Monday, September 28, 2020

Endurance GB statement following suspension of UAE National Federation

25 September 2020

Following news that the FEI has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following a detailed investigation into the circumstances around two National Endurance Events (CEN) in January and February 2020 - the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and The President's Cup – that should have been held as International Endurance Events (CEIs) as the number of foreign athletes far exceeded the quota permitted for National Events, Endurance GB has issued the following statement from Director of Welfare, Antonia Milner-Matthews, a veterinary surgeon who also competes at International FEI level endurance.

Antonia Milner-Matthews said: “Following these rides back in January, we made clear our concerns that running these events with a very international flavour as CENs was not within the spirit of Article 101 of the FEI’s General Regulations. Endurance GB also expressed grave concerns via the BEF that such rides do not carry the level of scrutiny, welfare safeguards or sanctions that are in place at FEI CEI International level competition.

“Of course it is a shame that such sanctions are required but we welcome such a step from the FEI emphasising that the situation is being taken seriously. Going forward our advice is that all riders need to ensure they are very aware of the potential consequences of riding in unsanctioned events abroad.”

FEI suspends UAE National Federation for Rules violations

25 September 2020

The FEI Board has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following a detailed investigation into the circumstances around two National Endurance Events (CEN) in January and February 2020 - the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and The President's Cup – that should have been held as International Endurance Events (CEIs) as the number of foreign athletes far exceeded the quota permitted for National Events.

Under Article 101 of the FEI General Regulations, National Events must be limited to no more than four National Federations (NF) and/or more than 15 foreign Athletes aside from “Athletes living outside their country of nationality” (Article 119.6 of the FEI General Regulations). However, in this particular case, the investigation led by Bird & Bird LLP, found that a total of 93 foreign Athletes from 24 different NFs participated in the 2020 Sheikh Mohammed Cup and total of 88 foreign Athletes from 21 different NFs participated in the 2020 President's Cup.

The FEI Board met via videoconference on 16 September to hear presentations from Bird & Bird and the UAE NF legal representatives. Legal counsel from both parties responded to questions from the FEI Board prior to the Board Members reaching their in-principle decision, which has been formally notified to the UAE NF on 24 September 2020.

The Board concluded that the UAE NF had violated the FEI Rules, in particular, Articles 101, 109.2 and 100.7.2 of the FEI General Regulations and Article 2.8 of the FEI Statutes (see Notes to Editors below). In the case of the Sheikh Mohammed Cup, the violations were deemed intentional, and in the case of the President’s Cup, the violations were considered at the very least negligent. The Board also concluded that the reason for re-classifying the events as CENs was to avoid the application of the new FEI Endurance Rules that were scheduled to take effect as of 1 January 2020.

Given the serious nature of the rule violations, the FEI Board unanimously agreed that a significant sanction was required and in accordance with Article 8.3 of the FEI Statutes, the UAE NF will be suspended with effect from 24 September 2020 as follows:

• A full suspension of the UAE NF (all activities across all FEI disciplines) until 31 December 2020
• A suspension of the UAE NF’s activities in relation to the discipline of Endurance until 31 March 2021

The suspension also affects any events (including national Events) in the UAE, which become “Unsanctioned Events” during the suspension period and any FEI Athlete, Horse or Official participating will be liable to a period of ineligibility of up to six months in accordance with Articles 113.4 and 155.7 of the FEI General Regulations.

The Board also imposed a financial sanction on the Organisers, requiring them to pay a percentage of the prize money – 50% for the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and 10% for The President’s Cup - as well as the organising dues that would have been payable to the FEI had the Events been held as CEIs. The Board also decided that the UAE NF must pay the FEI’s legal fees. The suspensions imposed on the UAE NF will remain in place until all financial sanctions have been paid in full to the FEI, as per Article 164.5 of the FEI General Regulations.

“The decision to suspend the UAE National Federation was not taken lightly, but it reflects our commitment to good governance, integrity and horse welfare”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“Regrettably we were forced to suspend the UAE Federation in 2015 following an investigation into Endurance horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations. It is extremely disheartening that we are tackling similar issues in 2020 and that we have had to revert to the suspension of the National Federation. However, the UAE National Federation’s clear intent to avoid the application of the new Rules at the biggest events in their calendar was reflected in their actions around these two events and, as a community, we cannot allow individual NFs to apply the rules only as and when it suits them.

“It is my sincere hope that this suspension will drive change within the Federation and give rise to a new era for Endurance in the UAE equestrian community.”

The UAE National Federation was notified of the decision by the FEI on 24 September 2020 and has 21 days to appeal the decision to the FEI Tribunal.


Strong performances at first Endurance GB FEI competition of 2020 at Lavenham Ride in Suffolk - Full Article

Suzanne Ashton

Britain’s leading endurance riders were out in force as the sport staged a return to FEI competition for the first time in 2020 at Suffolk’s Lavenham Ride.

The popular Lavenham Ride (19-20 Sept) saw strong performances and given the lack of competition over the past year, encouraging completion rates across the classes.

Organisers and riders alike were delighted to have been able to meet stringent COVID guidelines to enable the competition to take place from the grounds of Semer Manor near Ipswich. Sponsors over the two days included; RiderCise, Zayin Arabian Stud, Gadebrook Stud, Lancashire Group Endurance GB, Haygain, Elm Farm Arabians, Equine Exceed and On The Hoof Distance Training

In the top FEI CEI 3* 140km class, Dorset-based Nikki Malcolm and Oso Arabian’s Oso Spiralling Wind, who made their mark on the 2019 season with wins in the RiderCise Southern Championship and at the British Horse Feeds Red Dragon, maintained their record with a superb victory. The pair won by a nose after a racing finish ahead of second-placed James Dickinson with Magdy, who train in West Sussex with Powys rider Fiona Griffiths with Balishla who followed in third...

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Poland: Kliczków; an excellent ride in historic location - Full Article

22nd September 2020
Race Report made with the assistance of Paweł Górski

Kliczków, Poland, Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September 2020.

Kliczkow is a small village located in the Lower Silesian part of Poland. It is mostly known for its XIII century Castle where the horses represent a large part of the castle’s 700-year history. In the historic park there is the remaining bit of a full 800 meters horse track. More than 100 years ago, the one and only horse cemetery was built in the middle of the track.

Castle Kliczków was the central point for the whole event. The scenery for the endurance event gave everybody a special and unforgettable experience. For the third time, the castle as well as the Lower Silesian Forest were hosting the endurance event. Thanks to the Polish National Forests, Equestrian Club Brawura and local authorities it was possible to organise an endurance ride in cooperation with Polish equestrian federation. For the second year in a row competitions were in the rank of Polish National Championship...

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Mongol Derby Diary #4 - Full Story

August 6 2020

The Adventure Continues...

Rosie Bathhurst ~ ” Coming into HS2 at the end of Day 1, I was riding in a big group and most people decided to stay there than risk going on, but Alice, Marie and I got on our steeds and off we went. Along we trotted, hopping back and forth across a river. We saw some camels, got excited by camels… then realized we had a long-ass way to go until HS3 and not much time. We debated whether we should go left or right of a big rock. We went left. Shoulda gone right! Got chased by some big scary wolf dogs because we got a bit close to a ger!

After riding away we saw some wooden buildings in the distance. We realized that we were going to get penalized to hell if we kept riding past curfew, so we investigated and decided we were here for adventure. Camping it was! Turns out it was a goat shed with a little corral. Marie and Alice hobbled their horses and put them on one side of the shed. I had lost my hobbles along the way – great job on Day 1!

Once the horses were happily settled, selfies were taken, and we went to find where we could sleep. We stepped into a hut filled with goat poo, picked our way over the decaying goat carcasses, and settled down for the night! We tucked into dinner… chocco protein bar for the win. It was nice and dark when we saw car headlights through the shed walls and we SHIT ourselves! We definitely thought we were in trouble! Thankfully, it was just the Derby crew checking on riders. The crew was followed by another car with the family whose scary doggos had chased us earlier. They had taken in rider Chips Broughton earlier in the evening and saw us ride over the hill, so came over to check on us as it was forecast to rain like crazy. What legends!...

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Strong entries as FEI Competition returns for Endurance GB - full article

17 September 2020

Press Release for Lavenham

Strong entries as FEI Competition returns for Endurance GB this weekend at Lavenham Ride in Suffolk

A strong entry of nearly 30 of Britain’s leading riders will take part in FEI International level competition under Endurance GB auspices for the first time this season at Lavenham, Suffolk (19-20 September).

Organisers of the 2020 endurance season’s first and only FEI event which takes place this weekend at Lavenham in Suffolk say they are delighted to have been able to meet stringent COVID guidelines in order to stage the competition.

The ride starts off in the grounds of Semer Manor, 12 miles to the West of Ipswich and offers an undulating course under the wide Suffolk skies.

The ride has previously been described by riders taking part as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of East Anglian competition combining both technical sections as well as faster elements.

Lined by trees and hedges, the track is almost entirely on wide grass margins which have been prepared for hunting and team chasing or on grassland. There are some very short road sections but remarkably the distance on tarmac is no more than half a mile in total.

Ride co-organiser Heather Weston who has been shielding previously and is therefore running the event in conjunction with Shelley Bates said: “This is a lovely course but more testing than it appears. Riders have to be aware that although it is potentially fast, there are a lot of tights turns along the way, and in some places there are ditches. The going has been spot-on in recent weeks but with the hot dry spell, riders need to be aware of the ground conditions.”

The FEI classes will see riders compete at one star 100km (CEI *), two star 120km (CEI **) and three star 140km (CEI ***) level. The 140km CEI 3* class will give some combinations the chance to secure vital qualifiers for both next year’s World and European Endurance Championships...

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Great Britain: Llanidloes mum to join horse race on Genghis Khan's route - Full Article

17th September 2020
by Matt Jnmes

A MUM-of-two is gearing up to take on a gruelling endurance challenge in which she must solely navigate a team of 25 horses across 1,000km of untamed Asian wilderness.

Zoe Geddes, 26, will take on the Mongol Derby next August – renowned for being the longest and toughest horse race on earth.

The race has been organised since 2009 and traces the steps of the Mongolian postal message system set up by legendary Mongol Empire leader Genghis Khan in 1224 – whose mighty horse messenger system connected half the planet.

For the last decade, race chiefs have been rebuilding this ancient network to stage the world’s greatest equine adventure race.

The Mongolian horses used are semi-feral and well suited to the extreme and varied terrain. The race covers high passes, deep valleys, wooded hills, rivers, wetland, sandy dunes, rolling hills and the vast expanse of the Mongolian steppe.

Zoe, from Llanidloes, says it has long been a dream to compete in the race, even if her invite took her completely by surprise...

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Great Britain: The 'highly addictive' joys of endurance racing - Full Article

By Padraig Coyle
BBC Sport NI
Last updated on17 September 2020

The mysterious and mystical woodlands of South West Brittany are famous for the legends that connect them to the ancient dolmens - Merlin's tomb and the Knights of the Round Table.

On a recent walk in the Forêt de Floranges, we came upon ribbons hanging tantalisingly from trees and strange, arrow symbols painted at crossing points on some of the paths.

The sudden emergence of cantering yellow-gowned figures, who disappeared back into the morning mists in an instant, was startling.

As we discovered later, these ghost riders were French, Belgian and German competitors in an endurance race over a 100km controlled course that had been organised by the Fédération Équestre Internationale.

Dungannon-born horse woman, Avril Bray, knows the terrain well. On that particular day though, she was involved in another endurance riding event nearer to the Normandy farm she runs with her husband Anton.

"I began riding when I was three and would spend several hours a day in the saddle. When I was 17, I made the choice to focus on judo," explains Bray, better known as Avril Malley back in the days when she was winning Commonwealth gold in Edinburgh and competing in the Seoul Olympics...

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Great Britain: Red Dragon Cancelled

15 September 2020

Cancellation Announcement

We are very sorry to announce that the British Horse Feeds & Golden Paste Company Red Dragon Festival of Endurance due to be held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on 3 & 4 October has been cancelled. This is because, due to the spike in positive Covid 19 cases in Wales over the last fortnight, the Welsh Government have had to delay their rollout of the relaxation of restrictions for larger events in Wales and they are now unable to give us assurance that the restrictions will be sufficiently lifted by 3 & 4 October to enable the event to take place. Full refunds will now be issued to entrants and these will be processed over the next 48 hours or so.

We are so grateful to John and Jane Hudson (organisers), Steve Hughson (CEO of the Royal Welsh Showground), Iain Graham (British Equestrian CEO) and the numerous volunteers and local landowners who worked so hard to try to make the event happen, but unfortunately the event has fallen victim to the unpredictable Covid 19 situation in which we find ourselves. Our thanks also go to British Horse Feeds and the Golden Paste Company for their loyal and unwavering support.

Our other Welsh events are restricted to 30 entrants at a time and are currently going ahead as planned.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Mongol Derby Diary #3 - Full Article

…and they’re off!

Start camp survived, training rides tested, the riders line up on Day 1 of racing not knowing what the next ten days may bring. Some will crash and burn; some will persevere through hardships previously unimaginable; but each and every rider will come away with memories that will sustain them for the rest of their lives.

Leslie Wylie ~ “If post time at the Kentucky Derby were a polite tea party, the start of the Mongol Derby would be a stein-smashing bar brawl. All around me, mayhem: 42 white-knuckled, steel-faced riders mounted up on tiny horses with steam blowing out their ears, the most civilized among them skittering around like popcorn while others spun like tops or flat bolted through the crowd.

These were the descendants of Mongolian warhorses and for all they knew we were charging off into battle, having missed the memo that Chinggis Khan’s mighty empire fell several centuries ago. In the final moments before the race a couple riders were still endeavoring just to climb in the saddle, their mounts issuing a buck-spin the moment they put their foot in the stirrup despite the herders trying to hold them down.

We’d been randomly issued horses for the first leg of the 28-leg race. Mine was midnight black and moved with a cocky mob-boss swagger, and I wanted desperately to stay on his good side. Ed Fernon, an Australian Olympic pentathlete whom I’d gotten to know on the six-hour bus ride to start camp, pointed out that I’d drawn the winner of the Naadam children’s race that had been our afternoon entertainment the day before. So he was basically a kid’s pony, right? Surely I could handle that. As the countdown began I lingered near the back, hoping to avoid fallout from the frontline and just run with the pack for a while...

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

'Excited but nervous': Zoe, 26, to take on world's toughest horse race - Full Article

By Charlotte Bentley | Bishop's Castle | News | Published: Sep 9, 2020

People from all over the world apply for a place in the Mongol Derby, the world's longest and toughest horse race, and a 26 year-old from Shropshire is one of the chosen few.

Zoe Geddes, who lives in Lydbury North in south Shropshire, never thought she'd get a place in the infamous horse race, which only has 40 places.

She said she has had to work hard for everything in her life and this will be no different, as alongside the gruelling training, Zoe must raise £11,000 to take part.

After raising two children, and coming out of a toxic relationship only this year, Zoe wanted something to set her mind to, and thought of nothing better than achieving her lifelong dream of competing in the 1,000km race on the other side of the world...

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Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Great Britain: Red Dragon ‘Lite’ gets green light! - Full Article

31 August 2020

Green light for Endurance GB’s British Horse Feeds and The Golden Paste Company’s Red Dragon ‘Lite’ Festival of Endurance

Organisers announce traditional end of season ride will go ahead 3-4 October at Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, thanks to generosity of sponsors and with strict changes in format to comply with Covid 19 regulations

British Horse Feeds and The Golden Paste Company have announced their continued support for the sport with title sponsorship of this year’s "Lite" Red Dragon Festival of Endurance.

Endurance GB and the organising team have stressed their gratitude for the support of both sponsors and the hosts and underlined that the event will be run with strict changes to the format to ensure compliance with Welsh Covid 19 regulations with the focus this year being on individual sport.

The Red Dragon Festival of Endurance at Builth Wells in mid-Wales is traditionally the last big event of the endurance riding season, with competitors travelling from across the UK to the Royal Welsh Showground for the unique atmosphere and challenging riding through the Cambrian mountains.

To enable the 2020 event to go ahead, classes for this year’s "Lite" version of Red Dragon have been revised to ensure that groups of people do not meet. The classes will run over two days instead of the usual three, with distances of 25km, 36km, 42km and 48km and various combinations of these for riders wishing to take part over two days. The 22 classes will include Graded Endurance Rides and Pleasure Rides but no Competitive Endurance Rides this year.

Graded Endurance Rides are ideally suited to social distancing because they are a solitary competition where the horse and rider head out over the course on their own or in pairs and are then given a grade at the end of the ride based on the fitness of their horse. The organisers intend to make full use of the enormous 150-acre Royal Welsh Showground site to also keep groups of people apart back at the venue...

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FEI Goes Quiet on Sanctions Against Countries with a Doping Problem - Full Article After a huge spike in positives in Saudi Arabia, last year the FEI told it would discuss a co...