FOLLOWING a false start which led to the first loop of being void, the remainder of the Endurance ride at the FEI World Equestrian Games was cancelled yesterday evening due to a “potentially dangerously high combination of heat and humidity”.
Ireland’s Tom MacGuinness was in eighth place with the race was abandoned.
A statement from Tryon said: “The remainder of today’s Endurance competition has been cancelled due to a potentially dangerously high combination of heat and humidity, and the conditions out on the trail following heavy rain this afternoon. The decision to cancel, which is in accordance with FEI General Regulations, Article 109.12 was unanimous between the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Commission, and the Organising Committee.”
“The decision is also in line with the FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse, which states: c) Extreme weather: Competitions must not take place in extreme weather conditions that may compromise welfare or safety of the horse.
“This was a difficult decision to make, but it was done with horse and athlete welfare in mind as the conditions this afternoon after the rain resulted in extremely high levels of humidity and, combined with rising heat, it was deemed unsafe to continue the ride,” President of the Veterinary Commission Thomas Timmons said.
British scientist Dr David Marlin, who has been working on heat and humidity studies for the FEI since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, provided the Ground Jury with data from the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index which showed a reading of 31. Anything over 25 is monitored very closely, and the officials agreed unanimously that 31 presented an unacceptable risk to horse welfare.
In addition, following the false start, the FEI has tasked the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), which is onsite here at Tryon, to do a full investigation into the circumstances that resulted in some horse/athlete combinations being misdirected.The investigation will include interviews with the officials, volunteers, Organising Committee and all other relevant personnel to provide a full picture of what happened.
The findings will be presented to the FEI Bureau and the conclusions will then be made public.
MORE TO FOLLOW ON THIS STORY IN SATURDAY’S THE IRISH FIELD