Wednesday 14 December - 17h15 | Lulu Kyriacou
Another Horse Fatality in Dubai
On only the second international race of the 2016 season at a Dubai venue (since the FEI lifted its suspension on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) holding such competitions) a horse has already been fatally injured.
After a series of horrific scenes at endurance competitions in the UAE, the FEI suspended that nation from international competition in 2015 and only lifted the sanction after assurances that welfare guidelines would be adhered to in future competitions. However, it has taken less than a month after the resumption of international CEI's in the 2016 season in one of the three UAE venues for a horse to be listed in the results as CI (catastrophic injury). On this occasion, during a CEI1* 80km race in Dubai, the horse concerned was Dumna, an eight year old competing in only her second international and ridden by Abdul Latif. The incident happened on the first loop but no other details have emerged so far and video of the race has not been published so far. Dumna was listed as FTC (failed to complete) in her first race and dead in her second. Her FEI record is here
The ride had 374 entries of which well over 300 started the race, a huge number, with only two European officials, Italian veterinarian Massimo Puccetti and John William Robertson, whose FEI registration for 2016 is listed as 'missing' on the FEI database (see the list of officials at CEI Dubai here ). Should anyone be allowed to officiate without a current registration? This may well be a genuine error but it also applies to a competitor in the race Mohd Iqbal Hasan Ali Khan (IND) who was allowed to start in the race despite not being registered for the discipline or anything else in 2016. How was his entry ever accepted in the first place? Ali Khan was recorded as riding on the first loop at a speed of over 20kph on the result sheet.
According to the results, only one horse was eliminated for metabolics, which is quite a feat considering the conditions and the number of starters. However nearly a quarter of the field failed to complete due to gait abnormalities and another ten were retired by their riders.
In the wake of the investigation announced by Endurance GB this week concerning a British woman riding a clearly tiring horse in a national event within the same week, it is not looking as if the FEI sanctions have made any difference to the much of UAE endurance racing. The question needs to be asked if a rider must die before proper action is taken to address the seemingly never ending lists of fatalities and welfare issues in the country. Particulary as the venue at Bouthib, run by endurance reformer Sheik Sultan, shows conspicuous different results with nearly 80% of entries completing and almost no eliminations at veterinary gates.
The full race result is here