Clean Endurance has written to all 134 National Federations invited to the FEI General Assembly in Moscow on November 19, 2019, asking them to vote in favour of the 2020 Endurance Rules Proposals.
They told the National Federation Secretary Generals that their letter was a last resort to try and convey to them the absolute emergency situation Endurance is in today, and that a positive vote was of the utmost importance.
Clean Endurance sketched the dire straits Endurance is in as follows:
“Back in 2014, the FEI created the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) which concluded that emergency measures were needed to reduce the numbers of doped, injured and dying horses at Endurance competitions. Only a few of their 41 recommendations were implemented and no improvement was seen.
“In fact, the situation kept getting worse and worse, with ever increasing Catastrophic Injuries and the FEI Tribunal overwhelmed with doping and abuse cases. Currently, two thirds of all suspensions are for Endurance riders and trainers, over half of the Administrative Sanctions for doping involve Endurance horses ( and the winter season is only just beginning), over half of all doping cases treated by the FEI Tribunal in 2019 were Endurance related, and 80% of horse abuse sanctions imposed by the Tribunal this year were for Endurance. Numerous other abuse cases involving Endurance horses are queuing up to be heard by the Tribunal. An ever-increasing number of horses are collapsing and dying during Endurance competitions all over the world. This endangers ALL horse sports including the Olympic disciplines by bringing them into disrepute.
“The continuing problems led the FEI to create the Endurance Temporary Committee in 2018 which was charged with creating rule proposals to protect the horses by putting them first, and thus ensuring Endurance could survive as a FEI discipline.”
Clean Endurance than pointed out that prior attempts at improving the Endurance Rules (in 2017 for example) failed, but that this time, commercial or political interests could not be allowed to prime over horse welfare, nor could a lack of involvement from those National Federations not actively participating in Endurance. They also mentioned that National Federations had no doubt, as was the case in 2017, received presentations from those National Federations who prefer to continue with racing horses at high speeds over very long distances and who will have tried to persuade them that this is the future. But that instead, they should ask themselves why the career span of a young horse sold to take part in these races is less than two years, and why the rate of positives to prohibited substances in that region is 12% – nearly 10 times greater than any other horse sport in any other country.
Clean Endurance went on to quote FEI President Ingmar de Vos from his opening speech at the 2019 FEI Sports Forum:
“Regardless of all actions undertaken, all the decisions, and all the resources made available we still have the same issues: horse welfare and the integrity of the sport remain huge concerns in Endurance. There are still too many injuries and fatalities, and I can only talk about those that we know of. We collectively hold our breaths when the season in the Middle East starts again. After Tryon, the FEI board unanimously agreed this had to stop. We need to bring horsemanship back to the heart of Endurance. It is our responsibility AND THIS IS THE LAST CHANCE. Endurance has great potential for the future, but NOT AS IT CURRENTLY EXISTS”.
Ingmar de Vos also stressed the fact that “We need to be courageous to make the right decisions in November.”
Clean Endurance wrote that “Regardless of whether you as a National Federation are actively involved in Endurance or not, we urge you to vote a resounding YES to ALL the Endurance rule propositions the FEI submits to you. These proposals are not perfect, but an important steppingstone to finally get Endurance under control and build a sustainable future for it, within the FEI.”
They concluded their letter by stating they trust that the National Federations will support the FEI in its efforts for clean and fair sport.
Clean Endurance is a global collective which aims to restore the traditional values of their sport. It combats fraud, doping and abuse in collaboration with the FEI, National Federations and numerous other stakeholders.