The FEI’s equestrian community integrity unit (ECIU) is to investigate allegations that the body of Ajayeb, the mare who broke a leg at the world endurance championships at Samorin, Slovakia, was diverted to a livestock crematorium instead of being taken directly to a pathology lab for her compulsory autopsy.
The FEI ordered the investigation on Tuesday morning after hearing allegations that Ajayeb, the ride of UAE team member Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum, was traced to the crematorium by vets suspicious about her whereabouts.
As part of tougher rules for endurance imposed in 2014, the FEI has insisted autopsies be held for all at-competition fatalities.
However, the FEI admitted yesterday (22 September) that Ajayeb was not delivered directly to the planned veterinary facility in Vienna.
On Thursday the FEI said: “A post mortem was carried out on the mare at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Košice, Slovakia.
“It had originally been planned to conduct the post mortem at the University of Vienna Veterinary Medical Hospital, but cross-border transportation of deceased animals from Slovakia requires additional legal documentation, which was not possible to obtain at short notice between the Slovakian and Austrian authorities, so the organising committee arranged for the horse to be taken to Košice.
“We are now waiting for the results of this post mortem.”
However, after being asked to comment on the alleged discovery of Ajayeb’s body at a crematorium, a FEI spokesman issued H&H with a brief statement on Friday afternoon: “The FEI has asked the ECIU to conduct a full investigation into details of the transport of the mare Ajayeb to the pathology clinic for post mortem.”
The 15-year-old Ajayeb was a multiple winner and carried the UAE’s Spanish-born trainer Jaume Punti Dachs to the European title, also at Samorin, last year.
Punti Dachs won the world title last Saturday on another horse. That day, Ajayeb was among the front-runners for the UAE when she incurred an open fracture of her off-fore cannon bone. Hundreds of spectators witnessed the occurrence at a crew point.
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The mare was secluded behind a makeshift screen of white sheets but broke free from her handlers and limped after the other UAE horses before she was re-caught (pictured top).
Pictures circulating on social media show onlookers scattering out of her way.
None of the UAE horses completed the event. The two UAE horses that finished the course did not pass the final veterinary check.