Monday, July 02, 2007

Endurance changing for the good


By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Reporter
Published: July 02, 2007, 00:24

Abu Dhabi: Ever since Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was elected as President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), many equestrian disciplines including endurance riding have seen changes for the good.

The sport of endurance, in which the UAE are one the strongest competitors, is not only one of the fastest growing disciplines in the world but has also been evolving into a highly competitive sport.

Under the FEI, the Endurance Committee has been testing and experimenting on various aspects of the sport as part of the Endurance Review which is being conducted during 2007 and early 2008.

Finish line

In the recent CEI Three-star 120km Bab Al Shams endurance ride held at Assisi in Italy, the organisers Assisi Endurance Lifestyle experiment with the new "Formula One Finish" which has been mooted to make endurance rides more attractive and spectator friendly.

As against the current practice of waiting for all the fit horses to complete the ride within the stipulated time, in Assisi the new move involved the closing of the out gates onto the course loops one hour after the arrival of the first horse to cross the finish line.

Any horse stopped by the use of the 'Formula 1' finish at a Vet Gate was still required to complete all Vet examinations and, in doing so, meet all of the parameters to continue even though not being required to do so.

Ian Williams, FEI Director of Endurance who was present at the event was quoted on the FEI website as having said, "Those involved in the trial were very positive with the outcome.

"We will now pass the findings on to the FEI Endurance Task Force who will consider the possibilities further.

"We will need to also further trial this style of finish over 160km to gain a full picture of its effect."

Speaking to Gulf News, Vijay Moorthy, Head of Endurance at the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation said, "The 'Formula One' finish when adopted does make it easier for the horses as well as those officials involved in the event.

"It makes the sport a little more spectator friendly and is easier for the media also," Moorthy added.

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