Friday 29 March - 11h51 | Lulu Kyriacou
Welfare Concerns Over Endurance Tack Escalates
Welfare in endurance is not a new subject but over the last few days a social media storm has been brewing about the lack of regulation with regard to saddlery on endurance horses. This came about after images emerged from a ride during the Abu Dhabi Festival of Endurance at Al Wathba.
Highlighted by British journalist Pippa Cuckson, her original post has been shared 100's of time on Facebook. Although some of the photos in question technically came from a national ride (CEN)at the Festival many were from the CEI international rides with the same officials at both. Although the CEN rides are technically outside international jurisdiction, all of the images highlighted why the recently created Endurance Temporary Committee are expected to try and get some rules or, at least, guidelines for tack in endurance contests ratified by the International Equestrian Federation in April when they have a meeting as part of the 2019 Sports Forum because at the moment nothing is in place. The issue for observers is that in other disciplines the rules are so strict that a horse may be disqualified for a noseband being too tight in a ten minute test. In recent months four showjumping riders have received official warnings for over tight nosebands, worn for a few minutes, whereas an endurance horse will have to endure that discomfort for many hours, sometimes in harsh weather over dozens of kilometres.One of the photos, reproduced in this article, shows a sand encrusted horse with a severely tight dropped noseband being used in conjunction with a long shanked bit, a combination most experts would regard as severe.
The anomaly serves to illustrate the lack of consistency in the regulation of horse sport. In a couple of the images, which have now been removed from Instagram, horses can be seen bleeding from nose or mouth, without being either stopped or penalised, which is entirely contrary to guidelines in other disciplines. Grand Prix and championship hopes have been dashed in dressage, eventing and showjumping due to appearance of blood but it seems to be much less of an issues in endurance. The illustration is from a British ride whare the horse was passed fit to continue at the next vet gate.
It is advised that anyone feeling strongly about this issue should contact either the FEI direct or committee representative Tarek Taher direct via his Faceboo page.
Monday 18 March - 00h51