In the wake of unprecedented scandal and corruption in the sport of endurance riding coming from the United Arab Emirates, the American Endurance Ride Conference has formally requested that the Fédération Equestre Internationale remove the 2016 World Endurance Championship from Dubai to another venue or cancel the event altogether.
Reports this week indicate that the Emirates Equestrian Federation falsified the results of at least 12 endurance rides in reports to the FEI in an attempt to fraudulently qualify inadequately prepared horses and riders for international competition. This action puts horses in peril by making it appear that they have been properly trained and conditioned for long distance competition when that may not be the case. Horses that are not properly conditioned and qualified are at risk for fatal injury such as that experienced by Splitters Creek Bundy, a horse who was photographed at the January 2015 Al Reef Cup ride in Abu Dhabi with both front legs fractured.
AERC applauds the action of FEI in removing two UAE rides from their calendar of competition for the remainder of the 2015 season in UAE. AERC also commends FEI for retaining Lord Stevens to investigate the latest travesty. However, the AERC board of directors does not believe that this sanction goes far enough in protecting horses and the sport of endurance riding. The AERC board unanimously voted to request that FEI take the further step of canceling the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Dubai, reopening bids for the venue and denying the UAE the opportunity to bid on the venue.
Denmark and Switzerland have already indicated that they would not send teams to compete in Dubai. Germany is likely to follow suit. Three American riders rejected invitations to compete in the Crown Prince Cup later this month in Dubai. AERC invites other like-minded countries and equine disciplines to join in repudiating the UAE distortion of endurance riding. AERC stands for clean endurance!