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Cuckson Report | July 25, 2017
I don’t know what is worse, the imagination applied to forgery in international endurance or the fact the FEI seems resigned to it.
Of course, passing off a horse as something it isn’t is as old as time itself. And forging people’s signatures on documents is not exactly unknown in FEI endurance, either; one such incident even reached the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
But fakery that compromises welfare again and again is plain evil. No horse sport is 101% squeaky clean, but I am staggered the other equestrian disciplines are still prepared to belong to the same international federation that ‘governs’ desert endurance when the rot we actually do know about is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
The infamy of endurance is spreading to unexpected quarters anyway. Ullrich Raulff, recently retired literary editor of famous German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has just written his own book Farewell to the Horse: The Final Century of Our Relationship.
It must be a relief that so few reviewers have picked up this paragraph: “The Emirate of Dubai in particular and the United Emirates in general have gained a reputation for harsh endurance rides in the desert at high temperatures which have risked or indeed caused the deaths of countless horses. Here, too, the curious can take on the role of passer-by, watching online as horses are so badly flayed and severely injured that they collapse and have to be put out of their misery by a vet.” I guess the general reader could not imagine that Raulff is actually talking about a sport regulated by a body affiliated to the International Olympic Committee. Anyway, I digress.
This past week there has been a disturbing development in the Bahrain controversy raging since April which, like the Marmoog and Pang horse swaps and the bogus rides, also has at its core fakery aimed at masking welfare concerns.
The FEI seems determined to take a blind eye on this one, falling back on the “this was a national ride so nothing to do with us – phew” excuse, despite evidence the incident did occur in a FEI ride and that the horse they say died wasn’t even there...
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