Tuesday, December 02, 2008

UAE: FEI introduce novice qualifiers

Staff Report
Published: December 02, 2008, 00:41

photo: FEI President Princess Haya with Taleb Dhaher Al Muhairi, Secretary General, UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation, Ali Mousa Al Khamiri, General Manager of Dubai Equestrian Club, and Sundar Rethinavel of DEC at the FEI General Assembly in Buenos Aires.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE delegation successfully spearheaded a re-vote on the rest period for endurance horses between competitions in the revision of Rules for Endurance which have been ratified by the FEI's General Assembly and will be introduced from January 2009.

Another significant development at the Assembly was the introduction of a pre-FEI national system (Novice Qualifying) for riders and horses, though not necessarily as a combination.

It has been decided that all horses and riders must have successfully completed Novice Qualifying to be eligible for CEI Star Qualifying.

This in effect means a progress from one FEI star level to the next, riders and horses must have graduated from the qualifying process.

The FEI's General Assembly was held at the Sociedad Rural in Buenos Aires, Argentina last month and some new endurance rule changes were adopted following suggestions from a Task Force in co-operation with the National Federations, according to a press release from the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation.

Eighty-three National Federations gathered for the Assembly and FEI President Princess Haya Bint Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the proceedings and later presented awards to winners in competitions on the concluding day.

The UAE and other endurance countries in the region were not in favour of the proposed increase in the rest period for competition horses from 27 days to 41 days for events between 120km to 160km.

The UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation were represented by the Secretary General Taleb Dhaher Al Muhairi and Dubai Equestrian Club General Manager Ali Mousa Al Khamiri among others.

The UAE, which is part of the Group VII, first raised its objection at the group meeting and placed it before the Bureau.

But Ian Williams, Director for non-Olympic equestrian sport said it was too late and it should have been suggested earlier.

But the UAE along with other countries in the region and in Asia argued their case saying that the recent World Endurance Championship had kept the National Federations of endurance nations busy.

Williams suggested that the rules regarding rest periods be adopted from 2010 but in the General Assembly it was voted out.

This ensured the changes were included and the UAE which is one of the leading endurance nations got the rest periods to 20 days instead of 47 days.

The guiding principle behind the UAE's insistence for shorter rest periods is the short endurance season in the UAE and the region due to the climate whereas in other parts of the world rides can be held almost through the year.

Further the UAE has proved that despite the high speeds registered by their horses, the welfare has never been compromised and this to a large extent tilted the argument in their favour.

The rest periods as amended following a revote by the General Assembly after a failure to approve the original timings is as follows: 0- 80 km -13 days rest and 81 km and above 20 days rest.

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