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Cuckson Report | December 1, 2017
British people, certainly my generation, can be very lazy about other languages. Much of the world has English as its first or second tongue, so we think we don’t have to bother. I was taught French in a very academic way in the 1970s, equipping me read Sartre without having to consult a dictionary too much, but not confident enough to chat for hours with an actual person.
I lost my nerve on a trip to Berlin years ago, when trying to give directions to a fellow tourist. After establishing we had a smattering of French in common I proudly escorted him to a watch shop a couple of blocks away. But he wasn’t saying he wanted a horlogerie. He was trying to find the Hard Rock Café.
Clumsy misunderstandings are not always a cause for levity. I have often felt that rules for horse sport drafted in English by someone who is not a native English speaker and then debated by people for whom English is also only a second or third language is a major handicap for the FEI. A number of FEI regulations do not actually say what people think they say.
All this came to a head at the FEI General Assembly in Uruguay last week where new endurance rules proposals were so incomprehensible, several delegates tell me, that after a closed debate they were all shelved till 2019 pending further discussions.
The official reason for delaying them is that it wasn’t fair on riders to introduce new rules part way through the qualifying period for the 2018 WEG. I don’t recall that ever being advanced as a reason for suspending new rules in other sports, even though jumping, dressage and eventing also have an Olympic qualifying cycle to cope with, unlike endurance.
The greater likelihood that the new endurance rules were shelved because they were not understood (also, I suspect, opening the door for a bit of brinkmanship from the UAE and others targeted by the welfare aspects.) This is evident in the final day’s debate that was held in public. If you have a spare half hour you can see the shambles in all its glory in this extract from the official livestream. I have watched it several times since and am still not sure what the hell was going on...
Read more/see video here:
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