Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Mongol Derby: American Cowgirl/Artist to Compete in World's Longest Horse Race - Full Article

December 26 2016
by by wranglermandy

A westerly wind blows and the aspens quake in response. The trees sway with rhythm—back and forth, up and around, arms outstretched to touch their partners. Their little leaves chime with the movement, sounding the deep toll and the delicate whisper that give the wind its voice.
She flicks her left ear forward and stretches her right ear to the side: she notices the dancing trees and can feel the wind deciding whether or not it wants to race towards her. A muscle engages along the top of her neck as she feels the still world come to life. The soft skin of her nose tickles as the wind meets her. Opening and letting in, releasing and letting go: her nostrils flare as her breath takes smoky form in the cool autumn air.

The way of the horse is the way of nature: ever changing, yet always the same.

Horses move with their world in response to the movement around them. They are fluid and free like the river that changes shape as it ruffles over and around the rocks that decide its course. Their energy is not something that we humans can see. It is something that, when we let go of our holds and conceptions of what should be, we are able to feel.

Essentia Equi, Latin for “the essence of the horse,” is my artistic venture to represent through physicality what I feel emotionally within my work with equines. I notice lots of parts; I notice lots of layers, I notice patterns, and I feel how those parts and layers and patterns move into one another, on top of and beneath one another, when I open myself up to the horse’s experience.

I use Essentia Equi to communicate what I feel with horses, for a picture is worth a thousand words. I work to communicate the blend of many truths and every shade of grey within the essence of the horse. I strive to capture the unique movement, fluidity and electricity that comprise the essence of the individual. Through this study, I have learned that horses must be granted the freedom to move and change as they need. I have learned that we are not so different and that I must grant myself the same right—this equality between species offers a true respect for life.

I’ve been learning from these creatures for almost 20 years now. Horses have taught me how to live with harmony and freedom and, as such, my essence is inseparable from theirs. I have long since lost count of the number of times I’ve thrown a leg over the back of a new equine partner, the number of times I’ve been thrown from the back of an equine partner with different ideas from my own, or the number of times my heart has skipped a beat from the mere sight of one of these souls grazing in a pasture by the side of the road.

I believe that very little of what we do with horses is in a position to be measured or quantified because their intense awareness of the world around them is extremely changing and fluid and the most that we can do as humans is to stick with them.
My love for these magnificent animals is infinite and I am committed to sticking with them for as many more years as I have left on this Earth.

I attribute my passion for our planet to the time that I have spent experiencing its landscape from the back of a horse and want nothing more than for my life’s legacy to be that I left this beautiful place a little bit better than I found it. At 25-years-old, I know a lot about horses and I know a lot about nature but I have not yet figured out how to bring this hands-on knowledge into the realm of environmental conservation.

Until I was accepted to compete in the Mongol Derby, that is...

Read more here:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Kentucky Horse Park one of two finalists to host 2022 World Equestrian Games



The Federation Equestre International announced Tuesday that Lexington and the Kentucky Horse Park are one of two candidates to host the 2022 FEI World Equestrian Games.

The other candidate for host city is Samorin, Slovakia, about 4,800 miles away from Lexington.

Lexington and the Kentucky Horse Park hosted the games in 2010, becoming the first venue outside of Europe to host the games and drawing attendees from 63 countries and all 50 states.

The games, which are held every four years, include competitions in all eight of the FEI disciplines: jumping, dressage and para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining.

The FEI will conduct site visits between January and May 2017. Candidates will be required to submit their completed bids and sign the host agreement by June 2017, with formal presentations made to the FEI Evaluation Commission in the third quarter of 2017.

The final decision will be announced in November.

Laura Prewitt, executive director of the 1,224-acre Kentucky Horse Park, said horse park officials “believe the Kentucky Horse Park is the world’s premier equine tourist destination, and we look forward to exploring the opportunity to host the 2022 Games.”

Don Parkinson, secretary of the tourism, arts and heritage cabinet, said Kentucky “appreciates how important this global event is for the equine and tourism industries. ... We will now focus on what effect these Games would have on the commonwealth and our taxpayers.”

Samorin, Slovakia, was part of Czechoslovakia until the 1993 split of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The town has more than 13,000 residents, including Hungarians, Slovaks and Czechs, and a large sports complex for professional and amateur sports, including Olympic training.

The Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 were held at the Samorin Equestrian Centre in September. The FEI Endurance Committee picked the Slovakian venue over sites in Fontainbleau, France, and San Rossore, Pisa, Italy.

Kentucky did not pursue the 2018 World Equestrian Games after they were pulled from Canada in July because the state decided a last-minute bid would “put the commonwealth and the taxpayers at enormous financial risk,” according to a statement from the Cabinet for Tourism, Arts and Heritage.

Bromont, Quebec, had been scheduled to host the games in 2018 but pulled out. Bromont had been awarded the games in 2014 over Kentucky. The 2018 games are to be held Sept. 10 to 23 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.

Laura Brooks, a spokeswoman for the tourism cabinet, said in July that Kentucky “is preparing a strong proposal for the World Equestrian Games in 2022. ... The Kentucky Horse Park is already improving its amenities as its prepares a successful bid for the 2022 World Equestrian Games.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Great Britain: Introducing the Ridgeway Rally

Ridgeway Rally is an annual event to rival no other. Ridgeway Rally is a three day riding competition covering 30 miles (48km) a day over the length of the Ridgeway trail.

The 2017 debut event is March 26th-30th and is full; the 2018 event will be held March 25th-29th 2018.

Entrants of the rally can expect four/five hours a day in the saddle, marquees on route for lunch and evening dining with ‘super’ chef’s. Chauffeuring from the riding route each evening to their no expense spared hotels each night, including dinner and entertainment at top 5 star hotels and an evening at Highclere Castle.

The rally combines a superb riding competition with first class hotels and entertainment with world royalty and celebrity.

The Wrangler Jeep and the Ridgeway rally gold cup goes to the winner.

This event is exclusively high end.

A combination of fitness and speed determines the winner.

The Ridgeway is an ancient Roman trail covering some 89 miles. A mixture of mainly chalky tracks running along side open fields of crop land and rolling hills, this is the perfect traffic free riding terrain.

All riders must be advanced and fit for this level of endurance riding. Riders and horses should be currently fit for riding five hours in trot and canter with no problem to be able to enter this rally.

This event is also the perfect training ground for longer endurance rides and gives horses the opportunity to ride terrain they would not otherwise experience, especially horses and riders from the Middle East.

Maximum of 20 entrants.

For more information or to enter, see:

No NAJYRC in 2017 for Endurance

December 20 2016

New locations for the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) have been announced, but endurance will not be an event.

While Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, will host the 3-day eventing competition, the disciplines of show jumping, dressage, and para-dressage will take place at Saugerties, New York, if the bid is approved.

According to USEF, endurance did not submit a proposal for endurance for 2017 because there wasn't a "feasible option" for a 75-mile course at a venue.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Bouthib continues to improve Endurance in UAE

The Endurance season is just beginning in the United Arab Emirates and once again, HH Sh Sultan and his team are showcasing the sport of Endurance at the Bouthib venue. With emphasis on horse welfare and 'fit to continue' criteria, Bouthib is forging ahead with its version of Endurance in the UAE. Recent changes in venue and trails are continuing the trend, with more spacious crewing areas to reduce stress on the horses, natural trails to introduce variety and challenge, and reduction of on-track crewing.

The following article is written by François Kerboul, a 4* FEI Judge and TD. In the article he notes:

The FEI rulebook is clear:
"The course should include naturally occurring or manmade features such as (but not exclusive to) tracks, ditches, steep climbs, descents and water crossings that implements technically challenging factors including but not limited to: footing, terrain, altitude, direction and speed (art 801.2)". We are far from the compacted "hippodrome like" trails travelled by uninterrupted gallops.

Follow this link to read Kerboul's most recent article on the Endurance transition taking place at Bouthib

Natural course through the dunes.

Crew vehicles prohibited.

To learn more about Bouthib's Endurance 'revolution':

Previous story on Bouthib, The Unbelievable Season 2015-2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

UAE: British Endurance Rider Being Investigated - Full Article

December 14, 2016
by: Pippa Cuckson

The FEI is to discuss with “urgency” the widespread use of severe bits at endurance rides in UAE, after images of a horse ridden by a former British team member caused a storm on social media.

Emma Finnie, 37, an ex-pat working in risk management for the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, was photographed at Al Wathba on December 3 using a long-shanked curb bit and looped reins of the type associated with para-riding. Her horse also wore a flash noseband, which partially comprised a chain link.

To compound the controversy, video footage showed the tiring horse dropping down to trot in the closing stages of the ride, with Ms Finnie energetically using her legs to keep him going, while accepting numerous a series of “slosh bottles” from grooms running on the piste. He picked up speed to finish fourth when another horse passed him. The top six all won cars...

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

After kicking cancer, this former Marine celebrated by racing over 10,000 miles across Europe and Asia - Full Story

DEC 13, 2016,

The INSIDER Summary:

• Adam Casey was in the Marine Corps when he found out he had stage IV cancer.
• He celebrated entering remission by racing in the Mongol Rally and Derby.

It's difficult to tell where Adam Casey's story begins.

Perhaps it's when he met a girl who changed his life and inspired him to start a nonprofit called I Do It For Her, helping at-risk youth in St. Louis receive a better education.

Or when he enlisted in the military and became a First Lieutenant Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps.

Perhaps it's when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

Maybe it's when he entered remission, and celebrated by racing 10,000 miles in the Mongol Rally and got halfway through the Mongol Derby before the wild horse he was riding bucked him off and broke his ribs...

Read more here:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Australia: 9-year-old Georgie Girl Wonder - Full Article

DECEMBER 7, 2016

Georgie Barber is showing the older kids how it’s done on horseback.

Last month the nine-year-old won the junior division of the South Burnett Endurance Riders Association event held at Nanango, for riders 17 years and under.

The Dayboro Pony Club member was the youngest rider to complete the 80km ride, finishing the course in a time of 6 hours and 24 minutes.

Over the past 12 months, Georgie has done ten endurance horse riding races, on three different horses.

“The best one yet was winning my first 80km (ride) on Shanti,” she said...

Read more here:

Australia: New plan could make Imbil a cultural hub - Full Article

scott kovacevic | 8th Dec 2016 5:51 PM

THE FUTURE of the Rattler might still be up in the air, but a plan to turn Imbil into a business and tourism hub shows the town has no intention of waiting.

The Imbil Heritage Precinct will have the historic train station turned into a community recreational space, designed to showcase the region's history and establish a cultural centre for tourists and residents.

Running under the auspices of the Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce, advertisements have already been posted for the position of project manager.

Among the skills required for the role, applicants should be "motivated and decisive leader who is approachable, inclusive, good humoured and very much a team player”.

The project still requires significant funding, but the Chamber of Commerce said they were committed to developing a precinct which would expand on the range of other attractions already situated in the Mary Valley.

Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce acting president Karen Phillips said the plan demonstrated considerable foresight, especially in light of the recent denial of state funding for the revival of the Rattler this year.

Already host to international events including the International Rally of Queensland and the Easter endurance horse riding carnival, Mrs Phillips said the project manager role might not be time consuming, but would have a significant impact on the region...

Read more here:

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

New Zealand: Seaview setting for horses and riders - Full Article

Last updated 11:34, December 7 2016

Marlborough rider Linda Harmon claimed a notable victory over a strong field at the Marlborough Endurance and Trail Riding Club's Seaview event, near Seddon, over the weekend.

Forty five horse and rider combinations took part, with the pinnacle event being the CEI (International) 1* 80km endurance competition on Saturday.

Riders travelled from as far afield as Raetihi in the North Island to Fairlie in the south, but it was local club member Harmon, on her homebred gelding MF Shaheen, who took final honours in the main event, completing the three-loop course in five hours, a rate of 16kph...

Read more here:

Friday, December 02, 2016

South Africa: AHS developments to boost horse exports - Full Article

December 1 2016

Significant developments have been made in African horse sickness (AHS) that will support the safe, direct exports of horses from South Africa. South African horse exports have been affected by AHS since the 1960s. The country is currently losing out on investment because of the onerous and expensive process of importing horses from South Africa, therefore, key stakeholders in the industry have been working to find long-term solutions to these challenges.

“Our research findings will enable the export of South Africa’s sought after racehorses, endurance horses, and sports horses. The depreciation of our currency also augurs well for this industry. We are currently exporting horses to the value of around R250 million per year but this can easily increase to R1 billion,” says Prof Ian Sanne of the Wits Health Consortium Equine Health Fund.

Mike de Kock, a top racehorse trainer comments, “South African horses are very competitive on the world stage and our results speak for themselves. Our horses are in demand but we have difficulty with delivery which hurt this industry financially. With efficient export, we could create thousands of jobs and bring in massive foreign investment...”

Read more here:

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Sheikh Sultan tells why he is shaking up the sport of endurance - Full Article

December 1, 2016

Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Emirates Heritage Club in the UAE, has spoken of his Boutheib Initiative in endurance, and the steps he has taken to improve horse welfare in the sport.

Sheikh Sultan was among the keynote speakers at this year’s World Horse Welfare Conference in Britain last month, and he spoke of his strong belief that endurance should not be about the first horse past the post but instead the horse in the best condition at the finish.

In a sport which had been rocked by negativity over recent years, Sheikh Sultan presented a positive and forward-thinking approach with greater rules and regulation to protect horse welfare that has already seen success through a huge reduction in injuries and eradication of horse fatalities through the 2016 season.

“Removing the focus on speed does not remove competition in endurance. The real competition should be about your horse finishing in the best possible condition,” he said.

“We should encourage the art of horsemanship, because the culture of speed has taken over...”

Read more:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

France's Stephane Chazel Appointed new FEI Endurance Technical Committee member

23 Nov 2016
Endurance - Appointment of new Technical Committee member

We are delighted to welcome Stéphane Chazel (FRA) in the FEI Endurance Committee, who was appointed for a four year term, following the decision taken by the FEI Bureau in Tokyo on 19 November 2016. Mr. Chazel is replacing the outgoing member Khalid Ahmed Hasan (BRN). The FEI thanks Mr. Hasan for his great collaboration during the past four years.

Coming from a family of breeders and riders of Endurance Arab horses, the new Committee member has always been passionate about this discipline.

Mr. Chazel has participated in Endurance events all over the world (USA, Brazil, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, China, Europe, Malaysia etc.), as you can see here for the international competitions.

Involved for 20 years in this discipline, he contributed to its evolution and regulations within many organizations in France, such as CNREE, ACA, SHF and CREE. In addition, he organized FFE and FEI Endurance events during ten years, while the past five years he has contributed to the development of Endurance in China.

We are looking forward to collaborating with Mr. Chazel and we believe that his long experience in Endurance will further promote the discipline.

UAE: Bouthieb Initiative Takes a Natural Desert Course - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

New endurance tracks pass through UAE's Natural Forestry Reserves

28 November 2016, Bouthieb, UAE ~ Once again His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan has taken ground-breaking steps at his Bouthieb Endurance Village. The CEI* 80km seasonal opener which took place on 25 November, saw the first phase of plans to return to a maximum use of natural tracks through the desert, not seen in the UAE endurance for many years.

New tracks passing through the UAE’s Natural Forestry Reserves

Friday’s Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Cup took riders ‘off track’ on a beautiful course created to naturally slow the speed and to challenge the skills of the riders. These new tracks cover approximately 30% of the course; water points were strategically placed and no cars were permitted in these areas. This provided a natural environment for riders to understand, appreciate and to respect the welfare of their horses, centre theme of the Boutheib Initiative.

This latest development instigated by His Highness was very much appreciated by both horses and riders. It made a welcome change to the relentless flat race speed tracks that we have become accustomed to seeing in UAE endurance venues. A measure of the success of this most enjoyable day was the 79% (122 riders) completion rate and a clinic that was virtually empty...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

UAE: Italian Simula wins HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

26 November 2016, Abu Dhabu, UAE ~ Italian riders dominated with a first and third place finish in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Endurance Cup, a Two-star FEI 120-km event held at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi on Saturday, 26 November 2016.

Veronica Simula riding the 13-year-old grey Arabian mare Poets Corner Zsa Zsa won the 4-stage 120-km ride in a time of four hours 29 minutes and 10 seconds.

In a tight finish Simula edged ahead of Nesreen Khasro Ali Khaled on the cross-bred Andariego, a mere three seconds separating the two while in third place was another Italian, Guilia Vigevani on the part-bred Arabian, Ankara. All three lady riders were given the keys to a 4WD each for their winning performance...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

FEI President focuses on unique qualities of equestrian sport at FEI General Assembly

22 Nov 2016

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the FEI General Assembly in the Japanese capital Tokyo today, delivering the keynote address to almost 300 delegates and focusing on the unique qualities of equestrian sport.

“We all agree that we have the greatest sport on earth and this is for many reasons”, the FEI President said. “We excel when it comes to gender equality, but what makes our sport so great is the unique bond between human and animal, between man and horse. But it is this same unique value which makes our sport vulnerable.

“With the growth of our sport grows also our responsibility to continuously ensure the welfare of our athletes in order to safeguard the integrity of the sport at all times.

“We need to insist on a strict application of our rules. They need to be transparent, clear and not open for interpretation. We need to be irreproachable in our stance and our outlook. These are big challenges.

“There are organisations – increasing in number - that are of the opinion that horses should not be competed or even ridden!

“We need to show them – and the world – that we are not only dedicated to horse welfare but that we are the leaders in that domain. And we also need to educate – to show just how much we do and how committed the equestrian community is to horse welfare. Ignorance creates fear. So we need to show that a true partnership is about trust and respect so that we can bridge that gap and bring people closer to our sport.”

During a packed morning agenda, delegates voted on a number of important issues, including the Olympic and Paralympic format change proposals (see FEI press release here), formats for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and other sport specific matters. Full details of the main decisions made at the FEI General Assembly 2016 are here.

The afternoon featured a series of presentations, including an update on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games from Aki Murasato, Executive Director of International Relations with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

Mark Bellissimo, creator of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, also addressed delegates, providing an update on the venue that was earlier this month announced as the host for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018.

Speaking directly to the FEI President, Mark Bellissimo said: “We want to let you know that we appreciate how important this event is to the FEI, and how important it is both for us as organisers and the community that we work within. We will do our best not to let you down.”

Nai Yue Ho (SIN), outgoing Chair of FEI Regional Group VIII, who was celebrating his birthday today, was made an Honorary Bureau Member of the FEI. And prior to closing remarks, the FEI President thanked the Japan Equestrian Federation (JEF) for their hospitality, commenting on the fact that it had been 25 years since the FEI General Assembly had been held in Tokyo, and in the same hotel. He then made a presentation to Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and Vice-President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, and to JEF Secretary General Dr Yasuhiko Haruta, who also collected a special plaque on behalf of JEF President Dr Genshitsu Sen.

In his closing address, the FEI President said: “This was a very important General Assembly. We took crucial decisions for the future of our sport and I understand that not everybody was happy, but we followed a very democratic process and in the end there was a clear majority. There are no winners or losers in this debate. These new formats give us a huge responsibility and failure is not an option, so we need to work together with all our stakeholders to prepare for Tokyo 2020.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Spain's Maria Alvarez Ponton Tops FEI World Endurance Ranking

November 3 2016

Spain's Maria Alvarez Ponton is currently the top FEI Open Riders World Endurance rider with 1131 points. Second is France's Paul Bard with 1035 points, followed by France's Julien Lafaure with 978 points. The USA's top rider is Cheryl Van Deusen, ranked in 34th place.

Portugal's Ana Barbas and E Da Fuica are atop the Open Combination World Endurance Ranking with 381 points. Issa Judd and Jq Zarial are second with 377 point and Luis Crucci and Hld Patron are in third with 348 points. Both are from Uruguay. USA's Kyle Gibbon is 7th with 301 points.

In first place in the Young Riders World Endurance Ranking is Italy's Costanza Laliscia with 860 points. Uruguayans occupy the next two slots, with Belen Mendez in second with 745 points and Teresa Sanchez in third with 738 points. The top ranked USA Young Rider is Kelsey Russell, in 17th place with 359 points.

Argentinian Marcela Peña and Mora Innocent top the Young Riders Combination World Endurance Ranking with 318 points. Uruguayans again sit in the next two slots, with Sebastian Landriel and Maruco (306 points) in second, and Valentina Mendez and As Mister (276 points) in third. USA's Bryna Stevenson is the top USA rider combo in 17th place with 189 points.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

VP attends fast UAE Endurance race - Full Article

From Our Abu Dhabi Bureau
November 13, 2016

ABU DHABI: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, attended the Al Wathba Challenge Endurance ride on Saturday.

Sheikh Mohammed said, “Today’s race was fast, and we did not know the extent of the readiness of horses trained by the various stables and also about their fitness levels.”

“It is our duty to welcome all new stables and to support their riders and trainers.”

Commenting on the success of the new endurance stables, Sheikh Mohammed said, “It is too early to judge the stables after just one race. We need to see how they perform over three to four races. We are still experimenting and we are comfortable with the exercise.

“Though we have the experience we are always looking to better the techniques of training and preparing a horse for competition. Training always provides good results be it in any field.”

The newly-formed M7 Endurance Stables based in Dubai got off to a winning start when Salem Hamad Saeed Malhoof Al Kitbi riding Burkaan edged out Mansour Saeed Mohammed Al Faresi on Tiswan Fageole to win the 120-km endurance ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi.

Kitbi, riding the 12-year-old bay stallion, finished hand-in-hand with MRM Stables’ Al Faresi on the 9-year-old bay gelding Tiswan Fageole with just a second being the difference between them after the 120-km ride.

The M7 Stables’ rider completed the 120-km ride held in four stages of 40kms, 35kms, 25kms and 20kms in a ride time of four hours 25 minutes and 16 seconds...

Read more here:

UAE Senior Sheikh Speaks Out Against Winning at All Costs - Full Article

November 11, 2016

by: Pippa Cuckson

A senior Sheikh from the United Arab Emirates has spoken out about the “winning at all costs” mentality in endurance which has “broken” the core relationship between horse and rider.

HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed al Nahyan gave his landmark address at the World Horse Welfare Conference in London on Thursday, to welfare workers and other horse industry professionals from all over the globe.

He did not hold back from blaming UAE riders and trainers for the speed-obsessed, racing-style endurance “which ultimately led to our highly publicized situation in the press.”

“Speed is the number-one problem,” he added. “The higher the speed, the greater the risk of compromised metabolism, severe lameness, fracture and death.”

He said UAE endurance has broken “the relationship between horse and rider; horses often ridden and trained by inexperienced people; mismanagement and cruelty through ignorance.”

Sheikh Sultan is already admired for reforms introduced at Bou Thib, his own endurance village in Abu Dhabi.
However, this was the first time endurance in the UAE has been openly criticised by one of that country’s most distinguished figures...

Read more here:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Enduring Hope


November 11 2016

Yesterday, the annual World Horse Welfare conference invited speakers and guests to debate the topic of ‘The Invisible horse’.
There is much to consider from the entire day, with two speakers standing out; Chris Riggs and Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Chris Riggs’ telling narrative on the basic welfare issues facing horses in China was chilling. He described a culture that has inadequate conception of equine well-being, with little comprehension of the horse as sentient, and discussed the paucity of available medication for horses, highlighting the unthinkable lack of drugs licensed to euthanase horses across the population of sports horses, racehorses and working horses.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the man behind the Bou Thieb initiative in Abu Dhabi, offered a glimmer of hope for the Endurance horses in the UAE. Clearly uncomfortable on the podium, he deserves massive respect for making the effort to come to the UK, to write and deliver his speech in English, and to have the fortitude to admit publicly that “The UAE form of endurance has broken the normal close relationship between the horse and the rider.”

To help horses in Endurance in the UAE, the change had to come from within. Could this be the tide turning? Could this lead to those in the UAE who do respect their horses being rewarded, and those that don’t, as in the Dubai stables, being excluded?
China is a country developing a very strong interest in Endurance. The horses have to come before the sport. This is an open opportunity for the FEI to make changes, they need to act urgently.

The link to the speech and a transcription is below.

“Your royal highness. Lords, ladies and gentlemen.

Any successful sport must have good rules. And we strongly support FEI and EEF rules, but as these seasons past I became aware with growing concern that the existing rules were encouraging a new type of endurance where speed had become all important. Riders were becoming racers and the effects could be seen in the increasingly poor completion rates. The number of deaths and metabolic problems which ultimately led to our highly publicized situation in the press and media.

It became impossible to ignore the facts. The original type of endurance riding which incorporate respect for the horse and the horsemanship was being lost and they tried to win at all costs.

From the beginning and in Bouthieb we tried to manage our rides with principles of welfare and good horsemanship as high priority. Nevertheless I saw our problems in Bouthieb increasing and I made it clear to those working with us, me and we have to fix this or stop endurance entirely. There could be no compromise, especially where the welfare of the horse was concerned.

I gathered a group of like-minded people and set them the task of making new rules to return endurance to a sport which involves a respectful partnership between horse and rider. When rules not just to be about speed and the first past the post, but also that a horse must finish in the best possible conditions and fit to continue. We should encourage the heart of horsemanship because the culture of speed has taken over.

The rules were developed for our local conditions of flat easy tracks but they can be adopted to anywhere according to the type of country. The rides were through. They are based on the following points:

1. Speed and how to reduce it
It is the number one problem. The higher the speed, the greater the risk of compromise metabolism, severe lameness, fracture and death.
2. The fit to continue

Element of the sport which seems to be disappearing. We have tackled reducing the speed in 4 ways.

- Introducing a presentation heart rate of 56 bpm. FEI maximum of 64.
- Introducing a presentation time of 10 minutes for all loops. FEI maximum 20 minutes.
- Introducing top speed limit of 20 kph within UAE all CENs, with penalties or eliminations for breaking it.
- Instigating 40 minute holds at all vet-gates, with 50 minutes when re-presentation is required.

Re-establishing the relationship between riders and horses. The UAE form of endurance has broken the normal close relationship between the horse and the rider. Horses often ridden and trained by inexperienced people which has frequently led to a disagreement for welfare. Mismanagement and cruelty through ignorance.

Solution. We have introduced the Best Endurance Ride Challenge. As an incentive to encourage the welfare of the horse and return the responsibility to the riders and trainers through education the winners will receive 70% of prize money.

The winners are assisted on 5 basic criteria through a system of points: Speed parameters; recovery time; cardiac recover index; metabolics; gate/lameness.

Method of ride management to control riders, trainers and their followers too.

- Reinforce fair play on the track and in the vet-gate area to ensure competitors can be controlled and rules are observed.
- Introduce as much objective assessment as possible.
- Develop a method of hypersensitivity testing for metablock.
- Enforce attendance of ride briefings as part of the entry qualifications.
- Install cc tv cameras in all hold areas.
- Fixed water points every kilometer. No crewing except emergency outside the points.
- Restrict number of crew per horse and control the crew through number vests to manage horse number.
- No crewing permitted in last 2,5 kilometers and horses must maintain forward movement to finish line.
- Restrict number of cars on the track to one per 5 horses maximum. Two for more horses.
- Spot checks for riders.
- Spot ID check on riders and catch substitutions.
- There may be compulsory hypersensitivity test for outer sensitized on the limb nerve blocking.
- In 2017 season we’ll see more technical and natural trials including in the loops.
- Basic FEI and national rules also apply throughout.


The rules work. Last season 4 endurance meetings were run in the UAE using the new rules. The cues of exhausted and injured horses disappeared. Completely with no horses requiring invasive treatment in the clinic. Something unheard of in the village in previous seasons. Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries happen in all equestrian sports and 3 horses out of seasonal total of 3035 starters had to be euthanized. Previous years I’ve seen double figures.

The clinics remained empty, no invasive therapy. We’re sure we’re heading in the right direction. Our strict heart rate and presentation time made it impossible to speed. Riders must slow down if they want to pass the vet check. The rules are used in the CENs which have a 20 km speed limit.

And that gave an added challenge to the riders and bring back a new opportunity for endurance horses. Still with excellent heart rate and recovery, we have seen many horses retire because in the speed races they are too slow.

The veterinarians and officials have all been astonished at how such simple changed have had such dramatic results. The clinic has been so quiet and the vets a starting to bring books to read while they wait. Over the summer, rider were held in Uruguay, Argentina, Germany, France and Morocco. Using some or all of these rules. After initial reservation, the majority of people appreciated them and we are receiving more requests from all over the world to be able to use them.
Planning for the future.

Through last season we enrolled the FEI and received considerable support from their officials. Also the positive feedback and international publicity has received is perhaps the most encouraging credit. It is also highly gratifying that ride organizers around the world have shown an interest in using the Bouthieb initiative.

Bouthieb rides will start to incorporate more natural desert terrain. Riders will be forced to use tracks away from cars so that they have to think for themselves. Plans are being made to develop a Bouthieb Initiative APP for use by ride organizers and competitors. We have plans to help educate young riders and encourage safe competition for novice horses.

Finally we hope to spread the word further greater tv and media coverage.

Thank you.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Uma Mencia Uranga Brings Lessons from Endurance Horse Racing to the Hilltop - Full Article

November 7, 2016
by Margaux Fontaine

Uma Mencia Uranga, graduate student in the Walsh School of Foreign Service, is working towards her Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS). But outside of her academic career, she is a professional endurance horse racer.

“My interest in endurance horse racing began when I was a young girl,” Mencia said. “It was a sport that combined both my passion for the outdoors and my love for horses.”

Mencia grew up in a small town in the Basque country of northern Spain. Taking lessons from the endurance team at her riding school, she participated in her first race at the age of twelve and never looked back. Since 2008, Mencia has been based out of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, working with the Fazza Endurance Team (now referred to as Al Aryam Endurance Team).

Her riding career has been complemented by her successful academic career as well. While in Dubai, she studied at the American University, where she majored in Fine Arts in the school of Visual Communications and completed a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies.

“The years I had spent in the United Arab Emirates and my Arabic language studies in Egypt and Morocco sparked my desire pursue the academic study of the language and region at the graduate level,” Mencia explained. “The strong focus on the Arabic language, the diverse classes taught by top faculty in the field, as well as the content courses taught entirely in Arabic is what made the Arab Studies M.A. at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of Georgetown my top choice program.”

Though she is enjoying her time at Georgetown, riding remains a central part of her life...

Read more here:

Monday, November 07, 2016

France: Franck Laousse and Charlotte TE win Les 2 Jours de Montcuq

France's Franck Laousse and Charlotte TE won the 40th running of the 2 days of Montcuq on October 29 and 30, 2016. Their final time for the two 90-km days was 10:55.58.

Second place went to the Netherlands' Liselore Van Zetten, riding El Kebir Florival, in a time of 10:56.13. Third place went to France's Karine Mabilon, riding Rihad La Majorie, in a time of 11:36.

Laousse was Champion of France in 2013.

Bred and owned by Peter Toft's Toft Endurance in Australia, the 11-year-old mare Charlotte TE is by the famous Chip Chase Sadaqa out of the mare Scarlette. In all 26 of her starts over her 6-season career, the mare has had only one non-completion.

28 riders out of 52 starters completed both days of Montcuq. This year's race was dedicated to Pierre Passenard, founding president of the race.

More at

Friday, November 04, 2016

Tryon (USA) to host FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018

3 Nov 2016

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina (USA) from 10 to 23 September 2018. The FEI Bureau today unanimously agreed that the Games should be awarded to Tryon, meaning that the FEI’s flagship event remains in North America, following the withdrawal of Bromont (CAN) earlier this year.

The original dates for the Games (12-26 August) have been changed following two scientific studies commissioned by the FEI which stated that climatic conditions would be significantly more favourable in North Carolina during September, particularly from a horse welfare perspective. The FEI also looked at date clashes with other fixtures on the FEI Calendar to ensure the optimum timeslot for the 2018 Games.

“We are very pleased to announce Tryon as the host of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018”, FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “The Tryon team submitted a really impressive bid and we have every confidence in the organising committee. It’s a truly spectacular venue and almost all the necessary infrastructure for our eight disciplines is already in place. We are looking forward to a fantastic celebration of top level sport as all the disciplines come together to crown their world champions at the Games in two years’ time.”

The Tryon International Equestrian Center, created by Mark Bellissimo in Mill Spring, North Carolina is situated on a 1,600 acre site at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The venue has 1,200 permanent stables, 12 arenas including a floodlit international arena with a potential spectator seating capacity of up to 12,000 and VIP seating for up to 1,500, a covered arena with 5,000 seats, and has a world-class cross country course that will be used for both Eventing and Driving. The venue is surrounded by hundreds of miles of equestrian trails for Endurance. The venue contains excellent facilities for athletes and spectators including restaurants, hospitality, accommodation, retail and resort amenities. An on-site state-of-the-art veterinary facility is currently under construction.

“We are thrilled with this news and thank the FEI Bureau for having faith in us and entrusting us with the honour of hosting this prestigious event”, Mark Bellissimo said. “It’s a really great fit for The Carolinas Equestrian heritage and we look forward to working closely with the FEI and with the USEF to produce fabulous FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018.”

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 were previously awarded to Bromont (CAN), but a lack of secure funding led to mutual agreement between the FEI and the Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM) to terminate the host contract in July of this year.

Following the withdrawal of Bromont, the FEI Bureau mandated the President to find a solution and, after a thorough assessment of a number of options, the President proposed that the Bureau allocate the Games to Tryon. In light of the timeframe, with the Games in less than two years, existing infrastructure was a crucial factor in the evaluation process.

The Bureau met by teleconference today (3 November) to agree the allocation and were unanimous in their support of the Tryon bid.

“The FEI is 100% committed to the FEI World Equestrian Games concept and we are extremely grateful to all those that showed interest in hosting the 2018 Games”, Ingmar de Vos said. “Their enthusiasm demonstrates the importance of the event across the equestrian community.”

The FEI World Equestrian Games™, held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining eight World Championships at one event. The FEI disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining - are all included on the competition schedule.

The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organised outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA).

The 2014 Games in Normandy attracted more than 500,000 on-site spectators and a worldwide television audience of 350 million, as well as delivering an economic impact of €368 million to the French economy.

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ History Hub can be viewed here.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Why Yellow Cards Need a Stronger Hue - Full Article

Cuckson Report | November 2, 2016

In my last blog, I discussed whether it’s time to introduce a more detailed rider demerit system for rule-breaches in eventing. Or indeed, any sport. This followed the latest bout of social media angst over another alleged blood-in-mouth incident, and the invidiousness of the FEI yellow warning card, which, in eventing, is used to punish everything from failing to present yourself to a doctor after a fall – that’s the rider’s own risk, not the horse’s – to dangerous riding though not, it seems, for blood on the horse.

A demerit system has the useful potential to grade rule-breaches of any sort according to their seriousness, and the flexibility to be tailored towards relevant issues in each of the FEI sports. This is something the yellow card cannot do on its own.

In this recent appalling case before the FEI Tribunal, the ground jury at an endurance ride in Portugal resorted to yellow-carding the same person twice within minutes, for ranting at and then assaulting the president of the ground jury. These warning cards were clearly awarded within 12 months of each other, so this automatically suspended the rider for two months. Genius in its simplicity – though isn’t it time there was a more structured way of dealing with behaviour that is so offensive handcuffs might be required?

This case came to light when the yellow-cardee, one of Portugal’s leading international riders António Vaz Freire, tried to appeal to Tribunal against that two-month suspension. Tribunal did not admit his appeal, ruling that field-of-play decisions are sacrosanct. On top of that, the FEI argued Freire had not protested receipt of the cards within the requisite 30-minute time-frame...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Conquering the Mongol Derby - Full Article

Written by: Amy Harris

Canadian Heidi Telstad won the 8th annual Mongol Derby in a three-way tie.

Last November, Heidi Telstad, a 43-year-old lawyer from Vancouver, British Columbia, posted the first entry in her Chase Endurance blog on She planned to chronicle her experience preparing for and competing in the 2016 Mongol Derby – the world’s longest and toughest horse race. Along the way, she hoped to raise funds for the BC Epilepsy Society, through Canada Helps, in honour of her nephew, four-year-old Chase.

Not only was Heidi successful in raising money and awareness for the charity, but she rocketed to equestrian fame when she actually won the race, in a three-way tie. It is the first time in the competition’s eight-year history that riders chose to cross the finish line together – a true testament to the camaraderie between Heidi and her co-winners, 28-year-old Will Comiskey from Australia and 45-year-old Marcia Hefker-Miles from New Mexico.

Held in August each year, the 1,000km race recreates Chinggis Khan’s legendary messenger and supply route on the Mongolian steppe, with riders changing horses every 40km, and living with local herders or camping out each night.

Heidi, Will and Marcia met before the start of race, and spent time together during training. Heidi and Will decided to pair up and rode together for the duration of the ride.

“Will and I raced hard against Marcia,” said Heidi. “She had a lot of tricks up her sleeve and I respect her competitiveness. I learned a lot from her before, during and after the race. Marcia was really fast at the Urtuus [horse stations] and would get on the steppe much faster than we did...

Read more here:

Friday, October 28, 2016

HH Sheikh Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival promises exciting endurance events in 2017 - Full Article

October 21 2016

Endurance sport under the umbrella of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is spreading its wings far and wide and will include several more countries in the 2017 season.

Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Festival, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA) and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), announced this at a press conference on Thursday, October 6, 2016 on the sidelines of the 14th edition of Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) currently on at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre premises.

Ms Sawaya stated that the Festival introduced endurance sport five years ago and ever since has not looked back and over the years many new countries are joining the fraternity. “The year 2016 saw many new countries in the endurance calendar and more will be added during 2017, thanks to the support of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the UAE, Chairperson of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Mother of the World,” she said.

She also announced that the Festival will be hosting the FEI 120-km 2-star HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Cup at the Al Wathba Endurance Village in Abu Dhabi, on November 26, 2016 which will attract riders from all over the world including the recent winners at the Endurance Equestrian Negrepellise on the historic Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont region in Montauban, Toulouse, France...

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Canada: Strong bond between young rider and horse brings success

GRACE LOGIE AND Ladigo have formed a close bond that has helped them have success in endurance horse riding. Logie and Ladigo took second in the Canadian Edurance Championships in Brandon, Man., last August. Logie is hoping to qualify for the Young Rider World Championships in Italy in 2019. — Image Credit: Submitted Photo - Full Article

by Emanuel Sequeira - Penticton Western News
Penticton posted Oct 27, 2016

There is a strong bond between Grace Logie and her horse Ladigo.

“I couldn’t ask for a better best friend and horse,” said Logie.

That connection has led to success in endurance riding and a chance to qualify for the Young Rider World Championships in Italy in 2019.

“I feel very honoured to be able to compete on an international level,” said Logie. “Competing at this level feels like such an accomplishment when my horse and I cross that finish line and make it through the final vet check. Competing at the world-level rides, with world-level standards is so amazing. Every time I hear that Ladigo and I made it through the final vet check it takes my breath away. I’m amazed at how far we have made it...”

Read more here:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Expressions of interest being sought from Endurance riders for 2017 Youth Endurance Championships and beyond

Posted by Equestrian Australia on 27/10/2016

Following the recent excellent performance of the Australian Endurance team at the World Endurance Championships in Slovakia. Equestrian Australia is calling for further expressions of interest from endurance riders who wish to join the group working to represent Australia at international championship endurance events.

These events include:

World Endurance Championships for Junior and Youth Riders 2017. This event will be held in Verona, Italy from the 22nd – 24th September 2017.
World Equestrian Games 2018, timing and venue to be confirmed.
The intent is to gather together riders who wish to prepare themselves for possible selection to represent Australia at these and future events. EA will work with the riders and their horses to prepare them to successfully compete at these events. At this stage, the final requirements for qualification are uncertain, and there may be changes to the requirements.

The current qualification criteria for are set out in the previous EOI’s HERE and HERE. Youth and junior riders must be turning 14 years of age or older in the year of the competition and will need to be taking all opportunities in Australia and also internationally to achieve qualification and exhibit high performance in preparation for the 2017 championship. Senior riders for the 2018 WEG should be aiming to finalise their qualifications during 2017.

Please note these events will be completely self-funded. Riders will be responsible for the following costs:

Return airfares to the competition
Horse transportation and related costs
Transport to/from the airports
Meals and accommodation
Insurance (The EA National Office can assist with this insurance)
Entry fees and any other related expenses
If you are interested in riding at international Championship events and in representing Australia, we encourage you to submit an expression of interest using the below form.

Expressions of Interest close on the 15th December 2016.

For any further information, please contact Stef Maraun at the Equestrian Australia Office on 02 8762 7777 or

or see

Monday, October 24, 2016

Horse death in France causes Endurance community to draw conclusions - Full Article

October 24, 2016

Last weekend, the endurance competitions in Fontainebleau, France, near Paris, were marked by several incidents, including the euthanizing of two horses competing in the CEI 1*. Several days later, Gilles Cabardos, president of the organizing committee, commented on the incidents through a press release.

In the communiqué, entitled “Sadness, anger, incomprehension and reassurance,” the president of ‘Grand Parquet Endurance’ [GPE] reacted in particular to the deaths of horses Ariane d’Oudairies and Castlebar Gulstream, who were being ridden by French and Emirates riders in the CEI 1* at the event.

“I am sad for the two horses who died, their owners, riders and grooms, for whom I and the whole team have a deep respect,” Gilles Cabardos said. “We understand the sacrifices involved in our discipline and losing a companion is difficult.” Cabardos also expressed his “anger, when [he] sees an attempt to discredit [his] organization by a so-called fair endurance movement,” a reference to the website ‘Fair Endurance’, which a few days ago denounced “the hypocrisy of the French endurance [discipline]...”

Read more here:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bulgaria wins individual and team gold at FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2016

All smiles - Croatia’s Zrinka Bilen on ten-year-old Sally took individual bronze and helped her team to silver on home soil at the 100km FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2016 at Velika Pisanica yesterday (8 October). (FEI/Bosko Milivojevic)

9 Oct 2016

After a second place finish on the podium in 2015, Bulgaria’s Denis Furlanski captured individual gold riding Moz in the 100km FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2016 at Velika Pisanica in eastern Croatia yesterday (8 October).

Furlanski, who last year won team gold and individual silver at the 90km Balkan Championships, headed Moz into the cold morning fog through the forest trails coming into the first vet check just behind top Croatian athlete Zrinka Bilen on the 10-year-old mare Sally.

They left for the second loop at the same time, but Furlanski and the 10 year-old Shagya gelding pulled ahead and completed the ride in the afternoon sun in 04:54:28 with an average speed of 20:376 km/ph.

Fellow Bulgarian Desislava Aleksieva, finishing five minutes later on the 9-year-old Arabian, Pompey, scored individual silver with the ride time of 04:59:37, and bronze was won by Zrinka who arrived three minutes later over the finish line.

Team spirit

With Bulgaria’s one-two finish, the team had a leg up on the top podium spot, and thanks to the sixth-place finish of third team member Ruz Nedkova-Ivanova on Morfey the team’s combined ride time of 15:11:53 secured the gold medal.

Croatia, with Bilen’s individual bronze in the bag, narrowly missed team gold with Stefano Osip on the 8-year-old Shagya gelding Hajna finishing fourth and Iva Lipovac taking fifth place with 9-year-old mare Hita. They completed in a combined ride time of 15:18:15.

Greece took home team bronze finishing in 21:53:53 with Viktoria Schoina on Koheilan XIII 16 SALA, Irini Mitona on Aphroditi and Sotirios Patisouras on Sheikh, who finished 10th, 11th and 12th in that order.

A total of 30 rider/horse combinations from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Turkey started out at 07:00 on the FEI Balkan Endurance Championships 2016 trail, which left from the Kukavica sports centre in Velika Pisanica into a forested area with excellent horse trails.

Best Condition - Moz

Moz, ridden by the Championships winner Denis Furlanski (BUL), won the Best Condition Award. The ten-year-old gelding won the CEI3* 160km ride in Aschen, Austria, in May.

Antun Baković of the Croatian National Federation, who was in charge of timing on the day, said: “Everything connected to facilitating the event went smoothly thanks to enthusiastic athletes and supporting crew, and the experience of Technical Delegate and Foreign Judge Anita Goedl and officials led by Teodora Kostova, President of the Ground Jury.”

FEI Balkan Endurance Championship 2016 - individual results

1. Denis Furlanski (BUL), Moz - 04:54:28

2. Desislava Aleksieva (BUL), Pompey - 04:59:37

3. Zrinka Bilen (CRO), 130 Sally - 05:02:35

4. Stefano Osip (CRO), Shagya Hajnal - 05:05:02

5. Iva Lipovac (CRO, Hita - 05:10:38

6. Ruz Nedkova-Ivanova (BUL), Morfey - 05:17:48

7. Katina Lyutova (BUL), Artur - 05:38:27

8. Sitki Doguslu (TUR), Bolero - 05:54:42

9. Dinka Kovačević (CRO), Gidran XXIV-90 HAJNA - 05:57:41

10.Viktoria Schoina (GRE), Koheilan XIII 16 SALA - 07:13:37

Team results

Gold: Bulgaria - 15:11:53

Silver: Croatia - 15:18:15

Bronze: Greece - 21:53:53

Friday, October 21, 2016

Australia: Hendra virus vaccine for horses shouldn't be compulsory in Queensland, parliamentary committee finds - Full Article

October 21 2016
By Chris O'Brien and Alexandra Blucher

Vaccinating horses against Hendra virus should not be made compulsory, despite the deaths of 77 horses and four people since 1994, a Queensland parliamentary committee has found.

The agriculture committee was asked to look into the Hendra vaccine and its use by vets.

It recommended that vaccination not be mandatory, but that vets should also be free not to treat horses that had not been vaccinated.

However, the committee also warned there would be more deaths if horses were not vaccinated.

The report also detailed the complex debate about the use of the vaccine and the decision about whether to make it mandatory for horse owners.

It recommended new workplace safety laws to limit the liability of vets and clear requirements for protective clothing.

Committee chair and Gladstone MP, Glenn Butcher, said the inquiry's 11 recommendations were about saving lives.

"Hendra virus remains a risk for horses wherever there are flying foxes — horses that get infected generally die," he said.

"If people get the virus from infected horses they will likely die too and there is no cure.

"Vaccinating against the Hendra virus remains the most effective option for preventing horse and human deaths from the virus, according to biosecurity, workplace safety and health experts.

"If people stop vaccinating their horses, we will see deaths from Hendra virus in Queensland again..."

Read more here:

Australia: Victoria Bonham finishes 33rd in Tom Quilty Gold Cup - Full Article

Victoria Bonham finishes 33rd in Tom Quilty Gold Cup in Lexton, Victoria. Bradley Jurd

21 Oct 2016

The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is a gruelling 160 kilometre horse endurance race, and is one of the toughest rides in the country, where only half of the entered riders managed to finish this year.

Yet Victoria Bonham rode her 13 year-old gelding Bridle Track Bogart to a 33rd place finish in the ride, on the course at Lexton, Victoria on October 7.

Bonham was more satisfied to have finished, completing the ride in a time of 18 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds.

“It is more than finishing the race, it is to complete it,” she said.

“We finished mid field and only fifty per cent finished.”

Bonham credited Bridle Track Bogart, who she said went beautifully throughout the ride, with ease, considering the course was wet and boggy...

Read more here:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Two endurance horses put down and one rider injured during 90km FEI ride

Pippa Cuckson 20:20 - 16 October, 2016

Two horses have been put down and a rider is in hospital with reported serious injuries following the international 90km endurance ride in Fontainebleau, France, on Saturday 15 October.

The fatal injuries were confirmed in a brief statement issued by the ride organisers, and the notation CI – which stands for catastrophic injury – promptly appeared against the horses’ names in the live results.

Experienced French rider Andre Coriou, 55, was taken to hospital after the six-year-old Ariane d’Oudaires fell during loop three. It is not yet clear whether the horse’s fatal fracture was the cause or result of the fall. At the time of publication, no update on Coriou’s condition has been issued.

The second fracture was sustained by Castlebar Contraband, ridden by Sheikh Abdul Al Qasimi, 28, a member of one of the ruling families in the UAE. The Qasimis’ long-term trainer Anzac Mehmood posted on Facebook that he did not see the accident in person, but visited the site later and thought Contraband had probably tripped on a stone.

[More ...]

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

FEI/UAE: And The Hits Just Keep on Coming… - Full Article

Cuckson Report | October 11, 2016

It may have been staged three weeks ago, but unsavoury matter is still rising out of the effluence of the world endurance championships at Samorin.

There seems to have been so much anarchy and/or incompetence at the replacement venue in Slovakia on September 16th you have to wonder how much worse the championship could actually have been if still staged in Dubai.

The UAE contingent – all riding for the Maktoums’ premier stables, no rider or owner from any of the other Emirates got a look-in – set out defiantly, having been stripped of the right to stage this event themselves. But they are not the only ones to blame for the shambles at Samorin. Too much of what is widely reported to have occurred behind the scenes suggests that for all their brave word, elements of FEI officialdom are still at pains not to offend the ruling family of Dubai.

So many endurance scandals should have provided the “tipping point” for serious reform: the media focus on doping offences in the royal barns of Dubai, the Marmoog swap and other horse identity frauds, Splitters Creek Bundy, the phantom rides. But numerous official wrist-slappings of the UAE have not resulted in any discernible improvement in their respect for horses, other riders, officials or for FEI rules.

Following Samorin, many more senior figures have felt moved to speak out on social media and in mainstream equestrian publications. Maybe now the tide will start to turn…but I am not holding my breath.

Read this salutary account, for instance, from a very experienced organiser and four-star judge, Francois Kerboul. If you are involved with other horse sports you will find just one of his many bullet points shocking and unbelievable, and you may not make it to the end without a stiff drink. Here is the original French on (scroll to the heading “WEC Samorin (SVK) 17-09-2016: Quand les rumeurs se font confidences et inquiètent passablement”). There is an English translation at the foot of this blog.

I will not take up your time with extra commentary on Francois’s text, other than to note that a) none of it to date has been denied in any other reputable media; b) regarding the alleged “sale” of the Italian grooming area to the UAE, bear in mind that the foreign judge who could have reversed it was a Mr Al Hammadi who is, ahem, from the UAE; and c) the intervention of the French team manager relates to a widely-expressed view that Ajayeb should never have been passed to set off on what was to prove her fatal phase...

Read more here:

Monday, October 10, 2016

South Africa: Sandymount Express 1000
: The final day, and the day after - Devan Horn

October 9 2016

All 9 riders complete the Sandymount Express 1000

I woke up the morning of the final day secure in the knowledge that I would have an easy finish. My legs felt awesome, I was full of energy, and very confident. Starting out on the first loop, we were all full of cheer and high spirits.

And then the storm came.

The cloud cover gave a respite from the Fauresmith Sun (like the Tevis Moon, just less charming), but the wind was something primal. So hard and fast I couldn't breathe, a relentless headwind that made Every. Single. Stride. A fight. Every inch of forward progress was a victory. Rain. Lightning. Dust twisters. Definitely qualifies as the hardest day.

But my horses and I were harder. Fairlane, fresh and strong, Aviatrix, completing her 240th kilometer, ears pinned to her neck and nose snarled shut, and especially Brio who handled the worst of it with his striking long trot, cutting a straight line through the storm and getting me to the finish.

As soon as I crossed, and the tears and champagne hit the dirt, I learned that Lize had vetted out on her last loop and had to do an extra 40 in these conditions. As Tines had done for me on my very first day, all 8 riders loaded up in the back of a truck to cheer her home. The din when she crossed the line is hard to imagine. We mobbed the vet at the end, teasingly daring him to vet her out a second time. But her horse looked fantastic, and the Sandymont was officially at an end.

For my team, the kilometer breakdown was:

Aviatrix: 250 K

Hidalgo: 170 K

Zara: 170 K

Brio: 170 K 

Fairlane: 120 K

Coco: 80 K

Sunita: 40 K

Cowboy: 40 K (vet out)

As you can tell, I had the privilege of riding amazing horses this week. I want to thank Donnie, Jackie, Wessel, and especially Rykie for letting me ride their horses on this adventure.

I also want to thank Jaco and Rykie for their help during the race. They were my support team, helpers, grooms, and family. Along with Elias, Beeerkjie, and Joseph, they kept me moving to the finish line all week. To Leon and Engela to opening their home to me while I attempted this ride.

Thank you to my fellow riders, all 8 of you were amazing, not a single one of us quit or retired, and it was an absolute privilege to ride with you. It was tough, beautiful, and wild all in one. We've done this, we can do anything.

Thank you to my sponsors, Hammer Nutrition and Tropical Riders, both of which supplied product that I couldn't have gotten through without.

A big, huge thank you to the South African endurance community in general. I came here solo, with no family or support team, and you made me feel welcome and became my support.

More from Devan at:

Australia: Tom Quilty Gold Cup winner: Rider Debbie Grull; horse Lauralyn Notorious - Full Article

DALE WEBSTER, The Weekly Times
October 9, 2016

TASMANIAN rider Debbie Grull and her horse Lauralyn Notorious took out the 2016 Tom Quilty Gold Cup endurance ride at Lexton on Saturday in 10 hours, 21 minutes and 13 seconds.

The pair crossed the finish line of the 160-km (100-mile) endurance race just nine minutes ahead of Talea Hasko-Stewart, of Harden in NSW, in second place.

Of the 233 riders who started what is regarded as the toughest horse race in the world, just 120 completed the course and earned themselves a coveted Quilty buckle...

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Cambodia: CEF pressing on with endurance build-up

Lon Sopheaktra, seen here taking part in a dressage competition, won the CEF’s first 40 kilometre endurance trial. Photo supplied - Full Article

10 October 2016
H S Manjunath

The Cambodian Equestrian Federation’s determined effort to prepare an endurance team to take part in next year’s SEA Games in Malaysia has been boosted by the Thailand Equestrian Federation’s all-round support in the build-up.

As one of the leading nations in the region on the equestrian front, Thailand has stepped in to lend its experience and expertise to help Cambodia move past dressage and showjumping capabilities to the more demanding endurance events.

With the Malaysian SEA Games less than a year away, the CEF has taken the preparation of endurance riders to a war-footing since it is a mandatory eligibility criteria for a participating country to complete a minimum of four trials – three over 40 kilometres, extending to 80 kilometres for the final one...

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

New Zealand: Canterbury farmer's lifelong passion for horses of the desert - Full Article

Last updated 17:33, October 4 2016

David Marshall's childhood dream was to one day ride an arabian horse and do it justice. Now he owns one of the top arabian studs in the country. He talks to Pat Deavoll about what makes the horses so special.

Long time Arabian enthusiast, David Marshall is hoping his stallion Zaddam wins supreme champion at this year's Canterbury A&P Show.

Afterall, Zaddam has an impressive pedigree of wins including supreme champion as a yearling at the Silver Anniversary Canterbury All Arabian Show and champion arabian stallion and champion ridden stallion all-breeds at the Canterbury show last year.

Zaddam is also an open qualified endurance horse - endurance riding is Marshall's passion - and the sire of two of hs team of endurance arabians. A beautiful, graceful grey with flared nostrils and large dark eyes, the horse is, as Marshall puts it, a product of the desert. It is easy to see why he is enamoured with the arabian breed...

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Equestrian Australia Pens Letter to FEI Regarding Slovakia WEC

October 3 2016

Equestrian Australia has sent the attached letter to the FEI, on behalf of the EA Endurance Committee, following on from the running of the World Endurance Championships.

The letter offers suggestions for ways that completion rates for Championship events can be increased, and the level of horse welfare improved.

They include compulsory walk in/walk out water points on each loop to slow horses down and let them catch their breath a bit; institute lower heart rate and recovery times on flat courses; and encourage more technical courses requiring more horsemanship.

The full letter can be seen here:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

USA's Devan Horn to Compete in South Africa's Sandymount Express 1000

September 29 2016

It's an endurance horse race, testing riders to the their physical and mental ability to complete 1,000 kms in eight days. She'll have 8 horses to get acquainted with and ride each day. The ride begins October 1.

USA's Devan Horn, a Mongol Derby veteran (2nd in 2013, withdrew in 2015), is thrilled to begin this new escapade in South Africa.

"It feels incredibly right to be headed into another wild, insane adventure," she wrote. "I'm indulging a measure of wild ferocity I generally attempt to batten down in polite company. In three weeks’ time, I’ll have both of the longest horse races on the face of this planet dusted~!"

She got a chance to ride two of her horses on Wednesday. "I'm quite happy with both of them, and I still have 6 to meet!"

Her hotel is a great accommodation with roan antelope and sable antelope out by the pool. "I don't know how I ended up in this African palace, but I'm not asking any questions! I keep expecting someone to come in and tell me I've got a cot in the back of the horse trailer instead. But it seems to me this cozy little room (with ensuite SHOWER!) is mine for the week! I'm in such good hands with these excellent horses and hostesses!"

Keep up with Devan's adventure here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Statement on fatal accident at Llay Llay, Valparaíso CEI 2* (Chile)

28 Sep 2016

It is with deepest regret that we confirm that there was a rider fatality on Saturday, 24 September 2016 at the CEI 2* 120km at Llay Llay, in the Valparaíso region of Chile. Hugo Valdés Barros (CHI), 58, fell from his home-bred, 10-year-old gelding MP Sifax on the second loop.

There were no witnesses to the incident, but it is thought that the rider fell after his horse failed to make a turn on the track and jumped a small canal. The horse was uninjured in the incident.

The Organising Committee cancelled the rest of the day’s events and a full police investigation has been launched to look into the circumstances of the accident.

Hugo Valdés Barros, who lived just outside Chile’s capital Santiago, had worked with horses all his life. He had competed in Endurance events at national level in Chile for more than a decade and internationally for the past two seasons. This was his second CEI 2* with MP Sifax, having finished 12th at their last outing on 14 May in Matetic (CHI).

He leaves behind his wife Maria Pía, daughter María Elisa and two sons, Cristián and Ignacio.

“We send our deepest condolences to Hugo’s wife María Pía, sons Cristián and Ignacio and daughter María Elisa, and his relatives and Friends,” President of the Associación Chilena de Enduro Ecuestre Cristian Herrera said. “Hugo was an exceptional man. His passion for the sport of Endurance and his love for horses will remain with us. May his soul rest in peace.”

Read the farewell message from the Associación Chilena de Enduro Ecuestre here (in Spanish):

“As the President of the Ground Jury at Llay Llay, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Hugo Valdés Barros and to the whole Endurance family,” FEI Official Elizabeth Huyghe said.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Hugo Valdés Barros,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The FEI and the global equestrian family send our deep condolences and support to Chile at this very difficult time.”

A funeral mass was held at the Church of Santa Elena in Santiago on 26 September, and a memorial service for Hugo’s fellow riders and friends will be held at the Cementerio Parque del Recuerdo on Saturday 1 October at 17.00.

Monday, September 26, 2016

AERC President and AERC International Committee Chair Pen Letter Regarding Slovakia WEC

September 26 2016

AERC President Michael Campbell, and chair of AERC's International Committee Dr Meg Sleeper, have written a letter in response to the recent World Endurance Championship in Slovakia.

Addressed to USEF's President, Chrystine Tauber, Campbell and Sleeper express their great disappointment at both the outcome of the WEC - a needless equine fatality, and numerous eliminating due to over-riding - and at FEI's appearing to initially "spin" a story about the breakdown, instead of stating what happened.

AERC "is very concerned about ongoing abuses in international endurance riding" and requests several recommendations be forwarded to FEI, including designing championship courses with technical variations, instead of flat for speed only; continued stringent drug testing, including sensitivity tests on horses' legs to detect nerve blocking agents; more emphasis on the goal of "fit to continue"; crewing on trail should be drastically reduced or eliminated all together; significantly increased and serious suspensions for stables, owners, trainers, and riders whose horses have been metabolically compromised from over-riding.

While veterinary standards and rules appear to have improved over the past year, events at the 2016 WEC show there is still a long way to go with horse welfare in FEI endurance events.

The full letter can be read here:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Germany's Sabrina Arnold Wins FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses

Germany’s Sarah Arnold and Tsagan Nour won the 120km FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses (7 years) in Nègrepelisse, France, leading an all-female podium. (FEI/Pamela Burton)

24 Sep 2016
By Pamela Burton

Smart riding brought Sabrina Arnold (GER) and Tsagan Nour to the top of the podium at the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses (7 years) today in Nègrepelisse, France.

The 120km Championship, which finished with an all-female 1,2,3 yesterday afternoon, with Arnold and Tsagan Nour galloping over the finish line in a time of 05:59:04, culminated in the prize giving today.

Spain’s second-placed rider Emma Rosell Segura riding Danco completed in 06:05:58, followed by third over the line and also from Spain Laia Soria Pinol on Nervi Del Rieral finishing the four loops just two seconds later.

After starting the second loop in 10th position after a 2-minute recovery in the first hold, Arnold was assured that her mount was doing well with the trail conditions. Continuing with good recoveries, the duo were able to move up in the finish order on each loop and took possession of the ride on the final loop to emerge victorious.

France seals Best Condition

The first-placed French rider, Paul Bard, riding Volny Du Leff, finished sixth and later the highly coveted Best Condition was awarded to his seven-year-old chestnut gelding.

Ana Barbas (POR) riding her own E Da Fuica scored fourth and Mohammed Khalifa Al Sowaidi (QAT) riding Dufawan finished fifth, with the rest of the top eleven spots secured by French athletes on this striking trail in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France.

Young Horses - future champions

These annual FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses, first held in Compiègne, France, in 2001, are an important foundation ride for future champion horses as they mature.

A total of 42 combinations from Bahrain, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Slovakia, Spain, USA and the UAE joined 52 combinations from France for this year’s Championship.

Trail tactics - Sabrina Arnold and Tsagan Nour

Tsagan Nour is part-owned by French champion rider Jean Philippe Frances, technical advisor and partner to the 36-year-old Arnold, who has been a distance rider since she was a child. Together they made a plan for the Championship’s challenges:
“These horses are young and it is better for their mind to have a companion,” she explained. “On the first loop we were too fast and I slowed down and rode with two other riders. My horse was immediately good in the vetting and I rode with our second rider on the next track through the third loop. On the fourth, the rider from Qatar rode with me for a while. On the last loop, the trail was very challenging. I had some information from other friends on the trail that we were many minutes in the lead, so I slowed him down and let him breathe.”
First-time Championship trail

The FEI Endurance Championship for Young Horses 2016 was held for the first time in this farming community northeast of Montauban. The course followed forest trails and farm tracks from the equestrian centre in Domaine de Pousiniès through local communes of Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont, Nègrepelisse, Vaïssac, and Genebrieres. Temperatures for the day hit 26C by 2pm. Organised by Endurance Equestrian Nègrepellsse, and supported by the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Festival, the trail was contested with four loops of 35kms, 30kms, 35kms and 22kms, beginning at 07:30.

FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello said of the day: “Horses in Young Championships are not yet at their maximum fitness, and the most important thing for me was how well the riders managed their horses.”

Gérard Aurel, President of Endurance Équestre de Nègrepelisse, said after the ride: ”We are very happy to have organised this Championship with 14 nations and the day went very well.”

Final results - FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses 2016
1. Sabrina Arnold (GER), Tsagan Nour - (completion time) 05:50:04
2. Emma Rosell Segura (ESP), Danco - 06:06:58
3. Laia Soria Pinol (ESP), Nervi Del Rieral- 06:07:00
4. Ana Barbas (POR), E Da Fuica -06:13:04
5. Mohammed Khalifa Al Sowaidi (QAT), Dufawan - 0606:13:05
6. Paul Bard (FR), Volny Du Leff 06:13:24
7. Amandine Lorenzi (FRA), Velvette El Mazel - 06:13:31
8. Laetitia Goncalves (FRA), Sadi Lotois - 06:15:59
9. Emilie Brard (FRA), Natfet - 06:17:00
10. Emmanuelle Gaudino (FRA), Cayrel Bashkhaar - 06:18:17
Full Results:
Best Condition: Paul Bard (FRA) with Volny Du Leff

Friday, September 23, 2016

Slovakia: Was fatally injured endurance horse taken to livestock crematorium? - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
18:46 - 23 September, 2016

The FEI’s equestrian community integrity unit is to investigate allegations that the body of Ajayeb, the mare who broke a leg at the world endurance championships at Samorin, Slovakia, was diverted to a livestock crematorium instead of being taken directly to a pathology lab for her compulsory autopsy.

The FEI ordered the investigation on Friday afternoon after hearing allegations that Ajayeb, the ride of UAE team member Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, was traced to the crematorium by vets suspicious about her whereabouts..

As part of tougher rules for endurance imposed in 2014, the FEI has insisted autopsies be held for all at-competition fatalities...


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Australia: Sisters to mount up for Tom Quilty Gold Cup - Full Article

DALE WEBSTER, The Weekly Times
September 20, 2016 7:00am

JULIE Woods will become the oldest Victorian to ride in Australia’s toughest endurance horse race next month when she mounts up at the age of 80 for the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

Ms Woods rode her first “100-miler” when she was 50 and if she completes the course successfully on October 8 she will collect her sixth Quilty buckle.

With her at the starting line for the first time will be her sister, Lois Sharam, who is making her Quilty debut at age 75...

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Aussies have right stuff at World Endurance Championships - Full Article

FRAN CLELAND, The Weekly Times
September 20, 2016 7:00am

AUSTRALIA’S endurance team finished fourth in the teams section of the 2016 World Endurance Championships in Slovakia at the weekend.

Members were Ben Hudson, Sasha Laws-King, Rebecca Pinder, Jodie Salinas and Alexandra Toft...

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US Equestrian Announces Team for 2024 FEI Endurance World Championship for Seniors Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the athlete-and-horse combinations that will represent the U.S. at the 2024...