Monday, February 27, 2017


February 25 2016

H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
11th International Endurance Festival, 6 - 11th March 2017

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has for many years been concerned by the wonton waste of fine Arabian horses in the sport of endurance here in the region and decided to make changes with the consideration of the 'Welfare of the Horse' at its core.

As a result of recent developments of this sport in the desert regions of the world, speeds have increased from around 18kph in 1998 to current speeds nearing 40kph which exceeds the natural ability of most horses. In order to achieve such speeds, natural dune trails have been replaced by specifically prepared tracks that are maintained hard surfaces. Such tracks were originally necessary in order to preserve any semblance of soundness in horses of these regions, however as speeds continued to increase over the past two decades, so have the countless horse injuries and fatalities!

Sheikh Sultan decided to take a stand by introducing strict rules regulating speed and horse heart rates and so the 'Boudheib Initiative' was born. Returning to natural desert trails which have increased in length to as much as 50% as their
Value has been proven time and again in naturally reducing speed and thereby vastly reducing horse injuries. Boudheib is proud to note that the Boudheib Endurance Village hospital is almost always empty, a fine achievement in less than two years.
Each year, to further improve horse welfare standards, His Highness Sheikh Sultan holds an annual Conference during the Boudheib International Endurance Festival, inviting top international speakers from around the globe to participate in sharing views to enhance the rules which are now being requested worldwide.

This year is no exception, the conference Boudhieb Initiative Worldwide is being held on 8th March at Boudheib Endurance Village at Al Khatem, Abu Dhabi, (registration 9.30). The organisers are delighted to announce a top class panel including :- Roly Owers, UK (World Horse Welfare), Melanie Scott, AUS (AERA President), Laurentinus (Franz) Arts, NED (Senior Endurance Vet), Sybille Merkhart North GER (Endurance Event Organiser), Ahmed Samarraie, GER (Holds National Champs), Kevin Croke IRE (FEI 4* Judge), Leonard Liesens, BEL (Head of Endurance), John Crandell, USA (Endurance Promotion), Kseniia Horbunova, Ukraine and Jean-Paul Boudon, FRA (Organiser FLORAC).

Another newly introduced initiative encouraging conference participation from local trainers, riders, owners and breeders is an invitation which has been accepted by celebrity football club Al Jazira. They will spend time discussing training tactics and injury rehabilitation which can be applied to the same training program for endurance horses. Once again Boudheib is making ground breaking progress!

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan also wants to tackle the future of endurance by educating young Emiratis in the art of true horsemanship and has put in place a series of beginners rides for both the Boudheib Academy Equestrian Centre Riding School under 16's and open events for young riders never having participated in endurance, this wonderful program teaches the youngsters horse welfare from a young age and both the boys and their horses are loving it.

Everyone is welcome, we have a full program of endurance rides and events with the main feature Boudheib Festival Cup 3 day 3* FEI 240km starting on 9th March

Come and enjoy the beautiful natural desert trails unique to Boudheib.

For festival information and timings visit: or social media: - twitter, instagram & facebook @ boudheib

Sunday, February 26, 2017

UAE- Argentina's Catalina Bastons wins Sheikha Fatma bint Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup - 100 km ride - Full Article


(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 24th February, 2017 (WAM) -- Argentina's Catalina Bastons won the H.H. Sheikha Fatma bint Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Ladies Endurance Cup CEN 100 km Endurance Ride at the Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, on Friday.

Riding the nine-year-old chestnut gelding called SM Jota Curado, Bastons prevailed in one of the most hotly contested women's rides where the top five were in the fray until the final minutes.

With as many as 105 women riders taking part in the four-stage race, Bastons, who represented the Jumeirah Stables, showed her superiority and finished the first loop in third place. She then took over to lead in all three remaining stages...

Read more here:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Australia: Moura's Rebecca Hewitt is training for the Mongol Derby - Full Article

Lucy Kinbacher
25 Feb 2017

THE dry and hot conditions across Queensland this summer have been unwelcome for most but at least one person in the state has been using the conditions to her advantage.

Rebecca Hewitt, Roundstone, Moura will be one of 40 riders competing on semi-wild horses in the longest and toughest horse race in the world, The Mongol Derby, from August 9 this year.

The mother-of-two from cattle and cropping property has been running 8km, swimming once a week and doing core strength exercises to prepare herself for the gruelling 1000km course.

Ms Hewitt is no stranger to riding horses, having done pony club and show jumping as a child and now a keen campdrafter, but she has never competed in an endurance ride before...

Read more here:

Australia: Hendra vaccine developers dismiss accusation of 'bullying' - Full Article

21st February 2017

by Emily Smith
DEVELOPERS of the Hendra vaccine have been accused by a state MP of "bullying" to sell their product, even though he helped prepare a report confirming the vaccine's effectiveness.

The committee inquiry into Hendra virus EquiVac vaccine and its use by veterinary surgeons in Queensland was first tabled in October last year, and was discussed further in State Parliament on Thursday.

It recommended that the vaccine should not be made mandatory, but vets should also maintain the right to refuse treatment to unvaccinated horses, effectively maintaining the current situation.

Yet under the protection of parliamentary privilege on Thursday, Mirani MP Jim Pearce criticised the attitudes of both vets and the vaccine's marketers Zoetis towards the virus.

Firstly he claimed vets were the "worst offenders" for not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), full body suits designed to stop humans coming into contact with the virus when treating a horse.

He then went on to state that he saw it as an example of a drug prepared in haste, not properly tested and it's potential consequences to animals "simply underestimated".

"Another thing that stood out to me and concerned me greatly was that it appeared to be driven by the dollar," Mr Pearce said in parliament.

"Zoetis, the manufacturer of the vaccine, was encouraging vets to not attend to a horse if it had not been vaccinated...

Read more here:

Friday, February 24, 2017

UAE: Teenage Sensation Al Merri wins 2017 Gamilati Endurance Cup - Full Article

The 17-year-old, delighted with his win on Raya, is first congratulated by Shaikh Mohammad

February 23, 2017
Gulf News
Staff Report

Dubai: Hamdan Ahmad Al Merri and his mare, Raya, emerged the winners of the sixth Gamilati Endurance Cup for Mares sponsored by Al Tayer Motors Thursday, a 119km ride held at the purpose-built Dubai International Endurance City.

The 17-year-old, who has been riding since the age of six, was first congratulated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, following his victory which stopped the clock in at 4:23.45.

Speaking after the win Al Merri said: “This is a very special win for me, I have been training very hard, and have waited a whole year for this race. My horse is a strong horse and credit must go to her as well, I have been riding with her for a year now and she has done a really good job...

More at:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

UAE: Gamiliati Endurace Cup on Thursday - Full Article

Ride is contested over 119 kms in four phases and is open to qualified mares only

February 22, 2017 Gulf News
Staff Report

Dubai: The Dubai International Endurance City is set to host the sixth renewal of the CEN 119km Gamilati Endurance Cup for Mares, organised by Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC), on Thursday.

The ride, which was first run in 2012 was named by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, after the Godolphin-trained flat race mare, Gamilati, who claimed the 2012 UAE 1,000 Guineas at Meydan Racecourse.
The Gamilati Cup is competed over 119 kms in four phases and is open to qualified mares only.

In 2012 the inaugural Gamilati Endurance Cup winner was Ahmad Mohammad Al Jaber Al Marri. The following year Poland’s Kamila Anita Kart won the event aboard Ajayeb while Ajayeb completed back-to-back wins in 2014 under Shaikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum...

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Australia: Tumut’s annual endurance ride - Full Article

By Frances Vinall - February 22, 2017

Horse riders from as far afield as Queensland and Victoria travelled to Tumut last weekend for the annual Tumut Endurance Ride, this year staged in the picturesque Gilmore Valley.

Competitors had the option of 5, 10, 20, and 40 kilometre rides, and could do a different ride on the Saturday and the Sunday if they wished.

For the past two years the ride has been held at the Tumut Showgrounds, but this year riders had the treat of venturing through the hills of Gilmore, thanks to accommodating property owners...

Read more here:

Experts to Debate Equestrian Sport at FEI Sports Forum 2017 - Full Article

February 21, 2017
by: FEI

World experts on the Olympic sports of Jumping and Eventing and the non-Olympic discipline of Endurance will address the FEI Sports Forum 2017 when it takes place at the International Management Development Institute (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) from April 10-11. The programme for the annual event, which is acknowledged as the key opportunity for the equestrian world to gather and debate current topics in the sport prior to the annual General Assembly, is published today and registration is now open.

The Sports Forum will be opened by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, followed by a keynote address from IMD. The first day of the two-day programme will focus on Jumping, with an in-depth look at the future of the FEI’s flagship team series, the FEI Nations Cup™. Other highlights on the first day will be a presentation on the FEI’s online invitation system, discussion on CSI/CSIO requirements. Dress code and youth development in the sport will also be discussed, with a presentation on youth sport from Belgium’s four-time Olympian, Ludo Philippaerts and Peter Bollen, member of the FEI Jumping Committee.

The second day opens with a morning session on FEI Officials, including an update from the Dressage Judging Working Group. The two afternoon sessions are devoted to Eventing and Endurance.

Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor (USA), Chair of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group, and Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), chair of the FEI Eventing Committee, lead the first afternoon session dedicated to risk management. Beginning with a presentation of the Eventing risk management policy and programme implemented by the FEI to date, this will then be followed by a discussion on new proposals and next steps.

Endurance then takes centre stage for the final session of the Sports Forum 2017. Dr Tim Parkin, an expert in veterinary epidemiology, will present the initial findings of the two-year Global Endurance Injuries Study that he has conducted at Glasgow University with fellow specialist Dr Euan Bennet, and there will also be a presentation on bone fatigue and preventing bone injury by Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne, one of the world’s leading authorities on skeletal injuries...

Read more here:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

India: Maharashtra's first horse marathon rewards stamina over speed - Full Article

Nergish Sunavala | TNN | Feb 21, 2017,

On Sunday morning in Lo navla's Kurwande Villa ge, over 50 horses rolled on the ground kicking up dust before grooms wiped them off, massaged their joints and checked their heart rates. The flurry of activity at the stable with its precisely-timed choreography resembled a pit stop in aFormula One race.

And in a sense it was. These horses had just reached the halfway point of Maharashtra's first-ever 40km Endurance Championship. Before being permitted to continue, they had to be presented to a veterinarian, who would check for dehydration, limping and ensure their heart rate didn't exceed 64 beats per minute. The horse declared fit in the shortest amount of time would get a head start. Thus, an army of grooms and riders was engaged in bringing down their heart rate by any means necessary including encouraging them to roll and de-stress...

Read more here:

Friday, February 17, 2017

No more starts for Germany's endurance riders in Dubai


February 16 2017

After the recent incidents related to the distance races in the United Arab Emirates, the German Olympics Committee for Cavalry (DOKR) has now reacted.

The Executive Board has decided not to grant the German distance race any start-up permits for the participation in international distances in Dubai. If German riders are to take part in national races in Dubai, "the DOKR reserves the right not to nominate them in the future for the Championships or the Bundeskader", the wording in the document of the DOKR and the German Equestrian Federation (FN).

The DOKR goes even further. It calls on German organizers not to invite riders from the United Arab Emirates any more. The activities of the DOKR are expressly supported by the Presidium of the Verein Deutscher Abstandreiter und -fahrer (VDD). In fact, the VDD had even called the FN and the Weltreiterverband FEI to action .

Only two days ago eight other medication cases were known. In addition, in the first months of the year the reports of dead horses , which were killed in the races.

Is there a bit of the question, why the start ban is limited to Dubai, where there were also dumped in the other Emirates and dead horses. On request, the press office of the FN said: "We have been looking at the events at which German riders are at all. These are the ones in Dubai as well as in Abu Dhabi. On the basis of our information, efforts are being made in Abu Dhabi to implement the FEI guidelines. Therefore, we deliberately restricted the ban to Dubai. "

Thursday, February 16, 2017

British authorities take action to ‘change mindset’ in endurance - Full Article

Pippa Cuckson
16:17 - 16 February, 2017

Endurance GB (EGB) and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) have today revealed further details about their plans to “change the mindset of trainers and riders competing in this country.”

A new endurance working group will look at “parameters around optimum speed, heart rate and recovery times” to be trialled at Kings Forest (14-16 April), Haywood Oaks (28-30 April), Royal Windsor (12 May), and Euston Park (20-21 May).

The move follows growing global concern about horse welfare in the UAE, and also the involvement of the ruling Al Maktoum family of Dubai who remain involved promoting the summer Euston series.

Last year there was no significant reduction in average winning speeds at Euston by visiting riders from Dubai. Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum – currently suspended for an alleged FEI doping offence – won a 120km event at Euston on 13 August with Ajayeb, clocking up a final loop speed of 27.4 kph. At her next outing, the world championships in Samorin, Ajayeb sustained a fatal fracture...


Pilot British Protocol set for British international endurance rides in 2017


Endurance GB (EGB) and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) have announced plans to develop a new British protocol for all future international endurance rides held in Great Britain, aimed at maximising horse welfare in the sport.

Acknowledging the major challenges facing the discipline of endurance, EGB and the BEF will be working together to develop a long-term UK strategy, with horse welfare at its heart, with the first step in this process being the creation of a new British protocol. The protocol will be established by a working group, led by BEF Board Director, Dr Tim Watson, and will consist of key stakeholders including veterinarians, the National Federation, event organisers and technical delegates.

The British protocol will be implemented as a pilot study at British events in 2017, and will be refined after the season based on the experience gained from the events. It is hoped that it will be ready for the first FEI rides of the year, at Kings Forest (14-16 April), Haywood Oaks (28-30 April), Royal Windsor (12 May), and Euston Park (20-21 May).

Horse welfare has long been at the forefront of the endurance agenda, and the British protocol will, amongst other areas, look to set parameters around optimum speed, heart rate and recovery times, appropriate to the competition environment here in the UK. The new protocol will also seek to go a lot further this year and will include policies on the appointment of officials, the event calendar and how to increase British participation rates.

Whilst steps to improve horse welfare in endurance events have been initiated by others on the international stage, including the FEI, the ambition is that the British protocol will create rules specifically tailored to British climate and terrain.

Clare Salmon, Chief Executive of the BEF said; “Horse welfare is an ongoing priority for the BEF and EGB and by initiating this new British protocol, we hope this will ensure a safe sport in which the wellbeing of the horses is paramount. The aim of the protocol is to implement modifications that will ultimately reform the sport by changing the mind-set of trainers and riders competing in this country.”

5 Spots Left for the 2017 Mongol Derby

The Mongol Derby is the longest and toughest horse race in the world.

The 1000km course recreates Chinggis Khaan's legendary empire-busting postal system. Riders change horses every 40km and stay with the local herders or camp under the stars.

Every year 40 professional, semi-professional and enthusiastic amateur riders compete for the derby crown.

To stand a chance of finishing riders must balance survival skills and horsemanship. They must endure the elements, semi-wild horses as well as unfamiliar food and terrain.

Completing the World's longest horse race is an achievement few can boast.

There are five spots left on the 2017 Mongol Derby. If you think you have the mettle to take on the toughest horse race on the planet, apply now.

More information at:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Qatar: New prohibited substances cases under FEI anti-doping rules

14 Feb 2017

The FEI has today announced three new adverse analytical findings involving prohibited substances at two FEI Endurance events.

Three horses competing in Endurance events at Doha, Mesaieed (QAT) have all tested positive to Diisopropylamine, a vasodilator used in the treatment of peripheral and cerebral vascular disorders. These are the first cases involving the use of Diisopropylamine, which is a Banned Substance under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs).

Two horses, R S Nube Blanca (FEI ID 104DP13/ARG/QAT), ridden by Gaje Singh Hari Singh (FEI ID 10113174/IND) in a CEI2* 120-kilometre event at Mesaieed on 19 November 2016, and Acqua Vela (FEI ID 104PE12/QAT), ridden by Maryam Ahmad S A Al Boinin (FEI ID 10115570/QAT) to win the CEIYJ1* 90-kilometre event on the same day, were tested on the day of the event. The third horse, Tarifa (FEI ID POR02414/QAT) was ridden by Mattar Said Khalfan Al Saadi (FEI ID 10146908/OMA) to win the CEI1* 80 on 7 January 2017 at Mesaieed. Samples were taken from Tarifa on the day of the event.

All three athletes have been provisionally suspended from the date of notification (8 February 2017). The three horses have also been provisionally suspended for a period of two months.

As trainer of both the Qatari horses, R S Nube Blanca and Acqua Vela, Waleed Said Khalfan Al Saa'di (FEI ID 10113272/QAT) has also been provisionally suspended.

Details on these cases are available here.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

One More CI in Dubai President's Cup; 77 of 205 Horses Complete Race

February 11 2017

The HH President of the UAE Endurance Cup FEI CEI 3* 160-km endurance race at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, concluded today with 77 finishers from 205 starters.

The 8-year-old gelding Dr Indio, ridden by the UAE's Mohammed Humaid Saeed Amer Al Neyadi, was listed as "Catastrophic Injury" on loop 4, bringing to 12 the recorded horse deaths in the UAE this season. Live feed from the FEI 3*** ride clearly shows crewing on course, cars on track, and some extremely underweight horses competing.

UAE swept 8 of the top ten spots, with Saeed Mohammed Kahlifa Al Mehairi winning aboard Shaddad in a scorching 6 hours 20 minutes and 51 seconds.

All top ten riders were awarded cars, and it is reported that all finishers received 25,000 Euros.**

**this is reported though as yet unconfirmed

Friday, February 10, 2017

Strong field for UAE President Endurance Cup - Full Article

Published: 18:05 February 10, 2017
Staff Report

Abu Dhabi: As many as 240 riders will be vying for honour in the prestigious HH The President of the UAE Endurance Cup, which will be held on Saturday, at the Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi.

One of the most prestigious rides in the world, it will be run over a distance of 160km over six loops of 40km, 33km, 24km, 23km, 20km and 20km respectively.

Riders from Algeria, Bahrain, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Slovakia will compete with a strong team representing the UAE...

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Equestrian Australia Urges FEI to Address Endurance Horse Welfare Issues in UAE

February 6 2017

Addressing the ongoing endurance horse welfare issues in the UAE, Equestrian Australia's Endurance Committee has sent a letter to the FEI urging immediate actions.

EA favors not shutting down endurance in the UAE, because there would be no rules at all to protect horse welfare, particularly if an alternate endurance organization was developed, as has been discussed in the UAE.

The Endurance Committee urges the FEI to immediately address the speed at which endurance horses travel during competition and the suspected practice of nerve-blocking horses. In addition, they suggest the mandatory and immediate implementation of lowered heart rates and shorter present times.

The entire letter can be read here.

Germany Addresses FEI Regarding Endurance Horse Welfare

February 4 2017

The German Endurance Federation sent a letter to the FEI regarding international endurance horse welfare issues.

The letter states:

"We- the Association of German Endurance Riders and Endurance Horse Drivers, Verein Deutscher Distanzreiter und -Fahrer e.V. – hereby disassociate ourselves from every incident connected with endurance rides in which our equine partner is not treated strictly according to the basic standards of animal welfare.

We urge the FEI, using every available means, that all respective incidents worldwide are thoroughly investigated and that the resulting findings are immediately made public and that strict penalties are imposed on those responsible.

It is of paramount importance that endurance riding and animal welfare go hand in hand if we are to ensure the future of our sport."

The letter can be seen here:

Norway Boycotts Group 7 Endurance Rides

8 February 2017

On the basis of a number of negative events in the UAE over the past four weeks with several doping cases and deaths among horses, and stating that horse welfare is of primary concern,
the NRYF (Norwegian Federation) has announced that beginning today, Norwegian endurance riders will not compete in any Group 7 countries.

The Danish and the Swedish federations announced the same decision over the previous day.

Read the full text here:

Statement from Endurance GB and the BEF regarding welfare concerns in the UAE

08 February 2017

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and Endurance GB (EGB) have jointly written to the FEI to express their profound concerns about the further catastrophic incidents to horses competing in the UAE and to call on the FEI to take firm and prompt action to address the recurrence of chronic injuries and unacceptable practices at both Dubai and Al Wathba venues.

EGB have also made it clear that they will not be submitting entries to the forthcoming HH President of the UAE Cup and the Crown Prince Cup in the light of these concerns. In addition, EGB will be writing to British riders based in the Middle East to urge them not to take part in events in Dubai and Al Wathba until confidence in the welfare procedures in place has been restored. EGB is currently considering withdrawing ‘No Objection Certificates’ from those who do intend to compete.

The BEF and EGB recognises the efforts of Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nayhan and the FEI to improve horse welfare in Endurance events through the development of the ‘Boudheib’ protocols where efforts have been made to tailor competition to the challenging natural terrain and environment, and to protect horses from the their impact by prescribing speed and recovery parameters with these in mind. We believe there is the scope for these to be adopted more broadly in the Middle East and in similarly stretching geographies. There is also a need for greater scrutiny of training practices and the degree to which these contribute to the development of pre-existing conditions which lead to chronic injuries in competition.  

We recognise that the FEI is taking steps to investigate these extremely distressing events, and to develop measures to address the issues leading to them in the interests of equine welfare. With this in mind, we support their efforts to work with the UAE Federation as a force for change, rather than to separate from them. Nonetheless we believe a visible and decisive step needs to be taken in banning riders and trainers found to be involved in malpractices as a demonstration that these will not be tolerated and that equine welfare is of paramount concern in sustainable competition.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Sweden and Denmark Will No Longer Send Endurance Riders to UAE

February 7 2017

Af of today, the Swedish Equestrian Federation made the decision to suspend, "until further notice," sending Swedish horses and riders to compete in the Group VII countries in the Middle East. The SEF also announced today that "until further notice" they

The Danish Equestrian Federation also announced this morning its decision that no Danish riders would start in the Group VII countries.

Last year, the SEF, together with organizations in the other Nordic countries agreed disallow competition in the Group VII countries on borrowed horses, although they were allowed to train and qualify and enter their own horses. This is no longer the case.

The original article is here:

Monday, February 06, 2017


Prize giving ceremony with no longer "invisible" horses.

2 February 2017
by François Kerboul
FEI 4* Judge, TD & CD
Architect dplg

Now the international specialized press does not any longer use expressions like "group VII" or "UAE" as being entities one cannot divide. Indeed group VII includes very different countries such as the Persian Gulf Emirates, Tunisia, Algeria or Morocco which have nothing in common in the field of equestrian disciplines ...

From now on the press clearly makes the difference between Dubai (DIEC), Al Wathba (ADEC) and Boudheib (BIEV) as it does for all the other countries because it has noticed that various types of management exist. It acknowledges that it has become impossible to consider them as being part of an indivisible entity. It is important and this is not the least victory of Boudheib Endurance.


The President Cup competitions for Ladies, Horses Owned by Private Owners and Young Riders are traditionally held in Boudheib (BIEV) while the President Cup for Seniors is managed by ADEC (Al Wathba).

This year the winner of the President Cup for Young Riders (CEIYJ 2* 120km – 21 01 2017) finished the competition with an average speed (FEI) of 18.75 km/h. This speed is relatively common in Europe and elsewhere but it had never been seen before in the region. If we compare this result with the former years, one's note that the average speed of the winners from 2010 to 2015 was 26.61 km/h reaching 28.58 km/h in 2015. We also note that they did increase every season, 2010 being "modestly" 25.65 km/h.

It is also interesting to note that the winner did not exceed 21.53 km/h on his fastest phase. On the contrary the 3rd one ended his ride with a top phase speed of 34.02 km/h, which in 2013means a difference of almost 12.50 km/h with today's.
The speed decrease is significant. It is remarkable moreover when one knows that the President Cup for Young Riders is a kind of explosive cocktail since they are speed lovers, have top quality horses and are eager to win the prizes (even if 70% are for the BECA ranking).

Speed breaks horses. A recent study done by the École Nationale Vétérinaire de Maison-Alfort 's researchers (National Veterinary School of Maison-Alfort – France) based on the ATRM database confirms it once more1:

• Speed is a major factor of risk.
• The presentation time is an important sign of a good condition.

In conclusion of their study they advocate among other solutions:

• to slow down the horses during the competitions;
• to reduce the presentation time.

This is exactly what the Boudheib Protocol (BECA) has been doing for more than one year with convincing results.

The speed of the CEIYJ 2* of the President Cup is low but at the same time the percentage of qualified horse is correct however inferior to the ones of the former CEIs of the season held under the same protocol in Boudheib (respectively 79% and 61%). The noticeable difference is obviously due to the distance since those CEIs were 80 km long.

The distance factor was obviously coupled with a relatively bad management on the tracks. Numerous riders were seen galloping on the natural track as they always do on the prepared "traditional" ones. It increased their horses' tiredness as a result. That is why an unusual number of horses were disqualified due to the incapacity to be presented in time (10%), added to gait irregularities (14.5%) and horses declared "metabolic" (26.9%). One has to note that around half of the latter were above the 56 bpm authorized. 11.6% of the horses were retired by their riders, trainers and/or owners because, if they were, at that time, in good condition they were not fit enough to continue in the same condition according to the BECA parameters.

So one can estimate that around 30% of the horses did not finish the ride, either because they could not match the Boudheib Protocol parameters or because their riders, trainers or owners wished to preserve them...

Read the full article here

Saturday, February 04, 2017

FEI pushes again to rein in endurance in the UAE - Full Article

February 4, 2017

The FEI is promising it will fast-track new rules to protect endurance horses if upcoming scientific findings identify a need, as it tackles ongoing problems within the sport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Endurance in the UAE remains mired in controversy after a series of horse deaths this season and a string of positive drug tests under the FEI’s anti-doping rules.

Ongoing problems within UAE endurance in recent years have centered around horse welfare issues. The region’s fast desert courses, substantial prizes and jockey-style riders have contributed to the problems, in the eyes of some critics.

The region has also faced condemnation at times over what some consider to be a loose interpretation of the sport’s rules.

Now, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez has provided an overview of measures to be implemented by both the FEI and the UAE Equestrian Federation to address what the world governing body calls serious horse welfare issues in UAE Endurance...

Read more here:

Friday, February 03, 2017

Nine Suspensions in Dubai – But is it Quite What it Seems? - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 3, 2017

Sceptic has become my middle name. Ideally, I would prefer to think that today’s nine Dubai rider/trainer provisional suspensions for doping offences in endurance plus news of the Emirates Equestrian Federation’s (EEF) plans to reduce fatalities represent a turning point in the UAE crisis.

But while it is good news for the horses now spared contact with this unlovely bunch of miscellaneous offenders, I regretfully predict the reprieve won’t last long.

Looking at the prohibited substances involved, a contaminated-feeds defence has a reasonable chance of reduced or minimal sanctions. A hapless forage manufacturer can surely be induced to put his hands up to it – after all, this is Dubai we are talking about. And if not he, the trainers implicated might agree take the full rap, especially those with prior “form” for doping and especially because the Maktoums show fierce loyalty to disgraced employees and find them work elsewhere in the family empire.

As for the EEF’s pledge to investigate this or demand that from their stakeholders, I hope the FEI doesn’t put too much trust in second-hand reports. FEI officials are powerless to act on the rule violations that happen right under their noses at rides, so how much stock can it realistically place on information from EEF who, in turn, can only write down in good faith what they are told by the very same barns stables so often in the frame for wrongdoing?

Yes, it is progress, but only in dolly steps. The FEI says there is a much more hands-on and “transparent” approach by the new management of the EEF. I too detected an inclination to co-operate more, at least from the Abu Dhabi end, when I visited the Al Wathba venue in November. Among other bad eggs, EEF appears to have dispensed with the staffers tied-up with the mass fraud of CEI results in the “phantom rides” scandal on 2015.

But the new measures listed today – tougher sanctions for horse killers; and an in-depth study into why bones break under stress (something breathtakingly obvious to those of us with no medical training) etc, etc – bear a startling resemblance to suggestions made at the FEI endurance “crisis” conference in Lausanne exactly three years ago (February 9, 2014). How many of those were adopted? Er, none. And how efficacious were the recommendations of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) which was the Big Thing of 2013-2014? Not very. If memory serves me right, the ESPG cost the FEI Euros 500,000. What a bargain that wasn’t...

Read more here:

FEI Secretary General Provides Overview of Measures to Address Horse Welfare Issues in Endurance

3 Feb 2017

The FEI Secretary General has today provided an overview of a series of measures to be implemented by both the FEI and the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation to address serious horse welfare issues in UAE Endurance.

In view of the deaths of seven horses in the UAE in the last four weeks, six at national Endurance competitions and one at an FEI event, and today’s news of seven adverse analytical findings, the FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez requested immediate action from the UAE National Federation (NF).

“I asked the UAE National Federation to urgently put in place measures that would specifically address the situation in the UAE and we welcome the speed with which they have responded to these very serious issues”, the FEI Secretary General said. “We have already expressed our concerns that the fatal bone fractures we are seeing in the UAE are possibly the result of over-training and are likely to be pre-existing injuries that haven’t been given sufficient time to heal.

“The studies that the FEI is undertaking and which will be first presented to the Sports Forum and then in more depth during the Endurance Forum in Barcelona on 23 and 24 May will help determine the causes so that actions can be taken to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

A session dedicated to risk factors and bone injuries in Endurance will be held on the second day (11 April) of the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI). Initial findings of the Global Injuries Endurance Study, conducted by Dr Tim Parkin and Dr Euan Bennet of Glasgow University, will be presented and Dr Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne will present on bone fatigue.

“If, following presentation of the scientific data, there is a clear consensus on immediate actions to be taken, I will propose the use of emergency procedures to speed up the implementation of new rules, as we have done previously when faced with similar issues”, the FEI Secretary General said.

In addition, the FEI will host a series of meetings with trainers and team veterinarians in the UAE specifically to address the high level of catastrophic injuries in the region.

In response to the demand for action from the FEI, the UAE NF has outlined measures that have now been put in place to reduce equine fatalities. These include:

• Requirement for stables involved in equine fatalities to provide full medical history for each horse and any medication administered; details of the horses’ nutritional programmes and training schedules, including the methods used, the hours of training and distances covered, the timing and venue conditions

• A study of each Endurance course in the region, including a detailed assessment of track conditions

• Inspections at all remaining Endurance events in the 2017 UAE season conducted by an expert panel of Endurance course specialists and experienced veterinarians, including the FEI Veterinary Director

• Working directly with local organising committees to investigate equine injuries at their venue

• Increased sanctions for those responsible for injury to horses, including imposing maximum permissible fines (€15,000 per offence) and penalty points

• Expanded scope of individuals that can be held accountable, in addition to trainers and veterinarians

“The new senior management at the UAE National Federation, who met with the FEI President last month, is far more engaged and transparent than the previous administration”, Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“We are hopeful that, through their continuing cooperation with the FEI, together we will make dramatic improvements in addressing the causes of these injuries and the high levels of positives. This is something that needs to be done from the inside out and, while we can and will help from an educational perspective, there needs to be a willingness to improve from within and that now seems to be the case.”

New UAE prohibited substances cases under FEI anti-doping rules

3 Feb 2017

The FEI has announced seven adverse analytical findings involving prohibited substances in UAE Endurance events. The horses were tested at four different events at the Al Wathba venue in Abu Dhabi.

All seven horses have tested positive to the same four prohibited substances, the stimulant Caffeine and its metabolites Theophylline, Theobromine and Paraxanthine. Equally, Theophylline, used for the treatment of asthma and various respiratory diseases, can be metabolised to Caffeine. One of the horses also tested positive to the corticosteroid Flumetasone, which is used in the treatment of skin disorders.

Theophylline, Caffeine and Theobromine are listed as Controlled Medication and Specified Substances under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules (EADCMRs). Paraxanthine is a Banned Substance under the FEI EADCMRs.

Samples taken at the CEI2* 120-kilometre ladies ride at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi (UAE) on 26 November 2016 from the horse Rafik de Kerpoint (FEI ID 103ZQ05/UAE), ridden by Amy Louise McAuley (FEI ID 10066318/IRL) tested positive for all four substances.

The horses Castlebar Lightning (FEI ID UAE41150/UAE), ridden by Saeed Sultan Shames Al Maamri (FEI ID 10048603/UAE), Intisaar (FEI ID ESP40786/UAE), ridden by Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum (FEI ID 10034071/UAE) and Mraseel (FEI ID 104ED73/UAE), ridden by Sheikh Sh Hamed Dalmook Al Maktoum (FEI ID 10073722/UAE) in the CEI2* 120-kilometre ride at Al Wathba on 17 December 2016, tested positive for the four substances. The horse Mraseel also tested positive for Flumetasone.

The horse Salam Banquetol (FEI ID 103YG68/UAE), ridden by Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (FEI ID 10054553/UAE) to finish second at the CEI2* 120 kilometre event at Al Wathba on 24 December, tested positive to all four substances, as did both Tom Jones TE (FEI ID 104ER04), ridden by Abdulla Ghanim Al Marri (FEI ID 10054553/UAE), and Aspenview Amir (FEI ID 104OZ13), ridden by Saeed Ahmad Jaber Al Harbi (FEI ID 10084918/UAE) at the CEI2* 120-kilometre event at Al Wathba on 14 January 2016.

The seven athletes and the trainers Ismail Mohd, Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri and Mohd Ahmed Ali Al Subose have all been provisionally suspended from the date of notification (30 January 2017). The seven horses are also suspended for a two-month period from the date of notification.

Details on these cases are available here and here.

“We take all breaches of the FEI anti-doping regulations extremely seriously and these latest positives demonstrate clearly that those using prohibited substances will be caught”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“This is the first time that we have suspended the trainers at the same time as the athletes, but when there are multiple breaches by one trainer, it is clear that there is something wrong with the stable management. Suspending the trainers immediately, rather than waiting until the athlete has been prosecuted, confirms that the FEI will not tolerate any attempts to enhance the performance of the horse.”

The FEI Secretary General will give details of measures to be implemented to address horse welfare issues in the region later today.

More here:

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Australia: AERA Sends Letter of Concern to Equestrian Australia Re: UAE Horse Welfare

January 31 2017

The Australian Endurance Riders Association has sent a letter to Equestrian Australia about their concerns regarding Horse Welfare and the Catastrophic Injuries in the UAE.

Referring to the 8 reported horse deaths due to catastrophic injury in the UAE endurance races in the past few weeks, AERA requests that EA write to the FEI and recommend cancellation of all FEI events, and immediate suspension of the UAE Nat'l Federation for an indeterminate period until further investigations can be conducted.

The full letter can be read here:

The 4 years of running controversy on UAE horse welfare/scandal/controversy can be seen here:

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