Monday, January 16, 2017

Endurance UAE - Good, Bad, and Ugly - Full Article

16 January - 10h09 | Lulu Kyriacou

Endurance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to make equestrian headlines this week although not only for bad reasons. Although the FEI will be holding urgent talks with the UAE endurance organisers this coming week there was also a lengthy statement from 4* judge Francois Kerboul in support of Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan's Boudhieb Endurance Challenge which is aiming to change the current face of the sport within the Arabic nations.

In total three horses were listed as catastrophically injured during the recent Maktoum Cup meeting at the Dubai Endurance International City, the venue that was deposed as hosts for the 2016 World Championships when horse welfare could not be guaranteed according to the FEI. Since then a further sanction preventing international competition was imposed on the venue and the Maktoum Cup Festival of Endurance was the first CEI 160 to be held after this sanction was lifted. Another horse died during that race, making four at the venue in total and five in the Dubai area in the last three months. According to endurance expert Pippa Cuckson in her latest column for Horse Canada, the FEI are looking into improvements in training regimes as all four of the horses died on the first loop of the rides, leading to a suggestion that the horses may already have been suffering from pre-existing conditions caused by training techniques. It is also just as possible that these sort of injuries are caused by incidents during the mass starts of dozens of horse and it must be asked why the FEI are entering into what amounts to speculation on incidents that are not exactly a rarity.

A spokesperson for the FEI told Cuckson that "The catastrophic injuries that have occurred this season have all been in the first loop, so it suggests that these are pre-existing fractures and that there is a serious issue with training techniques. Data from all events, including national fixtures, is being fed into the Global Endurance Injuries Study (GEIS) and Equi-ratings is also providing the FEI with statistics for surveillance and monitoring.

“The FEI will continue to work closely with the new management at the Emirates Equestrian Federation and a strong course of action will be agreed upon depending on the outcome of these meetings, including a requirement for reduced speeds and heart rates, shorter presentation times to enforce slower speeds and/or potential suspension of CEIs in the calendar.”

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