Sunday, January 31, 2016

The problems in UAE endurance are far from over - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 31 January 2016

It does us all good, from time to time, to ponder the challenges we present to the horse.

We ask a lot of these animals. For the most part, they are compliant in partnering with us in our many riding endeavours.

Horse sport is unique. We join with a horse to race, jump, dance, pull chuckwagons, race around barrels, and any number of other athletic pursuits.

It is our responsibility as guardians – from the president of the FEI right down to the horse owner – to ensure that everything we do in these pursuits begins and ends with respect for the horse.

Those who watch horse sport, and wider members of the public with an affinity for animals, don’t much care for seeing them breaking their legs on racetracks or tumbling over jumps in any discipline.

Horse-sport administrators recognise this and have been doing what they can to lower injury and mortality rates in most horse-related disciplines, albeit with mixed success.

Any horse-related discipline that fails to tackle its welfare obligations head-on is on course for deep trouble.

Followers of endurance will be familiar with the controversies that have plagued the sport for years. Most of these headline-grabbing problems have centered on the United Arab Emirates, where I believe the fast desert courses, jockey-style riders, and high stakes have proven to be a dangerous combination for the endurance horse...

Read more:

Abu Dhabi: Al Neyadi Wins Junior -Young Riders CEN 120km Endurance Cup - Full Article

Al Neyadi rides Dahoman to win 120-km J/YR Endurance Cup

by Pamela Burton

30 January 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Mohammed Humaid Al Neyadi riding 9-year-old grey gelding Dahoman XI 57 won the 120-km Sheikh Zayed Bin Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Junior & Young Riders Endurance Cup (CEN JYR) 120 held on Saturday, 30 January at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi.

Al Neyad was always in the top five through the four stage ride clocking 4 hours 39 minutes and 01 seconds for the 120-km distance. The young winner hails from the Al Wathba 2 Stables and the winning horse is trained by Rachid Ahansal...

Read more here:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bouthieb turns its back on “insane gymkhana” of UAE endurance - Full Article | 30 January 2016

Bouthieb continues to be an oasis in the tough world of desert endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates.

The Bouthieb endurance facility in Abu Dhabi is owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has spearheaded stringent local rules designed to safeguard the welfare of horses.

Speeds must be kept in check and are monitored by GPS. Bouthib particularly rewards the conditioning of the horse over speed, which is reflected in the distribution of prize money.

The results have been stunning in terms of horse welfare...

Read more:

Bouthieb (Abu Dhabi – UAE): The Revolution Goes On - Full Article

Text and photos: François Kerboul - FEI 4*

The new rules introduced in Bouthieb under the leadership of HH Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of the President and Chairman of the Emirates Heritage Club (EHC), have, so far, been implemented on three events totaling eight competitions -from December 31, 2015 to January 23, 2016, i.e. over a period of 3 weeks and two days – involving 1077 horses.

Of that number only 5 horses, whose neither life nor athletic future were in danger, required significant care. These horses all left the clinic in the afternoon.

We can only welcome such a result both because it is exceptional and also because it's simply unprecedented.

This dramatic decline in the number of horses requiring unavoidable clinical care, this disappearance of horses who died of exhaustion or were put down because of fractures, is certainly the most important and most visible consequence of the revolution taking place in Bouthieb.

But do not forget that this is part of an ongoing broad programme of education / rehabilitation which has several other aspects.

Here are a few of them.

On the Track

What can I say except that it's just as different as night and day from what went on before?

The cars have access only if they have the badge (authorization) that was given to them. Their number is limited to one vehicle for 5 horses per trainer. In order to ensure effective control, the badge is not a small discreet label that gets stuck in a corner of the windshield and that the stewards or the police will have no time to read, but a big sticker (30 cm x 30 cm) which does not allow fraud.

The riders' track is lined with linear mounds prohibiting crew vehicles to mix with horses and cross their path. Cars drive on the right or the left track, in principle, depending on the wind so as not to disturb the horses with dust. It is the third year that this provision has been introduced in Bouthieb, but it is only a first step because they are thinking of improving the tracks by making them more technical and by separating them from the vehicle assistance for the next season. The contact points (crew points) would then only be water points as in the rest of the world. Riders would be even more responsible, being no longer practically guided by their trainers. This can only be beneficial for the horses as by becoming more independent, riders will be more responsible and will certainly be more attentive to their horses.

The prohibition of continuous watering and the creation of water points has put an end to the dangerous and unreasonable 4WD race cutting and intersecting the trajectory of the horses at the mercy of the crews fantasies. We no longer see ten 4WD for one horse slaloming 5 or 6 abreast and watering continuously throughout the track...

Read more here:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Australia: Bellingen's Isabel Foster sets sights on the endurance riding World Youth Championships - Full Article

Sometimes you want to give up because it's so exhausting, but you can't because your horse will fall and you might go off a cliff. I just have to trust that my horse has worked out the safest path, and go with him.
Isabel Foster

By Fiona Poole
Posted January 29, 2016

Bellingen's Isabel Foster and her Arabian Gelding, Sharabel Kalarney, have successfully completed three of the biggest endurance riding races in Australia.

At 15 years old, Isabel was the only junior to complete the Tom Quilty 160km, the Shahzada 400km marathon and the 160km NSW state championship.

Placing first in seven out of nine rides last year, she is now the top junior endurance rider in NSW and Australia, and has her sights set on representing Australia at the World Youth Championships in Italy in 2017.

It would be so awesome to be selected," she said...

Read more here:

Endurance GB shuts members’ online forum - Full Article

Horse & Hound
29 January, 2016

Endurance GB (EGB) has closed its online members’ forum, to the surprise of members.

A spokesman for EGB told H&H that the decision was “not taken lightly” and that the board is “working hard to enhance existing communication platforms in light of the forum closing”.

He added: “It is not the board’s wish to censor members’ views. Sadly the forum became an increasing drain on time and resources, which we could not sustain.

“Our efforts are now focused on providing an excellent ride calendar, improving our infrastructure and promoting endurance riding in the UK. Any concerned members are urged to email the board.”

The forum had been administered by volunteers.

But a statement to members said that “once again we have had issues with individuals abusing the forum guidelines and the volunteers”...


Monday, January 25, 2016

Enduring Bullwarp

Posted by ERF on Jan 24, 2016 in Association News

As has been documented elsewhere, despite the FEI short term suspension of the UAE in order for them to clean up their act, nothing has radically changed. At least 5 deaths so far this year. No information forthcoming on what happened to horses attributed the generic FTC, or horses that didn’t reach vet gates and are down as RET, or more remarkably horses that have sustained a catastrophic injury (CI) and magically not been euthanased? Even taking into account the horses whose exits are documented clearly in the results, many of those are out lame by the second vet gate. The appalling completion rates, 40kmph average speeds on loops in 160km races, footage of illegal practices such as ear twitching in vet gates and the somewhat bizarre belief that horses don’t need to drink on track if they’re sloshed with water indicates the welfare issues are still very significant.

There is one lone participant, Dr. Sheikh Sultan, who is attempting to use his influence and facilities to alter the status quo. A top class article by Pippa Cuckson details the situation HERE.

Social media has been used to highlight the cruelty in the UAE, and there has been a strong push to inform those still selling to Group VII countries of the horrors awaiting horses sent over there. As ever, there are those that prize the dollar and self-interest over the horse as a sentient being.

The big sellers suggest that those highlighting the abuse are somehow determined to destroy the sport of Endurance by creating divisive feeling within the sport. One very interesting diatribe by someone who sells a lot to the UAE concentrated entirely on how much this person and family enjoyed endurance, how selling abroad allowed them to continue and how wonderful the sport was. Not only is that entirely missing the point of endurance being at heart about partnership of rider and horse, but there is no real understanding of the sport’s financial dynamic as a result of selling the good horses abroad. Any equestrian sport wishing to be healthy nationally, and successful globally, has to keep it’s best horses within the country’s NF. This encourages flourishing competition and attracts sponsorship to grow the sport and support the grass roots whilst giving young riders something to aim for. If top horses continually leave a country, competition becomes poor, interest will wane and the sport will deteriorate. That has been proven in other countries, in other equestrian sports...

Read more here:

FEI 2016 Equine Prohibited Substances List Effective January 1

FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List

The FEI publishes an 'Equine Prohibited Substances List' (EPSL). This enables Persons Responsible (PRs) to ensure that they are not treating or feeding horses with substances that are prohibited for use during competition and substances that are not permitted for use in the horse at any time.

Prohibited Substances are categorised as follows:
'Banned Substances' are substances that are deemeed by the FEI to have no legitimate use in the competition horse and/or have a high potential for abuse. They are not permitted for use in the competition horse at any time.
'Controlled Medication' are substances that are deemed by the FEI to have therapeutic value and/or be commonly used in equine medicine. Controlled Medication have the potential to affect performance and/or be a welfare risk to the horse.

The EPSL lists all substances that are prohibited for use during FEI events. Substances that are not listed on the EPSL are not prohibited provided that they do not have a similar chemical structure or biological effect to a substance listed on the EPSL.

The EPSL is available below as a pdf, an online database and a mobile app. Links to these tools can be found by clicking on the buttons below.

Changes to the Equine Prohibited Substances List

The EPSL is reviewed on an annual basis by the FEI List Group. Changes to the list are published in the library section below, 90 days in advance of the change coming into effect. Further details on the review process can be found here.

Medication administration proir to and at events

Before giving any substance to a horse competing at FEI events, athletes and their support personnel should always check if the substance is prohibited. If so, a withdrawal time must be observed before competing and the FEI publishes a 'List of Detection Times' which can be found below. Elective Testing is always available and the FEI organises specific elective testing programmes for horses competing in major Games. Information concerning elective testing can be found here.

General Advice

Athletes and their support teams are stongly encouraged to work closely with their veterinarians when administering substances to horses.

The FEI publishes a caution against the use of herbal supplements and products of which the ingredients are unknown. The use of any substance to affect the performance of a horse in a calming (tranquillising) or an energising (stimulant) manner is forbidden. The use of a calming product during competition may also have important safety consequences.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 Fortune Telling – Part One - Full Article

Blogs Straight-Up | January 23, 2016

As usual, Welly World has hijacked my life, leaving me with little free time and a hoarse voice from all the social interacting that comes from cramming half the horse world into a few square miles. Since I am making so little headway on my 2016 predictions, and since just the first one is a lengthy blog on its own, I will be meting them out in little batches of one or two as time allows during my stint in Florida-land.

So here, it is, the prediction in which I am most confident will come true in 2016:

The leopards will not change their spots – I’m talking about the federations, of course – the FEI and our own homegrown slice of disappointment, EC. In the category of ‘you couldn’t make this sh#*t up’ is last week’s FEI press release proudly announcing the honours bestowed upon a couple of past and present FEI honchos by – wait for it – Sheikh Mohammed of UAE endurance fame – nay, infamy – nay, notoriety. Yes, that’s right. Sheikh Mohammed annually hands out a set of distinctions, known as the Creative Sport Awards, in his own name. Because of course the Good Sheikh is the ultimate authority on all that is noble in sport. Extra especially equestrian sport and, very most especially of all, equestrian sport of the Endurance persuasion...

Read more here:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bouthieb (Abu Dhabi): The Mutation - Full Article

Coming closer for a better understanding

May 10 2014
by François Kerboul

From far away, we often see undefined blocks, groups, masses, and we end up very quickly - if not invariably - making snap judgments and deciding, once for all, that "they are like that". Thus we have "Indians", "Blacks", "Arabs", "Chinese", etc.

From far away we see an anonymous figure, which as it gets nearer, becomes a man who is actually a woman and we soon discover that she is not the unknown one we had suspected... In short, when getting closer we become aware that reality is always more complex than the idea we had of it before.

For the Yemeni who has never left his native mountain, or for his Chinese counterpart, "Europeans" (or "Westerners ") are seen as a global and undifferentiated entity. For us, Europeans, it is clear that this is an absurd shortcut because we know that there is little relationship between a Sami (Lapp) and a Basque or even a Southern Californian. But seen from afar...

It's the same in reverse for us and we cannot completely avoid the trap created by distance.

Group VII, The Emirates, The Arabs, etc.

For many Europeans all that is about the same and one is satisfied with the recent global anathema (doping, cheating) without further questioning. You can even hear some people talk of the need for their exclusion from the FEI, which would in itself mean the beginning of the end of the international federation.

So take a magnifying glass and come closer to understand better.

Here we will talk of what is happening today in Bouthieb, one of the three endurance villages in the UAE (and also the oldest), as you would do for example to explain what we are trying to do and how we do it in Fontainebleau (FRA) or Rascafría (ESP) to an Indonesian.

Doing so, we will leave Manichaeism and monolithic thinking to replace it by the description of the real men and their intentions. A little bit of information, a gust of fresh air on the issue.

Brief And Essential Background

When in the 50s it was discovered that the underground of the northern Arabian Peninsula was full of oil, SH Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi, understood very quickly that this resource required the emirates to unite (unity is strength) and that the country would inevitably be overwhelmed by the sudden change induced by this extraordinary resource and the new era to come with it.

He managed to convince his counterpart neighbors to form a federation whose name is the one we know today: UAE (United Arab Emirates).

His second priority task was to set up a body to preserve the cultural heritage for the future generations. This great idea took shape under the name of Emirates Heritage Club (EHC). Its purpose is extensive. It spreads from the preservation of the culture of the past to the latest study on the environment, youth training and education, promotion of tolerance and peace, etc.

In this context horses were of course present.

Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, second son of the UAE founder, the late Sh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, currently a member of the government, is the president of the EHC. He created in Bouthieb the first endurance village in the UAE, some 100 km inland among sand dunes, not far from his palace.

Each year five to six weekends of endurance competitions are held there. It is currently the largest center in the world by the number of participating horses each time. For example, on January 23rd to 25th 2014 nearly 800 horses over three days with 340 on the second day participated in the competitions.

The Prince's Will of Renewal

A few years ago, the prince told us his annoyance at seeing that the UAE had created a new type of endurance race he called "flat endurance race" in which speed was privileged at the expense of the horses' safety. That was far in advance of the recent controversy. His voice was not heard despite his conviction...

Read more here:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Great Britain: Chance to tell the story of the fascinating life of Malvern businessman and former endurance horse racing champion with a passion for wildlife and art - Full Article

Cathy Anstey, Reporter / Tuesday 19 January 2016

AT THE age of 14 Derek Francis wanted to be a scientist. His mum wanted him to go to grammar school and his dad wanted him to join the family business.

Despite his keen interest in astronomy and zoology, he chose to work with his dad, a furniture maker in Malvern.

After starting an apprenticeship to learn about furniture and upholstery, Derek and his father decided to move into retail as they realised it was more profitable to sell furniture made by other people.

This was the start of the independent family-run furniture, beds and interiors business now known as Francis of Malvern, based in Malvern Link.

Derek’s job was delivering furniture, often on a hand cart he pushed to customers’ homes in Malvern. Now aged 91, he recalls: “It was a hard way of delivering a bedstead in Malvern.” He was, without doubt, very fit and strong in those days.

But despite focusing on a career in business, Derek did not lose interest in science, and particularly zoology. In the 1960s he went on an African safari, which reignited his passion for animals.

“I got hooked on wildlife and the whole idea and necessity of doing something to preserve wildlife. I have had a passionate interest in the subject ever since...

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Epiphany 2: FEI Grasps the (UAE) Bou Thib Initiative. Yes, Really! - Full Article

Cuckson Report | January 19, 2016

Well, I thought I’d never see it, but little pink porkers genuinely have sprouted wings.

The measures drawn up by Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi to reform endurance at his Bou Thib venue gained massive credence in a short time, but did anyone seriously think the rest of the UAE would join him voluntarily in respect for the horse?

But now, in the wake of yet another chaotic death on Saturday, they might just have to, for something extraordinary has happened. The FEI has grown a pair of something that isn’t wings and wants all UAE rides to adopt similar measures to Bou Thib, to reduce the killer speeds.

Yes folks, it’s true. For all the FEI working groups, strategic planners, consultancy exercises, seminars, rule reviews, and no doubt hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of legal fees over the past two years to sort out the travesty in the UAE, the FEI has now resorted to a single page of commonsense from by a wise, genuinely horse-loving Sheikh...

Read more here:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Canada: 2016 HCBC Horse Sport Symposium - Full Article

Classical Training Exercises with Jec Aristotle Ballou


Jec Aristotle Ballou, author of the best-selling book 101 Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider, will be presenting at Horse Council BC’s 2016 Horse Sport Symposium, February 6 to 7, 2016. The event, held at the indoor ring of Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC, will offer riders and spectators an opportunity to learn first-hand from Ballou on a host of topics, including:

Conditioning through downtime: calisthenics
Exercises to create adjustability
Exercises to create looseness
Strengthening exercises
Rider refinement exercises
Introduction to Western dressage
Developing contact & “feel”
Exercises for symmetry & straightness
Exercises to create maneuverability
Improving the lope
Intro to collection

Ballou has trained and competed through the FEI levels, but has also competed in long distance trail riding, Ride & Tie, breed shows, and almost everything in between. She won three consecutive East Coast championships in distance riding, becoming the youngest rider in history to win the prestigious Vermont 100 Mile Competition. A proponent of interdisciplinary study, she serves as an advisor to the Western Dressage Association of America...

Read more here:

FEI Celebrated in Creative Sports Awards

14 Jan 2016

The winners of the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards have been honoured in Dubai (UAE).
HE Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa (BRN), FEI 2nd Vice President, member of the FEI Executive Board and President of FEI Regional Group VII, was awarded the Arab Administrator Award - Kingdom of Bahrain.

HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, FEI Honorary President and Goodwill Ambassador, was also honoured, taking the Local Sports Figure award in recognition of her outstanding work as FEI President during 2006 to 2014, and for establishing the FEI’s global sport development programme, FEI Solidarity.

FEI Solidarity, launched in 2011 and inspired by the Olympic Solidarity model, is focused on providing opportunities for the next generation of athletes and all those working in equestrian communities around the world, so that local structures can be established to develop the sport.

The FEI was not the only International Federation to be recognised at the awards ceremony. The International Judo Federation, also with a base in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, was presented with the International Organisation Award for its efforts in bringing judo and its values to children in Syrian refugee camps.

“For the FEI, it is particularly gratifying to see FEI Solidarity recognised in the award to our Honorary President Princess Haya, and to see our 2nd Vice President Sheikh Khalid honoured. It is good to see their services and commitment to equestrian sport getting this recognition”, said Ingmar De Vos, FEI President and FEI Solidarity Chair. “Speaking on behalf of the international equestrian community, I would like to congratulate all the athletes, teams and sports institutions who put their hearts and souls into winning these awards. Sport is an essential part of our global society. The creativity we see in the sports industry is very exciting, with clear benefits to the communities we all live in and are looking to develop for future generations.”

A total of 180 entries were received for this seventh edition of the annual Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards, part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Global Initiatives focusing on humanitarian, social and developmental strategies.

UAE: Going the distance on 4 legs - Full Article

Horses in Dubai endurance race enjoy royal treatment; discipline is FEI's fastest growing

January 17 2016
Jonathan Wong

They are subjected to strict medical checks throughout the gruelling race in the desert and have a team waiting to massage their feet and fetch buckets of cold water to refresh them, while electric fans are brought out to keep them cool during the intermittent breaks.

While this sounds like a typical scene from a marathon race involving elite athletes, there is one telling difference.

These competitors run on all fours. Meet the stars of the equine world of endurance racing.

Nothing is spared to keep these horses - mostly Arabian-bred and famed for their stamina and durability - comfortable and in the best physical shape, explained rider Prutiratr Serireongrith.

Volunteers line the dusty circuit with plastic bottles of water in hand, passing them to the riders who rarely take a sip but empty the contents onto their mounts to keep them hydrated.

"The horses are the No. 1 priority. No one really cares about us, the ones sitting on top," chuckled Prutiratr...

Read more here:

Bahrain: Nasser bin Hamad awards endurance race winners - Full Article


Manama, Jan.16 (BNA) HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty the King for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and President of Bahrain Olympic Committee honoured the winners of Khalid bin Hamad 120KM Endurance Race in the presence of HH Shaikh Faisal bin Rashid Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (BREEF).

Rashid Al Rowaiee from Al Zaeem Stables won the first place on the horse Trabic, finishing in 04:35:25 time with the speed of 26km/h. The second and third places went to Al Fateh Stables’ rider Raed Mahmoud and Al Asayel Stables’ Fahad Helal Al Khatery, who finished the race in 04:44:10 and 04:44:15, respectively and with the speed of 25km/h...

Read more here:

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Great Britain: Golden Horseshoe saved but no ride in 2016 - Full Article

Rachael Hook
11 January, 2016

The future of Britain’s most famous endurance ride has been secured thanks to the appointment of a new event organiser, but the ride will not go ahead this year.

Exmoor’s Golden Horseshoe celebrated its 50th anniversary last year (17-19 May), but the continuation of the event hung in the balance after its long-serving committee chose to step down.

The committee, headed by Barbara Wigley, was struggling to find a replacement team.

However, Mrs Wigley confirmed to H&H that a new organiser had stepped in and the ride is expected to continue in 2017.

“It’s not running this year, but we think it will run next year,” Mrs Wigley told H&H.

“I’m really pleased — it is a nice feeling. The person who is taking it on is getting a new committee together.”

Mrs Wigley said she will be able to confirm the name of the new organiser and further information on the future of the ride in March...


Monday, January 11, 2016

How an Unsung Sheikh has Forced an Epiphany in Endurance - Full Article

Cuckson Report | January 11, 2016

Only keen students of Middle Eastern politics have probably heard of the intriguingly named Dr. Sheikh Sultan, but 2016 could be the year in which his body of admirers spreads far outside the Emirates.

First, though, some background for those whose geography etc. is a bit scratchy.

The UAE comprises seven sheikhdoms (or emirs), of which Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most powerful, ruled by the Nahyan and Maktoum families respectively.

Dubai is perhaps the more famous, as a business hub and tourist magnet and because of the stratospheric profile of its Thoroughbred racing through the involvement of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai. However, the overall UAE presidency is with the Al Nayhans, currently Sheikh Khalifa. So Sheikh Mohammed is not the quite the most senior person in the Emirates, being overall UAE vice president and UAE prime minister.

One of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters is married to famed soccer patron Sheikh Mansour Al Nahyan, UAE deputy Prime Minister, though despite this romantic alliance there is rivalry between the two families.

Mohammed and Mansour also own the two busiest endurance venues – Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC), due to host the 2016 world championships unless the UAE gets suspended again, and Al Wathba.

One Sheikh is moving mountains to reform endurance. Sadly it’s neither of these two.

Our unsung hero is His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan, a former deputy UAE prime minister, Mansour’s much older half-sibling and three-quarters sibling of president Khalifa. Sultan was part-educated outside the UAE, including a spell at Millfields, a famous British school renowned for its sporting prowess and values.

Sheikh Sultan is keen on endurance too, and owns the UAE’s third busiest venue, Bou Thib.

For eons he has despaired about the evolution of the desert racing and yearned for “classical” endurance, or indeed anything that doesn’t view the horse as expendable. But he was a voice in the wilderness, quite literally...

Read more here:

UAE: 'Disaster' in Bouthieb - Empty clinic, result of the new parameters enforced - Full Article

Text and Clinic Photo: François Kerboul - FEI 4 *

Thursday, December 31 was a historic day in Bouthieb Endurance Village (Al Khatem, Abu Dhabi, UAE): During the CEN 1* 90 km Emirates Heritage Club for Ladies with 59 competitors, the clinic remained desperately empty, which, according to officials, had never happened since the beginning of endurance in the UAE. HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Representative of the President and Chairman of the Emirates Heritage Club (EHC) -, the organizing committee, the officials, the participants, etc. everyone felt authorized to say, with undisguised pleasure and black humor, that this was a true disaster ... for the employment of treating veterinarians, who were overwhelmed with joy having spent a very boring day.

It's clean, it's all ready, it's empty. In the background, a "desperate" veterinarian is waiting.

The second day of competition, January 1, was similar with 2 events (CEI 1* 80 km Emirates Heritage Club Cup in 3 phases and 89 competitors, plus a CEN 1* 100 km Emirates Heritage Cup for Pvt. Owners in 4 phases with 39 competitors) accumulating a total of 128 horses on the track. The day passed with a single mild metabolic case receiving only a treatment of 5 liters of fluid without any additives, a sort of comfort treatment. And nothing else.

The third day, January 2, there was a CEIJY 2* 120 km Emirates Heritage Cup in 5 phases with 55 starters on the track. Only 3 horses were presented, they had lost their riders who had fallen down on the first phase in the light sandstorm with reduced visibility and which were caught and taken to the clinic, then immediately released as nothing justified their presence. On the third day 3 there were 3 metabolic cases, 2 without any treatment and 1 receiving 10 liters of fluid without any additives, plus 3 lamenesses of which one only was treated with a small dose of anti-inflammatory. And that's all.

So, in three days of racing, four competitions, 242 horses, only 3 horses received a light medical treatment mainly out of caution.

This was a remarkable way to end 2015 and start 2016 in Bouthieb Endurance Village. The new competition parameters, implemented regularly for the first time (including 10 minutes of recovery time, even for the finish with a maximum heart rate of 56 bpm and hold time of 50 minutes each loop) produced more effect than we all hoped and there reigned an unprecedented atmosphere of surprise, satisfaction, analysis and research, intellectual ferment mixed with a previously unknown joy. For the first time HH Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan (photo), who usually did no more than pay one or two visits per season, remained permanently on the site during the three days and even chaired the Wednesday briefing of the first competition.

The new president of the national federation – a show jumping rider - came many times, to visit the clinic, going around the venue, to go on the tracks, unlike its predecessor who had never been seen there...

Read more here:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

UAE: Jeremy Reynolds and Danire Finish 71st in Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup

January 9 2016

Jeremy Reynolds and Danire were the only pair of the 4 USA entries to complete this year's 160-km Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Cup in Dubai. They finished 71st in a time of 10:00.22

Heather Reynolds' mount Bound for Honor was eliminated at Gate 3 for Irregular Gait.

Meg Sleeper and Syrocco Rabia were eliminated at Gate 3 for Irregular Gait.

Melody Blittersdorf and CA Iceman were eliminated at Gate 3 for Metabolics.

Winning time for the desert race was 6:32.50 for the UAE's HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum aboard the 14-year-old mare Ajayeb.

81 horses out of 227 starters finished the race (35%).

For complete results see:

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Dubai Endurance Mobile App launched in Arabic and English - Full Article

Features of App will allow users to share information of ride with others and via social media

Published: January 9, 2016 Gulf News
Staff Report

Dubai: As part of the ninth renewal of the His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup, the Dubai Equestrian Club, the organizing body for the sport of endurance riding in Dubai, launch an Arabic language version of the mobile phone app, Dubai Endurance.

The Dubai Endurance App allows the user to follow all endurance events held at Dubai International Endurance City, including the HH Endurance Cup that was held on Saturday, January 9.

In addition to the app being available in both Arabic and English languages, a new feature will allow users to follow the locations of horses when they have returned from a loop of competition. The feature includes a diagram that includes representations of the start /finish gate, veterinarian inspection enclosure and cooling off area that will pinpoint the horses’ location for users...

Read more here:

UAE: Hamdan spearheads spectacular Emirati 1-2-3

Img credit: WAM - Full Article

Crown Prince flies UAE flag high after winning Shaikh Mohammad Endurance Cup for second year

Published: January 9, 2016 Gulf News
Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer

Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, won the prestigious His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup for the second year in succession on Saturday and then said he would launch his quest to win February’s HH The President of the UAE Cup.

Riding Ajayeb, a 15-year-old French-bred mare trained by Esmail Mohammad, Shaikh Hamdan led home a spectacular 1-2-3 finish for Emirati riders in the 160-kilometre CEI 3 Star ride which was contested by 227 top riders, representing an impressive 41 countries.

Abdullah Ghanim Al Marri, winner in 2012 and 2013, was denied his attempt to become the first rider to win the competition three times, when he finished runner-up.

Saeed Mohammad Khalifa Al Mehairi, winner of the 160km 3 Star HH President Cup last season, took third place.

“I am honoured and proud to win the His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Cup for the second time,” Shaikh Hamdan told the Dubai Racing Channel. “It is one of the most prestigious rides on the endurance calendar and attracts some of the best riders in the world..."

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Friday, January 08, 2016

New initiative to protect Dubai’s desert - Full Article

Meydan and Dubai Municipality programme will help preserve areas centred around endurance riding

Published: 18:47 January 7, 2016 Gulf News
Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer

Dubai: The Meydan Group will team up with Dubai Municipality in an ongoing programme to clean and preserve Dubai’s desert areas through a new environmental initiative named ‘My Arena, My Environment’ centred around the sport of endurance riding.

The focus is one of the many inter-related parts of the campaign that was developed and launched by Dubai Municipality in 2012.

To date, a large amount of debris, primarily plastic water bottles, have been removed from the vast desert in and around the Seih Assalam area and Al Qudra’s expansive cycling track route...

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Four USA Riders to Contest HH Maktoum Cup in Dubai

January 8 2016

Among Saturday's entries in the 160-km HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup in Dubai are American riders Heather and Jeremy Reynolds, Melody Blittersdorf, and Meg Sleeper.

Heather Reynolds will be aboard Bound for Honor (winners of the 2015 AHA Distance Nationals 50-mile Championship). Jeremy Reynolds will ride Danire. Blittersdorf will be riding CA Iceman, and Sleeper will be aboard her homebred Sirocco Rabia.

For more on entries and the ride coverage, see

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Mongol Derby: Dressed to Ride Blog - Full Story

Chase Endurance | January 7, 2016

Compression shorts, waterproof socks, good buff and fisherman’s waistcoat are some of the new items that have woven their way into my gear list (yes, horse backriding gear list).

The most recent advisory from the Mongol Derby Adventurists, in particular, a Derbyist guru, who goes by the name of Maggie, detailed her first training tip “Dressing for the Derby.” She described the normal items you think of when riding a horse such as a good lightweight helmet, strong but comfortable sports bra, breeches, riding gloves and appropriate footwear. However, I was surprised to hear that there is such a thing as waterproof socks, boots maybe, pants and jackets, but not socks. My local tack store was astonished as well and gave me the look – you know the one – maybe it is time to go back to dreamland.

Maggie spent quite a bit of time discussing underwear, finding the right fit, seamless, quick drying, breathable, easy to wash, padded, etc. and taking the time to ensure you have thoroughly tested it out. This was the sort of email that you wanted to read alone and only discuss with other Derbyists. I really don’t think my hunter/jumper friend who swears that “thongs really are comfortable” will be much help in this search...

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Northern Ireland: Volunteers rescue seriously injured rider lost in dense forest - Full Article

Ellie Hughes
7 January, 2016

A rider has credited a volunteer search and rescue team with saving her from potentially life-changing injuries after she fell from her horse during a 10-mile pleasure ride in Northern Ireland.

Charmaine Halliday (pictured above her daughter Megan before the accident) was taking part in a ride organised by the Irish Long Distance Riding Association (ILDRA) in the Tollymore Forest, near Newcastle, on 3 January.

“There was around two miles left and I was cantering along when I lost my stirrup. I slid off the side because my saddle was so wet in the rain,” Charmaine told H&H.

“According to my daughter, Megan, who was riding behind me, I fell down the bank and hit some rocks and trees, but as I was knocked unconscious I don’t remember anything...”


UAE: Endurance riders to vie for unique new one metre high trophy

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News - Full Article

London jewellers craft Wimbledon salvers, FA Cup and ICC trophies too

January 7, 2016 Gulf News
Leslie Wilson Jr, Racing & Special Features Writer

Dubai: Competitors in the ninth annual HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup, presented by Longines on Saturday, will be vying for the honour to lift a unique trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the renowned 160km contest.

The trophy, created by Royal Jewellers Asprey of London, stands one metre in height and weighs 20 kilograms.

It is topped by a three-dimensional horse and rider - the figure representing the victory by HH Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. in the 2012 FEI Longines World Endurance Championships held in Euston Park, England.

Shaikh Mohammad’s arm is raised overhead in victory and holds a single .32 carat diamond in his hand...

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Uneventful time for vets at recent UAE endurance gathering - Full Article | 7 January 2016

A four-star judge and technical delegate says only three horses required light medical treatment among the 242 who took part in three days of endurance racing in the United Arab Emirates recently.

François Kerboul provided an account of racing at Bouthieb. The first day, on December 31, saw the staging of a CEN 1* race over 90km for women. It attracted 59 competitors.

The veterinary facilities remained unused through the day, which had not happened since the beginning of endurance in the UAE, he said...

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Monday, January 04, 2016

British Endurance riders head to the deserts of Dubai

29 December 2015

2016 kicks off with two of our most experienced British riders travelling their horses to the UAE to take part in the ‘HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup’. The competition takes place on the 9th January 2016 at the Dubai International Endurance City in the UAE. It is a CEI 3* 160km event organised under FEI rules, with much of the course running through the desert.

As in previous years, the Dubai Equestrian Club has extended an invitation to riders around the world to join them for this major annual event on their Endurance calendar. The Organising Committee have stipulated a preference for previous medal winners and Elite endurance riders. The invitation includes the cost of transport and accommodation for the horse, rider and two crew members.

Endurance GB is pleased to announce that we will be well represented at this International event by two very experienced riders, Carri Ann Dark and Nicki Thorne.

24 year old Carri Ann has clocked up an impressive track record. In 2012, she was the highest placed British team member in our Bronze medal winning team at the FEI European Young Rider Championships in Mont le Soie. She has been competing at FEI level for many years, including representing TeamGB at Championships on four occasions. She competed at this event in 2015 so will be able to draw on that experience. “To say I was thrilled to be invited would be an understatement. I am hugely grateful for the opportunity. Our Christmas has definitely been put on hold as there is also a lot of preparation to do, not only with training and packing but also with making sure we have complied with various regulations in order to travel the horse to Dubai, such as vaccinations and blood tests.
As the time till departure nears, it is becoming more and more exciting.

My crew are my fantastic mum and dad, who are always there to support me. They have been super helpful and are getting excited (plus a little anxious and stressed) with all the last minute preparations before we hit the road. We are looking forward to the challenge and will do our best. We just hope to do ourselves, our country and everyone back home proud.
Thank you to everyone that supports us. It is lovely receiving your positive messages and comments.”

Nicki Thorne, 44, from Norfolk, has also been competing in FEI events for some years and has travelled all over the world
to competitions. She is currently ranked 4th in the World in the ‘Open Riders World Endurance Ranking’ and was the only British finisher at the FEI European Championships in Samorin, Slovakia 2015. Nicki is very much looking forward to the trip, “This is a first for me, so it is very exciting and interesting sorting all of the details out. Training has progressed as well as possible given the time of the year and the weather challenges. I know that we are headed to extremely different, challenging terrain and weather conditions. However, all is good so far and I am very privileged to be given this invitation and opportunity. I love a new opportunity and the chance to compete somewhere total different, most especially to ride in the desert - the home of the Arabian horse - is incredibly special.”

Carri Ann has elected to take her previous Dubai mount, HS Drift, owned by her mother, Ann Dark. “It was a tough decision but after a lot of thought we have chosen HS Drift. I feel there is a lot to take into account for an event such as this as it is not only the fitness for the ride itself but the travelling to/and from as well as the mental ability of the horse, to feel relaxed for the duration of the stay and for the ride itself.” HS Drift is an 11 year old grey gelding by HS Etiquette out of Gai Radiant Dream. He has several wins to his credit, including coming 1st in the CEI3* 160km at Madine, France, in 2014.

Nicki’s chosen ride is LM Bolena. She is a 10 year old chestnut mare, originating from Argentina. Nicky successfully competed her several times in Buenos Aires before importing her back to the UK in 2015.

Carri Ann and Nicki’s horses will meet up with the specialist transporters in Holland for onward road transport to Belgium, from where the horses will fly to Dubai – a total journey of around 4,000 miles. On arrival they will have access to the best facilities to help them acclimatise to the hot Dubai conditions.

We have every confidence in our two talented riders to make us proud of them and trust them and their crew to take the best care of their horses in this tough environment. We feel it is a great opportunity for two of our International Squad members to get valuable experience ahead of the World Endurance Championships scheduled to be held at the same venue in Dubai in December 2016. Their experience will be of value to all Squad members.

Great Strategy Ensures Top Endurance Rider Challenge Win in UAE - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

4 January 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Outside Abu Dhabi, the Boudhieb Endurance Village hosted several endurance rides over 3 days on the weekend of 1-3 January to celebrate both the 2016 New Year and HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s new scheme designed to support the general welfare of horses and good equestrianism. The Top Endurance Rider Challenge (ERC) makes awards placing great emphasis on the technical skill of the rider and trainer through strict management of heart rate and recovery presentation time rather than just pure speed was a great success.

The main event of the weekend was the 120km CEIYJ** ERC Endurance Cup for Juniors & Young Riders which incorporated the new Top Endurance Rider Challenge for the first time. The race was won by Ahmed Yousef Al Baloushi riding Bac Dayre for Nad Al Sheba Stables trained by Yousef Ahmed Al Baloushi. Young rider Baloushi was supervised by assistant trainer Mohammed Nasser and was carefully guided through strategy to take this prestigious award. Meanwhile the winner of the speed version of the ride was Ali Mohammed Al Hosani riding Shanelli Park Judaan for Al Reef Stables...

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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Endurance Lifestyle: Celebrating the 'Sport of Shaikhs' - Full Article

December 29 2015

Endurance Lifestyle, dedicated to horse racing and riding, is a tribute to the peaceful and productive relations between Italy and the UAE

Endurance Lifestyle is a format event that takes place each year in Italy in enchanting locations throughout the amazing Italian territory. The 2015 edition took place in Tuscany; the Hippodrome of San Rossore and the Regional Park Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli were the main spots.

The most important and ancient horse competition in Italy, Endurance Lifestyle is organised by the Italian marketing, communication and event management company, SistemaEventi, and features Meydan as its main sponsor.

The aim of the international event is to merge the deepest nature with an endurance sport, and precisely with the 'Sport of Shaikhs'. Endurance Lifestyle hence is dedicated to horse riding and horse racing. In this, Endurance Lifestyle is also a tribute to the peaceful and productive relations between Italy and the UAE...

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Friday, January 01, 2016

New Zealand: Hawke's Bay nurse will ride for kids in the 1000 km Mongol Derby - Full Article

Last updated 16:32, January 1 2016

A Hawke's Bay paediatric nurse, who once considered a career as a jockey, will race 1000km across the Mongolian steppe later this year.

Krista Donnelly was inspired to tackle the Mongol Derby in August by deeds of another Kiwi competitor, Chloe Phillips-Harris who rode in the event in 2013.

"She did really well and it was quite well covered [in the media]. I have watched it every year since and I'm now at a point where I can do it," Donnelly said.

Phillips-Harris finished fifth and at the time she completed the course 12 riders had retired from the field while a further 13 were at least a day away from the finish line.

Kiwis have a proud tradition in the race since its inception in 2009, with double Olympian Madonna Harris among those to compete the gruelling event.

Harris, who represented New Zealand at both road cycling and cross-country skiing, had led for several days in the 2010 Derby, before finishing third...

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Australia: Tribute for Ron Males 1931-2024 Ronald Philip OAM “Ron” Aged 92 years 18/10/1931 – 3/6/2024 Passed away peacefully at home. Nothing could probably better...