UAE suspension reflects seriousness of endurance situation – charity

World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers
World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers.

The suspension of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the FEI will hopefully end a dark period in international endurance, World Horse Welfare says.

The British-based international charity said it welcomed the suspension of the UAE following a catalogue of significant horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in endurance.

The charity, which is an independent welfare adviser to the FEI, said it was ready and willing to help the UAE Equestrian Federation implement the changes necessary to bring it back into the international fold.

“In many ways this is a sad day,” World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said of the suspension.

“However, the FEI’s drastic move to suspend the UAE federation is a reflection of the seriousness of the situation within endurance.

“We hope that this action will be the end of a dark period in international endurance and demonstrate to all that the FEI Welfare Code of Conduct must be at the heart of international equestrian sport.

“While we are disappointed that it has come to this, this action had to be taken for the welfare of the horses and the integrity of the sport.

“The focus is now on the UAE to undergo a fundamental change in attitude towards equine welfare in order to compete without compromising the safety of the horse.”

World Horse Welfare has worked with the FEI and other stakeholders to help improve horse welfare within some parts of endurance, most recently playing a constructive role in the Endurance Strategy Planning Group which introduced more robust rules last year.

The charity also helped to draft the FEI’s Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse.

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