Saturday, February 17, 2007

2008 WEC in Malaysia

2008 FEI World Endurance Championship

The 2008 FEI World Endurance Championship Trial run was held last weekend at Terengganu, on the East coast of Malaysia. The Championship had been provisionally granted to the Malaysian Equestrian Federation subject to there being a number of successful trial runs held in 2006 and 2007.

Three senior FEI Endurance Officials attended the event: Dr Hallvard Sommerseth (NOR), Chairman of the FEI Endurance Technical Committee; Dr Jim Bryant (CAN) and Mr John Robertson (GBR).

The Malaysian Equestrian Federation, together with the Organising Committee (OC) – the State Government of Terengganu & Yayasan Kebajikan Perkasa Alam Terengganu, invited a number of leading Malaysian riders as well as riders from America, Europe and Australsia.

A detailed report is being produced; it will be submitted to the FEI Endurance Techncial Committee for further consideration but Dr Hallvard Sommerseth expressed his appreciation for the commitment made by the organizers in producing a very successful trial run.

The FEI Endurance Committee had required the trial run to be held at the proposed venue on a date to match the date of the 2008 Championship and for there to be a minimum completion rate of 40% and a maximum riding time of 16 hours for the 160 kms distance.

A total of 23 horses were presented at the start of the event and 60% completed the full distance well within the maximum ride time allowed. All of the horses performed well with no heat and humidity related problems.

Dr Jim Bryant confirmed that the horses had competed well under the conditions which had been relatively cool because of the timing of the event within the monsoon period. He commented that all of the riders had taken great care to compete using all of their horsemanship skills. Dr Bryant linked the performances of the riders and horses to a time within Endurance when events were less about speed and more about the combination of rider and horse working in close harmony together to overcome the challenges presented.

Mr John Robertson felt that there were certain areas which needed to be reviewed in relation to the overall management of the event. He confirmed that the OC was aware of these issues but he was confident that the OC would be able to solve them ahead of the Championship.

Dr Sommerseth confirmed that the next trial event, scheduled to take place in the first half of 2007, would involve the use of overseas based horses who would travel to Malaysia to test out the facilities and also to fully evaluate the timing required to allow overseas horse to acclimatise properly ahead of competition.

A team from FEI Television attended the event and will produce a short documentary to be shown at the planned FEI World Endurance Forum planned for March 2007.
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