Monday, September 29, 2014

Al Faresi: I have waited for this moment so long

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Emirati rider says advice of Shaikh Mohammad help him win

By Leslie Wilson JrRacing & Special Features Writer
Published: September 28, 2014

Samorin, Slovakia: With success having eluded him in nine years of riding, Mansour Saeed Al Faresi was probably one of the unlikely candidates to excel in the FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses 2014 at Samorin, Slovakia, on Saturday.

The advice of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai helped him brush aside his past disappointment and claim victory for the UAE on a day that ended in heartache for his teammate Shaikh Hamed Dalmouk Al Maktoum.

Shaikh Hamed was the first rider to cross the finish line at the end of the 120km CEI 4* ride, but his horse, Normandy, went lame and was cruelly disqualified in the final VET gate...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/al-faresi-i-have-waited-for-this-moment-so-long-1.1391296?utm_content=1.1391296&utm_medium=RSS&utm_source=Feeds&utm_campaign=Al_Faresi%3A_I_have_waited_for_this_moment_so_long&localLinksEnabled=false&utm_term=Sport_RSS_feed

UAE, France dominate Young Horse endurance champs in Slovakia

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Contributor on Sep 30, 2014 in Focus

The UAE’s Mansour Saeed Mohd Al Faresi and Tiswan Fageole have won the FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses in Slovakia, with French riders filling second, third and fourth places, writes Berry Pattison.

The event boasted one of the highest completion rates for a seven-year-old horses, when 20 completed the 120km ride from 44 starters...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/09/30/uae-france-dominate-young-horse-endurance-champs/#axzz3EkGq4y3y

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Slovakia: World Endurance for young horses off to rousing start

Khaleejtimes.com - Full Article

KT Report / 28 September 2014

An array of riders from the UAE, Argentina, France, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic will compete in the challenging 120km CEI 4 event for seven-year-old horses.

Samorin: The FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses 2014 got off to a rousing start as riders from 15 countries came together in pursuit of glory at Samorin, Slovakia.

An array of riders from the UAE, Argentina, France, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic will compete in the challenging 120km CEI 4 event for seven-year-old horses.

The event opened to the rapturous sound of drumming by a band wearing the green and gold colours of HH Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival as representatives from the participating countries performed a march past waving their national flags to the crowd.

Miloslav Seruga, President of the event was joined by Peter Pellegrini, Minister of Education, Science Research and Sport, Lara Sawaya, Chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) offered an enthusiastic welcome to the riders and wished them best of luck.

The FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses is being held in Slovakia for the first time in history. As many as 43 riders will have to cover the gruelling 120-kilometre track from Pezinok to Samorin, which is divided into five loops...

Read more here:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/nationsports/2014/September/nationsports_September230.xml§ion=nationsports

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Croatia steals the show at FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2014

Aroundtherings.com - Full Article

09/25/14
The FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2014 took place on 20 September in Meljak in the Barajevo municipality of the Serbian capital Belgrade. Seven National Federations were represented with Croatia stealing the show and scooping two of the three individual medals as well as team gold.

The Championship was run over an 80km course made up of four loops consisting of 28km, 20km, 16km and a final 16km. The area of Meljak lies south of the city of Belgrade and is nestled between the two major mountains of the region: the Avala Mountain found to the south east of Belgrade and the Kosmaj Mountain to the south west. The beautiful backdrop of rolling, rural hills provided a technical and testing course for this relatively new FEI Endurance event.

In line with the ever-increasing popularity of the Endurance discipline, this Championship has seen a huge growth in numbers since its inception in 2008. The first official FEI Balkan Endurance Championships took place in Sancrai (ROU) and had a total of 19 entrants, from which 10 successfully completed the 60km course. 2011 saw the event move to Koprivstitsa (BUL) with a similar starting field but a higher completion rate across the 90km course. Finally this year the starting field grew by 50% with 30 starters representing Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Turkey and, of course, the home nation of Serbia. Alongside a higher number of entrants, this year also saw the event’s highest ever completion rate of nearly 65% indicating the much more advanced level of competition now seen in this part of Europe...

Read mre here:
http://www.aroundtherings.com/site/A__48483/Title__Croatia-steals-the-show-at-FEI-Balkan-Endurance-Championships-2014/292/Articles

2014 FEI Balkan Endurance Championships

Horse-canada.com - Full article

HORSE SPORT SEPTEMBER 25, 2014
BY: EQUINE CANADA

The 2014 FEI Balkan Endurance Championships took place on September 20th in Meljak in the Barajevo municipality of the Serbian capital Belgrade. Seven National Federations were represented with Croatia stealing the show and scooping two of the three individual medals as well as team gold.

The Championship was run over an 80km course made up of four loops consisting of 28km, 20km, 16km and a final 16km. The area of Meljak lies south of the city of Belgrade and is nestled between the two major mountains of the region: the Avala Mountain found to the south east of Belgrade and the Kosmaj Mountain to the south west. The beautiful backdrop of rolling, rural hills provided a technical and testing course for this relatively new FEI Endurance event...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/2014-fei-balkan-endurance-championships/

Afra Al Suwaidi sets sights on FEI title in Bratislava

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Preview: Emirati rider seeks to bolster her fine season with an eye on Samorin championships

By Leslie Wilson Jr., Racing & Special Features Writer
Published: 02:56 September 27, 2014

Bratislava, Slovakia: Female Emirati horse rider Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi hopes to bolster what has been a fine season by giving a good account of herself in the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses 2014 at Samorin, Slovakia on Saturday.
The event is sponsored by the HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, in keeping with the strategy to promote equestrian events around the world.

Italian success

Al Suwaidi led the UAE ladies endurance team to a double gold medal winning success in the Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup in Verona, Italy in July and is now targeting the 120km CEI 4* star ride to help establish her credentials...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/afra-al-suwaidi-sets-sights-on-fei-title-in-bratislava-1.1390616

Shaikh Mansour Festival in Slovakia

Khaleejtimes.com - Full Article

27 September 2014

A competitive field of 48 riders, including five hopefuls from the UAE, will compete for top honours in the 120km ride for seven-year-old horses.

Bratislava — The HH Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival will cross a new frontier in its worldwide patronage of equestrian sports. It lends its support to the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses 2014 at Samorin, Slovakia, on Saturday, a Press release said. A competitive field of 48 riders, including five hopefuls from the UAE, will compete for top honours in the 120km ride for seven-year-old horses.

The UAE challenge is spearheaded by Al Ain’s Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi, who led the UAE ladies endurance team to a double gold medal winning success in the Her Highness Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup in Verona, Italy, in July.

Afra will partner the Hassan Rakhan Al Mansoori-owned gelding Ainhoa Tidjor, a horse which helped her qualify for the Slovakia ride. World Endurance champion trainer Ismail Mohammad has entered a four-strong field of horses with Shaikh Hamed Dalmook Al Maktoum, likely to partner the highly-regarded Normandy.

Mansoor Saeed Mohammed Al Faresi will team up with Tiswan Fageole while Mohammed Saeed Mohammed Al Faresi rides Caramel Do Silva. Saeed Mohammed Saeed Al Khayari completes the UAE quintet aboard the UAE-bred gelding Ostro Di Chai.

The Emirati riders will come up against strong riders representing Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden. France is well represented with a potential 11-strong field while hosts Slovakia have entered four horses...

Read more here:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/sport/inside_sport.asp?xfile=/data/horseracing/2014/September/horseracing_September8.xml§ion=horseracing

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Qatar's Al Shaqab dominates in Florac Endurance Championship

Gulf-times.com - Full Article

September 18 2014

Al Shaqab’s Endurance team celebrates it's victory in the podium at the Florac championship in Monpazier, France last weekend. The Qatar team was its dominating best in the event.

Agencies/Paris

Al Shaqab is the name of the moment in endurance world after three weekends in a row wins. Since August, Al Shaqab hasn’t given a chance for other teams to reach the podium and confirmed a successful season in Europe.

In an atmosphere perfect for achieving good results, the endurance team went to Florac to participate in three competitions: CEI3 160 Km, CEI3 140 Km Young Horses 8 years and CEI2 130 Km. The team were ready to compete with the best riders and horses from Europe, in a really traditional competition in France.

Florac is known for the particular characteristics. It’s very tough track with mountain climbing and downward tracks, making it very hard and difficult race. But Al Shaqab endurance team overcame the challenges and showed it’s qualities, confirming the professionalism in the team.

A total of 430 Km was run on September 11, when 4 riders from Al Shaqab finalised the two races 130 Km and 140 Km: Faleh Bughenaim, Nasser Almohannadi, Mohamed al-Sowaidi and Khalid Sanadi...

Read more here:
http://www.gulf-times.com/sport/192/details/408747/qatar's-al-shaqab-dominates-in-florac-endurance-championship

Thursday, September 18, 2014

HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival Supports International Endurance Season

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

September 12, 2014
by Pamela Burton

12 September 2014, Abu Dhabi ~ The sponsorship of International Endurance Championships was the subject of an international news conference at the opening of the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX). Now the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival has stepped up to sponsor endurance events in the five continents from the upcoming 2015 season.

Conclusion of 2014 season in Slovakia

25-28 September ~ The current endurance season will be concluded with the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses in Samorin, Slovakia, from 25 – 27 September 2014, according to Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and Chairman of Ladies Racing Committee in International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR)

“The HH Sheikh Mansoor festival will be represented in Slovakia by the Gold medalist, Afra Khalifa Al Suwaidi, winner of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup in Verona, Italy, in July 2014,” Sawaya confirmed...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2014/09/12/hh-sheikh-mansoor-festival-supports-international-endurance-season/

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bahrain: Animal abuse rider stripped of medals

Gulf-daily-news.com - Full Article

By AHMED AL OMARI , Posted on » Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A TOP Bahraini rider has been stripped of his medals by the international governing body for horse-riding sports due to animal abuse.

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) said on Monday that the winner of His Majesty The King's Cup 120km endurance race in February will have to relinquish his awards.

Two British journalists filed a complaint against the winner, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, and his groom over an alleged horse-beating incident.

It related to online video footage showing the horse, Tarabic Carl, beginning to slow before being beaten by two men who appeared from a nearby pickup truck.

The journalists, Pippa Cuckson and Lucy Higginson - both formerly of Horse and Hound magazine, also cited a second video that appeared to show the rider hitting the horse with a lash...

Read more here:
http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=386024

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tersk Stud Celebrates 125 Years

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

September 12, 2014
by Pamela Burton

Tersk Stud celebrates milestone event at August Open House

9 September 2014, Caucasus, Russia ~ 125 years ago, here at the foot of the Mt. Zmeyka in the Caucasus, Count Stroganov laid the foundation of Arabian horse breeding in Russia. At the end of August, Tersk hosted its 4th annual festival of Arabian horses, this year celebrating the 125 years of this most important stud.

More than 3,000 people attended the 2014 Tersk Open House on August 22 and 23. As part of a two-day event program, Tersk held the Star of Five Mountains National C- class show and Summer Stakes of Tersk. The festivities also included a children’s show-jumping competition, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, and the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Horse Breeding (VNIIK), ECAHO and RAHBA (Russian Arabian Horse Breeding Association).

The attention of the audience was gripped by the Tersk history play, where Count Stroganov himself told the story of discovering the most appropriate environment for horse breeding, here in the Northern Caucasus, the hard years of the War, the Victory of the Russian people, culminating with the Victory Day Parade with Marshal Zhukov on the back of the snow-white stallion Kumir. The audience was captivated...

Read more here:
http://www.horsereporter.com/2014/09/12/tesk-stud-celebrates-125-years/

FEI Tribunal disqualifies sheikh from top Bahrain endurance race

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

By Horsetalk.co.nz on Sep 16, 2014 in News

A formal protest lodged with the FEI by two British journalists has resulted in the disqualification of the winning rider in last February’s King’s Cup 120km endurance race in Sakhir, Bahrain.

The disqualification of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, of Bahrain, was handed down by the FEI Tribunal early today.

The February 8 race, a CEI2* event, was at the centre of controversy over online video footage.

It showed the horse ridden by the sheikh, Tarabic Carl appearing to slow. Two men emerged from a nearby pickup truck and ran towards the horse. The footage appeared to show one of them beating the horse on the rump with an object. Tarabic Carl then quickened his pace, later breaking into a canter...

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/09/16/fei-tribunal-disqualifies-sheikh-bahrain-endurance-race/#ixzz3DUG7PT8a

Horse racing body slammed over lenient treatment of Bahrain Sheikh

Arabianbusiness.com - Full Article

By Courtney Trenwith
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Horse racing’s world governing body has been lambasted by its own tribunal for failing to adequately punish a wealthy Arab Sheikh whose horse was repeatedly beaten during two international endurance races.

According to International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules, Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s royal family, should have been automatically disqualified from winning the King’s Cup in Bahrain in February after his groom ran onto the race track and struck his tiring horse several times in the closing stages of the 80-mile race, The Telegraph reported.

The incident was not reviewed by the federation until video footage was unwittingly posted by the event’s own broadcaster, attracting international condemnation.

Sheikh Mohammed was given a yellow warning card, fined 500 Swiss francs ($534) and suspended for the few remaining weeks of the Middle East winter horse racing season.

During his first race back on May 23, Sheikh Mohammed’s horse was again beaten while racing and suspended for two months...

Read more here:
http://www.arabianbusiness.com/horse-racing-body-slammed-over-lenient-treatment-of-bahrain-sheikh-564840.html

Endurance racing horse abuse case produces ground-breaking ruling against governing body

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Tribunal finds FEI failed correctly to disqualify rider Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa from winning King’s Cup in Bahrain after groom struck tiring horse


By Telegraph Sport
16 Sep 2014

A formal protest by two journalists – the Telegraph's Pippa Cuckson and Lucy Higginson, former editor of Horse & Hound – over a horse-beating incident during an endurance race has resulted in a ground-breaking ruling against the sport’s governing body by one of its own tribunals.

It found that judges from the International Equestrian Federation failed correctly to disqualify rider Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa from winning the prestigious King’s Cup in Bahrain in February, when his groom ran onto the “field of play” and struck his tiring horse several times in the closing stages of the 80-mile leg of a desert ride.

It also dismissed the FEI’s claim that under “double jeopardy” an earlier punishment against the rider could not be reassessed.

Video footage unwittingly posted by the event’s own broadcaster the same day as the ride caused public outcry worldwide when the incident came to light. The incriminating pictures were seen next day by delegates at a global forum in Lausanne to discuss a clean-up of endurance racing, which is stricken with doping, horse fatality and cheating scandals...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11098331/Endurance-racing-horse-abuse-case-produces-ground-breaking-ruling-against-governing-body.html

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ace rider Morgan lands UK accolade

Antrimtimes.co.uk - Full Article

15 September 2014

Morgan Skillen, a Year 11 student at Antrim Grammar School and member of Mid Antrim Pony Club has won first place at the Pony Club UK Championships at Cholmonodeley Castle, Cheshire in Endurance Riding.

Morgan qualified at the St Patricks Coast Ride in April this year and since then she has been training daily and attending Endurance Events in order to maintain her own stamina and her pony Mayo’s fitness.

After all the blood, sweat, tears and dedicated relentless training it all came together at the Championships and gave Morgan her first win in this discipline.

Mayo was none the worse for wear after a 10-hour journey and, following a full day’s rest, he passed his Vet tests with flying colours and they both took off.

After 2hours 54minutes they came home after trekking, galloping, climbing and trotting across 34kilometres...

Read more here:
http://www.antrimtimes.co.uk/sport/other-local-sport/ace-rider-morgan-lands-uk-accolade-1-6296167

2014 WEG: Record edition with 565,000 spectators

Normandy2014.com

Sunday 07 September 2014 - 19h40

After a second week of top-flight sport and a final weekend boasting exceptional crowds in Caen, the 7th edition of the World Equestrian Games drew to a close in a festive, Olympic village atmosphere. Over 565,000 spectators attended the Games, which the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) confirms is a biggest audience since the creation of the event in 1990. A record number of 1,750 journalists from some 52 countries were accredited for the Games, testifying to the global appeal of this major equestrian sport meeting. This augurs well for the next edition in 2018, as the FEI hands on the torch to Canada during this evening’s closing ceremony.
Record edition with 565,000 spectators © PSV Photos

For the Normandie 2014 Organising Committee, their mission is virtually complete. The past two weeks have seen moments of great satisfaction and fantastic surprises, as well as difficulties overcome and a few moments of sadness. A full evaluation of the Games will be made in th coming weeks to measure its impact on the region. The first elements (notably the hotel occupancy ratio and consumption by spectators, half of whom were French) show that the public has been out in force at the Normandy meeting, continuing the momentum initiated by the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, and have also followed the event on television around the world.

Laurent Beauvais, President of the Normandie 2014 Organising Committee, “We were very proud to organise this event with and for the Normans in the way we have and we include the whole equestrian family in our endeavours.”

HRH Princess Haya, President of the FEI, “Its incredible success on the social networks made these World Equestrian Games the most connected in history. It was also the loudest (laughs): the athletes all say that they’ve never received so much applause and support”.

Pearce Lyons, President of Alltech, “The World Equestrian Games have changed my life and my company. We’ve seen our brand do a tour of the globe! We are very happy with these Games in Normandy, not to mention the delicious French cuisine! (laughs).”

Fabien Grobon, Director of the Normandie 2014 Organising Committee, “The sporting excellence, the popular success and Normandy’s equine network all made their presence felt at these Games!” »

International level equestrian sport offered to the public

It is one of the major aims of any sporting event, to ensure the athletes have the best possible conditions with which to fully express themselves in their performances. In Normandy, across 7 different and largely unique venues, some 27 titles have crowned the top riders in 8 world championships. Their comments and their feedback for the delegation officials have been positive, as much in terms of the welcome (horses and teams), as the organisation of the competitions and the atmosphere in the stadiums. The proximity to the public, which has been a priority since the initial preparation of the events by the Organising Committee, has brought the multitude of sporting highlights to life. Spectators delighted in the achievements of the top riders from their ringside seats in venues fitted out especially for the event with giant screens and spirited commentary.

A celebration of the world’s equestrian cultures

Over 200,000 people have graced the Games Village, some coming along to continue their emotionally-charged day of sport, others simply wishing to benefit from the ‘Olympic’ atmosphere or the Alltech Music Festival concerts. The opening ceremony itself, a sensitive creation and a genuine work of art, which won public acclaim, played to a full house (21,000 spectators). Enjoying the close-knit relationship, which has always existed, men and women and their horses, spectators, athletes and organisers have come together to open and close the page of the Games’ story in Normandy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Emotional finale to 2014 World Equestrian Games

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Princess Haya thanks Normandy and France at closing ceremony

By Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer
Published: 15:51 September 9, 2014

Dubai: Emotions ran high as the curtain came down on the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games bringing to an end two weeks of unparalleled horse-riding at the historic city of Normandy, France.

Besides the breath-taking action, the seventh edition of the Games which were launched in 1990 in Stockholm, Sweden, will be best remembered for establishing several records not least the highest participation and attendance.

Horsemen representing a record 74 nations, an increase of 25 per cent on the last Games in 2010, were watched by over 570,000 spectators while the FEI’s YouTube Channel exceeded over 5.5 million views during the Games.
..

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/emotional-finale-to-2014-world-equestrian-games-1.1382816

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

FEI President is made Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour

FEI.org

6 Sep 2014

FEI President HRH Princess Haya was today made Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest distinction.

Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, presented HRH Princess Haya with the Legion of Honour insignia in the Prefecture of Caen (FRA), the main host city of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014.

Addressing international media and over 100 guests at the special ceremony in the magnificent setting of the Gold Salon (Salon doré), he cited HRH Princess Haya’s career as an Olympic athlete, her contribution to equestrian sport as FEI President and her success in bringing the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 to Normandy.

He also charted HRH Princess Haya’s extensive and well-documented humanitarian efforts in some of the harshest parts of the world.

“You are a remarkable person,” Laurent Fabius said. “Due to the inspiration you have given to many people over the years, through your sporting and humanitarian efforts, France is extremely happy to pronounce you Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour.”

“I accept this honour on behalf of all of my colleagues at the Fédération Equestre Internationale and everyone who contributed to the success of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, including the 3,000 French volunteers and the wonderful people of this region, who welcomed the equestrian world to their home,” Princess Haya said in her acceptance speech.

“I accept this honour on behalf of the dedicated humanitarian aid workers that I encounter in my travels as a UN Messenger of Peace - the selfless healthcare workers from Médecins Sans Frontières, the humanitarians from the World Food Programme, and so many other committed people who serve those in need long after I have returned to the comforts of my home.

“I accept this honour knowing that I have done so little to earn it, but inspired to do more in my limited capacity to advocate for a more equitable, more compassionate and a more peaceful future. I am deeply grateful,” she concluded.

Princess Haya follows in the footsteps of her late father, HM King Hussein I, who accepted the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1967.

Since its creation in 1802 by then-First Consul and later Emperor of the French Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honour has been awarded to historic personalities such as the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey; Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States and Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II; Queen Elizabeth II; former Polish President Lech Wałęsa; and Akihito, the reigning Emperor of Japan.

The list of prestigious recipients also includes American animator, producer, director, screenwriter, and philanthropist Walt Disney; one of the greatest writers of the 20th century Graham Greene; Belgian Eddy Merckx, one of the best cyclists of all time; Italian philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco; Canadian singer Céline Dion; French mountaineer and Minister of Sport Maurice Herzog, an IOC member until his death in 2012; and American musician, singer-songwriter, artist, and writer Bob Dylan.

Former FEI Presidents HRH Prince Philip and HRH Prince Bernhard both held the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Compiegne Horse Death Case Closed; Transparency in Question

September 8 2014
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Following the Open Letter to Endurance by French veterinarians, Doctors Pelissier, Seguin, Benamou-Smith, Romantzoff, and Leclerc, concerning high speeds, "tired over-run horses in the vetgates", high number of treatments required, attempts to "cheat systematically" by some competitors, and in particular the death of one mare at the May 2014 Compiegne endurance races, this group of veterinarians has responded to the FEI's investigation into the horse's death.

Of the mare Elmerita di Gallura's death FEI concluded, "results from the anti-doping test are negative and the post-mortem examination did not explain the cause of death."

Veterinarians Benamou-Smith, Pelissier, Romantzoff, and Sequin express strong objection to this apparent dismissal of the incident, and do not accept that the FEI, "whose self-professed mission is to lead an enquiry into the death of a competing horse, produces such a statement. In order to show a real transparency (the key factor in 'clean sport') in ethics and sports, the complete scientific results of these tests, which are known to the FEI since June, should to [sic] be published."

The veterinarians can't help but draw a parallel to another horse in the 2012 Florac race, which "died in very strange clinical circumstances. The horse was sampled post-mortem at the venue. No less than 21 controlled substances were identified by the french MCP (medication control program) laboratory LCH." However, the veterinarians are still waiting for the FEI to release the results of these samples from 2 years ago.

Another mare from the same stables as Elmerita di Gallura was also treated at the May Compiegne ride and received invasive treatment because she was metabolically compromised. In such cases, FEI has instituted mandatory rest periods for the safety and well-being of the horses; and in this case, the mare was entered to race in Italy 17 days later, without being blocked by FEI, "which defies official mandatory rest periods and common sense."

While FEI has publicly expressed their intention and campaign to fight doping, and to have a "clean sport," these incidences continue to show the great distance between expressed intent and execution, and the reputation of the sport of endurance suffers while the horses continue to pay the price.

The French veterinarians insist that the FEI live up to their "transparency" goals. "Although the intention expressed by the FEI to fight doping has never seemed stronger, we still have the feeling that actions are not yet sufficient to attain the declared objectives."

See the complete letter here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/Lettre_Compiegne2.pdf

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Malaysian teen riding high

Thestar.com.my - Full Article

September 7 2014
BY LIM AI LEE

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian teenager has made his mark as one of the world’s top riders at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014, dubbed as the planet’s most prestigious international equestrian event.

Mohd T. Aseef Abdul Mutalib, 17, who is the youngest competitor among riders from 72 nations, successfully completed the Endurance category where he clinched 27th position in the Games held in Normandy, France.

The Games, which began on Aug 23 and ends today, attracted almost 1,000 of the world’s best riders and unite the world championships of seven disciplines governed by the International Equestrian Fede­ration (FEI) – Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.

It was a proud moment for the Malaysian team when Aseef, wearing his riding gear and helmet in Jalur Gemilang colours, waved the national flag from his horse, Eladina Kungfu after completing the 160km ride in just over 10 hours on Aug 23...

Read more here:
http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/07/Malaysian-teen-riding-high-17yearold-is-one-of-the-top-riders-at-the-world-equestrian-championship/

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Full credit to Normandy for a job well done

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

World Endurance Games delivers on all counts

By Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer
Published: 18:22 September 6, 2014

I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to go to the World Equestrian Games, which are taking place in the scenic city of Normandy, France. I would say it was a once in a lifetime kind of experience for me.

Most of my career I’ve been covering the flat — Derby’s, Breeders’ Cups, Arcs — that sort of thing, but this experience was so different.

The World Equestrian Games are all encompassing. It gives you a totally different kind of buzz. Although I do not wish to sound clichéd, I think that they totally deserve to be referred to as the ‘horse’ Olympics. The time that I spent watching the dressage, eventing, vaulting or endurance riding, put a lot into perspective for me in the way that I was already looking forward to my next equestrian event.

The 160km endurance ride would have to be one of the highlights of the Games, considering that it was won in exemplary fashion by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Perhaps not too many people have a complete understanding of endurance, which has to be one of the toughest challenges in sport. It’s not just about strength and stamina, of horse and rider; it goes way beyond what the mind can comprehend. Mostly it’s about trust and friendship...

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/horse-racing/full-credit-to-normandy-for-a-job-well-done-1.1381457

France face disqualification from Rio 2016 eventing after horse fails test

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

Friday, 05 September 2014
By Gary Anderson

Qalao de Mers, ridden by Frenchman Maxime Livio has tested positive for a banned medical substance in Normandy and could miss out on Rio 2016 ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe French eventing team faces the prospect of being thrown out of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after Qalao de Mers, ridden by Maxime Livio, tested positive for a banned medical substance at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has confirmed the horse, part of the French team that finished fourth in the team eventing competition ensuring qualification for Rio 2016, tested positive for the controlled medication substance acepromazine, banned during competition.

The sedative was found after a sample was taken from Qalao de Mers last Friday (August 29), who also partnered Livio to fifth in the individual competition.

The case is now set to go before an FEI Tribunal - on a date yet to be announced - but if found guilty then the French team and Maxime Livio will be disqualified from the World Equestrian Games and will also be banned from competing at Rio 2016.

The FEI also revealed a second horse tested positive for a prohibited medical substance on August 28.

Tra Flama, ridden by South African Giliese de Villiers in the endurance competition, returned a positive reading for phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone...

Read more here:
http://www.insidethegames.biz/sports/summer/equestrian/1022390-france-face-disqualification-from-rio-2016-eventing-competition-after-controlled-substance-found-at-world-equestrian-games

Friday, September 05, 2014

FEI announces two Controlled Medication cases at World Equestrian Games

FEI.org

5 Sep 2014

The FEI has announced that two horses competing at the FEI World Equestrian Games have tested positive for Controlled Medication substances. Controlled Medications are substances that are regularly used to treat horses but which are not allowed in competition in order to maintain a level playing field.

Samples taken on 28 August from the horse Tra Flama (FEI ID 103QH09), ridden in Endurance by Giliese de Villiers (Republic of South Africa), have returned positive for the Controlled Medication substance Phenylbutazone and its metabolite Oxyphenbutazone. Phenylbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used for the treatment of pain. Tra Flama was vetted out at the second Vet Gate on the Endurance course.

Samples taken on 29 August from the horse Qalao des Mers (FEI ID 103MQ19), ridden in Eventing by Maxime Livio (France), have returned positive for the Controlled Medication substance Acepromazine. Acepromazine is a sedative. Qalao des Mers finished fifth individually and was a member of the fourth-placed French team.

“It is the first duty of a regulator to ensure clean sport and a level playing field and we do this by conducting an ongoing and very comprehensive testing programme,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said.

“We had clean World Equestrian Games in 2010 in Kentucky and at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Our system works and sends out a strong message to our athletes and their entourage that clean sport is our absolute top priority.

“We carried out an intensive awareness campaign prior to the Games and also offered pre-arrival testing to all participants, so it is very disappointing that we have two positives for Controlled Medication substances at the Games, especially when it is well known and well accepted that both these substances are not permitted in competition. Although these are Controlled Medication not doping substances, we take this very seriously.”

The FEI has confirmed that all equine samples taken in the first week of the Games in the disciplines of Dressage, Para-Dressage and Reining are negative, and that there are no other positives in Endurance and Eventing.

A total of 137 horses were tested in the first week of the Games – 49 in Endurance (28% of 173 starters), 24 in Eventing (26% of 91 starters), 22 in Dressage (22% of 100 starters), 21 in Reining (26% of 82 starters) and 21 in Para-Equestrian Dressage (21% of 100 starters).

In addition to random testing, the FEI conducts compulsory testing of all individual medal winners at the World Equestrian Games, and at least one horse from each of the medal winning teams. To ensure the integrity of all processes, representatives of the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit, including Chairman Lord Stevens, have been on-site throughout the Games.

The above Controlled Medication positives will not result in an automatic provisional suspension, but will go before the FEI Tribunal after the Games at a date to be agreed between all parties. World Equestrian Games cases are not eligible for the FEI administrative (fast-track) procedure.

As at the Olympic Games, a positive result for a team member can result in the disqualification of the whole team. In the Qalao des Mers case, this could mean disqualification of the French Eventing team and loss of Olympic qualification for Rio 2016. It is the role of the FEI Tribunal to rule on what sanctions apply.

As part of its Clean Sport campaign, the FEI offered all National Federations the opportunity to have a full screen Pre-Arrival Testing for horses from 21 July until two weeks’ prior to arrival at the Games. Additionally, elective testing for specific Controlled Medication substances was also offered close to the event.

All equine samples taken prior to and during the Games are tested at the FEI Approved Laboratory in Paris (FRA). Testing is conducted at the Laboratory using a bar-coded system, which guarantees anonymity.

Australia: More than 175 horse riders in Clifton endurance event

Warwickdailynews.com.au - Full Article

5th Sep 2014

MORE than 175 horse riders, including international riders, will be at Clifton Recreational Grounds from midnight for the Queensland Endurance Riders Association State Championships.

This will be the first time the event has been held at Clifton, as it is held at a different venue each year.

There will be four different rides: the 160km main event, which begins at midnight, a 123km ride starting at 2am, a 100km ride beginning at 4am, and a training ride at 6am, which will be 40km...

Read more here:
http://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/news/rider-in-for-long-haul-at-clifton/2376347/

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Six candidates declare for FEI Presidential election

FEI.org

2 Sep 2014

Representatives of six National Federations have submitted applications for the position of FEI President.

The candidates, in order of receipt of the candidacy files by the FEI, are:

- Pierre Genecand (SUI)
- Ulf Helgstrand (DEN)
- John McEwen (GBR)
- Javier Revuelta del Peral (ESP)
- Pierre Durand (FRA)
- Ingmar De Vos (BEL)

The presidential election will take place on 14 December at the FEI General Assembly in Baku (AZE). Current President, HRH Princess Haya, confirmed last month that she would not stand for a third term.

The application process began on 14 May, with candidates requested to send the FEI a curriculum vitae form, signed by the candidate’s National Federation, and a motivation letter. The deadline for submission of candidacies for the position of FEI President was 23.59 CEST on 1 September 2014.

Brief biographical information on the candidates follows.

Pierre Genecand, 64, is proposed by the Swiss Equestrian Federation. A businessman, banker and insurance broker by profession, Genecand served as president of the Geneva International Horse Show from 1989 to 2003. He has been a member of the board of the World Cup of Horsemanship, the Alliance of Jumping Organisers, and the Committee of Swiss Top Sports. He is the current president of the Polo Club Gstaad and the Hublot Polo Gold Club.

Ulf Helgstrand, 63, is proposed by the Danish Equestrian Federation. A medical doctor by profession, Helgstrand is a professor of vascular surgery. He has served as President of the Danish Equestrian Federation since 2003. He was board member and Vice President of the Danish Warmblood Association for 10 years and currently serves as Vice President and charter member of the European Equestrian Federation. Helgstrand is a former Dressage rider and has run a stud with several approved Dressage stallions since 1991.

John McEwen, 69, is proposed by the British Equestrian Federation. A qualified veterinary surgeon with wide international experience, McEwen served as veterinary surgeon to the British Show Jumping and Dressage Teams until the London 2012 Olympic Games. He was vice chairman of the FEI Veterinary Committee from 1999 to 2003 and has been the Committee’s chair since 2006. He currently chairs the FEI Prohibited Substances List and Laboratory Groups. McEwen has served on an advisory panel for World Horse Welfare for more than 15 years. He represents the FEI at the World Organisation for Animal Health specialising in horse transport issues and on the International Sports Horse Federation. McEwen was appointed FEI 1st Vice President in 2010.

Javier Revuelta del Peral, 57, is proposed by the Spanish Equestrian Federation. Revuelta is a lawyer and attorney at law for the Spanish government. He has held senior management positions at various Spanish and international companies in the telecommunications, media, food, financial, and renewable energy industries. Revuelta has competed nationally and internationally in Eventing and Jumping. He participated in the Eventing competition in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, was a member of the Spanish Eventing team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 1994 and at the FEI European Championships the following year. Since 2005 Revuelta has served as the chairman of the Spanish Equestrian Federation and is a member of the Spanish Olympic Committee. He breeds and owns racehorses.

Pierre Durand, 59, is proposed by the French Equestrian Federation. Durand holds a degree in business law, is a former professional rider and wine grower. He was Olympic Jumping champion at the 1988 Seoul Games with the 13-year old gelding Jappeloup. He also competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and became European Jumping champion in 1987. He won many other international and national titles. From 1993 to 1998 Durand was President of the French Equestrian Federation. He has held various executive positions in the media industry and is currently chairman of the board of directors of the French National Institute for Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP).

Ingmar De Vos, 51, is proposed by the Belgian Equestrian Federation. De Vos holds degrees in political science, business administration and international and European law and started his career as an advisor to the Belgian Senate. He joined the Belgian Equestrian Federation as managing director in 1990, and held the additional role of Secretary General from 1997 to 2011. He was Secretary General of the European Equestrian Federation from 2010, the year the organisation was formed, until 2011. During his time at the Belgian National Federation, De Vos was chef de mission for the Belgian Equestrian Team at all FEI World Equestrian Games™ from 1990 to 2010 and at several Olympic Games. De Vos has been FEI Secretary General since May 2011.



Notes to Editors:

The election process for the FEI President is detailed under Article 24 of the FEI Statutes. The relevant articles are detailed below:

24.2 The President shall be elected by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of votes cast. Abstentions are not counted as cast votes. In the event multiple Ballots are necessary under Article 24.4, a Simple Majority shall be sufficient for Election on the third Ballot, or on the second if only two (2) Candidates remain.

24.4 When there are multiple Candidates and none receives the necessary majority, the Candidate with the least number of votes received shall be removed from the list of Candidates and another Ballot shall be held. This procedure shall be repeated until a Candidate receives the necessary majority.

First ever FEI Observer Programme run at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy

FEI.org

3 Sep 2014

A high-level observer programme for organisers of future key equestrian events is being carried out for the first time at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA). Teams from the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Bromont (CAN) are currently in Normandy to experience and get a detailed understanding of the complex organisational requirements of top-level equestrian events.

Paul Coté, President of the Bromont Organising Committee COJEM2018, Roger Deslauriers, general manager of the Bromont Equestrian Park, and the Mayor of Bromont Pauline Quinlan are the key members of the Canadian delegation attending the Games in France. They will remain at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ until the end of the event and will be involved in the handover ceremony that brings the Games to a close this Sunday.

Impressive Brazilian delegations are also in attendance at the Games in Normandy. The members of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games were joined by seven representatives of the Ministry of Sport, the universities in charge of the preparation of the Eventing cross country course, as well as the architects responsible for the development of the equestrian venue, which is part of the Deodoro cluster in Rio.

“The FEI Observer Programme provides a valuable opportunity for the organisers of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 in Bromont to witness first-hand an equestrian event of this magnitude,” Tim Hadaway, FEI Director, Games and Championships, said. “The delegations have visited all the competition venues here in Normandy, as well as back-of-house locations including stabling, training areas, and veterinary facilities. This process has helped them understand the standards expected by National Olympic Committees and National Federations at equestrian events at the very highest level.

“Challenges faced by every organiser differ. The extent and variety of disciplines at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy has enabled our Canadian and Brazilian partners to observe the intricacies of running an event on this scale. We are working very closely with the teams in the lead-up to Rio 2016 and Bromont 2018. We have emphasised the importance of providing optimal conditions and services to the human and equine athletes, sponsors, media, spectators and television viewers.”

COJEM2018 President Paul Coté applauded the FEI Observer Programme initiative. "The organising committee of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 in Bromont really welcomes this process set up by the FEI,” he commented. “It is a great opportunity for us to learn from the experience of the previous Games organisers, and the close cooperation with the FEI on location will help us launch our activities in partnership with them."

Namibia Dominates Africa Endurance Champs

Allafrica.com - Full Article

3 September 2014

Namibia dominated the African Endurance Championships which took place in and around Walvis Bay last week by winning three of the four individual and team titles on offer.

Competing against South Africa, Namibia won the Heavyweight, Junior weight and No weight categories over 122km but for the first time in recent years lost the Standard weight category.

About 60 South African riders and 110 Namibian riders took part in the championships which started in Walvis Bay and included various loops to the salt pans, to the lagoon and through the dunes.

Namibia's George Wessels on Kalharabi Romeo won the individual heavyweight category in a total time of six hours 41 minutes 13 seconds, finishing more than 10 minutes ahead of compatriot Pierre de Wit on Dr Pepper (6:51:30), while Rex Barnard of South Africa on Rexette Missy came third in 6:51:35.

The times of each country's top three riders were taken into account for the team competition, with Namibia winning the gold medal ahead of South Africa...

Read more here:
http://allafrica.com/stories/201409031394.html

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Australia: 2014 Shahzada

9/3/2014

The 34th annual Shahzada, "the ultimate test in horsemanship" was run August 25-29 in historic St Albans, New South Wales, Australia. The ultimate test is held over 400 km over 5 days, and you get a completion and placing only if you finish all 5 days.

This year there were 57 entries; 27 completed all 5 days.

First place was Ian Curtis and Blakes Heaven Summer Wind in a total time of 35:02 for the 5 days. Second was Narelle Childs and Halo Kazaam in 35:56.

Four juniors completed the marathon, with Josephine Jansen and Windaroo Devina Glamour finishing 4th. Fifteenth place Karen Rhodes received her 19th Shahzada buckle. Sixteenth placed Marg Boland and Rosebrae Cameo won the Best Managed Award.

Riders had to deal with occasional showers, and heavy overnight rain for the second day. "The already tough terrain became almost impossible when rain made the course and river crossing nearly impassable," the Shahzada website reported. Some of the course had to be re-routed for the horses' and riders' safety.

For complete results, see http://www.shahzadaresults.org/14entry.htm

Australia: Bendigo horse riders win Granite Rock 80km endurance event

Bendigoadvertiser.com.au - Full Article

By Raelee Tuckerman
Sept. 3, 2014

TWO Bendigo horse riders and their steeds showed great stamina as they led the field home in the recent equestrian endurance competition at Lexton.

Vincent Comer and Angela Nicholls rode side-by-side to take out their divisions of the 80km Granite Rock event.

Comer - who runs the Campaspe Valley Arabians stud in Axedale - won the heavyweight title on Aloha Zabit, completing the distance in 6:28 hours.

Nicholls, who rides for Comer and was competing in only her second 80km endurance test, was victorious in the lightweight section aboard Miss Pasha...

Read more here:
http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2533865/endurance-riders-prevail/?cs=3380

Olson Overcomes Testing Trail as Standout U.S. Competitor


Diana DeRosa Photo
USET.org

By USEF - ALL DISCIPLINE - Posted September 2, 2014

Sartilly, France - On Thursday morning, 165 horse-and-rider combinations set out on the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games endurance course. Covering stretches of sandy beaches, wooded trails, and town streets, Jeremy Olson (La Motte, Iowa), riding his and Amy Wallace-Whelan's Wallace Hill Shade, were one of only 38 combinations to complete the trying course.

Rain throughout the week created difficult footing, leaving teams to strategize how best to handle the 160 km trail.

Coming through the first vet gate, Olson was in 51st place. He took the course steadily throughout the day, a strategy which allowed him to climb the ranks by the end, finishing in 31st place with a time of 10:46:16.

Riding his entire life, Olson grew up around the sport of endurance with both his parents and sister being active competitors. Olson was placed on the team as an alternate; however, after teammate Meg Sleeper decided it would be in the best interest of her mount, Syrocco Reveille, to be withdrawn from competition, Olson was ready to make his World Equestrian Games debut.

Coming into the Championship, Olson had a second-place finish in the Broxton Bridge Fundraiser CEI3* riding Wallace Hill Shade. He then scored a win in the CEI1* at the Zone Team Endurance Challenge with Noslo's RRenaldo.

Fellow U.S. Endurance combinations were unable to overcome the challenges Thursday would pose, as they were withdrawn at vet gates throughout the day, ensuring the horse's welfare was held as the utmost priority.

Spain was victorious in the Team Championship to take home the Gold medal with a total combined time of 28:56:02. France claimed the team Silver medal and Switzerland earned the Bronze medal.

The Individual Gold medal was awarded to Sheik Hamdan bin Mohamed Al Maktoum, who rode his mare, Yamamah, in a total time of 8:08:28. Marijke Visser and Laiza de Jalima earned the Silver medal, and Bronze went to Abdulrahman Saad A.S.Al Sulaiteen riding Koheilan Kincso.

New Jersey endurance rider does not get to compete at the World Equestrian Games

NJ.com - Full Article

By Hunterdon County Democrat
on September 02, 2014

Margaret Sleeper of Kingwood Township, N.J. was slated to make her third FEI World Equestrian Games appearance in Normandy, France on Aug. 28, with her own Syrocco Reveille. However, after being accepted at the first Horse Inspection on Aug. 27, it was decided by Sleeper, in consultation with the Chef d'Equipe and Team Veternarian, that it would be in the best interest of Syrocco Reveille to be withdrawn from competition.

In 2012 Sleeper was part of the Endurance World CHampionships in The United Kingdon, UK moving onto the squad as a replacement member and turning in the best performance of all U.S. combinations...

Read more here:
http://www.nj.com/horsenews/2014/09/endurance_rider_sidelined.html

2014 WEG: The course and the approach of the organizers

Endurance-belgium.com

9/3/2014
by Leonard Liesens
Caroll Gatelier photos

The course was tough and dangerous in some places. All riders, even the ones achieving a good placing, were unanimous - of course, the riders eliminated are often tending to complaining about this and that.

Portions very technical during the first stage (this with of courses fresh and sometimes excited horses, sometimes ridden by inexperienced riders), swamps during the second stage (this definition was used by JF Francès, the French rider completed 8th), very wet and knee-deep muddy places and of course lots of lost shoes.

The weather conditions from the previous days annihilated all efforts to present a nice course. Jean Louis Leclerc (former French chef d’equipe) was running into despair and pulling his last hairs (sorry, Jean-Louis, I know, it’s easy and naughty) while looking at the sky. On top of that, it was pouring with rain the night before the start. So the competition did not augur well...

But... but... there were many and repeated requests during the chef d’equipe meetings to reduce the minimal speed back to a more decent value. In the beginning (in the schedule) it was said that EACH VETGATE had a closing time (calculate on 15 km/h). During the last meeting, they accepted (after a lot of pressure) to enforce ONLY after the 3rd vetgate this minimal speed. Already better as smart riders could better cope with that on a 100km distance than at each loop - the first stage was the most difficult!!!

Unfortunately, the organizing commitee didn’t want to listen to the requests from the “small nations”’s chefs d’equipe. “If the conditions were to become really tough, the minimal speed would be reviewed, as it is stated in the regulations”… This was the short and final answer from the president of the ground jury. No comments from the technical delegate. So, that’s too bad, let’s then go and run our horse into the ground...

Seing the outcome of the race and considering the tactic adopted by the various countries, it was very clear that the ‘small’ nations were frightened by this minimal speed at 15 km/h. Many went too fast, took too many risks during the initial stage. The horses were fresh, of course, and at this stage the effects on the metabolic do not show… that come later, for some already after the second loop, and for many many others after the third loop. But if, let’s say, it was announced FROM THE BEGINNING, that the speed was 13 km/h, these riders would have managed differently. They would have slowed down in the mud, recollected their horses when approaching the turns, reduced the pace. Maybe they wouldn’t have completed the 160 km, but this slaughter during 2nd and 3rd vetgate wouldn’t have taken place.

Alas ! It’s only after the second loop that the minimal speed has been reviewed, back to 14 km/h. It was too late, the damage was already done. Was had been taken from the horses’s reserves couldn’t be refueled.

Of course, we do not have the same tactic as we plan to race at 13 km/h in place of 15 km/h. This was not understood by either the president of jury or the technical delegate (when was the last time they rode in endurance…). The riders who rushed at the start and cruised in the lead wouldn’t have changed anything, that’s for sure. But others, the riders who came to get an honorable completion! Impossible for a chef d’equipe or any rider to guess at what speed to ride, the stats from last year were not applicable.

The worst in that : the organizers, the chef de piste, the technical delegate have seen the course the day before. They normally knew about the hazards, the possible effects of the humid weather, etc. Because we know that Normandy and rain are good friends. We know about the rain in Belgium too and therefore we take this parameter into account when drawing a circuit.

The reality became obvious to the riders only in the morning, when they discovered the trail. Many were already worried when practicing the days before on the white loop, the training track of 10km. Already after the second loop, there were many eliminations. And the biggest contingent felt after the third one. Most of the eliminations were due to metabolic reasons and this has never been seen before!

The French team was smart enough and patient. They didn’t run into panic while many competitors were ahead of them. They did well in the rough terrain, they are good riders, they ride good horses, they were cautious in the difficult portions. Perfection.

Spain made full profit of its two jackrabbits , Punti and Arboix completing 5th and 6th after a perfect race. The third nation was Switzerland taking advantage of the outstanding result (4th place) of Barbara Lissarague who has the double nationality French/Swiss. The two other Swiss riders rode all the time at 15 km/h to clinch the bronze. Of course, they were lucky that every other nation broke, but don’t you need luck in order to win?

United States was claiming for victory, well this is was could be read in the press before the competition. They went back, tail between the legs. They went too fast.

Belgium was presented as a good pretender for a team medal. But they lost a first rider at the second vetgate, then two and their illusions at the same time at the third vetgate.

There were no other nation except the three on the podium able to classify one team, which speaks for itself.

So what will remain from this WEG ? The nice footage broadcasted by Dubai TV, the victory of SH Hamdam and the second place of Marijke Visser on a borrowed UAE horse (is that a sign of the times), the death of the Costa Rica’s horse.

More photos at http://www.endurance-belgium.com/

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Australia's Alexandra Toft shines in World Equestrian Games endurance ride

Weeklytimesnow.com.au - Full Article

FRAN CLELAND THE WEEKLY TIMES
SEPTEMBER 01, 2014

ALEXANDRA Toft, one of the youngest riders in the World Equestrian Games endurance ride, was one of only 38 riders from more than 170 starters to finish the challenging 160km event.

Only three countries finished the event with a full team.

Toft, a member of Australia’s first all-female WEG Australian endurance team, finished 19th with a time of 10:11:23.

She had better fortunes than her mother and fellow team member, Penny Toft, who retired early after her stirrup leather broke.

Penny was unable to get immediate help and the setback left her 15km behind the field so she retired.

“Finishing in the top 20 was my goal from the outset,” Alexandra said...

Read more here:
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/sport/horses/alexandra-toft-shines-in-world-equestrian-games-endurance-ride/story-fnkivs7w-1227044106783