Chaos and Cancellations at World Equestrian Games Competition

Paula Muntala Sanchez (ESP), aged 21, riding 10-year old part-Arabian Echo Falls secured individual gold and also guided her team to gold at the 120km FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Rio Frio, Portugal on 3 September. (FEI/Endurance in the World)

Chaos and Cancellations at World Equestrian Games Competition

The Meydan-sponspored endurance competition, held at the World Equestrian Games in Tyron has been cancelled due to weather conditions becoming an “unacceptable risk” to horse welfare.

The unanimous decision to cancel the event was agreed by the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate, the President of the Veterinary Committee and the Organising Committee. The decision also falls in line with the FEI Code of Conduct for The Welfare of the Horse which states;

Competitions must not take place in extreme weather conditions that may compromise welfare or safety of the horse.”

President of the Veterinary Committee, Thomas Timmons explained the reasons behind the cancellation of the event;

This was a difficult decision to make, but it was done with horse and athlete welfare in mind as the conditions this afternoon after the rain resulted in extremely high levels of humidity and, combined with rising heat, it was deemed unsafe to continue the ride.”

Dr David Marlin, the British scientist who has been working on humidity studies for FEI since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, provided the Ground Jury with humidity data. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), and indicator of humidity levels showed a reading of 31. Readings over 25 on the WBGT index call for close monitoring of horse condition and in most cases alterations to the competition, to ensure horse welfare is maintained. Officials agreed the reading of 31 was an “unacceptable risk to horse welfare”.

The cancellation comes after riders were “unfortunately misdirected”, within the early stages of the Meydan-sponsored endurance event. Riders were clearly seen on GPS heading back toward to the first vetgate, with some riders approaching each other head-to-head.

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A decision was made to reduce the competition length to 120km, from the original 160km length, excluding the first loop of the route. President of the Ground Jury, President of the Veterinary Commission, Foreign Veterinary Delegate and the Organizing Committee viewed this as the only ‘pragmatic solution”, with no possibility of a rescheduling.

Disagreement among the equestrian community has been voiced, a petition being started for the event to be rescheduled, as 25 of the original starters were eliminated after a vet-check to begin the re-organised event.

The FEI has now released a statement regarding the misdirection that occurred earlier in the Meydan-sponsored endurance competition, outlining the actions they are taking to resolve the issue;

FEI has tasked the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), which is onsite here at Tryon, to do a full investigation into the circumstances that resulted in some horse/athlete combinations being misdirected. The investigation will include interviews with the officials, volunteers, Organising Committee and all other relevant personnel to provide a full picture of what happened.”

Findings of the investigation into the misdirection of the ride will be presented to the FEI Bureau, before the conclusions are made public.

 

Image for illustration purposes only:  Paula Muntala Sanchez (ESP), aged 21, riding 10-year old part-Arabian Echo Falls secured individual gold and also guided her team to gold at the 120km FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Rio Frio, Portugal on 3 September. (FEI/Endurance in the World)

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[avatar user="AbbyDickinson" size="medium" align="center" link="file"]Everything Horse News Reporter, Abby Dickinson[/avatar]

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