The future of Endurance

Dr Sarah Coombs will chair a new FEI committee about the future of  international Endurance riding.

The FEI Bureau has set up a Temporary Committee to urgently assess the issues currently affecting the sport of Endurance and carry out an in-depth review of the rules. The remit will identify the most effective way of bringing the discipline back to its original roots of Endurance riding as opposed to Endurance racing, with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core, while still maintaining the competitive aspect of the sport.

The Temporary Committee will be chaired by Dr Sarah Coombs (GBR). She was formerly the British Endurance team vet, is a Trustee of the global equine charity World Horse Welfare and is also chair of its Veterinary Advisory Committee. She is joined by Dr Tim Parkin (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance injuries Study (GEIS)

“We need to bring the discipline back to the principles of the FEI where welfare of the horse and horsemanship prevail”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Temporary Committee will conduct a thorough review of the discipline with the aim of getting back to real Endurance riding with the focus on horsemanship and the partnership between horse and human. “The sport has evolved and there needs to be a recognition of that, but the essence of the sport must remain the same. What we need are rules that place greater emphasis on completion of the event, rather than the ‘win at all costs’ mentality that is more and more threatening our sport. Read more

Safer jumping following colour research

The colour of markers on hurdles and fences at racecourses could change because of the way horses see colour. Research by the University of Exeter found that racehorses may jump better over white and yellow obstacles, instead of the orange/brown which is currently used on hurdle frames, fence take-off boards and guard-rails.

The study on equine vision, commissioned by the British Horseracing Authority and Racing Foundation in 2017, involved noting the behavioural responses of horses to more prominent colours in a controlled environment. It was carried out with trainer Richard Phillips and 11 racecourses, where the visibility of orange markers and other potential colours were tested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a result, a phased trial at training grounds will begin using fluorescent yellow for all hurdles and guard-rails and fluorescent white for take-off boards at fences. The colours have been determined to maximise visibility under a wide range of conditions for both humans and horses.

New Code of Practice for horse welfare

A new Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and their Hybrids  has been published. It was collated in partnership between Defra and the British Horse Council and  sets out minimum standards that should be met by anyone caring for an equine in England.

The Code of Practice can be viewed and downloaded here:

The Code covers all aspects of physical well-being including; what constitutes a suitable environment for a horse, ensuring their nutritional needs are met, protection from pain, injury, suffering and disease, end of life planning and duty of care.  In addition, the Code also sets out requirements for ensuring that a horse’s behavioural and companionship needs are met.

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:

“The publication of this updated Code of Practice is a significant step for equine welfare in England. Not only does the Code set out the minimum standards that constitute and define responsible ownership, but it provides a useful and easily accessible reference guide for horse owners and carers from all areas of the equine sector.

“Although it cannot be used to bring about a prosecution, this statutory Code is an important resource for enforcers and welfare charities which offers clear guidance and education as well as assisting Courts of Law to enforce welfare offences and hold irresponsible owners to account.

“The updated Code is similar to guidance in other countries which set out good practice in equine welfare and we look forward to progressing a European-wide version as part of the EU Animal Welfare Platform’s Equine Sub Group.”