The Fédération Equestre Internationale Tribunal found Ali Mohammed Ali Al Hosani guilty of horse abuse on March 7 and has suspended him for six months following an incident that occurred during the Sheikh Mohammed Cup CEI3* 160-kilometer race in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Jan. 4.
British journalist Pippa Cuckson lodged a protest for horse abuse against Al Hosani for striking his horse LCE Corleone with a water bottle during the fourth loop of the ride. Cuckson provided the FEI Tribunal with a written statement and video evidence of the incident.
In her statement, Cuckson reported that Al Hosani struck his horse twice, “forcefully and from height,” with a water bottle. She added: “The incident at issue occurred during the fourth loop. The horse completed the first three loops at high average speeds—24.24, 25.72, 24.15 kph. His average speed dropped to 18.12 kph in loop 4, during which loop this incident took place, and again in loop 5 where his loop speed averaged just 14.11 kph. It is likely that the rider realized his horse was tiring, and he had fading hopes of a top-10 placing.”
Al Hosani was notified of the protest and submitted a response in which he said, “I would like to explain what happened exactly and as it [was] shown in the recorded video. It is clear that when I took the second water bottle from the groom, I started spraying water [off] of the horse neck. I did this twice because I felt that there still water in the bottle, so I poured it again. It is true that I poured the water vigorously due to speed, and I tried to pour as much water as possible, but I did not intend at all to hit or abuse the horse.”
Al Hosani suggested the incident was “only a matter of misunderstanding.” He also emphasized his “respect and commitment to all rules and regulations governing endurance rides.”
The FEI Tribunal determined that Al Hosani’s use of the water bottle violated the Endurance Rules Article 810.2, which states that “whips (or the use of any other item as a whip) and spurs are prohibited.” It also determined that Al Hosani’s actions constituted horse abuse as defined by the General Rules Article 142.1 because his use of the water bottle “likely caused pain or unnecessary discomfort to the horse.”
According to the official case report, “The Tribunal thinks that Mr. Al Hosani most likely hit the Horse out of frustration or anger because of the Horse’s falling speed. In any event, the Tribunal finds that Mr. Al Hosani misused his water bottle as a whip to beat the Horse excessively.”
Al Hosani has been suspended for six months starting March 7; his results from the Sheikh Mohammed Cup CEI3* 160 km are disqualified, and he has been fined a total of 3,000 Swiss francs.
This decision may be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days of the ruling.
“Naturally I am pleased the Tribunal has recognized that this incident violates FEI rules and is an affront to horsemanship and the welfare of the horse,” Cuckson said in an emailed statement. “I am only sad I was reduced to lodging this protest because the ground jury did nothing. This type of odious behavior on the field of play is often seen in FEI Group 7.
“As we know, the FEI endurance temporary committee is reviewing the future and doing sterling work in a difficult political climate,” she continued. “To my mind, the biggest stumbling block is the entrenched culture of weak judges in thrall to the wealthy paymasters in FEI Group 7. There can be no other explanation as to why incidents like this are overlooked time and again.”
Below is the video evidence Cuckson presented: