The Boutheib Initiative
BEST ENDURANCE CHALLENGE AWARD
The Boutheib Initiative has been developed to ensure the welfare of the endurance horse, it is also an attempt to return endurance riding back to its traditional roots. The Initiative has proved a great success in UAE but it remains an ongoing process, which is constantly being refined to meet the challenges of a new system for use in a variety of different situations. Nevertheless the objective remains, to develop a format, which rewards good horsemanship and sportsmanship with horse welfare at its core. The current changes have been made in response to the constructive feedback gathered throughout the first season.
The changes incorporated in this updated proposal are aimed at minimizing the subjective assessment of the individual veterinarian at the vet gate. A major new development has been an attempt to provide more consistent scoring for the Award through the use of an Official Veterinary Panel of three, who will undertake the final assessment of Metabolic Criteria and Gait for all the qualified horses at the end of the ride.
Another important factor is the emphasis on Heart Rate Recovery and the use of the Cardiac Recovery Index. The tough new parameter of 56bmp in a maximum recovery time of 10 minutes provides the main challenge and shows when a fit horse is performing well and being ridden within its capabilities.
An upper speed limit of 20kph is mandatory to discourage the current trend for speed above all other criteria. Organizers should be aware that the “speed limit” is not currently recognised by the FEI. Nevertheless the Boudheib Initiative Best Endurance Challenge Award can still be held as a CEN or a competition within a CEI ride, but only competitors adhering to the optimum speed and conditions will be eligible for the award. The speed can be adapted downwards to suit local conditions. Organizers should also be aware that any such separate award, within an FEI competition, must be announced in the FEI schedule in advance of the event.
Interest in using The Boudheib Initiative has come from many quarters and it has been agreed to sponsor several rides this summer using the system, we look forward to receiving further feedback.