FEI qualified vet ANN Lammens gives her report.
It s already a week that we are back from the first Gobi Desert Cup in Mongolia, and well... it was an AMAZING experience!!
Camille did a great job, she selected the horses, she has put them in training, and she has organised a fantastic race!
We had 94 starts (over 6 days), some of the horses did two times 80km and I was so surprised we only had 13,8% vet-outs!...
3,2% were due to high heart rates, 3,2% were out of time and 7,4% was due to lameness. The lameness was mostly due to stone bruises. All those horses did their 80km bear foot!
There was not one invasive treatment necessary. So compared to endurance in Europe and Australia where we often have up to 50% vet outs or even more, the Gobi Desert Cup did very well, and we can definitely say that Camille achieved her goal, taking care of the horses and putting horse welfare on the first place!
Every rider was very well supervised, official cars were following them during the hole race. They could stop the cars and ask for advice whenever they wanted. Because... they were riding Mongolian horses...The Mongolian horses are so special, you really need good horseman skills to understand them and to make them go 80km for you.
Every day the riders got there horses by the luck of the draw. So in the morning before the race started they had a vet check. There were checkpoints at 15, 30, 55 and 70km, Nara, the head vet, and I we tried to be as much as possible present at those checkpoints to help the riders and give them some advise if needed.
At 40 and 80km they had a vet check. At the 40km they had to trot out, and then they had 30 min to come in for heart rates. As soon as they passed the vet check they had 40min of obligatory rest. We never had to eliminate any horse for a high heart rate at the 40km vet gate. At the finish line they did their trot up and then again they had 30min to check the heart rates.
It needs to be mentioned that those horses did extremely well, like I said before they did they 80km bear foot. And they heart rates went down very quickly, most of the horses came in for vetting in 5-10min after racing and we didn't had 100 litres of water per horse... the first days there was no strapping, only the last 3 days when it was really hot in the desert the horses were strapped but only with a small amount of water and they still recovered very well.
The last day we had 15 starts and all the horses had done already 80km, we did not had one vet out for heart rate, we only had a lameness, due to stone bruise and a withdrawn.
Like I said before the organisation was just perfect, it was not only the race, it was so much more...
Mongolia was beautiful, the people in Mongolia are so gentle and friendly, we had an amazing time, we have made friends for life...
Thanks for this amazing experience and looking forward for the Gobi Desert Cup 2018!