Wednesday, December 04, 2013

FEI: Yellow Cards in Endurance

December 2 2013

by Leonard Liesens

Let's compare endurance and eventing

Endurance has broken all doping records. Very sad. And even, these records are only showing the top of the iceberg. The ugly truth, the monster, is hidden deep inside the sands of the Middle East training tracks. Seeing how fast horses are bought everywhere in the world by the Middle East stables, there must be thousands of endurance horses now broken.

It is unacceptable to watch the death of horses during sport events. Who among us didn’t see a horse lying down in a treatment box? There is no way you can forget this experience! How can we now imagine having been the rider of such a horse, the one who pushed him to the metabolic collapsing, to the leg fracture. How can these people still sleep, how can they ride again? For what? For killing another one...

A horse having an accident during a steeple chase or at a military competition is an unfortunate accident – even if there are many. But how can we compare accidents like that with horses ran until they collapse by a stupid rider lead by his ego?

An endurance horse (not doped) will progressively get tired, will display several signs : his heart rate will raise suddenly, the metabolic parameters will be alarming, such a horse will have to be pushed by the rider, his gaits will become erratic, rhythm changes will become impossible, he will stumble, he will forge… We all –ALL!!!- have got a tired horse during a ride. The ones pretending they never experienced that are just liars! We ALL know how it happens, which are the alarming signs. This horses lead to exhaustion in the Middle East and in Europe have been ‘helped’ by artificial means (forbidden medications or not) administered by wizards. Up to the final end or –is it better?- to laminitis or colic or permanent disabilities.

Endurance is now the second FEI discipline, using the number of riders and events. A little bit above 3 days event. So let’s compare the two disciplines...

Endurance counts 10 yellow cards, including the 5 cards showed to the chef d’equipe during the WEC2013 for young riders because these teams were carrying illegal products in their containers. This brings the number to 5 yellow cards showed to riders. Let’s consider the military… During this calendar year – are you well seated?- , 134 yellow cards and warnings were showed to riders. The previous year, the number of yellow cards was similar. Follow this link for details : eventing

Now, let’s have a look at the eventing regulation… The cases where riders can receive yellow cards can be compared with endurance: pushing a tired horse, excessive use of aids (in endurance, all kind of natural means can be used, bottles, long reins, branches, sticks, taser), riding a visibly lame horse, desensitizing the legs, not having full control of the horse. Follow this link to read the regulation : eventing-regulation.

Of course, there would be more cases where yellow cards can be given : crewing outside designated areas, vehicles on the trail, grooming at the entrance of vetgate, number of grooms per horse, bottles left on the trail, inappropriate trotting if the horse to hide lameness, inappropriate riding attire, etc

The regulations for eventing are simple, transparent, easy to enforce. The regulation of endurance is complex, nebulous, fastidious… almost impossible for a steward to give a yellow card! In eventing, any steward can request a yellow card. A steward has as duty to report any abuse and take all necessary actions to insure the horse/rider/public safety. For example, a steward working at a fence sees a rider using his whip abusively, he reports it immediately to the chief steward, on the next fence same scenario and same report. Then the chief steward will decide to eliminate this competitor and show a yellow card. Simple...

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