On January 30th, five exhausted horses were chased across the finish line of a 120 kilometer youth endurance ride in Abu Dhabi. The event was live streamed, and video of the incident soon went viral.

As a result of the incident, five stables, including Sheikh Mohammed’s premier endurance stable MRM, were fined $100,000 each for the abuse by the Emirates Equestrian Federation.

Now, the FEI is under pressure to strip Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai International Endurance City of the 2016 world championship event. Despite being under close scrutiny as of late, animal welfare atrocities continue to escalate in the United Arab Emirates. From amputations, to pushing horses beyond the point of exhaustion, countless cases of abuse continue to be documented on a regular basis.

Today, the FEI posted the following update on their website:

“The FEI has received from the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) their proposed list of measures to be implemented at CEIs, and importantly at CENs, for the remainder of the current season.

As explained on 5 February (see below), the EEF proactively postponed four Endurance events to urgently address a number of serious issues in Endurance and have since come up with appropriate measures to prevent future incidents. The EEF have taken bold decisions to protect the welfare of the horse, and we will continue to work together to ensure progress.

The measures received include, but are not limited to, heart rate reduction, recovery time, resting periods between loops, cars and crewing. The proposal also includes further measures for the UAE’s upcoming season, such as a new registration and qualifications system for trainers as well as a grooms’ registration programme.

An important meeting will take place tomorrow (13 February) between the FEI and EEF, when the exact details on the measures will be finalised and communicated via a press release.

The CEI 3* 160km HH The President of UAE Endurance Cup will take place tomorrow (13 February) in Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, as originally included in the FEI Calendar. A number of new measures will be implemented at the Event, such as presentation times and heart rate reduction. Our Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello will be present at tomorrow’s event.

The FEI is standing firm on its position and will continue to focus efforts on introducing strong measures in Endurance in the UAE, working with the EEF.

The EEF are fully aware of what it is in the balance. The FEI is working with the EEF to overcome these challenges and is confident that agreed upon measures will have a deep impact on the sport in the region long term.

The FEI is pleased with the manner in which the EEF have swiftly addressed the issues. The actions proposed also go beyond the discussions held between both parties, and the FEI looks forward to finalising the exact details with the EEF.

The FEI will continue to keep its National Federations and equestrian community stakeholders aware of the current situation.”

A Change.org petition demanding a venue change has been launched by Clean Endurance, click here to read the petition.

For further information on the current state of endurance, read Pippa Cuckson’s article here.

Article by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza