Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Look Back: Spain's 2008 Al Andalus 10-day Endurance Ride - Part I: The Travels

by Steph

Tierras de Al-Andalus - the lands of Andalucia - a 10 day endurance adventure - is the genius of Jose Manuel Soto. He is one of Spain's cherished singers, with a passion for life, a love of his land, an eye for adventure and a reverence for the horse. His dream, and his ability to put together a team of people capable of 'making it happen' gave us the opportunity to experience the beauty and variety of Andalucia on horseback.

The trails were challenging and scenic, traversing historic sites, mountain passes, village streets, beautiful Atlantic beaches...

We stayed in hotels nestled in historic towns, were hosted by different communities with their own styles and traditions.

And the people of Andalucia are warm and friendly, passionate, quick to laugh and smile...Does it get any better?!

Come With Us On The Journey!

Part I: The Travels

March 26-27, 2008

29 hours since we left Oreana. It was cool and gray and sprinkling in the desert on the drive to the airport, snow on the ground and cold in Minneapolis, very cold and gray in Amsterdam, windy and much warmer in Madrid (though the Taxi driver who took us from the airport to the train station said 'hace frio!' (it's cold!), and finally we arrived in Seyville at 8pm to a pleasant 20C (70 F)!

We're staying at the Hotel Occidental tonight, will meet up with everybody tomorrow and go to the start of the event at 'Dos Hermanas'.

I talked to Paco on the phone a couple times - he had to go up north to get the new horse van, which was supposed to be delivered a couple days ago... but instead he'll be driving all night to bring it down and then pick up the horses and bring them to the ride. He has 3 horses - a stallion which he will try to ride all 8 days, another horse that I think Paul Jeffrey will ride (Paul and Madonna arrive from New Zealand tomorrow) and a mare which I will ride on alternate days. At least that is the plan!

Merri and I had a pretty easy trip except for the last part having to lug our luggage around from airport to train station to hotel. No matter how hard I try I simply can't pack light. And I decided to bring my own saddle this time (it's a lot easier to think about riding a new horse when I at least have a saddle I'm comfortable with!) - so I have 2 huge suitcases, one with clothes and stuff, the other with saddle and riding gear. Plus a hefty carry-on bag with computer and camera equipment. Merri packed more respectably with one suitcase (but it was still heavy!) and her back pack with camera stuff and raven.

We actually did pretty well since all the suitcases had wheels, and the cobblestones weren't too bad, just one tense moment when Merri boldly stepped on to the escalator up to the trains station wheeling 2 suitcases behind her and they jammed at the entry point and wouldn't go further and she was already on the moving track having to run backwards cause she didn't want to let go of the handles and I was laughing so hard I could barely help her and I'm not sure how it all resolved, but the suitcases did manage to break loose and we did make it to the top but we were both laughing helplessly and our final exit off the escalator wasn't very graceful either...

So, we're now settled in at the hotel (we had to do one more suitcase trek from the train station to the hotel but it went pretty smoothly) with WiFI, a hot shower and then we'll take a late (Spanish style) dinner downstairs before a very welcome sleep!

hasta mayana!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The extraordinary tale of an Aussie who just completed the ‘world’s toughest horse race’ - Full Story

March 27, 2020 1:00pm
CHRISTY DORAN@christypdoran

At 2:10pm on March 7, 32-year-old Australian veterinarian Campbell Costello was drinking tea on the banks of the Rio Mayer with Argentinian locals when a menacing black cloud started to build down the valley towards the Chilean border.
Just over an hour later, emergency services were deployed.

“There’s a lake and the descent from this lake down through the mountains is quite treacherous, which was made even more treacherous by some really bad weather, we got smashed by a blizzard which resulted in multiple riders’ kit failing,” Costello says.

“I was sitting on a lookout, on a mountain overlooking the Chilean border with some locals drinking some tea and we were watching this storm build up in the background and I said, ‘Pardon my ignorance, but that doesn’t look good?’

“To which they ‘concurred’.

“Sure enough, my satellite phone went off and there were multiple distress calls up in the mountain from crew needing evacuation.”

Welcome to the inaugural Gaucho Derby, a 500 kilometre horse race run over 10 days known as the ‘world’s toughest horse race’...

Read more here:

Endurance GB Announces Extended Ride Cancellation Period - Full Article

Endurance News :: Everything Horse
27/03/2020 - ehuknews

The Board of the Endurance GB has announced an extended ride cancellation period due to the Government’s isolation procedures. In light of the notification the board have decided to extend the period until mid-June.

Endurance GB had previously cancelled all rides to the end of May. The extension to mid June was announced in a member-wide email this morning (27/03/2020) from Chair Phil Nunnerley and Vice-Chair, Esther Young.

The cancellation affects the RiderCise® Southern Championships and all other classes at Three Rivers (6-7 June) as well as Thoresby, Three Shires, Cwm Sirhowi and Wirral...

Read more here:

FEI warns Endurance officials for failing in their duty - Full Article

Three senior officials have been disciplined under the new FEI system after a catalogue of complaints about their running of Saudi Arabia’s richest ride.

By: Pippa Cuckson | March 26, 2020

Well-known officials on the global endurance circuit have received formal warnings from the FEI for failing to comply with their “duties and obligations” at the showcase 120km CEI 2* in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, on February 1. The ground jury president at the same event is also facing disciplinary proceedings.

They are the first officials disciplined through the FEI’s new Administrative Disciplinary Procedure which applied from January 1, following complaints about their work at the event which boasted 3.6 million Euros prize fund.

Chief steward Fernando Carrillo of Spain – who was foreign judge at the 2018 World Equestrian Games – received a formal warning and was briefly suspended until he had attended a refresher seminar, while the technical delegate, Jordan’s Nasri Rashid Nowar, received a formal warning.

Those two admitted the offence. However, any wrongdoing has been denied by ground jury president Ramon Lopez Lax, also from Spain. He now faces further proceedings: the FEI legal department is recommending a three-month suspension...

Read more and see video here:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ana Whitehead: New Zealand's Young Endurance Talent - Full Story

25 March 2020

Ana Whitehead is the world’s best young Endurance athlete, holding the No.1 position in the Young Rider world rankings since the start of the year.

The New Zealander, who will turn 18 years old in May, developed an interest in long-distance riding at a young age and is planning on travelling the world to hone her skills and enjoy new and exciting trails when she completes school later this year.

Here we speak to Ana about her love of the sport, her magical and tough horses and what the future holds for her…

“I have grown up around horses ever since I was little. I live on a sheep and beef hill country farm about an hour from the nearest town,” she says.

“Endurance is a sport that the whole family can be a part of and I think that through the support that I receive I’m able to thrive and work to achieve my goals...”

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hunting helps British women conquer the Gaucho Derby - Full Article

Becky Murray
23 March, 2020 18:47

The skills instilled by hunting experience came to the fore in the inaugural Gaucho Derby – a 10-day, 500km “race” across the wilds of Patagonia run by the founders of the Mongol Derby.

Not only is the winner, Marie Griffis, heavily involved with the Big Sky Hounds in Montana, USA, but all the three British riders who finished in the top 10 of the 23 starters have strong connections to hunting.

Clare King, who was second, hunts with the VWH and has twice won the Old Berks hunt race on the ex-racehorse Ravens Brook. And joint sixth – although actually first across the finishing line – were Ledbury joint-master Louise Daly and Laura Redvers, wife of Louise’s joint-master David.

“It was a serious adventure,” said Clare, who has so far raised £8,000 of her £10,000 target for the Children’s Cancer and Leukemia Group.

“Was it fun? Absolutely, in retrospect! Scrambling up steep mountains, getting stuck in bogs and being wet, cold and lost in the middle of nowhere wasn’t exactly fun at the time, but it all made for a real adventure. The horses, scenery and great bunch of riders were fantastic, and wouldn’t we all just love to be a real Gaucho!..."

Read more here:

Claire King comes second in the ultra-endurance multi-horse race - The Gaucho Derby

Richard Dunwoody photo - Full Article

23 March 2020
By Jonathan Leighfield @JonnyLeighfield
Sports reporter

WILTSHIRE’S Clare King picked up silver in the ‘world’s toughest horse race’, The Gaucho Derby.

In early March, King took on 23 other riders from around the world in an ultra-endurance multi-horse race that crossed the mountains of Patagonia and the Gauchos in South America.

Though she narrowly missed out on the title, experienced rider King showed why she had picked up a third in the Mongol Derby in 2013 with some exceptional survival skills and a true determination to run eventual winner, Marie Griffis, extremely close.

Explaining the multitude of skills a person needs to be successful in this race, as well as the Gaucho culture she experienced, King said: “Every single decision affects your adventure and in turn your survival..."

Read more here:

Monday, March 23, 2020

Clean Endurance welcomes FEI Tribunal decision that jabbing with a severe bit is abuse

23 March 2020

Clean Endurance is relieved that the FEI Tribunal has agreed that a leading UAE endurance rider committed horse abuse through the mis-use of a severe bridle during the 160km CEI*** President’s Cup at Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi in February 2019.

This decision sets a landmark precedent for Endurance – where more and more harsh bits and tight nosebands are being employed in an attempt to compensate for poor riding skills and lack of proper training of the horse.

Rashed Hamoud Humaid Al Junaibi, aged 22, was suspended for three months, fined 2,000 Swiss francs and ordered to pay 3,000 Swiss francs towards costs.

The Tribunal told Mr Al Junaibi his riding was “totally out of line with all general principles of horsemanship” and that he must take and pass all FEI Courses available on “FEI Campus” before returning to competition.

The FEI Tribunal was “comfortably satisfied” that Mr Al Junaibi committed abuse by repeatedly yanking and pulling the reins by using his bodyweight while riding 8 Minute (previously known as Zafira.) The same pair won the 2018 President’s Cup, but were eliminated for lameness at Gate 5 (140 km) of the 2019 competition.

This is the sixth allegation of horse abuse in UAE endurance that has been sanctioned by the FEI Tribunal in the past 12 months. Four of these cases resulted from Protests to the FEI Secretary General by Clean Endurance, the other two by Miss Cuckson including this latest, which went to an oral hearing in Lausanne last month.

Mr Al Junaibi was represented by Morgan Sports Law of London. Miss Cuckson represented herself and called an expert witness, Mr William Micklem, who is a Fellow of the British Horse Society and a recognised authority on bitting and horse physiology. Miss Cuckson provided lengthy footage from the official broadcast of the 2019 President’s Cup. She alleged that Mr Al Junaibi was trying to control 8 Minute by leaning far back using his full body weight against the reins. The impacts on the mouth would have been exacerbated by the leverage enabled by the long-shanked bit, the fixed looped or “para” reins and the tight cross noseband with a bottom strap of exposed metal chain.

She described it as “taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut.” Fellow riders could be seen on the video riding alongside 8 Minute and cooling her because Mr Al Junaibi could apparently not take one hand off the reins.

Miss Cuckson added: “Any rider can have an occasional, accidental ‘wrong’ moment but I submit these were not just one or two unfortunate snapshots amid an otherwise exemplary performance. Mr Al Junaibi did not have control of 8 Minute over many hours and it seems likely that severe gadgetry was employed, as it was anticipated the rider would have no control.”

Mr Micklem said “the result of these forces and pressure on nerves and blood vessels will mean that after initial discomfort and pain the mouth and lower jaw area is almost certain to become numb during the competition, making the horse a potential danger to both other competitors and spectators, and then hypersensitive in the days and weeks afterwards due to bruising and lacerations.

“The tight noseband also causes unacceptable pressure on the inside of the mouth, where the top jaw molar teeth are considerably wider than the lower jaw teeth. Therefore the delicate tissue inside the mouth is trapped between the protruding outside edge of the top jaw molar teeth on the inside and the noseband on the outside. This bruises or cuts the tissue on the inside of the mouth and can cause mouth ulceration. Therefore it is widely accepted that nosebands that are cranked tightly should not be part of a modern horse world.”

In his defence Mr Al Junaibi did not believe 8 Minute would have performed as well as she did if she felt any pain or unnecessary discomfort from the tack or his riding style. He said: “At various times during the ride, when I felt 8 Minute was getting strong, I tried to use my bodyweight to control the speed. As most riders would tell you, moving your bodyweight back from a neutral position helps to slow horses down and leaning toward typically makes them speed up. This does not increase the amount of pressure applied to a horse’s mouth – it is a question of where your centre of gravity is on the horse”. “Everyone has their own riding style and so long as the horse is well taken care of, it is a dangerous approach to dictate about style. Contrary to Ms. Cuckson’s allegation, 8 Minute and l worked very well together to complete 140km. Perhaps Ms. Cuckson has never taken part in long distance riding but in my opinion, it would be pretty hard to ride so far without control.” Mr Al Junaibi also said he had been competing since he was 14 and had never been told his riding was not good. He maintained that the FEI officials had the responsibility to ensure the horse’s well-being and safety. If they became aware of any horse abuse, it was their responsibility to disqualify the rider and report it to the FEI.

The FEI Legal team supported Miss Cuckson, stating: “Bits and bridles are for communication with the horse. They are not handles in order to stabilize the rider in the saddle or instruments for pulling on the horse’s mouth.”

The FEI said that in the video the rider was “clearly jabbing the horse’s mouth with the left and right hand repeatedly, ” and at other times “putting his whole body weight on the reins, jabbing the horse’s mouth severely; the horse is trying to avoid the discomfort and pain by thrusting the head up high and as a consequence even falls into trot.” Article 142.1 (iv) of the FEI GR’s specifically states that one sole jab constitute horse abuse.

Several items of tack worn by 8 Minute have been prohibited under FEI endurance rules since January 1, 2020, following concerns about the reliance on lever bits as “brakes” by unskilled riders. The Tribunal recognised that the bridle worn by 8 Minute was not prohibited in 2019, but assessed the case on the manner in which the rider had used the formerly permitted bridle and bit.

The Tribunal said the rider’s viewpoint was “unacceptable,” and that it objected to his criticism of Miss Cuckson.

“For the Tribunal, these are not hypothetical theories of horse suffering. The continuous jabbing of the horse’s mouth displayed by the respondent during the video is totally out of line with all general principles of horsemanship. What the Tribunal saw on the video was a very rough bit, used without any regard whatsoever for the horse’s mouth and welfare. Of course, the respondent’s way of riding, by pulling back with his entire body and with such a rough bit, cannot be accepted in any competition”.

“It should be obvious for any person with minimal horsemanship knowledge, that leaning back and totally out of balance for so long and continuously, with the bit, bridle and the reins used by the respondent, increases the amount of pressure to a point that causes or is likely to cause pain or unnecessary discomfort to a horse.

“The Tribunal once more reiterates – as it has already stated in previous decisions – the FEI should investigate why FEI Officials did not react on apparent horse abuse happening during competition.”

A number of legal points were discussed, including the timeframe for reporting cases of alleged abuse. Mr Al Junaibi complained there had been “undue” delay in submitting the Protest (which is not time-limited under FEI regulations) and that he had been prohibited from making further submissions after seeking legal representation some months after his initial response. However, during the hearing he revealed that he had received help in writing his initial response from the wife of the trainer of Al Wathba stables, Emma al Jahouri (nee Finnie) a British-trained lawyer.

Although Clean Endurance is satisfied with the FEI Tribunal’s decision, it regrets that the proceedings were dragged out until the end of the UAE season – by which time an immediate suspension has no effect.

Clean Endurance also finds it abhorrent to see a reputable law firm argue the inadmissibility of an abuse protest on legal technicalities rather than on the factual content of the allegations. It is grateful that the FEI Tribunal dismissed these legal arguments, found the allegations of horse abuse to be true, and sanctioned the rider accordingly.

The full FEI Tribunal decision can be found here:

A short extract of the footage of Mr al Junaibi and 8 Minute can be found here:

Friday, March 20, 2020

Brit Claims Second Spot in the Greatest Test of Horsemanship and Survival Skill on Earth

by David Ferguson

Imagine yourself thundering deep into the wilds of Patagonia on horseback. You’ve got your steed underneath you and a pack horse by your side. You’re navigating across some of the wildest terrain on Earth attempting to win one of the toughest and most unusual equine challenges in history...this is the Gaucho Derby

After running the Mongol Derby for a decade, renowned as the ‘world’s toughest horse race’, The Adventurists decided it was time to grow the sport of ultra-endurance horse racing and went in search of the next world beating adventure. They didn’t just replicate The Mongol Derby with new scenery, but designed a new race from the ground up, based on the landscape, culture, history and horses of Patagonia and the Gauchos, and created, what they believe, is the ‘greatest test of horsemanship and wilderness skills on Earth’. And so, on the 5th of March, 24 riders from around the Globe lined up at the start of the Pioneer Edition of the Gaucho Derby and, over the next 10 days, the race certainly lived up to its billing

The nine stage race crossed 500km of Patagonian wilderness, including high mountains and pampas lowlands, making the event not just a test of riders’ skills on a horse, but pushing their navigation skills to the limit and testing their physical endurance and ability to handle the wilderness.

Whilst The Gaucho Derby is a multi-horse race, it differs from the Mongol Derby. The race is broken down into 40km legs, but riders don’t change horses at every section (as they do in the Mongol Derby). The high mountains are a test of skill, not flat out speed, so the horses don’t run out of steam and can cover several legs at a time. On the flatter pampas sections however, where horses can eat up the miles quickly, riders swap to fresh horses regularly.

Riders also do large sections with pack horses, to carry extra kit into the mountains. As well as looking after and guiding a second animal, they have to switch mounts mid leg to ensure the health of both animals by minimising the work.

The Adventurists monitor the horses’ welfare at every stage, with vet checks every 40km as well as race marshals and emergency and roaming vets to ensure that no rider puts their own competitiveness before the welfare of the animals - “We would rather nobody wins than someone wins by pushing too hard. Riders seen making bad decisions, riding too fast across difficult terrain or not presenting horses in great condition will get penalties or be disqualified. Full rules will be available to riders as we are developing them with our vet team now.”

The first Gaucho Derby began with a fast valley ride for some. Other riders took what they believed was a short cut through the mountains, only to have to turn back and lose any hopes of an early lead when they met unpassable terrain. Temperatures were hot, with riders wondering why they’d bothered packing so many cold weather clothes, luring many riders into a false sense of security as to what was to come.

Over the next few days, navigation remained a key part of the race. Riders traversed some breath taking, but ‘pretty gnarly’ countryside, with trails through passes, river valleys, dense forests, and bogs presenting challenges - all whilst individual riders tried to chivvy along a packhorse and keep their own horse on an even keel.

Then came the storm! Drama unveiled as the race headed through the mountains and a ferocious snow storm swept in. Local Gauchos helped guide riders to safe passage and an emergency shelter was created in a forest, with some riders (most to re-join the race later) air lifted out as a precaution.

With further bad weather forecast, the race was reset on day 6, with riders carrying forward their accumulated times from the previous stages, before the storm hit. Some faster riding, without pack horses, ensued and in the end, it was American Marie Griffis (a 2016 Mongol Derby veteran who runs an annual equestrian trip into the US mountains back home in Montana) who crossed the line first, having ‘weathered the storm well’ and ridden confidently ever since. In hot pursuit, crossing the line in the second place was Clare King from Wiltshire, an experienced rider who finished third in the Mongol Derby in 2013.
Of the race she commented...

“Every single decision affects your adventure and in turn your survival. There’s a battle between being competitive and ensuring your survival.”

But it was the Gaucho culture that left the biggest impression on her…

“The gaucho culture, (was the best bit) staying in a puesto the last night and getting to experience it hands on out of necessity.”

If you believe you have what it takes to ride in next year’s Gaucho Derby, visit for more details.

Editor’s notes:

The Gaucho

“He has taken his first lessons in riding before he is well able to walk” 

said David Christison in the 1882 Journal of the Anthropological Institute. Gaucho’s were nomadic, skilled horseman and cow herds who were reputed to be brave and somewhat unruly. Greatly admired and renowned in folklore and literature they became an important part of the regions cultural tradition. A way of life that has dwindled as farming practices and land ownership changed.

Clothed in a poncho (which doubles as a saddle blanket and as sleeping gear), a large knife called a facón and loose trousers called bombachas held in place with a wide belt, they travelled far across the wild landscapes of South America.

Some photos from the ride are here:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Canadian Claims Third Place in inaugural Gaucho Derby - Full Article

On the 5th of March, 24 riders from around the globe, including Alberta's Chris Peterson, lined up at the start of the pioneer edition of the Gaucho Derby.

By: David Ferguson, New Chapter Marketing | March 18, 2020

Imagine yourself thundering deep into the wilds of Patagonia on horseback. You’ve got your steed underneath you and a pack horse by your side. You’re navigating across some of the wildest terrain on Earth attempting to win one of the toughest and most unusual equine challenges in history…this is the Gaucho Derby.

After running the Mongol Derby for a decade, renowned as the ‘world’s toughest horse race’, The Adventurists decided it was time to grow the sport of ultra-endurance horse racing and went in search of the next world beating adventure. They didn’t just replicate The Mongol Derby with new scenery, but designed a new race from the ground up, based on the landscape, culture, history and horses of Patagonia and the Gauchos, and created, what they believe, is the ‘greatest test of horsemanship and wilderness skills on Earth’. And so, on the 5th of March, 24 riders from around the globe lined up at the start of the pioneer edition of the Gaucho Derby and, over the next 10 days, the race certainly lived up to its billing.The nine stage race crossed 500km of Patagonian wilderness, including high mountains and pampas lowlands, making the event not just a test of riders’ skills on a horse, but pushing their navigation skills to the limit and testing their physical endurance and ability to handle the wilderness...

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

‘Interfering’ organizer to stand aside at World Endurance Championship - Full Article

San Rossore in Italy can continue to host September's medal event but organizer Gianluca Laliscia must be ‘hands off’ and FEI will appoint all officials.

By: Pippa Cuckson
March 18 2020

A controversial endurance organiser accused of interfering with the decisions of judges and vets is being allowed to keep the 2020 world championship ride – but he must stand aside and allow the FEI to appoint all officials.

The conduct of Gianluca Laliscia ‒ proprietor of San Rossore in Pisa, Italy ‒ has been the subject of much speculation following incidents last fall, and the FEI notified him about possible disciplinary action.

But while reallocation of the 2020 worlds to another venue was clearly an option, the FEI is “mindful that the disciplinary proceedings against Mr Laliscia (including any appeal) might not be resolved until after the 2020 Championship,” and that the endurance community ‒ whose 2018 championship at Tryon was cancelled when leaders had medals within their grasp ‒ needs certainty.

San Rossore has strong ties to Dubai, with Meydan as title sponsor, and has been the subject of previous controversy...

Read more here:

Endurance GB Issues Cancellation Notice for All Rides - Full Article

17/03/2020 ehuknews

Following the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday eventing (16/03/2020) warning against both unnecessary social contact and non-essential travel within the UK due to the Coronavirus crisis, the Board of Endurance GB has taken the decision to cancel all rides with immediate effect.

Following an emergency meeting, the Board agreed unanimously that in the light of the Government advice and in the interests of ensuring the sport placed no additional burden on the NHS or put the health and safety of members, volunteers and officials at risk, all ride activity would cease until at least the end of May...

Read more here:

Great Britain: Coronavirus latest: more equestrian bodies call their sports to a halt - Full Article

Becky Murray
17 March, 2020 13:23

Many equestrian sports across the UK are coming to a halt as more bodies announce they are ceasing activities owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the Point-to-Point Authority, the Pony Club, Endurance GB, and the Hunting Office are the latest to cancel all events – following British Eventing’s announcement last night that all eventing would cease with immediate effect.

The British Horse Society (BHS) has cancelled its activities due to take place in Ireland; the BHS on Tour (29 March) and the National Coaching Convention (30 March). A spokesman said an update on the society’s other UK activities would be released today...

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

FEI Endurance World Championships 2020, Pisa (ITA)

March 17 2020

Following allegations about the conduct of the Event Director at the FEI World Endurance Championships 2019 for Juniors & Young Riders and Young Horses in Pisa (ITA) on 18-20 September 2019, the FEI sent Gianluca Laliscia a Notification Letter on 5 December 2019 regarding alleged violations of the FEI Rules and Regulations.

Given the allegations against Mr Laliscia, which he denies, the FEI had concerns about his role with the Organising Committee of the FEI World Endurance Championships 2020 to be held in Pisa on 3-6 September 2020. The FEI was also mindful that the disciplinary proceedings against Mr Laliscia (including any appeal) might not be resolved until after the 2020 Championship.

The FEI considers that it is important for the Endurance community to have certainty regarding the hosting of the 2020 Championship, and also to ensure that there will not be any (direct or indirect) interference with the decisions of Officials at the Championships. To achieve these objectives, the FEI, Mr Laliscia and the involved stakeholders held constructive discussions, following which the FEI has agreed to accept detailed undertakings from Mr Laliscia and the Organising Committee (set out below), which are backed by serious sanctions for any breach. Mr Laliscia and the Organising Committee also confirmed their continued commitment to host the 2020 Championship in full compliance with all applicable FEI Regulations and all contractual obligations...

Read more here:

Bahamian Rider Qualifies For World Championships in the Netherlands - Full Article

March 16 2020

BAHAMIAN rider Reine Pagliaro qualified for the 2021 Young Rider World Endurance Championships in Ermelo, The Netherlands, when she finished her second 120km/75 mile endurance race at the Fun in the Sun Endurance competition held at Williston, FL, March 13-15.

#Reine and her mount, Beautiful Knightmare, a 10-year old Arabian gelding owned by Mary Kathryn and Peggy Clark of Eatonton, Georgia, added a First FEI Young Rider 2* level competition to their list of accomplishments...

Read more here:

Monday, March 16, 2020

Endurance GB announces cancellation of FEI King’s Forest Spring Ride as Coronavirus measures tighten in UK - Full Article

16/03/2020 ehuknews

Endurance GB has announced the cancellation of the FEI King’s Forest Spring Ride following strong recommendations issued on Friday 13th March by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and a meeting of Endurance GB’s board. This year’s event was due to take place over the weekend of 10-12 April.

The popular King’s Forest Competition held over forestry tracks and open farmland near Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk, is the first big event of the Endurance GB calendar and is viewed by riders as a springboard for the season. Renowned for its superb going when the rest of the country may be suffering under wetter conditions, the ride draws entries from across the UK and last year celebrated its 25th anniversary...

Read more here:

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Patagonia: Gaucho Derby Race Day 9

Photographer: Richard Dunwoody - Full Story

March 14 2020

And just like that, we are at the end of the penultimate day of racing here in Patagonia. The riders are stopped tonight either at a rustic yet scenic puesto at VS8 or camped part way between VS8 and the finish line. Slow going on the trail between VS7 at La Maipu and the finish line put the brakes on the riders who thought they may finish today, but expecting the unexpected has become the touchstone of this race, with most choosing to see the glass half full. Clare (CK) sent in a message relatively early in the evening indicating her decision to stay at VS8, saying “Beautiful spot and will enjoy a final night in the wilderness!” Good choice. All riders will be finished tomorrow regardless of where they stayed last night. Why? Because tomorrow is Day 10 and the race is officially over and because we said so.

It wasn’t all rubbernecked-sightseeing today, however, with CP parting ways with his horse on the downward side of VS8. With a bit of gaucho-ing, his riding mates caught the wily wayward steed, reuniting CP for the final push towards the finish. At the close of business, CP was keeping company with SD DD CM CK MG LY SH LV and ZH, all tucked into some trees 3km beyond VS8. Back at VS8, CW CD JY AA HB NM SS and CKI set up camp with vets Cozy and Georgie, Medic Andy, EMs Erik and Louise, Media Ivo and Anya, and a couple of keen gauchos along for the last leg of the Gaucho Derby...

Read more here:

FEI recommends cancellation of FEI Events due to Coronavirus

March 13 2020

Following last week’s communiqué to National Federations on the recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding Mass Gatherings and the necessity of Event Organisers to conduct a full risk assessment together with local authorities, the FEI has issued a further message to the equestrian community:

“The spread of the Coronavirus Covid-19 has taken a rapid turn for the worse and sport worldwide is affected. We as a community have to make our contribution to limit the spread of this virus, as the sooner it can be contained the sooner we will be able to get back to normal life and normal sport. And this is something that every other sport is doing.

“The FEI appreciates the amount of work and incredible investment every Organiser puts into their Event. While the FEI does not itself organise any FEI Events, in light of the escalating numbers of persons affected by the virus and the restrictions imposed by national governments, the FEI strongly recommends that Organisers should cancel all events for the next four weeks until a reassessment of the situation can be made.

“The FEI and Board will work together with the International Equestrian Organisers Alliance to evaluate what can be done to try and accommodate dates for Events that have been impacted during this period.

“We are aware that this is no simple matter, as clearly no single Organiser can be favoured to the detriment of others, and we do not know how many Events will be impacted nor how long the current situation will last.

“We have decided that Calendar fees for events that have had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 will be waived. We are also assessing the impact of cancellations of Events on other areas such as ranking points and on athletes and horses seeking MERs for the Olympic or Paralympic Games and qualifications for FEI Championships.”

“We can guarantee you that we are monitoring the situation hour-by-hour and that we are constantly looking at what specific situations need to be addressed. Our thoughts are with all of you and we strongly believe that our community will do the right thing and work to support each other through this crisis.”

Friday, March 13, 2020

Gaucho Derby heads for an exciting finish in Patagonia

The Gaucho Derby has been billed as ‘the greatest test of horsemanship and survival skill on Earth’ and is certainly living up to its promise.

By: David Ferguson | March 13, 2020

The Gaucho Derby has been billed as ‘the greatest test of horsemanship and survival skill on Earth’ and the Pioneer Edition of the race is certainly living up to this promise.

Run by The Adventurists, the team behind the Mongol Derby ‘the longest and toughest horse race on the planet’, The Gaucho Derby is looking to build on the new sport of ultra-endurance. The Adventurists went in search of the next world-beating adventure. They didn’t just replicate The Mongol Derby with new scenery, but designed a new race from the ground up, based on the landscape, culture, history and horses of Patagonia and the Gauchos, and have created, what they believe, is the ‘greatest test of horsemanship and survival skill on Earth’.

So far, with still a day of racing to go, the race has delivered on all fronts. Racing through the wild landscapes of Argentina, in places the going has been technical and slow, with pack horses in tow, in others fast and furious, through flatter pampas sections; the scenery stunning throughout.

Drama unveiled as the race headed through the mountains and a ferocious snow storm swept in. Local Gauchos helped guide riders to safe passage and an emergency shelter was created in a forest, with some riders (most to re-join the race later) air lifted out as a precaution.

And it’s still not over…to follow the race to the finish visit on Twitter or Facebook.

Kyrgyzstan: 69 Year Old Woman Makes Cross Country Trip Horseback


Taking to the saddle for the first time in 12 years, this 69-year-old woman will brave below-zero temperatures and wolves of Kyrgyz mountain ranges in order to settle the wrangling question of the Appaloosas' origin and prove other American horse breeders wrong. "For 40 years I've claimed they came from Asia, and for 40 years they've laughed at me", she says. Not anymore.

Watch the preview here:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Patagonia: Gaucho Derby Race Day 7

Photographer: Anya Campbell - Full Story

March 12 2020

With weather once again looking a bit grim at the higher elevations, Day 7’s course was reset to avoid the high country and instead include a scenic circular route down the Tucu Tucu valley from VS5, back along Arroyo Potrancas and Laguna Govido. The riders made the return trip in times ranging from between 6.5 to 9.5 hours with most commenting on, yet again, the incredible scenery. If nothing else, these riders will go home with some indelible images imprinted in their memory banks.

The scenery will continue to improve (is that even possible?) as the riders transfer from VS5 to La Maipu on March 12 to begin their final push towards the finish line at Estancia La Quinta (near El Chalten) on March 13. Mount Fitz Roy sits just above El Chalten, making for some iconic photo ops – will the riders take that opportunity or blast on by, finish line in their sights, hot shower on their minds?...

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Patagonia: Gaucho Derby Race Day 6

Photographer: Anya Campbell - Full Story

March 11 2020

After the extreme weather events of the last few days, racing got underway again today shortly after 9am as the riders, equipped with dry kit, packed up their woolies and mounted some fast horses for their trip between VS3 – VS5. This the first time since the beginning of the race that the riders have been without a packhorse, yet it was reminiscent of Day 1 when many riders set a blistering pace to VS1 (with a packhorse in tow, not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination.)

CP and ZH led the pack and were minutes apart into VS4 having made the leg in approximately one hour flat. The vet check took a mere six minutes and four minutes respectively for these two, and as they did not have a change of horses, they were flying once again to VS5 with the rest of the pack on their tails. By the end of the day, most riders were into VS5 having made the day’s journey in well under five hours...

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Horse racing trainers and veterinarians charged in international doping scandal - Full Article

Defendants allegedly tainted races in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and the United Arab Emirates.

March 9 2020

By Tom Winter and David K. Li
More than two dozen trainers, veterinarians and others in horse racing were charged in a widespread doping scheme that "amounted to nothing less than abuse," federal officials and court papers revealed Monday.

The defendants ran horses at tracks in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and the United Arab Emirates, federal prosecutors in New York City said.

"Over the course of the scheme, participants manufactured, purchased, sold, shipped, delivered, received and administered thousands of units" of performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs, for use on racehorses, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman wrote in charging documents against 19 of 27 defendants.

The indicted included 11 trainers, seven veterinarians and nine drug suppliers and distributors, according to Berman.

"All involved in the cruel and systematic doping of racehorses across the United States and indeed around the world using misbranded, adulated and dangerous performance-enhancing drugs," Berman told reporters in New York...

Read more here:

South Africa: Middelburg endurance ride - Full Article

9th March 2020
Race Report made with the assistance of Carmen Du Preez

Fairview Farm, Middelburg, Eastern-Cape, South Africa. Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February 2020.

The Middelburg (Lormar) FEI 3* ride was blessed with rain early in the week which had both a positive and negative effect on the course . With the Karoo area experiencing drought for so long the rain was welcomed. The track now being muddy in some sections did create new problems but was carefully approached by riders after receiving sound advice from the veterinary panel at briefing.

The entire ride had to be set-up quickly as the venue was used for a cycling event the weekend before. The course was muddy in strategic places and had to be re-thought and changed at the last minute to keep the horses and riders safe. It all turned out well with a high completion rate.

Riders, vets and officials came from all over the country to support and participate at the much loved Lormar ride. The ride was well supported with 83 horses in both FEI & ERASA ( Endurance Riding Association of South Africa ) categories.
New rule changes had many riders and junior riders queuing with heavy saddles at registration. After ride discussions weren’t positive about the dead weight on the horses and light and heavy weight riders being excluded from FEI weight classes...

Read more here:

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Great Britain: ‘She gave me reason to live’: rider with severe medical condition takes national title - Full Article

Eleanor Jones
7 March, 2020

A rider who has overcome the challenges posed by her severe medical condition to win a national title credits her horse for keeping her going – and saving her life.

Georgia Massey, riding her nine-year-old Irish draught mare Indigo Clementine, was named national senior pleasure rider champion, as well as champion of her age group, by Sport Endurance on 1 March. Clemmie was also named top pleasure mare.

Georgia told H&H she thought she would never ride again, when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2017. She weighed six stone when she was admitted to hospital, and her organs were shutting down.

“The process of regaining my health was not linear and was the hardest battle I have ever had to face,” she said. “I was in and out of hospital constantly for months, but the thought of seeing my horse again gave me the strength to keep fighting...”

Read more here:

Latest Issue of Arabian Horse Intl Endurance Available

March 8 2020

The latest issue of Arabian Horse Intl Endurance, published by Cidinha Franzão and Favio Lorenz, contains coverage of multiple endurance races in the UAE, and the North Island Championships in New Zealand.

See the issue here:

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Patagonia: Gaucho Derby Race Day 2

Richard Dunwoody photo - Full Story

March 7 2020

Holy moly, what a day that was. Anyone watching the dots would have noticed that the tracking between VS1 & VS2 resembled some madman’s abstract Sharpie art project with riders’ tracks circling around mountains, reversing directions, and laying down tracks over and over and over again. Did we mention this race would be largely about navigation? It’s all fun and games until you are actually lost in the mountains. To be fair, the riders are traversing some pretty gnarly countryside, with trails through passes, river valleys, dense forests, and bogs – yes, bogs – while trying to chivvy along a reluctant packhorse and keep their own horse on an even keel. Not an easy task by any means and that hard and fast first leg may have given some the impression that this race would be easier than they thought. By mid-afternoon, riders were calling 1-800-HelpMeGaucho seeking assistance with reluctant horses and wayward packhorses, but even the gauchos weren’t immune to the seductive charms of the bogs with one gaucho taking an unscheduled bog-bath enroute to VS3. So in other words, Day 2 has been quite a bit slower. The weather has played its part, delivering on its reputation as a fickle beast, turning colder and wetter with possible snow in the higher elevations...

Read more and see photos here:

Queen ‘to distance herself from Dubai ruler’ after court rules he kidnapped daughters - Full Article

Elisa Menendez
Saturday 7 Mar 2020

The Queen is reportedly set to shun the ruler of Dubai after a High Court ruling found he kidnapped his own daughters and detained them for almost two decades. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Queen Elizabeth have long shared a bond over their love of horse racing. The sheikh, who owns the elite London-based Godolphin Racing, has previously been described as a ‘friend’ of the Queen’s. They are said to have seen each other on a ‘fairly regular basis’ for the last two decades and the sheikh is believed to send the monarch annual gifts of horses. He has been pictured at Ascot with the Queen, where he was invited into the Royal Box. However, their friendship is set to become strained after Britain’s most senior judges found the 70-year-old ruler ‘ordered and orchestrated’ the abduction of his daughters, Sheikha Shamsa and Sheikha Latifa, and forced them to return to Dubai...

Read more:

Friday, March 06, 2020

Patagonia: Gaucho Derby Race Day 1

Richard Dunwoody photo - Full Story

March 6 2020

It was fast and furious from the start line this morning as the Pioneers began their epic trek across 500 km of Patagonia. A number of riders, including Zsofia (ZH), Roberta (RM), Annie (AA) and Warren (WS) hit the gas pedal on the way to vet station 1 (VS1) topping out at over 25km/hr with a pack horse alongside. Other riders chose a more moderate pace, adopting the “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” type of mentality which can often yield great results, ensuring there’s something left in the tank to finish the race. After all, it’s a long old haul to the finish line just a stone’s throw from El Chalten. A few riders – Shirley (SH), Nichole (NM) – chose an alternate route around some hilly topography; a plucky gamble which could have put them towards the front had it not been for that awkward impassable boggy canyon floor which forced a detour back towards where they had originated. 100 points to them for giving it a go. (No, the points don’t count.) While we’re at it, let’s give extra pretend points to Julie (JY) who hit the deck not far out of the start camp when her bridle parted ways with her horse and her horse parted ways with its human. The horse then bolted back to the start line for Derby Start Take Two. Don’t count Julie out just yet; a firefighter by trade and a Mongol Derby veteran, she’s as tough as they come and will be back in the thick of it in no time...

Read more here:

How to follow the Gaucho Derby - in Progress - Full Article

The first annual Gaucho Derby, "The Patagonian iteration of the world's toughest horse race," is underway.

You can follow the riders with a tracking map, on twitter or instagram, on Facebook or the Gaucho Derby blog. See all the options here:
The Patagonian iteration of the world's toughest horse race

UAE: 12th Dubai CP Endurance Cup to be held tomorrow - Full Article

March 5 2020

The 119km Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline will be hosted by the Dubai Equestrian Club on Saturday. This highly anticipated ride is the highlight of the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup Festival, which opened on March 2. The Festival comprises a total of four rides, catering to a wide range of riders and horses—including female riders and mares—adding variety to this celebration of endurance riding. The festival is sponsored by Meydan pillar partner Emirates Airline and is held at Dubai International Endurance City, a purpose-built, state-of-the-art endurance facility.

Named for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, the week-long festival opened with the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Ride for Ladies on March 2.

This was followed by the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Ride Restricted to Private Stables/Individuals on March 3, and the 119 km Yamamah Endurance Cup for Mares on March 4.

The Yamamah Endurance Cup is quite significant, as it is named after the mare the Crown Prince rode to win the 2014 World Equestrian Games Endurance gold medal in France.

The finale, the 119km Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline, will be flagged off on Saturday.. An impressive international contingent is expected to participate, as usual. They will compete alongside local talent...

Read more here:

Sheikh Ordered Abduction of Daughters and Threatened Princess Haya – UK High Court - Full Article

Landmark ruling describes fear tactics used by Sheikh Mohammed, but will bombshell revelations affect the reputation of the horse world’s major patron?

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

When the Godolphin doping scandal broke in British racing back in 2013, we were asked to accept that Sheikh Mohammed had not known, was appalled, and that the industrial scale steroids offences at his racing stables in Newmarket, UK, were the isolated work of a rogue trainer.

I don’t intend to appear flippant by implying that sporting shenanigans are on the same scale as issues of human rights. But while rich and powerful people distance themselves from scandal through the employment of layer upon layer of stooges, there really is nowhere for Sheikh Mohammed to hide from the Findings of Fact handed down by one of the most revered courts in the world, our High Court here in the UK today (March 5.)

This was primarily a custody hearing for Jalila and Zayed, the two children of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed and his former “junior” wife Princess Haya – Olympic show jumper and former president of the FEI...

Read more here:

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Australia: Tumut riders prepare for NSW Champs - Full Article

By Jeff Hanson - March 3, 2020, 5:00 pm

In what could have been a disaster for Southern NSW endurance riders, Cowra’s Bumbaldry ride that was scheduled for this weekend was postponed at the last minute.

Fortunately for local competitors who are eyeing the NSW State Championships at Tumut on June 6-8, Tumut Endurance will be holding a smaller event to help rider’s have their horses in good order.

Tumut Endurance spokesperson Ellen Vine explained the decision to host an event with such short notice.

“Two weeks ago a ride near Cowra called Bumbaldry unfortunately had to postpone their event due to multiple circumstances and this meant that the first 80km event for the year in NSW wouldn’t be until March 14, but it was up past Coffs Harbour,” Vine said.

“So for Southern NSW, that would be impossible to attend, meaning we would have to wait until the next one, which wouldn’t be until March 28 near Sydney.

“So looking ahead, it was clear that this would negatively impact a lot of people and inevitably Tumut Endurance’s State Championships, so with two and a half weeks notice, we decided to replace the postponed ride on March 7 and 8 and run the Tumut Endurance Ride...”

Read more here:

Monday, March 02, 2020

Bahrain: His Majesty’s 160km race set - Full Article

1 March 2020

THE King’s Endurance Cup 160km race will be held today under the patronage of His Majesty and support of GFH Group at Bahrain International Endurance Village.

This race is considered the biggest championship in the endurance season, especially bearing the name of His Majesty.

Riders from stables in Bahrain and other GCC countries will be taking part in the race...

Read more here:

Australia: Collie teen saddles up for Tom Quilty - Full Article

MARCH 2 2020
Taylar Amonini

With a little bit of passion, dedication and enthusiasm, a Collie teen has proven you can reach your goals as she qualifies for the 2020 Tom Quilty Gold Cup.

Abbey Rose Irvine, 12, will go into the national event as the only junior in Western Australia to qualify to compete - a feat many adults struggle to do.

The enthusiastic endurance rider said she was ecstatic to have qualified at such a young age.

"It's a really good feeling to have qualified so early, endurance riding is such a mental sport as well as physical so to have broken through the mental block in the last qualification ride was a pretty good moment," she said.

"Last year I really started to get into endurance at this level but I have been riding for about four years now.

"It's great because you get to go out bush for several hours and unlike other riding where you have to be so polished in every aspect you get to just ride your horse and have fun..."

Read more here:

Want to learn the skills you need to take on the Mongol Derby? The Mongol Derby Academy 2024 will take place from 25th July 2024 to 31st July 2024. The Mongol Derby Academy is desi...