July 1 2019
Clean Endurance is satisfied that the FEI Tribunal has applied exemplary sanctions in the first 3 of a series of Abuse Protests it has submitted to the FEI this year. The athletes involved all received sanctions composed of suspensions ranging from 12 to 30 months, and fines ranging from 4 to 9 thousand Swiss Francs.
All three cases involve horses being harassed, beaten and kicked to go faster on endurance competitions during the past winter season, despite showing clear signs of distress and exhaustion. One horse, Castlebar Nato, was ridden so hard that it sustained a fracture of the cannon bone. It was not humanely euthanised but merely recorded as ‘Lame’ and swiftly removed off the track. Footage of this horse (bib 89) as well as the horse Songbird ( bib 32) which was ridden to exhaustion at the same event can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N7-OSLU0zI.
The third case involved the abuse of Radja D’Altus (Sarab) and can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD2EJdeWfLI
Clean Endurance acknowledges the efforts the FEI and its Endurance Temporary Committee have made in the past months to come up with an extensive list of rule proposals aimed at restructuring the sport. It is however adamant that unless endurance moves away from purely speed based competitions, the current pattern of increasing horse destruction and abuse will only worsen. It believes the current rule proposals as presented at the FEI Sports Forum 2019, although positive in many respects and long overdue, will NOT be sufficient to achieve a significant restructuring of the sport and the necessary reduction in speeds.
Clean Endurance has submitted an alternative competition format proposal to the FEI, based on the long-standing French and Swiss national systems which rank horses based on their speed in the competition AND their final recovery (heart rate). In their opinion, this simple and well proven system is the only option to move the sport away from the still ever increasing and destructive speeds, and back to
rewarding strategic riding skills, horsemanship and the respect of horse welfare.
Clean Endurance regrets that it has had to file a series of Abuse Protests with the FEI in order to avoid that the athletes in question remain unpunished – had the Officials done their jobs on the day, this would not have been necessary.
It has therefore asked the FEI (again) to start publishing the records of Officials on their public database, similar to what is currently available for athletes and horses. It is vital in their opinion that Organising Committees, Officials and other stakeholders have the basic information on where and in which capacity Officials have been active. This information is key for enabling OC’s to choose the best Officials for their event, to respect minimal rotation requirements and to avoid conflicts of interest. Clean Endurance firmly believes that the FEI must provide transparency about Officials, urgently, as a first step in this no doubt long and complicated improvement process.
The decision notices (attached) for the 3 cases are published on the FEI Tribunal, here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/athletes/fei-tribunal/other-decisions
Clean Endurance is a global collective of volunteers who are committed to restoring the traditional values of their sport. It has an informal working relationship with the FEI: numerous recent FEI rule changes, procedures as well as sanctions have been developed from matters they have raised.
Clean Endurance is happy to supply further information, and welcomes comments and suggestions.
Find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cleanendurance and contact them through the message button, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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