Dutch equestrian body airs UAE endurance concerns

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The Dutch equestrian body is considering whether it can deny riding permission for Dutch riders seeking to compete in national endurance competitions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The KNHS, in a statement on its website, said it had recently received news about the deaths of various horses competing in national endurance contests in the UAE.

One of these horses was ridden by a rider of Dutch nationality living and working abroad.

The organisation voiced its concern over welfare standards at these events.

“We are more positive about the situation at international FEI competitions, the so-called CEIs,” it said.

“The KNHS supports the stricter rules recently introduced by the FEI to improve horse welfare on CEIs, most of which take effect on 1 January, 2020, and the others on 1 July, 2020.

“Supervision at international FEI competitions is more intensive and stricter, and there is talk of better enforcement.

“Unfortunately,” it continued, “the UAE does not seem to be conforming to this, since, whether or not in response to the stricter rules, there seems to be a trend towards an increasing number of national competitions that can be run outside the FEI rules.”

It asserted that the way in which some of these national competitions are conducted is far removed from the way in which the Netherlands and the rest of Europe wants to experience endurance, in which the monitoring of horse welfare is paramount.

“As is well known, horse welfare plays a leading role in sport in a general sense within the regulations of the KNHS.”

The KNHS says a small number of riders with a Dutch passport are active in the Middle East.

“The KNHS is investigating measures that can be taken to deny these riders the opportunity to ride during national endurance races in the Middle East, where welfare is not guaranteed.”

At international FEI competitions, the same strict rules apply in every country. Participation in such events would remain permitted.

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