The FEI is extremely concerned about recent Endurance competition images emerging from the UAE.
You have probably seen that our Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello has been quoted in the media stating that it is abundantly clear that speed is a major factor in these incidents and that it is necessary to introduce measures to slow down the horses in order to reduce the number of catastrophic injuries. We are working on this as a matter of urgency with the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF).
Following meetings between the FEI and the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), both in Switzerland and the UAE over the past week, the EEF has postponed four Endurance events so that agreement can be reached on proposed measures to urgently address a number of serious issues in Endurance in the region. The CEI1* in Dubai on 8 February has been postponed, along with national events on 4, 5 and 6 February.
The FEI has set a deadline of 11 February for the EEF to come back with an agreement on the proposed measures. No further events will be held in the region until agreement on these measures has been reached.
In addition, The EEF has taken further action, suspending five riders and five trainers for a six-month period and also imposing fines following what they termed “gross offences” at the junior and young rider 120km ride at Al Wathba on 30 January (see attached EEF press release
We have very stringent rules and values which place the horse and the welfare of the horse above and beyond any sporting ambitions and are working tirelessly to ensure that these values are upheld at both international and national level competitions. Although the FEI does not have jurisdiction over national events, we are absolutely against all forms of equine abuse.
We have made some progress in recent times but clearly there is still a lot of work to do to ensure the welfare of the horse in sport globally. This will not happen overnight. Changing perceptions and practices requires not only sanctions but also education and dialogue. We are doing this and we will continue to do so.
Please rest assured that we are committed and dedicated to eradicating horse abuse in competition.