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Jangan pernah melarikan diri, jangan pernah letih dan jangan pernah putus asa. . . . (Winston Churchill)

"You're alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act."
- Barbara Hall -

25 Oktober, 2010

Aussie link to WEG endurance win

By Jenny Sheppard

AUSTRALIAN riders may not have starred in the 100-mile endurance at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, but there was one link to Australia in the championship.

Silver medallist Sheikh Mohammed, of the United Arab Emirates, riding Ciel Oriental, owns the global Darley Stud, which has four Australian properties, one at Seymour and three in NSW.

He also heads his family's Godolphin Racing operations in NSW.

Gold went to Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton, from Spain, riding Nobby, and bronze to Sheikh Mohammed's son Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, riding SAS Alexis.

Although thrilled with the victory, Ponton also credited Sheikh Mohammed.

"It's really a strange feeling because I really wanted Sheikh Mohammed to be the world champion," Ponton said at the press conference.

"I think he deserves it. He's the person doing more for this sport in the world."

Sheikh Mohammed's second-place finish helped the United Arab Emirates team to a gold medal in the Endurance Team World Championships.

Silver went to France and bronze to Germany.

Penny Toft, from Marburg, in Queensland, was the only Australian to finish. She was placed 44th, riding Don.

Other team members were Norbert Radney, from Perth, whose horse was eliminated at the gate 3 vet inspection with metabolic problems, and Matt Sample, from Imbil, in Queensland, who was eliminated at the gate 5 inspection when his horse, Tarrangower Crescendo, was lame.

Aussie reining riders qualify

TWO Australian reining riders, Warren Backhouse and Martin Larcombe, qualified for the individual reining final but missed out on medals.

Backhouse finished 13th riding Wiza Bronze Star, with a score of 216.5 and Larcombe finished 19th, riding Top Prize Prince.

The individual gold and silver medals went to the US, with Canada winning bronze.

Australia did not qualify for the teams final, won by the US from Belgium and Italy.

WEG horses test negative

ALL blood and urine samples taken from horses at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky were negative for all prohibited substances.

A total of 140 samples were taken from 82 or 11 per cent of all competing horses, with blood being taken from all 82, plus urine where possible.

All individual medal horses were tested, as well as one member of each medal winning team.

"This is a great success for everyone involved in equestrian sport and is the best possible endorsement of the FEI's Clean Sport Campaign," FEI president HRH Princess Haya said.

"It also proves the value of the FEI's educational program." (

07 Oktober, 2010

Technology at WEG Endurance Event
by: Marsha Hayes

GPS Tracking and Swipe Card Accuracy

Cutting-edge GPS technology will provide real-time tracking of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Endurance competitors as they race tomorrow in Lexington, Ky.

"Anyone with a laptop will be able to track the horses, at the event, or at home, around the world," explained Emmett Ross, endurance discipline manager for WEG. Ross also noted the system will be in place in the staging area to alert crews when their horses are coming into a vet check and allow them to adjust race strategy based on knowing competitors' positions.

For equine enthusiasts on site at the Kentucky Horse Park, several large viewing screens will be stationed around the park in the trade show and hospitality areas, and perhaps other sites to enhance viewing of the lengthy WEG event, projected to last around eight hours.

Announcements will also be broadcast on site alerting spectators when horses will be arriving in the vet-check staging area.

The GPS system initially will be set to "ping" or update data every 30 seconds. Ross plans to lower the update rate to six seconds near the finish, where at that time, "You will be able to really see that little icon move along."

Because the Kentucky course does not allow spectators on the trails, public roads, or private lands where horses are competing, "This system will be a way to allow everybody to view the event," said Ross.

Swipe cards will also be added to enhance efficiency at the games. According to Becky Hart, chef d'equipe of endurance Team USA, the cards have been used in the Middle East and Europe and furnish valuable time-tracking data to crews and event veterinarians. Ross also noted a back-up system is in place, should electricity fail.

When a horse comes into a vet check, a crew member swipes that rider's card which records that horse's number, team, and logs the time of when the horse entered vet check. When the horse is presented to the vet to determine if his or her heart rate has dropped to the required rate to allow the horse to continue, the card is swiped again. After a set number of horses have swiped a computer printout is generated.

Because the time between check in and pulse down can be indicative of a horse's fatigue, Hart explained print-out access allowed one to, "keep an eye on the competition" by watching for an increase in pulse-down time. "It also allows me to keep track of each loop time, for my team and [their] competitors," Hart continued.

According to Ross, the computer print-outs assist event-monitoring veterinarians in awarding Best Conditioned awards by providing a summary of pulse-down times over the 100 mile race. Soundness after the event will also be keenly scrutinized, but the swipe card's fast, accurate analysis of each horse’s pulse rate data is a valuable veterinary analysis tool.

During the vet checks, hand-held heart rate monitors will connect to large viewing screens, allowing spectators to see for themselves the equine athlete’s moment of reaching the criteria needed to start another loop

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