Kill the Speed – Kill the Sport

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Endurance world community raised the question about high speeds that seem to be the main reason of many horse injuries.

New local rules of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan called by Pippa Cuckson as “Bou Thib Initiative” suggest “to kill the speed” by setting very strict conditions of vet inspections: 10 minutes of recovery time instead of standard 20 minutes, and reducing the heart rate parameter to 56 bpm instead of standard 64 bpm.

This initiative has contradicted the FEI Rules, because Art. 800.1 of FEI Endurance Rules states: Endurance Riding is a Competition against the clock.

When you are trying “to kill the speed”, indeed you are killing the very essence of sport.

Remember the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.

Endurance is the sport, not the pleasure ride. It is the sport against the clock, as stated in very first article of the Endurance Rules.

So, if you want to “kill the speed”, you need to separate the riders for two groups: one group for amateurs who wish to make “the pleasure ride”, and second group for professional riders who are doing the sport. Then you have to make changes to FEI Rules and set exact limits equal for all countries.

It is absolutely unfair, that the whole world has recovery time of 20 mins and heart rate of 64 bpm, and only one country has the stricter conditions.

And such restriction only for one country is absolutely meaningless because riders from this country can come to Europe and start without these restrictions, so what is the point for such restrictions setting only for one country?

If you suggest to set the recovery time of 10 mins and heart rate of 56 bpm, then set it for all countries! Because all countries have to have equal conditions which have to be stated in FEI Rules.

And now let’s see, how the riders from all over the world meet such strict conditions.

Look at results of top finished riders in the big championships of current year.

Negrepelisse (FRA) 23-09-2016 – CH-M-YH-E 120KM 7YO – All top 10 riders have pulse over 56 at various vet gates. So they would be eliminated if “Bou Thib Initiative” was applied in this event.

CH-EU-YJ-E Meydan European Junior Championship Pinhal Novo Rio Frio PORTUGAL – 4 of top 5 riders have recovery time over 10 mins after finish – they would be eliminated by rules of “Bou Thib Initiative”.

CH-M-E**** Longines World Endurance Championship Samorin – X-Bionic Sphere – SLOVAKIA – ENDURANCE TEAM  STYRIA has not published heart rates parameters in its results, so we can check only recovery time parameters. All top 10 riders have recovery time over 10 mins after finish – will they pass the final vet inspection if “Bou Thib Initiative” would applied in this event?

Top 4 riders have the speed of last loop over 29 km/h, and even 34 km/h for Alex Luque Moral – so please tell them about “killing the speed”.

Let’s compare the loop speeds of UAE riders and “lucky” finished riders:

UAE team:
Nr. 71 = 23.66, 23.47, 24.44, 21.57, 29.46
Nr. 14 = 22.63, 24.05, 24.80, 20.37, 29.81
Nr. 3 = 23.87, 23.59, 23.98, 22.02
Nr. 17 = 23.69, 23.69, 23.88
Nr. 16 = 23.38, 23.74, 22.33

Top 4 finished riders:
Nr. 51 = 23.64, 23.54, 23.02, 21.36, 29.64
Nr. 50 = 23.30, 22.65, 22.47, 21.62, 34.20
Nr. 13 = 23.32, 22.66, 23.61, 21.21, 29.69
Nr. 31 = 23.74, 23.39, 23.34, 20.13, 29.83

All top finished riders rode the distance exactly the same pace as UAE riders,  so why UAE riders are “horse abusers” and finished riders are not?

So, setting the strict conditions only for one country is not the solution. Just because there are so many other flat tracks in the world – Samorin is the example. If you want “to kill the speed”, why such strict condition were not applied in Samorin?

And again, note that “killing the speed” is against FEI rules (Art. 800.1) and against the very essence of sport.

Killing the speed is killing the sport. Let’s also kill the speed in show jumping, for instance.

If you are Endurance rider, please leave a comment and tell us your opinion: do you want “Bou Thib Initiative” to be set in FEI rules as equal for all countries? Are you ready to compete the FEI rides with such strict conditions: 10 mins and 56 bpm?