Dubai The head of the Emirates Endurance Federation (EFF) has emphasised that a zero tolerance policy in the sport will be implemented after the suspension of at least five endurance riders that has led to a temporary suspension of all endurance related activities in the UAE.

Mohammad Al Kamali, Chairman of the Executive Board of the EEF and General Secretary of the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) told Gulf News that any violation of rules and regulations laid out by the sport’s governing, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), would not be tolerated.

“The safety of horses and compliance with all rules and regulations is of utmost importance to the integrity of any sport. Endurance riding is comparatively new and it is essential and crucial that we maintain its authenticity to ensure a bright and healthy future for the sport,” Al Kamali told Gulf News following a closed-door meeting of the EEF Executive Board on Wednesday.

“The EEF is closely monitoring the situation of our riders, horses and stables and we will show zero tolerance towards any breach of rules and regulations.”

The swift action was initiated following lapses and violation of rules and regulations during the 120km UAE Youth Endurance Ride held on January 30.

As many as 55 horses participated in the ride, and five riders and their horses were eliminated due to the contravention of FEI rules wherein they were deemed to have excessively whipped their horses in the final stages of the ride.

On Thursday, the EEF suspended the five endurance riders and temporarily suspended all endurances rides and allied activities in the UAE till February 11.

Additionally, at least five trainers who were overseeing the horses and riders have been temporarily banned, while the grooms of the five horses have forfeited their licences.

Each of the five stables involved in the violations have also been handed fines of Dh100,000 each.

The Executive Board also asserted that all Endurance Villages, Endurance Riding Clubs and Stables must adhere to a uniform process of registering all personnel, including service crew associated with the sport.

All personnel will be issued permits which must be displayed during the course of the rides in the future.

“What has happened is unfortunate, not just for the riders, the horses and the stables. But the rules and regulations are clear and as sportsmen it is the obligation of everyone involved to simply adhere to the rules,” Al Kamali said.

“The ultimate objective of this exercise is to protect the sport of endurance riding, and one of the ways to do so is to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed by one and all.”