Three members of the Qatari eventing squad were reprimanded for dangerous and inappropriate riding on the cross-country at Hartpury (6-10 August).
Two riders — Hassan Al-Naimi and Ali Al-Marri — received yellow cards, while Salem Khajim was given 25pen for a less severe infringement. They were competing in the CCI*.
The riders, who are based at Joss Gray’s Oxfordshire yard, have been regulars on the UK circuit this season in their bid to qualify for the Asian Games next month.
Ali Al-Marri failed to pull up after three refusals, while Hassan Al-Naimi took a wrong turn and jumped the string to rectify his error.
Joss, who was at Hartpury in his capacity as their coach, said: “Their transgressions were due to inexperience. They are all relative newcomers to the sport and have recently teamed up with new horses. How riders react under pressure in a competition is very different from how they are at home in training.”
He added that from a training perspective, the FEI yellow card system can be beneficial.
“We all learn by making mistakes; understanding why they happened and ensuring they are not repeated is an important part of the process.”
The Qatar Equestrian Federation has invested significantly in training and horsepower in the past 12 months (news, H&H magazine 3 April) and the country now has a team qualified to compete in the Asian Games in South Korea (24-25 September). The riders are: Ali Al-Marri, Hadi Al-Marri, Hassan Al-Naimi and Manif Al-Naimi.
“The Games are CIC* level, which is a step down from the CCI*s they have been doing to qualify,” said Joss. “It’s exciting and I am confident they can put in a good performance.”
First published in H&H magazine 28 August 2014