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 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.”

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