Saturday, April 30, 2016

Alex Luque wins 2016 Spanish Endurance Championship

April 30 2016

Alex Luque, riding the 8-year-old Abha Quely, won the 160-km Spanish Championship on April 30 near Badajoz, Spain. The pair finished with a time of 7:50.01, 13 minutes ahead of second place Angel Soy aboard Toumai Eureka. Maria Alvarez and Zefira finished in 3rd, 1 second behind Soy. Toumani Eureka won the Best Condition award.

Eight of 31 starters completed the ride.

See the complete results here:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Qatar: The Sheikha - Full Article

A new generation of sportswomen is scoring pioneering victories in the fast-changing culture of the Arab Peninsula. One of them is Sheikha Reem bint Muhammad bin Faisal Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family who works tirelessly to encourage more women to take up equestrian sports.

April 24 2016

Text maria graae Photography daniel stjerne

Taken from the Summer 2014 issue of The Horse Rider’s Journal

Reem is another name for the small Arabian Sand Gazelle, found only in the Arabian Peninsula and distinguished by its elegant frame and big eyes. Like her namesake, Sheikha Reem lives in Doha and thrives in Qatar’s deserts, one of the harshest climates on Earth. For centuries, these deserts have tested humankind; now they serve as a scenic backdrop and a permanent challenge for the young Qatari endurance rider when she is training and racing her horses. “It gives me happiness and joy,” she says, softly and almost to herself, “being out here in the desert with my horses.”
A couple of years ago, still in her early twenties, Sheikha Reem shattered whatever stereotypes the West might harbour regarding the lives of women living in the Arabian Peninsula when she became the first Qatari woman ever to participate in an international endurance race...

Read more here:

Great Britain: Ambitious challenge for Alfie and his horse Poppy - Full Article

28 APR 2016

Alfie Wilton, who is seven-years-old, rides Poppy the pony with a number of local horse riding groups through the Sport Endurance organisation.

A YOUNG boy from East Leake with ADHD and autism has set himself the challenge of riding 100 miles on his beloved horse this year to raise money for charity.

Alfie Wilton, who is seven-years-old, rides Poppy the pony with a number of local horse riding groups through the Sport Endurance organisation.

The rides, which he takes while mum Debra and nan Jean walk alongside him, have a calming effect on Alfie and last year he won the East Midlands Junior Rider of the Year award at the Sport Endurance National Awards...

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pinol tops in 120-km National Championship Endurance Ride of Portugal - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

Laia Soria Pinol and Kz Magica
25 April, 2016, Fronteira, Portugal~ Laia Soria Pinol riding Kz Magica won the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival-sponsored 120-km National Championship ride of Portugal held in Fronteira on Saturday, 23 April 2016.

Pinol finished the 120-km ride, run in five stages, ahead of Marisa Bote Chamorro on Tirante with Maite Melgusa Minguez on Harrison in third place. Pinol completed the five-stage ride in 6 hours 24 minutes and 01 seconds at an average speed of 18.74 kms while Chamorro on Tirante did the 120-km distance in 6:32.49...

Read more here:

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Fair Endurance" Facebook group starts petition to reinstate 2016 FEI WEC in Dubai

April 25 2016

A Facebook group, "Fair Endurance," for "Endurance riders, horses, trainers and owners of the horses," has created a petition on

Countering the 6600-plus-signature petition that was started in February to remove the WEC from Dubai - which the FEI subsequently did - the Fair Endurance group, citing "FAIR PLAY FOR ATHLETES," initiated the petition to reinstate the 2016 FEI World Endurance Championship in Dubai as it was legally appointed by the FEI Bureau in December 2014. "Play sports, not politics!"

The petition further states:

On 7 April 2016 the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI - the International Federation for Equestrian Sports) suddenly cancels the 2016 World Endurance Championships in Dubai that was legally appointed in December 2014.

Read official statement of the FEI Bureau.

Two months ago the FEI and Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) made an agreement that established stricter conditions of all Endurance competitions in the UAE.

Trying to punish UAE riders, indeed the FEI punished all riders from all the world that come to the UAE to start in Endurance competitions.


We ask all equestrian people to sign this petition, because that agreement between FEI and EEF should be voided as illegal.
Any amendments to the FEI Endurance Rules must be approved by all the National Federations at FEI General Assembly, not by separate agreement between FEI and EEF.


We hereby petition the FEI to revoke the unwarranted and prejudicial ‘Final Exams Maximum Pulse between 56 and 60 bpm within 10 and 15 minutes’.

• These rules are not practical and affecting us as riders, negatively. 

• We are unable to compete in such unfair situations, without achieving the goal of successfully finishing the ride. 

• There is no level-playing field by implementing such stringent measures for the purpose of punishing any country or any region. 

• FEI published Endurance Rules to be followed in all international competitions, Article: 814.1.5.5: “At the Final Inspection, the Maximum Pulse shall be 64 bpm within 30 minutes”.

Furthermore, we request the FEI to reinstate the FEI World Endurance Championships to take place from 10-17 December 2016 at the Dubai Equestrian Club (UAE).

If a different venue be chosen, we as riders will be affected because of the following reasons:

• Advancing the qualification dates and the event dates, will in turn put the pressure on riders and horses to qualify within such a short period.

• This will not give enough time to qualify the riders & horses, which is not fair.

• Training plans will have to be changed, based on the climatic conditions & track.

• Deciding the venue, just two or three months prior to the event, will affect horses results and welfare of horses will be of high concern.

• The terrain and climatic conditions will not be known until the 14 June 2016, for a high level championship happening in September/October 2016.

• Planning the budget is more crucial and now it is too late and almost impossible to find the money to prepare all arrangements for a different venue, which is still not known yet.

For more information see:

Great Britain: Endurance Riders Don’t Stop for Wintry Weather

25th April 2016

Kings Forest near Thetford, Norfolk was the setting for three days of competitive routes through the iconic woodland of ‘The Brecks’. This unique area covers 393 square miles – the UK’s largest lowland forest, with miles of tracks and paths making it an ideal setting for Endurance GB’s main class of the weekend – a CEI 3* 160km (100 miles) competition. This distance is the ultimate challenge to the Endurance rider and four combinations rode up to the start line last Saturday morning in the dark at 5.00 am, head torches at the ready. The route comprised 6 loops, all coming back to the venue at Wordwell for strict veterinary checks and controlled rest breaks. The weather proved the biggest challenge on the day with a cold wind and persistent rain, with occasional hail, making the going slippery in places and special attention needed to stop horses and riders getting cold at rest points.

Two horses were stopped during the day by the vets due to minor lameness. The remaining two combinations went out together on the final loop with darkness descending. A strong bond develops between riders at this level of competition. Riders work together to motivate each other and their horses. Fiona Griffiths from Powys, South Wales, riding Oliver Twist IV and Mel Bradley from Devizes, Wiltshire, riding 15 year old CS Khan, owned by Linda Cross, left the venue knowing that they were running close to the maximum time allowed. A small crowd gathered at the finish line waiting for news from the course. Word came in that they were approaching the finish line and a cheer went up. Mel and ‘Khan’ came into view with only minutes to spare, urged on by their crew. They dug deep and cantered brightly to the finish with just 22 seconds remaining on the clock. Fiona felt that ‘Oli’ was tired and decided to slow down on the last loop so finished some time later but to equal cheers from the waiting group. Both horses passed the final vetting in good form but sadly no completion for Fiona due to being out of time.

Mel Bradley was thrilled with her win. “This has been my biggest win yet and brought up so many emotions. It was the most amazing feeling cantering towards the line with people cheering us on after such a long hard day. It certainly picks you up! After all Khan has been through we could only dream he would get around a 160km and he has done us proud.”

The other FEI classes yielded a good completion rate, with many happy riders achieving their qualification goals.

The weekend also had a full schedule of supporting classes at every distance demonstrating that Endurance really is a sport for everyone. The event was sponsored by Bury St Edmunds based, Science Supplements – leading suppliers of equine supplements, with welcome ‘goody bags’ and prizes galore. The riders and officials also benefited from a heated marquee generously provided by local FEI rider, Nicki Thorne and her husband, businessman Andy Thorne of Kestrel Liner Agencies.

The next Endurance event at this venue will be over the weekend of the 8th to 10th July and details can be found on our website:

Results from main classes:

Saturday 16th April

CEI 3* 160km
1st Mel Bradley and CS Khan  14.00 kph

CEI 2* 120km
1st Harry Ingram and Warren Hills Chayze  16.81 kph
2nd Rachel Pemberton and Deemonstrator  14.40 kph
3rd Ruth Chadwick and Aragorn  14.11 kph
4th Heather Whiteley and Distance Oasis  13.81 kph
5th Amy Theodorou and My Marco  13.10 kph

CEIYJ 2* 120km
1st Katie Bedwin and Burfield Goodie Two Shoes  14.76 kph

CEI 1* 80km
1st Lesley Ann Parker and Velvet Echo  18.48 kph
2nd Robert Newall and Loti du Caussanel  15.53 kph
3rd Lauren Mills and Crystal Magic Star  15.38 kph
4th Andrea Champ and A Little Bit of Magic 14.74 kph
5th Pam James and HS Asraf  14.74 kph
6th Francesca Bakker and Aratahnes Aphrodite  14.30 kph
7th Amy Boston and Burfield Court Appearance  14.06 kph
8th Susan Cox and Eden El Nyhl  13.03 kph
Completion Fiona Bloom and Verwa

CEIYJ1* 80km
1st Tess Wheldon and Verythas de Loc 17.12 kph
2nd Ella Bunting and Eas Boadicea  16.32 kph
3rd Tessa Kilpatrick and Aratahnes Phoebe  14.97 kph

National CER 80km
1st Antonia Hardwick and Shingle Street Speshal 18.93 kph
2nd Julie Kendall and Perfeq Pacha De Blaziet 18.86 kph
3rd Lesley Anne Booth and Rassam 18.08 kph
4th Josie Ratter-Evison and Krayaan Nasser 15.28 kph

Sunday 17th April

CEI 1* 80km

1st Ylva Sam Mowatt and Terminator’s Dream  17.33kph
2nd Carri Ann Dark and Emir  17.18 kph
3rd Abigail Tennant and Barik  16.73 kph
4th Linda Cowperthwaite and Maraday Mystaron  16.73 kph
5th Susan Hawes and Remynisce  13.62 kph
6th Andrea Champ and Drumghigha Lantana  13.39 kph

The photo is of Mel Bradley riding Linda Cross’s CS Khan to win the CEI 3* 160km event.  Photo credit:  Saunders Photography.

Endurance GB - National Governing Body for competitive Endurance horse riding in Great Britain a member body of the BEF. Offering rides for non-members and members from pleasure rides to competitive rides

Australia: Horsing around has taken Irvine across the globe - Full Article

A LOVE of horses has opened many doors for Kelsey Irvine.

The 25-year-old elite endurance rider and horse trainer has been a polo groom at Kerry Packer’s property in the Hunter Valley, trained Arabian horses in Dubai and ridden the Canadian Rockies as a horseback tour guide.

She also worked at stables in Eumundi and Kenilworth, for champion endurance rider Brook Sample.

Between horsing around, Ms Irvine has worked the Victorian ski fields and travelled throughout Canada and America in an old blue Chevy with older sister Jess.

It’s a long way from her family’s 162-hectare farm in Central Queensland but in an industry where pedigree counts for everything, hers provides a clue to the reason for her success.

Ms Irvine’s grandfather was bush legend and horse whisperer Alwyn Torenbeek, who is a triple Hall of Fame inductee as a rodeo champion, stockman and endurance rider...

Read more here:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bahrain: Nasser bin Hamad endurance championship held - Full Article

Manama, Apr. 23 (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, President of Bahrain Olympic Committee and Honorary Chairman of Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) crowned Mayoof Al Rumaihi as the champion of HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa Night Endurance (120km) Championship in the presence of HH Shaikh Faisal bin Rashid, President of Breef.

Al Rumaihi came in the first place in 00:47:38 time and speed of 25 km/h ahead of Mohammed Al Shammari and Al Miqdad Janahi who finished second and third respectively...

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

South Africa: Authorities Move Swiftly To Contain AHS - Full Article

Cape authorities launch testing campaign following AHS death


A press release from the office of Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, dated 13 April 2016 stated that vets in the Western Cape have moved swiftly to contain the spread of African Horse Sickness in a bid to protect the province’s multi-million rand horse export industry.

Last Friday, 8 April 2016, an African Horse Sickness related death was confirmed in the Western Cape and movement restrictions implemented.

Minister Winde stated, “Following the confirmation of AHS, vets immediately launched a testing campaign. We have already tested 70 horses in this surrounding area and we will continue to test until we are sure there are no other infected horses in the area. At this stage, we are in the clear.”

On Tuesday, 12 April 2016, Winde visited Schoongezicht, the Paarl farm where the AHS death occurred last week. The owner of the farm, Lodewikus Hanekom, has nine horses left, most of which are Arabians. He uses two for endurance riding competitions. None of the other animals have tested positive for AHS...

Read more here:

FEI suspend United Arab Emirates from equestrianism following spate of scandals - Full Article

Concerns over horse welfare, doping, the use of 'ringers’ and phantom races in the Middle East country lead to shock decision

By Pippa Cuckson, Equestrian Correspondent
12 Mar 2015

World equestrianism’s governing body (FEI) took the dramatic step on Thursday of suspending the United Arab Emirates from the sport following scandals over horse welfare, doping, the use of 'ringers’ and phantom races.

The full ramifications of the FEI’s shock decision to exile the UAE federation and all its athletes in the discipline of endurance racing may not emerge for weeks, but Ingmar de Vos, FEI president, said that “indeterminate suspension“ was “the only option left” after UAE riders – many from stables owned by the ruling families of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Maktoums and the Nayhans – failed to reduce catastrophic horse injuries or adhere to FEI rules during their current winter season...

Read more here:

Monday, April 11, 2016

South Africa: Deadly horse sickness hits Cape - Full Article

09 April 2016
By: Yazeed Kamaldien

Cape Town - Thousands of Western Cape horse owners have been told to lock up their horses, with an indefinite quarantine announced in the province to prevent a deadly horse disease from spreading.

Alan Winde, Economic Opportunities MEC, said on Friday the quarantine had been instituted after a Paarl veterinarian detected a case of African Horse Sickness (AHS) in a horse this week.

“Samples collected from the colt tested positive for the AHS virus,” said Winde.

“We activated a routine surveillance programme immediately. Our vets are working in the area to determine whether any other animals on the property are affected.”

Movement restrictions were in place and no movement of horses was allowed into the containment zone “without a movement permit from a state vet”. The quarantine is in place for a 50km radius around Paarl, and has led to the cancellation of various horse-related events planned for the weekend.

The discovery of AHS could also affect South African horse exports to the EU, state veterinarian Gary Burhmann said on Friday...

Read more here:

Malaysia: Endurance Horse Riding Set To Replace Monsoon Cup As Tourist Attraction During Monsoon Season - Full Article

April 11, 2016 14:18 PM

KUALA TERENGGANU, April 11 (Bernama) -- "Beautiful State, Beautiful Culture" the tagline used by Terengganu for 27 years now, remains relevant in the promotion of tourism locally and internationally.

Though the tagline will continue to be used, the tourism industry in Terengganu will be boosted by the inclusion of various activities and programmes to cater for tourists.

Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said the state was well known among local tourists as a leading popular holiday destination with pristine beaches, islands, batik and handicraft.

However, Terengganu's position internationally as a tourism destination need to be given additional focus, especially sports tourism, as a new attraction to stimulate the tourism industry.

"The weather and geographical positioning of Terengganu have been the state's two main setbacks although hosting the Monsoon Cup had given a new impetus to the tourism industry during the monsoon season.

"But we did not see a strong impact from the Monsoon Cup towards the people of the state in general, so we are looking at other avenues, including endurance sports as an attraction.

"We are looking at Endurance Racing as one of the events to attract tourists," said Ahmad Razif during an exclusive interview with Bernama at his official residence, Seri Iman, here recently...'

Read more here:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Does a 2016 WEC Serve Anyones Best Interest? - Full Article

by John Crandell
April 9 2016

Many of the worlds equestrian enthusiasts are heartened by the FEI’s recent withdrawal of its 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) from Dubai. Before we emotionally declare a victory and hurry to re-organize a WEC in another location, some objective consideration of the current state of international endurance racing is in order. There is a lot to be gained or lost for the discipline hinged on just how we proceed.

This is a moment of great opportunity. It’s a chance to do much more than simply put the discipline back on the same tracks from which it has been derailed. We have a delicate moment here to create a fundamental shift in the guidance of international endurance racing. If we act with wise conviction now, we can ensure that the dysfunctions of the recent past cannot return, and secure an enduring future for the discipline...

Read more here:

Saturday, April 09, 2016

AERC Responds to FEI Decision to Remove the World Endurance Championships from UAE

AUBURN, California – April 9, 2016

As the governing body for endurance sport in the United States, the American Endurance Ride Conference has long been a proponent for fair play and a custodian of horse welfare in endurance sports worldwide. In the past year, the AERC has been a vocal supporter of the FEI’s sanctions against the UAE, proactively leading the condemnation of widespread violations in the UAE.

AERC’s Board of Directors and the AERC International Committee have been united with their 5,000 members across the U.S. and Canada in expressing their outrage at the cheating and abuse at many rides in FEI’s Region VII, while praising those ride managers and riders who uphold the strict standards that are the norm for the sport around the globe.

Today AERC President Michael Campbell issued a statement, speaking on behalf of the organization in response to the FEI’s decision to remove the World Endurance Championships, originally scheduled for December 2016, from the UAE and to reopen the bidding process for the event.

“AERC is pleased to note that the FEI has taken strong steps to insure the welfare and safety of endurance horses by rescheduling the World Endurance Championship 2016 from Dubai to another venue. AERC understands that this is a painful lesson for Dubai, but we believe it serves the best interests of endurance riding worldwide. AERC further applauds the United States Equestrian Federation in accurately relaying the sentiments of American riders to the FEI. AERC joins other countries throughout the world in expressing gratitude to FEI for taking this courageous and considered action. FEI President Ingmar De Vos received a petition that was circulated worldwide and included over 6500 signatories from riders, trainers and owners from dozens of countries recommending this action. FEI listened to the outraged cries from around the world and responded appropriately.”

The AERC will continue to monitor the situation and keep members apprised of developments.

About the AERC

In addition to promoting the sport of endurance riding, the AERC encourages the use, protection, and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historic significance. Many special events of four to six consecutive days take place over historic trails, such as the Pony Express Trail, the Outlaw Trail, the Chief Joseph Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The founding ride of endurance riding, the Western States Trail Ride or Tevis Cup, covers 100 miles of the famous Western States and Immigrant Trails over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These rides promote awareness of the importance of trail preservation for future generations and foster an appreciation of our American heritage.

The American Endurance Ride Conference, established in 1972, is headquartered in Auburn, California, “The Endurance Capital of the World.” For more information please visit us at

Candace FitzGerald
Dobbin Group LLC

Friday, April 08, 2016

World endurance championships: The UAE vets out - Full Article

Neil Clarkson | 8 April 2016

The Emirates Equestrian Federation will undoubtedly be distressed that its plans to host the World Endurance Championships in Dubai this December have been scuppered by the FEI Bureau.

The bureau, meeting in Switzerland this week, decided that the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) still had welfare concerns in endurance that needed to be resolved before it could host the event.

Or, to frame it in the bureau’s own words: “The FEI Bureau is of the opinion that the UAE national federation is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected at an FEI World Endurance Championship in the UAE this year.”

Stripping a world championships from a nation in such circumstances is a pretty big deal, and I don’t doubt that the Emirates Equestrian Federation will be smarting from the news for some time.

The event had been under a cloud over welfare concerns in the sport in the UAE for a while, and in recent weeks several strong endurance nations signalled that they were unlikely to go if was held in the country...

Read more:

Thursday, April 07, 2016

2016 World Endurance Championships Removed From UAE

April 7 2016

At the FEI in-person Bureau meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 7, 2016, the FEI made a key decision regarding endurance and the UAE.

From the report:

The FEI Bureau acknowledged the efforts that have been made by the United Arab Emirates National Federation (UAE NF) in Endurance since the reinstatement of the National Federation in July 2015. However, despite the hard work and progress to date, the FEI Bureau is of the opinion that the UAE NF is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected at an FEI World Endurance Championship in the UAE this year.

As a result, the Bureau decided to remove the FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 from the UAE. The Championships, which were scheduled to take place from 10-17 December 2016 at the Dubai International Equestrian Centre (DEC), were originally allocated to the EEF by the Bureau in December 2014.

The bid process will now be reopened to find a replacement venue outside the UAE for the Championships. The deadline for receipt of bids is 18 May and the allocation to a new host will be made during the Bureau teleconference on 14 June. It is expected that the Championships will now take place in September or October, so the qualifying period will be moved back by two months and results starting from October 2014, instead of December 2015, will now count for qualification.
At the same time, there was also unanimous agreement among the Bureau Members that rule breaches are absolutely unacceptable and that the FEI must work even more closely with the UAE NF to guarantee the National Federation’s full implementation of FEI Rules and Regulations as well as on the July 2015 agreement which will guarantee the welfare of the horse in National and International events. Additionally, and until further notice, the FEI will not sanction any events organised by the DEC.

The full FEI report can be seen here: April_2016_report.pdf

Monday, April 04, 2016

New Fair Play of the FEI - Full Article

28 March 2016

Exclusive Story About What Happens Behind This Cancellation

Dubai International Endurance City hosts big event that brings the curtains down on Dubai’s endurance season – Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup.

As you may know, during last month there were some tensions between FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) and EEF (Emirates Equestrian Federation).

After the juniors and young riders 120 km ride that was held in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi on 30 January, where “gross offenses” have occurred, FEI suspended remaining CEI rides in UAE until EEF to set an agreement on the proposed measures, with the caveat that no further events would be held in the region until agreement on these measures had been reached.

So, FEI decided to punish UAE riders by doing this. On 13 February FEI and EEF were set this agreement that contains twelve approved measures, which will be applied for the rest of the UAE Endurance season.

Among those 12 measures there are two significant changes:
3. Heart rate presentation times reduced to between 56 and 60 bpm for all loops in one-star competitions, and in the final loop for two- and three-star CEIs and CENs.
4. Recovery time reduced to between 10 and 15 minutes for all loops in one-star and in the final loop for two-and three-star CEIs and CENs.

Again, these restrictions were set to slow down UAE riders.
But overseas riders and horses, that arrived to UAE just a week before the date of start, are never raced with such fast speeds.

Long flight from Europe, America and other continents to UAE, sharp change of climate and very hot temperature are the great stress for overseas horses. Their goal are not to race with a speed of 30-35 km/h, their goal are just to successfully finish in competing against the new terrain, hot temperature and unusual climate without having an enough time for acclimatization.

So, these new restrictions should not be applied to invited overseas riders and horses, competing in UAE. Overseas riders are just guests. They are not even trying to chase for local riders because they know it is just impossible to finish with a speed that they never show in Europe and other continents...

Read more here:

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Bahrain: Crown Prince Endurance Championship winners crowned - Full Article


Manama, April 2 (BNA): HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister deputised 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, President of Bahrain Olympic Committee and Honorary President of Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation to crown the winners of HRH the Crown Prince Endurance Championship for 120 Km and local and qualifying races for 40 Km and 80 Km.

HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa honoured the first three winners of the race Khalid Yousif Al Khalaf, Rashid Al Rowai’ee and Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Hassan.

Khalid came in the first place riding Makawi from Victorious Stables and finished in 04:35:25 time with 26 Km/H speed, while the second and third places went to Rashid and Mohammed who finished second and third respectively in 04:37:40 and 04:42:08 both with the speed of 25 Km/H...

Read more here:

UAE Endurance: How Much Longer Can the FEI String Out the Agony? - Full Article

Cuckson Report | April 1, 2016

An occupational hazard of journalism is that when you ask a tricky question of a governing body, the answer often bears no resemblance to the points raised. Quite a few of us compare notes, and frequently receive identical replies even when we have all asked quite different questions. Needless to say, this applies especially to endurance in the Middle East.

There is still considerable speculation about what really went on at Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) on March 19th. If even half of what I have heard from normally reliable sources is true, surely this time the UAE has behaved badly enough to be suspended indefinitely (though that would be a tough call on Bouthieb, and might be complicating any such decision) and for DIEC to be stripped of the world endurance championship in December.

The petition calling for the world championships to be moved, by the way, has now reached 5,632 signatures; pretty good for a niche interest area.

Worryingly though, the FEI does seem to be giving the UAE federation (EEF) an increasingly amount of latitude, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of its endurance director, Manuel Bandeira de Mello...

Read more here:

Friday, April 01, 2016

UAE: Bouthieb 2015 - 2016: The unbelievable season

Full piece with photos archived at

Bouthieb 2015 - 2016: The unbelievable season

A noticeable impact

In HH Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan's very words, what has been achieved in the Bouthieb Endurance Village (Abu Dhabi, UAE) is simply "unbelievable". Clearly he did not expect such a result in one single season, same as those around him who put all their energy into the project. At Bouthieb, indeed, endurance has changed course and what the FEI has called the "Bouthieb Protocol" has travelled around the world.

The FEI itself has used this project to impose similar rules on the country. It is yet only partially successful, but the FEI has not said its last word. The off-season (April to October) will clearly be exploited to reach further agreements and obtain full satisfaction.

The winners of these new rules are certainly the horses. The number of horses in health care has dropped dramatically throughout the season in Bouthieb. This rate has reached unprecedented low levels and the last day was like the first when the new rules were enforced: an empty clinic with rare and short appearances of horses. This is a direct consequence of the new rules implemented and it was also one of their goals. The saturated Bouthieb Clinic with buildings surrounded by horses that must be treated outside because there is no more space available is now an old and sad memory.

In Bouthieb, it was shown that by rolling up one's sleeves, one could, with simple but sensible ideas, do what some people around the world had decided to believe impossible, namely, change the game and return to the path of a healthy sport in the UAE with horses as respected partners.

Manuel Bandeira de Mello, head of the FEI endurance department, was present in person for the last session which was held from March 7th to 13th. He could see, appreciate and analyze by himself the progress made in Bouthieb. He was obviously pleased to see the strong commitment of Sh. Sultan, without whom this would have been impossible. His approach is to move positively rather than the contrary. Too many people tend to expect the opposite of the FEI. Being poorly informed and seeing the situation from too far away they have a distorted understanding of a locally complex situation which, obviously, does not prevent them from having a severe and always negative opinion - with few exceptions-.

The number of riders of the National Federation of the UAE (EEF) represents 10.8% (or 957) of all the FEI riders in the world. This places it in the 2nd position after France which accounts for 22.7% (or 2,012 riders). What happens there is therefore neither insignificant nor without an impact on the entire discipline and we understand why the FEI takes particular care in having endurance properly performed there. Therefore Bouthieb is in this sense a new, positive and indispensable ally in this regard.

Flawless support

March 13th 2016 was the last day of the 2015 - 2016 season in Bouthieb. It was the day of the arrival of the CEI 3* 240 km in 3 days which was the main event of the 10th "Sh Sultan's Equestrian Festival".

HH Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was present every competition day during the season, was there, in the inspection area during the final inspection of the first rider having crossed the finish line. He stood at a respectable distance so as not to interfere with the operations and was the first to congratulate the rider.

We do not remember ever having seen him so present, so passionately present. He has, indeed, been on the site every day throughout the season that has just ended. He has consistently been at the heart of debates and ideas, being attentive to all discussions with the protagonists with one main goal: to have endurance in Bouthieb on the right track again, the one of sport and respect for horses, in a word as he said himself, the true way of endurance abandoned for years.

1- HH Sh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the entrance of the inspection area during one of his many visits.

We must remind the reader that in the early season, an educational set of new rules (called the "Bou Thib Protocol" by the FEI) was created to break the cycle of speed races transposed to endurance which led to the excesses we know about. These excesses had brought the FEI to suspend the National Federation of the UAE in order to regain control. The UAE alone were accumulating the majority of fatal accidents in endurance with only 2% of the CEIs organized worldwide.

A structured whole

Early in the season new rules based on 4 principles were set up.

1. To reduce speed by strongly tightening the FEI conventional parameters so that it is, for example, simply impossible to gallop 40 km at 40 km/h while forgetting everything else.

2. To establish a joint system taking into account the welfare of the horse in competition by setting up a system of points grading the rider's ability to manage his horse safely (Best Riding Challenge).

3. To reward the joint system much better than the traditional classification to make it a more "attractive" component in order to redirect people's attitudes with the help of financial gain.

4. To include controlling rules accompanying the determination to return to a healthy sport and supporting the general education purpose.

All this has contributed not only to reduce speed and its bad consequences on the track, but also to change the behavior of the competitors not only vis-à-vis their horses, but also with regard to the way in which they participate and manage their rides.

Convincing results

This resulted in a general improvement of the situation in Bouthieb. Some previously unthinkable scenes were more and more common.

For example now horses trot on the course instead of galloping continuously (the former had eventually disappeared to exist only for the inspection trottings!).

2- Horses trotting on the track.

We now see horses stopping on the track and quietly drinking at water points, something that had also completely disappeared.

3- A horse drinking on the track with grooms waiting before acting.

We see no more 4wd races accompanying the horses on the track, their number and route being now strictly controlled.

4- End of the 4wd gymkhana.

We do not see any more agitated crowds surrounding the rider after the crossing of the finish line, dispossessing the Ground Jury of control while allowing, for example, cheating on the weight by means of this "organized confusion".


The last loop of the last day of competition was done on natural terrain, a first test of what will be implemented the next season to make the tracks more technical and thus more challenging.

We saw one of the most famous horse trainers withdraw his horse at the end of the 2nd phase of the CEN Ladies because it had a recovery time of about 3 minutes, while it is usually below one minute. He was proud to communicate this to everyone. Would he have done so last year with a horse placed second when there was only one more phase to go? Would he not have been ashamed to stop at the risk of pushing his horse too far to win at all costs? This action was setting an example and he was totally aware of it.

We saw trainers, spreading the result sheets amid the cups of tea and discussing passionately the strategy to win ... and taking pleasure in it because it is a new and subtle game that does not lack interest.

Many are also those who now feel less under the pressure - sometimes insane - coming from the owners, the trainers and the local environment for whom the only aim is "to win, win, win" and so go as fast as possible (even with this crazy idea of "world speed record" which is totally contrary to the spirit of endurance), thus making endurance a race against time to the exclusion of all other concerns.

The Ground Jury was carefully selected– with some unfortunate exceptions - so that its members were competent, organized, strong and effective. In Bouthieb we no longer saw crowd movements overwhelming the jury during arrivals. Multiple grooms "encouraging" horses with their empty bottles on the track were no longer seen, etc. It proves that the international regulations can be implemented with Ground Jurys composed of a majority of competent members and that it is possible to apply and enforce them everywhere if we really want to.

5- Identified grooms with the number of the horse they are in charge of, in a number duly controlled by the Ground Jury.

The Veterinary Commissions were also more respectful of equity and horses' welfare than in previous years. The trottings were all recorded with a double aim, namely on the one hand to feed a database for training and on the other being deterrent for those tempted to put the social status of riders before the welfare of the horses as one can sometimes sadly notice.

6- Judges and stewards ready to handle the flow of competitors to come

A new endurance seminar

Sh Sultan was keen on completing these measures of protection and education with the creation of an endurance seminar. The first edition was held from 04 to 13 March and allowed everyone to listen ten speakers having authority in various fields related to endurance.

Thus Ali Tweissi, the current head of the veterinary department of the National Federation, reported on the positive results obtained in Bouthieb and expressed his satisfaction and that of the department he heads.

Thus we could see Emmett Ross (well-known trainer in the Middle East, organizer of the past WEG in Lexington (USA), and Bromont Montreal (CAN) next to come, etc.) open up new ways and make a general account of the impressions gathered from many of his old fellow trainers.

Thus Dr Sue Stover from the Veterinary Department of the University of California (USA) presented her fascinating research on the ability of bone to adapt to training efforts and the origin of stress fractures due to too fast and intensive training predisposing to complete ruptures as we unfortunately observe many examples in the UAE.

7- Intervention of Dr Sue Stover during the seminar. (photo F. Kerboul).
This seminar was the climax of the season providing an essential complement to the information - training complex implemented in Bouthieb.

We saw two members of the FEI endurance commission (including its president, Brian Sheahan) paying a great deal of attention, because if they knew that something was going on in Bouthieb, they had a rather vague and general idea about it. Brian said that he was very interested and impressed when seeing it all up close.

Grey areas

But if there are many reasons to rejoice in front of the task accomplished this season, long and patient work remains indeed. We do not change, habits in the blink of an eye.

Cheating, which had become a favorite tool of those who aim at victory, has not disappeared, although efforts have been made throughout the season to limit its extent. We know that it is so rooted in the habits that it is not in one season that it will come to an end.

Among the innovative measures implemented during this latest edition of the season, the Organizing Committee had acquired machines to test the hypo sensitivity of horses' legs by point pressure. Due to delivery issues only two machines out of the 10 ordered were implemented in the clinic (and not on the inspection area for regulatory reasons, as the rules have to be updated about this). Only "eliminated" horses underwent the test. It was possible to detect two horses unduly "treated". The consequences for the trainers, perpetrators of this fraud, are not yet known. But the use of these machines was a real shock, for the practice of hypo sensitization (provisional or definitive) is apparently widespread and in fact ignored and unpunished. This test should halt this evil practice in Bouthieb.

We unfortunately had to deplore one euthanasia during a qualifier 80 km during the last session (mandatory speed between 12 and 16 km/h). A horse, whose condition was poor, suffered a serious ligament tear. Veterinarians could heal it temporarily and let him go home for further treatment, but the conditions were such that, caring for the horse, they decided otherwise. After analysis, it is clear that the fatal result is not due to the ride itself but to misbehaving during the training and a general poor conditon. This raises once again the question of overtraining (well highlighted by Dr. Sue Stover) as well as the nature of the initial inspection (which had perhaps not been sufficiently cautious, although the number of discarded horses during the initial inspection was much higher this season than in the previous years in Bouthieb).

Some trainers hostile to the new measures expressed their view at the end of the seminar, some giving assessments different from the ones they give in private. They might have been acting this way by submission to others' opinion unless they were still simply struggling to position themselves.

One has probably not sufficiently communicated and explained the articulation of the new rules and they are still esoteric for many people. Certainly they may appear complicated at first, although they are not really, and this is not favorable to popular understanding. But for now, the problem is not to attract crowds of spectators, but to put in the minds of the local participants basic concepts such as respect for the horses in all its aspects and a return to a healthy sport in general. It affects both the knowledge about the horse and its training as well as the instruction of the riders with the prevention of cheating, including doping which is its chemical form.

The measures were intended to extinguish the fire, but they go well beyond this immediate goal. If we are not mistaken, the site of Bouthieb (UAE) is the only place in the world where, instead of talking and meeting endlessly as it has been done here and there in recent years, there has been a concrete implementation of something new and deliberate, going obviously in the right direction and this is worth more than many words. We have been able to measure the positive effects, but also to analyze the deficiencies, and this is a giant step taken in a country severely affected by many unacceptable abuses.

8- An inspection area controlled even during dense moments. One rider and one groom per horse, all of them being clearly identified with the number of the horse they accompany, waiting for their turn automatically displayed on the line screens.

"We have yet to see horses kill themselves voluntarily on the track." This sentence heard in response to some statements made at the seminar where some argued that fatalities are an inevitable side effect of high performance sport goes well with one of the first objectives aimed at this year. It appears, on this occasion, that we do not all have the same concept of what is called top sport endurance, which once more asks the fundamental question of progression and instruction, of horses as well as of men, in the current qualification system. It also poses a problem concerning the internal vision of the UAE between the 3 organizing sites and it seems in this end of season that a deep schism is to be expected. It is hoped that it will find a positive way out for horses and sport.

9- Comparison between a correctly trained horse and another one overtrained ending with fracture and euthanasia. (diapositive de Dr Sue Stover)

More "building" work in the near future

Just as too intense and rapid training of the horse leads to its more or less programmed death, rapid qualification "without education" is certainly one of the problems of the discipline and yet its extremely rapid growth and popularity also comes from its opening and we should not break this by setting up a rigid set of rules exclusively in favor of an "elite".

Bouthieb, today, is a place of experiments and it would be foolish to ignore or circumvent it. It has the strength of propositions, demonstration and experimentation of quality with a strong political will without which nothing lasting is possible. We are thinking of fields such as the establishment of prestigious international circuits, the improvement of the qualification process with the creation of a real instruction for riders and horses without killing the current dynamic, a new selection of judges taking - more than today -into account their real capacity to act and make decisions on the ground, a revision of the rules to include geographical diversity which we will have to take into account one day somehow or other , the overhaul of the entire doping control by seriously posing the question of its actual scientific validity and its independence from lobbyists, the promoting of TV and internet domain communication in general, the modes of financing of the rides and the autonomy of organizers face to donors, sponsors and patrons, etc.).

The promoters of the changes in Bouthieb and Sh Sultan at their head, are in no shortage of ideas for the future and, whatever happens, they will go on. it will be done alone or together, but it will not end there.
In short, these days are exciting and it is more than ever time to move.

François Kerboul
FEI 4*

St. George horseman completes one of the world’s toughest endurance races - Full Story Written by E. George Goold May 10, 2024 ST. GEORGE — The Gaucho Derby is a 500-kilometer horse race throug...