Tuesday 13 December - 12h34 | Lulu Kyriacou
British Rider At Centre of New Endurance Storm
A British woman rider is at the centre of a new set of abuse in endurance racing allegations, which are now being investigated by Endurance GB.
According to their Twitter feed on December 12th, Endurance GB announced that "An incident relating to a British rider in a CEN competition, on the 3/12, held in the UAE has been referred for a full investigation."
This refers to the accusations levelled at Emma Finnie, a British resident of the UAE who also competes in other equestrian events such as show jumping. Finnie rode in a national event (thereforer outside FEI juristriction) over 120km which she allegedly led for most of the way before being passed on the last loop. However part of the agreement to lift the FEI suspension of the UAE in autumn 2015 was that national rides had to follow FEI rules for the next 3 years. According to the observers her horse was very tired and being repeatedly kicked throughout the final kilometer but Ms Finnie is an experienced competitor at international level (FEI record is here ) including several good completings in the UAE so this observation is questionable. A short video can be seen below of Finnie and her horse on the final loop but the quality is not good.
What is not open to question is that the speed of the race was recorded at 27km per hour according to the scoresheet which was very fast for the conditions and is one of the things that contributes to low completion rates. In the video shown below, which was a 100km race at the weekend, only 21% of the starters finished the race. One of the horses shown, the one in the rear of the shot, was spun at the final veterinary inspection.
Ms Finnie is also being criticised for her bridle. The image clearly shows a very severe curb type bit being used with a noseband that has a chain round the lower part of the jaw. It appears to be extremely tightly fastened. This is quite contrary to currrent guidelines on tack and equipment published as part of the welfare of horses in competiton but that is not discipline specific and as there are no tack rules for endurance pertaining to bits and as once again, as this was not an FEI sanctioned international ride, these guideleines could not be enforced.
These incidents are in contrast to the latest CEI1* 80km at Bouthib, the venue which is the brainchild of Sheik Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. There the horses competed on natural tracks over the local terrain, something not seen in UAE endurance for many years and the overall speed of the winner was a mere 19km per hour which was reflected in the 79% complation rate.