Thursday, September 21, 2017

UAE: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 19, 2017

The UAE desert endurance season is chugging into gear. It is accompanied by the annual spike in FEI horse registrations, mostly of the plane-loads of imported unfortunates set to hustle round the early 40km and 80km desert rides to “qualify” for the more onerous winter races to come. How much easier it must have been to invent the qualifying results in times past.

Current UAE endurance FEI registrations stand at 6,091 today, September 19th, out of 13,016 current FEI endurance horses worldwide. This is a 600% growth in 10 years, compared with 947 UAE horses in 2006. The biggest spurt was 2014-2015, around 1,500 extra horses year to year. That is depressing when you consider that by 2014 the abuses were more widely known, and that it might have occurred to people not to sell.

Last year, UAE registrations represented 46% of FEI endurance horses worldwide. Now it is 46.79%. No other country dominates horse ownership in any other discipline on this scale.

Worryingly, this figure taken in isolation makes it easy for the folks who support the warped notion of race-till-it-breaks to suggest that UAE domination means “best practice” and that they should be allowed to do what they want.

Even the FEI flags up that endurance is the world’s second fastest-growing horse sport: who they are trying to impress with that factoid, I don’t know. But it isn’t, anyway. Endurance is the fastest-growing sport in the UAE, but the UAE is just one of 130-odd countries affiliated to the FEI. The rest are not following at the same rate. Nothing like, in fact, and even if they wanted to, their best horses will quickly be sold to the UAE. What was it Benjamin Disraeli and Mark Twain said about Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics?...

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