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UAE2020 Endurance: Business as Usual in the Killing Fields

When the FEI General Assembly passed tough new rules to reform endurance six weeks ago, the landslide vote (94 national federations in favour, 19 against) was widely seen as a kick in the teeth for the UAE. But not for long. It is business as usual as the new decade dawns in the desert. At the stroke of midnight on December 31st, desert racing simply removed the FEI from its own equation. Many of the UAE’s 60-odd winter fixtures had already dropped FEI affiliation in recent years. Now nearly all have dis-affiliated for the second half of t...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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FEI decision-making: is one country, one vote sustainable?

There was an awkward moment at the FEI’s General Assembly in Moscow last month when the rights of new countries to join were challenged by Norway, a FEI founder member in 1921. President of the Norwegian federation, Tore Sannum, spoke out as Mongolia, Ivory Coast and the Bahamas were being welcomed to the FEI family. The addition brings FEI membership to 137 na...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Russian riders may still compete in Tokyo despite WADA ban

Russian riders may yet compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games, despite today’s (December 9th) announcement that the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from major sports events for four years. Provisions allow for athletes to compete under a “neutral” flag if they can prove they are not complicit in doping. Russian riders will be sampled by the FEI before Tokyo, as also happened before Rio 2016 “to preserve the rights of the clean athletes and to support them.” Russia has qualified a team in dressage, and currently has tw...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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(Official) Demise of the World Equestrian Games and New Championships

Given my long-held dislike of the all-sports-in-one basket World Equestrian Games format, various friends have asked why I hadn’t immediately celebrated WEG’s demise, when the FEI announced its multiple 2022 world championship allocations on November 16th. I’d held off, waiting for the delayed decisions on endurance and reining. Their 2022 world championships were to be announced after make-or break-votes at the FEI General Assembly (GA) in Moscow on November 19th, over new rules and retention within the FEI respectively. But it tur...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Endurance: No Gain Without Pain, But Who Will Make the Sacrifice?

I have been writing about the woes of desert endurance for over seven years. I didn’t want to feel a sense of “déjà vu” when the latest beefed-up FEI rule proposals were published a few days ago, but read them – or more accurately, the response to them – with more weariness and exasperation. The FEI’s Endurance Temporary Committee (ETC) has worked tirelessly for a year, going further than any of its predecessors dared to with reforms to rescue endurance’s social licence to exist. The elected athletes’ representative Tarek T...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Swiss Land ‘Final’ Tokyo Slot, But Team Chances Still Out There

Switzerland claimed the last Olympic team place for 2020 at the FEI eventing Nations Cup final at Boekelo in the Netherlands October 13th. Their squad has been coached since the winter by Andrew Nicholson and it certainly shows. They finished best of the teams in the overall Nations Cup rankings not already bound for Tokyo. The Tokyo factor added an extra frisson to Boekelo’s traditionally lively end-of-season party. But Boekelo might not quite be the Tokyo last-chance, because “qualification” has a strange interpretation in equestrianis...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Coroner’s 31 Recommendations to Make Australian Eventing Safer

Coroner Offers 31 Recommendations to Make Australian Eventing Safer A coroner has delivered 31 extensive recommendations about the future organisation of eventing in Australia, requiring a wholesale change in mind-set about safety, review processes and peer-group input into course approval. Today in Sydney, deputy state coroner Derek Lee presented his findings into the deaths of Olivia Inglis, 17, and Caitlyn Fischer, 19, both at spring 2016 events in New South Wales. If applied, Mr Lee’s suggestions would make Equestrian Australia’s (EA) ...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Contamination is Becoming a Stain on Equestrian Sport

Contamination is the current “go to” defence in doping in all sports, whether the athlete has deliberately cheated or not. In FEI Tribunal decisions, you will read many far-fetched excuses as well as credible ones. The endurance community was recently entertained by the case of trainer Ismail Mohammed, banned for two years f...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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UAE Endurance: Letting the Fox Rule the Hen House

Only someone who has been either a) in a coma or b) resident on Mars for several years cannot know that FEI endurance has spiralled out of control in the Middle East, and the UAE in particular, for nearly 20 years. The FEI’s latest attempts at reform are in the final stages of consultation. On top of the standard procedure, a day was devoted to the draft proposals of the FEI’s “emergency” endurance com...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Kocher-Gate: Is There Really a Viable Case?

Debate is still raging, nearly two weeks on, about Andrew Kocher’s decision to jump Carollo in the onerous Spruce Meadows Derby the day after the same horse won another demanding class, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (July 6-7.) As the rest of the world knows from the cringe-inducing video that went viral, Carollo crashed and burned his way to 28 faults. We know Carollo was Tired because his connections posted a video of a subdued Car...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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