Monday, June 29, 2009

Tom Morgan, you're the FHOTD Idiot du Jour!

Another day, another idiot thinking that using animals for some "extreme" sport event is acceptable. I rarely cover abuse outside the U.S., Europe and Australia/NZ, because quite frankly it is just too common and you'd all be so depressed you'd stop reading my blog. But this time I feel like I'd better help spread the word, because we can still stop this.

Here's the idiot's web site. The idiot is pictured at left. Feel free to tell him what you think! Remember, threats are never acceptable. Opinions are!

Here's their message board if you want to voice your opinion to the idiots offering to compete in this.

Oh, here's his LinkedIn page if you want to message him directly there.

And of course, e-mails to the media are great. I'd start with CNN but you can also complain to the British media.

Here's the article:

Equestrian Exploration and Endurance Leaders condemn world's largest unethical horse race

What is being labelled as the world's longest horse race, has been denounced by an unprecedented alliance of equestrian, endurance and exploration leaders.

At a thousand kilometers, the Mongol Derby would be the largest non-sanctioned endurance race ever attempted. Set to be run this summer in Mongolia, nearly a thousand semi-wild under-sized native horses have been drafted into an effort which deliberately flaunts international endurance racing rules.

"There's no carefully marked course, no catering tent and no support; this is horse racing on a whole new scale. You will change steeds every 40 km so the horses will be fresh. Bleeding kidneys, broken limbs, open sores, moon stroke and a list of dangers longer than your arm stand between you and victory," warns the official race website.

The horse race is being promoted by Tom Morgan, a native of Great Britain whose company, The Adventurists, previously specialized in enticing adventure-hungry tourists into signing up to race junk cars to distant national capitals.

"We don't make any safety arrangements. Our adventures are designed to be just that, so organising a support crew would rather take the edge off things. People are made painfully aware that what they're entering into can be extremely dangerous," Morgan's website cautioned.

Connie Caudill, President of the American Endurance Ride Conference, is one of the many equestrian leaders who have warned that Morgan's Mongol Derby will severely damage the sport and may well lead to horses being ridden to death.

"This will set endurance racing back 50 years," Caudill said, then added, "This isn't an endurance race, it's entertainment that will undermine endurance racing all over the world."
Morgan's company sought advice from The Long Riders' Guild, the world's first international association of equestrian explorers. The Guild warned the tour company against encouraging the twenty-five foreign competitors, all of whom had paid nearly $5,000 for a chance to ride, to attempt the journey, as the Guild's mounted explorers had recently encountered wolf attacks, bubonic plague, rabies, flash floods, foul water, poisoned food, horse theft and personal assault.

"The Adventurists is preparing to embark on an ill-advised equestrian misadventure, one in which your company does not appreciate the many equestrian hardships and dangers being presented to the horses and riders," The Guild informed the tour company.

Regardless of the danger, Morgan is busy promoting what he calls "biggest, baddest equine affair on the planet." He is being assisted by Richard Dunwoody, a former British champion jockey turned equestrian tour guide. Originally hired to present a lecture on racing to the amateur riders, Dunwoody has announced that he will be riding as a contestant in the event.
Because he plans on drafting nearly one thousand native horses into his non-sanctioned race, Morgan sought tactical and equestrian assistance from an unlikely source, the international charity, Mercy Corps.

Operating in more than a hundred countries, with offices in Scotland and Mongolia, the wealthy charity agreed to accept a guaranteed £25,000 in donations from Morgan's riders in exchange for providing the tour operator with access to twenty-five Mongolian herder families and their horses.

"Mercy Corps are delighted to be a part of the first ever Mongol Derby," said Jennifer Adams, the Event Development Coordinator at Mercy Corps, European Headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland. When asked if this partnership of participation meant that Mercy Corps was in the horse racing business, Adams answered, "I guess you could say that."

During an eight month investigation into the race, Long Riders in New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, Great Britain, Mongolia and the United States confirmed that neither the Mongolian government, nor the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international body assigned to protect endurance racing from exploitation, was involved in organizing the race.

"This is going to be all about the endurance of the rider, as opposed to the horse," said a spokesperson for Morgan's company. (FHOTD in: THEN I THINK YOU ASSHATS SHOULD CARRY THE HORSES!)

Contestants are riding straight into danger.

"They're providing us with these yellow brick trackers, so we can activate the emergency beacon if our horse is injured and we can't walk it in," one rider said. "The only other time you're supposed to activate the beacon is if you feel your life is in immediate danger. There's only one emergency medical helicopter in all of Mongolia."

Food and water will also be an obstacle during the so-called Mongol Derby.

"We're still looking into the food options," the naïve young contestant told the press. "They're going to give us GPS locations to the wells, where we'll be able to get water, and they don't guarantee that the wells will have water. They want us to be careful because there are packs of wild dogs that surround those wells."

When it was learned that Morgan's race appears to violate the three primary principles of endurance racing, namely no commercial exploitation of the horse, a marked route and confirmed sources of water, the world's largest coalition of riders, explorers and editors launched an international petition asking the Mongolian president to halt the race and urging Princess Haya, President of the FEI, to ban the competitors for life.

Additionally, Britain's Minister for the Horse, Jim Fitzpatrick, has been urged to scrutinize Morgan's non-sanctioned race, and the Charity Commissions in England and Scotland received a complaint asking them to investigate the possibility that Mercy Corps participated in unacceptable behaviour.

Regardless of what happens out on the steppe in August, it is already plain to see that thousands of horse riders, equestrian explorers and endurance riders have banded together in an unprecedented act of solidarity designed to halt Morgan's spectacle.

For more information about the race, and to sign the petition, please visit the Long Riders' Guild Mongol Investigation & Petition

Here's my message to Tom:

Tom, you're part of a long tradition of twenty-something guys doing dumb shit that gets them killed. From drinking themselves to death to try to be part of a frat to jumping motorcycles without a helmet, the ways your age and gender group try to qualify for the Darwin Awards are truly impressive and creative. However, the international horse community will not stand for this attempt to bring defenseless animals into your parade of attempted self-destruction. These horses aren't going to be fit for anything like this and you're putting non-equestrians on them who wouldn't even recognize that a horse was injured or ill. It is obvious you intend to treat them as disposable and that WILL NOT be tolerated. If I were you, I'd issue a press release today that you'll be replacing horses with motorcycles for this race. Then, by all means, please proceed to see how many of your competitors can remove themselves from the gene pool. Have fun!

P.S. Girls do not think this is cool. Really. Girls put out for guys who are kind to animals.