Difficult Decision to Cancel Endurance Event Done In the Best Interest of the Horses
Monday, October 15, 2018
FEI President Ingmar De Vos, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström and President of the Endurance Veterinary Commission Thomas Timmons addressed media with the following update:
Regarding the false start, the FEI President advised that two members of the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit are conducting a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding misdirection of some teams and interviewing all the relevant persons, including athletes, chefs d’equipe and officials. The conclusions will be made public once the FEI Board has seen the report.
The Officials’ decision to cancel Wednesday’s Endurance competition was based on three parameters:
- The very high reading on the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index, which measures heat and humidity and other factors that create challenging conditions for competing horses
- The high number of horses that were displaying clinical signs of metabolic issues
- The additional exertion required of the horses following the heavy rainfall
An unusually high number of horses had already been sent to the Endurance Treatment Clinic. Of 53 horses in the clinic, 52 were for metabolic issues, and only one for lameness. Almost all 53 were dehydrated from excessive sweating and fluid losses and required fluid therapy.
These high numbers show that the Officials absolutely made the right decision.
Official data from the competition is still being validated, but it is vital that this process is done absolutely correctly as this information is used to trigger the mandatory rest periods. Rest periods will be applied according to the Article 815.3 of the FEI Endurance Rules, based on distance covered, plus any additional days for lameness, metabolic issues, treatment and the horse’s history. As soon as the data has been fully validated it will be published on the FEI website.
Before the Games were allocated to Tryon, the FEI gathered data over a three-year period on the meteorological patterns in the region. Data analysis has also been conducted in the two years since the allocation.
Conditions were monitored continuously during Wednesday’s Endurance competition, with more than 50 spot measurements taken throughout the day, both at the vet gate and out on course.
The Ground Jury and the Veterinary Commission have the responsibility to monitor how the horses are going, and overall we have a responsibility for the entire group of horses, not just the elite ones.
It may have been an unpopular decision, but there is no doubt, our officials saved the sport on Wednesday.
Any potential reallocation of the Endurance World Championships 2018 would be subject to a decision of the FEI Board.
Appeal regarding medals: the Spanish team lodged a formal appeal asking for medals to be awarded to those leading when the competition was cancelled. The appeal was heard by a three-person Appeal Committee yesterday (13 September). The decision, which was notified to the Spanish National Federation this morning, is to uphold the Ground Jury’s ruling that no medals will be presented, as the ride was cancelled before any horses had completed the full distance. The Appeal Committee also confirmed the validity of the Officials’ decision to cancel the competition.