Friday, February 28, 2014

UAE: More than 100 riders confirmed for endurance races

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Attractive prize money and a car up for grabs at Al Wathba

By N.D. Prashant, Staff Reporter
Published: February 27, 2014

Abu Dhabi: More than 100 riders have confirmed their participation for the Shaikha Fatma Bint Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup and the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Endurance Cup for private owners to be held on Friday and Saturday respectively at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba.

On both days, total prize money of Dh500,000 and a car is up for grabs...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/more-than-100-riders-confirmed-for-endurance-races-1.1296808

UAE: setting the pace with endurance horse racer Mahra Al Shamsi

Thenational.ae - Full Article

Anna Zacharias
February 27, 2014

After hours of racing through the desert, Mahra Al Shamsi recites the Quran to her horse to give it strength. Al Shamsi, an endurance horse racer from Ras Al Khaimah, will go to any length for her horse.

She competes for Seeh Al Salam stables in 80km, 100km and 120km events, a test of perseverance, strength and strategy for both horse and rider that may last five or six hours.

“I talk to my horse, I sing to my horse, and I recite the Quran to my horse during the race,” she says. “Sometimes when somebody passes by me, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, what did you say’?”

“I say, ‘No, I’m talking to my horse’. If you don’t connect with the horse, that horse is going to bound off or throw you off.”

Endurance horse racing has grown in popularity with young women since Al Shamsi, 27, took up the sport five years ago.

Training requires a minimum of two or three hours a day, four days a week. “Every season I do seven races, sometimes more,” she says...

Read more here:
http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/my-uae-setting-the-pace-with-endurance-horse-racer-mahra-al-shamsi#ixzz2ucxM1swR

Great Britain: Racing authorities "lack conviction" on drugs

Youtube.com

David Walsh on C4's Morning Line

Published on Feb 22, 2014

David Walsh, the award-winning journalist from the Sunday Times who uncovered much of the Lance Armstrong saga, says "it's a big worry when officials outside of racing unearth a drugs problem." He says the Mahmood Al Zarooni case and the ongoing Philip Fenton issue reveal that "Authorities are ambivalent... I don't sense true conviction..."

See the video interview here:
[embedded]


or link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auB4raU0uvU&feature=em-share_video_user

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Australia: Wagin riders put to the test

Waginargus.com.au - Full Story

By JAMES TAYLOR Feb. 26, 2014

LOCAL endurance riders have begun preparing following a decision to host famous Tom Quilty Gold Cup in Wagin later this year.

Announced last year, the premier horse ride will see riders flock to Wagin from around the world to take part in the event on October 3, 4 and 5.

Described by longtime Wagin endurance rider Anita Lunt as "the pinnacle of equine endurance", the event tests the mental and physical strength of horse and rider, requiring competitors to travel a distance of 160km within 24 hours.

Riders leave Friday night, pushing to complete the gruelling course before midnight on Saturday...

Read more here:
http://www.waginargus.com.au/story/2112865/wagin-riders-put-to-the-test/?cs=1665

Meydan Group to Sponsor 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

HORSE SPORT FEBRUARY 26, 2014
BY: HORSE-CANADA.COM

The Meydan Group has signed on to sponsor the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, which will be held August 23- September 7 in Normandy, France.

Malih Lahej Al Basti, vice-chairman of Meydan Group, said statement: “We are pleased to demonstrate [our passion for equestrian sports] through our role as an official sponsor of the Games. This is a prestigious competition that is truly international in its reach. The event provides Meydan with an excellent means to communicate our role in equine sports and highlights our exciting commercial ventures here in Dubai...”

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/meydan-group-to-sponsor-2014-alltech-fei-world-equestrian-games/

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Changes in saddle at Godolphin to ensure Dubai operation’s firm hold

Thenational.ae - Full Article

Geoffrey Riddle
February 25, 2014

A Godolphin restructure was inevitable. From a small, elite band of equine talent when it started in 1992 under the guidance of Simon Crisford and Saeed bin Suroor, the international stable has mushroomed into an enterprise that spans the world.

The equine empire of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, goes beyond the Royal Blue silks of Godolphin, which have raced in more than 16 countries.

The huge Darley Australia operation and a blossoming presence in Japan is a growing aspect to Sheikh Mohammed’s global outlook.

The racing and breeding operation is without comparison and has moved to address the shortcomings exposed by last year’s Mahmoud Al Zarooni doping scandal...

Read more here:
http://www.thenational.ae/sport/horse-racing/changes-in-saddle-at-godolphin-to-ensure-dubai-operations-firm-hold

New Zealand Neurologic EHV-1: Seven Horses Euthanized

Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Erica Larson, News Editor
Feb 10, 2014

New Zealand's first reported neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) outbreak has claimed several equine victims on the one affected property. As of Feb. 2, 13 horses on the property had been affected by neurologic EHV-1, Andre van Halderen, principal adviser for the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), told The Horse via e-mail received Feb. 7.

"Of the 13 horses, seven have been euthanized," he said. "The other affected horses are receiving supportive care..."

Read more here:
http://www.thehorse.com/articles/33373/new-zealand-neurologic-ehv-1-seven-horses-euthanized?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=breeding&utm_campaign=02-16-2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

UAE to host World Military Endurance Championship

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum won at inaugural event last year
Staff Report
Published: 18:41 February 24, 2014

Dubai: Leading military endurance riders from over 20 countries will vie for top honours in the second annual CISM World Military Endurance Championship, which will be held in Dubai next month.

The international event, sponsored by Meydan pillar partner International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) and organised by Meydan Group’s Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) alongside the military sport body CISM (Conseil International du Sport Militaire) and the UAE’s Ministry of Defence, will take place on March 6...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/uae-to-host-world-military-endurance-championship-1.1295289

Great Britain: Royal Windsor Horse Show secures series of prestigious international events for this year's show

Localberkshire.co.uk - Full Article

24 Feb 2014

THE biggest outdoor equestrian extravaganza in the country will become even bigger as it hosts a series of prestigious international events.

For the first time, Royal Windsor Horse Show has been granted prestigious Concours Hippique International (CHI) status meaning this year the event will feature three, international three-star rated jumping and dressage competitions attracting some of the top horseriders from around the world.

The five-day event will take place from May 14-18 in the grounds of Windsor Castle and will feature hundreds of competitions in showjumping, dressage, driving and endurance with the three-star rated Concours de Dressage International (CDI) and Concours de Saut International (CSI) competitions taking place on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings of the show promising to be a highlight...

Read more here:
http://www.localberkshire.co.uk/news/windsor/articles/2014/02/24/97984-royal-windsor-horse-show-secures-series-of-prestigious-international-events-for-this-years-show/#sthash.whCP4sAy.dpuf

Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Normandy: Interview with Mathieu Collet, an orchestrator of the Games

Normandy2014.com - Full Article

Tuesday 18 February 2014 - 15h02

After multiple experiences working at some of the world’s greatest sporting events, Mathieu Collet joined the Organising Committee of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy on 19 June 2013 as Site Manager for the Exhibition Centre, the Zenith and the Games Village. His role is to coordinate the requests of the Committee’s different departments in order to ensure that the event takes place in the best possible conditions on these 3 sites. With 35,000 visitors predicted in the Village every day, and tens of thousands of spectators expected for the Vaulting and Reining events, Mathieu is a very busy man!

Mathieu, which events did you work at before joining the Games adventure?


At the beginning, I worked in classic corporate event planning. Then I dipped my feet into the world of sport at the Rugby World Cup in 2007. I was in charge of layout and fittings on the Cardiff site, and I really loved the atmosphere and excitement that prevailed within the Committee. So I continued in the same thread by working in volunteer recruitment and management for the opening and closing ceremonies of Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria, artists’ transport for the Asian Cup in Qatar (equivalent of the Euro), and entertainment for the Arab Games in 2011 (equivalent of the Mediterranean Games). In 2012, I worked as site manager for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, before working for the Taewando's Sports Operationsat the London Olympic Games in 2012...

Read more here:
http://www.normandy2014.com/news/articles/269/interview-with-mathieu-collet-an-orchestrator-of-the-games

Gallops of Oman — the real experience

Omanobserver.om - Full Article

By Lakshmi Kothaneth — There was ecstasy in the air as Gallops of Oman came to a conclusion in the Wilayat of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali’s seashore. The excitement was not just among the winning teams, but each member of the 20 teams as they completed the journey of endurance — crossing 180 km of Sharqiyah Sands. “I think it’s a great success that we have achieved, it has been an excellent experience and organising Gallops of Oman was not easy,” said Brig Abdulrazak Alshahwarzi, Commander of the Royal Cavalry, Vice Chairman and CEO of the Gallops of Oman. They had reached the final stage of 21 km and at the finish line as the riders accompanied their horses to the veterinary doctors; one could see the bond between the riders and the horses that had developed in the last six days.

At the end of each stage the team of veterinary doctors would inspect the horses for their heart rates and stress level, and the time taken to reach the finishing line. Being early or late meant losing points. The Arabian horses impressed their riders with their stamina, strength and spirit...

Read more here:
http://main.omanobserver.om/?p=59105

"One of the Greatest Scandals of Modern Horse Sport"

February 23 2014

In a comment column in Great Britain's Horse & Hound, editor Lucy Higginson blasted the equine doping violations and injuries involving the Middle Eastern nations and plaguing FEI endurance racing, calling it "…one of the greatest scandals of modern horse sport. It is a convoluted saga that has involved drugs, ghastly injury rates and inadequate reporting systems."

Great Britain's The Telegraph and Horse & Hound (primarily with freelance reporter Pippa Cuckson) have led the way in bringing to the world's attention the atrocious doping incidents and high fracture rates in endurance racing in the group 7 Middle Eastern countries, and FEI's responses to the worldwide uproars these have caused.

A new article by Pippa Cuckson, "Progress made - but key nations stay away" can be obtained by subscription to Horse and Hound here:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Omani teams lead Gallops charge

Timesofoman.com - Full Article

BY SARAH MACDONALD | FEBRUARY 23, 2014

Muscat: The Gallops of Oman desert endurance horse ride along the coast concluded on Friday, approximately 100km south of Al Ashkarah, with two Omani teams leading the charge.

The five-day event challenged 110 riders from nine nationalities riding in teams of five to cross the Wahiba Sands at a pace that ensured their horses stayed in good health. Omani teams Al Safinat and Al Adiyat finished in the first and second place respectively, the best overall timings of the week, while the French team Khasab finished third.

"I'm so happy that our team was united like a fist and we won. I thank all the people who helped us. It was difficult but it was easy for us whenever we laughed and talked together. We put it in our minds that we had to win and that's what helped us win today," said Azhar Al Wardi from the Al Safinat team, as she celebrated with her fellow riders Mahmood Al Fori, Fatima Al Manji, Ahmed Al Hamadani and Hisham Al Farsi...

Read more here:
http://www.timesofoman.com/News/Article-30168.aspx

Record Line-up for Mongol Derby

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

The Mongol Derby — the world’s longest, toughest horserace —boasts its biggest line-up yet for 2014.

43 riders — 26 of them women — from 15 countries will be taking part, including former National Hunt jockey turned valet Chris Maude, England polo player Jamie Peel and Rob Skinner, military rider and 1 of H&H’s hunting’s most eligible bachelors (14 February 2013)...

Read more here:
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/record-line-mongol-derby/#SypzL91II672mKKb.99

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It’s not all black and white when it comes to FEI yellow cards

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

The yellow-carding of a rugby or football player is, in my view, a sporting spectacle in itself.

It’s the sense of anticipation that draws me. One can sense 30,000 bottoms sliding forward on their stadium seats as the referee summons a player after some egregious sin.

It is clear what’s coming. The referee is strutting and looking especially officious by this stage.

The player receives a brief dressing down and the referee, in a grand flourish, reaches for his pocket and pulls out the yellow card, or possibly even a red card.

Dramatic stuff.

The FEI has a yellow-card system, too. However, their use does not generate anything like the same drama and spectacle.

In equestrian sport, the yellow card is essentially a small yellow form which is printed out and given to the offending rider by the president of the ground jury at an event. No drama. No theatrics. That, my friends, is the FEI way.

[More ...]

Friday, February 21, 2014

Canada: Endurance breeder honored with Award of Excellence

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 21, 2014 in Just Briefly

Arabian horse breeder Carl Fudge has been presented with the Award of Excellence for his outstanding achievements in the sport of Endurance in Canada.

Fudge, who is Managing Partner of Sturgeon Creek Arabians, was presented with the award at the Equine Canada Annual Awards Gala recently in Winnipeg, Manitoba, by current Chair for Endurance Canada, Terre O’Brennan.

As of last month, Sturgeon Creek Arabians (SCA) has completed over 25,000 miles in Endurance competitions...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/02/21/endurance-breeder-honored-award-of-excellence/#ixzz2tyKJJcys

2014 Normandy: 220,000 new tickets going on sale on 4 March 2014

Normandy2014.com - Full Article

Tuesday 18 February 2014 - 17h33

4 March 2014: Opening of the final phase of ticketing for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy. This is a definitive stage where the Organising Committee puts over 200,000 individual tickets on sale to the public. Based on the number of messages and calls already received, this is a much-awaited stage and one likely to be a great success. So to Normans, horse riding fans and extravaganza enthusiasts wishing to attend the largest equestrian competition in the world in Normandy from 23 August to 7 September 2014, now’s your chance!

On 4 March, everyone will be able to purchase a place for their chosen session(s) (ex: Jumping of Eventing, Jumping’s Speed competition, etc.) when over 200,000 places are put on sale. It’s worth noting that 80% of these places involve Olympic disciplines (Dressage, Jumping and Eventing) and that the best places are still up for grabs.

The Organising Committee insisted on making the event accessible to the greatest number of people, with an average ticket price of 25€, and some tickets available for only 5€ ! All those tickets will give spectators a free access to the Games Village set up in Caen’s "Parc des Expositions". A great place to relax, eat, watch exhibitions, concerts, and more.

It should be noted that tickets for the ‘4-way final’ will not go on sale just yet. The latter won’t be accessible until late April on the principle of an online registration, and a drawing of lots will be organised...

Read more here:
http://www.normandy2014.com/news/articles/262/2200-000-new-tickets-going-on-sale-on-4-march-2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Great Britain: Horse riders urged to sign up for charity event next month

Knutsfordguardian.co.uk - Full Article

February 20 2014

HORSE riders from across the north west will endure 10 and 15 mile routes around a Cheshire forest in aid of Cancer Research on Saturday, March 8.

As part of a series of National Rides organised by Endurance GB, riders are being encouraged to enter this event at Delamere Forest whether or not they have done endurance riding before.

Liz Finney, chair of the Cheshire Group of EGB said: “This is a family sport, open to anyone with a horse fit enough to complete the distance at a steady pace within 3 hours...

Read more here:
http://www.knutsfordguardian.co.uk/news/11025145.Horse_riders_urged_to_sign_up_for_charity_event_next_month/

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour steps into endurance racing row



Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, owner of Manchester City, is understood to have intervened in the clean-up of endurance racing at the President's Cup ride in Abu Dhabi


By Pippa Cuckson


Six yellow warning cards were handed out, with two riders disqualified, at the 100-mile President's Cup ride in Abu Dhabi on Saturday as organisers finally reacted to global pressure to punish rule-breaking and horse abuse in Middle East endurance racing.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and owner of Manchester City, is understood to have intervened in the clean-up, and been instrumental in the installation of security cameras at vet-gates (vet check) areas and on the “crew” cars following the horses.

Representatives of Lord Stevens’ intelligence services company Quest, and International Equestrian Federation (FEI) endurance director Ian Williams were on hand to support officials.

The unprecedented move came days after Telegraph Sport’s exposure of horse-beating by a running groom, caught on video at a ride in Sakhir, Bahrain, on Feb 8.

The FEI later announced that the rider, winner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, received a yellow card and was suspended.

The Telegraph

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sheikh Mansoor festival Supports Four Endurance Races across Europe

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

February 16, 2014, Abu Dhabi ~ The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival lends support to four Endurance Championships: Portugal-April 25 to 27, France-May 23 to 27, Italy-July 25 to 27, and Slovakia-September 27.

Lara Sawaya, director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and chairman of the Ladies Racing (IFAHR) gave a press briefing in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, February 16.

“Under the directives of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the endurance and flat races will be combined together under the umbrella of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival,” Sawaya stated. “I would like above all to thank the Portuguese ambassador to the UAE, Jimmy Van Zeller Laitau, for coming, pointing out that the festival has started sponsoring endurance races last year and it is carrying on for the second season...”

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2014/02/16/sheikh-mansoor-festival-supports-four-endurance-races-across-europe/

UAE: Al Jahouri and Niac Armor Again in Endurance Limelight

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

February 16 2014
Pamela Burton

February 15, 2014, Abu Dhabi ~ Wearing his typical shy smile, Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri crossed the finish line in first place with his winning partner Niac Armor for Al Wathba Stables in the CEI *** 160km President of the UAE Endurance Cup, taking home the keys to a car, a custom Rolex watch and a cash prize of Dh300,000 (€60,000).

The two fought for the win at the Emirates International Endurance Village and triumphed over 128 starters finishing in the time of 06:03:39 at an average speed of 26.4kph...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2014/02/16/al-jahouri-and-niac-armor-again-in-endurance-limelight/

Endurance ride Gallops of Oman begins

By Lakshmi Kothaneth -

At the Sharqiyah Sands, 110 horse riders and that many pure bred Arabian horses lined up to begin their unique journey at 8.30 am yesterday morning, with magnificent sand dunes as their backdrop. The Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, waved the flag officially starting the ride across 180 kms.
With the blessing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, an avid horse lover, the ride was originally conceived to combine the thrill of adventure, with the exploration of a country that abounds with a rich cultural heritage, according to the organisers. These explorers of Oman will experience the land and its culture riding Oman’s own Arabian horses.
Riders from nine countries were full of excitement and focus as they prepared for the unique ride on exclusively Oman’s own Arabian horses. Majority of the horses are from the Royal Cavalry while others from private owners in Oman. For some of the riders it is the first time to camp in a desert and first time to ride a pure bred Arabian horse. “Arabian horses seemed to have more energy, and are fiery. It is very exciting,” some of the riders pointed out.
The first stage of Gallops of Oman covers 40 kms and will take the riders more than six hours to cover the distance. “It is a challenging one, especially the part where they have to climb up the dune and come down the slope. The horses have been here practising for a week,” explained Brigadier Abdulrazak Alshahwarzi.
The riders are from nine nationalities including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, UK, USA, Belgium, Switzerland and the host, Oman. The participants are formed into 22 teams of five each.
Today the riders will cover a distance of 41 kms where they will head to Tiwi Khazeena camp.
In the welcome speech, the chairman of the committee, Brigadier Abdulrazak Alshahwarzi, explained the unique concept of Gallops of Oman. The Royal Cavalry Band performed the welcome music.
In total there are five stages and the fifth stage will conclude at Qudayma Camp, the other two camps are at TIWI Al Hatayem Camp and Quhaid Camp.

Oman Observer

Sunday, February 16, 2014

How to Piss off the Swiss

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

February 15 2014
Karen Robinson

When you refer to someone as ‘being Switzerland’, you aren’t likely to be accusing that person of being full of holes like Swiss Emmental, or delicious like Toblerone, or tall and slim like the Matterhorn. Chances are what you mean is that the person is refusing to take sides in a dispute, instead remaining neutral – much to the immense frustration of everyone on both sides. Switzerland is where the world’s great warring factions go to try and talk things out, such as the recent Syrian Peace Talks which took place in Montreux, the very same Montreux where the 2013 FEI GA was held. There is no doubt about it. The Swiss are world leaders at sitting on the fence.

So what does it take to get the Swiss riled up? I’m heartened to report a very worthy cause: the situation with FEI endurance that has completely exhausted my vocabulary for negative adjectives. Of all the national equestrian federations around the world, Switzerland is sticking to its guns more than anyone. My first exposure to Swiss backbone was at the GA in November, where I had the opportunity to meet the Swiss Fed’s Chef de Mission, Claude Nordmann. In spite of the fact that his federation played host to the 2013 GA (and ironically, hosted the cocktail party that followed the endurance presentation), Claude clearly identified much more with the shocked media than with the ecstatic majority who leapt to their feet to show their undying adoration for HRH and all that she does.

Since the GA, ground level realities continue to deteriorate at endurance races, and the Swiss federation has made no bones about its escalating disgust. On February 4th it issued a statement titled “Unsatisfactory starting point for the forthcoming endurance conference”, which you can read here. On February 12th, this piece appeared in The Guardian: “Swiss equestrian federation questions neutrality of Godolphin inquiry”. Yes indeedy. The Swiss are pissed...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/straight-up/how-to-piss-off-the-swiss/

UAE: Niac Armor wins Endurance Cup

Khaleejtimes.com - Full Article

Hisham Al Gizouli / 16 February 2014

Al Wathba Stables’ teenage rider Al Jahouri rallies his colt to splendid victory at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday..

Teenager Khalfan Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri came from the back of the field to steer Anglo Arab mare Niac Armor home in the His Highness President of the United Arab Emirates Endurance Cup after he timed his run to perfection to land the title for Al Wathba Stables for the second straight year at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba here on Saturday.

The winner covered the distance in 6 hours, 3 minutes and 39 seconds at an average speed of 26.39 km/hour to finish 90 seconds ahead of runner-up Sultan Ahmed Al Baloushi followed by Mohammed Matar Al Mazroui, in a clean sweep of the UAE riders of the top positions...

Read more here:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/February/nationsports_February160.xml§ion=nationsports

Pippa Cuckson: Guest Blog from the FEI Endurance Conference

Horsesportinternational.com - Full Article

February 15 2014

When the editor kindly offered me a guest blog about the FEI endurance conference in Lausanne on February 9, I decided to wait a day or so. I had already written five different news reports about it and wanted to crystallise some thoughts.

I also wanted a few hours off to play my viola and hug my horse. If you had just sat through an intense debate which included a serious discussion about the desirability of honouring horses that are still living five years after retiring from endurance, you’d be craving some normality, too.

Other stuff then happened to push the conference onto the back-burner. So here is my take on yet another you-couldn’t-make-it-up week of the unvarnished awfulness that defines endurance in the Middle East.

First – the decidedly unrevelatory Quest report into wrong-doings at Sheikh Mohammed’s various UK properties last year. Quest has provided the FEI’s integrity unit since 2010 yet accepted a commission direct from the FEI president’s husband to investigate the background to the Al Zarooni racehorse doping incidents, plus the drugs raids on Sheikh Mohammed’s Moorley Farm East stables, Newmarket – where he bases his endurance horses for the European season – and his private plane. Lord Stevens has stressed Quest’s impartiality and insisted that his investigating teams remain separate...

Read more here:
http://www.horsesportinternational.com/2014/02/pippa-cuckson-guest-blog-from-the-fei-endurance-conference/

Friday, February 14, 2014

DubaiGate: Go... the Mass is ended

www.endurance-belgium.com - Full Report

13 February 2013
Leonard Liesens - Endurance-belgium.com

    According to chats after the conference, it appears that several chef d’equipe fear the backslash for their team at upcoming championships. Are they suffering from acute paranoia or will the course of events prove they were right?


The ESPG showed self-satisfaction, more exactly relieve to have completed its mission without too shootout of the federations .

Yet its most active and most clear in his statements, namely Jean- Louis Leclerc, did not seem to be lulling into complacency during and after the conference.

Most European federations were represented. Yeah, but some showed a passivity and extreme shyness. We did not hear the UK or Italy , Sweden, Portugal, Czech Republic. Spain intervened but in a minor key and swinging raw truths.


France has expressed clearly and politely , by the voice of Christophe Pélissier . It is not obviously useful to raise your voice to be heard and Pelissier has nevertheless not failed to come back especially on the subject of veterinary reports ( 2012 Florac presumably) sent by France to the FEI and which did not land on the right FEI desk (or maybe better land directly in the bin) .

While the FEI had just told the organisation hardly received damning reports from official bodies. But once again, Ian Williams was able to maneuver to claim not to have received / seen these reports. And no one in the assembly dared intervene to push and dig more about this particular subject. We therefore remained the polite exchange of good intentions, it was congratulated , we even made hugs in front of the stage. There was no ' selfies '  (maybe the non French readers will not understand but the recent visit of President Hollande to Obama was a good occasion for journalist to picture themselves inside the White House) but we were not far away.
Clip-Devos-RapportsFEI

The two representatives of Italy did not say a word, they just came to listen, make an appearance and enjoy the lunch buffet - BTW delicious and flavorful. Bravo to the FEI for that. It must be said that Italy is entangled with a league judicial review and intergovernmental cooperation agreements with Emirates. Must not offend the patron.

According to chats after the conference, it appears that several chef d’equipe fear the backslash for their team at upcoming championships. Are they suffering from acute paranoia or will the course of events prove they were right? 

It is once again Pierre Arnould (which is still part of the FEI Endurance Committee, but was "impeachment" in relation to ESPG and therefore could speak freely on behalf of the Belgian Federation) was the most incisive.
He was also the first to intervene in the afternoon, after everyone fell asleep during presentations of self-satisfaction orchestrated by ESPG .

It was right before that, at the start of the conference, that we had to listen to a guy from ESPG reading a strong statement responding to the open letter sent by the Swiss Federation, concerning the lack of professionalism of the compilation of the responses of the federations. A sudden cold wind was then blowing thru the assistance, like someone opened the door overlooking the nice Lausanne Lake Leman…. oddly the Swiss did not respond .

Arnould began the debate by asking the killing question (La Question qui tue) :

"We are here to discuss a problem that affects 10% of federations who practice endurance , namely the Middle East, while they have not deign to come.As long as there is no clear answer to the question of whether you prefer the economic and financial aspects of our sport ethics and respect for our horses , all the debates and change regulations will be useless. "

Clip-Video-Arnould ici


He has obviously not received a response from the FEI or the ESPG . He was even retorted that his thinking did not advance the debate. When is the next "Verbal Warning" ?

He was unequivocally supported by the Team Leader of USA, Emmett Ross , convinced that sport has lost its identity , all because of the Middle East.
As might be expected, all federations have all voted for a return to classic endurance, technical, tactical. Endurance that allows horses to have a long career, riders express their riding skills and horsemanship. But does money not command?
...

For more, including video clips click here:
http://www.endurance-belgium.com/n-gazette/dubaigate.htm#espg1201

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Swiss equestrian federation questions neutrality of Godolphin inquiry

Theguardian.com - Full Article

Lord Stevens' report, as commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed, demonstrated a 'clear conflict of interests' and the 'findings are nothing special', a leading international equestrian body said

James Riach
The Guardian, Wednesday 12 February 2014 15.50 EST

A leading international equestrian federation has heavily criticised a report exonerating Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the UK's leading racehorse owner, of having any knowledge of three drug-related scandals involving his organisation last year, lamenting the inquiry's "conflict of interests" after being commissioned by the Sheikh himself.

Lord Stevens, the former chief of the Metropolitan police, was employed by Sheikh Mohammed and his wife Princess Haya to investigate three separate incidents involving his equine operations, including the doping of Godolphin racehorses with anabolic steroids by the disgraced trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni and two seizures of "potentially toxic and dangerous" veterinary goods at Stansted airport and Moorley Farm, owned by the Sheikh's Darley Stud, in Newmarket...

Read more here:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/12/godolphin-al-zarooni-scandal-stevens-report-slammed

FEI Endurance Conference in Switzerland Feb 9

The FEI held an Endurance Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland on February 9, 2014. Representatives from 20 member nations attended, though noticeably absent were members from region VII (Middle East), the nations in the focus of the doping scandals and horse abuses addressed by this conference.

The information from the conference, including the Conference Presentation, Plan on a Page, and Participant List, can be seen here:
https://docs.fei.org/docs/nfs/endurance-conference

Sheikh Mohammed exonerated by Lord Stevens' report into doping scandal

Theguardian.com - Full Article

• Investigation clears head of world's largest equine operation
• Management failings and complacency highlighted by review

James Riach
theguardian.com, Wednesday 12 February 2014 07.00 EST

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the UK's leading racehorse owner, has been cleared of having any knowledge of three drug-related incidents involving his organisation last year, according to a report commissioned by the Sheikh himself.

Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police chief commissioner, was employed to investigate a series of damaging incidents and interview a series of key figures. The report concluded that the seizures of unlicensed veterinary goods by British authorities resulted from "a sense of complacency" within the Sheikh's management structure.

Stevens interviewed several figures within Sheikh Mohammed's equine operations, including the disgraced former trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni who was banned by eight years by the British Horseracing Association in April 2013 for injecting thoroughbreds at the Godolphin stable with performance-enhancing anabolic steroids.

As revealed by the Guardian in September, the thoroughbred scandal was followed by later incidents within Sheikh Mohammed's endurance set-up, with veterinary goods described as "potentially toxic and dangerous to horses" seized from a Dubai Royal Air Wing flight at Stansted airport by the UK Border Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in May...

Read more here:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/feb/12/sheikh-mohammed-exonerated-lord-stevens-doping-scandal

Abu Dhabi: Spaniards in the 2014 President's Cup

El Raid Blog - Gabriel Gamiz

The next Saturday, February 15, 2014, the President Cup 2014 will be held in Abu Dhabi (UAE), with six Spanish pairs in the test.
This is the information from the FEI.


"RAID - President Cup 2014 in Abu Dhabi (UAE)

On Saturday February 15 will be held in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) the race of the President's Cup 2014, one of the most prestigious equestrian and competed resistance tests on the international calendar.
 
The President's Cup was created in 1994 by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and is from the first edition one of the great tests of modality.
 
The race is a category three-star FEI, and run over a total distance of 160 kilometers in 6 stages 40, 27, 31, 26, 20 and 16 kilometers respectively.
 
Spain will in this race have six guest pairs. Agda Muixí with EROS, Laura Vilaregut with SERAS MABROUK, Cristina Yebra with CALZADILLA, Cristina Lobera with ALY, Ivet Pi with TRA DRUIDA and Bernat Casals"

Source: FEI.
Greetings from Gabriel.

Operation Desert Storm: A test of endurance or patience?

The legendary equestrian explorer, Aimé Tschiffely, who rode 10,000 miles from Buenos Aires to Washington DC in the late 1920s, faced a myriad of challenges, but perhaps none more so than the prospect of crossing a stretch of Peruvian coastal desert called Matacaballo – the Horse Killer.

The Swiss-born Argentine professor knew it was a high-stakes undertaking and planned carefully. He decided against carrying water for his magnificent Criollo mounts, Mancha and Gato, rightly believing it was a race against time in the scorching heat, and they needed to travel light.

Read More ...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bahrain endurance incident was handled by authorities – FEI

The Bahrain incident in which an endurance horse was struck across the rump by support crew as it neared victory in a prestigious 120km desert race resulted in a formal warning to the rider and a ban, the FEI confirmed early today (NZ time).

However, equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson, who brought the matter to wide attention in a piece in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, questioned why the incident resulted in the winner of the event receiving only a warning, despite what appeared to be multiple breaches of endurance rules.

Read more...

Cuckson to complain to FEI over contents of endurance video footage

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 12, 2014 in News

British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson confirms she is sharpening her pencil to lodge a formal complaint to the FEI over horse welfare concerns arising from video footage of a recent endurance race in Bahrain.

The footage shows a person who was presumably a member of the rider’s support crew appearing to strike a horse in the rump area near the end of a 120-kilometre endurance race...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/02/12/cuckson-complain-fei-endurance-video-footage/#ixzz2t7e7lyHR

Middle East Absent From FEI Endurance Conference

Chronofhorse.com - 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...”

Read more here:
http://chronofhorse.com/article/middle-east-absent-fei-endurance-conference

Monday, February 10, 2014

FEI Conference delegates give positive response to Endurance strategic plan

FEI.org

9 Feb 2014

Delegates from 23 countries reached a broad consensus on the strategic plan for Endurance sport at the one-day Endurance conference in Lausanne (SUI) today.

The conference was attended by more than 70 delegates, with a total of 20 National Federations represented. Other bodies attending the conference were the European Equestrian Federation, World Horse Welfare, American Endurance Ride Conference and the Equine Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), as well as members of the media. FEI President HRH Princess Haya attended as an observer, along with members of the FEI Executive Board.

The morning session focused on feedback from the National Federations on the proposals outlined at the 2013 General Assembly in November 2013 by the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG).

Of the 47 National Federations involved in the sport, of which 33 run elite Endurance events, 20 Federations returned responses via the electronic survey, a further six sent additional comments. A team of veterinary surgeons also held its own scientifically based review and shared its views with the ESPG.

ESPG Chair Andrew Finding summarised the results from the survey, in which 32 of the Group’s 37 recommendations received an approval rating of over 80%.

“The consultation was never intended to be a referendum, it was designed to add value to the work we have been doing and vitally to give every National Federation an opportunity to comment,” he said. “Some decided to comment, many did not but every National Federation had an opportunity to do so.”

Andrew Finding pledged that every comment received would be addressed by the Group and, where appropriate, covered at the operational planning level. He also stated that the Group had recommended that members of the Endurance Committee should be tasked with a specific area of responsibility to cover each of the critical success factors outlined by the ESPG – culture and behaviour; structure and governance; foundation for growth, and communications and marketing.

His presentation then focused on the five recommendations that had a lower approval rating, but still in excess of 50%. These were the designation of Persons Responsible, and whether trainers should be included alongside riders, ride qualification standards, a trainers ranking list, awards for completions, and awards for officials. He also covered five other areas that National Federations had raised in their responses to the survey and which the ESPG felt had not been covered fully in its recommendations.

Debate during the day focused on the key areas of horse welfare; clean sport and the rules, which were widely accepted as fit for purpose; support for officials on enforcement of those rules; transparent and consistent reporting; the use of technology; rider competence and horsemanship; cost implications; sponsorship; the technicality of courses to help resolve speed-related issues; technical criteria during competitions; individual and team performance; and ensuring the long-term development of the sport.

There was also considerable discussion on the traditional Endurance rides, which are now being referred to as Classic Endurance riding, and Endurance Racing. There were mixed views on whether a different set of rules should be used, but it was generally agreed that the rules cover both elements.

Part of the afternoon’s session was devoted to establishing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which will be used to evaluate the success of the strategic plan.

During his summing up of the day’s proceedings, moderator John McEwen thanked Andrew Finding and the ESPG members for all their work. “This conference was to complete the work of the ESPG,” he said. “I want to thank them all individually and personally and Andrew for leading them.”

“Endurance sport has expanded thanks to the expansion in Group VII; we mustn’t lose sight of that expansion,” he continued. “How we handle the expansion of the sport is down to you and it’s important we handle that right for the future of the sport.

“You’ve all said that actually the structure and governance is in place. Yes we need to implement it in slightly different ways in certain aspects. We have the guidelines from the ESPG, which are extremely helpful in helping us to do that. I think the feeling in general is that we want this to remain one sport. I am passionate about this and I believe that we need to stay as one sport and that is only possible if people are open-minded and have wide vision.”

The ESPG will now use the input from today’s conference to finalise its report, which will be presented to the FEI Bureau for further consideration. The FEI Bureau and the Endurance Committee will report at a special session on Endurance at the FEI Sports Forum (28-29 April 2014) about the follow-up on the conclusions of the ESPG.

Notes to Editors:
The 20 National Federations represented at today’s conference were from Belgium, Botswana, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Italy, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, United States of America.

The FEI Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG), set up last year following the Endurance round table on 24 July, was tasked with creating a long-term plan for the discipline to tackle the issues currently being faced in Endurance. The ESPG is chaired by Andrew Finding, European Equestrian Federation Board Member and CEO of the British Equestrian Federation.

The members of the Group are veterinarian Brian Sheahan (AUS), chair of the FEI Endurance Committee; Joe Mattingley (USA), international Endurance rider; Saeed H Al Tayer (UAE), Vice President of the Dubai Equestrian Club and organiser of FEI World Endurance Championships; and veterinarian Jean-Louis Leclerc (FRA), an internationally respected and very successful chef d’équipe and team manager within the discipline.

Middle Eastern countries boycott International Equestrian Federation conference on endurance racing

Footage of multiple rule breaches in a 120km ride in Bahrain has provoked outrage and renewed concerns that Middle Eastern countries are not embracing the clean-up of endurance racing.

The footage was revealed on social media as stakeholders from the region boycotted the global conference called to debate the crisis in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The conference was the latest stage of the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) strategy to address doping and horse injuries in the high speed version of endurance practised by Middle Eastern countries, where stables owned by Sheikh Mohammed have been at the centre of scandals highlighted in the past 12 months.

But none of their member federations was present to hear about drastic proposals primarily aimed at them.

Read more...

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Endurance: “I believe that we need to stay as one sport”

The FEI says there is a broad consensus among endurance nations on the future direction for the sport, but views are mixed are whether there should be different rules for the more aggressive distance racing which finds favour in the Middle East.

Delegates from 23 countries have met in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a one-day endurance conference, where they showed strong support for most of the recommendations for reform proposed by the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG), formed after several FEI member nations voiced concern about welfare issues and the worrying number of drug infractions in horses centred on Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain – all members of FEI regional group 7.

Read more...


UAE teen bags Dh100,000 and 4X4 in Al Wathba Endurance Ride

Thenational.ae - Full Article

Ramona Ruiz
February 8, 2014

ABU DHABI // Sixteen-year-old Saeed Al Harbi beat a field of 141 horse riders to win this year’s Al Wathba Challenge Endurance Ride on Saturday.

The teenager, who was riding Rashka, scooped Dh100,000 and a Toyota Landcruiser after finishing first in the race held at the Emirates International Endurance Village.

“I’m so happy to win this race,” said Emirati Mr Al Harbi. “I will give the car to my brother Hamad, who is 20.”

Mr Al Harbi, who has been training for two years, covered the distance in four hours, 21 minutes and 10 seconds at an average speed of 27.569kph to cross the finish line 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Rashid Al Baloushi...

Read more here:
http://www.thenational.ae/uae/uae-teen-bags-dh100-000-and-4x4-in-al-wathba-endurance-ride#ixzz2sqFxK3cA

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Sabrina Arnold tops FEI World Endurance Ranking for 2013

Germany's Sabrina Arnold top the standings for the Open Riders World Endurance Ranking for 2013. The UAE's Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri was second, with France's Virginie Atger in third. USA's Cheryl Van Deusen ranked sixth.

In the Open Combination World Endurance Ranking, Sweden's Maria Hagman-Eriksson and Al Tayar topped the list. Japan's Toshiaki Hirohashi and Lucky ranked second, with Uruguay's Miguel Meireles and EO Shadi third. Two USA riders ranked in the top ten, with Cheryl Van Deusen and EBS Regal Majjaan in fourth, and Melody Blittersdorf and Synthetic in fifth.

In the Junior/Young Rider division, Malaysia's Azizatul Asthma Dato' Haji Abdullah ranked first, with Uruguay's Maria Pereira in second and Joaquin Stirling in third. Three USA riders ranked in the top ten: Christina Kimery in sixth, McCamey Kimbler in seventh, and Taylor White in eighth.

In the Junior/Young Rider Combination World Endurance Ranking, Uruguay's Frederic Maidana and JQ Zarial ranked first, with USA's Taylor White and Hoover the Mover in second. Chile's Paula Llorens Clark was third.

India: Ahmedabad: Horse’s heartbeat key to entry in race say cops

DNAIndia.com - Full Article

February 7, 2014 - 22:57 IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Abhishek Samuel

The upcoming Mahakali Ashwa Mela at Ambod is slated to be a decorated affair, with participation of as many as eight policemen from the state and 70 personnel from the Indian Army. These teams will ride alongside nearly 100 civilian equestrians from the country in the endurance race at the event, which kicks off on Sunday.

The eight participating cops from the state police include joint CP of special branch & additional director of anti-corruption bureau (ACB) Shamsher Singh along with mounted division police inspector LF Vasava and mounted PSI MS Barot among others. Singh, an avid equestrian, said that they have been training regularly and rigorously over the past fortnight for the event.

“A horse needs to be physically in tune with its rider and have the stamina to be able to finish the race. This has been our primary goal throughout the recent training. During the qualification round, the horse’s heartbeat is constantly monitored to see if it is normal. In case of high heartbeat, the horse may be disqualified for health reasons,” he explained.

As a cautionary tale of the heartbeat’s importance, one need only glance at the state police’s participation in the same event last year. Only one of the participating state police horses was cleared to race, while the rest were all disqualified due to high heartbeat...

Read more here:
http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-ahmedabad-horse-s-heartbeat-key-to-entry-in-race-say-cops-1960102

Bahrain: Riders set for Endurance Race Cup

Gulf-daily-news.com - Full Article

February 08, 2014

BAHRAIN'S best riders will participate in HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Endurance Race Cup, which kicks-off at 7am today at Bahrain International Endurance Village.

The championship will comprise two race-categories, the 120 kilometer race (five stages, 30, 30, 24, 20, 16 km) and the 80 km qualifying race (three stages, 30, 30, 24 km).

Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (SCYS) chairman, Bahrain Olympic Committee president and Royal Endurance Team captain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa praised the organisers' efforts to ensure the success of the race, while he visited the veterinary examinations for participants' horses. The examinations were conducted by international experts at the village yesterday.

Shaikh Nasser said that the Royal Endurance team will be tough competitors for the title, wishing the best for the rest of the contenders...

Read more here:
http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=370185

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Abu Dhabi: 120km Hamdan endurance ride set for Saturday

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Elite UAE riders to compete in Al Wathba race that boasts Dh1m prize fund
WAMPublished: 17:37 February 6, 2014

Abu Dhabi: The Hamdan Bin Rashid Festival 2014 Al Wathba Challenge Endurance Ride (120km) will take place from 7am on Saturday at Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

The race, which is run under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, will feature an elite group of riders from stables across the UAE

The prizes, whose value totals Dh1 million, will be distributed between the riders who complete the five stages of the race, as well as the award of a sports utility vehicle for the champion...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/120km-hamdan-endurance-ride-set-for-saturday-1.1287537

Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 confirmed in NZ

NZEquestrian.org.nz

5/02/2014 12:00:00 p.m.

ESNZ wishes to inform its members that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has notified of an outbreak of a neurological disease in horses arising from Equine Herpes Virus Type 1 (EHV-1).

· EHV-1 is a common virus in the NZ horse population.
· This is the first instance when neurological effects have been observed and confirmed in NZ.
· Many horses are infected as foals and show no clinical signs of disease. The virus often sits dormant and can be reactivated later in life. Reactivation is more likely in times of stress, such as, giving birth, weaning and long distance transport.
· This neurological form of the outbreak is very limited and has currently been isolated to a small part of a single property – a Waikato thoroughbred stud farm
· MPI have notified that 12 horses have been infected, of which 6 have been euthanised; all other horses on the property are being closely observed.
· MPI have examined horse and staff movements in relation to the affected property, and on the basis of known information, including consideration of the period of time since horses have left any part of the property, state that there is low risk of infection for horses that had been on the property.
· On the basis of information provided by MPI and having consulted with the NZ Equine Health Association; ESNZ advises no changes to continuation of all planned ESNZ equestrian activities.

MPI are urging horse owners to be vigilant for signs of the disease (see attached fact sheet) and to contact their own vet should you have any concerns.

More...