Samorin in Slovakia will host this year's International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Endurance Championships after Dubai was stripped of the competition due to horse welfare concerns.
The FEI's Endurance Committee unanimously recommended the Slovakian bid ahead of rival submissions from Fontainebleau in France and Pisa in Italy with the FEI Bureau now endorsing that decision.
Both the French and Italian bids were rejected after they proposed mid-October for the Championships, meaning rides would start and finish in the dark.
This, the FEI ruled, would put horses and riders at risk while increased potential for heavy rain was another factor considered.
Slovakia will now host at the Samorin Equestrian Centre between September 15 and 18, the venue for last year's European Championships.
Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, was only stripped of the event in April so the FEI has been working against the clock.
“We were very happy to receive three bids and appreciate the willingness to support the FEI at such short notice for this year’s World Championships”, FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez said.
"But the Bureau had no hesitation in opting for Samorin.
"Horse welfare has to be the most important element in the allocation of these major events and Samorin has a proven track record, having already run both the young horse and European Endurance Championships very successfully.
“The timing of the Championships was also important and, with the three bids all coming from Europe, the Bureau felt that a September date was more appropriate.
"Both Fontainebleau and San Rossore were proposing mid-October when the reduced daylight hours could potentially have an impact on safety.
"Safeguarding the safety and welfare of the equine and human athletes is our top priority in all our disciplines.”
Dubai's axing came after the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) was suspended by the FEI for "major horse welfare issues" in March 2015.
This ban was lifted in July following the signing of a legally binding agreement in which the national body “guaranteed” horse welfare would be “fully respected” with FEI Rules enforced “stringently” at endurance events.
The governing body noted in April that there has been "hard work" and "progress" in the Gulf country but ruled that there is still too much work to be done to ensure horse safety at the World Endurance Championships.
Abdul Aziz Sheikh, the former head of the EEF Endurance Department, was suspended from acting as an FEI Official or having any involvement in FEI activities at a national or international level for 18 months in March.
He was one of three officials sanctioned after "consistently" failing to address FEI rules, while five riders were suspended following “gross offences” in February.
Other allegations against the country include "ghost-registered" horses, with results duplicated from earlier events.
This allowed horses to compete at a higher level than their true experience and fitness levels, putting their welfare at risk.
The Dubai International Equestrian Centre was the initial venue for the Championships, with competition due to take place between December 10 and 17.
Elsewhere, the FEI Bureau allocated the 2016 World Driving Championships for Young Horses to Mezöhegyes in Hungary.