Monday, November 19, 2018

FEI World Equestrian Games™ tops discussion sessions before tomorrow’s FEI General Assembly

(FEI/Liz Gregg photo)

19 Nov 2018

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and the future of the Games were the subject of a well-attended session at the FEI General Assembly in Manama (BRN) today.

The independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), which was tasked with investigating the issues surrounding the Endurance championships at the Games, presented its findings on the sequence of events that took place from approximately 12 hours prior to the start of competition that ultimately led to the false start on 12 September.

Andrew Smith from the ECIU also detailed the underlying reasons that affected preparations for the Endurance event, with the report’s findings based on information provided during interviews with multiple persons, including key people within the Organising Committee, the FEI and other witnesses.

The conclusions of the report show that there was no single reason that caused the false start but multiple issues: most importantly lack of communication between Officials – particularly the lack of radios – and also between the Organising Committee, National Federations and Athletes, delays to the preparation of the Vet Gate and the Endurance trail, and the decision to maintain a full schedule of events at Tryon International Equestrian Center that stretched an already under-resourced team required to deliver both these events and the Games.

The ECIU has also provided a second report to the FEI regarding allegations of misconduct. This will be reviewed by the FEI Legal team to assess whether further disciplinary proceedings will be brought before the FEI Tribunal. The final decisions on any such proceedings will be published by the FEI.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez then presented the overall conclusions, acknowledging that there were multiple factors that contributed, not just to the issues surrounding Endurance but which also impacted the overall delivery of the Games. The management structure of the Organising Committee, other construction projects and resources that were given priority over delivery of fields of play and other Games-related infrastructures, and communication of vital information in a timely manner were major contributory factors, she said.

However, “to be completely honest we, as a community, were fortunate that Tryon were courageous and willing to take on the enormous challenge to host the Games only 22 months prior to the event. Without them we would have had no WEG 2018.”

She informed delegates that the FEI invested close to CHF 1 million on the Endurance track alone, over and above other financial support provided by the FEI to the Organising Committee to ensure the Games happened. In-keeping with good financial oversight, the FEI had made financial provisions specifically to cover emergency situations specifically related to the Games.

Mrs Ibáñez highlighted the incredible sport over the 12-day Games and the tireless teamwork of all concerned: “the Organising Committee, the volunteers, Officials and FEI staff and the National Federations who, despite the frustrations, continued to work positively with both the Organising Committee and FEI to find solutions and provide the best possible environment for their athletes, horses and team staff.”

She also acknowledged that, despite the FEI’s commitment to support the Organising Committee, in particular during the latter stages of event preparations, the FEI had no realistic mechanism to push the Organising Committee to deliver on its promises other than threatening to cancel the Games, which was not an option due to the time and resources that National Federations and athletes had invested in preparing for the Games.

Prior to opening up the meeting to questions from the floor, the Secretary General talked through the plan to open up the bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, but with preference being given to multi-discipline bids, as detailed in the Bureau wrap-up report published on 17 November.

The Secretary General stressed: “This does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games and bids to host all-discipline Games will still be considered.”

FEI Director Games Operations Tim Hadaway had opened the session by presenting a report on the planning and delivery of the Tryon 2018 Games, highlighting both the positive and negative aspects of four key areas: sport, Games operations, commercial, communications & media operations.

Top sport (with the exception of Endurance) was the key success of the Games, along with superb broadcast coverage on NBC in the home market, including 57 hours of live coverage that resulted in a record audience for equestrian sport. However, lack of venue readiness and an under-resourced Organising Committee, both from a financial and personnel perspective, were major negatives that ultimately impacted the delivery of the Games.

Questions and comments during the 90-minute session from National Federation delegates from France, Chile, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Uruguay, Italy and Bahrain focused on weather and the suitability of Tryon for the Games, reimbursements to National Federations that sent Endurance athletes and horses to the Games, lack of communication, Officials, and lack of accountability.

The afternoon had kicked off with a session on the Dressage Judging Working Group, with the Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee Frank Kemperman and Bettina De Rham, FEI Director Dressage, Para Dressage, Vaulting and Reining presenting an update on the implementation of the working group’s 19 recommendations which will drive the future of the sport.

The final session of the afternoon focused on rules changes, with presentations on amendments to the FEI Statutes, discipline specific proposals for rule changes, and revisions to the Veterinary Regulations, the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations and the Olympic & Paralympic Regulations. There was also a presentation on the plans to continue with an additional pilot phase for the CSI Online Invitation System, which will be voted on separately from the rest of the Jumping rules at tomorrow’s General Assembly.

At the end of the rules session, the Legal Director reminded National Federations that the age limit will be replaced by a competency based evaluation system, as per the recommendation of the Officials Working Group. FEI Officials reaching the relevant age limit as of 2018 may apply to continue officiating providing they have been active for the past two years, their application is supported by their National Federation and they are in good-standing with the FEI. The FEI Secretary General, in consultation with the relevant Discipline Director and Chair of Technical Committee, will review applications on a case by case basis. FEI Officials who retired in 2017 or before may only re-apply once the competency-based assessment has been implemented.

During the morning meeting between the regional groups and the Bureau, the Secretary General informed delegates that the US-based Reining bodies – the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) – are in breach of the terms of their cooperation agreement with the FEI. In order to ensure the integrity of the discipline and maintain a level playing field for all athletes competing in FEI Reining, the agreement with these two bodies has now been terminated. Both the AQHA and NRHA have been informed that a binding commitment to implement the FEI rules on anti-doping, stewarding requirements and the age of competing horses are prerequisites for any future cooperation. The Secretary General advised delegates that FEI Reining events will continue, and invited National Federations to provide feedback to the FEI on how they see the future of the discipline at international level.

Tomorrow’s General Assembly starts at 09:00 local time. The full session will be livestreamed and you can follow the debates and voting on our blog.

All presentations from the FEI General Assembly will be available in due course.

The Timid Rider Sponsors The Gobi Desert Cup Best Sportsmanship Award

[Red Bank, New Jersey November 16, 2018] Heather Wallace, the Timid Rider, is a returning adult equestrian seeking to inspire and motivate others with confidence in and out of the saddle through her book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, her blog, and her social media.

She is proud to announce that The Timid Rider is the official sponsor of the Best Sportsmanship Awards for the 2019 Gobi Desert Cup, taking place August 27 - September 6, 2019, in Mongolia. Every day a rider will be chosen who motivates and supports others on their journey. At the closing Awards Ceremony, an award for overall Best Sportsmanship will be presented to the rider that showed exemplary sportsman-like behavior throughout the entirety of the race.

Heather joined the Gobi Desert Cup in 2018 as the Media Consultant to provide writing and photography. She loved every moment and is further inspired to help others pursue their passions and test their limits. During her time with the event, she challenged herself to sleep on the ground, take camp showers, eat exotic food, and even race a Mongolian horse in the Officials Race!

As a proud part of the official Gobi Desert Cup team, Heather is pleased to share each rider’s journey in the worldwide press as well as sponsor an award that is so important to her mission.

Video announcement.

About The Timid Rider
Heather Wallace is a returning adult equestrian struggling with confidence in the saddle. She left riding due to anxiety as a teenager and returned as an adult after having her first child with no less tension, but the determination to pursue her passion and time to herself. Follow Heather’s journey on The Timid Rider while she struggles to let passion be greater than her fear.

Heather has written for many publications including Holistic Horse Magazine, Sidelines Magazine, Endurance World, Sport Endurance Evo, and Equine Info Exchange. Her book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, was an Amazon best-selling book in three equestrian categories and the #1 Hot New Release in “Equestrian.”

About The Gobi Desert Cup
Co-founded in 2017 by FEI 3* Endurance Rider, Camille Champagne, the Gobi Desert Cup is a 480-kilometer multi-stage endurance race through the Gobi Desert, riding Mongolian horses every day for six days over 50 miles. This challenge is the only one of its kind to combine endurance while positively supporting Mongolian nomadic culture and their horses before, during, and after the event.

FEI's Ingmar De Vos - the irresistible rise of an expert administrator - Full Article

By David Owen Sunday, 18 November 2018

Often when I meet those who have scrambled to the top of international sport's greasy pole, I conclude that they are politicians first and administrators second.

After 90 minutes in company of Ingmar De Vos in his pleasant third-floor office in the Lausanne headquarters building gifted to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) by his predecessor as President, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, I am left with the strong sense that with the 55-year-old Belgian, it is the other way around. This is even though he began his career in mainstream politics.

This order of priorities equips him well, I think, for a period when sport in general and the Olympic Movement in particular is having to battle hard to cling onto the prominent and privileged role in society to which it ascended over a century or more. Suddenly glitz and hyperbole are out, better governance and a healthy awareness that sport is not the only thing are in.

Having established himself as an indispensable figure in equestrianism, to the point where his bid for a second term as FEI President at Tuesday's (November 20) General Assembly in Bahrain is unopposed, I would expect De Vos to emerge in coming years as an increasingly prominent voice in the conclaves and debates that will shape sport and Olympism's short-term future...

Read more here:

Australia: Busselton riders prepare for world's toughest horse race - Full Article

November 18 2018
Sophie Elliott

It is described as the longest and toughest horse race in the world, but that hasn’t stopped Amelia Park Farm manager Sarah Brown and horse breaker Jesse Byrne signing up for the 2019 Mongol Derby.

The duo are among just 40 riders chosen to compete in the 10 day race through the Mongolian Steppe.

The world’s greatest equine adventure race is based on Genghis Khan’s horse messenger system, which connected half the planet as the nerve system of the largest empire in human history. Race organisers have spent the last decade rebuilding the ancient network to stage the 1000 kilometre event.

Brown and Byrne will ride semi-wild horses, changing steeds every 40km as they navigate the stretch and live among the herders.

Byrne, who was born into the racing industry, admitted he was concerned about chaffing but looking forward to taking on the mental and physical challenge.

“There are not many ways to test yourself as a rider and as a person,” he said.

“I feel like if you can get through something like this, it will make any problems you face afterwards seem minor and that if you knuckle down, you can get through anything.

“We will be able to come home and feel like we’ve accomplished something...”

Read more here:

UAE: Two times double at Dubai races - Full Article
19th November 2018

Dubai International Endurance Village, Dubai, UAE. Wednesday 14 November and Friday 16 November 2018. Two races were scheduled; the first one a CEI2* 120km Endurance Qualifier, the second one two days later a CEN 120km Al Marmoom Endurance Cup.

Races during the week are always subject to some disappointment for the passionate riders who have a full time job or those going to college/university as this withholds them from participating, especially when it is a CEI2*. Nevertheless, the start list was big and impressive. Another hot topic was the weather with above normal temperatures which made it hard for horse and rider. For the CEI2* there were participants who didn’t take these conditions into consideration leading to a very high elimination rate of 201 horses on 326 entries...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

World Equestrian Games: Is this the end of the line? - Full Article

November 18, 2018

Horse sport’s world governing body has opened the door for separate world championship events in 2022, in favor of an FEI World Equestrian Games.

After two bidding rounds, no realistic bids had been submitted for the 2022 event, leading the FEI Bureau to open up bidding to individual world championships in all disciplines. It said preference would be given to multi-discipline bids, and that the world championships for Dressage and Para Dressage should be combined.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos stressed that the move did not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games, and bids to host the full seven-discipline Games for 2022 and 2026 will be considered...

Read more here:

FEI Drops World Equestrian Games for 2022, Seeking Bids for Individual World Championships - Full Article

November 17 2018

MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 17, 2018–The International Equestrian Federation disclosed Saturday it is dropping the requirement for a World Equestrian Games in 2022 and will accept bids for championships of individual disciplines. The FEI admitted that attempts to maintain for 2022 the combined championships held once every four years since 1990 “has not resulted in any realistic bids.”

Preference would be given to multi-discipline bids for 2022, the FEI said, while dressage and para-dressage should be combined.

The decision insisting on a single host for dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage did not come as a surprise after two of eight WEGs required venue changes–1998 and 2018–when organizers did not have funding and no organizer came forward for 2022.

Ingmar de Vos, the FEI president was quoted in a statement, as stressing that “this does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games and bids to host the full seven-discipline Games for 2022 and 2026 will be considered. However, he made it clear that securing world championships for 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines was crucial as these serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games...”

Read more here:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

FEI President Admits it's Hard to Motivate WEG Organizers - Full Article

November 8, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

FEI president Ingmar de Vos has admitted it has had “to fight to motivate one organizer” to take on the World Equestrian Games in recent years.

He also says the FEI must take “courage” to review the viability of the WEG, following concerns by the delays and organizational difficulties exhibited by Tryon, which took on the 2018 WEG renewal just 18 months ahead of the event.

In a mission statement for his next, uncontested four years in office, e Vos says he will review all FEI’s championships “with an open mind in order to make the best choices for the future and sustainability.”

The FEI would promote multi-disciplinary bids, but he added: “If we want to be successful we need to have a model that creates competition and can interest a lot of organizers rather than having to fight to find and motivate one organizer for WEG...

Read more here:

Friday, November 16, 2018

Waikato student Elise Stables youngest Kiwi to take on Mongol Derby - Full Article

13:44, Nov 13 2018

Waikato student Elise Stables' decision to take a year off to travel will lead her on an adventure through the toughest horse race in the world.

Stables has been selected as the youngest New Zealander to ride in the Mongol Derby, a challenge she'll have almost a year to prepare for.

Riders cover 1000km of Mongolian wilderness on semi-wild horses, changing steed every 40km.

It is the rider and horse against the world, and up to the rider to navigate and survive the wilderness...

Read more here:

Great Britain: Variety Is The Spice of Life For Alfie - Full Article

15/11/2018 ehuknews

Ballydoolagh Alfie, owned by Huddersfield-based endurance rider, Jeni Gilbert, is proof that variety is the spice of life for this 11-year-old Connemara.

Alfie is making his mark in the sport of endurance with Jeni, a former Novice Champion, Endurance GB Senior and Supreme Champion (2007, 2011) and winner of several other titles. He has now completed more than 2300km in 48 competitions in his five year endurance career – an impressive feat for a native breed in a discipline that is dominated with Arab horses.

Jeni believes that competing in endurance gives an important advantage over other horse sports. As well as improving the fitness of your horse and regularly assessing his soundness, endurance also helps to develop a horse’s confidence and manners, and gives him great experience in learning to balance and cope with different types of terrain...

Read more here:

"Prohibited List" Updates for 2019 Released by World Anti-Doping Agency

November 16 2018

The World Anti-Doping Agency has released its updates for the 2019 Prohibited List. You can see the complete list here:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Tunisia Spurs On Equestrian Sports - Full Story

5 November 2018

We take a look at how FEI Solidarity has helped to generate a new generation of equestrian enthusiasts in the North African country of Tunisia...

In early 2011, few in Tunisia had a real, tangible interest in equestrian sports, with the number of licensed riders idling at barely 200.

Just five years later, that total had shot up, with 1,500 nationals registered with the Tunisian Equestrian Federation, over seven times the previous count. Here, we look at how this remarkable growth has come about and the role FEI Solidarity has played in popularising the sport...

The upsurge in public interest has been brought about in no small part thanks to Maher Berrachid, President of the Tunisian Equestrian Federation (FTSE).

Maher had clear ideas on what was holding back the sport in Tunisia and how these obstacles could be surmounted.

With Tunisia itself undergoing a significant political shift in 2011, the FTSE shed its previous designation as a military federation to become one overseen by the Ministry of Sport, giving it a wider scope for self-governance and the implementation of its own strategic plan.

FTSE has since overseen a near-complete revamp of the processes that govern it and the way it structures the sport.

“Before 2011, there weren’t any real objectives for the sport in Tunisia. No national training, no long-term perspective, but from the moment we focused our objectives on an international level and implemented a calendar, interest grew very rapidly,” says Berrachid.

“There’s been an entire dynamic created thanks to the trust that the people have in the Federation since 2011. The sport becomes more attractive, parents invest and allow their children to take part from a younger age, and clubs have more incentive to develop their offerings.”

The effect of these changes is perhaps most evident in Endurance competitions, which has seen some impressive results...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

UAE Endurance Season Begins with More Horse Deaths - Full Article

Wednesday 07 November - 22h43 | Lulu Kyriacou

The 2018/19 Endurance season in the UNited Arab Emirates has barely begun and already two horses have been listed as dead on the FEI Database.

In the CEI 80km in Dubai today (7th November) two horses, namely HENHAM FEATHERSTONE (UAE) (FEI Reg 105JJ43) who is a 10 year old gelding originally from South Africa and DENELDAN SHANARY (UAE) (FEI Reg 105SS86), a 10 year old gelding originally from Australia, were listed on the provisional results information available from official scorers Tawqeet, as eliminated for minor injury (MI) but both horses were then listed as deceased within hours on the FEI Database (see images).

This ride was only the second FEI ride for Deneldan Shanary, who was eliminated for metabolics (ME) on the first ride at Vet Gate 1 on the 31st of October, just one week before this ride...

Read more here:

Doping: The Figures Behind the Headlines at Tryon - Full Article

Cuckson Report | November 8, 2018

The FEI, quite understandably, has flagged up the nearly clean sheet achieved in the extensive sampling carried out at Tryon, save for two endurance horses.

The Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Programme always goes into overdrive at WEGs and Olympic Games, when so many major players are assembled in one place. The 2018 WEG was no exception; 163 horses were sampled out of (according to other official blurb) 820 participants. That’s a sampling rate of 19.88% of horses present, five times greater than the percentage usually targeted at non-championship fixtures.

“Enhanced” anti-doping measures were rolled out before Tryon, with national federations offered pre-arrival testing and elective testing to ensure horses were clean. The FEI also launched a guide in eight languages.

Naturally, the FEI is pleased the message sunk home, and the results provide another feel-good story to counter all the negative press about Tryon.

However, the FEI press release about these comforting results was issued a week or so before we could all access the negative tests listings on the Clean Sport bit of the FEI website. This list is as interesting for who wasn’t sampled as it is for who was...

Read more here:

Abu Dhabi equestrian endurance cup to award prizes for healthiest horse - Full Article

It won't just be the first past the finish line who win this weekend's Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Endurance Cup

Haneen Dajani
November 7 2018

A series of endurance races that are due to start on Thursday will not only award the first past the finish line, but also those with the healthiest horses.

The competition is being held in honour of the Year of Zayed and combines two endurance cups held at Boutheib Endurance Village in Abu Dhabi by the grandsons of Founding President Sheikh Zayed.

The Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Endurance Cup will award gold, silver and bronze to the first three in an international 120.7 kilometre Two Stars race.

Unusually, the top three healthiest horses will also receive gold, silver and bronze cups in a move that is part of a healthy-horse initiative the event’s organisers are trying to promote...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Youth equestrian endurance cup begins in Abu Dhabi - full article

The Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Khalifa and Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Endurance Cup is organised by the Emirates Heritage Club

The National
November 6, 2018

A two-day series of equestrian endurance races for young people starts at the Boudheib International Endurance Village on Tuesday.

The Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Khalifa and Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Endurance Cup is organised by the Emirates Heritage Club, in co-operation with the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 04, 2018

First three star FEI ride in Ukraine - Article and photos

4 November 2018
Race Report made with the assistance of Lesia Gordiienko

Equestrian Club Silin, Iatski, Ukraine. Sunday 28 October 2018. An outstanding event was held in equestrian club Silin, – a FEI ride. The athletes and their horses were competing in three distances: CEI1* 80, CEI2* 120 and first time in Ukraine CEI3* 160. There were riders not only from Ukraine, but also from Belarus and Lithuania.

he course was quite difficult, including natural landscape features with deep slopes, twisting paths, dams, picturesque lakes and long legs of level clay roads where the riders could make up for the speed. The organizational committee showed perfect level of the event: it provided water points every 6-8km of the distance with tanks of fresh water for drinking and cooling, the vet gate was equipped with electronic heart rate monitors, whereas the spectators were entertained by live music...

Read more here:

Friday, November 02, 2018

Chile: Very technical tracks at Bio-Bio cup - Full Article

1 November 2018
Race Report made with the assistance of Andre Alvarez

Salto del laja place – Bio-Bio, Chile. Saturday 27 October 2018. Last weekend the Bio-bio cup was celebrated near to Salto del laja place. This is a special event because the competition took place in the south of Chile. Usually the endurance races are held in the central zone of the country and most of the time through famous vineyards.

Yet Bio-Bio is different; a beautiful district where woods are the main scenario.

Riders love this place because of the flat tracks, an excellent condition for the horses, and easy to measure good speeds. However this time everybody was surprised. Following the FEI recommendations the competition was quite different from last ones. The track was much more complicated, with a lot of variation in surface types. Deep sand and also the weather were big influencers too to make it harder for the riders.

At the end of the day the most experiment riders won every FEI category. Lukas Buckel one of the few elite riders in Chile won the 160km category...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

South Africa: NSPCA lashes Eastern Cape extreme horse race over ‘exploitation of animals’ - Full Article

By Matthew Savides - 31 October 2018

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) said this week a 350km horse race through the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape “should not happen” over concerns that the animals were being exploited and that the vets employed to monitor the animals were not suitably qualified.

But the race’s organisers have hit back‚ not just denying the claims made in the NSPCA’s statement but also claiming that the statement’s contents were “very different” from comments made after the race.

In a statement on Monday‚ the NSPCA said that it had monitored the “Race the Wild Coast” endurance event‚ which took place from October 16. The race takes four to five days to complete.

“Four horses had to be disqualified due to injuries sustained during the race‚” said Arno de Klerk‚ the NSPCA’s special projects manager.

“The race organisers had employed six veterinarians‚ not all of whom had equine experience. There were concerns surrounding the conduct of some of the veterinarians which may have impacted on their ability to thoroughly examine the animals.

“The terrain was also inaccessible by vehicles and the only way to assess the conditions would be by helicopter. However‚ any lameness or welfare issues would be difficult to see from the air. This made instant intervention impossible and the only time that the horses could be properly assessed by anyone was at the various veterinary check stations...”

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mongol Derby: The Ride of Her Life

Jocelyn Pierce (right) riding with Michael Turner in Mongolia. Photo courtesy of Mongol Derby. - Full Story

A Rockville woman recently finished the Mongol Derby, known as the longest and toughest horse race in the world
BY CARALEE ADAMS | Published: 2018-10-29

As soon as Jocelyn Pierce finished her first pony ride at the age of 2, she got back in line for another turn. She started riding lessons when she was 4 and had her own horse by the time she was 10. Pierce competed in jumping and dressage events while growing up in Massachusetts and was on the riding team at Otterbein University in Ohio, where she minored in equine science and got a degree in international studies.

After moving to Rockville in 2015, Pierce continued to ride as a hobby. An associate editor at Practical Horseman magazine in Frederick, she is immersed in the horse world professionally. This past August, she saddled up for a new challenge: the Mongol Derby, dubbed the longest and toughest horse race in the world. From a pool of about 200 hopefuls, she was one of 44 riders selected for the endurance event, in which riders trek across about 600 miles of rugged terrain in Mongolia over the span of about a week to 10 days.

Pierce, 31, followed the Mongol Derby for years but had never participated in an endurance race and didn’t even consider applying until August 2017, after one of her colleagues competed in it. “I was hooked by the adventure, the competition, and was intrigued with how the Mongolian people have a huge history and connection to the horse,” says Pierce...

Read more here:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Room for improvement in event biosecurity, says FEI’s Veterinary Committee - Full Article

October 29, 2018

Multiple areas where biosecurity can be improved at events have been identified by the FEI Veterinary Committee.

The committee, in its annual report released ahead of the annual FEI General Assembly in Bahrain next month, noted that several outbreaks of equine herpesvirus had occurred during the year and had even led to the cancellation of events.

The FEI’s Veterinary Department had monitored the situation with national head veterinarians and other horse industry stakeholders, and had also communicated guidelines.

“Further to the outbreaks, the Veterinary Department has evaluated six events from a biosecurity perspective and come to the conclusion that there are multiple needs for improvements to ensure a high level of biosecurity,” it said...

Read more here:

Friday, October 26, 2018

Endurance ended 2017 with worst record of drug infractions among disciplines - Full Article

October 26, 2018

Endurance had the worst record of drug infractions among the major disciplines during 2017, figures show.

Drug-testing figures for the various disciplines are contained in the one-page Clean Sport Report, released ahead of the FEI’s annual General Assembly in Bahrain on November 20.

Jumping had the most number of samples taken for analysis during the year, at 2517, with 38 positives recorded, which represents 1.5% of all jumping tests.

Endurance had 898 samples taken, which returned 43 positive tests, or 4.8% of all tests within the discipline...

Read more here:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

No Doping Positives at FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018; Two Contrlled Medication Cases

25 Oct 2018

The FEI has announced that there were no doping positives among the 163 horses tested at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. Samples taken from two Endurance horses have tested positive for Controlled Medication substances. Controlled Medication substances are those that are regularly used to treat horses, but which must have been cleared from the horse’s system by the time of competition.

Human anti-doping testing was also carried out in Tryon, in conjunction with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). There were no positives from 92 samples taken from athletes at the Games.

Samples taken on 11 September from the horse Mora Inocente (FEI ID 103TG88/ARG), ridden by Pablo De Los Heros (FEI ID 10017972/ARG) have returned positive for the corticosteroid Dexamethasone.

Samples taken on 11 September from the horse El Pangue Ciromagnum (FEI ID 104AV29/CHI), ridden by Raimundo Undurraga Mujica (FEI ID 10063169/CHI), have returned positive for the corticosteroid Triamcinolone Acetonide.

Controlled Medication positives at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) or the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not eligible for the FEI administrative (fast-track) procedure, so these two cases will be heard by the FEI Tribunal. And, as these cases involve only a single Controlled Medication substance, there is no mandatory provisional suspension of the Person Responsible (PR).

Enhanced anti-doping measures were rolled out in advance of Tryon 2018 as part of the FEI’s Clean Sport campaign, with National Federations being offered two types of anti-doping testing so that they could ensure horses were clean: pre-arrival testing (PAT) and elective testing. PAT (available for both the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and the Olympic and Paralympic Games) detects prohibited substances, with no limit to the number of substances tested for. Elective testing is for Controlled Medications only and is limited to four substances.

The FEI also launched the FEI Clean Sport Guide in eight languages ahead of Tryon 2018.

“Clean sport is an absolute must for the FEI and we are very encouraged by the absence of any positives for Banned Substances and that all human tests came back negative from last month’s Games”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “While of course we cannot overlook the two Controlled Medication positives, overall the outcome is evidence that the awareness campaign conducted prior to Tryon, the opportunity for our National Federations to test their horses before departure and, on the human anti-doping side, our excellent cooperation with the United States Anti-Doping Agency all had a positive impact.

“These two positives show that our testing programme works, but even though these are not doping substances, athletes should be aware that treatments from the Controlled Medications list must have been cleared from the horse’s system by the time of competition. It is clear that we need to work even harder to get the message across that clean sport and a level playing field are non-negotiable.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

WATCH: Rosie Riall wins wildest horse race in the world in South Africa - Full Article

During Race the Wild Coast, the constantly changing conditions due to rain and wind on the first two days resulted in frequent alterations to the leader positions. Horse and rider had to work together to overcome obstacles.

October 22 2018

Young UK-based rider Rosie Riall triumphed as the winner of the second Race the Wild Coast endurance horse race, crossing the finish line at the Kei Mouth ahead of 13 other international competitors to take home the honours.

Race the Wild Coast, which is sponsored by international apparel brand KTC and supported by Striped Horse craft beer, is a new breed of long-distance horse racing set along the aptly named Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. This year’s race was staged from October 16 to 19.

The race is organised by South African company Rockethorse Racing, which launched its first event in 2016. This complex, multi-stage race covers 350km of untamed wilderness and includes river and estuary crossings, narrow cliff-top tracks, rocky paths, beach runs, and often adverse weather conditions – earning it the moniker of “the wildest horse race in the world”. From a technical perspective, it is certainly one of the most challenging endurance races in existence...

More story and photos here:

South Africa: Wildest horse race in the world ends in thrilling fashion - Full Article

2018-10-22 15

Cape Town - Young UK-based rider Rosie Riall triumphed in the second-ever Race the Wild Coast endurance horse race, crossing the finish line at the Kei Mouth ahead of 13 other international competitors.

Race the Wild Coast, which is sponsored by international apparel brand KTC and supported by Striped Horse craft beer, is a new breed of long-distance horse racing set along the aptly named Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The race was organised by South African company Rockethorse Racing, which launched its first event in 2016. This complex, multi-stage race covers 350km of untamed wilderness and includes river and estuary crossings, narrow cliff-top tracks, rocky paths, beach runs, and often adverse weather conditions - earning it the moniker of “the wildest horse race in the world”. From a technical perspective, it is certainly one of the most challenging endurance races in existence.

Says race organiser and co-founder Barry Armitage of Rockethorse Racing: “This year’s race was certainly tough and it’s an achievement just to finish. We congratulate all our riders who traversed the rugged paradise that is South Africa’s Wild Coast. And we take our racing cap off to the winner. It was a tight finish, but Rosie pipped her mate Anna Boden to the line due to strategy, determination, sheer grit and excellent horsemanship!”...

Read more here:

FEI orders endurance review in bid to return discipline to its roots - Full Article

October 23, 2018

The FEI is having another attempt at tidying up undesirable aspects of endurance, appointing a temporary committee to identify ways to bring the sport back to its “original roots”.

The world governing body says it hopes the committee will create a roadmap for the future of the discipline.

It is not the organisation’s first attempt to reform the sport.

Five years ago, an Endurance Strategy Planning Group released its findings during a two-hour endurance session at the FEI’s General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland.

That group had been set up following a European outcry over the high level of doping infractions and excessive fracture rates in endurance competition in the Middle East.

However, problems have continued within the discipline, with speed and injury rates remaining serious concerns, especially so in the Gulf region. Changes have largely failed to curb desert-style endurance racing, with some rule changes adding cost and complexity for competitors in lower grades...

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Committee to Create Roadmap for the Future of FEI Endurance - Full Article

Among other tasks, the FEI’s temporary committee will review the rules to identify the most effective way of bringing the discipline back to its roots of endurance riding (as opposed to endurance racing), with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core while still maintaining the sport’s competitive aspect.

Posted by Edited Press Release | Oct 22, 2018

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Bureau has set up a temporary committee with a remit to urgently assess the issues currently affecting endurance. The committee will also carry out an in-depth rule review to identify the most effective way of bringing the discipline back to its roots of endurance riding (as opposed to endurance racing), with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core while still maintaining the sport’s competitive aspect.

The temporary committee, which has been established under Article 36.1 of the FEI Statutes1, will be chaired by Sarah Coombs, BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS (GBR), a top FEI endurance veterinarian who has many years’ experience of officiating at FEI endurance events. Coombs was formerly the British Endurance team vet and is a trustee of the global equine charity World Horse Welfare and chair of its Veterinary Advisory Committee...

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Monday, October 22, 2018

FEI Bureau sets up Temporary Committee to create roadmap for the future of Endurance

22 Oct 2018

The FEI Bureau has set up a Temporary Committee with a remit to urgently assess the issues currently affecting the sport of Endurance and carry out an in-depth review of the rules in order to identify the most effective way of bringing the discipline back to its original roots of Endurance riding as opposed to Endurance racing, with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core, while still maintaining the competitive aspect of the sport.

The Temporary Committee, which has been established under Article 36.1 of the FEI Statutes*, will be chaired by Dr Sarah Coombs (GBR), a top FEI Endurance veterinarian who has many years’ experience of officiating at FEI Endurance events. Dr Coombs was formerly the British Endurance team vet, is a Trustee of the global equine charity World Horse Welfare and is also chair of its Veterinary Advisory Committee.

The members are Tarek Taher (KSA), an international Endurance athlete and recently-elected by his peers as a member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee; Pieter Wiersinga (NED), chef d’équipe of the Dutch Endurance team, a Police Commissioner and former Head of the Mounted Police in the Netherlands; Dr Margaret (Meg) Sleeper (USA), who has competed in FEI Endurance since 2005 and is also a trainer, official veterinarian and veterinary cardiologist; and Dr Tim Parkin (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance injuries Study (GEIS) and is a candidate for election as a member of the FEI Veterinary Committee.

In order to underline the importance of this discipline review and to facilitate communication between the Temporary Committee and the FEI Bureau, FEI 2nd Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN) will also be involved in the work of the Temporary Committee.

“We need to bring the discipline back to the principles of the FEI where welfare of the horse and horsemanship prevail”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Temporary Committee will conduct a thorough review of the discipline with the aim of getting back to real Endurance riding with the focus on horsemanship and the partnership between horse and human.

“The sport has evolved and there needs to be a recognition of that, but the essence of the sport must remain the same. What we need are rules that place greater emphasis on completion of the event, rather than the ‘win at all costs’ mentality that is more and more threatening our sport.

“We have a strong Chair in Dr Sarah Coombs, who has a long-standing and in-depth understanding of the sport, particularly the horse welfare and veterinary aspects. With this new role she will be helping steer this crucial next step by leading a committee of extremely knowledgeable members that is focused on regulatory change driven by science with horse welfare at its heart.”

Prior to the creation of the new Temporary Committee, the FEI Bureau had received and accepted the resignation of Dr Brian Sheahan (AUS) as Chair of the Endurance Technical Committee due to ill health. His eight-year term in office was due to expire in 2020. The President has thanked Dr Sheahan for his dedication and passion for the sport and wished him a speedy recovery.

In a further development, the Bureau has provisionally relieved Ignasi Casas Vaque (ESP) of his rights and duties as Deputy Chair and Member of the Endurance Committee due to pending legal proceedings for alleged incorrect behaviour at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018.

The FEI Legal Department last week initiated a disciplinary action against Dr Casas Vaque, based on evidence provided to the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit during its investigation into the cancelled Endurance event in Tryon (USA) on 12 September 2018. Any additional disciplinary actions against other individuals involved in events at Tryon last month will be announced in due course.

Due to the resignation of the Chair and the pending legal proceedings involving the Deputy Chair, the Endurance Committee is currently unable to function as a full committee. However, the remaining members of the Endurance Committee – Shanie Bosch-Fourie (NAM) (2014-2018), Rocio Echeverri (CRC) (2015-2019) and Stéphane Chazel (FRA) (2016-2020) – will remain as members for their terms and until further notice. The Temporary Committee will be asked to consult with them to ensure their expertise is not lost during the review process.

The Temporary Committee will start work as soon as possible, with the plan to hold a session dedicated on Endurance at the FEI Sports Forum 2019 allowing the Temporary Committee to provide an update to delegates.

Friday, October 19, 2018

To Finish is To Win’: AAP Employee to Compete in World’s Longest Horse Race - Full Article

October 19 2018
By Callie McQuilkin and Hnin Ei Wai Lwin

When asked what her goals were for next summer, when Cornell employee Kelsey Eliot will spend 10 days racing across mountains, rivers and rough terrain on the back of a semi-wild horse in the 600-mile Mongol Derby, her reply was simple: “To live.”

Eliot, a program assistant in the Department of City and Regional Planning, is one of 40 applicants selected from a pool of hundreds for the competition, which pits riders against each other, the elements and the very horses they’re riding.

“Mongolia horses are jackhammers. I’m trying to build my leg strength so I can withstand that,” Eliot told The Sun.

“It’s scary because a lot of [the horses] probably want to kill me,” she continued.

As they navigate the rugged Mongolian terrain — riddled with marmot holes and crisscrossed with rivers — competitors are likely to slip off their horses, which are often already skittish from the unfamiliar riders.

As a 2014 National Geographic article reported, about 50 percent of racers each year are not expected to cross the finish line, due to dysentery, broken bones and other complications...

Read more here:

2 Endurance Riders and Trainer in UAE Races Suspended

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decisions

18 Oct 2018

The FEI Tribunal has issued its Final Decisions in four cases involving prohibited substances.

Three of the cases involve the substance Trometamol, a diuretic listed as a *Banned Substance under the FEI’s Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs) but which is due to be reclassified as a Controlled Medication on 1 January 2019.

As a result of the pending reclassification, the athletes have each been handed down a six-month suspension and costs, as well as disqualification from all placings at the events at which the positive samples were collected.

Argentinian athlete Daiana Chopita (FEI ID 10107027/ARG) rode the horse JC Cahuel (FEI ID 105UO02/UAE) at the CEI1* 100 in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on 9 December 2017 and HLP Gadafi (FEI ID 105AP09/UAE) at the CEI2* 120 in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on 23 December 2017. Samples from both horses tested positive for Trometamol. As Ms. Chopita was not notified of the first adverse analytical finding until after the second ride, the two charges were considered together as one single first violation.

The third Trometamol case involves the horse JLB Noche (FEI ID 104KB96/UAE) ridden by United Arab Emirates’ athlete Waad Nadim Bou Moghlbay (FEI ID 10113241) at the CEI2* 120 in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on 23 December 2017.

The two horses, HLP Gadafi and JLB Noche, are both trained by Ali Khalfan Al Jahouri (UAE), who has been provisionally suspended since the date of notification (10 January 2018). The case against him is still ongoing.

The fourth case involves the horse Concordia 7 (FEI ID 103ZZ97/AUT) competed by Austrian athlete Andreas Ruschitzka (FEI ID 10007005) at last year’s European Driving Championships in Gothenburg (SWE). Samples taken from the horse tested positive for the Banned Substance Oripavine, and the Controlled Medication substances Morphine and Codeine.

A sample taken on 20 April 2018 from a second horse, Solo Rygata XXI 17 (FEI ID 105WE35), driven by Mr Ruschitzka at the Czech CAI3* at Kladruby nad Labem, tested positive to Morphine. Oripavine, Morphine and Codeine are all are classified as Specified Substances** under the EADCMRs.

The athlete was able to prove that the presence of the three substances was due to contaminated feed and, as a result, the Tribunal found that he bore no fault or negligence for the rule violations. No period of ineligibility was imposed, but the athlete has been disqualified from the results with both horses.

The athletes have 21 days to appeal the decisions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from the dates of notification of the Final Decisions.

More at:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Australia: Canobolas Endurance Riders to host Bullio carnival for 120 riders in November

[ - Full Article

October 18 2018
Central Western Daily

Combine horses and riders, a marked course through incredible countryside, camping, families and friends and you have the recipe for endurance riding.

Canobolas Endurance Riders Club is hosting the inaugural Matar Stables Bullio Cup Endurance Carnival on November 3 and 4, with 120 people from all over Australia and even New Zealand coming to compete.

The Carnival includes an 80km event for international rankings and an 80km ride for domestic riders as well as a 40km training ride, introductory 20km social ride and two shorter five and 10km rides.

A Perpetual Bullio Cup has been commissioned and a unique riding buckle and medallion have been struck for this Ride. These will be awarded to successful completions of the 80km and 40km rides...

Read more here:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Round Up of Recent Endurance Doping Case Rulings - Full Article

October 12, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

Two endurance riders whose horses tested positive to Trometamol have been suspended for six months each – a reduced sanction for a banned substance because Trometamol is being re-classified as a controlled medication.

The FEI Tribunal also noted that neither could have known their borrowed horses – supplied by Al Wathba Stables in Abu Dhabi – had ingested Trometamol. It was not listed as an ingredient of a product called “Endurance,” administered by the stables’ veterinary assistant before their respective races.

One rider is top Argentinian Daiana Chopita, who rode two horses both testing positive in Abu Dhabi last winter. JC Cahuel placed third in a CEI* 100km race on December 9, 2017, and HLP Gadafi third in the CEI** 120km on December 23rd.

The other rider, Waad Nadim Bou Moghlbay, won the December 23rd race for riding JLB Noche, also testing positive to Trametamol. Miss Moghlbay is a Lebanese national competing under UAE administration.

The six-month suspensions were credited against provisional suspensions already served, meaning both may compete again immediately. They were also fined 3,000 Swiss francs ($3,950.)...

Read more here:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

South Africa to host the wildest adventure horse race in the world - Full Article


Cape Town - From October 13-21, 2018, Race the Wild Coast, a new breed of long distance horse racing, will return for a second edition amid the breathtaking scenery of the South African east coast.

Over the course of five days a host of experienced international riders, each with a team of three horses, will compete for victory over 350km of rugged paradise from Port Edward to Kei Mouth.

This complex multi-stage race, in which riders must brave this untamed wilderness and swim rivers while keeping horses fit for vet checks, will challenge the endurance of any rider. Adventure sports enthusiasts will be able to keep close tabs on the race by checking each stage of the competition via live tracking and social media updates.

Race the Wild Coast blends the spirit of the frontiersman and the modern horseback adventurer - a test of endurance, horsemanship, survival and navigational skills across an iconic wilderness that is set to become a South African, if not a global, sporting classic. Due to the terrain - it is not known as the “wild coast" for nothing - Race the Wild Coast is currently the toughest horse race in the world...

Read more here

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

World Equestrian Games - Will Tryon Be the Last Edition? - Full Article

Friday 05 October - 10h08 | Sébastien Roullier

It has been much debated, before, during and after the recent World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, USA, but were those Games, the last? Grand Prix's Sebastien Roullier looks at the issues surrounding the future of WEG.

Too expensive, too complicated to organize, not enough publicity: the World Equestrian Games – a fantastic concept on paper – have always sparked debates within the horse sport community. And those who have taken on the challenge of putting them on over the years have rarely managed to deliver a flawless event.

While the inaugural edition of the Games in Stockholm, which featured 'only' six disciplines in 1990, and those of Jerez de la Frontera and Aachen, which brought together seven in 2002 and 2006, provided very good and sometimes excellent memories for participants and spectators, that has not been the case for others. In 1994, the organizers of the Games in the Hague went bankrupt. In 1998, those in Rome kept their promises against all expectations but could not host an endurance race, which was relocated to Abu Dhabi. In 2010, the WEG in Lexington, Kentucky were saved by significant last-minute budget infusions – and even then all was not perfect. In 2014, Normandy created a great regional project, but experienced various logistical problems. Not to mention all the organizers, chosen by the Fédération Équestre Internationale, who have thrown in the towel along the way: Paris for the 1994 edition, Dublin for the following and Bromont for 2018.

After the small town in Quebec bowed out a little over two years ago, Mark Bellissimo came to the rescue of the FEI, offering a new host site for its flagship rendezvous. Indeed, Bellissimo promised that the Tryon WEG, to be held on his large property in nearby Mill Spring, North Carolina, would be the best yet. And convinced of the merits of his project, the American raised enough capital to invest nearly $250 million for a stadium and other site features – not to mention an operational budget of millions to deliver the event...

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Luke Annetts successfully completes Australia's most prestigious endurance ride - Full Article

October 9 2018
Ellen Dunger

The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is regarded as the ‘premier ride’ and the Australian endurance calendar and is also one of the toughest.

Tenterfield veterinarian Luke Annetts has successfully finished the gruelling 160km ride on 10 occasions with his most recent at the annual event in Tasmania on Friday.

Annetts and the Glen Innes-bred Churinga Taboo were the fifth heavyweight pairing over the line and to top off their success, received the prestigious best conditioned award in their division.

Making the feat even more impressive was the fact the seven-year-old gelding only began his endurance career this year with the longest ride in his career only half the distance of the Quilty.

“He is only a youngster, he only started at the start of the year so it was a big ask for him,” Annetts said...

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Canada: Endurance Team Spirit Shines Bright at FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 - Full Article & photos

October 3 2018

Despite a restart, weather complications and the ultimate cancellation of the endurance competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG), the Canadian Endurance Team impressed with their unquenchable team spirit and perseverance on Sept. 12 in Mill Spring, NC.

The team – comprised of Colleen DeVry of Bruderheim, AB; Robert Gielen of Flesherton, ON; Wendy MacCoubrey of Sainte-Justine-de-Newton, QC; Kimberley Woolley of Finch, ON; and reserve rider, Tracy Vollman of Regina, SK – had proved they were ones to watch during a long and challenging WEG qualifying period that ran from July 2016 to July 2018. Gielen and MacCoubrey earned top 10 positions in the 2017 FEI Open Combination World Endurance Rankings with their horses, and DeVry came to WEG 2018 fresh off a second place finish, just 10 seconds shy of first, at the 2018 Bellis Summer Sizzler CEI 3* 160km race.

“We had reasonably focused on a goal of medaling as a team with potential for one or two top 20 individuals,” said Deanna Spiker, Endurance Chef d’Équipe, of Team Canada’s chances at the Games. “When the race was cancelled, we had one horse within the top 20 with one moving up just behind, and our three horses that remained in competition looked good for their final vet inspection.”

At the time the race was called off, Gielen was in the lead position for the Canadian team with his nine-year-old Arabian gelding, More Bang for Your Buck (Doran x Forty Thieves). A veteran of WEG 2010 and the oldest member of the Canadian Equestrian Team at 68 years of age, Gielen used his wealth of experience to successfully manage and pace his horse...

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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Canada: Hope riders take second and fourth place at summer competition - Full Article

Nearing retirement, Denise Pascucci’s Arabian steed Nikea still has a few more years left

Oct. 7, 2018

A life-long love of horses is nearing a turning point — but before then, there should still be a few good years of riding for Denise Pascucci and her Arabian steed, Nikea.

“I’ve always been around horses,” said Pascucci (pronounced “Pas-KOO-chee”). “I had aunts and uncles who had farms outside Winnipeg, in Vassar and South Junction. I got my first horse when I was 18.

“I got the one I currently own on my forty-first birthday, 18 years ago, from Del and Carl Augustine. He’s a pure Arabian and his registered name is Aur Lanii but I call him Nikea.

“I started riding endurance about 13 years ago, with Buffy Miller — and Shelley Taylor rides with me now. I keep my horse at Shelley’s place, by the airport. We’ve got morning and evening feeds, so Shelley usually does the mornings and I do the evenings and we work around our schedules.”

In 2012 and 2013, Pascucci and Nikea took part in the Cariboo Plateau endurance event at 108 Mile, then injuries, forest fires and other encumbrances kept them from returning until this year. On August 11, she partnered up for the competitive 25-mile ride, with fellow Hope rider, Leona Jones and her standardbred named J.J...

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What if Tryon was one of the safest Endurance World Championships ever? - Full Article

Andre Vidiz
Oct 8

On the article I wrote just after the WEG Endurance ride I tried to show how the dysfunctional disorganization of the OC was as guilty of the whole disaster as the weather conditions itself. On that moment FEI Officials were using the quantity of horse with metabolic issues and the death of one of them as a smoke screen to do not talk about all the problems that happened before and during the start of the race. At that time we needed to put it all together so we don’t forget anything. Now it is time to untangle some of those components.

Pippa Cuckson wrote a long article about the conditions we set for World Championships in which she also questions the Organizing Committee “clinic was full” argument itself. If there are no doubts about the number of horses in the clinic and that almost all of them were there due to metabolic issues, there is nothing clear about the conditions of those horses. Only 3 of them were eliminated under the ME-TR status, which means that treatment is mandatory and signalizes a dangerous condition. All the other horses maybe were getting precautionary treatment, a safe practice that became quite normal in endurance rides*

Maybe the full clinic is just a consequence of the system that is built to protect the horses...

Read more here:

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Tasmania: North-West teenager Jaz Hutchins crosses the line first but does not win the Tom Quilty Gold Cup - Full Article

Andrew Mathieson
October 6 2018

Jaz Hutchins galloped home to cheers, but the tone in the voice of the first to finish the Tom Quilty Gold Cup ride told the true story.

After nine hours, 46 minutes and 27 seconds in the saddle, the junior winner on the course near Scottsdale didn’t hide her understandable disappointment.

“Yes, I was the first – that’s correct,” Hutchins told The Sunday Examiner in the affirmative, “but it’s a bit disappointing that I can’t take the cup home being a junior.

The Sassafras 17-year-old like her contemporaries could not make the mandatory 73kg weight for the cup.

The lesser weight over the 160km journey from darkness to sunrise and sometimes beyond is considered an unfair advantage.

Not exactly tainting the win of top Victorian Kristie Taprell – a junior winner has been ruled ineligible of taking home the trophy before – but Hutchins’ ride 18 minutes and 40 seconds earlier could have caused a stir...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Brief Encounters – The New 'Normal' in Endurance - Full Article

Blogs Cuckson Report | October 5, 2018

I haven’t spoken to, or read anything written by, any veterinarian that disagrees with abandoning the Tryon WEG endurance ride. Vets all seem emphatic that horses were not coping with the fast rising heat and humidity.

One told me some were even pulsing back up while being examined – including the super-horses whose heart-rates usually meet the parameters within minutes.

But it isn’t quite that black and white. The weather in isolation was not the issue – historic rides have taken place in worse conditions without everyone keeling over. Worries also stemmed from the inability of so many to ride according to the conditions; some riders were apparently not even aware their horses were in difficulty.

How can that be? This was a world championship, featuring the best and most experienced horses and riders on the planet, surely? Not necessarily. No rider can truly can say their horse is pinging along with its usual verve when they’ve hardly competed it before. In modern endurance, not knowing your horse is the New Normal.

FEI records of the 120-odd riders who started the fateful first loop show:

• 13 had never competed their Tryon horse in a FEI race of any distance before;
• 13 had only started on their Tryon horse once before (in most cases their 160km WEG qualifier, which might not have been a highly competitive race;)
• 28 had only attempted 160km with the same horse twice before;
• 24 had started their Tryon horse in FEI twice over any distance before; nine riders three times;
• 59 riders had previously attempted 160km with their Tryon horse more than twice;
• Only 37 horse and riders had progressed from 80Km to 160km level as a combination;
• Four riders had fewer than 10 career starts in FEI at any distance on any horse/s; 18 riders had just 10-20 previous FEI starts on any horse/s...

Read more here:

Friday, October 05, 2018

Tasmania to rise again to the Tom Quilty Gold Cup challenge - Full Article

Andrew Mathieson

Australian equestrian’s biggest prize is firmly in the grasp of Tasmanian riders entering the prestigious Tom Quilty Gold Cup on Saturday.

The arduous ride over its 160-kilometre course returns to the North East of the state for the first time in six years.

The top Tasmanians have a recent stranglehold on the premier endurance event of its kind, starting at midnight.

Brooke Brown-Cordell, of Tunnel, and Debbie Grull, of Staverton, earned a Tasmanian quinella in the 2017 Cup.

Lebrina neighbours Bella Pickering and Kirstie Lockhart were remarkably the first two in the country across the line for the junior division...

Read more here:

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Has Endurance Racing Morphed Into ‘Win At All Cost’ Flat-Track Racing? - Full Article

by Paulick Report Staff | 10.01.2018

The American The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) executive committee, in a letter to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the governing body of horse sport in the United States, has requested immediate withdrawal of funding to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) endurance events held outside U.S. borders.

An international discipline, the sport of endurance is based on long-distance races that are completed at controlled speed, with the care and health of the horse key in riders' minds. Horses must pass veterinary inspections as specific intervals during the competition. Flat-track endurance riding has evolved in the last decade and is vastly different than endurance riding; it focuses on much faster, prolonged speeds on groomed courses. Endurance riding is held on natural terrain.

The letter states that the committee feels that riders of extreme flat-track racing “know nothing about riding their horses within their capabilities according to the weather and terrain of the day. Their objective is often ‘winning at all costs.'” The committee feels that this approach is vastly divergent from the traditional endurance competitions, where “to finish is to win...”

Read more here:

South Africa's Race the Wild Coast Begins Oct 13

From 13-21 October 2018, Race the Wild Coast will return for its second edition amid the iconic wilderness of South Africa’s east coast.

It's a new breed of horse race. Riders, with a team of three horses, compete for victory over 350km of rugged paradise on the remote east coast of South Africa; navigating through this challenging wilderness, swimming rivers and keeping horses fit for vet checks in this complex multi stage race will challenge the endurance of any horseback adventurer.

This five-day, multi-stage challenge is one of the most dynamic tests of endurance horse-riding, navigation and survival skills in the world.

For more information, see:

(Video link:

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

China: 2018 Dangshan International Equestrian Endurance Race kicks off

Pub Date:18-09-30 14:54
The 2018 China·Dangshan International Equestrian Endurance Race was held at the International Racecourse of the Old Course of the Yellow River in Dangshan County, Anhui Province from September 27th to 28th.

It attracted over one hundred riders from home and abroad and nearly 10,000 equestrian enthusiasts.

In the two days, the FEI one-star (87 km), two-star (120 km) endurance races and 48 km and 87 km qualification competitions were held and wonderful equestrian performances were presented.

The FEI 2-Star Endurance Race is the highest level international equestrian endurance race held in China. (source:

Monday, October 01, 2018

American endurance officials condemn “extreme” flat-track form of discipline - Full Article

September 30, 2018

America’s top endurance officials have warned about the “dangerous disconnect” between the extreme flat-track racing over extended distances and the more traditional version of the discipline.

They want the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) to immediately withdraw all funding to FEI endurance events outside of the US for two years or until significant changes are made within the FEI. Funding should instead be directed toward US national events.

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) executive committee, in a letter to the USEF, described events at the endurance ride during the recent World Equestrian Games in North Carolina as chaotic and disturbing. (The race was shortened after some competitors were misdirected on the first loop, and later cancelled because of heat and humidity.)

“WEG has brought clearly into focus the dangers of flat track racing for extended distances being attempted in the framework of traditional endurance …

“While we agree that the start mix up and the incomplete facilities were a major issue in this particular WEG, as noted above, the decade-plus erosion of traditional endurance behaviors and equine welfare criteria are the greatest threats to the discipline.”

The committee, which wrote to USEF president Murray Kessler and secretary-general William Moroney, said their letter arose out of grave concern about not only the recent events of WEG, but also the years-long evolution of the sport of endurance in general...

Read more here:

First FEI event ever-held in Bragado, Buenos Aires - Full Article
30th September 2018

Bragado Endurance Club, Bragado, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thursday 20, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 2018. This was the first FEI event ever-held in Bragado. The Bragado Endurance Festival (BEF) was in charge of and organized by the Bragado Endurance Club. Whereas, Chacras del Bragado sponsored and hosted the three-day event.

Argentinian teams particularly enjoyed a professional as well as a relaxed atmosphere, since not only did they compete but also share a long weekend among friends recalling previous races held in different parts of the country. Likewise, the settings offered peace and tranquillity to all horses. The joyful faces, the great number of important prizes, the new HR system (hired from Uruguay) and the viewing of live race results with the Yamamah App made this international event date a unique one in Argentina.

The first start was given on Thursday morning, which ended with the classification of 14 horses in the 40 and 80 km qualifiers. Later in the afternoon, the pre ride for CEI1* seniors and YR took place. While the CEI1* ladies race by Setzi Saddles was held on Friday. Saturday was allocated to CEI1* and CEI2* seniors and YR. At this event Argentina landed a record for a total number of 116 horses during the two race days.

Friday, at 7:00am, 26 riders started the all-female 100km race. It was divided in 4 loops (33km, 25km, 22km and 20km for the last respectively). Winner was Nadia Fernandez Cid riding FG Suavecita, in a post-race interview the rider described her horse as being “very energetic and very pleasant to work with every day...

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Endurance Trainers to Face Automatic Suspension for Doping - Full Article

September 25, 2018
by: Pippa Cuckson

Registered endurance trainers will be given automatic provisional suspensions when horses in their care test positive to prohibited substances, as the FEI beefs up measures to deal with ongoing doping issues in the Middle East.

This in the first time a FEI anti-doping rule will be discipline-specific – subject to ratification at the FEI General Assembly in November. Endurance still returns more positive samples than any other FEI sport.

In equestrianism, because the rider is usually the horse’s trainer and stable manager he is regarded as the prime “person responsible” (PR) and thereby liable for suspension and/or fines if the horse tests positive.

However, endurance in the Middle East is run on similar lines to Thoroughbred racing. Many hundreds of horses are kept in large barns and prepared by professional trainers – who must be registered with the FEI and competed by staff riders or visitors from overseas who have had little prior contact with the animal. Two riders currently awaiting FEI Tribunal decisions are South American visitors who accepted rides in the UAE last winter on horses which then tested positive to banned substances. One of them rode two different horses failing dope tests within a fortnight of each other.

The FEI Tribunal first warned in 2005 about the anomaly of the trainer not being the rider in endurance. More recently, FEI legal obtained discretionary powers to join extra persons – including trainers, owners, vets and grooms – in doping sanctions where there was clear evidence of complicity. If the new rules are approved, trainer suspension will be non-negotiable...

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What Happened at the 2018 WEG Endurance Championship? - Full Article

The ill-fated WEG endurance competition was abandoned amid delays, disruptions, and dangerous heat. Here’s a look back at what went wrong.

Posted by Jennifer O. Bryant | Sep 25, 2018

Medals in each of the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s (FEI) eight disciplines are awarded at the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG), which wrapped up at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, in Mill Spring, North Carolina, over the weekend.

Make that seven disciplines.

The very first competition to get underway at the FEI WEG Tryon 2018 on Sept. 12, endurance, suffered delays and chaos at the start, was hastily revamped into a shortened version of the race, and, within hours, was canceled altogether.

Officials with the FEI cited three primary reasons for the cancellation:

A sudden brief downpour that made the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills of North Carolina feel like a torrid jungle after Mother Nature turned off the spigot and the late-summer sun emerged with a vengeance;
An unusually high number of horses exhibiting signs of metabolic issues; and
Deteriorated footing conditions on the trail following the rainstorm that required even more exertion from the endurance horses...

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Looking past the ‘chaos in Tryon’ - Full Article

By Ted Yoakum
Published 3:42 pm Monday, September 24, 2018

Despite WEG setbacks, TIEC leaders pushing forward with vision

MILL SPRING — While taking responsibility for the setbacks that have made headlines over the past several weeks, Tryon International Equestrian Center’s Mark Bellissimo is hoping that people will remember the 2018 World Equestrian Games for its positives, rather than its negatives.

A few days before the international sporting event’s final day of competition on Sunday at the Mill Spring facility, Bellissimo, the managing partner with Tryon Equestrian Partners, fielded questions from the press during a special media cocktail hour Friday evening. The equestrian business mogul addressed the issues that have surrounded WEG and TIEC over the past several weeks, while also expressing optimism for the future of the facility and its planned residential expansion project.

WEG — organized by TIEC and international equestrian sport governing body Fédération Equestre Internationale — ran from Sept. 11 to Sunday at TIEC. The event drew equestrian athletes and horses from nearly 70 nations — who competed in eight different disciplines for both team and individual awards — as well as thousands of international spectators to the rural community.

The event was rife with setbacks from the beginning, however, including issues with inadequate housing for grooms (attendants responsible for the care of horses), the cancelation of the endurance race and the freestyle dressage competition, and the death of two horses following competitions. Adverse weather stemming from Hurricane Florence also caused a dip in attendance, Bellissimo said...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Should Tryon Ever Be Allowed to Try Again? - Full Article

Cuckson Report | September 24, 2018

Over the past 12 years I have written six lengthy pieces for various publications asking “what is the point of the World Equestrian Games (WEG)?” Anyone over 50 will recall the kudos and success of single-discipline world championships that were the norm till 1986.The first WEG, Stockholm 1990, was only ever meant to be a one-off.

I have never really understood who the all-eight-sports-in-one-basket format is aimed at. Why do so many promoters assume that anything with a horse in it is of automatic, overwhelming interest to all? Most people like music, too, but show me a successful international festival with classical, jazz, country, hip hop, opera and rock all on the same bill! Even the FEI didn’t have figures available for spectators attending two or more disciplines till we got past WEG number three. I recall asking for them several times.

Yet whenever anyone has queried the validity of WEG, the FEI has firmly stated it’s by far the best way to showcase elite sport and that everyone likes it. This remained the stance even after it was common knowledge that WEG is a licence to shell out millions in unrecoverable cash.

Nowadays, experienced organisers would rather pull out their own fingernails than be lumbered with WEG. The FEI will allocate WEG to the last man standing rather than admit it isn’t a goer. At least twice the FEI has failed to ask governments direct if they are supporting the bidder – presumably for fear of hearing something it doesn’t want to know.

Ironic then, that just now we’ve found an Organizing Committee (OC) keen to repeat the WEG in, say, eight years’ time, the FEI has decided to re-evaluate the whole concept and contemplate breaking it up into more sustainable components. FEI president Ingmar de Vos said this at two press conferences this past fortnight. This significant shift was noted by just about everyone apart from the Tryon OC, which has the hide of a rhinoceros...

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‘We made a ton of mistakes’ admits WEG boss - Full Article

Eleanor Jones
18:48 - 24 September, 2018

“We made a ton of mistakes,” the boss of Tryon has conceded, but he is “unbelievably proud” of what has been accomplished at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) venue.

Mark Bellissimo, of Tryon Equestrian Partners, spoke to reporters at WEG on Saturday (22 September).

He spoke of the challenges faced by the venue, which had had less than two years to prepare for the Games, having stepped in when original hosts Bromont, Canada, pulled out.

“I’m so very proud of all the things that have happened in the last two weeks with the exception of the things we started on [early problems such as with grooms’ accommodation] I take responsibility for, I made mistakes along the way,” he said.

“If that’s what’s remembered about this WEG then shame on me, shame on all of us, as I think what we’ve seen is probably some of the best sport WEGs have had.

“All the people who said this would never be done: they were wrong. What’s most important to me is that we’ve stepped up in difficult circumstances and did our best. It wasn’t perfect but perfect is the enemy of the good. We accept the fact we’re human and we make mistakes but in the end they’ll hopefully become afterthoughts...”


World Equestrian Games over but Bellissimo back in saddle - Full Article

September 24 2018
Steve Keating

TRYON, North Carolina (Reuters) - Mark Bellissimo, the man who brought the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) to this bucolic corner of recession ravaged North Carolina is widely viewed as a savior for bringing jobs and hope to the depressed region.

Not so says Bellissimo, deferring to an elderly employee who works in one of the sprawling facility’s kitchens who has apparently taken credit.

“I interact a lot with our staff and a woman who is our baker, she comes up to me and says, ‘I just want you to know I am responsible for the success of Tryon’,” Bellissimo told Reuters.

“I said, thank you and I would love to hear more and she said, ‘eight years ago I prayed that someone would rescue this community, someone with a million dollars and you came and it is because of me’.”

Situated in the U.S. bible belt, all this would seem a very plausible explanation for an equestrian Taj Mahal popping up under the gaze of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What is not plausible is that Bellissimo rode to the rescue with a million dollars.

To get the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) ready for the WEG, Bellissimo and his partners pumped more than $200 million into the effort.

By the end of the year that number will rise to $250 million as he pushes ahead with plans to make the TIEC the world’s premiere equestrian lifestyle destination...

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FEI World Equestrian Games™ tops discussion sessions before tomorrow’s FEI General Assembly

(FEI/Liz Gregg photo) 19 Nov 2018 The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and the future of the Games were the subje...