An emergency contingency plan for the equestrian events at the 2008 Beijing (Hong Kong) Olympics is under consideration by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), including the possibility of declaring three competition days void in the event of extreme heat and humidity.

FEI vet committee chairman Prof Leo Jeffcott said the combination of heat and humidity presented a huge risk of thermal stress to horses. As a result, he told H&H an emergency contingency plan was being built into the competition schedule in the event of a worst case weather scenario.

“It was disappointing that the equestrian venue was moved from the Olympic city, but one of the pluses of not being included with the other Olympic sports means we can keep three days clear of competition as ‘extra days’,” explained Prof Jeffcott. “If something really serious happens from a weather point of view, we can move competition back a day on three different occasions. The safety of the horses comes first.”

Prof Jeffcott said the best time to run the event at Hong Kong was still to be determined, but, as at Atlanta, would probably be first thing in the morning.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (1 December, ’05)

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