FEI Sets Up Group to Urgently Create Roadmap for Future of Endurance After Tryon World Games Fiasco
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Oct. 22, 2018–The FEI, International Equestrian Federation, announced Monday formation of a group to urgently “create roadmap for the future of Endurance,” a discipline that has been embroiled for years in controversy culminating in cancelation of the world championship at Tryon last month.
The FEI said the goal of the temporary committee is to rid endurance of “win at all costs” racing and return to its original roots of riding with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core. The committee plans to give a report to the FEI Sports Forum next April.
Great Britain’s Dr. Sarah Coombs, a FEI Endurance veterinarian and a trustee of World Horse Welfare charity, will head up the committee. Other members are Tarek Taher, an Endurance athlete of Saudi Arabia; Pieter Wiersinga, police commissioner, former head of Netherlands’ mounted police and chef d’equipe of the Dutch endurance team; Dr. Margaret “Meg” Sleeper of the United States, an endurance competitor, trainer and official veterinarian, and Dr. Tim Parkin of Great Britain who heads up scientific research at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study.
Canada’s Mark Samuel, FEI 2nd vice president, will be involved to facilitate communication between the committee and the FEI Bureau.
“We need to bring the discipline back to the principles of the FEI where welfare of the horse and horsemanship prevail,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Temporary Committee will conduct a thorough review of the discipline with the aim of getting back to real Endurance riding with the focus on horsemanship and the partnership between horse and human.
“The sport has evolved and there needs to be a recognition of that, but the essence of the sport must remain the same. What we need are rules that place greater emphasis on completion of the event, rather than the ‘win at all costs’ mentality that is more and more threatening our sport.”
At Tryon, supposedly under control of FEI officials, riders were misdirected, many of those on the course were determined by veterinarians unfit to continue and arguments broke out among officials and riders that were so heated police were called to restore order. Some FEI stewards forcefully attempted to block news photo coverage.
A petition was circulated immediately the event was called off seeking to have the championship moved to the Middle East.
Over the past eight years, Endurance has been among the fastest growing of the eight disciplines in the FEI.
According to the FEI rankings lists endurance has grown to 3,153 riders as of September this year from 2,263 in 2010. Jumping totaled 3,209 this year from 2,200 in 2010, eventing 3,672 up from 3,312 while dressage has 750 combinations on the ranking list, up from 625 in 2010.
Of the 42 suspended horses and riders listed by the FEI as of Monday, 24 are endurance with jumping and eventing each with eight cases. Of a total of 46 cases to be decided, 27 are endurance.