Royal Windsor endurance ‘winner’ disqualified for using reins as whip

The “winning” rider at Royal Windsor’s CEI2* endurance ride was denied his victory for using his reins as a whip.

Jaafar Merza Abdul Nabi Hassan, riding for Bahrain, was the first across the line in the 120km international on 10 May.

But he was disqualified by the ground jury for using his reins as a whip on his ride, Assad, meaning the win went to Ghanim Said Salim Al Owaisi, of the UAE, on Maison Blanche Vengai.

Endurance GB chairman Rebecca Kinnarney said the disqualification sends a “clear signal” to those in the sport that horse welfare is “paramount”.

“Endurance GB welcomes the application of the rules by the ground jury at Royal Windsor endurance in respect of this rider,” she said.

“While most other equestrian disciplines allow whips and their rules accordingly pertain to excessive use, FEI endurance rules simply don’t allow whips to be used.

“Something being used as one was witnessed by the ground jury in this case, and so the rider was subject to a strict liability test.

“In the light of the current FEI investigation into the ‘reshaping’ of endurance, the outcome of the ground jury’s deliberations at Windsor sends a clear signal to all those involved in the sport as riders, trainers and crews as well as those watching the sport closely from the side lines that the welfare of the horse is paramount.”

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Ms Kinnarney also thanked the organisers and Crown Estate for hosting the ride. Six Brits finished in the top 14 in the 80km CEI*.

“The opportunity to compete at a major FEI ride here at Windsor gives British riders a wonderful experience at a showcase venue and we were delighted that 14 of our riders completed the CEI1* class successfully,” she said.

“The work of the veterinary commission was exemplary throughout the course of this ride and the technical delegate and organising team adapted to difficult conditions at the start in the mist to ensure safety.”

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