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 In order to achieve such speeds, natural dune trails have been replaced by specifically prepared tracks that are maintained hard surfaces.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: www.boudheib.ae or social media: - twitter, instagram & facebook @ boudheib