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The Dressage World Faces Collective(s) Angst

In the run-up to many major FEI gatherings, we are often alerted there will be an update from its dressage judging working group. It feels like this has been going on for a decade. In fact, the working group beavered away for 18 months but I expect it feels like 10 years to them, too. Goodness knows their 19 recommendations were put out for consultation enough times, so how frustrating and exhausting that at this late stage there are moves to...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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It’s Time to Wind Endurance Back to Zero

Meetings of the FEI’s Endurance Temporary Committee – tasked with reviewing their sport for the umpteenth time – are always followed up with a press release. These missives include a quote about the new feeling of optimism and cooperation by everyone in the endurance community. Sorry for my cynicism, but can someone enlighten me as to when FEI Group 7 (Middle East) underwent this amazing epiphany and agreed that high-speed horse-wrecking must stop? I must have been in a coma that day. The national federations might be saying it and mea...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Spanish Riding School in New Turmoil Over ‘Political’ Appointment

I recently chanced upon this clip from “White Horses,” a kids TV show about the Lipizzaner stallions which was popular in the UK in the 1970. “White Horses” shaped a love of horses in most of my generation. My childhood diary records a fantasy trip to Lipica and Piber, and how one I day might even be in charge of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. The title song by Jackie Lee still gives me goose-bumps. But Vienna is no one’s dream job these ...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Don’t be a Dope – Read the Rules, Not Facebook!

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially on Facebook. How many millions of hours are wasted on social media by the uninformed just throwing something out there to be answered by people who don’t know either? Whatever happened to asking your vet or trainer, looking in a book or, best of all, reading the rules of your chosen horse sport? We are in the midst of it again with news that jumper Harry Charles – son of British Olympian Peter Charles – must forfeit his two 2018 European young riders gold medals, with GB demoted to...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Not-so-Great Expectations for Reiners and Novice Eventers

Two recent news items about eventing and reining caught my eye. On the face of it nothing connects them. But to me there is a common factor. Both result from the unintended consequences of governing bodies deciding to broaden their membership bases over the past 20 years or so. First, British Eventing (BE) has just introduced a swingeing new rule requi...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Can This Latest Endurance Review Make a Difference?

The temporary committee charged with reinventing endurance (yet again) has been bombarded with ideas before its first face-to-face meeting with the FEI on December 12th. The committee’s new athlete representative, Tarek Taher, is also launching a long overdue riders group – the True Endurance International Riders Association (TEIRA.) It should eventually enjoy the same MoU with the FEI as the rider groups for jumping, dressage and eventing. TEIRA hasn’t hung about, commissioning a detailed survey which, among other things, showed th...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Fakery Revisited: How Sheikhs’ Mates Remain Immune from the Rules

We’ve had fake horse IDs, faked races and faked results in UAE endurance, so why not fake riders too? The FEI pledges again and again to clamp down on rule-breakers, but NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE because certain riders will always be above the rules. Dubai’s ruling Maktoum family have a long-time summer endurance base in East Anglia, UK, from which they travel to FEI rides across Europe – mostly the rides they sponsor through the Meydan corporation. These include an intensive program at Euston Park, which infamously hosted the

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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The Next Four Years: Random Thoughts on Ingmar’s Road Map

Since the FEI general assembly in Bahrain two weeks ago, the FEI website has featured a portrait of Ingmar de Vos, re-elected president unopposed. “The sky really is the limit” says the blurb, in a somewhat sweeping statement. Broad brush strokes are indeed the theme of Ingmar’s “road map” for his next four years. There is not much sport-specific detail. Eventing gets mentioned once, in the context of future Olympic ve...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Welfare or Public Perception? The Disconnect in FEI Rules

When the representatives of national federations approve new FEI sports rules for 2019 I wonder how many will ponder, even fleetingly, why there is no real holistic approach to the welfare elements? Hot topics are usually dealt with through the prism of the discipline you happen to be involved with. I am sure that the final decision-making day of the 2018 FEI General Assembly in Bahrain (November 20) will be no different. The Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

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Doping: The Figures Behind the Headlines at Tryon

The FEI, quite understandably, has flagged up the nearly clean sheet achieved in the extensive sampling carried out at Tryon, save for two endurance horses. The Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Programme always goes into overdrive at WEGs and Olympic Games, when so many major players are assembled in one place. The 2018 WEG was no exception; 163 horses were sampled o...

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson