Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spirit of Endurance


August 28 2012

Endurance rides in the United Arab Emirates, a sport loving country, was started under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The sport has come a long way since the UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation was established in 1992. The first modern desert ride took place on January 7, 1993.

Camels competed against horses in this 40-km pioneering event in the dunes of Dubai and the first 15 places were taken by horses.

The UAE Equestrian & Racing Federation has built up a very strong infrastructure to support equestrian sport in general and Endurance in particular.

There are three self-sufficient modern Endurance centres or villages in the country and 22 riding clubs and equestrian establishments.

Endurance riding has captured the top position in the equestrian sports held in the UAE. Among its strongest supporters are many members from the Royal families of the country and Their Highnesses and Rulers of different Emirates regularly take part in Endurance competitions alongside large numbers of UAE nationals and resident foreign riders and visiting riders from abroad.

All Endurance rides are electronically monitored and controlled and receive comprehensive media coverage. The UAE is working closely with several other countries in globally developing Endurance.


Over the last decade several remarkable achievements have been made by the Endurance sport and the UAE riders. A brief description is given below.

The first National Endurance Riding Rules were established in 1995. The period 1995-1998 saw long-distance point-to-point Endurance rides in the UAE.

For the first time the UAE riders participated in the 1996 World Endurance Championship in Kansas, USA.

In 1998, for the first time the UAE hosted the World Endurance Championship which attracted a record 162 competitors out of which 78 completed the 160-km ride. This record number of participants gained an entry into the Guinness World Records as “the First Equestrian Federation to enter Guinness World Records as the organiser of the Biggest Equestrian World Endurance Championship 1998.” For the first time, time control was fully computerised and the riders carried plastic swipe cards to register their arrival after each phase of the ride.

The world’s First Preferred Endurance Ride was held in 1999 in the UAE which is an annual feature and has been renamed FEI/UAE World Cup Endurance.

In late 2002, The Al Wathba Endurance Village in Abu Dhabi built in 2000 was refurbished and The President’s Cup (160km) and the National Day Cup (120km) rides are annual important events here.

Young UAE rider Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum became the youngest rider in history and also the first man to win the coveted FEI World Cup Endurance Championship at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Spain. The UAE has been elected Chairman of the Endurance Committee of Asian Equestrian Federations.


. Formulating the National Rules and regular updates.

. Maintaining an Endurance Registry, mainly a record of riders and horses right from the advent of sport in the United Arab Emirates.

. UAE Endurance licensing of riders and trainers and registration of horses.

. Interaction with FEI, AEF and national federations and foreign Endurance organisers and well-known Endurance persons in Endurance related matters.

. Interaction with UAE Endurance organisers for planning rides, developing the Endurance calendar, Endurance village infrastructure and preparation of Endurance trail, selection of officials and overall technical management of most competitions and qualifications rides in the UAE.

. Complete liaison with FEI in preparing the Endurance calendar, the draft schedules for the FEI rides and sending the results. Total detailed online registration of riders and horses with FEI.

. Technical control and advisory role in rides in the UAE.

. Maintaining a proper protocol and observance of all international norms and regulations and ensuring that the competitions are held according to the rules.

. Maintaining a National Register and conducting Endurance rides exclusively for private national owners.

. Coordinating the functions of all officials working at the ride.

. Interaction with clubs, licensed persons in the running of day-to-day Endurance in the UAE.

. Handling and scrutiny of all entries for the rides and ensuring that the rules and conditions are abided by.

. Checking out Endurance routes, checking the facilities and amenities of the four Endurance villages. Inspection of Endurance trials and handling of all complaints and reports. Arbitration and settlement of disputes on the ride day itself.

. Issuing Endurance information regularly to all stables and riders concerning national and international rides and other Endurance matters.

. Complete Endurance invoicing of all FEI registrations, Federation licenses and individual entry fees of rides organised in Abu Dhabi.

. Active participation both as FEI officials and at the national level to ensure that all regulations and protocols are observed.

. Inspection of prospective riding clubs in the UAE and assessment of their capabilities.

. It is also one of the duties of the National Federation to send eligible national riders to participate in international rides all over the world. The NF scrutinises and ensures that all necessary rules have been observed and that our riders and horses are accepted, ensuring their smooth participation in the event.

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