An endurance organiser says she will never host FEI competitions again because of the behaviour of Group VII (Middle East) riders at her CEI in August.
A yellow warning card was issued to one UAE rider for “incorrect behaviour”, and another’s placing was demoted to completion after their altercations with road-crossing stewards at Barbury.
But organiser Linda Kidd believes further violations escaped censure because they were not reported within the FEI’s 30-minute rule.
Organisers “hand over” their site to FEI officials an hour before the start. Mrs Kidd says “inappropriate” corral areas and gazebos were erected too close to the vet hold area, “creating a potential health and safety risk”. She also alleges that the new limit on crew numbers was not enforced.
“We have run FEI events for four years, and this was the first time we’ve had Group VII,” she said. “Dealing with the Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) took up 95% of my time.
“Barbury was just eight days after the new FEI rules took effect on 1 August. You would have thought the UAE would try to respect them.”
Mrs Kidd wrote to Endurance GB (ECB) chairman John Hudson, but says he didn’t answer all her concerns. She also believes he understated rule-breaking during UK rides this summer in comments to H&H about the sponsorship EGB is discussing with DEC.
Mr Hudson said: “EGB are fully aware of the issues that arose at the Barbury Castle event and accept that we did not publicly acknowledge this. We would like to reassure members that we have received a full report from the organiser and are taking this experience into account when planning FEI rides in 2015 and beyond.”
Liz Finney, chief steward at Barbury, told H&H: “We did not find more than the allowed number attending any horse. There was obviously a large contingent of UAE grooms in the crew area due to the number of UAE-trained horses competing.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 November 2014).