Clean Endurance Issues Statement Supporting FEI In Reformimg Endurance

Last weeks FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland spent the entire second day discussing the findings and recommendations of the recently created Endurance Temporary Committee (ETC) and endurance watchdog group, Clean Endurance have now backed  the recommendations made there in a public station.  

The ETC was formed after the debacle that occured at the World Equestrian Games that resuited in the abandonment of the competition but there had already been many scandals both before and after that contest, many of which were drawn to public and FEI attention by the efforts of the Clean Endurance group. These included unrecorded horse deaths, doping and unregistered riders in FEI races.  There have also been concerns about the welfare of horses compeing in the middle east due to the extreme conditions  and the apparent lack of horsemanship  observed by the so called 'jockey' riders  who only get on their mount at the start of the competition and do not of the preparation themselves.

?Another major concern was the efficiency and integrity of officials. who should be using their status to deal with  the  transgressions at the time, instead of it being left to Clean Endurance and concerned members of the media who raise the alarm.

?At the Sports Forum it seems that the ETC  had drawn most of the same conclusions  as those which Clean Endurance has been lobbying for and although  some of the recpmmendations fall short of those asked for by the group,  it was almost universally agreed that the ETC had made a good start in bringing reform to the sport.

Clean Endurance Statement in Full

Clean Endurance is heartened by the FEI’s expression of their firm intent to move Endurance to a better place. The long list of proposals from the FEI Endurance Temporary Committee (ETC) presented during the second day of the FEI Sports Forum 2019 aims to combat the cheating, doping and abuse still rife in endurance. A large number of the most common abusive and fraudulent practices were documented in the “A to Z guide to spotting Cheating and Abuse” published by Clean Endurance in August 2018. This guide  was produced in response to the many enquiries Clean Endurance receives from spectators, stakeholders and volunteers who are present at competitions and wish to assist the FEI in the fight against violations. 
Clean Endurance applauds the emphasis on horsemanship and horse welfare the various members of the Endurance Temporary Committee made the centre of their respective presentations – ensuring these values come back to form the foundation of Endurance is the only way the sport can survive and thrive in the future. 
Nearly all of the proposals brought forward by the Endurance Temporary Committee (ETC) have in the past been suggested to the FEI by Clean Endurance, albeit often in more stringent versions. These include qualifying as a combination, imposing minimum weight limits to reduce speeds, limiting the number of starters, imposing longer minimum loop lengths and more phases in the competition, limiting the number of crew members, shortening presentation times and lowering maximum heart rates, not allowing second presentations at Vet Gates, the introduction of tack and blood rules, extending the time limit for reporting rule violations and increasing sanctions for horse abuse. 
Clean Endurance encourages and supports the FEI in taking forward the proposals as they stand today, with one caveat: the completion-rate based qualification is potentially cumbersome for Organising Committees and Officials and is thus vulnerable to fraud. Regrettably there are already many recorded examples of falsified qualifying results in our sport. Clean Endurance recommends instead  Clean Endurance recommends the FEI examine the French ranking system for lower level National rides, which incorporates speed AND heart rate recovery. This system has worked on set speed rides in France for over 20 years, can be easily adopted for free speed rides, and rewards strategic riding and horsemanship without the need for capping speeds.

Clean Endurance has also asked the FEI to be mindful of the unintended potential negative consequences of extending the Mandatory Rest Periods (or ‘Mandatory Out Of Competition Periods’ as the current proposal names them) as they can potentially penalise amateur riders who compete only 1 or 2 horses,  as well as the OC’s who put on technical, ‘old school’ rides to cater for this group. 
It would also like to see the re-introduction of the 2-hour mandatory waiting period for invasive treatment after a horse has placed at an event. Far too often today, horses are in the clinic hooked up on drips while their ‘victorious’ riders are on the podium receiving their awards. Not allowing immediate invasive treatment will encourage riders to slow down and thus protect the horses.    The details of the many rule change proposals still need to be worked out by the ETC before the consultation process with the National Federations starts in early July. 
Clean Endurance urges anyone with an interest in the sport to provide their comments and suggestions to contact  [email protected], to the FEI at [email protected], and to their respective National Federations who will ultimately vote on these proposals at the FEI General Assembly in November 2019. 
Clean Endurance is a global collective of volunteers who are committed to restoring the traditional values of their sport. It has an informal working relationship with the FEI: several recent FEI rule changes, procedures as well as sanctions have been developed from matters they have raised.
Clean Endurance is happy to supply links for further reading, including coverage in bona fide news media. 
Clean Endurance also welcomes comments and suggestions. Find them on Facebook and contact them through the message button, or email [email protected]