Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wales: Liz and Martin Yelling help to launch 2016 Whole Earth Man v Horse - Full Article

by Athletics Weekly
March 30, 2016

Who will win – man or horse? Liz and Martin Yelling look ahead to this year’s Whole Earth Man v Horse challenge

Man v Horse is an event that has legendary status among endurance runners. As the name suggests, the annual race pits humans against horses, with runners and riders racing over approximately 22 miles of the challenging terrain of Powys, mid-Wales.

Now in its 37th year, the event has an amazing heritage. The original idea was conceived in a pub in Wales when a pub landlord overheard two men discussing that a man was equal to any horse over a great distance. Two years later the first Man v Horse race took place, though it was 25 years before man finally beat a horse to the finish line.

Huw Lobb was the first man to beat the horses with a time of 2:05:19 in 2004 – the same year that AW‘s editor Jason Henderson also took on the challenge. The feat has only been achieved once since then by Florian Holzinger with a time of 2:20:30 in 2007...

Read more and see video at

Scotland: Outdoor riding in Galloway - Full Article

Wednesday 30 March 2016

In March the local out-of-doors riding folks have enjoyed two very enjoyable outings.

Scottish Endurance Riding Club

The first ride was on Sunday 6th March on the Lochinch Estate organised by the Dumfries Branch of Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC).

Twenty-four riders enjoyed the snowdrop festival and lovely views of the lochs on the estate, in beautiful spring sunshine, by kind permission of Lord Stair...

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Great Britain: First Event for New Endurance Group - Full Article

(Published:31 March 2016)

The first major endurance ride of 2016 took place last weekend at Haywood Oaks in Nottinghamshire. Held over three days, the event welcomed all levels of rider starting from 8km Pleasure Riders at their first event up to 120km FEI Riders hoping to gain much needed International qualifications.

The first major Endurance ride of 2016 took place last weekend at Haywood Oaks in Nottinghamshire. Held over three days, the event welcomed all levels of rider starting from 8km Pleasure Riders at their first event up to 120km FEI Riders hoping to gain much needed International qualifications. The weekend saw a total entry of approximately 150 horses.

The two FEI classes – CEI 2* 120km and CEI 1* 90km – took place on Saturday, together with the main national class of the weekend set over 80km.

There were just four combinations starting the 120km. It’s early in the season to have horses fit enough for this distance but three combinations were successful, covering most of the route as a team and finishing together with an average speed of 14.07 kph. First to cross the line was 16 year old Charlotte Chadwick with her 9 year old gelding, Hazelcroft Gosens Tsar. Charlie was over the moon with her horse, “I cannot put into words how proud and pleased I am with my one in a million horse, Taz. It makes me cry to know that I trained him to be the horse he is today. Everything I have done from early mornings to late night trainings has now paid off...”

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

UAE Endurance: The real-life soap opera continues - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 30 March 2016

Television soap operas are a pretty poor substitute for the ongoing dramas we have seen unfolding in endurance in the United Arab Emirates.

In the latest gripping episode, we are left second-guessing events that unfolded around the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup, raced over 120km on March 19.

The FEI has said precious little about it, which has left the endurance community pondering whether a great deal of trouble is brewing or whether the FEI has its head buried in the desert sand.

My personal view is that another endurance storm is looming, and it could well blow up in the next few days.

Read more:

More Endurance Deaths in UAE? - Full Article

March 29, 2016

Three closely-spaced endurance rides in March at Dubai International Endurance City in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw at least two suspected and unreported horse deaths, and the downgrading of a scheduled CEI*** to a CEN, likely to avoid the FEI’s strict new measures regarding endurance.

Endurance racing in the UAE had been suspended earlier this year over continued concerns of horse welfare, including several equine deaths and video evidence of multiple cases of horse abuse. The FEI permitted the sport to resume under the FEI banner after the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) agreed to 12 welfare measures.

Despite the agreement, however, the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup held on March 19th was downgraded to a national event, but had previously been listed on the FEI calendar as a CEI*** and a qualifying event for the 2016 World Endurance Championship hosted by Dubai this December. The FEI does not have jurisdiction over national competitions...

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Progress Report - Full Article

March 24 2016
by: Organizing Committee for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™

Luc Fournier, the regional chief executive officer of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (COJEM), met with the regional press on March 22nd to provide an update on the organizing committee’s activities less than two and half years before the Games will be held.

Fournier is no stranger to major events, having spearheaded the Sherbrooke Canada Games from 2010 to 2013, the 1997 Quebec Winter Games, the Quebec Winter Carnival from 1997 to 2002, the Major International Events Network (MIEN) from 2002 to 2010, and the Canadian Festivals Coalition from 2006 to 2010. The Canada Games received all available awards for achieving sustainable development targets in 2013.

He compared organizing the World Equestrian Games to a city welcoming a new professional sports team or building a house. “It starts with a dream, followed by organization,” he said. “This is what we are doing at the moment. We are setting everything in motion. We have made our application – all levels of government are aware that time is of the essence. We are performing follow-ups, and we are conscious of the stakes. We have a small team that is very efficient and effective, and is growing every day...”

Read more here:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rebirth of Endurance Tests/ Roadmap to the Future/ Part 1: Endurance Testing Conceptual Chart - Full Article

by John Crandell


Thank you to the thousands who took the time to read the first nine segments of The Rebirth of Endurance Tests, and a very special thank you the many who made the additional contribution of sharing your comments, counterpoint and perspective. This remains a very collective exploration in which I am honored to be gathering and transmitting the energy of many, past and present.

To better engage this interaction of so many readers, I am dividing what I had previously forecast to be a single chapter named Roadmap to the Future into two parts. This first part will further a more specific conversation about where we ideally want to arrive, and soon to follow a second part will then describe specific steps to get from here to there.

Forwarded to guide conversation here is an Endurance Testing Program conceptual model in flowchart format. This chart extends beyond the conventional boundaries of endurance racing to show relationship in the broader equestrian racing and distance riding communities. This is offered as a work platform for developing in the best possible compatibility with traditional ideas and institutions around the world, while allying this diversity for optimal effectiveness in supporting equine welfare.

The accuracy of projections, and the effectiveness of any action plan to bring about change can only be as good as our vision of where we intend to go.

The best path will reveal itself when we build a beacon that shines brightly together.

Interpretation and Use of the Endurance Testing Conceptual Chart

To better express the most effective functional relationship between different classes of equine distance tests, the definitions and parameters of fields in the racing side (Right) of this graphic are different than current conventions. What has lately been identified as “Limited Distance” racing in North America and by other monikers elsewhere is named here as equine Marathon, a term for racing in this range that pre-existed the more recent terminologies. The category of Endurance Race in this conceptual exercise is more specifically reserved for tests in a physiologically distinct zone beyond the range of a primary metabolic surge of effort for equines. The category Extended Marathon covers race events in the broad transition zone between Marathon and Endurance Race as defined in this conceptual exercise.

Gesturally depicted here is as expressed in earlier chapters of Rebirth of Endurance Tests ; Endurance Racing sits at the conceptual crossroads of sport and science.

Arrows indicate proposed developmental pathways. This proposal is again quite different from conventional qualification procedures or development pathways of the either AERC or FEI. It is more consistent with effective development processes in North America prior to the mid-1980’s, and with the more recent rules of events at Boudheib in Abu Dhabi. Notice that by the specific direction of the pathway arrows, the Marathon races (orange blocks) that are so popular today are not even part of the proposed ideal development pathway toward Endurance Racing. These Marathon classes are depicted here as a sport racing group (yellow/orange), which exists along the edge of the unethical, just as we have witnessed in vivo. The intent here is not to condemn all races in these classes, for there is a lot of good science that can come out of tests in this area. This does graphically express how tests in the Marathon and an Extended Marathon range can easily challenge the limits of veterinary control technologies and become unethical if we direct the test conditions to become too sensationally sporting.

The type of criterion for advancement varies according the type of test. CTR events are capable of yielding academic performance grading (AG), and this is an ideal basis for advancement criterion when available. For advancement through race classes, some variant of completion rate (CR) criterion might afford the best equine welfare protection. Example: “< 65% completion rate finishing at least three races in the top 50% of the field of competition”. With effective rule structure, some of the criterion elements shown here might not be essential for the welfare of the horse, and should be optional at the discretion of regional governance. This might be particularly true of advancement between CTRs. When the veterinary control systems are well developed and supported by conservative test conditions, unprepared horses are reliably identified and dismissed from test early without harm. The potential for failure is then an eloquently adequate discourager of premature advancement. In fact, the more a program can be self-regulating in this manner the better. We should never use advancement criterion simply to inflate participation in events for the support of image and bureaucracy...

Read the full article here:

New Zealand: Philip Graham notches first NZ 160km endurance champs win - Full Article

Robin Marshall | 27 March 2016

A Canterbury combination has taken out New Zealand’s CEI3* National Endurance Championships over 160km, with Philip Graham and Rosewood Bashir prevailing in the 19-strong field at Springfield, west of Christchurch, on Saturday.

Graham rode the 13-year-old Rosewood Bashir to win in 10 hours and 43 minutes flat over the challenging Canterbury course, about 65km from Christchurch. Mid-Canterbury challenger Kevin James rode into second place with Glendaar Fire Maid in 11:00.49, with Northern visitor Ashley Cole third on Kahuna Moon in 12:06.37.

It was Graham’s first national 160km championship win, though he has achieved several completions. The field was packed with previous winners, including last year’s winner Georgia Smith, Sian Reed (2012), Mark Tylee (2005, 2007, 2009) Jenny Champion (2008), Kevin James (2002, 2003, 1998, 1996) and Andrea Mason (1991, 1996)...

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Australia: Queensland Parliament Seeking Opinions on Hendra Vaccine - Full Article

By Pat Raia
Mar 19, 2016

The Agricultural and Environment Committee of the Queensland, Australia, Parliament is asking veterinarians and others there to share their thoughts about the use of EquiVacc, an equine vaccine developed to fight Hendra virus, in horses.

The virus was first recognized in 1994 following the death of a popular horse trainer and 20 horses in Hendra, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. Hendra virus (HeV) occurs naturally in flying foxes, or “megabats,” found in Australia.

“The megabats carry the virus but don't get sick,” explained Melissa Hines, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

The virus, which to date has only been found in Australia, is thought to be transferred to horses via contaminated urine, feces, and/or fetal fluids. According to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), the disease can cause respiratory or neurologic signs of disease in horses, and 70% of the horses that tested positive for the virus die...

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Endurance Great Britain events put focus on welfare - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 22nd-Mar-2016

Great Britain is to host four new endurance events this summer – with all prize money going to the horses that finish in the best condition.

Best Condition Award

The events at Euston Park in will be fun in ‘strict accordance’ with the FEI’s Best Condition Awards.

Each course will be designed to keep horse speeds down to an average 20kph and will include up to five vet gates. The events will use ‘sophisticated veterinary knowledge and experience’ to ensure they adhere to the highest standards of horse welfare.
The biggest change to the events is that all prize money will be allocated to the Best Condition Award.

'Restore the reputation'

“The Euston Park rides offer Great Britain an opportunity to restore the reputation of the discipline by enforcing our key values of endurance riding,” said John Hudson, chairman of Endurance GB...

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

UAE endurance: Gauging the depth of frustration - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 22 March 2016

Petitions have been a time-honored way to highlight a cause, and the one that seeks to have this year’s World Endurance Championships moved from the United Arab Emirates has certainly done that.

Petitions can be treated purely as a numbers game, but the internet has changed the terrain somewhat.

What constitutes a good number of signatures on a petition about an equestrian discipline that is little known outside the horse world? A thousand? Two thousand? Fifty thousand?

Who knows? The petition that targets the Dubai event had 5385 at the time of writing, which I would suggest is a solid show of support, indeed, for a sport with a modest international profile.

The first tranche of 4000 online signatures went to FEI President Ingmar De Vos on February 10.

For me, the comments posted by the mix of individuals who signed the petition provide valuable insight into the prevailing views on this matter.

One hopes that De Vos and the FEI’s endurance chiefs have taken the time to read the responses, for they paint a picture of a very angry horse community...

Read more:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Great Britain: New organisers reveal exciting Golden Horseshoe plans - Full Article

Rachael Hook
09:55 - 19 March, 2016

The new organisers of the Golden Horseshoe have been confirmed and they have exciting plans for the ride’s future.

Last year the competition celebrated its 50th anniversary, but with former organiser Barbara Wigley stepping down and no new organiser in the pipeline, the future of the ride was uncertain.

However, new organisers Jo and Andrew Chisholm (pictured) have now taken the reins of the popular Exmoor endurance competition...


UAE: Rashid Dalmook wins second consecutive Dubai Crown Prince Cup - Full Article

Ghanim Said finished runner-up two seconds ahead of Saeed Mohammed Khalifa

Published: 17:44 March 19, 2016 Gulf News
Staff Report

Dubai In an impressive display of riding skill and sportsmanship, Shaikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum earned a second victory in the prestigious Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup, triumphantly crossing the finish line with outstretched arms in the company of MRM teammate, Saeed Mohammad Al Mehairi and Ghanim Said Salim Al Owaisi of F3 Stables.

Maintaining contact and the striking distance of the best horses and riders was Shaikh Dalmook’s strategy in the ride that included a roster of 158 national and international participants...

Read more here:

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Maktoums: From Bedouins to Billionaires (Part I) - Full Article

March 15 2016

Time does not wait in Dubai. It is an impatient measure of what is immediately past and what is going to happen next. And so it is for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum who dreamt the same dreams of his father, Sheikh Rashid…the dream of transforming Dubai from a sleepy seaport dependent on pearling into an international trading center sustaining his people into the future. Yet this Sheikh doesn’t just conjur; he plans and executes. He hires the brightest of talent and expects the best in performance. He operates, in part, from OPM (other people’s money)…investment dollars. And like any dream that requires a kind of myopia with the reality of investments amid world fiscal meltdowns and international terrorism, Sheikh Mohammed never wavered from his vision of Dubai. Much like the racehorse in flight, he grabs the bit and charges forward.

Of the things that Sheikh Mohammed treasures beyond Dubai’s future are his children and his horses. For this is a determined man, a champion endurance rider himself, who has consistently infused the pockets of bluegrass breeders at the Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton auctions in his quest for the Kentucky Derby roses and Breeders' Cup glory. The Maktoum brothers first set their sights on American bloodstock in 1980, spending $2.45 mil on primarily the Northern Dancer line (Levin/2002). “The Dancer” had been a relatively smallish colt but had proven heart and stamina on the American track in the 60s. As a sire, his progeny had proved adept on all track surfaces, particularly grass, which was the European, Asian and Australian surface of choice. The Dubai entourage was just getting warmed up when in ‘84 they spent close to $42 mil setting a record for single day sales at Fasig-Tipton. Continuing to make purchases into the present day with his majib, led by John Ferguson and some of the finest bloodstock minds in the racing industry, they are a force in international racing. Of note is the fact that 1980 was not the first sale attended by “Sheikh Mo” in Lexington. The previous year he flew commercially into Lexington incognito. Upon arrival he discovered that the area’s hotels were booked to capacity and ended up staying at a small motel down the road from Keeneland. The next morning, dressed to blend in, he hovered in the back of the sales theatre, careful not to draw the attention of the Irish bloodstock agents from the Curragh that might recognize him from British stakes racing where the Maktoum brothers had been making their mark (Wilson/2006).

What is unique about the Maktoum mentality is that they consider any loss as a lesson and a factor in the next victory….something to build upon...

Read more here:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Emirates Airline backs 2016 Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup - Full Article

Ride brings the curtain down on the week-long Festival t the Dubai International Endurance City

Published: 15:32 March 17, 2016 Gulf News
Staff Report

Dubai The CEI 3* Dubai Crown Prince Endurance ride, sponsored by Emirates Airline and organised by Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC), will be held on Saturday and will bring the curtain down on the week-long Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival at the Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC).

The festival, which commenced earlier this week included four separate endurance rides featuring the CEN Dubai Crown Prince Ride for Ladies on Monday, the CEN 100km Dubai Crown Prince Ride Restricted to Private Stables/Individuals on Tuesday and the CEN 120km Yamamah Endurance Cup for Mares on Wednesday.

The prestigious Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Ride will be held over 140km...

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

FEI launches bid process for key events

15 Mar 2016

The bid process has opened today (15 March) for bid cities seeking to host the FEI European Championships 2019 and the FEI World Cup™ Finals in four disciplines for 2019 through to 2021.

Bids are invited for the FEI European Championships 2019 across all FEI Disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – with the choice to host single or combined disciplines.

Applications for FEI World Cup™ Finals in Jumping, Dressage, Driving and Vaulting are open for 2019, 2020 and 2021, with bidders encouraged to host all four disciplines together.

Allocations will be made at the FEI Bureau meeting during the FEI General Assembly in November 2016.

“It is really exciting to launch the bid process for some of our key events”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said today. “The process is designed to select candidates able to deliver sporting events of the highest quality and raise the profile of our sport.

“We are looking forward to receiving a wide range of bids from across Europe for the FEI European Championships 2019 and from cities around the world for the FEI World Cup Finals in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and expect applications from new cities as our sport continues to grow across the globe.”

The Bid Application & Questionnaire and Bid Guide is now available for download by interested parties here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Four big UK endurance rides announced; prize-money only for best-conditioned - Full Article | 15 March 2016

Four world-class endurance rides will be held at Euston Park in Britain this northern summer, with a promise that the ability of horses to finish in the best condition possible will be a focus of the contests.

In a major move, it was announced that all prize-money would be allocated for the Best Condition Award.

A similar strategy has been used with considerable success this season at the Bou Thieb endurance venue in the United Arab Emirates, where awarding the lion’s share of prize-money to the best-conditioned horses has been a key component in local rules that have kept speeds down and drastically reduced injury and veterinary issues...

Read more:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Endurance: Tales from the FEI’s X-Files - Full Article | 14 March 2016

Many years ago, when I was at the bottom of the pecking order in a newsroom, it was my job to sort the morning mail and distribute it to the reporters.

I worked with a lovely woman named Gaynor Loriman. Every month or so, Gaynor received a mailed newsletter from the South Korean embassy in New Zealand. It was addressed to Gay Nor Fori Mar.

Years later, when I was picture editor at another newspaper, I got my very own letter from the Korean embassy. In the days before digital pictures, they had kindly sent me an updated head-and-shoulders file photograph of their beloved president. I opened the cardboard cylinder and pulled out a poster, measuring 1 metre by 1.5 metres.

This is the same nation that went on to give us Psy and Gangnam Style. That, I guess, is just how the quirky South Koreans roll.

I have been pondering these past few days about how the FEI rolls, as we digest the two FEI Tribunal decisions relating to the series of rides in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in which the results inexplicably mirrored those of previous races...

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Endurance in UAE has outpaced skills of trainers and riders, expert suggests - Full Article | 13 March 2016

Endurance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has grown faster than the skills of trainers and riders, an American specialist in the discipline who once worked as a trainer in the region told an international conference.

Emmett Ross told delegates to the inaugural International Bou Thieb Endurance Conference of the need for education to further the sport in the region.

Ross is a past chef d’equipe to the US Endurance Team and is shortly to take on the organization of the endurance section for the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Bromont, Canada.

Ross suggested that the intense pressure to win from many owners and the high levels of prize money had given rise to many of the region’s problems...

Read more:

Friday, March 11, 2016

UAE Suspensions: Return of the Bogi - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 11, 2016

News that Dr Hallvard Sommerseth has been suspended for a mere two years for his role in the submission of over 500 sets of bogus endurance results to the FEI makes you wonder exactly what heinous crime a senior figure in global equestrianism has to commit to get the possible lifetime FEI ban for fraud. I guess that holding up the FEI accounts department and demanding all the Longines money would result in little more than polite escort from the King Hussein building and a nice box of Swiss chocolates to eat on the way home.

Abdul Aziz Mohammed Yasin Sheikh, head of the endurance department at the UAE federation, is also suspended for just 18 months for his part in this fiasco. Both will also have to re-qualify as four-star judges before they are allowed to officiate again. Well, that’s an extra bummer for them – not.

To introduce some much needed levity when unravelling the Bogus Rides scam 12 months ago, my plucky helpers christened the perpetrators “the Bogi.”

Well, it looks like the Bogi will return soon. As they receive credit for time served already, Sommerseth can return to judging next year. He has no doubt been able to claim back his derisory 4,000 Swiss francs fine as a business expense from his employers...

Read more here:

Boudheib Endurance Rules Put Welfare of the Horse First - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

"Reform or stop, no compromise," said HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

11 March, 2016, Abu Dhabi ~ The 1st International Boudhieb Endurance Conference was held on 10 March, 2016 outside Abu Dhabi at the Boudhieb Endurance Village. Disrupted by extraordinary storms and a deluge of rain, the 1st International Endurance Seminar had to be postponed for a day, but this did not stop participants and guests from enjoying a most interesting and thought provoking event which set out to discuss and expand on what has become to be known as the Boudhieb Rules.

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nayhanthe moving spirit for not only the Conference but also for the Boudhieb Rules was present throughout, and he was delighted by the attendance and appreciated the strong support his ideas received from the speakers and guests.

The Boudhieb Rules have sparked an intense debate both Nationally and Internationally about the meaning of endurance, whether the long distance flat races run against the clock as seen in UAE can legitimately be called endurance or whether other criteria which ensure the welfare of the horse are not more relevant to the spirit of the sport. For His Highness there is no doubt and the Boudhieb Rules reflect his ideals. He issued an ultimatum, “Reform or stop – no compromise...”

Read more here:

FEI Tribunal publishes decisions in UAE Endurance cases

11 Mar 2016

The FEI Tribunal has this week published decisions in three Endurance cases in the United Arab Emirates involving Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, Abdul Aziz Sheikh and Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi.

Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, former Head of the Veterinary Department at the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), has been suspended as an FEI Official for a two-year period for non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations and his involvement in a number of events from which duplicate results were submitted to the FEI.

The FEI Tribunal found that Dr Sommerseth had been “grossly negligent with regards to his duties as an FEI Official” during the events. Dr Sommerseth had been provisionally suspended by the FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez since 31 August 2015.

The FEI Tribunal suspension, which prevents Dr Sommerseth from acting as an FEI Official or having any involvement in FEI activities at a national or international level, runs through to 15 April 2017. The FEI Tribunal, which also fined Dr Sommerseth CHF 4,000 and ordered him to pay CHF 1,500 towards the costs of the legal procedure, took into account the ongoing provisional suspension imposed by the FEI Secretary General and the period from 12 March to 27 July 2015 when the EEF was suspended.

Dr Sommerseth has 21 days from the date of notification (10 March 2016) to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The full decision is available here.

Abdul Aziz Sheikh, former Head of the EEF Endurance Department, has been suspended from acting as an FEI Official or having any involvement in FEI activities at a national or international level by the FEI Tribunal for an 18-month period.

Mr Sheikh was provisionally suspended by the FEI Secretary General on 13 October 2015 for consistently failing to observe the FEI Rules and Regulations over a period of several years and for allowing a number of Endurance events to proceed without accurate timing systems.

The FEI Tribunal has now suspended him until 12 April 2017, taking into account the provisional suspension imposed by the FEI Secretary General. Mr Sheikh has also been fined CHF 3,000 and ordered to pay CHF 1,500 towards the costs of the legal procedure.

Mr Sheikh has 21 days from the date of notification (10 March 2016) to appeal the decision to CAS.

The full decision is available here.

The FEI Tribunal has also issued a decision in the case against Ali Mohammed Al Muhairi (UAE) regarding breaches of the terms of a four-year suspension imposed in March 2012 following an Equine Anti-Doping Rules violation. Under the terms of the suspension, Mr Al Muhairi was not allowed to participate in any capacity or be present at any Event authorised or organised by the FEI, other than as a spectator. The FEI Tribunal extended the period of ineligibility through to 21 April 2016 and ordered Mr Al Muhairi to contribute CHF 500 towards the costs of the legal procedure.

The Parties have 21 days from the date of notification (10 March 2016) to appeal the decision to CAS.

The full decision is available here.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

FEI World Equestrian Games Endurance Competition Formats Proposals

During the in person meeting of the FEI Endurance Technical Committee, held on the 16th and 17th of February 2016, the Committee following the FEI Bureau request, considered the following proposals:

Number of combinations in the Team and Individual competitions by NF for 2022:

- The Committee agrees on having NO DROP SCORE in the Teams competition;
- The Teams will be composed by 3 combinations per NF, that cannot compete in the Individual competition;
- The Individual competition will be allowed to have 2 combinations per NF, that cannot compete in the Team competition;
- Each NF will be allowed to enter at the most 5 combinations, 3 in the Team and 2 for the Individual competition;
- Reserve combination/s will not be allowed in either Team or Individual competitions;

It’s of major concern to the Committee to ensure an existing podium for the Teams competition, therefore the following proposals were considered:

- Endurance will have two days of competitions, one day for the Individual competition and another day for the Teams competition;
- Day 1: Veterinary inspection for 160km individual competition
- Day 2: 160km WEC
- Day 3: Best Condition Judging 160km WEC
Veterinary Inspection for Teams Competition
- Day 4: Teams competition;

For the format of the competitions the following proposals were considered:
- 160 Km Individual / rest day/ 120 Km Teams
- 160 Km Individual / rest day / 150 Km Teams relay (each horse one loop of 50 Km)
- 160 Km Individual / rest day / 2 days 100 Km Teams
- 160 Km Individual / rest day / 160 Km Teams

For information, last November the FEI General Assembly approved to reduce the number of combinations from 7 (with two drop scores) to 5 (one drop score) with 4 combinations in the Team, plus a reserve combination This is a very significant change in Endurance made last year for the 2018 WEG.

As for qualifications, they have already started, so it’s not possible to change them at this stage for 2018, but it will possible for 2022 once a final format for the competition is found.

The Committee also considered two proposals:

From the Swiss NF

The race is carried out over a qualifying phase of the first ca. 140 Km at a controlled speed, demanding mostly endurance and tactical skills, and is followed by a final phase over the last ca. 20 Km at an unlimited speed on adapted technical terrain and topography, demanding endurance, tactical and technical skills.

The race consists of two parts:

a) Qualifying phase:
1 – ca. 140 Km with Vet Gates (VG) etc. as defined in existing regulations;
At fixed speed, to be defined for each race, but always ≤17Km/h resulting in fixed exit
time at the last VG (calculated from fixed speed over ca. 140 Km including compulsory
halts) for the last loop;
Horses faster than fixed speed are held in last VG at ca. 140 Km until fixed time exit;
Horses slower than fixed speed have to pass compulsory halt and individually leave the VG
later than the fixed exit time;

b) Final phase:
Mass start (?) of all horses having passed the compulsory half time in last VG at fixed exit
Last ca. 20 Km at unlimited speed on good ground, adapted technical terrain and
Final ranking depending on chronological passing the finish line (the first horse wins);

From the Alliance of Endurance Organisers

Two levels of competition
The “Elite Status” does not apply in either case.

Championship: CEI 5* over a distance of 160 Km
Criterium: CEI 4* over a distance of 140 Km

Two events over two days:

1st day: Championship
Ride over 160 Km
One or two riders per country
Individual ranking only

2nd day: Criterium
Ride over 140 Km
Three or Four riders per country
Team ranking only

For discussion:

• Up to five horse/rider pairs per country can take part

• More open to countries that are developing endurance

• Fewer starters for each event

• Use of facilities and tracks for two days

• More attractive to spectators

• Two different events: more countries can be represented

• Elite system up to the level of Championship

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Inquiry into issues around Australia’s Hendra horse vaccine - Full Article | 26 February 2016

Issues around the Hendra vaccine for horses will be the subject of a Queensland parliamentary committee inquiry.

Queensland’s Parliament has asked its Agriculture and Environment Committee to examine the EquiVacc vaccine, including claims by some owners of adverse reactions in horses after receiving it.

The committee will also examine the stance of some veterinarians in refusing to treat unvaccinated horses and what effects that has on horses, the industry and the economy. The committee will report back by August 22.

The availability of the vaccine for horses has been hailed as a major advance in the fight against the disease, but some horse owners are reluctant to use it.

Some vets are refusing to treat horses that have not been inoculated amid fears they will be prosecuted under health and safety laws if they treat an unvaccinated horse that later presents with Hendra infection...

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Arabian horse legend Sheila Varian dies at 79 - Full Article | 8 March 2016

Renowned US arabian horse breeder Sheila Varian has died at the age of 79 after a battle with cancer, which was diagnosed in 2013.

Varian, who died on the morning of March 6, had been breeding horses since 1954 and was considered one of the world’s leading breeders of arabian horses, but she was also well known in western riding circles.

Ridden by Sheila, Ronteza (*Witez II x Ronna by Faronek) notched up three “firsts” at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in the 1961, the first Arabian, the first female rider, and the first amateur rider to “win the world” – the Reined Cow Horse World Championships, a contest dominated by quarter horses.

She was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2003.

The Varians were among the first to import arabians from Poland. Varian said: “I didn’t breed my stallions to follow any trends. I’ve always tried to take the best stallion and breed it to the best mare for the purposes I had in mind. I have had a deep fondness for the Arabians from Poland – however I recognize that all Arabians came from the desert originally so quality is more important than origin...”

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Friday, March 04, 2016

The Rebirth of Endurance Tests - Full Article

by John Crandell
February 28 2016

• Prologue
• The Time Is Now
• The Genesis of Modern Endurance
• Expansion Across North America
• FEI Enters the Scene
• Back in the USA
• Our Issues are More Alike Than We Realize
• A Rebirth Begins
• Building Wise Endurance Testing Programs
• Roadmap to the Future (COMING SOON)
• Creating Healthy Goalposts and Incentives (COMING SOON)


Endurance riding was once on the vanguard of equine welfare, generating new definition in the meaning of equine welfare itself. Now that honorable position is obscured under a mountain of saddening imagery on the internet and a growing contempt from other equestrians over the level of equitation and horsemanship displayed at endurance races.

Who’s to blame? We all are, and perhaps especially those of us that have been engaged in the discipline as long as myself. I’ve been endurance racing for over forty years now; long enough to have won two Tevis and Haggin Cups, first to finish at six Old Dominion 100 mile Rides, and FEI championship medals as early as 1986 and as late as 2010. I certainly should have known better, should have spoken out more at the right time way back when. Well, no time like the present.

It’s impossible address the governance issues we’re now facing in a way that guarantees that they’ll never return if we can’t openly identify our collective mistakes that allowed this travesty to develop in the first place. So please notice that as I dissect this calamity of errors, I offend people on both sides of highly polarized positions equally. I have been party to both camps and am therefore as culpable as anyone.

I will show that the root issue here has been brooding for a long time, and goes back to a time before the involvement of the Federation Equestrian International (FEI) and well before the Persian Gulf countries participation in internationally sanctioned endurance racing.

The Time is Now

At this time the entire world, especially the equestrian community, is aware of the alarming spectacle of endurance racing activity in the United Arab Emirates. This has devastated the already fragile reputation of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), which sanctions these races. The FEI has been supplying the public years of image posturing and repeated announcements that is making “sweeping changes”, but the carnage has continued with its renewed sanctioning.

Meanwhile in the United States the endurance riding disciplines national governing body is in a different kind of downward spiral. The economic demography of the U.S.A. has lured the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) into a dangerous trap. When businesses and organizations here listen to their constituents too democratically what they will always hear most loudly is that “we want more quantity, less cost; and we enjoy being patronized gratuitously”. Following this mandate usually creates economic growth initially, but it then leads to departure from the organizations original purpose, alienation of its original supporters, and declining standards until there is nowhere lower to go in order to acquire new members.

This is written as a warning to other regions with developing equestrian programs not to follow in our footsteps. The following is chronical of the foolish choices we’ve made that led to this mess nationally and internationally. Review this history to learn by our mistakes as the modern endurance riding discipline begins an inevitable rebirth.

There is a great spark of hope in the initiatives demonstrated at the Bouthib racecourse in Abu Dhabi. This is essentially a step back in the discipline’s history to the point in time before we began to let it go so far astray. This is the place from where we need to start again, a little wiser this time.

Our goal needs to be much more than just a tolerable amount animal suffering for the benefit of our sporting amusement. As worldwide awareness of the animal welfare sharpens, equine sports are under increasing pressure to evolve into exercises that genuinely benefit the animals. Just to “do little harm” as the general public may see it, to have image managed by skillful public relations tactics, is no longer enough. The modern world is demanding scientifically sound definitions and equitable practices of animal welfare.

Endurance riding has potential greater than any other equestrian discipline to have a positive impact in the future health and happiness of equines. The disciplines ability to closely mimic the natural challenges that forged horses as we have come to know them makes it the ideal platform for maintaining vital knowledge in genealogy, and of naturally good husbandry of the animals. This species that has carried mankind to prominence on earth desperately needs us to get this right, and we need to get this right for ourselves as well.

I’m going to point out how at time decades ago, when the world was looking to us in North America for concepts and inspiration, we had begun to make a pivotal error in the way we were allowing the distance riding discipline to be structured and governed. That fundamental flaw became embedded into the very foundation of endurance racing as it developed into an international sport with utterly dysfunctional result.

What at first seemed small and tolerable deviation from the noble philosophies that spawned the first modern endurance races here in America half century ago as has become a fundamentally dysfunctional system. In the most recent three decades it has become layered with additional distortions of best practices in order to better support the pomp and image of an international circus.

In North America that same error has had a nearly opposite effect as elsewhere, creating a loss of motivation to pursue equestrian excellence in all its aspects. This has forfeited the disciplines potential to adequately support the best breeding practices, and caused a visible decline in basic horsemanship and equitation in the distance riding community. The impact on equine welfare here has been more insidious, but it is no less tragic for horses in the end. We have simply learned how not to see it in our midst...

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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Uproar in Arabian Horse World - Full Article

Heads of Poland’s State Studs Janow Podlaski and Michalow have been dismissed

February 24 2016

The Arabian horse world is in turmoil as it has been announced that the heads of Poland’s State Studs Janow Podlaski and Michalow have been dismissed.

On February 19th, news broke the Polish Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Property Agency has released Janow Podlaski director Marek Trela, Michalow director Jerzy Bialobok, and the Agricultural Property Agency’s chief Arabian horse specialist Anna Stojanowska from their long-held positions.

In response, the global Arabian horse community is calling for their reinstatement. Petitions in Polish and English are circulating. The English language petition has already gained more than 3,000 signatures.

Organizers of the petition claim that the removal of Trela, Bialobok and Stojanowska leaves the Polish Arabian in jeopardy. It is feared that the tradition of breeding excellence is now at risk, as these knowledgeable professionals are replaced...

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New Zealand: Sights set on World Equestrian Games - Full Article 10 July 2024 By Alice Scott Nenthorn Valley farmer Susie Latta has unfinished business representing New Zealan...