The FEI’s endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, is understood to be in Abu Dhabi as the world governing body pushes for endurance reforms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
His arrival follows a meeting last week at FEI headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, with members of the Emirates Equestrian Federation to discuss the endurance issue.
The FEI is hoping that the UAE will adopt rules similar to those adopted at Sheikh Sultan Al Nahyan’s endurance facility at Bouthieb.
The local rules are designed to keep speeds, which are GPS-monitored, down to 20kmh. The majority of prize-money goes to the best-conditioned horses, judged on the accumulation of scores from each vet gate.
The results have been stunning, with only a handful of horses requiring moderate veterinary assistance among more than 1000 which have competed under the rules so far.
Bandeira de Mello, in a statement last month, acknowledged the six fatalities that had occurred in UAE endurance up to that point.
“It is abundantly clear,” he said, “that speed is a major factor in these incidents and that it is necessary to introduce measures to slow down the horses in order to reduce the number of catastrophic injuries.
“The FEI is in urgent discussions with the Emirates Equestrian Federation and individual event organisers to introduce similar protocols to those used so successfully at the recent event in Bouthieb to reduce the speed.
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