Last weekend, the endurance competitions in Fontainebleau, France, near Paris, were marked by several incidents, including the euthanizing of two horses competing in the CEI 1*. Several days later, Gilles Cabardos, president of the organizing committee, commented on the incidents through a press release.
In the communiqué, entitled “Sadness, anger, incomprehension and reassurance,” the president of ‘Grand Parquet Endurance’ [GPE] reacted in particular to the deaths of horses Ariane d’Oudairies and Castlebar Gulstream, who were being ridden by French and Emirates riders in the CEI 1* at the event.
“I am sad for the two horses who died, their owners, riders and grooms, for whom I and the whole team have a deep respect,” Gilles Cabardos said. “We understand the sacrifices involved in our discipline and losing a companion is difficult.” Cabardos also expressed his “anger, when [he] sees an attempt to discredit [his] organization by a so-called fair endurance movement,” a reference to the website ‘Fair Endurance’, which a few days ago denounced “the hypocrisy of the French endurance [discipline].”
But Gilles Cabardos also feels “incomprehension” after the events. “I still do not understand (or perhaps understand too well) why our discipline is the object of so much attention, while at the same time, in other disciplines, everything goes smoothly without anyone having anything to say about anything!” The president hammered home his point about feeling “incomprehension, anger and sadness at the same time, when [I] observe that once again our family has been hurt by the [actions] of a few.
Despite everything, the press release ends on a positive note, with Cabardos evoking his sense of “reassurance.” “[GPE] receives so many positive, strong and respectful messages regarding our team’s organization and the warm welcome we extend to you every year without fail, that I remain convinced we have to go forward.”
Coming back for a final time to the subject of the tragic horse deaths last weekend, he emphasized that, “We have never derogated from our responsibilities, and we will draw the right lessons [from these incidents]. At this time, no element suggests we have any responsibility for the accidents. However, if new details came to light which point to that, we would learn from those.”