Monday, August 03, 2009

Great Britain: ‘Private’ endurance ride sparks unrest among UK riders

(post dated)
Abigail Butcher, H&H news editor
2 August, 2009

A 120km 'private' endurance ride with an "unprecedented" prize-pot of £175,000 being organised and run by Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) is causing consternation among UK riders.

The 120km event, called Ride with the Stars, will be held at Euston Park, Norfolk, on Saturday (2 August). It was announced on 14 July and will not be run under International Equestrian Federation (FEI) or Endurance GB (EGB) rules.

The ride is expected to attract a large field because every completing combination will receive prize-money.

Discussion about the last-minute addition to the endurance calendar is rife on the EGB members' forum.

One rider states: "Our ride organisers have put many hours of unpaid time into producing rides for this year and the future and, if we are not careful, they will not be there."

Others are concerned over welfare of horses ridden by inexperienced competitors keen to complete and win money.

"I would urge anyone who does not have extensive experience of competing at this level to think long and hard before entering," said another rider.

There have also been suggestions that the ride has been put on to allow Sheikh Mohammed to continue to compete. He is currently suspended from competition by the FEI while a doping enquiry is investigated (news, 16 April).

EGB chairman John Yeoman has warned members to remember the "very hard work" put in by ride organisers who are "understandably disappointed that this unscheduled ride is going to take place".

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