Endurance GB issues statement on catastrophic injuries at UAE ride and underlines rules on British riders competing abroad
Endurance GB is calling for the fullest possible investigation by the FEI following Catastrophic Injuries to four horses competing at the CEN 120 km Al Maktoum Cup and CEN 120 km Gamilati Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at the weekend.
While the horse racing world is already looking towards next year’s major races with a lot of interest in the 2021 Cheltenham betting, there are still many races happening around the world, and not all of them are as well-regulated as Cheltenham.
In a statement today, Endurance GB’s new Director of Welfare, Antonia Milner-Matthews, a veterinary surgeon who also competes at International FEI level endurance said:
“Endurance GB’s board and membership have been shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic Catastrophic Injuries that occurred to four horses competing over the weekend. We understand that although this was classified as a National (CEN) ride, there were at least 20 nationalities represented. It is clear that running these events with a very international flavour as CENs is not within the spirit of Article 101 of the FEI’s General Regulations and we have grave concerns that such rides do not carry the level of scrutiny, welfare safeguards or sanctions that are in place at FEI CEI International level competition. We are calling on the FEI to review this. While Endurance GB feels that many of the new FEI rule changes coming into effect in 2020 will help improve welfare at international rides, the FEI must have backing at every level from national federations and sports’ governing bodies to both enforce and continually review both rules and the sanctions it imposes for failure to comply. Cleaning up endurance internationally must be the global priority for our sport in 2020 whatever that takes.
“At home, Endurance GB is doing everything in its power to try to ensure the welfare of horses competing at Endurance GB rides and as a result is continually reviewing its own policies and procedures as there is always room for progress.”
Endurance GB has also re-issued the procedure by which British riders must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in order to compete at rides, including non-FEI competitions abroad. Article 101 of the FEI’s General Regulations states that Individual foreign Athletes, other than “Athletes Living Outside their Country of Nationality” (Article 119.6), may take part in National rides (CNs) provided they have obtained written permission from their own National Federation and from the National Federation of the Organising Committee concerned. The purpose of these certificates is to allow the rider to evidence that they are qualified to ride at the required level under Endurance GB domestic rules, and that there are no live or pending disciplinary issues which might preclude the individual from competing.
Esther Young, Operations Director and Vice-Chair said:
“In terms of competing in certain countries, Endurance GB strongly recommends that riders do not ride in areas of the world where there are serious and well-founded concerns about horse welfare in Endurance Riding.
“The fact that Endurance GB has issued a NOC is merely evidence that the rider is appropriately qualified and does not in any way condone their activities abroad. Riders make the decision to ride abroad at their own risk, and they must not bring the sport of Endurance Riding nor Endurance GB into disrepute. British riders riding overseas must remember that they remain subject to the Endurance GB rules and recommendations, and that the Endurance GB disciplinary policy applies to them wherever in the world they are riding. Our members are expected to uphold the highest standards of horse welfare and sportsmanship, and members who ride overseas can and do get referred to our Disciplinary Panel if they break our rules.
“FEI registered riders should be aware that from 1st January 2020, they are expected under the new FEI rules to report any instances of horse abuse that they witness to the FEI, whether or not that abuse occurs at an FEI competition. Endurance GB fully supports this requirement and will help and advise any rider wishing to report abuse.”
Feature image for illustration only.