France’s arabian horse society is using its stand at the Dubai Horse Fair to promote clean sport within endurance riding.
The Dubai Horse Fair opened this weekend, and François Atger, the chairman of the French Arabian Horse Society (ACA), said the organisation wanted to take a stand against doping.
“I am personally scandalized by the lack of reaction on the part of our national bodies. Such shortcomings have motivated us all the more to become implicated in public awareness and to appeal for everyone to come to terms with an ethical practice of the sport. Hence the reason for us being here at the Dubai International Horse Fair and the message we wish to convey,” he said.
The UAE Equestrian Federation was suspended by the FEI, the world governing body for horse sport, earlier this month.
ACA has been at the forefrontin the fight for “Clean Endurance”, creating the “to dope is to kill” slogan for display at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014.
“I believe the Emirates are capable of bringing their endurance in line with FEI standards and of complying with the regulations, synonymous of a horse’s protection,” Atger said.
“I wish to encourage Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to adopt a public position in view of condemning doping, and to take advantage of his political position to put an end to such practices, because when looking farther afield, it is endurance worldwide that is threatened.
“Having said that, ACA, although not wishing to blame a country in particular, is working towards making matters move forward at both national and international (FEI) levels. Indeed, the FEI and National Equestrian Federations are responsible for having been too lax and having allowed matters to get out of hand through the lack of boundaries and failure to impose the rules,” he said.
“We are convinced that despite their country being at the heart of the storm, riders and trainers wishing for an ethical sport do exist in the UAE; we simply wish to encourage them to help us protect the horses sold to them.”
He said the ACA “refuses to bury its head in the sand”.
Atger said laxness has lasted too long, bad habits have set in, have been tolerated and have now completely taken over.
“Such leeway needs to be corrected, including within National Federations, mentalities need to change and conflicts of interest need to be quashed.”