Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Ireland: ILDRA returns to the trail

Farmweek.com - Full Article

By Bree Rutledge - August 10, 2020

THE Irish Long Distance Riding Association (ILDRA) held their first event since the start of lockdown at the much-loved and beautiful venue of Shane’s Castle, Antrim on Sunday, July 26. Under the new normal, a range of COVID protocols had been introduced prior to this ride, including the requirement of all riders to pre-enter and a restriction of the numbers of riders able to ride together on the day. All of the organising committee at ILDRA would like to thank the attending riders for the adherence to the new guidelines and their ongoing support.

Riders (and their horses!) enjoyed seeing old friends (socially distanced, of course) and reuniting after several months apart. All of those attending on the day enjoyed riding around the scenic trails in the Shane’s Castle Estate and into Randalstown Forest Park, where deer and buzzards could be spotted...

Read more here:

Friday, August 07, 2020

COVID-19 Postponed the Mongol Derby—Here's What You Can Watch Instead This Month

HorseNetwork.com - Full Article

Liz Brown
August 3, 2020

It’s August and for some of us, it’s that time of year when we’re glued to our social media feeds following that 1,000 kilometer jaunt across Mongolia—the Mongol Derby. As with many events this year, COVID-19 forced the organizers to postpone the 2020 edition of the world’s longest and toughest horse race. Next year they’ll run two races—one in July and one in August. That means the summer of 2021 will be Mongol Derby all day every day.

But this year there’s no middle of the night Twitter checks to find out who’s currently being chased by wild dogs, who’s currently chasing their missing horse, and who’s currently lost in the mountains somewhere just south of Siberia.


Read more here:

Horse People: The Longest Horse Race—The Story of the Oldest Mongol Derby Winner

Sarah Farnsworth photo
HorseIllustrated.com - Full Article

At 70, Robert Long became the oldest rider to win the 600-mile Mongol Derby this year.

By Micaela Myers -August 6, 2020

To win the world’s longest horse race, Robert Long employed equal parts preparation and smarts. In August, the 70-year-old became the oldest winner of the Mongol Derby, which involves racing more than 600 miles across the Mongolian Steppe, recreating Genghis Khan’s horseback messenger system of the early 1200s. Riding approximately 12 hours each day for eight days, Long beat out 41 top riders from around the globe.


Endurance riders make up most of the Mongol Derby crowd, but Long—more of a cowboy—grew up in Wyoming and lives in Idaho. As a kid, he worked cattle and went on horse-packing hunting trips with his family in the Yellowstone-Tetons area. Competition wise, ranch horse versatility is his main sport. It involves ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch reining, ranch cow work and ranch conformation. Long has started many competitive horses for the sport.

So what prompted this cowboy to join the endurance riders a world away?...

Read more here:

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast - International Travel: Riding in Ireland

RideClimb.com - Listen

July 29 2020

There’s not much travel going on at the moment with the Covid-19 pandemic but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream!

Today’s guest, Krystal Kelly tells me about her recent trip to Ireland where she and her husband spent two months riding and camping as they made their way across the island.

She has produced five YouTube videos (to date) about her ride across Ireland. Check them out on her YouTube channel!

Krystal is a California native who has spent the majority of her life traveling the world pursuing her passion for horses. She is an FEI Level II Showjumping Coach, polo player, and endurance rider. She completed the Mongol Derby, a 1000 km race across the Mongolian Steppes, in 2014 riding 35 semi-wild Mongolian ponies over 10 days. She has traveled to over 60 countries for riding or teaching. Krystal is the CEO of Equestrian Adventuresses, a community of women that love horses, travel, and adventure...


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Australia: Mountain Lagoon Endurance Ride makes return despite COVID-19 restrictions

HawkesburyGazette.com.au - Full Article

July 24 2020
Finn Coleman

The 2020 Mountain Lagoon Endurance Ride will take place next month in August - after being postponed from March due to COVID-19 - with all breeds and riders of all levels of ability being invited to the annual event.

The Mountain Lagoon race is an opportunity to learn all about endurance riding.

It allows participants to pit themselves and their mount against the terrain and the clock while enjoying the stunning views and the camaraderie of fellow riders.

Riders are invited to camp with their horses at the Mountain Lagoon Ride base on Sam's Way on Saturday and Sunday, August 23 and 24.

This years ride will look a little different as everyone involved must follow strict coronavirus restrictions...

Read more here:

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Australia: Endurance riders are saddling up for the Roseberg Forest

Cowraguardian.com.au - Full Article

July 23 2020

Like all other sports and activities, endurance riding has been on hold since March this year.

With Covid 19 restrictions now easing, riders and horses are chomping at the bit to finally be able to hit the trails again.

The Lachlan Endurance Riders Club is pleased to be hosting their newest ride, Roseberg, on August 1 & 2. The trails of Roseberg Forest and Pennsylvania Forest will be used for the course. Horses will be on these tracks from midday through to 5pm on Saturday August 1 and again from 5am until 5pm on Sunday August 2. With sandy four wheel drive tracks, shaded forestry trails and some hilly technical sections for the 80km riders, there is something to suit every level of fitness and experience...

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

CAS Reduces Suspension After Tryon Endurance Fiasco

HorseSport.com - Full Article

Sport’s highest court says the Spanish chef d’equipe was provoked before shouting at the ground jury for cancelling the WEG 2018 ride.

By: Pippa Cuckson | July 21, 2020
Dr. Ignasi Casas Vaque, the chef d’equipe at the centre of angry scenes when the 2018 WEG endurance ride was called off, has had his one-year suspension for “incorrect behaviour” reduced to three months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A one-year suspension – long since served – was handed down by the FEI Tribunal in February 2019. Casas Vaque was chef d’equipe of the Spanish team, who were in gold medal position when the ride was finally called off in worsening conditions, having already been subject to a false start and a re-start.

The FEI had argued he had obligations to the FEI because of his many senior roles in international endurance, including deputy chairmanship of the FEI endurance committee.

CAS did find that Casas Vaque behaved incorrectly under FEI General Regulations, especially as a senior official and veterinarian; he was “very negligent” for someone of his status, especially as the incident was filmed and gained “significant attention” on the internet...

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Portugal restarts the season with Alcácer Endurance Ride

Endurance-world.com - Full Article

14th July 2020
Race Report made with the assistance of Mónica Mira and João Cabeça

Alcácer do Sal, Portugal. Saturday 27 June 2020.

After a three-month break in equestrian competitions imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown, Portugal restarted the season with the Alcácer Endurance Ride, featuring a much desired CEI1* 100km and two qualifier (40 and 80km) competitions.

A premiere for the organisation as this event was mainly participated by the FEP (Portuguese Equestrian Federation), the AREP (Portuguese Endurance Association) and riders, who like anywhere else in the world, were eager for competitions following the massive recent cancellations. Supported by the city council of Alcácer, this competition took place inside the large Estate of São Bento with only one road crossing for the horses. All measures recommended by the FEI to prevent the spread COVID-19 were applied. Only two grooms for each horse were allowed in the recovery area, where everyone had to wear a mask...

Read more here:

Friday, July 10, 2020

Updated FEI Endurance Calendar for Regional and World Championships

Endurance-world.com - Full Article

9th July 2020

The recent cancelations on the endurance calendar due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, made us all wondering how the new calendar would look like.

Below an overview of the FEI Endurance Championships for the coming years. Lausanne, Switzerland. Tuesday 23 June 2020.

On Tuesday 23 June 2020, the FEI announced that the Longines FEI Endurance World Championships 2020 would be postponed till May 2021, taking place at the same venue San Rossore, Pisa, Italy. Final approval of the postponement was given by the FEI Board at an extraordinary board meeting held by videoconference on 19 June. The decision came following an agreement between the FEI, the Italian National Federation and the Organisers in Pisa. With the pandemic and its restrictions on both traveling and training it was clear and simply not possible to maintain the original date...

Read more here:

Monday, July 06, 2020

Carmen Römer-Theunissen interview, training and racing during Covid-19 pandemic

Endurance-world.com - Full Article

4th July 2020


I was born in Heerlen in the Netherlands as an only child. Apparently I was a member of the riding and hunting association before I was born and therefor was picked up as newborn from the hospital with 21 horses. When I was 18 I joined the Royal Dutch Navy and completed my Master in finance at the University in Amsterdam in 2009. After 7 years I left the Navy to work in the financial auditing business. I finished Post graduate accountancy at the University of Maastricht in 2015 and was licenced as an official auditor by 2016.
I married my husband Kay Theunissen in 2009 and our son Aiden was born in 2016. We are expecting a daughter in September 2020.

Notable achievements / palmares.

Eight times Champion of the Netherlands
Individual European Champion, 2006 with Fadilah R in Zabreh na Moraven (CHE)
Individual World Championship Kentucky, 19th place with Tuff Enuff
Individual European Championship Florac, 19th place with Gitana 220
Team Bronze Netherlands, European Championship 2015 Samorin (SVK) with Siglavy Bagdady Zeusz (individual 16th)
Team Bronze Netherlands, World Championship 2016 Samorin (SVK) with Priam des Roches (individual not placed)
Individual 8th place European Championship 2017 Brussels with Priam des Roches
34 completions in 160 km
Over 20,000 km successful completions.

When did you start riding?

I guess before I could walk...

Read more at https://endurance-world.com/carmen-romer-theunissen-interview-training-and-racing-during-covid-19-pandemic/

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

CAS rules on appeal against horse abuse sanctions


Jul 01, 2020 Author: FEI

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has handed down its decision on a horse abuse case. FEI Tribunal Decisions on a human anti-doping case and one equine anti-doping case were also published this week.

The abuse case involved the horse Sarab (FEI ID 105DP50/UAE), ridden by Abdul Rahman Saeed Saleh Al Ghailani (FEI ID 10114704/UAE) at the CEI3* President Cup in Al Wathba (UAE) on 9 February 2019. The case was opened by the FEI following a protest filed by Clean Endurance on 15 February 2019. In its Final Decision of 26 June 2019, the FEI Tribunal Decision ruled that the athlete had committed horse abuse and suspended him for 12 months from the date of the Decision. The FEI Tribunal stated that aggravating circumstances existed and that the athlete also had to take some responsibility for the actions of his Support Personnel. The athlete was fined CHF 4,000 and ordered to pay CHF 1,000 towards the costs of the judicial procedure. All results achieved by the athlete and the horse at the event were disqualified.

The athlete appealed the FEI Tribunal Decision to CAS and a hearing was held at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne on 20 January 2019. The CAS upheld the FEI Tribunal decision, but reduced the athlete’s suspension to eight months as the Tribunal’s conclusion of aggravating circumstances was not substantiated. The CAS ordered the athlete to pay the fine and legal costs imposed by the FEI Tribunal. Additionally, he was ordered to pay CHF 3,000 towards the FEI’s legal fees.

The CAS Decision can be found here.

More cases here:

Monday, June 29, 2020

Endurance GB poised to resume sport


June 29 2020

Endurance GB is poised to resume the sport in England following steps towards further lifting of COVID 19 restrictions by the Government.

The endurance season will reopen for entries on 29 June 2020 with a series of small-scale pleasure rides aimed both at enabling riders to get back to their sport while ensuring organisers are able to put key social distancing and hygiene measures in place.

The first ride in the calendar is at Park Farm, Stanford on Avon on 12 July with rides in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Cornwall and Hexham the following weekend. Endurance GB are confident that competitive rides will also be back on the calendar very shortly.

However, plans to resume the sport in Wales are on hold until further announcements by the Welsh Government.

Entry numbers at the first scheduled pleasure rides will initially be capped to around 40, depending on the event, to ensure that social distancing can be maintained both at the venue and sufficient space can be kept between riders on the trail. Start times will be staggered to ensure that no more than six people meet at the ride.

Esther Young, Operations Director said: “We are entering uncharted water in resuming the sport and while everyone is excited at the prospect of being back out there, there will be new systems and measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety."

To ensure safe management of events, entries will be processed online through Endurance GB’s new website for all levels of event, and attendees will need to complete a health screening form.

A thorough risk assessment will be conducted before each event and additional cleaning and hygiene measures will be in place. Camping and corralling to be allowed in line with government guidelines, but no socialising will be possible in groups of more than six.

Phil Nunnerley, Chair of Endurance GB said: “There is no doubt that this is the moment we have all been waiting for and there will be both cheers and sighs of relief when the first riders head off at the first pleasure ride. However, the health of members, officials and supports is our priority and a significant amount of work is going into making sure that none of our venues unwittingly becomes a vector for disease transmission. We are very hopeful that as the season progresses, we will see a resumption of bigger rides and longer distances with the caveat that we remain flexible and able to react quickly to any new Government advice.

“Once again, I would like to thank all those on the board as well as our ride organisers and officials who have done so much to safeguard the future of the sport through this crisis and for the membership for their patience and support. Our endurance community has shown its true strength during this crisis with an impressive support network being there for everyone from members who are key workers to those who are shielding - staging a safe return to the sport will be our chance to thank them for their efforts.”

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Clean Endurance welcomes Court of Arbitration for Sport decision on appeal by Mr al Ghailani (UAE) in horse abuse case

26 June 2020

Clean Endurance is reassured that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided that Mr al Ghailani did indeed engage in horse abuse and that it upheld the main part of the sanctions pronounced by the FEI Tribunal in June 2019.

This is the first time CAS has issued a decision on an appeal in an Endurance horse abuse case, and another landmark in the battle to improve horse welfare in the Gulf countries.

Mr al Ghailani appealed the decision by the FEI Tribunal by which he was sanctioned for horse abuse with a 12 month suspension and a fine after his exhausted horse Sarab (Radja d’Altus) was kicked and harassed by the rider and his grooms at a 160 km Endurance competition in Abu Dhabi last year.

At the time Clean Endurance lodged the abuse protest, Mr al Ghailani who rides for al Wathba Stables was the number 1 ranking endurance rider in the UAE and Clean Endurance believes he should have set a particularly good example of horsemanship to those who aspire to emulate his results as well as to the general public.

Instead, Mr Al Ghailani repeatedly and violently kicked his exhausted horse to the finish line and used the reins to harass and strike it, while crew members chased the horse to make it go faster.

Mr Al Ghailani responded that such actions are commonplace and accepted practices in Endurance racing. The Court however, strongly disagreed and found that Mr al Ghailani’s behaviour constituted horse abuse, causing pain and/or unnecessary discomfort to the horse both physically and mentally. The Court also concluded without doubt that the horse was clearly exhausted.

Mr al Ghailani denied kicking the horse, pushing it beyond its limits, or pulling the reins with high hands. He also pointed out that none of the Officials (including 15 Ground Jury members and 30 veterinarians) raised any concerns about his riding style or him abusing the horse which was therefore not sufficiently obvious to be noticed by the Officials at the event. The President of the Ground Jury submitted a statement in which he explained that after watching the video of the event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD2EJdeWfLI he did not see any cruelty or abuse of the horse and that the horse was not exhausted.

The Court noted that the FEI did not initiate any disciplinary proceedings against members of the Ground Jury for not observing and sanctioning Mr Al Ghailani’s horse abuse during the event. The FEI Tribunal had encouraged the FEI to investigate and sanction the Officials present at the event if appropriate.

The FEI Tribunal had initially punished Mr al Ghailani with a 12-month suspension which was twice the length recommended by the FEI. The Court decided to reduce this suspension to 8 months and added that Mr al Ghailani must pay an additional 3000 CHF to the FEI as a contribution to expenses.

The initial FEI Tribunal decision can be found here:

The CAS decision can be found here:

The video evidence used for both the FEI Tribunal and CAS can be found here:

FEI Board allocates Championships and key events for 2021 and 2022


Jun 26, 2020 Author: FEI

The FEI Board allocated FEI Championships and key events for 2021 and 2022 during its three-day videoconference meeting this week.

In addition to the normal allocation process for the 2021 and 2022 Championships, following the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to many Championships on the 2020 Calendar, the Board considered a number of requests made by the affected 2020 Organisers and National Federations.

“The pandemic has created an extra layer of complexity for us,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The FEI General Regulations set out a timetable for when FEI Championships are held to avoid clashes between Continental and World Championships in the same categories in a given year so that National Federations do not have the cost of sending teams to major Championships in the same year, however, in these unprecedented circumstances, the FEI Board has agreed to deviate from this for specific events.”

“In some cases it has been possible to reach agreement with Championship Organisers to reschedule. Regrettably, in some events the FEI Board had to agree to cancellations in 2020 particularly with the Youth Championships, following a clear recommendation from the relevant Technical Committee, as a lack of recent competition mileage poses an unacceptable risk to athletes and horses. In each case we took the decision only after every avenue for a resolution was explored and exhausted.”

The Board agreed that any further Championships that need to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic before the end of December 2020 will not be held later in 2020 or rescheduled to 2021 to avoid further logistical difficulties with rearranging Championships in an Olympic and Paralympic year following the postponement of Tokyo 2020.

“The Covid-19 situation is still very fluid and no one can be certain of where it will lead us in the weeks and months to come,” the FEI President said.

“There may be other cancellations before the end of the year, but in order give our community clarity, the FEI will not reopen discussions on any other 2020 Championships. Any further cancellations will not be considered for reallocation or postponement.”

The Board made a unanimous decision not to reallocate the 2020 FEI Vaulting World Championships for Seniors, originally scheduled to be held in Flyinge (SWE). The Board expressed its gratitude to Saumur (FRA) for offering to host this Event later in the year, but travel restrictions, a lack of opportunities to compete and the impossibility social distancing for pas-de-deux and squad competitions were instrumental in the FEI Board decision.

The Board also decided to confirm the cancellation of the 2020 FEI Eventing European Championships for Ponies originally allocated to Strzegom (POL) as the alternate dates offered by the Organisers in Poland were not in line with a Board resolution passed in April that Youth and Pony Championships should not take place outside the school holidays. As there was no possibility of holding FEI Eventing European Championships for Juniors and Young Riders during school holidays, for athlete and horse welfare reasons, the cancellation of these Championships at Hartpury (GBR) was also confirmed.

The Board followed the unanimous recommendation of the FEI Jumping Committee to confirm the cancellation and not reschedule the 2020 FEI Jumping European Championship for Young Riders, Juniors & Children (originally allocated to Vilamoura) and the FEI Jumping European Ponies Championships (originally allocated to Strzegom) due to concerns that athletes and horses will not have had the opportunity to prepare fully for these important Championships and to avoid any risk to athletes and horses. Vilamoura will now host the Championships in 2021, which had originally been allocated to the Spanish venue at Oliva, but following a proposal put forward by the two organisers and approved by the Board, Oliva will now host the Championships in 2022. Both editions will be held within the school holiday period.

The Board unanimously agreed that the FEI Jumping World Challenge Final 2020 would not be allocated.

The Board approved the postponement of the FEI Driving European Championship for Young Drivers, Juniors & Children 2020 in Lamotte-Beuvron (FRA) to 2021. The Board confirmed that the age limits applicable in 2021 will apply to these Championships in 2021.

The Board also approved the postponement of the FEI Para Driving World Championship for Singles 2020 in Schildau (GER) to next year.

The Board decided that Organisers, such as Hartpury (GB), whose Championships had been cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic were eligible to enter bid processes for future unallocated editions of the Championships even though the deadline for submission of bids had passed.

The FEI Board decided to defer any decisions regarding all Reining Championships scheduled for allocation to a later date until a decision on next steps for FEI Reining had been confirmed.

Discussions are ongoing with the Spanish Equestrian Federation and Vic, the Organiser of the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Horses 2020 and the FEI Endurance European Championship for Young Riders & Juniors 2020. More information will be provided regarding these Championships shortly.

The Board also decided to postpone allocation of the FEI Endurance World Championships 2022 to its meeting in November to allow for a further review of the bids received from Dubai (UAE), Padise (EST), Riyadh (KSA) and Verona, Isola della Scala (ITA) and for further follow-up with the bidders.

The final allocations are as follows:

FEI Championships 2020 (postponed to 2021)

*FEI Driving European Championship for Young Drivers, Juniors & Children – Lamotte-Beuvron (FRA), dates TBC
*FEI Para Driving World Championship for Singles – Schildau (GER), dates TBC

*The above postponements were both approved as Emergency Board Resolutions under Article 20.3 of the FEI Statutes.

FEI Championships & Finals 2021
- South American Jumping Championships for Young Riders, Juniors, Pre-Juniors and Children – Carrasco, Montevideo (URU), 7-13 September 2021
- FEI Jumping European Championships for Young Riders, Juniors & Children – Vilamoura, dates TBC
- FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses – Mezohegyes (HUN), dates TBC

FEI Championships & Finals 2022
- FEI Jumping European Championships for Young Riders, Juniors & Children – Oliva (ESP), dates TBC
- FEI Dressage European Championship for Juniors & Young Riders – Hartpury (GBR), dates TBC
- FEI Eventing European Championship for Juniors & Young Riders – Hartpury (GBR), dates TBC
- FEI Driving European Championship for Young Drivers, Juniors & Children – Ászár-Kisbér (HUN), dates TBC
- FEI Driving World Championship for Singles, Haras du Pin (FRA), dates TBC
- FEI Vaulting European Championship for Juniors, Kaposvár (HUN), 27-31 July

FEI Driving World Cup™ Series Season 2020/2021
The legs of the FEI Driving World Cup™ series for the 2020-2021 season were allocated as follows:

Lyon (FRA) 31 October-1 November 2020
Maastricht (NED) 6-7 November 2020
Stuttgart (GER) 11-15 November 2020
Budapest (HUN) 28-29 November 2020
Geneva (SUI) 12-13 December 2020
London (GBR) 18-19 December 2020
Mechelen (BEL) 26-30 December 2020
Leipzig (GER) 14-17 January 2021

The Final of the FEI Driving World Cup™ 2021 has already been allocated to Bordeaux (FRA) on 4-7 February 2021.

FEI Dressage World Cup™ Series Season 2020 / 2021
The Board approved a change in venue for the Danish leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Series 2020/21 from Herning to the National Equestrian Centre in Vilhelmsborg.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Longines FEI Endurance World Championships 2020 postponed to 2021


un 23, 2020 Author: FEI

The Longines FEI Endurance World Championships 2020 have been postponed until May 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on equestrian sport. The decision to postpone comes following agreement between the FEI, the Italian National Federation and the Organisers in Pisa.

The Championships were due to be held at San Rossore, Pisa in September this year, but the pandemic and the restrictions on both travel and training of horses has meant that is was simply not possible to maintain the original date.

The FEI Executive Board and the Endurance Temporary Committee were in favour of postponement and, following consultation with the Endurance Calendar Task Force and meetings with the Italian National Federation and the Pisa Organisers, the move to May 2021 was agreed. Final approval of the postponement was given by the FEI Board at an extraordinary Board meeting held by videoconference on 19 June.

Qualification for the Championships will be under Article 836 of the FEI Endurance Rules (11th Edition), which come into effect on 1 July 2020.

The FEI Board also agreed to prolong the qualification period for these Championships in order to allow more time for horses and athletes to qualify following the disruption to this year’s FEI Calendar caused by the pandemic. Details will be defined by the Endurance Temporary Committee and FEI Headquarters and communicated later.

Two Continental Championships are already scheduled to run next year – the FEI Endurance Pan American Championships for Seniors & Young Riders in Campinas (BRA) from 28-29 July and the FEI Endurance European Championships in Ermelo (NED) from 6-ll September. The FEI last week proactively reached out to all 51 National Federations that compete in Endurance in order to understand their views on the proposed postponement of the World Championships and its potential impact on next year’s Calendar.

National Federations were asked whether they were in favour of postponing the Longines FEI Endurance World Championships to May 2021 and if they would also participate in their region’s Continental Championships if the Worlds were moved to next year.

A total of 34 National Federations responded to the questionnaire, of which 33 were positive, both to the postponement and their participation, where relevant, in one of the Continental Championships next year.

“Our Endurance community made it very clear to the FEI that they want a World Championships, particularly after losing the last edition at Tryon in 2018, but horse welfare and a level playing field could not have been guaranteed if the Championships had run in September, so it was the best solution to move the Championships to May of next year”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“Having consulted with the National Federations that compete in Endurance, we now feel that we have reached a compromise that works for everyone, but especially for our horses, as there will now be time for them to do the necessary preparation work and achieve their qualification for this major event.”

The Secretary General is in charge of the FEI Calendar and, throughout the Covid-19 crisis, has chaired the eight discipline-specific Calendar Task Forces that have been working to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the sport and the fixture list. More than 800 events have already been cancelled and numerous events have been rescheduled.

The FEI Endurance World Championships for Young Horses and the FEI Endurance European Championships for Young Riders & Juniors, which are due to be held in Vic (ESP) from 25-27 September 2020, will be discussed by the FEI Board during this week’s three-day meeting via videoconference (23-25 June).

Saturday, June 20, 2020

FEI Tribunal hands down record sanction in horse abuse case


Jun 08, 2020 Author: FEI

The FEI Tribunal has imposed record sanctions in an Endurance horse abuse and anti-doping violation case in which the horse was fatally injured, sentencing the athlete Sh Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal Al Qasimi (UAE) to a 20-year suspension and fines of CHF 17,500. The athlete was also ordered to pay CHF 15,000 towards the costs of the proceedings.

The case involved the horse Castlebar Contraband (FEI ID 103UO95/NED), ridden by Sh Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal Al Qasimi (FEI ID 10031263/UAE) at the CE1* in Fontainebleau (FRA) on 15 October 2016.

Castlebar Contraband suffered an open fracture to its front right cannon bone during the event and had to be euthanised. Blood samples collected from the horse post mortem revealed the presence of the Controlled Medication Substance Xylazine, which is used as a sedative, analgesic and muscle relaxant but is prohibited in competition. The substance, which is rapidly excreted from the body, is known to be used in Endurance to lower the heart rate. No valid Veterinary Form, the equine equivalent of a Therapeutic Use Exemption, exists for this Substance.

The FEI Tribunal accepted the explanation of the Treating Veterinarian who performed the euthanasia that she had followed a standard protocol which did not include the use of Xylazine, refuting the claim by the defendant’s legal team that Xylazine had been used in the euthanasia process.

In his report, FEI Veterinary Director Dr Göran Åkerström stated that nerve blocking removes the “very fundamental protective function of sensitivity” and increases the risk of catastrophic injury. This is especially relevant for fractures that are due to bone fatigue (stress fractures) as a horse will not show any signs of pain, such as lameness, while under the influence of an injected substance.

The post mortem report revealed the appearance of multiple lesions with a highly targeted location, consistent with recent injections, demonstrating that the horse had been nerve blocked (desensitised) in training, and both before and during the competition. This desensitisation, together with osteoarthritis in the right front fetlock joint, resulted in stress fractures that ultimately caused the catastrophic injury.

As a result, the FEI Tribunal ruled that the athlete had committed horse abuse and that the Equine Controlled Medication (ECM) Rules had been violated, and imposed the strongest sanctions in FEI history. The athlete was suspended for 20 years in total – 18 years for the horse abuse and two years for the ECM Rule violation. The suspension commenced from the date of the Decision, 3 June 2020, and will run until 2 June 2040. The results of the athlete and horse at the event were disqualified. The athlete was also fined CHF 17,500 – 10,000 for the horse abuse and 7,000 for the ECM Rule violation – and was ordered to pay CHF 15,000 towards the costs of the proceedings.

“This is a really great result for horse welfare and the fight against doping in equestrian sport”, FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch said. “We are very happy to see such a strong sanction handed down by the FEI Tribunal and it offers a stern warning to others that the Tribunal will not tolerate cases of horse abuse.”

“This was a tragic case of a horse losing its life due to desensitisation and micro-dosing and, while we have had concerns that this has been ongoing for some time, this was the first solid evidence we have had of nerve blocking during rides as well as micro-dosing”, FEI Veterinary Director Dr Göran Åkerström said. “This has resulted in a change in our post mortem procedures to make them more forensic and also allowed us to prioritise the research and development of the Hyposensitivity Control System which is now in place.”

More at:

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Endurance GB issue roadmap to resume sport within COVID 19 guidelines


Web AdminA
01 June 2020

Covid 19 update re resumption of rides

Endurance GB has announced plans to move towards resumption of the sport in England and Wales following the issuing of revised COVID 19 restrictions by the Government and British Equestrian.

The roadmap towards competitive activity agreed by Endurance GB prioritises the safety, health and well-being of the participants, ride officials and the local communities as being at the forefront of any decisions on resumption.

The phased resumption of activity begins from today with the announcement by British Equestrian that coaching of riders in groups of up to six (including the coach) may resume in England. Endurance GB Groups and Coaches will now be able to run small outdoor coaching and training events involving no more than six people in England where it is safe to do so.

As restrictions ease further over the coming weeks to allow events involving more than six people to take place, Endurance GB will look to resume small non-competitive rides of between 5km and 34km. Events will be fully risk assessed and will only take place if it is safe to do so and if all of the respective landowners are content with the event taking place. Competitive events will only be organised once it is clear that the processes in place for non competitive events are working satisfactorily and that safe systems of work are in place for the additional officials that competitive events require.

Entries will only be accepted in advance of the events and attendees will need to complete a health screening form before arriving at the event.

Strict social distancing and additional hygiene measures will be in place at all venues with plans including;

• Staggered arrival and start times
• Two metre floor markings where queues may form
• One way systems at venues to eliminate bottlenecks
• Restrictions on the number of people who can ride together on the route
• Extra space for horsebox parking
• The provision of additional hand washing/sanitising facilities
• Reducing handling of equipment and paperwork
• Additional cleaning and hygiene measures in place in respect of toilets
• First aid provision to follow the NHS hygiene guidance in place at the time.

Endurance GB will be issuing clear guidance to its local Groups and event organisers and will help them put in place the additional measures that they will need to apply.

The last phase of the roadmap to resuming the sport will see longer distance competitive rides reintroduced with ride organisers including at Kings Forest and the British Horse Feeds Red Dragon currently working on plans to hold events later this summer and in the autumn.

Unfortunately Dialstone, Birling Gap, Aram Grange, the War of the Roses ride and the Cirencester Inter-Regional Championships will not now take place. The organisers of Finchingfield, Wentwood and the Pegasus ride are all tentatively hopeful that they will be able to run pleasure rides in July, although Wentwood will not be an FEI ride this year. Endurance GB’s Leicestershire & Rutland, Northumberland & Tyneside and Derbyshire Groups are also tentatively hopeful that their planned pleasure rides for July may go ahead.

Esther Young, Operations Director of Endurance GB said: “Competitive events will only be given the green light once Government guidance allows them to take place, it is clear that the processes in place for non-competitive events are working satisfactorily and that safe systems of work, for instance at vet gates, are in place for the additional officials that competitive events require.

“We also have to be mindful that many of our officials and riders are currently among the more than one million people in this country who are shielding and this may temporarily impact on our ability to run larger scale events. The situation remains fluid and unpredictable and we will have to ensure sufficient flexibility in our plans to respond very quickly in the event of restrictions being re-imposed at any point.”

Phil Nunnerley, Chair of Endurance GB said: “We are all looking forward to resuming the sport and coming together as an organisation and we welcome the sensible and phased lifting of restrictions as we move towards a return to competition. I would like to thank all those on the board as well as our ride organisers and officials who are working so hard behind the scenes to put measures in place as well as safeguard the financial future of the sport. We must all be clear that while lockdown restrictions are being eased and everyone is looking for a swift return to normality, our priority as a sport must at this time remain ensuring that events will only go ahead when it is agreed that the required conditions to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid 19 can be met.”

Saturday, June 06, 2020

FEI publishes return to play policy as equestrian adapts to “new normal”


May 29, 2020 Author: FEI

The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting Organisers and National Federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.

The Policy will apply to all FEI Events held as of 1 July 2020 and has been put in place to limit the risk of transmission and further spread of Covid-19 until an effective treatment and/or vaccine as determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) are available.

Developed by FEI Medical Committee Chair Dr Mark Hart together with FEI Headquarters, the Policy requires National Federations and Organisers to carry out a Risk Assessment to evaluate whether it is safe to hold their Events. The Policy includes general best practice recommendations for Organisers and is to be implemented in conjunction with any requirements imposed by the domestic authorities. In addition, discipline-specific guidance will be issued shortly by the FEI.

The policy is intended to be used in conjunction with the following WHO documents: Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of Covid-19; Mass Gathering Sports Addendum Risk Assessment; and the Decision Tree.

It is mandatory for FEI Event Organisers to conduct the risk assessment together with their National Federation and domestic government and public health authorities. Events for which the FEI has not received the completed risk assessment and mitigation measures plan will be removed from the FEI Calendar.

“Covid-19 has caused massive disruption to the FEI Calendar and to national events, with a huge impact on all the various participants of equestrian sports,” Dr Mark Hart said. “We are all in this together and this pandemic will be with us for at least 12-24 months. We need to adapt to a “new normal” as we move forward.

“The FEI is committed to assisting National Federations and FEI Event Organisers by providing resources to effectively assess the risks potentially posed by Events from the planning phase and mitigate such risks through relevant measures.

“As we anticipate the gradual return of competitions, we must do everything we can to mitigate the risk of transmission and further spread of Covid-19. This is a matter of public health, and it’s also how a sport can demonstrate to public authorities that it is ready to resume activity.”

Sunday, May 31, 2020

In Memoriam: FEI pays tribute to FEI Honorary Vice President Vittorio De Sanctis (ITA)


May 25 2020

Professor Vittorio De Sanctis, the man widely recognised for introducing the sport of Endurance to Italy and the FEI, has passed away. He was 84.

A qualified lawyer, he had a life-long passion for equestrian sport that he passed onto his children and grandchildren.

He was Vice-President of the Italian Equestrian Federation (FISE) from 1980 to 1988 and a member of the FISE Council. He was also a founder member and President of the National Equestrian Tourism Association.

Vittorio De Sanctis was an FEI Bureau Member from 1982 to 1988 as well as Deputy Chair of the FEI Judicial Committee and Chair of the Special Disciplines Committee. He was also an FEI Endurance Course Designer, Judge and Technical Delegate.

He became FEI 1st Vice President in 1982 working alongside HRH the Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbón, who passed away in January this year. He was appointed FEI Honorary Vice President at the end of his mandate in 1998 and continued to be an active member of the international equestrian community.

“Vittorio De Sanctis represented the world of equestrian sport with great passion and dedication,” FISE President Marco Di Paola said. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his entire family during this difficult time.”

“We are truly sorry to have lost such a great advocate for our sport,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “He will be sorely missed, not just by his Italian equestrian family but also by the international community.”

The FEI extends its deepest sympathy to Vittorio De Sanctis’ family, to the Italian Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.

The FISE tribute to Vittorio De Sanctis is published here.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

FEI publishes return to play policy as equestrian adapts to “new normal”


May 29, 2020 Author: FEI

The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting Organisers and National Federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.

The Policy will apply to all FEI Events held as of 1 July 2020 and has been put in place to limit the risk of transmission and further spread of Covid-19 until an effective treatment and/or vaccine as determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) are available.

Developed by FEI Medical Committee Chair Dr Mark Hart together with FEI Headquarters, the Policy requires National Federations and Organisers to carry out a Risk Assessment to evaluate whether it is safe to hold their Events. The Policy includes general best practice recommendations for Organisers and is to be implemented in conjunction with any requirements imposed by the domestic authorities. In addition, discipline-specific guidance will be issued shortly by the FEI.

The policy is intended to be used in conjunction with the following WHO documents: Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of Covid-19; Mass Gathering Sports Addendum Risk Assessment; and the Decision Tree.

It is mandatory for FEI Event Organisers to conduct the risk assessment together with their National Federation and domestic government and public health authorities. Events for which the FEI has not received the completed risk assessment and mitigation measures plan will be removed from the FEI Calendar.

“Covid-19 has caused massive disruption to the FEI Calendar and to national events, with a huge impact on all the various participants of equestrian sports,” Dr Mark Hart said. “We are all in this together and this pandemic will be with us for at least 12-24 months. We need to adapt to a “new normal” as we move forward.

“The FEI is committed to assisting National Federations and FEI Event Organisers by providing resources to effectively assess the risks potentially posed by Events from the planning phase and mitigate such risks through relevant measures.

“As we anticipate the gradual return of competitions, we must do everything we can to mitigate the risk of transmission and further spread of Covid-19. This is a matter of public health, and it’s also how a sport can demonstrate to public authorities that it is ready to resume activity.”

Friday, May 22, 2020

Tom Morgan, the man behind Mongol Derby and Gaucho Derby

Photo credit: The Adventurists
Endurance-world - Full Article

22nd May 2020

The Mongol Derby and Gaucho Derby are not what you call the most traditional endurance horse races in the world.

They have been documented over and over again for their sheer adventure and risk. Time to talk to Tom Morgan, founder of The Adventurists.

Who is Tom Morgan?
I originally come from a small town in the South of England but now live out in the West Country near Bristol. I studied Fine Art, which is not entirely relevant but I left university swearing I would never get a real job. I started The Adventurists right after then and have, so far, managed to avoid that real job. I’ve been deep in a world of organising adventures ever since.

What is The Adventurists?
We’ve spent the last 14 years designing and running large scale, often slightly ridiculous, adventures and races around the world. From air races to tuktuk adventures and of course the World’s longest horse race the Mongol Derby. At our core we’re a pretty small team but a huge community around the world gathers to stage events like the horse race.
The Mongol Derby and now the Gaucho have grown over the years so we recently moved them into a separate company. As a result we can build a team just around the very specific requirements of multi-horse racing. We’re going to be launching a series of new races globally...

Read more here:

Friday, May 15, 2020

Ireland: Inspirational Equestrian: Kathy Conly

Farmweek.com - Full Article

By Farmweek
May 13, 2020

ANYONE who has attended an ILDRA (Irish Long Distance Riding Association) ride has probably met Kathy Conly. She has been attending the rides since they started and has been a dedicated ILDRA supporter and ride organiser for many years. Kathy is not originally from Northern Ireland, but has been here for most of her life and has reared her family here.

Horse Week’s Bree Rutledge was keen to find out more about Kathy’s background.

Kathy was born in a small market town, Knaresborough in North Yorkshire – situated in Nidderdale, one of the Yorkshire Dales – just two months before the outbreak of World War 2, making her an octagenarian! She had one older sister and came from a non-horsey background.

Her sister used to ride at the local riding centre and Kathy managed to persuade their parents to let her go too at the age of 10.

Kathy’s father was away for most of the war, serving in the RAF and he spent many years in Egypt. After the war ended, he took over his father’s drapery business and also opened up a hardware shop.

Although Kathy never had a pony of her own, she rode at the riding centre and rode her friends’ ponies. She was a member of the York and Ainsty Pony Club, which held it’s yearly camp at the Great Yorkshire Showground...

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Racing into the Unknown: A Canadian’s Patagonian Adventure

Richard Dunwoody photo
Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Central Alberta vet Christian Peterson finished third in the inaugural Gaucho Derby, then had to race for home as international travel shut down.

By: Róisín Magee | May 13, 2020

When Chris Peterson got the call informing him he had a spot in a 500-km race across the Patagonian wilderness in South America on horseback, he only had four months to prepare ‒ but he loves a challenge.

Having worked with beef cattle outfits off and on since he was a teenager, guided horseback trips in Wyoming and Banff where he had packed strings of four to eight horses and mules, worked as a farrier, and logged timber for a few years with draft horses in the East Kootenays of BC, he was also not afraid of hard work. In his ‘spare time’ he started colts for friends, enjoyed riding rodeo broncs, and competed in blacksmith contests on the weekends.

Chris graduated from veterinary school in 2016 and is now working as a vet in and around Calgary. Divorced with two children aged 15 and 19, the busy 44-year-old thanks the influence of a neighbour who is a keen endurance rider for getting him interested in the sport. Although he did not compete, he credits the hours and miles of conditioning he did aboard a half-Morgan in the mountains outside of Windermere for a few seasons with his ability to ride long distance in steep country without wearing out his horse...

Read more here:

Saturday, May 09, 2020

A Look Back: Spain's 2008 Al Andalus 10-day Endurance Ride - Part IV: Riding in Spain!!

March 30 2008
by Steph Teeter

These days are long and busy, and the nights are short! We're not getting a lot of sleep... but I guess we're not here for sleeping :)

I rode today (in Spain!!!!), on a very nice mare - Arenales - owned by Fernando Uriartes - a friend of Paco. She's 8 years old, not very experienced, but lovely animal! Very trustworthy.

She about died from fright when we first got to the ocean - she'd never seen/heard the crashing waves before, and was galloping in place along beside Paco's trotting stallion Ibor. (There's a whole nuther experience - riding a mare in heat with a stallion all day…they were both very well behaved, but a lot of nickering and ear flicking and posturing, and I had to keep her from trying to stand for him whenever we stopped.) She was absolutely dripping sweat the first stretch of beach - with the crashing waves and the tourist hotels and kids and umbrellas and hotels and so much activity.

There was deep sand all day long - really a hard day. The first vetgate was on the beach at one of the main tourist areas - very windy, waves crashing, tourists being tourists, and the horses were all nervous, and took extra time to pulse down. Madonna and Fernando helped us at the vetgate - very welcome help!

After the first vetgate we had a 35 km (20 mi) ride along the beach. It was magnificent!!!! After we got past the tourist stretch, we entered the national park coastline. It was low tide, so we were able to ride in the shallows, with the birds flying up in front of us and crabs and ocean creatures scurrying underfoot. Arenales relaxed and started enjoying the water and the waves. It was wonderful. Paco's horse was tired - second day for him and so much deep sand, so we took it pretty slow all day, and finished last and almost last :)

When we got to the final vetgate we had to load the horses, along with the last of the staff rigs onto a ferry and cross the channel to the other side, the town of San Lucas (southern Andalucia - almost to the Straights of Gibraltar - just across the water from Africa). What a hoot! The horses did pretty well, handling the sway of the ferry quite bravely (tired enough to not fuss too much).

On the other side all of the horses were there waiting, and we were to all ride together the final 1.5km to the 'grand finish' for press and media. I felt sheepish about being so slow knowing that the others had been waiting for us (at least an hour, probably more). But everybody seemed happy and festive and we did the final ride.

There was some wonderful manzanilla (a white fortified wine) at the finish, plenty of little cups to go around. We grazed the horses in a grassy meadow, full of yellow flowers, and then joined the group at the lunch for paella and some wonderful potato saucy dish with calamari. Spain has WONDERFUL FOOD. And the wine is good too :)

Tonight Merri and I stayed at the hotel, with internet, and worked instead of going to the briefing and awards. Too much to do, and so little time for work, it was nice to chill and little and get caught up.

Tomorrow we're up for a 6am breakfast, will then go to the stables and I'll join up with Paco, Fernando, Texano (a Spanish rodeo guy who is helping crew... and he also sings great), and Madonna and Paul. I don't think Paco is going to ride tomorrow, so I'm not sure what the day will bring. Merri will go along with Nacio (nacho) again for a day of photos and adventure.

And now it's after midnight, time for bed!



Part I: The Travels is here

Part II: Preparations is here

Part III: Registration and a Prologue is here

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Tales of the Unexpected in Doping Proposals for 2021

HorseSport.com - Full Article

A less draconian approach to recreational drugs but tougher penalties for deliberate horse doping are among possible changes to the 2021 rules.

Athletes who can prove their recreational drug use was not related to sport and was taken out-of-competition can receive a three-month (or less) sanction under the new proposals, instead of the previous year ban.

By Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson | May 6, 2020

Do you agree that the minimum suspension for a doping offence should be doubled to four years? Is it time for a less draconian stance over recreational drugs and contamination? While the world is in limbo over Covid-19, there is a real chance for all stakeholders to refresh knowledge of the Equine Anti Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs) and also the human athlete rules.

Moreover, until May 11 you can have a say about how these rules could look from January 2021. They are being overhauled right now, in tandem with the periodic revision of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) code, to which the FEI is a signatory.

In the past the FEI has invited public comment over major rule revisions after airing them at its annual April sports forum, before the statutory consultation of national federations begins. But at the start of a busy season only a handful of riders usually respond. Following the 2020 forum’s cancellation, the FEI has put all anti-doping discussion documents online, with instructions about how to submit your comments. Judging from some of the excuses/defences/reasons proffered in Tribunal cases, most riders have a sketchy understanding of this huge topic, despite its facility to kibosh a career...

Read more here:

Monday, May 04, 2020

The endurance household name the Toft family

Endurance-world.com - Full Article

4th May 2020

The ‘Toft name’ has been present in the horse endurance world for more than two decades.

We felt it was about time to present the Toft family. The complete Toft Family ; Peter Toft – father, Penny Toft – mumsie, Alexandra Toft – daughter, 150 + horses, 5 dogs, 44 guinea fowl, Birt the bird and Salem the cat.

Who is riding in the family?

All three of us people.

What are you activities and tell us about your facilities
We breed, train, compete, trade and export horses.
Toft Endurance is a magnificent property at Marburg, Queensland, Australia. There are big paddocks, small paddocks, yards, stable barn, two horse walkers, treadmill, three arenas for education and training, a round yard for young horse breakers, trucks and feed sheds, quarantine facilities, a training track and local trails for exercise and more serious training in the mountains...

Read more here:

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Three-year doping ban for Oman rider among latest FEI Tribunal decisions

Insidethegames.biz - Full Article

By Liam Morgan
Monday, 27 April 2020

Endurance rider Said Al Balushi of Oman has been banned for three years by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Tribunal after two of his horses tested positive for a prohibited substance.

The sanction from the FEI Tribunal is one of seven final decisions rendered in doping cases, while it has also suspended an athlete for horse abuse.

Al Balushi has been hit with an extended suspension from the sport, and will not be able to return until February 2022, after two horses he rode in December 2018 failed drugs tests.

Samples taken from Kekmadar and Si Quilombo following events in the United Arab Emirates were both found to have contained arsenic...

Read more here:

Monday, April 27, 2020

A Look Back: Spain's 2008 Al Andalus 10-day Endurance Ride - Part III: Registration and a Prologue

March 27, 2008
by Steph Teeter

Today was registration, vetting, and the 10km prolog. Very very busy at registration - so much to do, everybody worked really hard and got it done, more or less on schedule. The meetings were a bit late (Spanish time... actually Andalucia time which is even more relaxed than Spanish time) but they all got done, more or less. It's very difficult for me to understand Spanish when people talk conversationally. I can read pretty well, and can handle short sentence dialog, but the meetings were absolutely impossible. So Merri and I have no idea what was said at any of the briefings, but it was still fun to be there. I love the Spanish people! So warm and friendly, and Andalucia seems to be the best of the best in Spain. Might have something to do with the warm sunny climate too. But so far, it's great to be here.

Paco and his group didn't arrive until around 4pm - still transporting van and horses and picking up an RV for Madonna and Paul - and he's been on the road for the last two days and was totally exhausted. (But still smiling). We didn't have time to saddle up and join the rest of the group for the 10km 'prologue' around the track (it's actually a horse racing stadium, not a soccer stadium) - but we managed to get the horses vetted in and took them for our own little 6km prologue after everybody else had finished and the track was cleared off.

I'll be riding a nice bay mare 'Arenales' - 8 yrs, not very experienced (she has done 1 80km ride) but kind and fairly level headed. Paco is riding his stallion. He will ride tomorrow. I'll be on a team with Pepe Lopez - we're both #19 and will ride alternate days. Pepe will ride tomorrow, and I'll ride on Day 2, and so on. He has a good experienced horse and will ride pretty fast, I have a less advanced horse so will ride conservatively - and we'll see what kind of combined time we have by the end of the ride!

Up very early in the morning - to go to the hippodrome and then transport horses a few miles away to where the first day will begin.

more later- (so many details, so little time to write!)



Part I: The Travels is here

Part II: Preparations is here

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decisions, 7 in Endurance


April 22 2020

The FEI Tribunal has issued its Final Decisions in seven cases involving Prohibited Substances and one horse abuse case.

The first case involves the horse Sohair Des Bruyere (FEI ID 104VK62/QAT), ridden by Elizaveta Minina (FEI ID 10140497/RUS), which tested positive for the Banned Substance Testosterone following samples taken at the CEI2* in Doha, Mesaieed (QAT) on 20 January 2018. On 15 March 2018 the trainer Hassan Khamis Mohammed A Al Shahwani (FEI ID 10131286/QAT) admitted the use of Testosterone on the horse following a suggestion from a veterinarian.

A Final Tribunal Decision on the case against the athlete was issued on 25 October 2019, but separate proceedings were initiated against the trainer. The FEI Tribunal approved the agreement reached on 24 February 2020 between the FEI and the trainer, under which the trainer would be suspended for 22 months instead of the standard two-year ineligibility period due to prompt admission of the substance being administered. The period of ineligibility was ruled to run from the date of notification (23 April 2018) until 22 February 2020. The trainer was ordered to pay a fine of CHF 7,500 and the legal costs of CHF 1,500.

The second case involves the horse Orient Akhmin (FEI ID 104WR20/UAE), ridden by Adel Mohd Ali Al Housani (FEI ID 10055482/UAE), which tested positive for the Banned Substance Testosterone following sample collection at the CEI1* in Abu Dhabi, Al Wathba (UAE) on 27 October 2018...

Read more here:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Woman, Her Horse, and a Dream

NorthernExpress.com - Full Article



Aleta Daniels is prepping for what she calls a “soul-shaking” adventure.

The former Petoskey resident is training for the Ride the Wild Coast endurance horse race in South Africa, a 370-kilometer (230 miles) trek across some of the most rugged territory in the world.

Long-distance horse racing is growing internationally, and the RTWC, launched 2016, is said to be the world's toughest. That’s exactly as its founders intended. Blending the spirit of the frontiersman (and frontierswomen) and the modern horseback adventurer, the race is a test of horsemanship, survival, stamina, and navigational skills across an iconic wilderness...

Read more here:

Oman: FEI Tribunal Issues Record Fine, 3-year ban in Arsenic Case

HorseSport.com - Full Article

The FEI Tribunal said there was a clear pattern to the arsenic use, and drew ‘adverse inference’ from the Omani rider’s failure to respond.

By: Pippa Cuckson | April 14, 2020

An Omani endurance rider has been handed a three-year suspension and FEI record fine of 10,000 Swiss francs ($14,475 CAD) by the FEI Tribunal after two different horses tested positive to arsenic on consecutive weekends.

Said al Balushi’s ride Kekmadar (trainer: Rashed Suhail al Darbi, UAE) was sampled at in the CE1* 100 at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2018, with Si Quilombo (trainer: Joynal Abedin, Bangladesh/UAE) sampled on December 15, 2018, also at Al Wathba.

Save for requesting a test of the B sample, the rider did not respond to any communications from the FEI or provide a written explanation for the presence of the banned substance, from which Tribunal member Cesar Torrente, sitting as a panel of one, drew an “adverse inference.”

The FEI legal department had recommended a two-year suspension and 7,500 Swiss franc fine, but the Tribunal said tougher penalties were justified...

Read more here:

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Inaugural Gaucho Derby Unfolded as the WHO Declared a Pandemic—Getting Home was Almost as Hard as Finishing the Race

Anya Campbell photo
HorseNetwork.com - Full Article

Liz Brown
April 15, 2020

If the last month has shown us anything, it’s that a lot can change in just a few days.
That’s certainly what the pioneers of the inaugural Gaucho Derby discovered.

When they embarked on the epic 310 mile multi-horse race through the wilds of Patagonia, Argentina, on March 6, the world looked very different. Coronavirus had not yet forced Italy into a lockdown and there were less than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.

“Everyone had heard about coronavirus, but it wasn’t really on our radar as something that could impact us in a remote part of Argentina,” said race event manager Erik Cooper.

The riders had other things on their minds at the time—they were focused on surviving the race where they were only allowed to carry 22 pounds of gear, including their own food— through some of the wildest and harshest terrain on the planet. The race is put on by The Adventurists, the same company that organizes the Mongol Derby...

Read more here:

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Great Britain: Clare returns from ride of a lifetime

Farmweek.com - Full Article

By Bree Rutledge
April 14, 2020

CLARE King (nee Twemlow), originally from Holywood, Co. Down, recently returned from participating in the first ever Gaucho Derby, crossing 500km of beautiful yet challenging terrain in the Patagonian Andes in South America. The multi-horse endurance race ran from March 5 until 14 and, while the rest of the world was beginning the battle against Corona virus, the Gaucho Derby was able to go ahead, as Patagonia, a sparsely populated region at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, was at that time unaffected.

Clare’s aim on completing this challenge was to raise £10,000 for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

Clare writes:


Now that I have returned from the wilds of Patagonia, where I was blissfully unaware of the Corona virus crisis unfolding, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of you who have been so very generous in sponsoring me. So far I have raised over £8,000 towards my £10,000 target for the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). Your support really means a lot, thank you.

I have been incredibly lucky to enjoy and survive an amazing adventure. Patagonia is one of the most remote and uninhabited places on earth, but the mountains were both brutal and beautiful in equal measure. The navigation was tough and having a pack horse to contend with added an extra dimension...

Read more here:

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Great Britain: Clare claims second place in first ever Gaucho Derby

Farmweek.com - Full Article

By Bree Rutledge
April 14, 2020

CLARE King (nee Twemlow), originally from Holywood, Co. Down, has reflected on completing the race of her life in South America in early March.

Clare, raising money for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), braved the first-ever Gaucho Derby, a 500km multi-horse endurance race taking her through the Patagonian Andes. Swapping horses regularly, her navigation and survival skills were tested to the limit in the “world’s toughest horse race”, in which she eventually finished second. The weather also proved a major challenge...

Read more here:

Monday, April 13, 2020

Western States Trail Ride and Tevis Educational Ride - Cancelled


Posted Saturday, April 11, 2020 8:04pm

Due to the COVID-19 viral pandemic, the Western States Trail Foundation Board of Governors (Board) has made the very difficult decision to cancel this year’s running of the Tevis Cup 100-Mile One-Day Endurance Ride, scheduled for August 1, 2020. Additionally, the Board is cancelling the Tevis Educational Ride which was scheduled for July 3-5.

Consideration for the health and safety of the endurance riding community, our generous volunteers, veterinarians, and the public in general are our foremost concerns in making this decision. In the 64-year history of the Western States Trail Ride, this is the first time that the Board has voted to cancel the Tevis. These are truly unique circumstances.

While the Board explored the option of moving the event to the fall, it was decided that the same health risks that prompted the August 1st cancellation could likely still continue, thus preventing riders the ability to adequately prepare for the ride and making it difficult for the Board to plan for a new date.

This was a very difficult decision for the Board, as we understand the love and passion so many have for this event. We will be back stronger than ever for 2021. Please be safe and well as we rise to meet this global challenge by working together while staying apart.

Those riders who have already entered either of these events will be contacted soon regarding refunding their entries.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Saddle up for stellar views and gaucho culture in Patagonia

NationalGeographic.com - Full Article and photos

At Argentina’s isolated ranches, stunning mountains, homegrown food, and cowboy customs reign.


BEYOND THE TREELESS spine of the Andes’ Desecho pass in Argentina’s far northern Patagonia, below a steep 1,500-foot scree slope, on the far end of a lush spring-fed pasture—it’s here Saul Jara tends his herds each summer.

Jara and his family have been puesteros (a type of gaucho) for generations. It is a life of seasonal rhythms, moving their goats, cows, and horses between winter invernada lowlands and summer veranada mountain pastures. His government-granted rights to this grazing foothold on public land have been passed down father to son.

A proud Criollo gelding stands tethered outside Jara’s puesto—a corrugated iron shack with no plumbing or electricity where Jara stays. Inside, a blackened pot of goat lard boils over an open fire. Flattened balls of dough sit nearby, ready for a feast of fresh tortas fritas (fried bread). Jara beckons us from his door with a broad smile and his boina cap off, as is customary when gauchos share a meal...

Read more and see photos here:

Friday, April 10, 2020

A Look Back: Spain's 2008 Al Andalus 10-day Endurance Ride - Part II: Preparations

March 27, 2008
by Steph Teeter

Merri and I are now at the TRH Motilla Hotel, in Dos Hermanas, just outside of Sevilla (Seville). We had a late dinner last night at the Hotel Occidental in Sevilla (11pm, just before the closed) and then totally crashed around 1am. The first real sleep since we left Oreana, we didn't come alive again until 11am the next day!

We had lunch at the hotel (too late for breakfast) and did some last minute shopping - a phone card for Merri, a book on Andalucia, cash at the ATM, and then gathered our maletas muchas pesadas [very heavy suitcases!] and took another taxi to the next stop at Dos Hermanas.

I spoke with Paco a couple times today - he's been driving the new van from Madrid to go pick up his horses and bring them here this evening (I think) or perhaps tomorrow morning. I haven't had a lot of quality communication with him, just short conversations in Spanish-accented English and/or English-accented Spanish on a cellphone from inside a truck - which has left me with a little bit of information, and a bit of wondering... but I think it's all going to work out :)

Registration and vetting begins March 28 at the Betis Stadium (soccer), meetings and press and final entries in the early afternoon.

And then at 4pm all of the riders will do a 10km (6 mi) run/ride around the stadium (I wonder how many laps that is) for opening ceremonies - there will be a lot of press, tv, etc.

This is a very big deal, well organized, high profile event here. Merri said, 'Great, so all the horses will gallop around the track together and the riders that can stay on get to start the next morning'. It does conjure up some interesting images... I guess the photos will tell all.

March 29 will be the start, from Mairena del Aljarafe (outside Sevilla) to El Rocio, located near the Parque Nacional de Donana - a large estuary along the Rio Gualdalquivir.

The weather was gorgeous today - a high of 76, nice breeze, mostly sunny with a few spring clouds drifting by.

Some Seville info:

(from http://www.andalucia.com/cities/sevilla.htm ) "According to legend, Sevilla was founded by Hercules and its origins are linked with the Tartessian civilisation. It was called Hispalis under the Romans and Isbiliya with the Moors. Its high point in its history was following the discovery of America.
Sevilla lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir and is one of the largest historical centres in Europe, it has the minaret of La Giralda, the cathedral (one of the largest in Christendom), and the Alcazar Palace. Part of its treasure include Casa de Pilatos, Torre del Oro, the Town Hall, Archive of the Indies (where the historical records of the American continent are kept), the Fine Arts Museum (the second largest picture gallery in Spain) , plus convents, parish churches and palaces.

For all its important monuments and fascinating history, Sevilla is universally famous for being a joyous town. While the Sevillians are known for their wit and sparkle, the city itself is striking for its vitality. It is the largest town in Southern Spain, the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro.

The Sevillians are great actors and put on an extraordinary performance at their annual Feria de Abril, a week-long party of drink, food and dance which takes place day and night in more than a thousand especially mounted tents. But above all it allows the men to parade on their fine horses and the women to dance in brilliantly coloured gypsy dresses.

Immediately before that is Holy Week, Semana Santa, a religious festival where hooded penitents march In long processions followed by huge baroque floats on which sit Images of the Virgin or Christ, surrounded by cheerful crowds. Both Spring events are well worth experiencing."

Seville is a gastronomic centre, with a cuisine based on the products of the surrounding provinces, including seafood from Cadiz, olive oil from Jaen, and sherry from Jerez de la Frontera.
The tapas scene is one of the main cultural attractions of the city: people go from one bar to another enjoying small dishes called tapas (literally "lids" or "covers" in Spanish, referring to their origin as snacks served in small plates used to cover drinks.)

Local specialities include fried and grilled seafood (including squid, cuttlefish, swordfish and dogfish), grilled meats in sauces, spinach and chickpeas, Andalusian ham (Jamon iberico), lamb's kidneys in a sherry sauce, snails, and gazpacho.

Typical sweet cakes of this province are polvorones and mantecados from the town of Estepa, a kind of shortcake made with almonds, sugar and lard; Pestinos, a honey-coated sweet fritter; Roscos fritos, deep-fried sugar-coated ring doughnuts; magdalenas or fairy cakes; yemas de San Leandro, which provide the city's convents with a source of revenue, and Tortas de aceite, a thin sugar-coated cake made with olive oil.

Except for "polvorones" and "mantecados", which are traditional Christmas products, all of these are consumed throughout the year. The Seville oranges that dot the city landscape, too sour for modern tastes, are commonly used to make marmalade.

Flamenco and Sevillana
The Sevillana dance, commonly presented as flamenco, is not thought to be of Sevillan origin. But the folksongs called Sevillanas are authentically Sevillan, as is the four-part dance that goes with them.

Seville, and most significantly the traditionally barrio, Triana, was a major centre in the development of flamenco.


Part I: The Travels is here

Monday, April 06, 2020

Manhattan's Marie Griffis wins 1st-ever Gaucho Derby in South America

Richard Dunwoody photo
KRTV.com - Full Article

Apr 06, 2020
By: John Miller

The Gaucho Derby is a horse and human endurance race that spans 310 miles over 10 days through the tough terrain of Argentina. Manhattan's Marie Griffis took part in it a few weeks ago.

Living in Montana, it helped Griffis navigate through the ever-changing weather during the race.

“That coupled with our experience and perhaps our training in the winter in Montana got us through and neither of us had any issues,” said Griffis.

She wasn’t doing it alone. Her partner had a horse who helped lead the way through the bogs, which Griffis describes as the most difficult part of the race...

Read more here:

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Stripped-down FEI Sports Forum to include just two sessions

HorseSport.com - Full Article

The FEI Sports Forum 2020 lineup has been stripped back in order to address the time-sensitive topics and delay the themes which can be discussed later.

By: FEI Communications | April 3, 2020

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has completely stripped back the FEI Sports Forum 2020 in order to address the time sensitive topics and delay the themes which can and should be discussed at a later stage. Online session content will be published by mid/late April.

The two sessions concerning FEI Anti-Doping Rules for human athletes and equine athletes will therefore be the only sessions to be covered (not as webinars) as part of the FEI Sports Forum 2020.

The FEI will be publishing all the supporting documents and relevant deadlines for feedback by the mid/late April. Note that we have had to reconsider timelines for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions in view of the cancelled WADA symposium which should have taken place mid-March and the subsequent delivery of WADA support materials and implementation tools. Nonetheless, all the relevant materials for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions will be published here, and the community’s feedback alongside the full consultation process will be maintained...

Read more here:

Friday, April 03, 2020

Great Britain: Cancellation of Euston Park Endurance Rides 2020


02 April 2020

Announcement of decision to cancel all Euston Park rides this year

Organisers of The Euston Park Endurance rides have taken the difficult decision to cancel the planned 2020 events. This is due to public health concerns and the on-going restrictions in place from the UK Government surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions on mass gatherings and particularly events that would put unnecessary requirements on our emergency services, as well as the number of people required to travel from across the UK and the world have all contributed to making it impossible to stage the events this year.

The rides were due to take place on 13th - 14th June, 11th – 12th July and culminate in the HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum UK Endurance Festival from 12th – 16th August.

Nick Brooks-Ward, Event Director from organisers, HPower Group said: “Like so many other equestrian and major national events we have had to take the difficult decision to cancel the rides at Euston Park this season. This will be a big disappointment to competitors and all involved but we know it is the right decision. We are looking forward to coming back stronger than ever in 2021”.

Esther Young, Operations Director for Endurance GB said; "We empathise with the organisers of the FEI Euston Park series in taking this very tough decision which will be disappointing for our riders but entirely understandable given the worldwide situation. We will be reviewing our calendar and working closely with The Pony Club to seek to stage a Championship at another venue later in the year if at all possible."

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

For Montana wilderness vet Marie Griffis, winning Gaucho Derby horse race was ultimate survival test

Richard Dunwoody/The Adventurists
Helenair.com - Full Article

JEFF WELSCH 406mtsports.com Mar 31, 2020

ELGRADE – As a horsewoman who’s as comfortable with a pack string in the wilderness as most of us are in BarcaLoungers, Marie Griffis is unfailingly guarded against any imaginable calamity in the bush and welcomes those inevitable challenges.

Then she did Argentina’s Gaucho Derby in early March.

Oh, Griffis also was prepared for the 300-mile horse race through the wilds of Patagonia – indeed, the professional pastry chef from Manhattan won the inaugural event – but after 10 days of pelting rain, snow, sleet, scree-laden hillsides, racing rivers, jungle-thick brush and bogs deep enough to sink an Arabian to its shoulders, it’s safe to say the Gaucho Derby isn't the re-do list.

“No,” Griffis, who cruised through the 1,000-kilometer Mongol Derby in Mongolia in 2016, said flatly when asked if she’d do it again. “It was a very dangerous race. It wasn’t just a horse race. It was a huge test of survival skills...”

Read more here:

Ireland: ILDRA returns to the trail

Farmweek.com - Full Article By Bree Rutledge - August 10, 2020 THE Irish Long Distance Riding Association (ILDRA) held their first event ...