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Thu, 2016-03-10 15:50

USEF Response to FEI Proposed Changes to Eventing

Authored By: USEA

The FEI is currently collecting input before the upcoming forum and has offered an Online Discussion Platform to be open from March 16-21, 2016.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) is preparing to review many suggestions that may alter the current sport of eventing prompted by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020. These changes include modifying the sport itself as well as its involvement in Olympic and World Equestrian Games and will be presented for consideration at the FEI Sports Forum which will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland April 4-5, 2016. Other nations have come forward with formal responses to these proposals, and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors is currently drafting their own response due to the fact that these decisions tend to directly impact the sport on a national level.

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the governing body for all equestrian sports in the U.S. and of which the USEA is the official eventing affiliate, submitted their formal response to the FEI’s proposals which are listed below.

 “As a community and a sport we are faced with a difficult challenge,” stated the USEF. “We are faced with a call for change but without definitive goals to achieve. Change for the sake of change is a dangerous proposition. We need to know where we are trying to get to before we can take effective steps to get there. The promised feedback from the IOC following the 2015 Sports Forum agreement is still awaited. We are open to change for the sake of improving the sport of eventing, remaining in the Olympics, etc. but in the current environment it feels like we are tweaking the edges not changing the sport and we do not know if that is going to achieve the intended result.

It is felt that the “Presentation” of eventing is where greatest strides can be made.  A new name will change little if the sport is not effectively presented.  What can be learnt from other sports; for example sailing, who changed very little (apart from double points for the Medal Race) but fundamentally changed how their sport was presented during the Games.  Better use of technology, exciting commentary from athletes and celebrities, use of cameras on horses etc. are all areas that need looking at.”

2017 Eventing Committee Proposals:

Click here for the complete document: Session 6 – Olympic Competition Format

Click here for the complete document: Session 8 – Eventing Rules Revision

Here is the USEF’s official positions on the recent proposals:

Session 6 – Olympic Competition Format

  1. Three horse/rider combinations per team; plus a reserve: Not Supported
    • “This would make the sport about completion and not about competition. The statistics show very clearly that if there are 3 in the Team for cross-country with no drop score either a significant number of Teams will not complete or the cross-country will be dumbed down to an extent that the very essence of eventing is destroyed.”
  2. Removal of the drop score: Not Supported
    • “In addition to the points outlined above, awarding points to horses that do not complete and/or allowing them to show jump only makes the scoring more complicated. It does not help simplify the presentation of the sport.”
  3. Dressage in one day: Supported
    • “Consider shortening the test by removing the collective marks and the first halt.”
  4. Cross-Country in one day: Supported
  5. Jumping tests Individual and Team in one day: Supported
    • “We support the concept of jumping all team members consecutively, but not having them all in the arena at the same time. The team members should jump in reverse order of standing within the team. This would make the final phase and the medal decisions much easier to understand for the general public. We feel strongly that the Team medals should be decided before the individuals. We support the teams jumping in reverse order of merit in the standings after the cross-country.  We feel the Team Jumping round should be before the Individual as the “mean” of the standard of the Team will be lower than the “mean” of the top 20 or 25 Individuals. Furthermore, we would not want athletes not jumping in the Individual in order to save themselves for the Team (i.e. those not in contention for an Individual medal).”
  6. Name Change: Not Supported
    • “Jumping and dressage are single names for the discipline and we cannot have Triathlon as a single name for eventing (Equestrian is the Sport, Dressage / Jumping / Eventing are the disciplines / events).  We would fully support the FEI seeking advice on how to more effectively promote and brand Eventing”
    • “The name “Equestrian Triathlon” has been proposed.  Is it the name that needs changing or is it that the equestrian community has never completely embraced the change from horse trials to eventing? It is not the name but the promotion of the identity of the sport, which is linked to that name, which is more important.  Is adopting a new name going to change anything or just further divide the community and confuse the public?”

The Eventing Committee drafted these proposals after consultation and discussion at three open forums held in 2015 where they collected views from all parties involved including National Federations (NF), OCs, riders and officials. The Committee plans to allow further discussion with the NFs at the FEI Sports Forum. After the Forum, the Committee will meet and finalize all recommendations and comments. Nations will receive a first draft of the 2017 Eventing Rules changes on July 15, 2016. This first draft will also be published on the FEI website to allow for comments. Upon receiving these comments, the Committee will then produce a final draft which will be sent out in late October of this year to coincide with the FEI Statutes for the General Assembly.

The FEI is currently collecting input before the upcoming forum and has offered an Online Discussion Platform to be open from March 16-21, 2016 with the purpose of, “giving the opportunity to post your comments or suggestions on the proposals/topics which will be discussed during the FEI Sports Forum 2016.” The FEI has also invited all equestrian enthusiasts to attend the Sports Forum in April. Please note that registration for the Sports Forum closes March 14, 2016. Questions regarding the forum can be directed to [email protected]

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