FEI World Endurance Championship  

19 Jan 2005

185 horses from all continents expected in Dubai (UAE) on 27 January 

A total of 185 horses from all continents have been entered in the World Endurance Championship to be held in Dubai next week.

5 nations of South America
2 nations of North America
16 nations of Western Europe
5 nations of Eastern Europe
2 nations of Africa
7 nations of the Middle East
2 nations of the Far East
2 nations of Australasia

Apart from the local horses all horses have travelled last week in what is considered to be one of the biggest airlifts of horses from all over the world to take part in a single FEI competition.

In addition to the horses some 750 personnel; riders, grooms, Vets, Doctors and Chef D’Equipes together with some 42 officials will travel out to Dubai to take part in the Dubai FEI Endurance World Championships

The Guinness Book of Records has confirmed that they will send representatives to witness what is expected to be the biggest ever single International Equestrian Competition on record.

The FEI World Endurance Championships are held every second year. The last World Championship took place within the World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera (ESP) and saw the victory of Sheik Ahmed bin Mohd al Maktoum (UAE) on Bowman in the Individual class and France in Team class. This was the third Team gold medal for France who had already won the championship in 1992 in Barcelona (ESP) and 1994 in Den Haag (NED).

Background information:
An Endurance Ride is a competition against the clock to test the speed and endurance of the horse. It requires extensive preparation and a deep knowledge and understanding between horse and rider. Even though the rides are timed, the emphasis is on finishing in good condition rather than coming in first.
Endurance Riding began as a necessity rather than a sport. Horseback riding was the main transportation means for centuries and reliable horses that could travel long distances while remaining healthy were much sought after. Endurance became a competitive sport in the 1950s. In 1983, the FEI approved Endurance as an official discipline.

Modern competitions consist of a number of phases. At the end of each phase, maximum distance 40 km, there is a compulsory halt for veterinary inspection called a vetgate. Each horse must be presented for inspection within a set time of reaching the vetgate and must meet the required criteria.

The distance for a one day ride is 40 - 160 km. The record winning time for a 160 competition was set at 7 hours 20 minutes in 2004 although the usual time taken is between 10 and 12 hours. It can take years for a horse and rider combination to be ready to compete such a ride.

The sport has developed amazingly over the last years: in 2001 and 2002, there were 147 and 186 rides respectively. The number grew to 238 in 2003 and 300 in 2004.