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Endurance, another atrocious death of a horse


(24 February 2015)

While Italian Horse Protection does not support or promote equestrian sports in any way, it does consider it a matter of the utmost urgency that the sporting federations take measures to prevent further victims. Appalling scenes such as that at Al Reef cannot be allowed to continue without the authorities lifting a finger.
Below is the text of our letter to FEI and FISE.

Secretary General, FEI, Dr Ingmar Devos

Acting President, FISE, Gianfranco Ravá

International Olympic Committee

President, CONI, Dr Giovanni Malagó

RE: Request for urgent action regarding Endurance competitions

We write today in reference to the growing number of incidents in endurance competitions resulting in grave consequences for the horses.

The most recent, and disturbing, occurred in Abu Dhabi, in which Splitters Creek Bundy suffered atrociously for a full 20 minutes with both front legs fractured, before the vets arrived.

Given the numerous other recent cases (for example, and citing the most serious, the death of Django De Vere in Sardinia in September 2013; a horse during the Italian Endurance Festival in July 2014; and of Dorado in Normandy in August 2014) we ask the FEI to revise the current regulations both in FEI Endurance competitions and those run by private organisations. In particular we ask for a reduction in the pace; better veterinary controls; stricter controls at the end of the races; a fixed minimum time for veterinary intervention and the presence of a higher number of vets, since frequently the distances involved mean that they are delayed in arriving at the scene of an accident. We further ask for an immediate insistence on observation of the existing regulations, pending the improvements listed above.

With the aim of encouraging organising committees to set clear animal welfare regulations we also request that those riders who take part in local or national competitions such as those in which Splitters Creek Bundy died, be banned from participating; firstly because it is well known that in these competitions the horses are pushed to unsustainable physical limits (given the distance and the pace maintained in the competition), and secondly because as these are unofficial races – or at the very least not under the aegis of recognised sporting bodies – there is no real guarantee of observance of regulations, controls, and safety measures.

We ask the FISE to take a firm stand, as have the British and American federations which – as has been reported in the press – are considering banning their members from takng part in group VII sporting events, which are not FEI affiliated, in other words in the Middle East.

Awaiting your urgent reply, yours sincerely,

Sonny Richichi – President IHP

photo by: Horse & Hound