Sunday, March 29, 2015

Endurance world champion at centre of rides scandal

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
29 March, 2015

The reigning world champion Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (pictured top), is among a number of big names in Middle East endurance caught up in the “bogus” rides scandal.

The Crown Prince of Dubai is listed as taking part in one of the 13 rides under investigation by integrity services agency, Quest.

In addition, hundreds of horses from stables variously owned by Sheikh Hamdan and other members of the ruling families of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also implicated.

If the results are proved to have been falsified, the FEI faces an unprecedented exercise in mass disqualification. Asked about possible sanctions for the listed riders and owners, and also those who competed unqualified horses in longer distance rides, a FEI spokesman said: “We will need to wait for the conclusions of the investigation before deciding on the next steps...”

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/endurance-world-champion-at-centre-of-rides-scandal-479305#2vhpzbfUwHLKhztb.99

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Australia's AERA Supports FEI Suspension of UAE

March 26 2015

In a statement issued on 26 March 2015, the Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) expressed solid support of the FEI's decision (26 February 2015) to suspend the remaining two FEI events scheduled to be held in the UAE, and to suspend the National Federation of the FEI (12 March 2015) for an indeterminate period due to major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations.

Additionally, the AERA requests that the FEI reconsiders holding the 2016 World Endurance Championships in Dubai.

Further, in support of the FEI's decision to suspend Emirati athletes from Endurance events, AERA will not permit Emirati athletes to enter AERA affiliated endurance events, including the 50th Tom Quilty to be held 6-7 June 2015.

And while the AERA will not deny Australian endurance riders participation in UAE-based National events, it requests that any AERA members "give careful and measured consideration to competing in the UAE under the current circumstances…"

The full letter can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/03.2015.AERALetter.jpg

Australia: Successful Wilga endurance ride

Donnybrookmail.com.au - Full Article

By LYN WILLETT March 26, 2015

THE twenty-fourth Wilga Endurance Ride was held on Saturday March 14.

52 Riders started after the forecast warnings of unfavourable weather, with 25 riders making the decision not to attend. Those who rode had perfect conditions, with rain holding off until after the event. The rain the night before was just enough to settle the dust and provide a beautiful aroma throughout the bush.

Riders travelled from as far as Badgingarra to Esperance for the first ride of the year. This year the Wilga Endurance Ride also had its first rider from Boyup Brook, with Melissa Waller completing the 25km social ride...

Read more here:
http://www.donnybrookmail.com.au/story/2971418/successful-wilga-endurance-ride-despite-weather-forecast/?cs=1193

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Scotland: Riding Outdoors Endurance or Trail Riding

Gallowaygazette.co.uk - Full Article

25/03/2015

Recently the Scottish Endurance Riding Club (Dumfries Branch) organised a pleasure/intro or taster short/long distance ride near Three Lochs, Kirkcowan.

The aim in endurance is to pace the united skills of horse and rider against the clock and bring a sound and happy horse “fit to continue“ home at a chosen speed. Pleasure ride windows are between 8kph or 5mph and 11kph or 6.85 mph.

A spokesperson for the club said: “With so much adverse publicity re endurance riding in group 7 countries there seems to be lots of unfair crit hanging over all endurance riders. In general (but of course there are always the few who let us down) horse welfare is one of our many challenges..."

Read more here:
http://www.gallowaygazette.co.uk/sport/local-sport/riding-outdoors-endurance-or-trail-riding-1-3727462

Abu Dhabi Endurance Festival on Thursday

Khaleejtimes.com

25 March 2015

The organisers have provided prize-money and 36 cars for the participants.

Abu Dhabi — Over 300 riders will be in the fray in three different rides that are part of the Abu Dhabi Endurance Festival to be staged over two days starting from Thursday at the Emirates International Endurance Village.

The rides are being held under the directives of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in coordination with the Emirates Equestrian Federation and the Emirates Endurance Village. The organisers have provided prize-money and 36 cars for the participants.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of the Festival which contains the 100-km Private Stables Ride and the 100-km Abu Dhabi Festival Women Ride on Thursday and the 120-km CEN Abu Dhabi Endurance Festival ride on Friday,” said Adnan Sultan Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club who addressed a Press conference on Tuesday along with Lara Sawaya. “All arrangements are well in place to implement the directives of Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” he added.

Sawaya commented: “We are obliged to Shaikh Mansour and Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, for their continued support.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

UAE: Not So Untouchable?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 23, 2015

For years, the FBI failed to pin down Al Capone for racketeering, but a special squad known as the “Untouchables” finally found a way to send him prison – tax evasion.

For years, the FEI has failed to nail UAE endurance for horse abuse, the running of ringers and field-of-play violations on an industrial scale, due to the reluctance of witnesses, the turning of a blind eye by corrupt or lazy officials, and the invidiousness of the 30-minute rule for protests.

But now there is a glimmer of hope that at least the UAE’s equestrian federation, the EEF, is not quite as untouchable as it thought...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/not-so-untouchable/

Canadians to Contest to the Mongol Derby

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

March 23, 2015
by: Mongol Derby

This is the 7th Mongol Derby, featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest and toughest horse race. The 2015 race features 41 riders from 14 countries – including three Canadians – riding 1,000km across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.

It’s hard, it’s risky, people get injured. But people still come back for more.

The race has seen everyone from MP’s to stunt riders compete – so why do people enter?

Entries for 2015 include phrases such as:

“I want to ride across the fatherland of equine evolution.”

“I believe that The Mongol Derby is a positive event to join as it supports the Mongol horse culture and way of life.”

“I read that the 2014 winner almost pooped in her pants. If it is the price to pay for riding in the Mongol Derby I am in for it.”

As well as the usual smattering of equestrian professionals this year’s line-up features a diverse cocktail of the human race – from solicitors to firemen to nomads…

See the 2015 riders:...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/horse-news/canadians-to-contest-to-the-mongol-derby/

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Great Britain: After 50 years West’s greatest horse race could finally be over

Westernmorningnews.co.uk - Full Article

By Western Morning News | Posted: March 22, 2015
by Mike Bramhall

The 50th running of one of Britain's toughest endurance horse races across Westcountry 'wilds' could also be its last.

For half a century, the Golden Horseshoe Ride on Exmoor has tested riders and horses to the limit over a 100-mile course which takes in some of the most remote moorland in southern England.

The three-day event, starting on May 17, also features a series of other rides, and attracts more than 200 riders and supporters who pump more than £60,000 into the Exmoor economy.

But as organisers gear up for the golden anniversary meeting, Barbara Wigley, chair of the organising committee, said she feared it could be the final furlong for the cherished event.

She said: "It is the 50th and possibly the last. It is my last – I have been chairman for the past nine years – and I am stepping down, as are the rest of the committee.

"It has taken over my life. We are looking for someone from Endurance GB to take it over, but no one has come forward yet. There needs to be a rescue plan. But if this is going to be the last one, we will go out with a bang."

Read more: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/50-years-West-8217-s-greatest-horse-race-finally/story-26206339-detail/story.html#ixzz3V875k0zL

Saturday, March 21, 2015

France pushes anti-doping stance at Dubai Horse Fair

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 22, 2015

France’s arabian horse society is using its stand at the Dubai Horse Fair to promote clean sport within endurance riding.

The Dubai Horse Fair opened this weekend, and François Atger, the chairman of the French Arabian Horse Society (ACA), said the organisation wanted to take a stand against doping.

“I am personally scandalized by the lack of reaction on the part of our national bodies. Such shortcomings have motivated us all the more to become implicated in public awareness and to appeal for everyone to come to terms with an ethical practice of the sport. Hence the reason for us being here at the Dubai International Horse Fair and the message we wish to convey,” he said...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/22/france-pushes-anti-doping-dubai-horse-fair/

Friday, March 20, 2015

AERC President Requests Voluntary AERC Member Support of UAE Suspension

March 20 2015
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

In light of the FEI's suspension of the UAE National Federation from international equestrian events for "an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance," current AERC President Michael Campbell has issued the following statement:

"I have a personal request, just from me, for AERC members. While the UAE is suspended by FEI for various acts of cheating and equine abuse, I ask that AERC members forgo riding in UAE events and refuse to sell their horses to UAE purchasers. I also ask that AERC [Ride Managers] refuse entry to riders from the UAE until the suspension is lifted. I hope AERC will support the FEI suspension until UAE is rehabilitated and may be welcomed back into the sport."

The FEI/UAE controversy has been building since 2013, and the multiple scandals, including alleged cheating, horse drugging, 'ringers', and faked races, finally led to the UAE suspension on March 12 2015.

It should be noted that at the AERC Conference in Reno, Nevada on March 6 and 7 (before the UAE's suspension), USA International rider Heather Reynolds announced that the USA horses and riders that were invited to compete in a 160-km race in the UAE this spring had already declined to participate, in support of the AERC's stance regarding the FEI/UAE.

Equestrian Podcast: Endurance Revealed - Pippa Cuckson & Michael Campbell

Womeninsport Podcast - listen!

March 19 2015
with Chris Stafford

British journalist Pippa Cuckson who writes for the Horse Canada.com website under The Cuckson Report, and Michael Campbell, President of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) discuss the latest scandals and rule infringements that have recently been exposed and the implications to the sport. You can read Pippa's Blog here and visit the AERC website here. Post your comments and questions on the Facebook Page at Chris Stafford Radio and follow on Twitter @chrisestafford.

Listen!:
http://chrisstafford.podbean.com/e/equestrian-endurance-revealed-pippa-cuckson-michael-campbell/

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Significance of FEI suspension ‘not yet fully understood by UAE riders’

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
19 March, 2015

World Horse Welfare has been joined by major equestrian nations in applauding the FEI’s suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over the escalating crisis in desert endurance racing.

The charity’s Roly Owers hoped the FEI’s unprecedented move heralded the end of a “dark period”.

“In many ways this is a sad day,” he said. “However, the FEI’s drastic move to suspend the UAE federation is a reflection of the seriousness of the situation.

“We hope this action will be the end of a dark period in international endurance and demonstrate to all that the FEI Welfare Code of Conduct must be at the heart of international equestrian sport.

“The focus is now on the UAE to undergo a fundamental change in attitude.”

The FEI bureau took its “unanimous” decision last Thursday (12 March), also ordering an investigation into allegations, first exposed by H&H, that the UAE has been faking ride results for several years...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/significance-of-fei-suspension-not-yet-fully-understood-by-uae-riders-478116#7jTBV21tTUBQ5Ftp.99

UAE welcome back when they follow rules, says FEI vice-president

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

Wednesday, 18 March 2015
By Emily Goddard at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami

John Madden, first vice-president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), has said the United Arab Emirates will be "perfectly welcome" back into the sport when it shows exactly how it will follow the rules.

The FEI Bureau, chaired by President Ingmar De Vos, unanimously agreed to suspend the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) last month following an investigation into "major horse welfare issues" and allegedly faked results in endurance events.

The immediate ban means the nation "may not attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organise any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events".

It also follows a move at the beginning of the month to strip the UAE of two endurance races scheduled to be held later this month.

However, Madden, who is also chair of the FEI jumping committee, made clear the nation can come back into competition when it provides evidence of change.

"It's very sad that we've had to suspend the United Arab Emirates Federation," he told insidethegames here at SPORTELAmerica.

"But they are welcome back in the FEI at any time when they can demonstrate to us and explain to us exactly how they are going to protect horse welfare and following the FEI rules.

"It's not good enough to say yes we are going to do it they need to demonstrate exactly how...

Read more here:
http://www.insidethegames.biz/sports/summer/equestrian/1026218-uae-welcome-back-when-they-follow-rules-says-fei-vice-president

Australian Endurance Team Support Personnel Appointments

Equestrian.org.au

Posted by Equestrian Australia on 17/03/2015

The following individuals have been appointed to key support personnel positions within the Australian Endurance Team. The appointments are for a four year term which will conclude following the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Chef d'Equipe

Andrew Kettlewell – NSW

Assistance Chef d'Equipe

Tom McCormack – NSW

Equestrian Australia can also confirm National Endurance Selectors appointments, which are also for a four year term.

National Selectors

Anne Barnes – WA – Chair
Patricia Mackay – NSW
Jane McLaughlin – VIC
Alamdar Dastani – NSW

Congratulations to the abovenamed individuals on their appointments.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Britain backs endurance stance; FEI spells out details of UAE suspension

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 18, 2015

Endurance officials in Britain have voiced support for the FEI in its efforts to sort out the issues in the sport which led to last week’s suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Their backing came as the world governing body spelt out the practical implications of the suspension.

The FEI suspended the UAE over what it said were welfare concerns and non-compliance with its rules and regulations in endurance. The suspension would remain in place until the UAE was able to satisfy the FEI it could meet the standards required.

The chairman of Britain’s endurance board, John Hudson, said on Tuesday that the endurance board supported the FEI fully in its determination to ensure endurance was properly regulated and that its code of conduct for the welfare of horses was always respected.

“We hope that the necessary changes are made to the FEI’s satisfaction,” Hudson sad.

[More ...]

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FEI Clarifies Details of UAE National Federation Suspension

March 17 2015

Sabrina Zeender, Secretary General of the FEI has sent a letter to the National Federations clarifying the details of the unprecedented suspension 12 March 2015 of the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation from FEI, due to major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in endurance.

The letter outlines all aspects of the suspension, including what UAE athletes and officials can and cannot do, whether in endurance or other disciplines; prohibiting the UAE from organizing any International events in any discipline; and prohibiting the UAE flag from being displayed at any venue or event during the suspension.

The entire letter can be see here.

The entire archives of the "FEI Controversy" since 2013 can be seen here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/

Great Britain: Crabbet Organisation celebrates Endurance success

Endurancegb.co.uk

- (Published:16 March 2015)

The Crabbet Organisation celebrated its first Endurance awards for Crabbet or Crabbet related Arabians who had competed with Endurance GB, SERC or the FEI during 2014, or the young stock graded by the BEF at Futurity events.

In its first year 30 horses applied for the new awards introduced by new committee member Rachael Claridge who herself has a 100% Crabbet Arabian stallion and competed for Team GBR as a Young and Senior rider with Crabbet related gelding Silver Mistrahl. The formula for the pilot awards encouraged Crabbet Organisation members to submit their horses’ endurance master cards or futurity scorecards at the end of the 2014 season. The highest mileage horses were then recognised in the Novice, Open, Advanced and FEI categories. Special categories were also recognised for Young Riders who had ridden Crabbet or Crabbet related horses during 2014, young stock graded on their potential to become endurance horses and also former committee members were thanked officially for their voluntary contribution.

The Compass Inn's stunning Orangery, near Badminton, Gloucestershire was the venue for the awards held on Saturday 28th February. Forty members travelled from across the country to attend the event which was generously supported by The Pure Feed Company, Ariat Europe, Brinicombe Equine, Verm-x, Blue Chip Feed, Horse Scout and West Kington Stud.

Endurance GB Board member Jo Claridge, AHS President Anne Brown and The Pure Feed Company founder Lou Talintyre presented the awards (follow link to full results). Chair of the Crabbet Committee Natalie Tindall thanked former committee members Susan Hawes, Lindsay Thain, Lynne Humphreys and Suzanne Cruise for their voluntary contribution to the small but international breed society and presented them with an Arabian horse belt buckle.

For full results and more information about the 2015 Crabbet Organisation Endurance Achievement Awards or for membership queries please contact info@rachaelclaridge.com or telephone 01454 238942
and see http://endurancegb.co.uk/main/news#2015031601

Rachael Claridge

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wardrobe malfunction in the FEI over endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | March 16, 2015

There’s something just a little mysterious about the FEI Bureau. Its 18 members wield a lot of power in the world of horse sport, but we never get to see the inner workings, with meetings behind closed doors.

It certainly would have been illuminating to hear the bureau’s recent discussion on the joys of endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates, before its members agreed unanimously to suspend the UAE Equestrian Federation.

The FEI, after endless months of grinding diplomacy during its endurance rule reform process, has shown some welcome mettle.

The world governing body said the suspension followed an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with its rules and regulations in endurance.

Followers of endurance don’t need to be reminded about the storm of controversy around the death of Splitters Creek Bundy as a result of two broken legs in a race in Abu Dhabi late in January, or the big questions that now swirl around a dozen races in the UAE after duplicated results were revealed by British equestrian writer Pippa Cuckson.

So, let us tip our riding helmets to the FEI for its decisive, if belated, action. But, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the world governing body has, to a fair degree, been caught with its pants down in this latest round of endurance controversy...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/16/wardrobe-malfunction-fei-over-endurance/

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Abdulla Al Marri 'shocked' by FEI decision to ban entire Emirates Equestrian Federation



by Reem Abulleil
Sunday 15 March 2015

Showjumper Abdulla Al Marri has described the decision of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to suspend the entire Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) over horse welfare and rule infringements in endurance events as “ridiculous” and a “slap in the face” to those competing in other disciplines.

The FEI announced last Thursday their decision in an official statement posted on their website that read: “The FEI Bureau has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

“The Bureau, chaired by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, was unanimous in its decision.”

The suspension entails that the UAE will not be allowed to host any international equestrian meets. All UAE endurance riders are banned from international events, apart from national competitions, while Emirati riders in other disciplines may compete internationally but only under the neutral FEI flag.

Al Marri, who has represented the UAE in showjumping in countless international shows including last year’s Asian Games, finds the decision shocking and unfair to the jumping community.

“We don’t follow that sport (endurance) as much as ours to be honest. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything like this before, banning an entire federation,” Al Marri told Sport360°.

“It’s something we (showjumpers) had nothing to do with. For us, it’s just a shock.

Why can’t I ride under my country’s flag? They should punish the person responsible. If a showjumper is accused of doping a horse, the rider is involved in it then he or she is punished. Why is that not the case this time?

“It’s ridiculous. Okay, we’re all under one federation but I think it’s drastic that [showjumpers] pay for it.”

While many showjumpers benefit from competing in a host of international shows held in the UAE as part of the Arab League, Al Marri says what hurts the most is not how this affects his calendar, but the fact that he can’t represent the UAE internationally.

“We do this for our country, and the fact that we can’t represent our own country, that’s the most painful thing. Being patriotic is very important to us, especially where we’re from, we’re very proud of where we come from.

“One of the biggest steps in our sport was taken just two weeks ago when Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum won the 5* show in Ghantoot. And suddenly we get this slap in the face.”

De Vos admits the decision was drastic but that the world governing body had no choice.

“The decision to suspend a National Federation is not something that is taken lightly and we only should do this if no other remedy can be found,” De Vos said.

“Sadly, this was the only option left, but we have to take our responsibility and must never be afraid of tackling major issues head-on. Where horse welfare is concerned the FEI has to show leadership and solve problems in a structural way without making any concessions.”

No one from the EEF was available for comment, but they do have 30 days to appeal the decision.

Read More...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Endurance: Swiss Equestrian Federation Approves of the Latest Decisions made by the FEI

FNCH.ch

12 March 2015

The Swiss Equestrian Federation FSSE, which has committed itself for over two years, so that competing in endurance events all over the world are in compliance with not only the welfare of the horse but also sporting fairness, has taken note with satisfaction, of the decision made by the Bureau of the International Equestrian Federation FEI to suspend the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates UAE for an indeterminate period, following serious cases of horse abuse and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations within this discipline (press release of the FEI).

Having taken this decision, the Bureau of the FEI and its new President demonstrate courage and send a strong message in favor of the welfare of horses to all member federations. The FSSE gives its full support in this matter.

In light of this suspension, the FSSE has decided to further reinforce the measures it announced last February 24th (press release of the Swiss Equestrian Federation) by prohibiting its riders as well as its endurance officials to participate in any endurance competition in the UAE for as long as this federation is suspended by the FEI.

Furthermore, it reiterates its strong reservations about the holding of the World Endurance Championship planned in Dubai in 2016. The FSSE will pay close attention to the developments of this current situation before considering whether to participate in the championships or not.

Additional Information:

Dr. Charles F. Trolliet, President of the Swiss Equestrian Federation,
Tel. +41 79 205 32 91, e-mail: trolliet@swissonline.ch

Dr. Claude Nordmann, International Relations, Swiss Equestrian Federation,
Tel. +41 79 353 75 54, e-mail: claude.nordmann@bluewin.ch

Friday, March 13, 2015

UAE suspension reflects seriousness of endurance situation – charity

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 14, 2015

The suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the FEI will hopefully end a dark period in international endurance, World Horse Welfare says.

The British-based international charity said it welcomed the suspension of the UAE following a catalogue of significant horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in endurance.

The charity, which is an independent welfare adviser to the FEI, said it was ready and willing to help the UAE Equestrian Federation implement the changes necessary to bring it back into the international fold.

“In many ways this is a sad day,” World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said of the suspension.

“However, the FEI’s drastic move to suspend the UAE federation is a reflection of the seriousness of the situation within endurance.

“We hope that this action will be the end of a dark period in international endurance and demonstrate to all that the FEI Welfare Code of Conduct must be at the heart of international equestrian sport.

Read more...

American Endurance Ride Conference Requests New Venue for 2016 World Endurance Championship


MARCH 13, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


In the wake of unprecedented scandal and corruption in the sport of Endurance Riding coming from the United Arab Emirates, the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has formally requested that the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) remove the 2016 World Endurance Championship from Dubai to another venue or cancel the event altogether.

Reports this week indicate that the Emirates Equestrian Federation falsified the results of at least 12 endurance rides in reports to the FEI in an attempt to fraudulently qualify inadequately prepared horses and riders for international competition. This action puts horses in peril by making it appear that they have been properly trained and conditioned for long distance competition when that may not be the case. Horses that are not properly conditioned and qualified are at risk for fatal injury such as that experienced by Splitters Creek Bundy, a horse who was photographed at the January 2015 Al Reef Cup ride in Abu Dhabi with both front legs fractured.

Last year, the AERC Board of Directors unanimously passed a motion expressing its outrage at these violations. AERC vowed to explore other options for international competition unless measurable progress was shown by FEI in curbing these offenses.

AERC applauds the action of FEI in removing two UAE rides from their calendar of competition for the remainder of the 2015 season and suspending UAE endurance competition in FEI events. AERC also commends FEI for retaining Lord Stevens to investigate the latest travesty. However, the AERC Board of Directors does not believe that these sanctions go far enough in protecting horses and the sport of Endurance Riding. The AERC Board unanimously voted last week to request that FEI take the further step of canceling the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Dubai, reopening bids for the venue and denying the UAE the opportunity to bid on the venue.

Denmark and Switzerland have already indicated that they would not send teams to compete in Dubai. Germany is likely to follow suit. AERC invites other like-minded countries and equine disciplines as well as the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to join us in repudiating the UAE distortion of Endurance Riding. We especially look to USEF for strong leadership in supporting fairness and safety in Endurance Riding. Since its inception in 1972, AERC has supported equine welfare and longevity as well as fair play for all competitors. AERC stands for clean endurance.

More information on the American Endurance Ride Conference is available by visiting www.aerc.org or by calling the AERC office at 823-2260. By request, the office will send out a free information packet to prospective members.

USEF Response to Suspension of UAE National Federation

RELEASE: March 13, 2015
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. - In an unprecedented move, the FEI has suspended the national federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following a thorough investigation into major horse welfare issues and rule non-compliance. UAE has been suspended for an "indeterminate period" from attending FEI meetings, organizing international events, and participating in international events. However, UAE athletes - in disciplines other than endurance - competing in international competitions outside of the UAE may participate under the FEI flag.

This decision to suspend the UAE was made after extensive efforts to curb catastrophic horse injuries and rule non-compliance failed. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has and will continue to support fully the actions of the FEI and applauds their positive and aggressive action. As President Ingmar De Vos states, "Sadly, this is the only option left...Where horse welfare is concerned, the FEI has to show leadership and solve problems in a structural way without making any concessions." "Having spent many years addressing this issue within the FEI Bureau, the USEF is proud to stand with the international equestrian community in condemnation of horse abuse," stated Chris Welton, USEF CEO.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

High Noon for world endurance

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full article

Neil Clarkson | March 13, 2015

The pistols finally came out of their holsters today as the FEI moved to head off ongoing endurance controversies.

The world governing body announced it had suspended the national federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), citing what it called major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with the rules of endurance.

The announcement is the latest chapter in a remarkable few days in the sport, as the UAE – arguably the best-resourced endurance nation in the world – came under ever-increasing scrutiny...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/13/high-noon-world-endurance/

FEI suspends UAE National Federation

FEI PRESS RELEASE
Lausanne (SUI), 12 March 2015

The FEI Bureau has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.

The Bureau, chaired by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, was unanimous in its decision to suspend the UAE National Federation.

Under the terms of the suspension, which has been imposed immediately, the UAE National Federation may not attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organise any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events. However, the Bureau has ruled that UAE athletes from disciplines other than Endurance may compete under the FEI flag in international competitions organised outside the UAE.

The Bureau has clearly outlined to the UAE Federation that any potential reinstatement to FEI membership is dependent on the UAE Federation signing an agreement with the FEI under which the UAE Federation pledges to take such action as the FEI Bureau deems necessary to assure the FEI and all stakeholders that the UAE Federation is protecting the welfare of the horse and complying fully with the FEI Rules and Regulations.

"The decision to suspend a National Federation is not something that is taken lightly and we only should do this if no other remedy can be found,” the FEI President said. “Sadly this was the only option left, but we have to take our responsibility and must never be afraid of tackling major issues head-on. Where horse welfare is concerned the FEI has to show leadership and solve problems in a structural way without making any concessions.

"We were confident that strict enforcement of the new rules implemented on 1 August 2014 following adoption of the recommendations from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group would be effective in reducing the numbers of catastrophic injuries and fatalities in the UAE, but regretfully this has not been the case. There have also been other major non-compliance issues, so in the end we had no other choice than taking this drastic measure to deal with an unacceptable situation.”

As an interim emergency measure to protect horse welfare and preserve the integrity of FEI rules and regulations at FEI events while the FEI Bureau was considering the Executive Board’s recommendations for further action, the Secretary General Sabrina Zeender removed the two remaining Endurance events in the UAE from the FEI calendar two weeks ago, a move that garnered widespread support from National Federations and welfare groups.

The UAE National Federation has been notified of the suspension by the FEI Secretary General today, 12 March 2015. The UAE Federation has 30 days to appeal the suspension to the FEI Tribunal.

Separately, the FEI has requested the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit to conduct a full investigation into allegations of fake events and the duplication of results at FEI Endurance events in the UAE.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Endurance Wars: The Phantom Menace

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | March 11, 2015

There has been a disturbance in the Force – an anomaly so extraordinary that the endurance community is still trying to comprehend exactly what it could mean for the sport.

Social media has been abuzz since British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson unearthed what would seem to be an impossible coincidence in the results of two races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)...

http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/11/endurance-wars-phantom-menace/

Endurance Wars: The Phantom Menace

Neil Clarkson. March 11 2015. Horsetalk.co.nz

There has been a disturbance in the Force – an anomaly so extraordinary that the endurance community is still trying to comprehend exactly what it could mean for the sport.

Social media has been abuzz since British equestrian journalist Pippa Cuckson unearthed what would seem to be an impossible coincidence in the results of two races in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Cuckson, in her March 6 piece published by the Daily Telegraph, raised questions about the results officially posted on the FEI website in respect of the two races, both of which provided qualifiers for the rich President’s Cup, run over 160km.

One was a 120km race on January 21 in Dubai; the second an 80km event on December 23 in Abu Dhabi. Cuckson noted that finishing rates for the fixtures were much higher than the local average.

But, most controversially, she identified some quite remarkable similarities between finishing times and loop times with previous races.

In fact, the results logged on the FEI website for the leading 47 horses in the December 23 race are identical to those of the 10th to 56th-placed horses from a race at Bou Thib on November 21-22.

[Read more ...]

UAE: Equestrian corruption crisis: Lord Stevens to lead investigation into 12 separate 'phantom' races

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Endurance racing facing huge scandal as Telegraph finds evidence UAE-hosted events never actually took place

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent

11 Mar 2015

The global body governing equestrian sport has ordered an independent investigation after Telegraph Sport uncovered 12 separate allegedly 'bogus' UAE-hosted endurance races.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) asked Quest, the integrity services agency run by former Met police chief Lord Stevens, to examine evidence compiled by the Telegraph that none of the 12 races were ever run, even though detailed results data from them appears on the FEI's official website.

Telegraph Sport exposed last week that 'bogus' or 'phantom' races were the latest scandal to hit the crisis-torn sport of endurance racing, detailing how two races purportedly staged on December 23 and January 21 appeared to exist only as sets of results, and were never actually staged...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/equestrianism/11463573/Equestrian-corruption-crisis-Lord-Stevens-to-lead-investigation-into-12-separate-phantom-races.html

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Equine Canada Supports Endurance Reform

Equinecanada.ca

March 10, 2015
by: Equine Canada

As the national governing body for equestrian sport and recreation, horse welfare is paramount to Equine Canada (EC). Therefore, EC strongly supports the recent actions taken by the FEI to reform the sport of endurance in Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Region Group VII.

EC also fully supports the FEI in its decision to cancel the remaining international endurance events scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2015.

EC feels that these emergency measures implemented by the FEI are necessary to protect horse welfare, and uphold the integrity of the rules governing FEI competitions.

Monday, March 09, 2015

"Dreaming of Tevis" Essay Contest for Young Riders

Teviscup.org

Have you been dreaming of riding Tevis? Then enter the Dreaming of Tevis Essay Contest and you could find yourself riding the 2015 Tevis Cup! One lucky young rider will receive a full Tevis experience including airfaire*, entry and use of an experienced Tevis horse with full crew for the 2015 Tevis Cup.

Write an essay in 650 words or less answering the 3 questions:
1. Why I love the sport of endurance
2. What drives me to excel in it
3. Why I want to ride the Tevis Cup.

Contest is open to foreign and US young riders 18-22 years of age.

Entry form and essay are due before April 29 2015.

For entry form and official rules for guideline restrictions, see
http://www.teviscup.org/tevis-2015/dream-of-tevis-contest

Scotland's Tevis Equivalent: The Cairngorm 100

Cairngorm100.co.uk

The Cairngorm 100 is a 100 miles in 24 hours horse riding endurance challenge with some basic similarities to the Tevis Cup which will be held on July 11-12, 2015.

Horse/rider combinations will start in the early hours of Saturday morning and follow a challenging route through the foothills of the Cairngorm mountain range. The course will consist of clearly marked well-established tracks and paths with some strenuous climbing in some spectacular terrain. The route takes riders into open, and at times hostile, country. Crewing and assistance will be in place as well as vets, farriers and mountain rescue. The welfare of the horse will be paramount.

The successful finishers of this unique challenge will each be presented with a Belt Buckle. These have been specially made and engraved, and are not available to purchase, so anyone seen wearing one will have successfully ridden the Cairngorm 100 ride!

In addition to the 100 mile ride we will also be having a 50 mile ride, which has the same finish venue at Glen Clova hotel. There are also elevator options at 50 miles and 75 miles.

More information and entry forms can be seen at:
http://www.cairngorm100.co.uk/

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Win a copy of "The Glory" by Lauren St John

Eclipsemagazine.co.uk-Full article

'The Glory is a born winner' says the reviewer and broadcaster, Amanda Craig.

Lauren St John is the bestselling author of The One Dollar Horse series, as well as The White Giraffe novels and the Laura Marlin mysteries, for which she won the prestigious Blue Peter Book Award. She has now turned her attention to endurance riding, one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and has written a sensational, stand-alone equestrian thriller called The Glory about a gruelling 1,200 mile horse race across the American West.

Alexandra Blakewood has everything any teenager could wish for, apart from the horse she'd love, but she won't stop getting into trouble. Sent to a US boot camp, she dreams of escaping. It seems impossible until she's told about a race called 'The Glory', a deadly endurance race with a $250,000 purse, open to any rider daring enough to attempt it. Now she is a girl on the run from the law....

Read more here:
http://eclipsemagazine.co.uk/competitions-and-offers/competitions/6683-win-a-copy-of-the-glory-by-lauren-st-john

Qatar’s Bughenaim wins Endurance Championship

Gulf-times.com - Full Article

March 8 2015

Al Shaqab team’s Faleh Nasser Saleh Bughenaim on Halte A Tout, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding, won the CEI** Al Shaqab CHI International Ride, a 120-km endurance ride, held in five stages at the Mesaieed Endurance Village yesterday.
Qatar dominated the championship by taking the second and third places as well. A total number of 58 riders started the ride with 43 completing the race. Qatar’s champion Endurance rider Bughenaim completed the course in four hours 56 minutes and 19 seconds with an average speed of 25.55kmph...

Read more here:
http://www.gulf-times.com/sport/192/details/429949/qatar%E2%80%99s-bughenaim-wins--endurance-championship

Friday, March 06, 2015

Qatar: French legend Tomas leads field of 58 in Endurance championship

Gulf-times.com - Full Article

March 6 2015

French legend Philippe Tomas leads a field of 58 in the 120km Endurance Championship at the CHI AL SHAQAB 2015 today. The only European contestant in the championship is a gold medal European team member and silver medallist at the 2012 World championship.

Riders from 10 countries will set off at Mesaieed. With a spectacular mass start at 5:00 in the morning they will set out for the Euros 200,000 prize money championship.

The first horse is expected at the finish line roughly six hours later.

One the most prominent athletes in the event will be the Frenchman Tomas, who has a reputation as a trainer and takes care of Al Shaqab horses when they are based in France. The world’s No.2 from Toulouse will ride Perlando HLM from Al Shaqab.
From his farm in Toulouse, Tomas runs a whole enterprise focused on long distance riding. For the European season, from March to October, he hosts around 100 horses from Al Shaqab stables, either for competition or breeding. The sport horses and their grooms go out for competition almost every weekend, either on 80 or 120 kilometre races, or do shorter stints, 40 or 60 kilometre for training towards the season in Qatar that opens in October again and lasts for the winter.

That way Tomas tours with a group of up to 15 horses every weekend, either riding one of his own horses or in company of the horses from Qatar. The Frenchman’s calendar has about 40 races per year.

Although Perlando HLM has spent two months on his farm, coming from Argentina and qualifying in Spain for larger events, Tomas will ride him for the first time. “If I can finish it will be a good result,” the only European contestant in the event, Tomas said...

Read more here:
http://www.gulf-times.com/sport/192/details/429792/french-legend-tomas-leads-field-of-58-in-endurance-championship

UAE: Al Jahouri wins Shaikh Zayed Bin Mansour Endurance Cup

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Al Ghailani finishes second and Al Marri third in 120km event at Emirates International Endurance Village

Staff ReportPublished: 18:44 March 6, 2015

Abu Dhabi: Khalifa Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri onboard the eight-year-old Baraka Farid, representing Wathba Stables, landed the HH Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival‘s Shaikh Zayed Bin Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Juniors and Youth Endurance Cup, CEN 120km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Wathba on Friday.

The young rider did everything right to lead in the crucial stages of the gruelling race and land the trophy in great style.
The winner covered the distance in 03:20:24 seconds at an average speed of 29.94 kmph..

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/uae/al-jahouri-wins-shaikh-zayed-bin-mansour-endurance-cup-1.1467746

UAE: Further questions raised over legitimacy of endurance races

Telegraph.co.uk - Full Article

Allegations have arisen that two President's Cup qualifying races in the UAE never actually took place

By Pippa Cuckson
7:09PM GMT 06 Mar 2015

The crisis in endurance racing took a further twist on Friday night, as questions were raised about whether two races recorded as having taken place in the UAE were actually run.

The races both provided qualifications for last month’s 160km President’s Cup, the richest race in the Middle East winter season. The first of the rides in question was a 120km race on January 21 in Dubai, which independent sources in the UAE have alleged did not take place; the second an 80km race on December 23 in Abu Dhabi.

The results and data from both have been recorded on the official website of the equestrian world's governing body (FEI) and last night remained there despite the concerns over their authenticity. That data includes detailed speeds and loop (ride segment) times identical to data from other previous races which definitely did take place...

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/11455916/Further-questions-raised-over-legitimacy-of-endurance-races.html

UAE: Too Good to be True?

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 5, 2015

My phone has been red hot this past week, with colleagues keen to discuss the politics behind the FEI’s unprecedented cancellation of two UAE CEI’s as the endurance crisis escalates. So it was a relief when one buddy called with this practical query: will disaffiliating these rides affect horse and rider FEI qualifications for anything important?

I replied: “It’s funny you should ask.” Because I was just completing enquiries into a 120km CEI qualifier (for last month’s President’s Cup) whose results listings on the FEI database suggest that when you are short of qualifications for something important, one simple solution might be to apply a bit of creativity!

A few weeks ago, colleagues at Horse & Hound and myself were tipped off, by different people, that a scheduled ride in Dubai on January 21at was not all it seemed. I then asked further local sources who were genuinely surprised to learn that a FEI 2* qualifier took place on January 21st and could not understand how they had managed to miss it. Everything about it reads oddly...

Read more here:
http://www.horse-canada.com/cuckson-report/too-good-to-be-true/

Endurance horses to vie for €200K at Qatar’s Al Shaqab ride

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Horsetalk.co.nz | March 6, 2015

Just one European rider will line up in the 120km endurance competition at the CHI Al Shaqab competition this weekend, with nearly 60 riders from nine countries vying for €200,000 in prize money at Mesaid racetrack in Qatar.

French national champion Philippe Tomas will ride Perlando HLM from the Al Shaqab stables. Although the horse has spent two months on his farm in Toulouse, coming from Argentina and qualifying in Spain for larger events, it will be the first time Tomas has ridden the horse.

“If I can finish it will be a good result,” he said. “You don’t look towards the rider in front of you but you listen to your horse to make sure that it lasts until the finish line...”

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/06/endurance-horses-200k-qatar-al-shaqab/

Thursday, March 05, 2015

UAE: Doubts raised over ‘bogus’ endurance race

Horse & Hound
Pippa Cuckson, March 5 2015

Allegations that a qualification race held in Dubai last month (21 January) was bogus has led to questions on how the FEI verifies the authenticity of competition results.

Sources in the UAE have told H&H that a 120km CEI listed ride did not take place. It was a late addition to the FEI calendar, and records a completion rate of 91% (41 horses out of 45), which surpasses any ride in Europe during 2014 and is nearly three times the normal completion rate in a Middle East CEI.

No overseas riders or officials were listed as participating, despite the large winter presence of visiting riders. No pictures can be traced and it is not mentioned on the UAE federation or Dubai Equestrian Club websites.

A FEI spokesman told H&H: “The CEI2* Dubai, which took place on 21 January 2015, was run as a qualifier for the President’s Cup (CEI3* Abu Dhabi, Al Wathba). The event was properly entered in the FEI calendar and, as per FEI requirements, a draft schedule was submitted and approved by the FEI headquarters. The results, officials’ reports, and vet cards were received on time and validated by the FEI headquarters.

“There was certainly a high completion rate at this particular event, but the efficacy of any
set of rules in any discipline cannot be judged on the basis of a single event.

“The FEI is constantly assessing its rules to ensure that they remain relevant.”

[More ...]

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Great Britain: Hundreds of young horses to be assessed in bumper Futurity year

Horseandhound.co.uk - Full Article

Alice Collins
27 February, 2015

The 11 venues and 12 dates for the 2015 BEF Futurity evaluation series have been announced. Due to low uptake in recent years, Scotland will no longer host a Futurity show.

More than 800 horses are likely to be assessed this year, a major leap up from the first shows in 2005, when 100 horses were forward.

The BEF’s head of equine development Jan Rogers said: “We are increasingly finding that breeders, buyers and riders of British-bred horses are finding a Futurity premium is a very useful aid in helping assess these horses.

“We are also seeing a marked improvement in the standard of youngsters entered in the Futurity, which is very good news for the future of British breeding.”

The evaluations are open to horses and ponies from foals to three-year-olds and aim to identify British-bred potential sport horses destined for top level careers in dressage, eventing, showjumping or endurance.

The Futurity is fast becoming recognised as an important first step in the careers of many potential top level horses and provides a valuable marketing tool for breeders...

Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/hundreds-of-horses-to-be-assessed-in-bumper-futurity-year-476153#RRyJm1eQFzxOI1Ez.99

Calgary cattle rancher, former local journalist to compete in world's longest horse race

Calgaryherald.com - Full Article

CLARA HO, CALGARY HERALD
More from Clara Ho, Calgary Herald
Published on: March 2, 2015

It’s billed as the longest and toughest horse race in the world, taking competitors astride semi-wild equines on a 1,000-kilometre trek through the Mongolian grassland while exposed to the elements and unfamiliar terrain.

And a local oilman-turned-cattle rancher and former Calgary copy editor are among the 40 competitors saddling up in a bid to win the derby crown this summer.

Bruce Chernoff and Liz Brown are taking on the 7th annual Mongol Derby, which recreates Genghis Khan’s ancient horse messenger system, used for rapid intelligence gathering and communication.

Both amateur and professional riders alike from around the world sign up for the challenge, despite the risk of injury and even death...

Read more here:
http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/calgary-cattle-rancher-former-local-journalist-to-compete-in-worlds-longest-horse-race

UAE: Excitement builds for third desert triathlon

Gulfnews.com - Full Article

Unique March 13 event combines endurance riding with running and cycling

Staff Report
Published: 20:50 March 2, 2015

Dubai: The third edition of the Dubai Desert Triathlon, to be held on March 13, has generated significant excitement within the triathlon and endurance horse riding communities in the UAE and Middle East.

The Dubai Sports Council (DSC), in partnership with Meydan, debuted this innovative event — which combines the traditional Emirati heritage sport of endurance horse racing with the triathlon disciplines of running and cycling — in April 2014.

“We are very pleased with the response we have had from teams, triathletes and endurance riders so far. This is the third running of the Dubai Desert Triathlon and we see this as the new sport from the Middle East,” said a spokesperson from DSC.

“This event showcases not only the strength of these sports in Dubai and the region, but also the creativity and innovation which has become Dubai’s international trademark...”

Read more here:
http://gulfnews.com/sport/uae/excitement-builds-for-third-desert-triathlon-1.1465539

Monday, March 02, 2015

Middle Eastern endurance: Do not pass Go, do not collect $200

Neil Clarkson
Horsetalk.co.nz

My friends gave up playing Monopoly against me many years ago. Apparently, I’m not much fun to play against.

It wasn’t about cheating. Apparently, I’m too officious and determined, and revel in the fact I’m slowly grinding my opponents into poverty with my hefty rents and expansive property holdings.

It was a case of going directly to the doghouse without passing Go and without collecting $200.

The lesson, learned rather belatedly, is that if you don’t play nice, eventually no-one will want to play with you.

It seems, after several years of controversy around welfare issues, doping infractions, and what would seem to be a pretty loose interpretation of the rules, the nations at the centre of the endurance controversy in the Middle East might have to learn this lesson, too.

[More ...]

Middle Eastern endurance: Do not pass Go, do not collect $200

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | March 2, 2015

My friends gave up playing Monopoly against me many years ago. Apparently, I’m not much fun to play against.

It wasn’t about cheating. Apparently, I’m too officious and determined, and revel in the fact I’m slowly grinding my opponents into poverty with my hefty rents and expansive property holdings.

It was a case of going directly to the doghouse without passing Go and without collecting $200.

The lesson, learned rather belatedly, is that if you don’t play nice, eventually no-one will want to play with you.

It seems, after several years of controversy around welfare issues, doping infractions, and what would seem to be a pretty loose interpretation of the rules, the nations at the centre of the endurance controversy in the Middle East might have to learn this lesson, too...

Read more here:
http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/02/middle-eastern-endurance-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-200/

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Great Britain: Go the distance on Exmoor this spring and try one of its long distance trails

Easier.com - Full Article

26th February 2015

Celebrating the recent of announcement of an injection of £637,050 Government funding into West Somerset's Steam Coast Trail, Visit Exmoor looks at some of its other well-known Trails that provide a breath-taking network of multi—user paths for walkers, cyclists, runners and in many cases wheelchair users.

The Steam Coast Trail will provide a multi-use coastal path between Minehead and Williton, creating a traffic-free route open to walkers and cyclists between Minehead, Dunster, Carhampton, Blue Anchor, Washford, Watchet and Williton. It will weave walkers, cyclists, runners and wheelchair users through 36km of glorious countryside and in and out of picturesque heritage towns and railway villages. Find out more at: steamcoasttrail.org.

There are already five very popular Trails criss-crossing the amazing Exmoor landscape and probably the best known of all is the South West Coast Path. It's the country's longest path and it starts by traversing the rugged coastline of Exmoor. The total length is 630 miles from Minehead to Poole Harbour via Lands' End. The first section across Exmoor is widely acknowledged as one of the highlights and this can usually be completed in three days from Minehead to Combe Martin.

For those who like to link some culture to their outdoor activities, The Coleridge Way is the perfect walk for fans of the Romantic Poets. At 51 miles this is a great introduction to long distance walking and links the Quantock Hills with Exmoor National Park charting the paths that the likes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley and Byron followed while writing some of their most influential works. The original route opened in 2007 running a total of 36 miles from Nether Stowey to Porlock. In 2014 an extension was added to make a walk 51miles in total length running between Nether Stowey and Lynmouth.

The route starts at Nether Stowey where Coleridge once lived, passing through the Quantock and Brendon hills before traversing the high moorland of Exmoor. The route then drops down to picturesque Porlock before heading inland via the wild Doone Valley and finishing on the coast at the pretty harbour side of Lynmouth. There is an optional short extension to Poets Corner high above in the Valley of Rocks. For more information: coleridgeway.co.uk

For experienced horse riders, there is also The Coleridge Way Bridleway, a route open to horse riders and cyclists as well as walkers. Much of it follows the same route as the walking route, other than a short section on the Brendon Hills and the final route from Wheddon Cross which instead of skirting the east side of Dunkery Beacon follows the southern slopes and finishes in the village of Exford which is a traditional centre for riding within Exmoor...

Read more here:
http://www.easier.com/129274-go-the-distance-on-exmoor-this-spring-and-try-one-of-its-long-distance-trails.html