4 January 2016, Abu Dhabi, UAE ~ Outside Abu Dhabi, the Boudhieb Endurance Village hosted several endurance rides over 3 days on the weekend of 1-3 January to celebrate both the 2016 New Year and HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s new scheme designed to support the general welfare of horses and good equestrianism. The Top Endurance Rider Challenge (ERC) makes awards placing great emphasis on the technical skill of the rider and trainer through strict management of heart rate and recovery presentation time rather than just pure speed was a great success.
The main event of the weekend was the 120km CEIYJ** ERC Endurance Cup for Juniors & Young Riders which incorporated the new Top Endurance Rider Challenge for the first time. The race was won by Ahmed Yousef Al Baloushi riding Bac Dayre for Nad Al Sheba Stables trained by Yousef Ahmed Al Baloushi. Young rider Baloushi was supervised by assistant trainer Mohammed Nasser and was carefully guided through strategy to take this prestigious award. Meanwhile the winner of the speed version of the ride was Ali Mohammed Al Hosani riding Shanelli Park Judaan for Al Reef Stables.
90km EHC Endurance Cup CEN for Ladies. The winner of both this restricted speed event and the Top Rider Challenge was Catalina Bastons riding Majeed La Lizonne for Jumierah Stables trained by Ghanim Mohammad Al Marri.
100km EHC Endurance CEN for Private Owners was won by Saeed Ali Saeed Al Subousi riding Silver De Laredo trained and owned by Mubarak Obaid Al Khaili, whilst the Top Endurance Rider Challenge went to Adel Mohammed Ali Al Hosani with Faisa De Masferrer owned and trained by Khalifa Yousif Khouri from his Al Hosn Endurance Stable. Hosani had placed third in the main event.
80km EHC CEI* was won by Kato ridden by Devi Singh Gayar Singh for HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Seeh Al Salaam 2 Stables and trained by Saeed Al Murr Saeed Bin Helweh. The prizes were presented by was H.E. Ali Abdullah Al Rumaithi the CEO of Activities in Emirates Heritage Club who attended the whole event.
Throughout the weekend His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan received officials from the Emirates Equestrian Federation and other International Equestrian Bodies, His Highness had discussions with Dr Khalid Ahmed Hassan (Kingdom of Bahrain) President of the Veterinary Commission, Mr Toni Garcia (Spain) President of the Ground Jury, Mr Christian Lozano (France) Technical Delegate and other officials about the importance of equestrian sport in general and endurance in particular, and the need to respect the horse whilst developing various aspects of the competition at all levels.
His Highness pointed out that “new suggestions and recommendations for developing the sport are useful for horses and riders. Rules should be open for discussion and amendment at any time when it concerns the welfare of the horse and rider and a sustainable future for the sport.” His Highness added, “Everyone must work hard to increase participants of all ages, male and female in equestrian sport but also to support the principles of horse welfare and the partnership of horse and man.”
In conclusion His Highness stated that “the new Top Rider Challenge held in Boudheib is a very important pioneering effort both Nationally and Internationally but it is still under development.” His Highness welcomes comments.
As with all new systems there were some initial teething problems but His Highness wished it to be noted that thanks to the new strictly enforced rules there were no cases of horse hospitalization and completion rates were in excess of 40%. All the officials congratulated His Highness on this achievement and stated it was a tremendous step forward for the future.