Brand new video footage crystallising the problems Middle Eastern endurance poses for rule enforcement appeared on social media last weekend, while delegates were locked in debate about officials who “turn a blind eye”.
Clips posted by the official live-stream broadcaster for the FEI King’s Cup in Bahrain on Saturday (8 February) showed a horse slowing down towards the end.
A man leaps from the fleet of accompanying vehicles and strikes the horse 3 times, before continuing to chase it on foot.
Breach of rules caught on camera included accompanying vehicles, authorised assistance and crewing outside the vetgate.
H&H asked Ian Williams, FEI director of endurance, if he would investigate after being shown the video — and was invited to lodge an official complaint to the FEI.
“We cannot do anything without someone supplying us with evidence and an explanation of why they think a rule has been broken, and who is willing to maybe make their case to the tribunal in due course,” he said.
Later, Paul Greenwood of Quest, a firm that helps sport better control events and identify corruption, explained the unreliability of picture evidence compared with first-person witness accounts.
However, no one could suggest means of achieving the latter when the “field of play” stretches 160km, without every single rider being accompanied by their own independent steward in a vehicle.