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:

Newest Issue of Arabian Horse Intl Endurance Races 2020 is Available


The latest edition of Arabian Horse Int'l Endurance, published by Cidinha Franzao and Favio Lorenz, is available now at

This issue covers events in Chile, Uruguay, Spain, Abu Dhabi, New Zealand, Norway, and Saudi Arabia.

St. George horseman completes one of the world’s toughest endurance races

StGeorgeUtah.com - Full Story Written by E. George Goold May 10, 2024 ST. GEORGE — The Gaucho Derby is a 500-kilometer horse race throug...