In a March 26, 2013, letter from the Swiss Federation, sent to the FEI and distributed to the National Equestrian Federations and European Equestrian Federation, the “negative evolution of the FEI discipline Endurance in the last few years” and the well being of the equestrian sport of endurance and its horses has been addressed.
The letter was written “on behalf of many worried riders, trainers and officials, but also observers in the public, media and animal protection circles.” The letter stated, the “actual situation of FEI Endurance is taking forms that the Swiss Equestrian Federation cannot accept any longer.”
The letter addresses the “multitude of witnessed and documented cruelties to horses… tremendous fracture frequencies… dangerous treatment protocols… as well as cheating actions before and during the Endurance races… in parallel with the non-taking of responsibility and function of certain officials…”
A “dramatic incidence of positive medication and doping cases” has been observed, along with inequity in competition.
The Swiss have petitioned the FEI to take immediate and efficient measures against the doping of endurance horses and the documented non-equity of competition.
The Swiss letter precedes letters of concern from the French Equestrian Federation, and the Belgian Equestrian Federation to the FEI in October of 2012.
The Belgian letter dated October 2, 2012, addressed (Google Translate) “the number of dead from exhaustion or horses euthanized due to spontaneous fractures has reached unimaginable proportions…” and requests the FEI take the (Google Translate) “necessary measures to ensure that perpetrators are actually banned from equestrian sport and that such actions quit permanently.”
The French letter, dated October 12, 2012, addressed “a welfare issue concerning endurance discipline,” pointing to 3 horse deaths during international endurance competition: “Concerned Horses dead after having passed vet gate inspections either during the track either after the end of the track… These cases are preoccupant for all endurance stakeholders. Here is a risk to tarnish the public perception of endurance discipline…”
No public comment so far from the FEI.
The Federation letters can be seen here: