Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Middle East Absent From FEI Endurance Conference - Full Article

February 9, 2014
By: Pippa Cuckson

Delegates largely backed proposals to clean up endurance at the one-day Fédération Equestre Internationale conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb. 9, but the Middle Eastern federations at the center of the doping and fractures scandals were absent.

FEI vice president John McEwen urged delegates to generalize when speaking, rebuffing Belgian national coach Pierre Arnould for not being “helpful” when he claimed that “90 percent of the problems are caused by the federations who are not here.”

But Arnould was backed by U.S. Chef d’Equipe Emmett Ross.

“What Pierre says is correct,” said Ross. “Most countries do the right thing. I spent 10 years in Group 7 [Middle East] and am proud of that. I have good friends there. We were teaching and learning. But we can’t avoid what’s going on there now. Where has our leadership been?

“The American Endurance Ride Conference is the largest organization in the world, with 973 races last year and 19,000 riders, and they are about the kick us [FEI endurance] out,” Ross continued. “We cannot afford to stage our own races.”

Ross also expressed fears about the sport’s apparent inability to control the four-star races. “When I spend thousands of dollars to shift six horses [to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France)] this summer I want to know there is more than one steward in a car supervising the field of play. That is not adequate...”

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