Saturday, March 09, 2019

It's Time to Wind Endurance Back to Zero - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 8, 2019

Meetings of the FEI’s Endurance Temporary Committee – tasked with reviewing their sport for the umpteenth time – are always followed up with a press release. These missives include a quote about the new feeling of optimism and cooperation by everyone in the endurance community.

Sorry for my cynicism, but can someone enlighten me as to when FEI Group 7 (Middle East) underwent this amazing epiphany and agreed that high-speed horse-wrecking must stop? I must have been in a coma that day. The national federations might be saying it and meaning it, but the out on the piste it is a very different story.

We were spoon-fed the same feel-good mantra in 2013 and 2014 by the FEI Endurance Strategic Planning Group (remember them, anyone?) They too enthused about goodwill and engagement (an over-used catch-all term, in my view) toward reform. Yet within a year of the ESPG’s final report in April 2014, recommendations were mostly gathering dust, and the UAE federation had been suspended.

The UAE was let back into the FEI “family” by signing a legal agreement that was then scarcely observed in the 2015-16 winter season. By February 2016 the FEI was seeking further assurances about compliance. In April the UAE was stripped of running the 2016 world endurance championship because “horse welfare could not be guaranteed.”

Speeds got even faster, completion rates no better: so many horses’ careers (and probably lives) over by the age of eight or nine...

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