Thursday, September 29, 2016

USA's Devan Horn to Compete in South Africa's Sandymount Express 1000

September 29 2016

It's an endurance horse race, testing riders to the their physical and mental ability to complete 1,000 kms in eight days. She'll have 8 horses to get acquainted with and ride each day. The ride begins October 1.

USA's Devan Horn, a Mongol Derby veteran (2nd in 2013, withdrew in 2015), is thrilled to begin this new escapade in South Africa.

"It feels incredibly right to be headed into another wild, insane adventure," she wrote. "I'm indulging a measure of wild ferocity I generally attempt to batten down in polite company. In three weeks’ time, I’ll have both of the longest horse races on the face of this planet dusted~!"

She got a chance to ride two of her horses on Wednesday. "I'm quite happy with both of them, and I still have 6 to meet!"

Her hotel is a great accommodation with roan antelope and sable antelope out by the pool. "I don't know how I ended up in this African palace, but I'm not asking any questions! I keep expecting someone to come in and tell me I've got a cot in the back of the horse trailer instead. But it seems to me this cozy little room (with ensuite SHOWER!) is mine for the week! I'm in such good hands with these excellent horses and hostesses!"

Keep up with Devan's adventure here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Statement on fatal accident at Llay Llay, Valparaíso CEI 2* (Chile)

28 Sep 2016

It is with deepest regret that we confirm that there was a rider fatality on Saturday, 24 September 2016 at the CEI 2* 120km at Llay Llay, in the Valparaíso region of Chile. Hugo Valdés Barros (CHI), 58, fell from his home-bred, 10-year-old gelding MP Sifax on the second loop.

There were no witnesses to the incident, but it is thought that the rider fell after his horse failed to make a turn on the track and jumped a small canal. The horse was uninjured in the incident.

The Organising Committee cancelled the rest of the day’s events and a full police investigation has been launched to look into the circumstances of the accident.

Hugo Valdés Barros, who lived just outside Chile’s capital Santiago, had worked with horses all his life. He had competed in Endurance events at national level in Chile for more than a decade and internationally for the past two seasons. This was his second CEI 2* with MP Sifax, having finished 12th at their last outing on 14 May in Matetic (CHI).

He leaves behind his wife Maria Pía, daughter María Elisa and two sons, Cristián and Ignacio.

“We send our deepest condolences to Hugo’s wife María Pía, sons Cristián and Ignacio and daughter María Elisa, and his relatives and Friends,” President of the Associación Chilena de Enduro Ecuestre Cristian Herrera said. “Hugo was an exceptional man. His passion for the sport of Endurance and his love for horses will remain with us. May his soul rest in peace.”

Read the farewell message from the Associación Chilena de Enduro Ecuestre here (in Spanish):

“As the President of the Ground Jury at Llay Llay, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Hugo Valdés Barros and to the whole Endurance family,” FEI Official Elizabeth Huyghe said.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Hugo Valdés Barros,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The FEI and the global equestrian family send our deep condolences and support to Chile at this very difficult time.”

A funeral mass was held at the Church of Santa Elena in Santiago on 26 September, and a memorial service for Hugo’s fellow riders and friends will be held at the Cementerio Parque del Recuerdo on Saturday 1 October at 17.00.

Monday, September 26, 2016

AERC President and AERC International Committee Chair Pen Letter Regarding Slovakia WEC

September 26 2016

AERC President Michael Campbell, and chair of AERC's International Committee Dr Meg Sleeper, have written a letter in response to the recent World Endurance Championship in Slovakia.

Addressed to USEF's President, Chrystine Tauber, Campbell and Sleeper express their great disappointment at both the outcome of the WEC - a needless equine fatality, and numerous eliminating due to over-riding - and at FEI's appearing to initially "spin" a story about the breakdown, instead of stating what happened.

AERC "is very concerned about ongoing abuses in international endurance riding" and requests several recommendations be forwarded to FEI, including designing championship courses with technical variations, instead of flat for speed only; continued stringent drug testing, including sensitivity tests on horses' legs to detect nerve blocking agents; more emphasis on the goal of "fit to continue"; crewing on trail should be drastically reduced or eliminated all together; significantly increased and serious suspensions for stables, owners, trainers, and riders whose horses have been metabolically compromised from over-riding.

While veterinary standards and rules appear to have improved over the past year, events at the 2016 WEC show there is still a long way to go with horse welfare in FEI endurance events.

The full letter can be read here:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Germany's Sabrina Arnold Wins FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses

Germany’s Sarah Arnold and Tsagan Nour won the 120km FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses (7 years) in Nègrepelisse, France, leading an all-female podium. (FEI/Pamela Burton)

24 Sep 2016
By Pamela Burton

Smart riding brought Sabrina Arnold (GER) and Tsagan Nour to the top of the podium at the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Horses (7 years) today in Nègrepelisse, France.

The 120km Championship, which finished with an all-female 1,2,3 yesterday afternoon, with Arnold and Tsagan Nour galloping over the finish line in a time of 05:59:04, culminated in the prize giving today.

Spain’s second-placed rider Emma Rosell Segura riding Danco completed in 06:05:58, followed by third over the line and also from Spain Laia Soria Pinol on Nervi Del Rieral finishing the four loops just two seconds later.

After starting the second loop in 10th position after a 2-minute recovery in the first hold, Arnold was assured that her mount was doing well with the trail conditions. Continuing with good recoveries, the duo were able to move up in the finish order on each loop and took possession of the ride on the final loop to emerge victorious.

France seals Best Condition

The first-placed French rider, Paul Bard, riding Volny Du Leff, finished sixth and later the highly coveted Best Condition was awarded to his seven-year-old chestnut gelding.

Ana Barbas (POR) riding her own E Da Fuica scored fourth and Mohammed Khalifa Al Sowaidi (QAT) riding Dufawan finished fifth, with the rest of the top eleven spots secured by French athletes on this striking trail in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France.

Young Horses - future champions

These annual FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses, first held in Compiègne, France, in 2001, are an important foundation ride for future champion horses as they mature.

A total of 42 combinations from Bahrain, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Slovakia, Spain, USA and the UAE joined 52 combinations from France for this year’s Championship.

Trail tactics - Sabrina Arnold and Tsagan Nour

Tsagan Nour is part-owned by French champion rider Jean Philippe Frances, technical advisor and partner to the 36-year-old Arnold, who has been a distance rider since she was a child. Together they made a plan for the Championship’s challenges:
“These horses are young and it is better for their mind to have a companion,” she explained. “On the first loop we were too fast and I slowed down and rode with two other riders. My horse was immediately good in the vetting and I rode with our second rider on the next track through the third loop. On the fourth, the rider from Qatar rode with me for a while. On the last loop, the trail was very challenging. I had some information from other friends on the trail that we were many minutes in the lead, so I slowed him down and let him breathe.”
First-time Championship trail

The FEI Endurance Championship for Young Horses 2016 was held for the first time in this farming community northeast of Montauban. The course followed forest trails and farm tracks from the equestrian centre in Domaine de Pousiniès through local communes of Saint-Etienne-de-Tulmont, Nègrepelisse, Vaïssac, and Genebrieres. Temperatures for the day hit 26C by 2pm. Organised by Endurance Equestrian Nègrepellsse, and supported by the Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Festival, the trail was contested with four loops of 35kms, 30kms, 35kms and 22kms, beginning at 07:30.

FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello said of the day: “Horses in Young Championships are not yet at their maximum fitness, and the most important thing for me was how well the riders managed their horses.”

Gérard Aurel, President of Endurance Équestre de Nègrepelisse, said after the ride: ”We are very happy to have organised this Championship with 14 nations and the day went very well.”

Final results - FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Horses 2016
1. Sabrina Arnold (GER), Tsagan Nour - (completion time) 05:50:04
2. Emma Rosell Segura (ESP), Danco - 06:06:58
3. Laia Soria Pinol (ESP), Nervi Del Rieral- 06:07:00
4. Ana Barbas (POR), E Da Fuica -06:13:04
5. Mohammed Khalifa Al Sowaidi (QAT), Dufawan - 0606:13:05
6. Paul Bard (FR), Volny Du Leff 06:13:24
7. Amandine Lorenzi (FRA), Velvette El Mazel - 06:13:31
8. Laetitia Goncalves (FRA), Sadi Lotois - 06:15:59
9. Emilie Brard (FRA), Natfet - 06:17:00
10. Emmanuelle Gaudino (FRA), Cayrel Bashkhaar - 06:18:17
Full Results:
Best Condition: Paul Bard (FRA) with Volny Du Leff

Friday, September 23, 2016

Slovakia: Was fatally injured endurance horse taken to livestock crematorium? - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
18:46 - 23 September, 2016

The FEI’s equestrian community integrity unit is to investigate allegations that the body of Ajayeb, the mare who broke a leg at the world endurance championships at Samorin, Slovakia, was diverted to a livestock crematorium instead of being taken directly to a pathology lab for her compulsory autopsy.

The FEI ordered the investigation on Friday afternoon after hearing allegations that Ajayeb, the ride of UAE team member Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, was traced to the crematorium by vets suspicious about her whereabouts..

As part of tougher rules for endurance imposed in 2014, the FEI has insisted autopsies be held for all at-competition fatalities...


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Australia: Sisters to mount up for Tom Quilty Gold Cup - Full Article

DALE WEBSTER, The Weekly Times
September 20, 2016 7:00am

JULIE Woods will become the oldest Victorian to ride in Australia’s toughest endurance horse race next month when she mounts up at the age of 80 for the Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

Ms Woods rode her first “100-miler” when she was 50 and if she completes the course successfully on October 8 she will collect her sixth Quilty buckle.

With her at the starting line for the first time will be her sister, Lois Sharam, who is making her Quilty debut at age 75...

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Aussies have right stuff at World Endurance Championships - Full Article

FRAN CLELAND, The Weekly Times
September 20, 2016 7:00am

AUSTRALIA’S endurance team finished fourth in the teams section of the 2016 World Endurance Championships in Slovakia at the weekend.

Members were Ben Hudson, Sasha Laws-King, Rebecca Pinder, Jodie Salinas and Alexandra Toft...

Read more here:

Omani riders clinch fifth place at World Endurance Championships - Full Article

September 20, 2016
Oman riders claimed fifth place in the team event at the competitive FEI World Endurance Championships in Samorin, Slovakia on Saturday.

Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs captured individual gold and led his compatriots Alex Luque Moral and Angel Soy Coll to the team title. Moral took the individual silver, with Bahrain’s H H Sheikh Nasser al Khalifa claimed bronze.

The Spanish led an all-European team podium, with France bagging silver and the Netherlands holding on for bronze.

Australia pushed Oman to fifth place...

Read more:

Monday, September 19, 2016

UAE Endurance: The Shameful Saga Continues - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 19, 2016

Hands-up anyone who seriously thought the UAE would be on best/better behaviour at Saturday’s world endurance championship (WEC) ride in Samorin, Slovakia?

Having learned nothing whatsoever from the litany of criticism, FEI suspensions and legal agreements, the UAE delivered even worse results than at WEG 2014 and managed to kill their stable star. Not one individual got round by using their trademark burn-out strategy.

Yet all were mounted on seasoned troopers, some prepped by their trainer-mentor Juma Punti Dachs, who steamed through to take two WEC golds for his native Spain with Twyst Maison Blanche. The defending champion Sheikh Hamdan went out for lameness at gate 4 having led with Ramaah.

Only 47 finished out of a field of 134. The sport should be ashamed by both the 35% completion rate and that the provisional first three were eventually ruled out, two for lameness and one for metabolics. Two were Emiratis, one a Uruguayan, another nation fixated on the racing-style sport.

There was some good riding but the overall picture was dire. At Rio, experienced Paralympic dressage rider Philippa Johnson-Dwyer was eliminated for a small spur mark on her horse’s flanks under the blood rules. Philippa lost the use of an arm and has spinal injuries, so any tiny abrasion could possibly have been caused by a totally understandable momentary loss of balance on her part. Yet at a world title endurance ride, for every sympathetic rider you’ll see another that has barely mastered rising trot yet is permitted to crash along for 100 miles hanging on to a mouthful of hardware that would shame the Spanish Inquisition. But then again, large numbers of the public are less likely to watch endurance than an arena sport on TV like dressage: silly me.

The UAE also lost Ajayeb, ride of Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum. Ajayeb sustained an open fracture of the cannon bone, the sort seen too often in the desert rides. To add to the catastrophe, witnesses tell me that Ajayeb broke free from a makeshift screen made of sheets and tried to run on three legs after her companions whose riders had continued on their way. She had been up with the front-runners in loops 1, 2 and 3.

Ajayeb was clearly a very special robot who has been passed round the wider Maktoum clan so they can all win something big. Yamamah, winner of WEG 2014, is a previous holder of this dubious honour. Ajayeb won the 2015 Europeans, also at Samorin under Punti Dachs. In January she won Dubai’s most prestigious ride, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup under Sheikh Hamdan...

Read more here:

‘A very tough day’: horse dies at world endurance championships - Full Article

Rachael Turner
11:58 - 19 September, 2016

A horse has been put down at the FEI world endurance championships at the weekend (15-18 September).

Ajayeb, ridden by UAE rider Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, tripped and fell on the fourth loop of the 160km track in Samorin, Slovakia.

The 15-year-old chestnut mare suffered “an irreparable leg injury” to her off fore and had to be put down.

“It was a very tough day”, said Spanish rider Jaume Punti Dachs, who took team and individual gold at the competition.

“There were magnificent horses in front of me, but endurance sometimes happens like this. You do everything right and then something goes wrong. It’s like life..."


Hagis and Sleeper Give Worthy Effort at 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships for Seniors

RELEASE: September 18, 2016

Samorin, Slovakia – The United States’ Meg Sleeper and Tom Hagis gave a strong effort across a rugged five-loop course at the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships for Seniors on Saturday. Although they rode with confidence, they were unable to overcome the vigorous challenges the course presented and were pulled at vet checks along the way. Spain won the Team Gold medal while Spain’s Jaume Punti took the Individual Gold medal, finishing the course with a time of 15:46:42 and at an average speed of 23.61 kph.

Sleeper (Frenchtown, N.J.) and Shyrocco Rimbaud progressed along the course at a safe pace. They made it through the fourth loop at 140 km before retiring for the best interest of the 2006 Anglo Arabian gelding. Tom Hagis (Fries, Va.) and his own Indian Reinman, a 2006 Arabian gelding, kept a steady pace but were pulled at a vet check following the third loop at 110 km. For this being Hagis’ first world championship, the developing endurance athlete acquired useful experience. Both athletes represented the U.S. well, effectively managing their horse’s health, and demonstrating the positive things to come for U.S. Endurance.

Complete Results​

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.​

Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016: Jaume Punti Dachs takes Spain to team and individual gold

In a day of weather that changed as often as the ride leaders, Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs captured individual gold and led Spain to the team title at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 in Samorin (SLK). (Miro Nota)

18 Sep 2016

By Pamela Burton

In a day of weather that changed as often as the ride leaders, Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs captured individual gold and led his compatriots Alex Luque Moral and Angel Soy Coll to the team title at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 in Samorin (SLK).

Punti Dachs, who also took team and individual gold at the European championships at the Samorin venue 12 months ago, had a perfect ride on the nine-year-old grey Twyst Maison Blanche to complete the 160km track in 06:46:42 with an average speed of 23.60 km/h.

Fellow Spaniard Alex Luque Moral and Calandria, the lovely 10-year-old grey mare that deservedly took the best conditioned horse award, were 50 seconds off the pace to take individual silver, with Bahrain’s HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Al Kalifa taking bronze with Waterlea Dawn Treader in a time of 06:49:47.

The Spanish led an all-European team podium, with France taking silver and the Netherlands holding on for bronze.

The track, which ran between the river Danube and the neighbouring canal, as well as through forestry and farmland, was flat and fast and the 134 starters set off at pace from the 6am mass start.

Punti Dachs was consistently in the top 10 over the first four loops, and the 47-year-old, who was a team gold medallist over the challenging Sartilly terrain at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA), ended his day with a flourish to scoop double gold and add the world title to his European crown. His wife Maria Alvarez Ponton, who was vetted out after the second loop, previously held the two titles concurrently after winning European and world gold in 2009 and 2010.

Twyst Maison Blanche wasn’t the first horse across the finish line, but the final vet check is the real finish line and when both the United Arab Emirates runners, Napoli Del Ma (Saif Ahmad Al Mazroui) and Quran El Ulm (Ganem Abdullah Al Merri) were vetted out and Uruguay’s LG Muneerah wasn’t presented by Jonatan Rivera Iriarte, top honours went to Punti Dachs.

In fact none of the UAE team recorded a completion score, even though HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and Ramaah had been at the head of the field throughout, until the 12-year-old gelding went out at the fourth vet gate. Sadly, Ajayeb, the 15-year-old chestnut mare ridden by Sheikh Hamdan’s team mate Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, tripped and fell on the fourth loop of the track, suffering an irreparable injury to her right front leg and had to be euthanised.

“It was a very tough day”, Punti Dachs said. “There were magnificent horses in front of me, but endurance sometimes happens like this. You do everything right and then something goes wrong. It’s like life.”

It’s been something of a winning spree for Spain as their all-female team won the European Endurance Young Riders and Juniors Championships in Portugal earlier in the month.

Alex Luque Moral was thrilled to take team gold and individual silver in Samorin. “I slowed down to save my horse after the first fast loop, and then for the last loop, I decided to really have fun with my mare and show everyone what she could do after all the training for this championship.”

Angel Soy Coll, whose sixth-place finish sealed Spain’s victory, said: “I am very happy and very grateful to have been part of the team. It was a tough day but think I managed to do what was expected of me and my horse and get a good result for the Spanish team.”

Bronze medallist HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the only non-European on the podium, trained the 11-year-old Waterlea Dawn Treader for the championships at home in Bahrain and France. “The race was very difficult especially the third loop because of the humidity. I believed in my plan and it worked. My horse was not tired at all, he was perfect.”

See final Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 scores:

Hashtags: #TwoHearts #Endurance #WEC #Samorin

Twitter: @FEI_Global & @LonginesEq

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Namibia: Lanel scoops up second win in gruelling enduro race - Full Article

18 September 2016
Written by: Isabel Venter

A local horse rider, 24-year-old Lanel van Nieuwenhuizen on her mare Jozami Zanica, dominated one of Africa’s toughest endurance races recently.

Competing in the African Endurance Championships on 24 August, Lanel came up against top riders from South Africa, Namibia and other countries. Not only did she finish the gruelling 122km in a winning time of 06:34, she clinched the overall first place.

This was the 10th time Lanel competed in Walvis Bay, Namibia, but not the first time that she had won this prestigious race. As well as taking third place in her category in 2013, she won the race overall in 2014 and managed a second place in last year’s race, taking the award for the Best Conditioned horse, as well as the Best of Best award. “Walvis Bay is definitely one of my favourite races on the endurance calendar,” said the well-travelled Lanel. She has competed on Zanica, as well as on unfamiliar horses on local shores and abroad. “But Walvis Bay, although tough on both rider and horse, is beautiful. For one part of the race, you find yourself in the desert. The next moment you get to see the flamingos flying over the ocean as you gallop alongside the waters,” said Lanel.

The African Championships, which started some 20 years ago, is hosted by the Namibian Endurance Ride Association (NERA), and saw 144 riders competing over 122km. The race is divided into five stages and sets off in the dark hours of the early morning...

Read more here:

Slovakia: Spaniard wins FEI World Endurance Championship gold after three riders disqualified - Full Article

By Liam Morgan
Saturday, 17 September 2016

Spain's Jaume Punti Dachs sealed the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Endurance Championships title amid controversial circumstances on board Girola de Querchus in Samorin in Slovakia today.

The bizarre finish to the race began when Saif Ahmad Al Mazroui started to wave the United Arab Emirates flag as he crossed the line in first position, only for his horse Napoli Del Ma to be disqualified by the judges for an imperfect gait.

Jonatan Rivera Iriarte of Uruguay appeared well placed to secure the crown but the same fate befell his horse - LG Muneerah - meaning he was also disqualified.

Al Mazroui's compatriot Ganem Abdullah Al Merri was the third rider who thought he had done enough for victory only to have his hopes dashed as his horse Quran El Ulm was found to have a metabolic condition by the vet, ruling him out of contention.

Dachs, forced to deny allegations of wrongdoing back in 2013 when the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Britain seized over 100 veterinary products from Moorley Farm East in Newmarket, finished the gruelling 160 kilometres course in a time of 6 hours 46min 42sec...

Read more here:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Slovakia: Veteran Dachs follows in wife’s footsteps

Shaikh Hamdan leads a posse of riders with the historic Danube River in the background, during the FEI World Endurance Championships in Samorin, Slovakia - Image Credit: Dubai Media Office twitter - Full Article

Spaniard claims Endurance gold in Slovakia as UAE’s hopes are dashed at final vet gate

Published: 21:42 September 17, 2016 Gulf News
By Leslie Wilson Jr Racing & Special Features Writer

Dubai: Jaume Punti Dachs, a veteran endurance rider and trainer, clinched the gold medal at the FEI World Endurance Championship in Samorin, Slovakia, as a spirited performance by the UAE’s Saif Ahmad Al Mazroui and Ganem Abdullah Al Merri, ended in heartache at the final vet gate.

Triumphantly waving the UAE flag, Al Mazroui crossed the finish line first following a final loop cat and mouse battle with Uruguay’s Jonatan Rivera Iriarte, only to see his horse, Napoli Del Ma, disqualified due to an imperfect gait.

Iriarte’s horse, LG Muneerah, suffered a similar fate which left third placed Emirati rider Al Merri in the number spot and anxiously awaiting the vet results. But as luck would have it.

Quran El Ulm was found to have a metabolic condition and was also disqualified.

Dach’s horse, the nine-year-old grey gelding Twyst Maison Blanche, passed the vet test ensuring he would emulate his wife, Maria Alvarez Ponton, who was a two-time World Endurance Championship in 2008 and 2010...

Read more here:

World Endurance Championship - USA Team Eliminated

by Merri

The USA Team of Meg Sleeper/Shyrocco Rimbaud and Tom Hagis/Indian Reinman vetted in healthy and sound for the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Slovakia today, but unfortunately vetted out during the ride. Indian Reinman was eliminated at the third vet gate for lameness, and Rimbaud was eliminated at the 4th vet gate for lameness.

"Fortunately neither lameness was severe and both horses will be fine to compete another day," Meg said.

"It is hard to put into words how one feels after a pull at this kind of event. It is awesome just to be selected to represent the USA, but of course the idea is to do well and there are so many people that give so much to make it possible for us to be here, it is rather demoralizing to feel like you are letting everyone down."

Meg's other horse, the mare Syrocco Rabia, finished 29th under Guatemala's Fernando Paiz Larrave in a time of 8:35.50. The other USA horse, Colin for Gold, owned by Valerie Kanavy and ridden by Japan's Hirofumi Ono, finished 47th and last in a ride time of 10:23.48.

42 of the 133 starters finished the race, for a completion rate of 35.3%.

Results and updates will be posted at:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Slovakia: All USA Horses Set to Start World Endurance Championship

September 16 2016

All the USA horses entered in the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Samorin, Slovakia, have passed the pre-ride vet inspection and will start the race Saturday morning at 6 AM.

Meg Sleeper will be riding her 10-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding Shyrocco Rimbaud. Also owned by Meg, her 10-year-old mare Syrocco Rabia will be ridden by Guatemala's Fernando Paiz.

Tom Hagis will ride his 10-year-old Arabian gelding Indian Reinman.

And Valerie Kanavy owns the 10-year-old Arabian gelding Colin for Gold, which will be ridden by Japan's Hirofumi Ono.

132 horses are expected on the starting line. The event will be streamed live, and results will be updated here:

More information, photos and stories will be here:

Slovakia: Hudson has eyes on Aussie team medal at endurance worlds - Full Article

September 7 2016
Matthew Findlay

Orange endurance rider Ben Hudson says he and his beloved steed Oso Cap Braveheart will relish the experience of representing Australia at next week’s Federation Equestrian International World Endurance Championships, in Slovakia.

Hudson, just 23, was named in the five-strong Australian squad after winning his second consecutive Australian Championships at Imbil in July, he clocked just over 10 hours on the little but big-spirited Arabian stallion to do so.

Only three seconds separated Hudson and runner-up Kaylea Maher.

For the confused, or unfamiliar, endurance riding is exactly as it sounds – riders and their mounts navigate their way around the very long, often gruelling courses in a bid to clock the fastest time they can.

“That is one good thing about the sport though, there’s the competitive riders who go hard and ride in about 10 or 11 hours but there’s also a lot of people riding for the challenge,” Hudson explained...

Read more here:

Slovakia: Hamdan hopes to repeat landmark 2014 victory - Full Article

Published: 17:51 September 16, 2016 Gulf News
By Leslie Wilson JrRacing & Special
Features Writer

Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, will be hoping to repeat his landmark 2014 victory as he leads a strong UAE team in the Longines FEI World Endurance Championship in Slovakia today.

Shaikh Hamdan, who will start the 160km ride at the state-of-the-art Samorin Equestrian Centre as the huge favourite, produced a breathtaking ride on Yamamah to win the gold in Normandy, France two years ago.

In what is often described as one of his best performances, Shaikh Hamdan and Yamamah overcame rain and testing conditions to triumph over a world-class field of 173 riders from 47 nations at the historic venue.

Today, he will be joined by four of the UAE’s finest horsemen as bids to give the UAE a fourth individual gold in the event following victories by his father, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who was triumphant at Euston Park, Great Britain in 2012 and his younger brother Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the shock winner at Jerez, Spain in 2002...

Read more here:

Slovakia: World Endurance Championship starting tomorrow

September 16 2016

x-bionic sphere® hosts World Endurance Championship with the attendance of 45 countries, which is 7 more than total attendance at previous World Championship.

After todays Vetc check, total number of 132 horses will start tomorrow from Šamorín facing various types of surfaces and after challenging 160 kilometers, riders will finish the race here at our equestrian Race track.

Start is scheduled at 6AM.

We are looking forward to greet each rider at the finish line!

FEI World Endurance Championship 2016 Set to Start - Full Article

A record 46 nations (including Canada, represented by Yvette Vinton and Kataki) will contest the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 this Saturday (17 September), with the world’s top Endurance athletes already on-site at Slovakia’s state-of-the-art Šamorín Equestrian Centre, brain-child of Slovakian businessman Mario Hoffmann.

A total of 136 horse/rider combinations will head out on the 160-kilometre track in a 6am mass-start, with five loops of 40, 35, 35, 30 and 20kms running across grass, field and forest tracks alongside the River Danube and skirting around Bratislava at the foot of the Little Carpathians mountain range.

The youngest competitor at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships is 14-year-old Pilar Saravia from Uruguay. Currently ranked number three in the world, she won her first 3* 160km ride on home soil in July, with her second 3* 160km win in Buenos Aires just two weeks later.

Saravia and the grey mare SM Dhanderiega, her winning ride in Buenos Aires, will be flying the flag for the seven South American countries at these Championships, challenging the world’s most seasoned Endurance athletes for a podium spot...

Read more here:

Yvette Vinton Headed to Longines FEI World Endurance Championships - Full Article

September 10, 2016
by: Equestrian Canada

Dr. Yvette Vinton, who currently resides in Ocala, FL, is set to represent Canada at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships, taking place Sept. 16-18 in Samorin, SVK.

A veteran endurance rider, Vinton has been involved in the sport for 24 years, competing around the globe for Canada. Vinton is also a veterinarian who specializes in general surgery and chiropractics for horses and small animals. No stranger to the international stage, Vinton has competed for Canada on the world stage many times, most recently the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in France and the 2012 FEI World Endurance Championship in Great Britain...

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Slovakia braced for FEI World Endurance Championships after stepping in for axed Dubai - Full Article

By Liam Morgan
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A total of 136 riders are due to compete at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Endurance Championships, which get underway with the Opening Ceremony in Samorin in Slovakia tomorrow.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar are all expected to do well at the event, which remains shrouded in controversy after Dubai was stripped of the hosting rights earlier this year following horse welfare concerns.

Uruguay and Spain are also sending strong teams to Samorin, which was confirmed as the replacement for Dubai in June, while Mario Hoffmann of Slovakia will be looking to make full use of home advantage.

The FEI have confirmed 46 countries from five countries will be represented at the World Endurance Championships, with the main bulk of the action due to be held on Saturday (September 17).

The Samorin Equestrian Centre, the venue for last year’s European Championships, was chosen to stage the event ahead of rival submissions from Fontainebleau in France and Pisa in Italy by the FEI’s Endurance Committee.

Both the French and Italian bids were rejected after they proposed mid-October for the Championships, meaning rides would start and finish in the dark.

Dubai's axing came after the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) was suspended by the FEI for "major horse welfare issues" in March 2015.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

USA Riders, Horses Preparing for World Endurance Championship

September 14 2016
by Merri

USA's Meg Sleeper and Shyrocco Rimbaud, and Tom Hagis and Indian Reinman are in Samorin, Slovakia, finishing last minute conditioning and preparations for the 2016 World Endurance Championship, which will start at 6 AM on Saturday, September 17.

Sleeper will be represented by two of her horses at the WEC. She also owns Syrocco Rabia, who will be ridden by Fernando Paiz for Guatemala. Additionally, Colin for Gold, owned by USA's Valerie Kanavy, will be ridding by Hirofumi Ono of Japan.

Days are filled with caring for the horses - riding, hand walking, hand grazing, feeding, bandaging, lasering (MR4 ACTIVet cordless, cold laser made by Multi Radiance Medical), and team meetings and meals. Horses moved to a main barn at the venue on Monday. "We are in 'The Hague' barn," said Meg, "which I am hoping will be good luck since Val [Kanavy] won the championship there [in 1994]."

Also on Sunday, the horses were able to pre-ride the blue loop (about 12 miles), the last phase of the event. "The trails for endurance are very firm and in fact there are places it is so well packed it looks almost like concrete. We knew concussion was going to be an issue for the horses with this trail, and ours are all padded to try to minimize the concussion," Meg said.

Currently the forecast for Saturday is 75 degrees with no rain.

Meg discussed the competition aspect of the event. "The scuttlebutt is that the winning speed will be 25kph (or 15.6 mph). That’s a blistering pace over 100 miles, and I don’t doubt there will be people doing it. It is going to be a very interesting event.

"To give some more perspective, the awards ceremony is scheduled for 6pm the night of the race (12 hours after the scheduled start time). I have no doubt that there will be those that attempt it and some will be successful.

"The speeds that some can and have achieved, and to be honest the abilities of all high level equine athletes, keep me in constant awe of the horse. And I suppose that’s what sport and competition is: to push the limits of our capabilities.

"All I am able to say for certain is I will do my absolute best in regards to the competition, but also in regards to trying to keep Rim healthy and happy.

"And I can speak for the USA team (and Guatemala and Japan) when I say we will do it clean."

Stay tuned for more updates at

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

4 Days till the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Slovakia

September 13 2016

46 countries, 5 continents, 136 riders, 149 horses ! The World Endurance Championship of Samorin promises to be a great event!

The best riders are gathered in Slovakia for the highest level of competition that exists in endurance.

If Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed al Maktoum is considered to be the ultra favorite, other rider can take the supreme title. Which one? This is very hard to say!

Unquestionably, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar are to be taken seriously. For the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid al Maktoum arrives with the best M.R.M Stables’ team.

The countries of the Gulf have very good horses with beautiful and long career, like Leonardo, Ajayeb, Napoli del Mar and many others.

Uruguayan riders are known to be fast, but Spain presents a strong team with its two stars riders, Maria Alvarez Ponton and Jaume Punti Dachs.

Other countries have good chances too like France with Jean-Philippe Frances, and Slovakia with Mario Hoffmann, who can be galvanized by running at home.

Before the race, nobody can say who the winner will be. There are too many parameters to be taken into account: how did the horse travel, the configuration of the race, the weather, the fitness of both rider and horse the day of the race …   
And the coach can change riders and horses until the pre vet check and equestrianism is always a matter of the horse plus rider.

All that can be said is that this Championship will offer a very nice show.

So let’s meet on next Saturday at the x-bionic® sphere – Samorin !

Monday, September 12, 2016

Definite Entries Announced for 2016 World Endurance Championship

September 12 2016

Definite entries have been announced for the 2016 World Endurance Championship to be held this weekend in Samorin, Slovakia.

136 riders and 149 horses are on the entry list representing 45 countries.

The complete list can be seen here:

Opening ceremonies will take place at 8 PM on Thursday, September 15. Horse inspections will begin at 2 PM on Friday, and the race begins at 6 AM on Saturday. A live stream of the race will be available at

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Funds being raised to help Kingwood equestrian compete in Slovakia - Full Article

By Lillian Shupe | For
on September 02, 2016

Kingwood Township resident Meg Sleeper is headed back to the FEI World Endurance Championships and friends are helping to pay for the trip.

In August, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) named Sleeper and her horse, Shyrocco Rimbaud, or Rim for short, to the United States team. The championships will be held in Samorin, Slovakia, Sept. 16-17.

Getting a horse and a support crew to Slovakia is not an inexpensive task. Although Sleeper got a grant for $10,000, her friend Robyn Farrington set up a GoFundMe account to raise the more than $18,000 more needed to fund the trip...

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Monday, September 05, 2016

Spanish Sweep FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Portugal

Paula Muntala Sanchez (ESP), aged 21, riding 10-year old part-Arabian Echo Falls secured individual gold and also guided her team to gold at the 120km FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Rio Frio, Portugal on 3 September. (FEI/Endurance in the World)

5 Sep 2016
By Pamela Burton

The Spanish athlete Paula Muntala Sanchez riding 10-year-old part-Arabian Echo Falls emerged victorious after the 120km Meydan FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Portugal, leading the Spanish team to gold as well.

Held at the Rio Frio Equestrian Centre, 38 athletes aged between 14 and 21 from 11 countries left in a mass start at 06:30 on Saturday, 3 September. The competition circled in four loops of 40, 30, 30 and 20kms, with gates and veterinary inspection areas on each loop.

The young but seasoned, Sanchez, aged 21, completed the ride in 05:14:57 with an average speed of 22.86 kph riding though the heat of the day, which reached 30°C with 40% humidity.

The all-female Spanish team came into each vet gate within minutes of each other, pulsed down and left in the same way, and arrived at the finish just after Sanchez, placing 2nd - 5th individually in this order: Laura Fernandez Piña on Cadigaam, Bruna Pujols Aumatell on Lludriga De Masferrer, Raquel Costa Condina on Kalima Casanova and Naroa Calvo Ibáñez on Escarsi.

“The plan was to be strong with all the team from the beginning to ensure that at least one of our team members could be in the medals,” said Sanchez after the ride.

Although this did not happen to her, Sanchez stated what might have been the biggest challenge on the ride: “To lose a shoe is a problem because you lose time, and it is difficult to recover in such flat terrain as the one in Rio Frio. The biggest strength of my 10-year-old Appaloosa is in his character. He saves energy during the competition, which allows him to have a quick recovery at the end of each loop.”

When asked about her future endurance goals, Sanchez replied: “My goal is to improve my performance and hopefully to continue as a team member for Spain.”

Echo Falls is by the full Arabian stallion Tango D’Ayres by the legendary Persik out of the Appaloosa mare, Song of Wind.

Spanish cavalry led the way

Heading out in the first wave of the mass start, Spain’s Sanchez and her teammates blended like a grey cavalry into the low fog of early morning as they led the way for the first 40km loop.

The five athletes took possession of the race from the start, never leaving first position throughout, but knew they were being chased by France’s Henriette D Ursel on Wloszka Fontanel and Emma Frances on Quokin De PSA.

João Maria Moura riding Distinto for Portugal kept within five minutes of the first seven riders throughout the course and he was followed by Italy’s Costanza Laliscia on Rok and Camilla Coppini on Veinard Secondo. Great Britain’s hopes were dashed early on as they lost all three riders by vet gate two.

Besides host Portugal, athletes represented Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Spain.

Seven teams started and five teams completed. A course completion of 57% finished the last rider, Imke Lamsma from The Netherlands riding Sjacour in the ride time of 07:43:12 with an average speed of 15.54 kph.

The FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors is an important foundation for future top Endurance riders. The last edition of this Championship was in 2014 in Verona, Italy. To compete, athletes must have successfully completed at least 3 CEI 2* events or higher.

Manuel Bandeira de Mello, FEI Endurance Director said of the competition: “It was a fantastic day of top quality sport. The Spanish team led the ride from the very beginning showing their supremacy, and the high skill of the athletes and the horses proved that even with a very technical track, a 57% completion rate could be achieved.”

Rui Amante, President of the Ground Jury in Rio Frio commented: “The venue is fantastic and the event went very smoothly. The most important aspect is that the fair play of the 37 competitors was truly amazing for Juniors and Young riders. I am very happy with the outcome of this event.”

Rio Frio - the venue

The trails of mostly sandy soil went through ancient cork oak forest, around thriving vineyards and between irrigated rice paddies, allowing for many natural water spots and easy access points for crews. The public could also view the athletes in viewing areas designated along the national roads. This route has been in use and tested since 2014. The Rio Frio Equestrian Centre is located on the southern bank of the Tagus Estuary, 30km from the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.

Results - top ten individuals

1. Paula Muntala Sanchez, Echo Falls (ESP) - finish time 05:14:57
2. Laura Fernandez Piña, Cadigaam (ESP) - finish time 05:14:58
3. Bruna Pujols Aumatell, Lludriga De Masferrer (ESP) - finish time 05:14:59
4. Raquel Costa Condina, Kalima Casanova (ESP) - finish time 05:15:00
5. Naroa Calvo Ibáñez, Escarsi (ESP) - finish time 05:15:05
6. Henriette, D Ursel, Wloszka Fontanel (FRA) - finish time 05:34:10
7. Emma Frances, Quokin De PSA (FRA) - finish time 05:34:11
8. Maria Moura João, Distinto (POR) - finish time 05:45:18
9. Constanza Laliscia, Rok (ITA) - finish time 06:08:32
10. Camilla Coppini, Veinard Secondo (ITA) - finish time 06:08:33

Results - top three teams

*Teams count the highest-placed three members for classification
1. Spain - finish time: 15:44:54
2. Italy - finish time: 19:04:10
3. Portugal - finish time: 19:40:47
*Also finished: Belgium (finish time 19:57:53) & Netherlands (finish time 20:42:03).

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