Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Endurance: No Gain Without Pain, But Who Will Make the Sacrifice?

HorseSport.com - Full Article

The FEI’s Endurance Temporary Committee has worked for a year to come up with rule change proposals to ensure the safety of the sport’s horses

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

I have been writing about the woes of desert endurance for over seven years. I didn’t want to feel a sense of “déjà vu” when the latest beefed-up FEI rule proposals were published a few days ago, but read them – or more accurately, the response to them – with more weariness and exasperation.

The FEI’s Endurance Temporary Committee (ETC) has worked tirelessly for a year, going further than any of its predecessors dared to with reforms to rescue endurance’s social licence to exist. The elected athletes’ representative Tarek Taher, in particular, has been harassed on social media by anonymous cowards so blatantly in thrall to Dubai. Yet the ETC has pressed on, when others would have walked away.

The ETC undertook unprecedented consultation, listening to all territories, geographies and cultures. It has published the observations of all national federations (NFs); even the incoherent ones, and those of South Africa, Libya, Lebanon and Sudan who simply cut and pasted bumph circulated by the UAE earlier this summer opposing most of the proposals.

The ETC has carefully explained why NF suggestions have been adopted or not. No other discipline has ever reached out to its global community in this way (though no other is in such a mess that it needs to.)

But inevitably the ballsy rhetoric at the FEI Sports Forum in April has been watered-down prior to the FEI General Assembly in Moscow next month, because any rules package has to get past the national federations.

The most obvious casualty of rule reform is Valerie Kanavy’s qualifying/upgrading system, which aimed to reduce fracture-risking high speeds and encourage tactical riding. The speed merchants were always going to oppose it, but it had unintended consequences for countries practising traditional endurance, and who resent having to compromise because of the excesses spread by one region...

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