Thursday, August 02, 2018

Shooting the Messenger – A Setback for Fair Play - Full Article

Cuckson Report | August 2, 2018

This blog might appear to be about a domestic issue this side of the pond, but there are important lessons for all. Please bear with, for there’s essential background reading first.

First, in endurance, mandatory rest periods are applied to horses after a ride, for obvious welfare reasons. The duration relates to the distance, with days added if you’re vetted out.

In 2016, FEI endurance also introduced a “de-merit” system, with penalty points for issues that prove the most problematic. Accumulating 100 points in 12 months means an immediate two-month ban for the rider with no appeal.

Metabolic elimination = 10 penalty points.

Essential invasive treatment by official vet = 25pts

Catastrophic [fatal equine] Injury during ride = 80pts

Competing horse during mandatory rest; failure to present to final vet; incorrect behaviour = 100pts each, plus automatic two-months rider suspension.

So, as you can see, the FEI puts competing a “resting” horse in its tier of most serious rule-breaches.

Secondly, a bit about “Clean Endurance” – a global alliance of folks with a common interest in salvaging their sport from doping, cheating and fatalities. I first encountered them in early 2015, about two years after I began writing about the UAE et al in-depth. I’d discovered the UAE was faking entire rides on an industrial scale. Some of the Clean volunteers helped me unravel how the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) had forged results (and qualifications) of over 500 horses in 13 rides so convincingly that no-one noticed for years.

The FEI’s Equine Community Integrity Unit readily took up our research in its subsequent official investigation, and two senior EEF executives were eventually suspended (though other implicated officials went unpunished).

Since then, Clean Endurance has regularly engaged with FEI HQ in Lausanne, notably flagging up the many anomalies hiding in plain sight on the FEI database; this includes identifying the horses starting in rides they are not qualified for, which still occurs a lot, even on the basis of un-faked results...

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