Sartilly, France—Aug. 28
On a day that saw only 35 finishers out of 166 starters, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum on Yamamah swept the 100-mile endurance race at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with a time (8:08:28) more than 10 minutes faster than his closest competitor. The Netherlands’ Marijka Visser on Laiza de Jalima was silver, and Qatar’s Abdulrahman Saad A.S. Sulaiteen took bronze. Spain’s team earned gold, while France was silver and Switzerland bronze.
“I’d like to congratulate the Sheikh for his win. This is a truly world championship event, and it’s a magnificent horse he’s ridden. The event is suitable to carry the title of world championship. We had a wonderful cooperation with the organization committee and a great deal of sportsmanship in this event,” said Brian Sheehan, chair of the FEI’s endurance committee.
The muddy track and deep going over much of the course took a toll on horses, and the number of finishers is compared to the 55 out of 108 who completed at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.).
One horse, Dorado, died after striking a tree in the first loop. (Read more about today’s fatality and injuries.) The individual gold medalist of that World Games, Spain’s Maria Alvarez Ponton fell from Qualif du Poncelet in the third loop and was taken to the hospital. There’s not yet an update on her condition.
This year’s endurance competition saw the implementation of new horse welfare protocols—including increased video recording and additional FEI officials—in response to doping, cheating and abuse issues. New FEI rules regarding horse rest periods went into effect Aug. 1 as well.
“Of course horse welfare is at the heart and soul of the sport, and a number of broad changes occurred before, and this is first event that’s taken place since,” said Sheehan. “I think those rule changes deal with penalties and rest periods in particular. When you look at results [in the future] you’ll see if there were increased rest periods. The effect of these rule changes will not be felt until sometime after the event.
“There was a great deal of technology used on course,” he continued. “We had GPS on the armbands on the riders and video surveillance. I think the results will speak for themselves. We have very few horses in the hospital, and, other than the tragic accident, no seriously ill horses. I think that’s the most important part for us.”
Though Al Maktoum found glory on the beaches and fields around Sartilly with his 15-year-old mare, the rest of his team didn’t fare well. Saeed Mohammed Khalifa al Mehairi’s mount Kedjari des Serres didn’t complete the first loop. Abdulla Ghanim al Marri’s Quran el Ulm stopped at the second veterinary inspection and was eliminated there for metabolic reasons. At the third check, Ali Khalfan al Jahouri’s Moota Haddeea was eliminated for lameness, while Sheik Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum’s Nopoli del Ma failed the check on metabolic grounds.
Only one of the five riders competing for the United States completed the track. Jeremy Olson on Wallace Hill Shade completed the course in 31st place with a time of 10:46:16.
Jeremy Reynolds and RR Gold Dust Rising had a metabolic elimination at the first veterinary inspection, and Ellen Olson with Hot Desert Night was eliminated at the second inspection for the same reason. Kelsey Russell with My Wild Irish Gold were pulled at the third veterinary inspection for lameness, and Heather Reynolds found her day ended there as well when Chanses was eliminated for metabolic reasons.
Full results on the Alltech FEI World Games website.
Want to know what else is happening in other disciplines here at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games? Visit the Chronicle’s hub page! Only curious about endurance? Read all about that on the endurance specific page.