After further incidents during the endurance season in Group VII of the FEI in the Middle East, the Swiss Equestrian Federation SEF strongly questions the intended venue for the Elite Endurance World Championships in December 2016, namely Dubai (UAE). Despite arrangements made with the International Equestrian Federation FEI, noted misuses during raids in this region continue to be on the agenda. Among others, and since the beginning of the season in October 2015, already 10 «Catastrophic Injuries» were reported to the FEI with confirmation at this current stage of the deaths of 7 horses.
After persistent criticism coming from various quarters, the International Equestrian Federation FEI adapted in 2014 the regulations of endurance competitions, with its main objective being the protection and welfare of horses as well as equal treatment for all competitors. The FEI had then clearly stated that these regulations came into force immediately and had to be respected.
The Swiss Equestrian Federation SEF, who had welcomed and supported these measures, has closely been following since the start of the season in October 2015, events that occur during endurance raids organized in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Unfortunately it notes that the massive abuses are on-going and that only small improvements have been made, these being mainly observed on the well-known competition site Bou Thieb where the owner of the facilities, Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has introduced tougher rules through his own initiative, including a speed limit and a maximum heart rate of 56 beats per minute at the Vetgates.
After the suspension of several months against the national federation of the UAE imposed by the FEI in 2015, this suspension was lifted after negotiations and promises made by the UAE that all agreed measures would be applied. Now the SEF considers that the trust between the international equestrian world, FEI and officials of United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been broken because the agreed arrangements have not been met after the lifting of the suspension.
An alternative host venue for the organization of the World Championships in Dubai is therefore required.
The SEF expects the FEI to suggest a new venue to host the Elite Endurance World Championships in December 2016, as it believes that under current conditions, Dubai (UAE) is not suitable. Other national federations and organizations such as the Dutch Equestrian Federation KNHS, the American Endurance Ride Conference AERC and Endurance Great Britain EGB expressed their thoughts on the matter by requiring that the FEI offers an acceptable alternative. The SEF encourages the FEI to take specific and lasting measures for the welfare of horses and for a fair sport.