pdate 9/15/2018: Yesterday, during a press conference at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon regarding the false start and ultimate cancellation of the 100-mile Meydan Endurance Championship, it was announced that an equine competitor had been euthanized. The FEI has released a statement confirming that the horse was 20-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding, Barack Obama, ridden by Team New Zealand’s Jenny Champion.
The horse was treated for kidney problems on-site at the Endurance Treatment Clinic, according to the statement. He was later transferred to the Tryon Equine Hospital for further treatment, and the decision was made to euthanize the horse.
This news comes after a string of disappointments and mishaps, including a false start where some teams were accidentally sent off-course, resulting in a restart. Later that day, the competition was cancelled entirely after horses and riders had trekked for hours and had completed the majority of the course.
Watch the press conference, in its entirety, here:
9/12/2018: The Endurance competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games has faced a chaotic day between a false start this morning, and now, cancellation entirely.
The cancellation was announced at 6 p.m. EST with many athletes nearing the finish line of the race, which started early Wednesday morning.
"The remainder of today's Endurance competition has been cancelled due to a potentially 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 the FEI General Regulations, Article 109.12, was unanimous between the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Comission, and the Organising Committee," reads a statement made by the competition.
It is unclear of what time the riders were notified of the cancellation but at 6 p.m., the GPS tracking leaderboard still showed horses out on course. There were rainshowers throughout the day that were not related to Hurricane Florence.
This surprising cancellation comes after a mishap this morning when several teams were misdirected at the start of the 160 km/100 mile course.
"As some teams were unfortunately misdirected at the start of today’s Endurance ride, the competition will be stopped at the first vet gate and re-started as a 120-kilometre (75 mile) championship. In order to ensure that all horses are fit to compete they will all go through the vet check. Only horses that have passed the vet check will be allowed to compete. No substitution of horses will be allowed.
The restart of the ride will take place 45 minutes after the last horse has been inspected at the vet gate," read this morning's statement.
This is obviously an extremely disappointing series of events for the endurance athletes and teams who traveled from across the world to compete here, and who had already ridden for many hours.