Drama of WEC 2016 in Samorin


WEC for Wrong Endurance Championship

All goes wrong in Samorin.

First of all, let’s talk about how really “world” was this World Championship?

As FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibañez said during the Opening Ceremony, record number of participants came to Samorin.

Start list revealed 132 competitors from 45 countries. Great numbers, really. 45 countries represent all five continents.

And now let’s look at horses, exactly, which countries they are from?

Do you guess, there are 132 horses also from 45 countries from five continents? WRONG.

Check the FEI IDs of all horses in start list, and you will see this.

Algeria has 1 rider and ZERO own horses. Horse of Algerian rider is from France.
Australia has 5 riders and 3 own horses. Two horses of Australian riders are from Spain and Italy.
Brazil has 5 riders and 3 own horses. Two horses of Brazilian riders are from Portugal and France.
Canada has 1 rider and ZERO own horses. Horse of Canadian riders is from Slovakia.
Colombia has 2 riders and ZERO own horses. Two horses of Colombian riders are from Spain.
Guatemala has 1 rider and ZERO own horses. Horse of Guatemalan rider is from USA.
Japan has 1 rider and ZERO own horses. Horse of Japanese rider is from USA.
Saudi Arabia has 2 riders and ZERO own horses. Horses of Saudi riders are from Great Britain and France.
Malaysia has 5 riders and ZERO own horses. Horses of all 5 Malaysian riders are from France.
Mexico has 1 rider and ZERO own horses. Horse of Mexican rider is from Spain.
Oman has 5 riders and 4 own horses. One horse for Omani riders is from Spain.
South Africa has 3 riders and ZERO own horses. Horses of all 3 South African riders are from Qatar, Bahrain and Sweden.
Switzerland has 2 riders and ZERO own horses. Horses for Swiss riders are from France.
Even host country – Slovakia – has only 2 own horses for 5 riders. The horses for Slovakian riders are from Argentina, Chile and Finland.
Thailand has 2 riders and ZERO own horses. Horses of Thai riders are from France.

Is this fair play when some national teams are competed wholly on rented horses, like teams of Malaysia and South Africa?

And everyone knows the reason of this situation. These teams were prepared for paid transportation of their own horses to the venue of the appointed WEC and now they were forced to pay their own money.

So it is cheaper to rent European horses for whole team rather than pay the travel expenses for own horses.

Now we see it clear: there are 132 horses for so-called World Championship, and 85 of them are European horses.
So, in fact, it is not “World” Championship, it is 65%-European Championship. Is this Fair Play?

By continents, we see from Africa – ZERO horses; from Asia & Australia – only 3 horses, from North & Central America – only 4 horses.

Are we still talking about “World” Championship, if 5 of 9 FEI Regional groups (3, 4, 5, 8, 9) are presented by only 7 horses in total?

And finally, what “fair play” can be in the championship where one country puts 20 horses in play (4 times more than allowed number for every country). If you are not understanding, we are talking about France. If you count all French horses (own horses for French riders and rented horses for other riders) you will get 20 horses.

So, French horse-owners became the main beneficiaries from the changing the venue of the WEC – as we predicted in our previous articles.


Too many glitches for Samorin

With no doubts, Samorin is one of the best equestrian venues in Europe.

But, unfortunately, by coincidence, WEC 2016 was organized with a lot of problems.

  • There was big screen on the vet gate field – that was not working.
  • Commentary speeches – were not heard on the tribune for the audience.
  • Well-known timing system from Styria was not worked properly this time, online results were often unreachable or even erroneous – see screenshots below.

During the day there was this message instead of live results:

In this pic shown above you can see that timing systems shows the rider from Brazil is rider #1, which is not correct, because his total time is more than total time of rider #2.

Is it allowed that main sponsor named itself as “Official timekeeper”, if everyone knows that there is timing system from Styria, not from Longines? Sponsor of the event can’t be the technical part of competition, but Longines does it, which means possible conflict of interests.

There was very high number of elimination in Samorin – 64%!

86 eliminated participants (including one during pre-ride inspection) means 64% of non-completion. Too big and too bad numbers. 21 horses eliminated for metabolic reasons, which is highly unusual for Samorin. Maybe, high pulse that has been displayed for many horses was also due technical glitches?

This championship became very traumatic both for riders and for horses.

It is known about at least 7 riders who were injured during this Championship: damaged arms, hips.

Even Mario Hoffman itself – the owner of this equestrian complex in Samorin – was seriously injured. But nobody mentioned his trauma during the Closing Ceremony or in the news on WEC official website.

That’s why he was not presented during the Closing ceremony, because Mario Hoffman has been transported to hospital.

In memory of Ajayeb

Photo: Facebook / Morgane Payen

Separately we should say about the water point on loop 4. During pre-ride briefing riders and grooms were told to clean crew points after themselves, picking up empty plastic bottles. But there was no warning about water points.

So, nobody cleans water points after himself, nobody picked up empty plastic bottles.

Water point on loop 4 has been quickly littered with a lot of empty and full plastic bottles. So, this place became dangerous for horses as well as for riders.

Big tragedy with Ajayeb occurred as the consequence of negligence of organizers, because that water point has not been cleaned by stewards periodically.

Ajayeb is not Splitter Creek Bundy. She was not ridden to death.

She arrived to water point and slipped on plastic bottle. Again, horse was slipped. But many people on social media started to call it “a killing”.

Interestingly, would they call it “a killing” if it would be European horse and European rider? Maybe, we will know the answer next time, when such tragedy will occur with European horse. Sure, they will call such tragedy with European horse as “tragic accident”.

Nobody on social media mentioned that several other riders also fell and injured in the same place for the same reason because their horses were slipped on plastic bottles.

A few of such injured riders can be found in the official results with elimination code “FTC LOOP 4” – the same code as for Ajayeb.

Speed kills or is speed still the king?

Photo: www.wech2016.com

What the difference between both riders on the picture above? The both riders completed all the loops absolutely identical with the same speeds on all loops. Speed on final loop for Jaume Punti Dachs is 29.64 km/h – so, it looks really like UAE desert flat racing result.

If you blame the high speed for killing the horses – so, again, what the difference between newly crowned World Champion from Spain and all the riders from UAE?

There is only one difference – their nationality. One rider is “The Good” because he is from Europe, and another rider is “The Bad” because he is from UAE.


Second Spanish rider competed last loop with killing speed of 34.2 km/h – and nobody is blaming him for such high speed. It is ordinary hypocrisy of European social media.

Photo: Twitter.com/FEI_Global

This rider said that “in the last loop I decided to have fun”, so speed of 34 km/h is nothing but “fun” of rider. Why Pippa Cuckson is not shaming this rider for such “fun”?

Jaume Punti Dachs is 100% UAE-styled rider, well-known for his work in UAE for many years.

Photo: www.jumasteam.com

During press conference after finish he thanked Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum for all the knowledge he obtained during his work in UAE.

And this knowledge really works. As a result, you can see fantastic finish of Spanish team in Championship for Young Riders.

Pippa Cuckson wrote that Spanish riders give “a better message about the direction the sport needs to take”

Pippa called the speed of 34 km/h as staggering, not as killing. Do Pippa means that speed of 34 km/h of European rider is good for Endurance sport? Do we have to admire this?

Or it is time to punish European riders for high speeds too?





Maybe, the decision of the FEI to remove the WEC 2016 from Dubai was the mistake?!

Top photo of the article: www.longines.ch