Wednesday, November 15, 2017

UAE: Staggered start debuts at DEC endurance ride - Full Article

Over 400 entries have been received for this FEI-CEI2* 120km ride

Published: 16:05 November 14, 2017 Gulf News
Staff Report

Dubai: The Dubai Equestrian Club will hold a unique FEI Endurance CEI2* 120km ride on Wednesday based on the concept of a staggered start.
This is the first of its kind for a CEI2* 120km event worldwide, and will be conducted at the purpose built – Dubai International Endurance City.

Usually FEI rides feature a mass start, where all participants leave together, and the first to finish is declared winner. In this case flexibility is key and the riders will be allowed to start within a broad window spanning across almost two hours, at their own convenience...

Read more here:

Rider suspended and fined over endurance horse’s failed drug test

A US-registered rider who rode in an endurance event in Qatar has been suspended for six months and fined 2000 Swiss francs after his mount tested positive for a prohibited substance.

The rider, Bilal Bassam Al Kharraz, had ridden Ia Aladdin in the CEI 1* event in Doha on March 25.

The horse tested positive for harpagoside, an anti-inflammatory drug with painkilling effects. It is classified as a Controlled Medication under the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List.

No valid veterinary form exists for its use in horses.

Neither Al Kharraz, nor the owner of the horse, took up the option to have the B sample tested.

Al Kharraz wrote to the tribunal saying he did not know how harpagoside was given to the horse.

“I wasn’t at all involved with the horse’s preparation,” he said. “I know that from the FEI rules I am the Person Responsible and I should take all the sanctions concerning this positive case, but I just came to compete with this horse as requested by the trainer four days before the competition.

“I wasn’t worried about competing for Al Shaqab stable because they have a good reputation and the last time they had a positive case was on 22/02/2014 (3 years ago) with In Situ.

“I would like to cooperate but I prefer that the trainer Mr Khalid Sanad Al Nuaimi give you a complete explanation of what happened because he knows the full story and that’s why he cancelled the B-Sample analyses.

“I hope that you understand my situation and I am ready to cooperate.”

The FEI, in its submission, explained the rationale behind the FEI’s policy of making the rider the Person Responsible, citing a previous decision.

It believes that making the rider responsible is necessary to protect the welfare of the horse, and to ensure fair play. It incentivises riders to ensure compliance with the rules, whether by caring for the horse personally or by entrusting that task only to third parties who are up to the job. It requires the rider to be vigilant over their horse’s preparation for competition, including any treatments given.

In a further submission, Al Kharraz told the tribunal that his stabled horse had been healthy, with no signs of injury that would have required medication.

He said he inquired and found there were horses being spelled in the stable who were receiving a supplement called Arti-Gold, which lists on its label that it contains Harpagophytum procumbens (devil’s claw). It states that this is on the FEI doping list and recommends another product for horses in line to be drug-tested.

Al Kharraz said he believed that the horse somehow got access to the product in the days prior to him competing in the event.

He acknowledged his previous controlled medication case, which arose from a “lack of awareness”, and explained that he always tried to check as much as possible before riding.

The FEI said it was satisfied that Al Kharraz had shown how the substance had entered the horse’s system. It noted that he had been cooperative, and that neither Al Kharraz nor the FEI had managed to reach the trainer in order to be provided with further information.

It said a reduction in penalty might be applicable, given the precautions Al Kharraz had taken – checking with the national federation, assessing the fitness of the horse before the event, and checking with the stables, from which he had ridden several horses in the past.

Chris Hodson, QC, sitting as sole arbitrator in the case, said he was satisfied that Al Kharraz had shown how the substance entered the horse’s system.

He noted the checks undertaken by Al Kharraz ahead of the event and acknowledged the FEI’s view that a reduction might be warranted.

However, the expected duty of care is high. He said Al Kharraz had clearly failed to ensure that the horse’s diet was kept separate from the non-competing horses’ feed.

Even if the trainer or grooms had been careless in giving the horse feed containing harpagoside, it was still the responsibility of Al Kharraz to ensure that the horse did not ingest any prohibited substances, Hodson said.

The warning on the product had been very clear, he added.

He ruled that no reduction in suspension was warranted in the case.

Al Kharraz was suspended for six months, meaning he will be ineligible to compete through to April 24 next year. He was fined 2000 Swiss francs and ordered to pay 1000 Swiss francs towards the costs of the judicial procedure.

Full article at

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Successful racing in Buzet, Croatia - Full Article

12 November 2017
Race report made with the assistance of Bosko Milivojevic.

Equestrian Club Cadence, Buzet, Croatia. Saturday 21 October 2017. Thirty riders (from Austria, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, and United Kingdom) entered the CEI1* and CEI2* races organized by the Equestrian Club Cadence (Konjički Klub “Kadenca”).

Most of them successfully completed their Saturday rides on the challenging course set in the valley of the longest Istrian river – Mirna river and surrounding hills.

This was the second ride organized by the EQ “Cadence” at the same location and with somewhat altered course and the first successful organized by one of the Croatian equestrian clubs. This event gathered the equestrian elite from Croatia and the region for riders and horses to measure their stamina and skill at the international FEI rides and the Croatian national finals. Also to join the successful event were riders from Slovenia who decided to organize their National Cup finals along with Croatia.

First competitors started arriving on Wednesday in order to prepare themselves and the horses and to familiarize with the area. Among the competitors that sent their entries were Katherine Mills from UK, Kim Hočevar from Slovenia, Karla Šebalj the Croatian national Endurance team member and Ema Lulic from EQ “Cadence” last year’s winner of the CEN 40km ride for Juniors...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Endurance: So Much Wrong I Hardly Know Where to Start… - Full Article

Cuckson Report | November 7, 2017

More new rules that attempt to slow riders down in endurance will be presented to the FEI General Assembly in 10 days’ time, following “official” research which shows the bleedin’ obvious: go too fast for too long and you will break your horse’s leg.
One proposed rule will add a further seven days mandatory rest if the horse has exceeded 20kph. By a not very amazing coincidence, that is the top speed “window” adopted by the Boudhieb Initiative, which is quietly gaining support and reaping positive results in other parts of the world.

But does anyone seriously think an increased rest is going to give the Group 7 (Middle East) riders and their copyists around the world a moment’s thought when belting along at 37kph at the end of a 120km race? A slightly longer lay-off won’t matter one jot when you have hundreds more horses to drag out of the barn.

UAE current registrations have just topped 7,000 – 7015 to be precise – 48.92% of the global population of active FEI registered endurance horses (14,339), without including the hundreds of UAE-owned horses administered by other national federations. This has risen from 46.79% since I wrote about this alarming trend in September. Seriously, why bother to stage a world endurance championship? The other nations surely can’t have any competitive horses left.

Do Group 7 riders even know the 20kph/longer rest rule is coming in? If so, they are unfazed. In the first three weekends of this 2017-2018 desert season, the winners’ final loop speeds were on average 5kph faster than at the equivalent rides last year. It won’t be long till 40kph is the norm. The global sport is merely a conveyor belt producing horses for destruction in the desert...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Horse welfare and endurance: Is a 75kg minimum weight sensible?
November 7, 2017 David Marlin

As the FEI prepares to vote on imposing a minimum weight of 75kg for senior championship endurance events, equine exercise physiologist Dr David Marlin questions the sport’s weight requirements.

The FEI’s Endurance Technical Committee has outlined a series of changes around rider weights that will be considered by delegates at the 2017 General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, on November 21.

But does it make sense to have a 75kg minimum weight in endurance?

Minimum weight carriage was an important feature of both showjumping and the speed and endurance phase of eventing competitions in the early days of the sports. For a long time both disciplines used a weight of 165lb (75kg), which seems to have its origins in the average weight of a Cavalry soldier with kit.

Australian light horsemen riding waler horses. The soldiers are of the original contingent of the Australian Imperial Force and the photo was taken prior to their departure from Australia in November 1914. The soldier on the right is Trooper William Harry Rankin Woods, 1st Light Horse Regiment, who died of wounds on 15 May 1915, one of the first light horsemen to die during the Battle of Gallipoli."

The 165lb or 75kg minimum weight in horse sports seems to have its origins in the average weight of a Cavalry soldier with kit. Pictured are Australian light horsemen riding Waler horses.

The minimum weight requirement was first dropped from show-jumping and in eventing was reduced from 75kg to 70kg for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and then abolished for eventing in 1998.

As of January 1, 2016, there are a variety of FEI endurance rules relating to the minimum weight (tack + rider but excluding bridle):

Article 812 – Weights
812.1 At all senior CEI4* Championship, the minimum riding weight for Athletes must be 75kg to include all riding equipment.
812.2 At senior CEI3* the minimum riding weight is 75kg – details to be clearly shown on the approved ride schedule.
812.3 At CEI 1* and 2* alternative weight divisions or gender divisions may be allowed, subject to prior approval by the FEI, and must be clearly specified in the FEI schedule.
812.4 There shall be no minimum weight in Young Rider and/or Junior Competitions.

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has a different system with classes according to the weight of the rider and their tack (heavyweight > 211lbs (100kg); middleweight 186-210lbs (86-100kg), lightweight 161-185lbs (73-86kg) and featherweight < 160lbs (73kg). This system relies to some extent on the premise that riders will select an appropriate size of horse, ie, heavier riders will select larger horses to compete on. Of course, smaller riders could choose to compete on smaller horses but they could also choose to compete on large horses, which would give them a distinct advantage.


Sunday, November 05, 2017

Endurance rider weight likely to be a hot-button issue at upcoming FEI General Assembly - Full Article

November 5, 2017

A proposal by Endurance officials to impose a 75-kilogram minimum weight limit for riders and their equipment in a bid to reduce speeds in the discipline has drawn fire from some nations.

The FEI’s Endurance Technical Committee has outlined a series of changes around rider weights that will be considered by delegates at this year’s General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, on November 21.

Committee chairman Dr Brian Sheahan, in a report released ahead of the General Assembly, said research was presented at the annual Endurance Forum in May indicating that small speed reductions combined with appropriate rest periods had the potential to reduce bone fatigue...


Applications Open for 2018 Mongol Derby

Plans for the 2018 race are well underway and as the event continues to evolve and flourish, we know it's going to be the most magnificent one yet.

Applications are open now, but spaces are filling up faster than ever. The event is already well over half full and there's already quite a list of people to interview.

If you want to get your name in the hat, with a chance to win - or simply be a part of - the world's longest and toughest horse race, then get in touch. We're available in HQ between the normal office hours Mon-Fri and love a good chinwag.


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Saturday, November 04, 2017

Prohibited substance case under FEI anti-doping rules; RESPONSE

On October 30 Endurance.Net forwarded an FEI press notification of a banned substance offense and resulting suspension,

We apologize for any personal distress over the publication, and sincerely hope that the resolution is favorable.

Steph Teeter


The following is a personal response to the finding, forwarded at Ms Meuten’s request:

By now you may have heard that I, Nicki Meuten, have been suspended from endurance riding due to a positive drug test for the commonly used anti-depressant medication found in trace quantities in our horse Dutch’s post competition urine sample. This happened after the Coats Creek ride in Canada on July 3, 2017. We were just informed of the positive urine test result on October 16, 2017 and have been suspended pending the testing of the split sample and the FEI hearing on the matter.

Our horse tested positive for the metabolite of the human anti-depressant medication Effexor, o-desmethyl venlafaxine. Prior to being informed of Dutch’s test result I had never heard of this medication. We did not administer this substance to our horse nor do we give any banned medications to our horses at or prior to competition. Neither Don nor I take this medication. We have absolutely no idea how our horse could have ingested this substance.

I am devastated as this goes against everything I believe in. In our investigations so far we have found that this is a medication that can be found in waste water, sludge used for fertilizer on fields, and is one of the most common anti-depressant medications prescribed to people (17 million prescriptions in 2007). He could have easily been exposed to this medication in the competition environment prior to or at the event. His urine contained just small trace amounts of this substance (nanograms/parts per billion per milliliter of urine). It is a banned substance however, and according to FEI rules, no amount is permissible.

Laboratory testing methods are now so sensitive and environmental contamination by pharmaceutical products so common that situations like ours will occur regardless of the level of vigilance of the owner/trainer. We are working with multiple people to try to determine how this happened. We will then present this to FEI for their consideration at a hearing of the matter to be scheduled if the split sample results confirm the original lab results. If the split sample confirms the presence, a hearing will be conducted and the FEI will render a decision. Until then I cannot compete or attend an endurance ride even as a support person. If you think this could not happen to you, you are wrong. I will not be responding to anything on Facebook. If you want further information or facts about this please contact Don at