Thursday, August 14, 2014

The hi-tech, high-stakes race for endurance gold

By Neil Clarkson on Aug 14, 2014 in Featured, News, WEG 2014

The endurance race to decide the world champion at WEG is sure to be most scrutinised event in the sport’s history. Welfare concerns arising from the Middle East drove reforms which are now in place for the Games, but will they go far enough to rein in excesses in the sport? We talk with FEI 1st vice-president John McEwen about the issues facing endurance, the fallout from Compi├Ęgne, and the prospects for WEG.

High-definition video cameras, tamper-proof GPS devices, an approved heart-rate system, and a specialist timing system. Such hi-tech gear sounds more like the domain of Q, James Bond’s famed gadgetry specialist.

Welcome, instead, to the pinnacle of world endurance where a raft of surveillance measures and advanced monitoring protocols means little will escape officials.

There will be 24/7 video surveillance of the stables. Cameras will also monitor the cooling area and rest areas, not to mention the entire vetting area. A new FEI vet gate timing system will send horses to vet lanes in strict order of arrival time, automatically diverting horses away from their own nation’s veterinary officials.

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