Belgium ponders whether to go to endurance champs in Dubai

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gallop-legs-endurance_2546Belgium equestrian officials are pondering whether to send riders to the world endurance championships in Dubai next year as the fallout from the death of Splitters Creek Bundy continues.

A statement from the Royal Belgian Federation for Equestrian Sports (FRBSE) came as the FEI announced that it was stripping two international endurance events to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month from its calendar. It called the move an emergency measure to protect horse welfare and preserve the integrity of its rules and regulations at FEI events.

The furore over the death of Splitters Creek Bundy in the Al Reef Cup in Abu Dhabi late last month has been raging since harrowing images of the stricken horse emerged and circulated widely in social media.

The race was run under the rules of the UAE National Federation, which covers horse sport in the seven emirates, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The fact the event was staged under local rules limits the jurisdiction of the FEI.

The Belgium body said until it saw positive change, it would strongly discourage members from participating in any endurance competition organized in the region

It said it was saddened by events within the sport in the region, citing in particular the Al Reef Cup.

The repeated welfare issues had led it to conclude that equestrian authorities within the UAE had still not got a handle on the situation, it said, despite the concerns of the FEI, its member nations, and the many initiatives to find a “positive outcome”

The federation wanted to reaffirm its view that animal welfare was a fundamental principle of equestrian sport, and that it was committed to respectful treatment of endurance horses.

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