WM Saturday

August 12 2017 | World Championships

First of the two days of the finals, and emotions are running high. But let us think about the horses for a moment. Just over 200 horses, competing for breeding and sport, have come to Oirshot from 15 countries. They are housed in 4 spacious stable tents, amidst tight security. The horses who came directly from Iceland are kept separately, in order to minimise potential cross infection. To ensure the greats possible calm, the only persons allowed into the stables are the riders, team leaders and grooms. Since the horses are the athletes, it is they who are selected for doping tests, and we are happy that so far our sport remains pretty clean, at least at this very high level of competition. 10% of all horses are randomly selected for a blood test, which is then sent to a lab for analysis. All horses are checked before and after each run, and the fact that unfortunately some horses are disqualified due to (hopefully only minor) injuries, shows that the system works. Arguably, some horses enjoy this level of competition, the emotional ups and downs, and the noise more than others. But riders and spectators alike share an earnest desire to keep the welfare of the horses as our highest priority.