This year’s FEI World Endurance Championships will take place in Slovakia after the event was stripped from Dubai.

Three applications to hold the event were received when the bid process was reopened in April, following the FEI’s decision to reallocate the championships.

The decision was made on Tuesday (14 June) by the FEI.

Fontainebleau in France and San Rossore in Italy were the other two candidates, but the FEI bureau ruled neither was suitable owing to health and safety concerns.

The event will be held at Samorin Equestrian Centre on 15-18 September, with the qualification period finishing on 16 July.

FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez said the organisation was “very happy” to receive three bids and “appreciates the willingness to support the FEI at such short notice.”

“The bureau had no hesitation in opting for Samorin,” she said.

Horse welfare has to be the most important element in the allocation of these major events and Samorin has a proven track record — having already run both the young horse and European Endurance Championships very successfully.”

She added the timing of the event is also important.

“Both Fontainebleau and San Rossore were proposing mid-October when the reduced daylight hours could potentially have an impact on safety,” she said.

“Safeguarding the safety and welfare of the equine and human athletes is our top priority in all our disciplines.”


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Dubai controversy

The championships were due to be held in Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC) on 10-17 December.

However, the FEI decided in April to move the event as it felt the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national federation was not in a position to “guarantee horses’ welfare would be fully protected”.

The decision was part of the FEI’s ongoing battle to crack down on rule-breaking and improve the welfare of horses taking part in endurance competitions in the UAE.