Saturday, February 24, 2018

Just When You Thought Desert Endurance Couldn't Sink Any Lower… - Full Article

Cuckson Report | February 23, 2018

While the world obsessed about alleged abusive riding by Shelley Browning in the US and Bernhard Maier in Austria, a proven horse abuse case was quietly adjudicated by the FEI last week.

The incriminating video wasn’t circulated on social media. But an account of the sustained whipping of endurance horse Happy Jack appeared last week, in the FEI Tribunal decision to suspend the rider for three months.

FEI endurance rules expressly disallow spurs or carrying anything that could be used as a whip. Thus striking an endurance horse AT ALL is abuse. This interpretation was thoroughly tested by Tribunal in 2014 in the first-ever protest by members of the public against abuse on the field of play – lodged by me and colleague Lucy Higginson.

In that disgraceful episode from a 120km ride at Sakhir, Bahrain on February 8, 2014, grooms leapt from the accompanying vehicle and ran onto the field of play, one of them whacking the tiring leader Tarabic Carl with a hand-held instrument. I asked for the FEI’s integrity people to enhance the images in order to identify the gadget, but recall being fobbed off, to the effect that fantasy procedures you see on NCIS can’t be done in real life. Hmm...

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