Endurance GB (EGB) is reviewing rest periods and the procedure for returning horses to competition after a long break, following outcry over the fatality of a Ijaaz (pictured, top), a 20-year-old stallion, at Hexham on 1 August.
Ijaaz had been vetted out lame at his two previous rides this summer, having not competed since 2010. EGB’s official investigation has concluded that this did not contribute to his catastrophic fetlock injury at Hexham. But the EGB board is to discuss rule changes after receiving “numerous” emails from members.
Ijaaz, a well-bred Arabian by Narim-Ivory Wings, is understood to have been loaned earlier this year to Danielle Coulson, also known as Danielle Gray, who was herself returning to endurance after a break.
EGB’s existing rules did not require the pair to re-start over the shorter distances. Ijaaz was vetted out lame at the Wharncliffe Chase 80km ride on 7 June and again at his next start, the 92km Lindum Spirit on 25 July. He started again the following weekend at Hexham, where he sustained a fetlock injury.
An EGB spokesman said the board’s forthcoming discussion would not be related to the Hexham incident.
But he added: “During the past six weeks, we have received numerous emails from members who would like to see us review rest periods and rules regarding a break in a horse’s career. We will take this opportunity.”
The EGB rulebook recommends pro-rata rest periods between rides, but they are not mandatory. Under FEI rules, Ijaaz would have been grounded for six weeks after Lindum Springs. FEI rest periods have been increased recently, notably for horses lame at consecutive rides, among other moves triggered by the welfare scandals in the Middle East.
FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira de Mello said: “The FEI encourages all National Federations and national governing bodies in endurance to adopt FEI rules, particularly regarding mandatory rest periods, as these rules are put in place to protect horse welfare.”
Up to 2010, Ijaaz completed 1,337 EGB kilometres with his owner, Frankie Turley. H&H was unable to reach Miss Coulson or Mrs Turley for comment.
Ref: H&H 24 September, 2015