I read with interest the kvetching about how the UAE
Sheiks have changed International Endurance riding.
What is rarely mentioned is that these guys have
untold wealth, and for the past 10-15 years have been
scouring the world for the best horses, vets,
farriers, and trainers. They spend millions building
facilities and hire platoons of riders to condition
their horses. Is there any reason why one would
expect them NOT to be the fastest?
What will eventually happen to FEI endurance is that
horses will be bred for this asymptotic speed and that
will be it. For a while we will see records broken
until horses get as fast as they can be bred to be.
And then "speed endurance" will just become
predictable and boring. I think the source of
lamenting is in knowing that there is no way in hell
any regular person would ever have the wherewithal to
compete with these guys on their turf (excuse me,
“sand”), or any were else for that matter. Those days
are long gone.
I think the biggest source of rancor of the American
riders lies in difference of values. We Americans
value making due with what we are given and making the
most of it. We value overcoming adversity. Esteem is
given to people who start with nothing and make
something of themselves. We American riders take a
great amount of pride in rescuing a horse bound for
slaughter and turning him into a trusted competitive
mount by our own sweat and hard work. We don’t
understand the concept of royalty and we don’t want
I really don’t see how a 6.5-hour 100-miler is going
to change how I ride or how AERC operates. I am going
to continue to see what my “thrifty-nickel” horses are
capable of and have a darn good time doing it. I am
going to keep meeting new people and see the back
country. I don’t see FEI ever wanting to change any
of this…there would be nothing in it for them if they
were to try.