New rules in endurance a ‘great step foward’

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New endurance rules, which address “horse welfare and fair play”, have been approved by the FEI in time for the World Equestrian Games.

Step forward

The “fundamental” rule changes are in line with the recommendations of the Endurance Strategic Planning Group (ESPG) and will be implemented on 1 August 2014.

The ESPG was set up by the FEI last year to develop a 10-year plan to address the current problems in endurance riding.

“The new rules for endurance are a great step forward for horse welfare and fair play, and we strongly believe they address the key issues that the discipline has been facing,” said Brian Sheahan, chair of the FEI endurance committee and member of the ESPG.

Level playing field

In addition to the new rules the Endurance Task Force is looking at how technology can be used to ensure horse welfare and provide a level playing field for endurance events around the world.

It was also agreed the first vice president John McEwen will take over responsibility for endurance while Princess Haya is the FEI president. This is in response to concerns there could be a “conflict of interest” as her husband Sheikh Mohammed was involved in a doping scandal at his Godolphin stable.

Major breakthrough

While the ESPG will continue to monitor the new rules to ensure sure they are fit for purpose, Brian described the changes as a “major breakthrough”.

“Now we can go forward with confidence to the World Equestrian Games, knowing that we have the right regulations and the right officials in place to ensure horse welfare and fair play, and also knowing that the athletes and their teams are confident in the rules and their implementation,” said Brian.