International endurance season under Boudheib rules announced

A competitor in action at Boudheib, in Abu Dhabi.
A competitor in action at Boudheib, in Abu Dhabi.

An international season for endurance under the rules pioneered at the United Arab Emirates’ Boudheib endurance center has been announced.

The proposed calendar lists races in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Jordan and Texas.

A statement from the Boudheib center lists Princess Alia, the sister of former FEI president Princess Haya, as the organizer of the Jordan event.

The proposed schedule and dates are listed below.

The Boudheib endurance facility in Abu Dhabi, owned by Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has been an oasis in UAE endurance, applying house rules insisted on by the sheikh that have all but eliminated the welfare issues that have plagued the sport in the region.

The rules are designed to keep speeds, which are GPS-monitored, down to 20kmh. Most prize-money goes to the best-conditioned horses, judged on the accumulation of scores from each vet gate.

The Boudhieb initiative has also put an end to the frenetic on-course activity that was a hallmark of UAE endurance. Bouthieb has official watering points every kilometer, these being the only points where crewing is allowed. The final crewing point is 2.5km from the finish. The rules also impose a limit of one car per trainer per five horses.

Boudheib officials, in an end-of-season wrap, described the winter racing at the center as very successful.

Natural tracks now formed up to 45% of some loops and were naturally slowing down riders. The strict 20kmh speed rules, the 56 beats-per-minute heart rate, and 10 minute presentation times were also having the desired effect in keeping speeds in check.

“It seems that the horses, riders and trainers are becoming more accustomed to riding and training for these trails.”

Great strides were being made in implementing the Boudheib initiative worldwide and many countries had reportedly come forward to request the use of the Boudheib rules.

Sheikh Sultan’s support for the seven proposed international endurance events has also been announced, with hopes that the South African opener for the international season will attract 200 horses to compete over 40km, 80km and 120km. The Boudheib protocol will run alongside South Africa’s own national event and CEI1*.

Boudhieb Initiative Proposed International Calendar of Events

  • Pretoria, South Africa, May 27th 2017, Organiser: SAIC, Susan Koekemoer
  • Dwingaloo, Netherlands, 10th June 2017, Organiser: Frans van’t Zand
  • Marbech, Germany, 21st July 2017, Organiser: Ahmed Samarraie
  • Aachen, Germany, 22nd August 2017, Organiser: Nils Ischmer
  • Florac, France, 10th September, Organiser: Jean Paul Boudon
  • Jordan, 15th November, Organiser: Princess Alia of Jordan
  • Cat Springs, Texas 30 & 31 December, Organiser: Emmett Ross
Natural trails now form significant parts of some loops at Boudheib.
Natural trails now form significant parts of some loops at Boudheib.

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