps inevitable conclusion. With the earliest possible date for foreign travel being 17th May leaving a window of just five days before the competition, as well as the likely traffic light status of the region hosting the championships, have given us no alternative.”

Rosemary Attfield, Chair of Endurance GB’s International Committee said: “We have been monitoring the situation in close contact with our riders throughout the winter and we have been ever hopeful but finally all arrived at the same conclusion that team representation at these championships was impossible.

“All being well with COVID restrictions lifted, we will be fielding a team for the FEI European Championships at Ermelo in The Netherlands, starting on 6th September. We will be planning to send five senior riders with their Chef D’Equipe, Fiona Bloom and her management team.”

Riders and horses up for selection who are already qualified for the European Championships in September are; Kate Atkinson (DNS Ronaldo), Rachael Atkinson (Tannasg Psyches Realm), Annette Masterson (Shoshana), Sarah Rogerson (Warrens Hill Rubyn), Nikki Thorne (Kamillcia) and Carmine Villani (Nigel and Najar Ruspine plus others residing in the USA).

A further five combinations require just one more successful three star completion before 5 July for consideration for team selection. They are James Dickinson (Magdy), Chris Wray (Peponi), Nikki Malcolm (Oso Spirraling Wind), Laura Graham (Warrens Hill Farrah), and Fiona Griffith (Balishla) with a further nine combinations waiting in the wings requiring two three star completions to qualify to compete at the Championship.

The Young Rider World Championship is set to be staged at Ermelo on 10th and 11th September and Team GB already has one qualified rider at this level in Saffron Bishop (Ty Shute Golden Savannnah) with two other young riders hopeful of competing alongside her at with their Chef D’Equipe, Andrea Champ and her management team.

Endurance GB’s FEI ride calendar is set to commence at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday 2nd July.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the Chefs D’Equipes of the Home International squads have been reviewing their options for the Home International Championship 2021 in view of the delays in the relaxation of travel restrictions and the inability to hold competitions across the devolved administrations and Eire due to Covid 19. The chefs of the Irish and Welsh teams have concluded that they will not be able to get ready in time for Cirencester (due to be held from the 9th to 11th July).

Esther Young, Endurance GB’s Director of Operations said: “Endurance GB is now considering alternative venues for the Home International later in the year, and we hope to announce the new venue as soon as we can.”

In view of the Home International Championship being moved from Cirencester, the venue has agreed to host the 2021 Inter Regional Championship for a further year.

Esther Young said: “Cirencester has been the home of the Inter Regional Championship since 2017 and has proved a very popular venue for competition and we are very grateful to Steve Bates for offering to welcome back teams from across the country once again.”

Monday, April 19, 2021

Blind Australian Rider To Trek 5,000 km on Famous Trail

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Former nurse Rowena Dowling, who lost her sight in her 20s, will tackle the daunting Bicentennial National Trail aboard her horse Ice.

By: Kim Izzo | April 14, 2021

The Bicentennial National Trail in Australia covers an astounding 5,330 km of land that ranges from Cooktown in North Queensland to Healesville in Victoria. While the idea of trekking such an expansive trail on horseback might not appeal to anyone but the hardiest of riders, for one Aussie equestrian, it’s the goal and achievement of a lifetime...

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UAE Breach of Foreign Rider Rules ‘Knowing and Deliberate’: CAS

HorseSport.com - Full Article CAS partially dismisses appeal against suspension, leaving race promoters to pay the FEI over $1m in fines a...