Four world-class endurance rides will be held at Euston Park in Britain this northern summer, with a promise that the ability of horses to finish in the best condition possible will be a focus of the contests.
In a major move, it was announced that all prize-money would be allocated for the Best Condition Award.
A similar strategy has been used with considerable success this season at the Bou Thieb endurance venue in the United Arab Emirates, where awarding the lion’s share of prize-money to the best-conditioned horses has been a key component in local rules that have kept speeds down and drastically reduced injury and veterinary issues.
Euston Park was the venue of the 2012 World Endurance Championships.
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF), in announcing the rides today, said they would include rides over 80km and 120km (both junior and senior) and 160km.
They will be held on May 28, June 19, July 16 and August 13. The rides are expected to draw leading international combinations. The ride dates have already been submitted to the FEI by the federation, on behalf of Endurance Great Britain.
Endurance Great Britain’s chairman, John Hudson, said his organiation, working with the BEF, was committed to taking a proactive role in shaping the global discipline.
“The Euston Park rides … offer Great Britain an opportunity to restore the reputation of the discipline by enforcing our key values of endurance riding.”
He continued: “We look forward to a series of technical rides with a focus on the ability of horses to complete the course in the best condition possible.”
BEF chairman and president Keith Taylor said: “I am confident that we will grow the profile of the sport here in the UK. Our overall aim is to contribute positively to the reputation and growth of endurance as an important part of equestrian sport.”
Equestrian event organisers, The HPower Group, will run the events.
The four events, which will be run in strict accordance with the FEI’s Best Condition Awards [Article 822], will include up to five vet gates to ensure horse welfare is fully protected.
In addition, the Euston Park courses will be designed to keep horse speeds down to an average of about 20kmh and all prize money will be allocated for the Best Condition Award, it was confirmed.
Further details about the Euston Park endurance courses and the horse welfare measures that will be put in place will be announced in the coming weeks. Event sponsor details are expected soon.