The removal of this year’s world endurance championships from the United Arab Emirates has been welcomed by the body that runs the discipline in the United States.
The event was to have been run in Dubai in mid-December, but the FEI Bureau decided to remove it amid a background of ongoing welfare concerns in the discipline in the region.
American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) president Michael Campbell said his organization was pleased the FEI had taken strong steps to ensure the welfare and safety of endurance horses by moving the event from Dubai to another venue.
“AERC understands that this is a painful lesson for Dubai, but we believe it serves the best interests of endurance riding worldwide,” he said.
Campbell also praised the United States Equestrian Federation for accurately relaying the sentiments of American riders to the FEI.
“AERC joins other countries throughout the world in expressing gratitude to the FEI for taking this courageous and considered action.”
Campbell noted that FEI president Ingmar De Vos had received a petition that was circulated worldwide and included over 6500 signatures from riders, trainers and owners from dozens of countries recommending that Dubai be stripped of the championships.
“The FEI listened to the outraged cries from around the world and responded appropriately.”
Campbell said the AERC would continue to monitor the situation and keep members informed.
Meanwhile, the FEI will formally reopen the bidding process on April 18 to find a replacement venue outside the United Arab Emirates for the championships.
The FEI now expects that the championship will take place in September or October, so the qualifying period will be moved back by two months. Results starting from September/October 2014, instead of December 2014, will now count for qualification.
The deadline to submit bids to host the championship will be May 18, and the FEI Bureau will make a final decision on June 14.