Tuesday, October 28, 2008

[WEC Reports] FEI World Endurance Championship Almost Under Way

Release: October 28 2008

By Malina Gueorguiev

In just a matter of days, the much expected and anticipated FEI World Endurance Championships will be under way at the sprawling Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP) in Lembah Bidong, situated on the scenic coastline 25 km north of Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia. From November 7-9, there will be 142 riders and horses from 34 countries set to compete, of which 22 have sent teams while the remaining 12 countries will be competing with individuals.

As the majority of the horses have now arrived, Malaysia is on the verge of becoming the first Far East country to host a Senior FEI World Endurance Championship, held every two years since it's inception in 1986, which will also mark the first ever to be held in a tropical climate and during the hours of darkness.

The facilities and venue are of the highest international standard, while the 160 km course is designed to provide a safe yet challenging competition, taking riders along the stunning coastline, through palm plantations, along canal banks and through natural vegetation forests.

Research and Planning
Considerable work has taken place over the last two years whereby the organizers, in conjunction with the FEI and independent veterinary organizations, have held a number of trial events with specific targets to meet to ensure the event could take place without increased risk to the horses that would compete in Malaysia.

The 2006 trial event involved local horses and required a minimum completion rate and speed imposed by the FEI. These criteria were met and the 2007 trial run was then allowed to take place. This time the competition involved overseas-based horses who were again required to meet FEI minimum speeds and completions rates across the senior competition distance.

The overseas riders and horses who attended this event exceeded expectations by riding skilfully to the conditions they faced and produced an above average completions rate across all starters. The required criteria were met and permission was then granted by the FEI for the championship to take place in November 2008.

The FEI is committed to the welfare of all horses competing in equestrian sport and is confident that all the riders and horses that will be competing in the upcoming championship are qualified to show the same degree of horsemanship as shown during the trial events and to work with their horse as true partners in meeting the very special challenges they will meet together in Terengganu.

Whilst the tropical temperatures and high humidity will be exacting challenges, the two successful trial runs have shown that horses ridden with care can compete safely and still produce an exciting result.

Endurance has always been a competition to test the horsemanship skills of the rider and the fitness and athletic ability of the horse. In recent years much of that challenge has involved the need to produce increasing levels of speed across the ground and within the vet gate.

In the words of a senior and well respected FEI endurance veterinarian and judge, "The World Championship at Terengganu will return to more traditional challenges for the horse and rider where speed must not be the main route to success, rather it will be the ability of rider and horse working together to overcome the challenges on the day that will bring results."

The FEI has made it clear that anyone who overrides their horse or subjects a horse to excessive demands within competition will be considered to be in breach of the FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse. The FEI will not hesitate to bring such instances to the attention of the FEI Legal Department to take further action as required.

The FEI and the Malaysian Equestrian Federation together with the organizers YDSM are looking forward to an exciting event held amidst the beautiful region of Terengganu on the East Coast of Malaysia.

For up-to-date information and the latest news, go to www.malaysia-wec.com.

Posted By Steph Teeter to WEC Reports at 10/29/2008 02:28:00 AM

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