Dutch and United Arab Emirates endurance yard remain connected

  • The Dutch equestrian federation will continue its controversial collaboration with a UAE endurance yard, following Dutch success in the World Equestrian Games (WEG) ride in Sartilly last week (28 August).

    Marijke Visser, 21, won silver on Laiza De Jalima — 11 minutes behind winner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum — with Joyce van den Berg ninth on Run De Colombier.

    Both horses were provided by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Faisal Al Qasimi and trained by Dubai-based Pakistani Anzaq Mehmood.

    The Dutch federation has repeatedly spoken out against Middle Eastern endurance practices and when UAE-owned horses were selected, endurance advisor Marc van der Dungen resigned in protest.

    Maarten van der Heijden, the federation’s sports director, said: “We have been critical and will continue to be critical. We have shown that with good riding and preparation you have horses still fit to go on.”

    Ms Visser also competes in dressage, making her a “good role model”, he added.

    Mr Mehmood, based this summer near the King’s Forest in Suffolk, is not connected with the Maktoum-owned stables that have featured in the endurance controversy.

    He also saddled Riverwatch for Argentina’s Josephina Chas, 22nd, and was the only professional handler to see all his horses complete Sartilly.

    “The biggest thrill was Laiza De Jalima winning the best condition award,” he told H&H. “With horses you have to be patient, and let them tell you when they are ready for the next level.”