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: