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...

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