The Story of Pierre Arnould

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Image credits: lequimag.be

Pierre Arnould is well-known Endurance rider, official, ride organizer and coach of the Belgian Endurance Team.

In November 2011 he was appointed as Member of FEI Endurance Committee for 4-year term.

In October 2013 he blamed some Middle East countries in discrediting Endurance discipline.

Mr. Arnould expresses his views in The Telegraph in article written by Pippa Cuckson:

The scandals have continued unabated, the press is going wild, horses die, fractures are increasing – and next week the winter season begins in the Middle East.

Everything would be idyllic but for three federations who cast shame on the sport [UAE, Qatar and Bahrain].

– Pierre Arnould for The Telegraph

Two days later FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos (who currently is FEI President) has reacted to Pierre Arnould’s public statement.

“I do not accept the statement made public by Pierre Arnould, a member of the FEI Endurance Committee, for a number of reasons:

  • Mr Arnould has made unsubstantiated allegations about the sport and, in so doing, has brought the sport and the FEI into disrepute.
  • Mr Arnould has stated publicly that the FEI Bureau has rejected proposals put forward by the Endurance Committee. This is absolutely untrue.
  • Mr Arnould spoke as a Member of the FEI Endurance Committee without either mandate or consultation. The Chair of the Committee has written to Mr Arnould on this issue.

Like all FEI Committee Members, Mr Arnould signed a non-disclosure document and a declaration agreeing to support and actively endorse FEI policies.
As an individual Pierre Arnould can speak his mind, but he cannot speak on behalf of an FEI Committee without consulting its Chair and his fellow Members.
This is not just a legal issue. His actions show a total lack of respect for his colleagues on the Committee, but also for other volunteers within our organisation. Mr Arnould is in clear breach of this signed agreement and his behaviour is totally unacceptable.
In my capacity as FEI Secretary General, and in consultation with the relevant bodies within the organisation, I am currently looking into whether any further action needs to be undertaken.
In response to Mr Arnould’s statement, I state categorically that the FEI is working to address the issues in Endurance and has been for some time.
Additionally, in 2012 the FEI undertook a full review of the Endurance rules, including a full Endurance session at the Sports Forum, in order to address the issues that arose from the strong growth of this discipline. These efforts continued in 2013.
With the organisation of a round table session, the creation of the ESPG and the start of an Injuries Surveillance Study, the FEI is clearly fully committed to safeguard the further development of this discipline.
In preparation for next month’s General Assembly, the FEI President has sent a statement on Endurance to all member National Federations today.”

So, Ingmar De Vos publicly denounced the statements of Pierre Arnould and claimed that Arnould has “brought the sport and the FEI into disrepute”.

And in a few months later Pierre Arnould has been expelled from the FEI Endurance Committee by unanimous decision of FEI Bureau members.

As Horse&Hound reported, Mr. Arnould says he is neither surprised nor disappointed:

I assumed my actions were in perfect harmony with the FEI charter that states horse welfare comes before any other consideration. Curiously, while unacceptable behaviours are customary in some nations, the only person to be punished is the one who draws attention to acts contrary to FEI ethics and regulations.

– Pierre Arnould for Horse&Hound

Well, after such public utterance against UAE and after altercation with the FEI, can we expect that one day Mr. Arnould will sit at the same table with Ingmar De Vos or with ride organizers from the UAE?

Image credits: endurance-belgium.com
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Here is what Pierre Arnould said in 2013 about Endurance in Middle East:

We all know what is driving the Gulf stables: the glory in beating the other stables, the cult of person (just open the Gulf News or raise your eyes and look at the huge boards everywhere in the streets of UAE cities), the pressure on the trainers and the competition among them, the passive corruption of the officials.

– Pierre Arnould about Endurance in Middle East

In February 2014 the FEI Endurance Conference was held in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Pierre Arnould said:

We are here to discuss a problem that affects 10% of federations who practice endurance, namely the Middle East, while they have not deign to come.

As long as there is no clear answer to the question of whether you prefer the economic and financial aspects of our sport ethics and respect for our horses, all the debates and change regulations will be useless.

– Pierre Arnould at FEI Endurance Conference, February 2014

There is a short video of the beginning of Mr. Arnould’s speech filmed by Leonard Liesens:

So, what happened to Pierre Arnould, if, after such strong words against Middle East in 2013-2014, now he is happy to partner with sponsors from UAE?

Image credits: lesoir.be
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As we remember, he said in 2013:

Endurance in the UAE is nothing but an industry of death and cheating.

– Pierre Arnould for Horse&Hound

Can we expect that Mr. Arnould will do any business with UAE after such strong quote?

Now fast forward to 2016 and we see this news:

HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival support for Belgium Endurance Masters

Image credits: Morhaf Al Assaf / enduroonline.com.br
brussels

Here is press release:
Brussels, Belgium – The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival and the Royal Belgian Federation of Equestrian Sports have jointly announced an annual international endurance festival for a three-year period starting from August, 2016.
The Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters (BEEM) is positioned as a major meeting for the European and the International Endurance and is scheduled annually on the 3rd weekend of August, in the city of Brussels, capital of Belgium and of Europe. The BEEM offers three days of endurance competition under the auspices of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale).

So, what a surprize to see Pierre Arnould with people from UAE shoulder-to-shoulder. He is third from right in the photo above.

Back to press release:
Perre Arnold said Belgium was thankful for the support from HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival and said along with the 160-km Open Championship ride there will also be rides over distances of 100kms and 120kms. Giving details of the veterinary and ride arrangements for the August event, Arnold said, “This ride site is in the heart of Belgium and will attract a lot of riders and endurance fans as it is very scenic and at the same time challenging. The races will take place in the middle of a 5,000-hectare forest on trails specially designed for horse riding.”

Well, now you see how people can change their minds and their attitude to UAE: first Mr. Arnould called UAE “industry of death” and then he thanked UAE for support of his Belgium event.

Verily, money rules the world and some people, including Pierre Arnould.

During the first edition of the Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters in August 2016 Pierre Arnould who is one of the main organizers of the event said:

We are very thankful to HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for extending this support to endurance in our country.

– Pierre Arnould about UAE support for Brussels Endurance Event

Just wondering how much Mr. Arnould’s conscience costs.

Image credits: brussels-endurance.org
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As you remember, Mr. Ingmar De Vos (in the middle of the picture) has publicly denounced remarks by Belgian national coach Pierre Arnould, that endurance riding could become a banned sport if the FEI cannot end the escalating crisis about doping and horse welfare issues in the Middle East.

In 2013 De Vos claims Arnould has “brought the sport and the FEI into disrepute”.

As they say, let bygones be bygones.

And now old frenemies stand together and pose during press conference regarding the announcement of the Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters 2017.

This year Brussels become the venue of European Endurance Championship, again with support of UAE which Mr. Arnould once called “industry of death and cheating”.

Flags of country named as “horse hell” will flutter again in the capital of Belgium and of Europe during the Championship of Europe.

And once again, the FEI President will be smiling and looking happy with sponsors from the UAE – the country that has been banned a not so long time ago.

Sad irony of fate.

In 2013 Pierre Arnould accused the UAE in destroying the endurance sport. In 2017 his daughter Elisa Arnould was invited to participate in H.H. The President of UAE Endurance Cup.

Now you see how one person can change his mind: from blaming the UAE to accepting money from the UAE.

So what is the DRIVING FORCE?

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