FEI Tribunal Suspends UAE Endurance Rider for Abuse

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Tribunal found Ali Mohammed Ali Al Hosani guilty of horse abuse on March 7 and has suspended him for six months after it was reported that he hit his horse twice with a water bottle during the Sheikh Mohammed Cup CEI3* 160-kilometer race in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Jan. 4. Remarkably, the case was brought to the attention of the tribunal NOT by the stewards, but by journalist Pippa Cuckson, who filed a formal complaint and provided video of the incident.

In her statement, Cuckson said:

“The incident at issue occurred during the fourth loop. The horse completed the first three loops at high average speeds—24.24, 25.72, 24.15 kph. His average speed dropped to 18.12 kph in loop 4, during which loop this incident took place, and again in loop 5 where his loop speed averaged just 14.11 kph. It is likely that the rider realized his horse was tiring, and he had fading hopes of a top-10 placing.”

Al Hosani replied:

“I would like to explain what happened exactly and as it [was] shown in the recorded video. It is clear that when I took the second water bottle from the groom, I started spraying water [off] of the horse neck. I did this twice because I felt that there still water in the bottle, so I poured it again. It is true that I poured the water vigorously due to speed, and I tried to pour as much water as possible, but I did not intend at all to hit or abuse the horse.”

You watch the video and then decide whether he was trying to cool down his horse!

The Tribunal came into the hearing considering that the rider did not intend to strike his horse but concluded that the video evidence contradicted this and also showed the rider kicking his horse, Corleone, violently.  FEI endurance rules expressly disallow spurs or carrying anything that could be used as a whip. Thus, striking an endurance horse AT ALL is abuse.

Al Hosani has been competing in endurance events since the age of 13 but has a completion rate of only 50%. He has not previously been sanctioned at an event.

Cuckson is an award-winning journalist who has campaigned for endurance reform for many years. She commented,

“Naturally I am pleased Tribunal has recognized that this incident violates FEI rules and is an affront to horsemanship and the welfare of the horse. I am only sad I was reduced to lodging this protest because the ground jury did nothing – notwithstanding the incident being captured on the official livestream of the ride, and then going ‘viral’ on social media. This type of odious behaviour on the field of play is often seen in FEI Group 7.

What do you think of this video? Abuse? or not?

6 thoughts on “FEI Tribunal Suspends UAE Endurance Rider for Abuse

  1. Sure looks like he’s striking the horse with the EMPTY bottle to me…in fact if you watch the slow motion, he has the bottle opening UP and the bottle is obviously empty. There was no need for him to do this other than the fact that he was angry and the horse was to blame.
    I lived in Saudi Arabia for a year. I saw a lot of animal abuse. For that matter, I saw men hitting women because the woman happened to smile at my soldiers.
    Thank you, Pippa Carlson, wherever you are. and I am thankful that the FEI didn’t allow a man with a boatload of money to get away with this.

  2. I’m not defending the person or the sport, but I’m not seeing abuse. Watched in slow motion, he dumps water on the rear and splashed water twice on the front. I have done this myself and you get better spray with a whipping motion. There is no contact made to the horse with the bottle.

  3. On the other hand, I worked endurance rides for at least a decade. It looks to me as if he’s hitting the horse, and the horse is reacting by flinching. In addition, at the very beginning of the clip, it appears as if someone on the ground is either yelling at the horse, or waving his arms to keep the horse going, or doing something to encourage the horse to keep moving.
    Whether or not actual contact was made, the point is that if the horse is tired or wants to quit, it means the horse is NOT ready for the distance. Endurance is above all a team effort, and the winner is not always the first across the line, but the horse in BEST CONDITION upon completion. Let’s not forget, too, the video was of an endurance RACE. Meaning the fastest horse wins. In the US, (I can’t speak to other countries like England, Australia, etc) it’s an Endurance RIDE. The FEI World EQuestrian Games Endurance competition is a RACE. A Ride would take forever and that’s not what people in the stands want to see. Endurance rides at NOT spectator sports.
    As in dressage, when you force a horse to do something, the result is artificial. Cheaters can never say to their soul, we did this together. It becomes “win at all costs’, forcing a horse becomes cruelty, and I’m not being bigoted by saying I saw a lot of that in the Middle East, to include a dead Arabian gelding in the desert with the number still on it’s flank…faded, but there.

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