Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bahrain: Riders set for new endurance season - Full Article

November 29, 2013

MORE than 80 riders are set to compete in the opening event of the new Bahrain endurance horseracing season, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

This was announced yesterday by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef).

Tomorrow's race will feature two categories - the first will be the main competition which will be run over a distance of 120 kilometres. The second is a qualifying event set for 80km.

The event will be held under the patronage of Breef honorary president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa. It will be taking place at the Bahrain International Endurance Village in Sakhir, and it is scheduled for a 6am start...

Read more here:

UAE: Lady riders to battle it out at Al Wathba today - Full Article

Hisham Al Gizouli / 29 November 2013

Top Arab lady riders from UAE and elsewhere have been declared to make the lineup for the Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup — for Arab Countries Only to be staged for the third successive year at the Emirates International Endurance Village at Al Wathba here on Saturday.

The CEN-90km event will be contested over four stages as the young Arab lady riders skirt the sand hills in the heart of the desert under the early rays of the sun to battle it out to the wire in the Dh500,000 prize-money. The winner will also claim the Shaikh Mansour festival’s Rolex watch besides expensive painting made by a German lady in her gallery in Munich.

According to Adnan Sultan, director of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, the race is held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, as part of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival...

Read more here:§ion=nationsports

Friday, November 29, 2013

FEI: More bureaucracy will not clean up endurance - Full Article

By on Nov 29, 2013

Endurance reform requires the eloquence of wisdom, not the burden of more bureaucracy, suggests leading American endurance rider John Crandell, who has represented the United States internationally.

The reports from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) presented at the International Equestrian Federation’s General Assembly depict an earnest and hardworking effort by some to salvage endurance’s status and reputation within FEI nations.

This report also demonstrates the “systemic” problems, as described by chairman Andrew Finding, that have plagued the FEI permeate the ESPG as well.

It is clear the ESPG recognizes the scope of issues is vast and must reach into many areas of the organization at once to incite real and lasting change...

Read more here:

Australia: Woman faces $550 fine for breaking tick rules - Full Article

29th Nov 2013 8:05 AM

A QUEENSLAND woman is facing a $550 fine for illegally introducing three horses from Queensland into NSW after NSW Department of Primary Industries cattle tick inspectors conducted a compliance audit at an endurance riding event on the NSW Northern Tablelands last Friday.

DPI biosecurity compliance director Andrew Sanger, said the Sunshine Coast woman, who was interviewed at the Red Range event near Glen Innes, had failed to stop at the border and get her horses treated for cattle ticks - an offence under the NSW Stock Diseases Act.

"The woman and the horses were sent back to Queensland and will receive a $550 fine for the offence," Mr Sanger said.

"Bringing horses, cattle or other livestock into NSW from Queensland without clearance risks spreading cattle ticks into NSW...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wellington and Kentucky join Bromont/Montreal with bids for FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018

15 Nov 2013

The two US cities – Wellington and Kentucky - have both submitted their formal bid applications and questionnaires to host the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and now officially join the Canadian bid from Bromont/Montreal.

Applicants bidding to host the Games in 2018 had until today (15 November) to return signed bid applications and questionnaires and both US cities have met the deadline.

The Bromont/Montreal bid had previously submitted the required documentation and did not need to resubmit.

Candidate cities for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be announced on 2 December following review of the applicant questionnaires by FEI Headquarters. The deadline for submission of completed and signed Host Agreements is 31 March 2014.

Candidates will present their final bids to the FEI Bureau at its in-person meeting in June 2014. The host city for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be announced after that meeting.

“We are delighted that we have Wellington, Kentucky and Bromont/Montreal in the bidding process for our flagship event,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos said. “All three locations have strong equestrian traditions so it will be fascinating to see which of the bid committees produces the most compelling reasons why they should be allocated the Games in 2018. It’s going to be an interesting process.”

FEI: Endurance Strategic Planning Group seeks National Federations agreement for proposals

25 Nov 2013

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) has today sent its detailed proposed recommendations to the National Federations requesting rapid feedback. The proposals are designed to address the issues within Endurance and are specifically geared towards reducing the incidence of doping and injuries, as well as putting in place a strategic plan to support the long term sustainability of the sport.

The seven-page consultation document, which details a total of 37 recommendations, is a follow-up the ESPG presentation of its proposals during the FEI General Assembly in Montreux (SUI) earlier this month. The introduction delivered by ESPG Chair Andrew Finding at the General Assembly, plus the presentations given on the day and the Group’s “plan on a page” have also been sent to the National Federations as part of the ongoing consultation process.

The ESPG asks for comments from the National Federations on each of the recommendations, grouped together into four categories: Foundation for Growth; Culture and Behaviour; Structure and Governance; and Communications and Marketing.

Both immediate and longer-term actions are detailed, and the ESPG, while agreeing that consultation is a necessary part of the process, is also keen that much of the proposed plan should be put into action without delay. The Group urges immediate actions be implemented as soon as possible.

The ESPG notes that important projects such as the Injuries Surveillance System (ISS) and increased levels of testing are already in place. These are both included in the Culture and Behaviour section, which also calls on the National Federations to provide leadership and drive culture change in anti-doping and horse welfare.

The Structure and Governance section has the highest number of proposed actions – 12 in the immediate action category and a further three in the longer-term. Key amongst these are the proposal to enforce out of competition testing, a review of disciplinary procedures for athletes, trainers and officials and severe penalties for transgressors, a register and ranking list for trainers, the requirement for a medication and treatment logbook for all horses, and a proposal for trainers to becomes Persons Responsible with their riders.

Feedback from the National Federations will be incorporated into a final set of proposals which will be further debated at the Endurance Conference in Lausanne (SUI) on 9 February 2014. At that session, it is proposed that the National Federations set Key Performance Indicators as part of the discussion.

A special session on Endurance will be included in the FEI Sports Forum (28-29 April 2014) at which National Federations will be asked to support the strategy in its final form before it is approved by the FEI Bureau in May 2014.

“It is our hope that all National Federations will accept our final proposals, take ownership of the plan and, together with the FEI, provide the leadership we believe is necessary for it to succeed”, ESPG Chair Andrew Finding writes in the final pages of the document. “It will not be easy for all to accept, there will be costs to bear for us all but we believe our proposals must be implemented to secure the long term sustainability of the sport. Success in implementing these proposals depends on the willingness of everyone involved in the sport to be self-disciplined and to take personal responsibility.”

He reiterates one of his most powerful messages from the Endurance session at the FEI General Assembly. “Apply these values of clean sport, welfare, integrity and partnership and we live and work together. If you do not subscribe to them, our message is, simply, leave us,” and finishes with the line: “Failure is not an option”.

“We believe there is a bright future for the sport. Together we must grasp it and move on with a determination that we should never again have to face these challenges.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

FEI: Endurance Group Seek Feedback on Tougher Rules - Full Article

By on Nov 26, 2013 in News

Out-of-competition testing, tougher penalties, the requirement for medication logbooks for horses, and holding trainers accountable alongside riders are among measures to clean up endurance that have gone out to member nations of the FEI for consideration.

The world governing body’s Endurance Strategic Planning Group has taken its next step toward reforms aimed at cleaning up welfare issues in the sport, sending its detailed proposed recommendations to national federations...

Read more here:

FEI: Stricter access to endurance courses by crews proposed - Full Article

By on Nov 26, 2013 in News

Proposals to change endurance include tougher ride qualification standards, more technical courses, stricter rules over access to courses by support personnel and annual appraisals for officials.

The seven-page document released today to national federations by the FEI’s Endurance Strategic Planning Group outlines 37 proposals for change, with urgent feedback sought as the world governing body works to get a full set of measures in place by May 14...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Great Britain: End of competitive year for Team Omar - Full Article

November 24 2013

Brechin’s Endurance GB rider John Thomson and his horse Prince Omar are having a well deserved rest following the end of the racing calendar.

The rest is not for long as John and his pure bred Arabian gelding will soon be starting their six week work-up to take them into the start of next year.

It has been a demanding but successful year for Team Omar as, with the exception of competing in the comparatively short distance inaugural Scottish Man versus Horse earlier in the year, the focus has been on the big distance races of 80 to 100 kilometres, held mainly in England.

It has meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing over the border, both in terms of travelling, but also, on one occasion, zig-zagging the border near Berwick-upon-Tweed some eight times during the final 80 kilometres of the year...

Read more here:

UAE: Al Sabousi relishing new role with Hamdan - Full Article

Racing manager determined to rise to challenge of ‘very demanding’ opportunity

By Leslie Wilson JrRacing & Special Features Writer
Published: 16:34 November 23, 2013

Dubai: Salim Al Sabousi is relishing the prospect of his ‘dream’ appointment as racing manager to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, one of the most influential and respected race horse owners in the world.

Al Sabousi, who was offered the exalted position by Shaikh Hamdan less than three weeks ago, said he was greatly honoured and privileged but was also aware of the challenges that it brought.

“I want to thank His Highness Shaikh Hamdan for giving me this opportunity,” he told Gulf News at Meydan racecourse on Thursday evening. “Obviously it is a very demanding role, but I am looking forward to working with all the interesting trainers, jockeys and officials who are connected in the sport.

“It is something new to me but I hope to learn and find ways to execute the instructions of Shaikh Hamdan and act as a go-between all those who are involved in training and riding his horses.

“At first, this will be my primary directive. Perhaps later on we can look at how we can develop this role to be more productive.”

A former endurance rider and trainer, Al Sabousi revealed that Shaikh Hamdan has advised him to work closely with all the UAE-based handlers who train his thoroughbred and Purebred Arabian horses...

Read more here:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Petition: For the Preservation of Endurance Horses

November 13 2013

A petition "For the Preservation of Endurance Horses" has been created on, the largest global online citizen movement for change.

The petition has been created "To support the work of the different federations and personalities that require immediate and strong measures to protect horses during endurance races, the petitioners request that the protection of the horse is a priority in its preparation, the management of its competition and According competition! The anti-doping controls and penalties is strengthened. That these measures are taken by a meeting of independent persons having no share in competitions, and that these measures are effective before WEG 2014! The whole situation has been described in the letters of federations and in public statements!"
[google translation]

With a goal of 5000 signatures, the petition currently has 663 signatures. The petition will be delivered to the FEI when the goal is reached.

For more information, and to sign the petition, see

American Endurance Ride Conference 'deeply troubled' with equestrian world governing body - Full Article

Senior figures in US endurance riding are considering separation from the international sport in the wake of doping and injury concerns in the Middle East.

By Pippa Cuckson
8:00AM GMT 14 Nov 2013

Last week far-reaching measures to solve the horse welfare crisis were unveiled at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) General Assembly in Montreux.

But five board-members of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) are not convinced and on Wednesday floated concerns in a 2,000-word open letter.

The USA pioneered modern endurance and the annual Tevis Cup ride in California has iconic status. But the American maxim “to finish is to win” has become increasingly incompatible with the high speed race-riding of the Middle East.
The AERC board members are “deeply troubled” by the “toxic nature” of the controversy, at the centre of which are stables owned by Sheikh Mohammed whose wife Princess Haya is president of the FEI. They also claim the FEI is non-transparent in its refusal to publish traumatic injury statistics...

Read more here:

Friday, November 22, 2013

The FEI presidency: Smoke and mirrors in Montreux - Full Article

By Neil Clarkson on Nov 21, 2013

...This month’s FEI General Assembly in Montreux delivered its own share of drama and intrigue. There was no fiery ceiling, no Frank Zappa, and no smoke on the water, but FEI train-spotters cannot deny that the whole Princess Haya presidency issue is a fascinating affair.

Delegates from the world’s national equestrian federations were a rather more subdued lot than Zappa’s followers, but they still had the unmistakeable air of fans about them...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FEI General Assembly Updates - Full Article

November 16, 2013
By Pamela@horsereporter

November 16, 2013 ~ The FEI General Assembly 2013 held in Montreux (SUI) from 4 to 7 November.
FEI General Assembly Highlights

Modifications to Endurance Rules

Location of General Assembly 2014

Possible Third Term for FEI President

Appointment of Veterinarians

*Endurance Rules Modifications

In the recent FEI General Assembly, the discipline of endurance came under scrutiny to regulate unfair practices. The Strategic Planning Committee has committed to bring tighter regulations to assure a field of fair play. See article:

Modifications were made to the FEI Endurance Rules and were approved. All of the rule changes relate to bettering the competitive environment in terms of fair play, the welfare of the horse, and the highlighting of those who fail to take responsibility and comply with the regulations. The main changes are as follows:...

Read more here:

Abu Dhabi: Al Bloushi wins FEI Wathba Endurance Challenge astride Devlin Park Picasso - Full Article

November 18, 2013
By Pamela@horsereporter

November 16, 2013, Abu Dhabi ~

Rashid Ahmed Al Bloushi, astride Devlin Park Picasso, landed the 120km FEI Wathba Endurance Challenge for the Union Stables which have been established under the directives of HH Sheikh Manoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Jumaa Al Maktoum took second place honours and behind them came UAE lady rider Aya Abdulla Redha from Wathba Stables. Al Bloushi’s time for the 120kms was 4:18:13; Sh Rashid finished five minutes later, with Aya Ishaq Ali less than a minute behind the second place...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5-Day Equestrian Endurance Race Gallops of Oman from Feb 17

Muscat Daily staff writer
November 20, 2013

Gallops of Oman, the first endurance horse race of its kind in the region, will begin from February 17 next year.

This was announced by the Royal Court Affairs, represented by the Royal Cavalry, on Monday. Gallops of Oman, is the brainchild of France-based Bady Kebir – organiser of several horseback expeditions around the world and Benoit Perrier, manager of Polo Club Chantilly, in partnership with the Royal Cavalry of Oman.

“I am sure it will be an eventful adventure for all participants, even the most experienced ones. It will be a great opportunity to explore the sultanate and its amazing deserts, which we heard so much about. I would like to thank the Royal Court Affairs and the Royal Cavalry for this opportunity to visit Oman and to be part of such a unique race which brings together some of the most experienced horsemen in the world,” said Kebir.

The format for the five-day equestrian event focuses on the ability of riders, the endurance of the horses over 180km of some of the most beautiful, yet challenging landscapes in Oman.

It is estimated that 110 riders from around the world will participate in the event, crossing the Sharqiyah desert for a distance of 180km from February 17 to 21, 2014, from Rakah in the wilayat of Bidiyah, to Agdima in the wilayat of Jalaan Bani Bu Hassan.

“It is a big achievement to organise this race for the first time in the sultanate. I am sure we are going to introduce the world to a unique experience of endurance races in the Omani desert,” said Abbas bin Abdullah al Bahrani, head of financial affairs at the Royal Court Affairs and chairman of the main committee of Gallops of Oman.

Brig Abdulrazak al Shahwarzi, commander of the Royal Cavalry, vice-chairman of the main committee, and CEO of Gallops of Oman, said, “Gallops of Oman will be a significant event in the region. A 180 km desert challenge in not an easy task, not even for the most experienced riders.

“However, we are sure that participants are up to the challenge and we wish them all the best.”

Race schedule

February 17 : At 8am in Al Rakah area, a welcoming ceremony will be conducted before the riders set forth for the first stage of Gallops of Oman. Covering a distance of about 40km, the riders will head to Tiwi Mussalam, the second camp.

February 18 : The second stage covers a distance of about 41km. Riders will then head to Tiwi Khazeena camp.

February 19 : The third stage will cover about 34km before the riders reach Al Htahamam.

February 20 : A distance of about 30km will take the competitors to Qudaih Cam

February 21 : The fifth and final stage will see participants cover a distance of about 26km, concluding the race at Agdima camp. Adjustments will be made along the route to take the distance to a total of 180km.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life’s a beach: Endurance riding on the edge

Endurance is alive and well in the far-flung reaches of the FEI empire. Neil Clarkson reports.

Nine-year-old Robbie James was a young man on a big mission. As he closed in on the finish in last weekend’s 80-kilometre endurance ride run by the Mount Linton Endurance Club in Southland, New Zealand, it was clear he would be battling his sister, Jorja, 13, for first place in the junior section.

The pair pushed their mounts up, and Robbie’s mount Glendaar Amira Fire eased clear to win the contest ahead of his sister on Kilarney Fire. Robbie’s ride on Amira Fire also earned the prestigious Best Conditioned title overall.

Read More ...

Monday, November 18, 2013

FEI: New study is tasked with investigating endurance injuries - Full Article

8 November 2013
Pippa Cuckson

A new Injuries Surveillance System is being rolled out in international endurance as the FEI struggles to allay the escalating crisis about doping and life-threatening stress fractures in the Middle East.

Dr Tim Parkin of the University of Glasgow has been commissioned to conduct the study, having previously researched injuries in thoroughbreds for several racing authorities around the world.

However, his data will only extend to diagnoses at competitions.

The FEI admits “there is no obligation for organisations to report fatalities to the FEI outside of competition”, inevitably casting doubt on the accuracy of official FEI figures about injury-induced euthanasia.

The FEI says that worldwide there were 10 fatalities in endurance this year, 14 in 2012 and 11 in 2011, but critics believe there are dozens a year in the Middle East alone...


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Great Britain: High House - for Personal Growth and Learning

17 November 2013

High House, in the Lake District of Cumbria, England, home of Seren Arabians and High House Labradors, has become a place for rest, recovery and therapy, and for personal development and education. It gives a quite unique opportunity for people to recover and rediscover their strengths, lifted by the tranquil seclusion, the environment and wildlife, the horses and dogs, the centre itself, and extensive access on the doorstep to a wide variety of terrain covering several square miles of one of the least frequented parts of the English Lake District.

High House offers a number of clinics and educational opportunities, including equine assisted psychotherapy and learning (EAP and EAL); Posture Clinics - teaching greater flexibility, coordination and confidence for owners and their horses; Equine Behavior and Ethology, Young Horses - Helping Balance and Confidence; and CPD Workshops for professionals working with trauma.

High House is owned by Dom and Jan Atkinson, both retired from Lake District mountain rescue teams and the Search and Rescue Dog Association, and both EAGALA practitioners (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association - the leading international nonprofit association for professionals using equine therapy to address mental health and humans development needs.)

Also part of the High House team are Dr Stuart McNab, Director of the Centre for Research and Education in Psychological Trauma at the University of Chester, England and EAGALA practitioner; Coral Harrison, EAGALA practitioner, mentor, and the EAGALA coordinator for Europe and the Middle East; and Erica Donnison, TTEAM practitioner and Council member of the Alexander Technique professional body.

For more information, see
High House

Saturday, November 16, 2013

UAE: Al Jaber claims the Wathba Stud Cup Endurance Ride - Full Article

November 16, 2013
By Pamela@horsereporter

November 15, 2013, Abu Dhabi ~ UAE top rider Ahmed Mohammed Al Jaber partnered Omani Quandra to glory in the opening Wathba Stud Cup for Private Owners, a CEN 100km Wathba Challenge Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Village on Friday.

The winner covered the distance in three hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds at an average speed of 27.80km/hour to lead by seven minutes 21 seconds ahead of Al Ain Stables contender Hamad Badr Abdulla Al Hammadi astride Venica and behind them came Azam Oan Al Kathiri to claim the third place honours for Al Ain Stables in three hours fourty five minutes and 30 seconds...

Read more here:

Friday, November 15, 2013

2014 Normandie Ticket sales open to EVERYONE on Monday 18 November - Full Article

13 November 2013

Following on from the equestrian family’s priority purchase period, in a few days’ time ticket sales will open to the general public, (both from France and abroad), individuals or companies. This second sales period is exclusively for grouped tickets in the form of Passes, which allow access to several events. In total, during this second phase some 15,000 Passes will be put on sale until 3 March 2014.

25 Passes to discover all of the Games disciplines

Tickets for all of the disciplines are available, thanks to our selection of 25 Passes: 18 Discovery Passes and 7 Sensation Passes. Discovery Passes are ideal for non specialists, enabling the spectator to witness the action in various disciplines over the course of one or two days. Sensation Passes, more suited to horse-riding enthusiasts, also enable the spectator to watch several different events, with the added bonus of at least one guaranteed final!...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pippa Cuckson: reflections on an FEI GA gone wild - Full Article

Today, dear readers, a very special treat. I am delighted to share with you the ruminations of journalist extraordinaire, Pippa Cuckson. I’m even more delighted to read her post and realize that she and I are on exactly the same page when it comes to the momentous events of last week in Switzerland. Sometimes, as a journalist toiling away in the vacuum that is a freelancer’s existence for at least 350 days a year, one begins to doubt one’s judgment. One’s confidence can be so shaken by the kinds of accusations that were tossed about on the floor of the GA last week, one may even come close to succumbing to the charming pressures of the one who rules the roost. Which is why it was critically important that there were enough of us sitting there at the GA last week, sharing glances of incredulity with one another as the events I’ve already reported on were unfolding, and realizing that we all saw the same thing, which is apparently very much not what most of the delegates around us were seeing.

Without further ado, here is Pippa’s guest post. Thank you Pippa, for sharing with us.

Pippa Cuckson: reflections on an FEI GA gone wild

I was amongst the small media presence at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, where six of the scribblers had a total of more than 150 years experience in reporting FEI politics. The Thursday was certainly one of the most astonishing days any of us have sat through.

The strain on the faces of FEI senior personnel was evident earlier in the week, even in the jolly environment of the first night party where, prophetically, entertainment was provided by acrobats, fire-eaters and contortionists.

Yet by Thursday there was near-delirium as federations pleaded to reinstate a third term for Haya, after all.

Just days before, journalists around the world had been prodded to report that Haya would face calls to quit because of the doping and injuries crisis in endurance. Some – not lots, but some – national federations were briefing media that’s what they were going to ask for, oh yes, most definitely. Reporters didn’t need to make this stuff up – there is still enough shocking material about Middle East endurance riders and trainers, and the shameless behaviour of so-called officials who let them get away with it, to keep headlines going for months without resorting to invention.

But on the day, the federations we’d expected to pipe up changed their minds or lost their nerve. There are three main reasons why:

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

FEI: Endurance Strategic Planning Group Proposals

November 12 2013

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG), organized by the FEI to address the crisis in endurance racing and to develop a 10-year plan to eliminate the horse dopings and deaths, presented their findings at the FEI General Assembly held in Lausanne, Switzerland last week.

The six-member industry-expert group consisted of Brian Sheahan of Australia, Jean-Louis Leclerc of France, Saeed Al Tayer of the UAE, Joe Mattingley of the USA, and Chairman Andrew Finding of Great Britain.

A number of proposals include registration of endurance trainers with the FEI, code of professional conduct for officials and competitors; education, mentoring, and leadership training for endurance officials, a "formal declaration before event" of any conflicts of interest; review of disciplinary procedures and penalties for athletes and officials; and education for officials and riders.

The findings of the committee will be presented at another endurance conference in Lausanne in February. More conferring and conclusions will be shared with the FEI in March, and final conclusions and proposals will be presented and made public at yet another special endurance session in Lausanne in April.

The complete plans and proposed solutions can be seen here:
ESPG Script
ESPG Vision

Pleas for Princess Haya to stand for third term - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 7th-Nov-2013

HRH Princess Haya has been begged by national equestrian federations from around the world to stand for a third term as FEI President.

Seeking her return

Representatives from Belgium, Mauritius, Sudan, Chinese Taipei, USA and Jamaica made speeches at the FEI general assembly in Switzerland, calling for the Princess to reconsider her decision to stand down when her presidency ends in November 2014.

“It’s ironic to think that, from the media perspective, we were told that we would be coming here to seek her resignation, but in reality we’re seeking her return,” said United States equestrian federation secretary general John Long...

Read more here:

Code of conduct' aims to clean up endurance

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 12th-Nov-2013

Horse & Country

Issues of doping and deaths in the sport of endurance are to be tackled by a newly formed group led by Andrew Finding, chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation.

The Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) comprises six industry experts, and was set up by the FEI to develop a 10-year-plan to erradicate the problems that the sport is currently facing.

Andrew, who is the ESPG chair, opened their first face-to-face meeting, held in Lausanne, Switzerland last week (6 November), stating that endurance needs a “clear vision and a strong strategy”.

“The strategic plan we propose sets out a vision and a set of values we will expect everyone to adhere to if they genuinely want to be an active part of our family,” he said. “Those who do not should be asked to leave us.”

Read More Here...

Monday, November 11, 2013

FEI vs. Reality: Let’s Break it Down - Full Article

By Wylie on November 7, 2013 3:00 PM

The FEI posted a press release today titled “National Federations call on HRH Princess Haya to stand for third term as FEI President.” Which struck me as strange because I’d just read this other story in The Telegraph on Tuesday titled, “FEI president Princess Haya faces calls for resignation over doping and horse welfare crisis.” Hmmm. Somebody has clearly been snacking on coo-coo puffs … but is it the FEI or the free press?

Let’s break down the FEI press release paragraph by paragraph in an effort to figure out what’s really going on:

Representatives from National Federations on four continents made impassioned pleas for HRH Princess Haya to reverse her decision not to stand for a third term as FEI President during today’s FEI General Assembly in Montreux (SUI).

The calls came after 100 National Federations signed a petition requesting the convening of an extraordinary general assembly as soon as possible for the purpose of amending the Statutes in order to prolong the term of the FEI President.

A stark contrast to the first two paragraphs of the Telegraph story: “Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, is expected on Wednesday to face calls to resign as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) over the doping and horse welfare crisis in endurance racing.

“The FEI’s three-day general assembly began on Tuesday and will confront the global outcry over the drug abuse, horse deaths and brazen rule-breaking in the Middle East which have propelled the previously little-known equestrian discipline — in which horses compete over distances of up to 100 miles a day — into notoriety.”

Are they even talking about the same assembly?...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Amateur jockey Eilidh Grant to enjoy ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ - Full Article

Amith Passela
November 9, 2013

ABU DHABI // It has been a rather unpredictable journey to the UAE for Eilidh Grant. The American amateur jockey is in Sunday night’s final of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Championship (IFAHR) by default.

Grant, 33, was chosen as one of tonight’s 14 riders after she finished fourth in a qualifying race in Poland. The winner was disqualified while the second- and third- placed finishers had already ridden winners elsewhere in the series to earn a spot in Abu Dhabi...

...Grant is a work rider for William Backer, a private owner and breeder in his farm in the United States, who is no stranger to the UAE.

She accompanied the Mexico team as one of the crew members in the FEI World Endurance Championship for Junior and Young Riders in Abu Dhabi in 1997.

“I haven’t ridden in endurance since I was a teenager but I would love to do it again,” she said. “My first and last rides were winners. I won over 50 miles and 100 miles in Nevada and came second in another 100 miles in California. I have been competitive in endurance and have finished in the top 10 in the majority of the rides.”

Read more here:

Friday, November 08, 2013

Britain Withdraws from 2018 FEI WEG Bid Process

By Edited Press Release
Oct 28, 2013

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has confirmed to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) that it is withdrawing from the bid process for the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 and will not now be putting in a formal bid.

The FEI had received four formal expressions of interest by the Sept. 30 deadline: one from Britain, two from the United States (Wellington, Fla., and Kentucky), and a repeat bid from Bromont/Montreal in Canada. However, BEF Secretary General Andrew Finding has now informed the FEI that Britain will not be going any further in the bid process.

In a letter to FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos, Andrew Finding wrote of his “considerable regret” at the withdrawal, stating that there was insufficient time under the terms of the new bidding process for the British Federation to secure the necessary funding and identify a host venue by Nov. 15, the deadline for receipt of formal bid applications.

“While it is of course disappointing that the British Equestrian Federation has decided not to go ahead with a bid for the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018, we still have three strong candidates in the mix from Wellington, Kentucky, and Bromont/Montreal and look forward to receiving their formal bid applications by Nov. 15,” De Vos said.

Host city candidates will be announced on Dec. 2, 2013. Formal presentations will be made by these candidates to the FEI Bureau at its spring 2014 meeting, prior to the announcement of the host city for the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Main decisions of the FEI General Assembly 2013

The FEI General Assembly 2013 was held in Montreux (SUI) today, 7 November. The quorum consisted of 99 National Federations: 77 represented in person and 22 by proxy.

The main decisions taken by the General Assembly are outlined HERE

Decisions pertaining to FEI Endurance Discipline include Rule changes as follows:

The modifications to the FEI Endurance Rules were approved. All the rule changes relate to bettering the competitive environment in terms of fair play, the welfare of the horse, and the highlighting of those who fail to take responsibility and comply with the regulations.

The main changes are as follows:
• Level the playing field for competitors by restricting the number of grooms within the vet gate.

The newly approved Article 801.2 is:
2. The maximum number of grooms allowed within the vet gate will be 5 per horse to take into account availability of space or to ensure that the horse is allowed sufficient space to rest. Access to the vet gate and the vet gate examination area may be further restricted by the Organiser under advice from the FEI Technical Delegate. Such restrictions must be clearly shown in the FEI approved schedule.
3. All horses must remain at all times clearly under observation of FEI Veterinary Officials, Ground Jury and Stewards.

The reason behind this change is that horses must be allowed proper rest during the hold time in the vet gate area. In addition, horses must be clearly observable at all times whilst within the field of play. Too many attending 6 grooms or individuals in the direct vicinity of the horse may obstruct such observation.

• The rest period for horses after competing in events greater than 140km has been increased to 33 days (Article 815.3.1) .

Recent data on horse injuries suggest that the increased rates of fractures may well be related to insufficient rest periods between events.

The free speed competition used in novice qualification administered by the NFs has been withdrawn (Article 816.1)

The independence of foreign officials has been reinforced.

Article 825 “Officials required for International Endurance Events” has been modified to include wording specifying that, “Foreign Officials cannot be resident in the same country or time zone in which the event is taking place.”

The qualifying requirements for treatment veterinarians have been refined.

These changes will come into effect on 1 January 2014. The modified FEI Endurance Rules will be posted on the FEI website HERE

FEI's general assembly proposes hard-hitting measures against endurance riders who cause injury to their horses - Full Article

Radical measures against endurance riders who injure their horses may have laid the ground for Princess Haya to stand for a third term as FEI president

By Pippa Cuckson, in Montreux
9:25PM GMT 06 Nov 2013

A raft of hard-hitting measures, including banning riders who cause horses serious injury, have been proposed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in an attempt to combat the growing crisis in endurance racing.

The plans, which came out of the FEI’s general assembly here in Switzerland on Wednesday, were more radical than expected. They also include formal registration of professional trainers and sanctions against officials who fail to enforce the rules.

However, the positive mood they created could be undermined by a proposal to give a third presidential term for Princess Haya...

Read more here:

FEI General Assembly: Endurance group negotiated ‘trickiest of waters’ – CEO

Equestrian Sports New Zealand chief executive Jim Ellis writes: “In most countries where endurance is practised, even in Europe, the playing field is relatively level, but that ends abruptly when you view the sport in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

“In fact, and this is perhaps the key point, in those nations endurance is not really a sport at all. It is another form of the racing industry where rides are known as races, coaches are trainers with huge strings of horses and the fundamental purpose is compete at speed, rather than complete.

“This is not necessarily a criticism of these Middle Eastern nations, but rather an inevitability; the purpose of endurance in these nations is different than in Oceania.

[Read more at ...]

FEI General Assembly: No place in endurance for cheating, delegates told

“There is no room or place in our sport for rule violations leading to cheating. There is no place for doping. There is no place for our partner the horse to end an event suffering from a life threatening, irreversible or untreatable illness or injury.”
FEI Endurance Committee head Dr Brian Sheahan makes a point during the endurance session at the FEI's General Assembly.

FEI Endurance Committee head Dr Brian Sheahan makes a point during the endurance session at the FEI’s General Assembly. © Edouard Curchod

With those words, the Australian head of the FEI’s Endurance Committee, Dr Brian Sheahan, encapsulated the sentiment that pervaded the special two-hour endurance session at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, today.

[Read more at ...]

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Endurance Strategic Planning Group calls for immediate and sustainable action

6 Nov 2013

Immediate and sustainable action to safeguard the welfare of horses and reinforce the FEI’s anti-doping and fair play policies at Endurance events globally were the key takeaways from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) session at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux (SUI) today.

The Group had been tasked by the FEI Bureau to develop a strategic plan for the sport for the next decade and a series of recommendations for a permanent solution to the issues within the sport, particularly those related to the increased levels of positives and high numbers of injuries and fatalities.

During the two-hour session, the Group highlighted a series of far-reaching recommendations designed to tackle the problems the sport is currently facing.

ESPG Chair Andrew Finding (GBR) opened the session with a hard-hitting message: “We are all responsible to find the solutions for the problems we face today. We need a clear vision and a strong strategy for Endurance sport, and where better to develop this than from within the equestrian community that cares about the future of this sport so much. By working together we will achieve this. The strategic plan we propose sets out a vision and a set of values we will expect everyone to adhere to if they genuinely want to be an active part of our family. Those who do not should be asked to leave us.”

FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke presented statistics on the trends in positives, which had spiked in FEI Regional Group VII but are now starting to show a decrease. He also provided data on the officially reported serious injuries and fatalities in the sport, stressing the urgent need for a radically improved reporting system.

Included in this is the Injuries Surveillance System (ISS), which adopts a more consistent approach using modern data management techniques. This is being used initially in Endurance, and then rolled out across other FEI disciplines with the support of the University of Glasgow.

“We are aware of trends, and we are producing a new system that will record injuries and fatalities in a much better way, but other measures are needed,” he said.

ESPG member Jean-Louis Leclerc, a French veterinary surgeon and one of the most successful Endurance chefs d’equipe in the sport, spoke on the importance of education for athletes and officials, and reinforcing leadership. A minimum level of horsemanship should be required from all athletes, all officials (Ground Jury, Stewards and Veterinarians) should have a thorough knowledge of the rules, their performance at events should be reviewed, and a 5* level of officials should be established to reward excellence. He also called for a new definition and management of conflicts of interest.

Saeed Al Tayer (UAE), Vice-President of the Dubai Equestrian Club, was unable to be in Montreux for the session and gave his presentation by video link from Dubai. He proposed the introduction of an Endurance trainers register with the FEI, similar to the system used in thoroughbred racing, to ensure accountability. He also proposed establishing a Code of Conduct specifically for trainers, and a disciplinary board to investigate and review cases of trainer induced injury or doping. Repeat offenders will be excluded from the discipline. But, he said, there should also be a reward for trainers with successful completion rates, bringing trainers into the FEI global rankings system.

Dr Brian Sheahan (AUS), Chairman of the FEI Endurance Committee, underlined the importance of leadership, accountability and structural governance. He recommended that the FEI appoint and remunerate Independent Governance Advisors at major Championships to supervise and mentor officials on the ground, helping to ensure that Endurance rules are fully understood and enforced at every level. Accountability and sanctions for officials, National Federations, athletes and trainers is imperative, he said.

He wound up his presentation with a powerful message: “If our riders compete within the capacity of the horses’ ability to perform; if our officials correctly apply the rules without fear, favour or bias; if our trainers condition their horses for a long-term competitive life, there is no room or place in our sport for rule violations leading to cheating, there is no place for doping, there is no place for our partner the horse to end an event suffering from a life threatening, irreversible or untreatable illness or injury.”

Joe Mattingley (USA), Vice President of the USEF and Chair of the High Performance Working Group and of the High Performance Endurance Committee, spoke of the importance of information processing and structures. He presented the ESPG’s “plan on a page”, detailing the Group’s vision and mission statement.

“As an athlete of the sport, I am in no doubt that now is the time to introduce a professional and sustainable plan to protect the sport we are all so passionate about,” he said. “I have been proud to play a part in recommending these profound initiatives.”

Other recommendations specifically aimed at horse welfare and fair play include making course design more technical to challenge the athletes’ level of skill, and the use of out of competition testing for banned substances. Self-discipline and ownership of the solution by all National Federations was also vital, Andrew Finding said.

“Athletes, all athletes, and their trainers need to compete on a level playing field where natural talent wins out without artificial and performance enhancing support. We need National Federations, all of you, in every region of the world to take responsibility and provide leadership. We need every single person involved in the sport to be self-disciplined, to respect their horses and abide by the Code of Conduct for the welfare of the horse; it was carefully developed and it must be adhered to if we are not to fail.”

The scope of the Group’s proposals came in for considerable praise, with comments on the recommendations coming from New Zealand, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Namibia, Jamaica, France and the USA during the question and answer session.

The Group will now present a consultation package to National Federations by the end of November, including feedback from today’s session. Its conclusions will be finalised by the end of January and will then be presented at an Endurance conference to be held in Lausanne (SUI) in February. The National Federations will be asked to develop and set the key performance indicators: the measures for success. This process will start at the Endurance conference in February. The conclusions will be shared with the FEI Bureau in March 2014 and, in conjunction with the final Bureau decisions, will then be made public at a special Endurance session at the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne at the end of April.

“There is a problem to resolve, it is serious and systemic,” the ESPG Chair concluded. “I am confident that it can be resolved, but no committee and no plan on paper can achieve anything without the commitment of people,” the Chair of the ESPG said. “I urge you please to work with us in a spirit of positive determination to succeed. Failure cannot be an option.”

Notes to Editors
About the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG)

The ESPG, which is chaired by Andrew Finding (GBR), consists of Dr Brian Sheahan (AUS), Chairman of the FEI Endurance Committee; Jean-Louis Leclerc (FRA); Saeed Al Tayer (UAE); Joe Mattingley (USA).

The Group has been supported by the FEI’s Ian Williams (Director of Endurance) and Graeme Cooke (Director of Veterinary).

The Group was set up following a round table session at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) on 24 July and the composition of the group was announced on the 2 September. The ESPG held its first meeting via teleconference on 12 September, and an in-person meeting in Lausanne in October.

Australia: Trigger shoots into good books - Full Article

November 6 2013

THE demanding sport of long-distance riding has transformed a once trigger-happy South Coast horse into an enduring gentleman and a winner.

When Trigger came to live with East Lynne’s Heidi Wade and her mother Marilyn Himmelberger, the red-spotted grey’s age and parentage were unknown. Not so his bad habits.

“He was not really trustworthy,” Mrs Wade said.

“A friend had bought him from people who found him hard to handle, then she had to move away, so he came to us.

“He was hard to catch and would pig root.

“One day, we decided to try endurance and he is a new horse. He is now a perfect gentleman and we can put anyone on him. He comes up to us and wants to go...”

Read more here:

Endurance being singled out, suggests Danish official - Full Article

By on Nov 06, 2013 in News

Organisers of the 2015 Open European Endurance Championship have waded into the debate over welfare in the sport, suggesting the issue is not restricted to just one equestrian discipline.

The head of the organising committee, Peter Christiansen, condemned the “unilateral focus” on endurance riding and specific countries...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

FEI president Princess Haya faces calls for resignation over doping and horse welfare crisis

The Telegraph
By Pippa Cuckson, in Montreux
7:54PM GMT 05 Nov 2013

Pressure grows on Princess Haya at International Equestrian Federation annual meeting over doping, horse welfare and conflict of interest in marriage to Sheikh Mohammed

Princess Haya of Jordan, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed, is expected on Wednesday to face calls to resign as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) over the doping and horse welfare crisis in endurance racing.

The FEI’s three-day general assembly began on Tuesday and will confront the global outcry over the drug abuse, horse deaths and brazen rule-breaking in the Middle East which have propelled the previously little-known equestrian discipline – in which horses compete over distances of up to 100 miles a day – into notoriety.

Pressure has built on Princess Haya because the endurance stables of her husband, who is also the biggest single investor in British racing, have been at the centre of much of the controversy.

[More ...]

USA Chef d'Equipe Weighs In on FEI Endurance Controversies

November 5 2013

Even before a raid on a private Dubai Royal Air Wing plane on May 3 at Great Britain's Stansted Airport and the subsequent seizure of an illegal shipment of unlicensed veterinary goods (incorrectly labeled "horse tack") destined for Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Moorley endurance farm sparked a spate of growing worldwide outrage and concern over druggings, breakdowns, and fatalities of international endurance horses, the USA had already added its voice to the increasing clamor.

A June 25, 2013 letter from the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) to USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) delineated its concerns over international endurance horse welfare.

In part, the letter stated: "We share the alarm voiced by the European federations of Belgium, France, and Switzerland in regards to profoundly disturbing evidence of deficiencies in horse welfare issues; including an increase in equine fatalities, orthopedic injuries and serious drug violations. We note that these letters have been widely circulated throughout world press, and that the reputation of the sport and all those federations involved is likely to become irreparably tainted if decisive action is not taken at once to resolve these issues."

The letter was subsequently formalized by USEF and submitted to the FEI in July.

USA Endurance Chef d'Equipe Emmett Ross released a statement to on October 30, 2013, concerning the controversies currently gripping the sport of endurance racing.

"What is happening in endurance is not acceptable and abhorrent to all…

"A letter sent from the AERC several months ago through our national federation, USEF, along with its own stated concerns prompted the FEI to include our Joe Mattingly to the small but fully charged review commission of 5 persons. Joe and the other few prestigious members have had several very serious meetings and must present their findings and solutions of correcting many of the problems, especially horse welfare items,  to the FEI's annual General Assembly meeting next week. 

"I know there are skeptics regarding this commission's abilities to recommend and enact changes.  But I hope and fully expect some dramatic changes will be immediately laid down to correct many of the issues.
"I also expect the FEI officials assigned to the rides at the Championship races to take better and full control (required) of the existing rules and be unafraid on who the sanctions are given to or they potentially could lose their licenses."

The FEI's 2013 General Assembly, which acts as a platform for discussions and voting on the major decisions of the FEI and the governance of the sport, will convene in Montreux, Switzerland, November 4-7.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The endurance controversy: It’s showtime! - Full Article

By Neil Clarkson on Nov 04, 2013 in Blogs, Featured, News

Most Las Vegas shows needs a headline act – a big-name star to generate publicity and get bums on seats for the show of a lifetime. It costs casinos millions.

The FEI, on the other hand, has the remarkable ability to get gifted a headline act just about every year for its annual General Assembly.

In recent years we’ve seen squabbles over drugs lists, a fascinating challenge to Princess Haya’s presidency...

Read more here:

Australia: To stay distance in fashion stakes, don't throw a shoe - Full Article

GLYNIS TRAILL-NASH, Fashion editor
From: The Australian
November 05, 2013 12:00AM

REBECCA Bramich understands all too well the need to pace yourself at the Melbourne Cup carnival.

The model and Myer Fashions on the Field ambassador is also a keen horsewoman, and recently took part in her third Tom Quilty -- Australia's biggest equestrian endurance race -- which requires riders to complete 160km in one day on a single horse.

"Basically you have to have a very fit horse and pace yourself through the day," said Bramich...

Read more here:

Current FEI Endurance Rules "fraught with pretenses of equine welfare": John Crandell

November 4 2013

"Our current FEI [endurance] rules are founded on ethical compromise, bias, and the warped sense of reality of powerful people that do not represent the perspective of the endurance community worldwide," says John Crandell III, in part of his letter to the AERC Board of Directors last week.

AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) is the National Affiliate of USEF (United States Equestrian Federation), the National Governing body of endurance in America.

Crandell, a long-time successful USA national and international endurance rider - accomplishments which include 2006 Tevis and Haggin Cup winner on Heraldic, and 2008 and 2012 USA Endurance Team member - spoke out regarding international endurance horse welfare, after a number of horse drugging and death scandals on the international scene began sparking worldwide outrage this summer.

In his letter, Crandell points to a deeply flawed qualification system for FEI endurance horses, which is "entirely focused on simple speeds… and quantity of completion."

"…something is deeply, and fundamentally wrong with the system," Crandell states, which has resulted in "fundamental rules and qualification constructs that are only thinly veiled as protections for the horse."

Crandell calls for changes in the international FEI organization "with the integrity to uphold competitive standards, justice and elemental respects for life." He calls for an entire re-invention of the endurance qualification rules that "will be an integral and essential part of any effort by the FEI to genuinely restore its integrity and respectability.

"The challenge before the FEI is more than just a matter of controlling some forms of injustice and enforcing the rules it now has. "

Crandell's entire letter can be read here:

Sunday, November 03, 2013

FEI Controversy: Supporting the Endurance Sport

November 3 2013

Jean-Pierre Allegret and Gilles Carbardos of France have added their voices and support to the push for immediate action and reform by the FEI regarding the recent worldwide uproar concerning the allegations of cheating, doping, and horse abuse and deaths in the sport of endurance racing.

Allegret, a 4* President of jury in France and abroad, stated, in part:
"My support may look a bit late. It is not because I'm denying all cheating and doping issues which are making our sport so dirty. I have been witnessing (and victim also) as a judge and as organizer...
"The message of the Belgian federation goes completely in the same way as my thinking. I wish the French federation would make the same move…"

Carbardos, President of France's Fontainebleau CEI*** event, and member of the ADOCEE (the association of Endurance Organizers of France), said, in part, regarding Pierre Arnould's letter to FEI: "I salute Pierre Arnould for not only denounce doping practices and horse abuse, but also for proposing short-term actions." Acknowledging FEI has a unifying role, he continues, "To my mind, the global action must forget about division of opinion or attempts to denounce some riders or countries. The problem is global and could only be raised by a collective consciousness and global actions. I'm ready to take part."

The complete statements by Allegret and Carbardos can be read at

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Endurance horses may be monitored in training - Full Article

By on Nov 01, 2013 in Focus

Horses could be monitored during training as part of efforts to reduce worrying welfare issues in endurance, centred in the Middle East.

Proposals include higher qualification demands for riders and horses in long-distance events and extended recovery periods for mounts, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) says.

Endurance has been in the spotlight in recent months over high fracture rates and doping infractions centred on the United Arab Emirates (UAE)...

Read more here:

US Equestrian Announces Team for 2024 FEI Endurance World Championship for Seniors Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the athlete-and-horse combinations that will represent the U.S. at the 2024...