Monday, February 01, 2016

UAE: Endure or Disappear - Full Article

Posted by ERF on Jan 31, 2016

In the video in this article, it shows the end of the 120 km Endurance ‘competition’ at Al Wathba in Dubai. FIVE riders were disqualified for beating horses. One rider/crew wasn’t reported in time for beating his horse, so wasn’t disqualified. There is no further punishment. This is difficult viewing, but it must be seen. One horse is reported as having sustained a CI (catastrophic injury) the end result for which should necessarily be euthanasia. Several horses just ‘vanished’ mid ride. No vet saw them, they didn’t return to the gates.

Here are some stills from the video – all these people chasing individual horses that are so tired they are close to collapse. Imagine if this happened in eventing or racing in the UK? Or even anywhere else in Europe. The ariel view has ONE horse in it. ONE.

The FEI have to act – how can they entertain the Endurance World Championships being held in Dubai with these levels of abuse, never mind the blatant rule breaking that is going on?

Below is a take on why this is happening, from Rachel Marty, a Dutch Endurance rider. Although a fascinating read, it doesn’t offer much hope for the horses in the Group VII countries. A huge thanks to Rachel for taking the time to write this.

Norm Change and UAE Endurance

This video shows exactly what the problem is with UAE endurance: the horse is solely seen as a means to an end. A machine carrying riders/trainers/owners to a desirable result. A thing that is used until it breaks. Nobody of the visible spectators seems to care about the fate of these animals. There is a mass of people that simply chooses to ignore that these horses are simply too tired to go on. Mass of people that even participates to their destruction.

Personally, I find this video more disturbing to see than the pictures of poor Bundy who was photographed stranded in the UAE sand during the Al Reef Cup last year with his two broken forelegs. Yes, of course I also found that disturbing, don’t get me wrong. But this video shows even more clearly the lack of any kind of humanity, decency or empathy towards the horses. And then I ask myself: is it even possible to change such characteristics and turn them around into the norm we would so much like to see employed: the endurance horse as a partner, companion and priority to its rider/trainer/owner? Is the step from one to the other not simply too big?...

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