Endurance GB (EGB) has suffered its 2nd high-profile departure in 7 months with Karen Collier’s resignation as chairman.
The announcement came just days after H&H revealed the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) was negotiating with Saeed Al Tayer, chief executive of Sheikh Mohammed’s Meydan corporation, about its renewed investment in the UK, prior to having demonstrated improvements in the conduct of the Middle Eastern sport that provoked last year’s scandals.
EGB did not participate in the initial discussions but was aware of them. Its spokesman declined to comment on whether the chairman’s decision was connected with this, and said: “Karen Collier has decided for a number of personal reasons that she is unable to continue and is leaving the Board.”
Last September, EGB’s international committee chair Emma Miller resigned after making a favourable comment about the UAE’s fast-riding style at the European Open. Riders took to the EGB forum to complain and called for a change in team management.
EGB has been criticised on rider chat-rooms for not joining the calls of other European nations for urgent reform in the Middle East.
Leaked emails showed that the BEF and Meydan had discussed the “rehabilitation” of endurance in the UK, possible funding of “academies” and the reinstatement of FEI rides at Euston Park, Suffolk. Euston staged nearly half of the UK’s international calendar till last spring when Dubai Equestrian Club withdrew its backing without explanation.
Asked if EGB supported discussions with Meydan, the spokesman said: “We are hopeful that any investment into GB will significantly benefit members as we work towards our goals of more people, more places, better horses and more medals to underpin the work of endurance in this country.”
First published in Horse & Hound on 29 May 2014.