United Arab Emirates’ Remaining Endurance Events Removed by FEI

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FEI President Ingmar De Vos
FEI President Ingmar De Vos

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Feb. 26, 2015–Two remaining Endurance events that were scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month have been removed from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) calendar for what it said Thursday was “an emergency measure to protect horse welfare.”

The removal came at the first meeting of the new FEI Executive Board chaired by recently elected President Ingmar De Vos as the successor to Princess Haya. Her husband, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, United Arab Emirates has been under scrutiny in recent years over doping of his Endurance horses and Thoroughbred racvehorses.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender removed the two remaining international Endurance events scheduled to be held in the UAE in March from the FEI calendar “in an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and to preserve the integrity of the FEI rules and regulations at FEI events.”

The move came after the Executive Board “urgently investigate horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in the UAE.”

“We have made this our top priority and will make our conclusions as speedily as possible so that the recommendations can be presented to the Bureau for urgent consideration,” the FEI president said.

In addition to the president, the executive board meeting was attended by 1st Vice President and Chair of the Jumping Committee John Madden of the United States, 2nd Vice President and Chair of FEI Regional Group VII Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa of Brunei, Dressage Committee Chair Frank Kemperman of the Netherlands, Athletes’ Committee Chair Maria Gretzer of Sweden and Secretary General Zeender of Switzerland.

Endurance rules were strengthened last year specifically to protect and promote horse welfare following recommendations from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group. The widely supported measures include additional dope testing, injury surveillance and reporting, athlete penalties for equine injuries, and extended rest periods. Other measures increase the responsibility and accountability of riders, trainers and officials, as well as steps to address conflicts of interest.