In the middle of the summer, we have witnessed a very strange and awkward event in France – so-called Prestige Cup Endurance in Chantilly.
Person behind the event – Mr. Nicolas Wahlen. This infamous Monsieur was organizing the “asphalt” events in Brussels in 2016 and 2017.
This guy has very bad reputation, he has organized Endurance events in Compiegne for 20 years and put himself in scandal in 2014 as Pippa Cuckson wrote in her article in 2014 here:
Now Monsieur Wahlen found the new place to realize his bizarre fantasies and perverted ambitions. Let’s take a closer look at the terms and conditions of this Prestige competition.
On the event’s website, you can find the mention of specific rules which are mandatory for all riders under the threat of elimination for violation of rules.
Currently, these rules are deleted from the website because if you click the link, you see this:
But we got it. So, here you are. See the deleted rules of the Prestige Cup Endurance which have to be signed by all competitors.
The eyebrow-raising minimum speed of 15 km/h – are you kidding?
While the FEI fights for decreasing the speed, Monsieur Wahlen invented to increase the speed.
Even the qualifying criteria for the World Championship is only 14 km/h.
So, why 15 km/h? What is more important – the welfare of horse or the opportunity for the audience go home early?
High minimum speed – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 1
Instead of creating technical loops, the track was prepared for the speedy race – against the recommendations of the FEI.
Tracks prepared for the speedy race – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 2
Also, start line was very narrow for such big number of starting horses. It is unsafe, and the staggered start must be conducted to ensure the safety of horses and riders.
Narrow start line – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 3
But what about the horse welfare? Forget it, because Monsieur Wahlen invented a new word: Eco-Responsibility. It means that the main priority is not the horse anyway, but “preservation of tracks and crossed green spaces, reduction of the environmental impact.”
In practice, it means that the number of crew points is reduced to one per (very long) loop.
One crew point per 30-35 km loop – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 4
In pursuit of environmental protection, Monsieur Wahlen violated the FEI rules about water points.
See the article 807.6.2 Combinations must have access to water on course at least every 10 kms.
On the second loop of 30.7 km there was only one water point!
So, preservation of track is more important for Monsieur Wahlen, than making enough water points according to the rules for very hot day – temperature in the race day was over 30°C.
One water point on second loop of 30 km – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 5
Another violation of the rules are the restrictions for vet inspections: instead of the usual 20 minutes, Monsieur Wahlen invented to reduce the recovery time to 10 minutes. It seems that he hardly read the article 8220.127.116.11 which says: Maximum Pulse at Vet Gates: 64 bpm within 20 minutes.
Reduced recovery time – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 6
So, what do we have in the end? Monsieur Wahlen invented the ride with the high speed and reduced recovery time which was not enough for many riders to pass for the next loop.
Just look at the final results:Chantilly-20180708_Chantilly (FRA) 07-07-2018-Prestige Cup CEI2 120KM_Phase 4
There were 79 riders at the start line, and 40 of them finished. Look at the detailed results of 39 eliminated participants. At least ten riders had the recovery time about or more than 10 minutes – this clearly shows that 10 minutes is absolutely unacceptable value for recovery time.
We can only guess why such strict conditions were applied on this event. Maybe, to save the money for organizers. Or because Monsieur Wahlen likes the speedy race.
The venue for conducting this event was the Polo Club. So, the organizers revere to the preservation of grass, and they prohibit to use straw and shavings in the resting area.
But many horses can pee only on the shavings, so this prohibition is the real infringement of horse rights for a decent rest.
Shavings prohibited in the resting area – AGAINST THE HORSE WELFARE – RED FLAG 7
So, Monsieur Wahlen was very worried that horses could spoil the precious lawn of the polo club, and he invented these Eco-Responsible restrictions.
And if the horse did a crap – it would be a disaster for the grass.
By the way, the main sponsor of this event was Bahrain. If Bahrain is sponsoring such event, does it mean that Bahrain supports such strict rules?
And finally, the European hypocrisy is demonstrated again in the results. Look at the speed of winner – Alex Luque Moral completed the final loop with speed of 27.96 km/h.
Does this speed comply with the horse welfare?
High minimum speed with lower recovery time means that organizers want to conduct the speedy race (and such conditions were approved by the FEI) while the FEI itself and many European NFs are trying to promote the Horse Welfare – it looks like double standards and can result in possible horse deaths at European events.
It was a nice attempt to make an entertaining event for spectators, but the horse welfare was almost forgotten. Eco-Responsibility, preservation of the track – and nothing about preserving the horse welfare – not enough crew points, now enough water points, high speed in a hot day and strict recovery time, no shavings for pissing in the resting area.
So, we awarded this event with our “NOT APPROVED” stamp. We do not recommend participating in Prestige Cup Endurance, because this event has 7 RED FLAGS against the HORSE WELFARE!