Feb 15, 2019

FEI Olympic Qualifications Focus on Horse Welfare

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
Kazumo Tomoto and Tacoma d'Horset riding for Japan at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) announced that they will be closely monitoring all horse-and-rider combinations competing at the four- and five-star level to ensure that they are adhering to the rules regarding rest periods between competitions in the lead-up to the Olympic Games next year. According the rules laid out in the Olympic qualification system, “No Athlete/Horse combination may participate at an event to obtain an Olympic MER within the period of 4 weeks (24 days) after having started the cross-country test of a long format (CCI-L) event and/or 2 weeks (10 days) after a short format (CCI-S) event.”

“For the welfare of the horse and for risk management reasons, the FEI will monitor all combinations participating at higher level events, including those not respecting a rest period of 10 days after a short format competition or 24 days after a long format competition with the aim of obtaining additional points for the Olympic rankings,” the FEI said. “All entries to higher level events will be checked. National Federations, athletes, coaches, and officials will be informed of entries not respecting the above deadlines to ensure that the welfare of the horse remains paramount.”

The FEI's focus on horse welfare is motivated by the desire to discourage point chasing in the quest for Olympic qualification. Of the 65 individual qualification places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, 20 sport are determined by the FEI Olympic Rankings. So, the more points a horse and rider combination are able to accrue, the higher up the rankings they will be.

In order to be eligible to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, horses and riders will need to achieve, as a combination, the following minimum eligibility requirements (MER) during the qualifying period of January 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020:

  • One qualifying result at a CCI5*-L or CCI5*-Major OR
  • One qualifying result at a CCI4*-L AND one qualifying result at a CCI4*-S

Qualifying results are defined as:

  • Minimum 55% in dressage
  • A clear round or 11 penalty points and no more than 75 seconds over the optimum time at CCI4* or 100 seconds at CCI5*
  • Not more than 16 jumping penalties in show jumping

A total of 21 Olympic qualifying events will take place in the United States in 2019. Click hereto view the complete list of Olympic qualifying events. Individual Olympic rankings will be available here.

There are 65 available individual qualification places, with three of those places allocated for the host country, Japan. Countries will be able to bring a maximum of one team, made up of three athletes.

A total of 15 countries will be able to qualify for a place in the Olympic team competition, based on their performance in the qualification events listed below. Forty-five of the total 65 competitors will be selected based on these criteria.

The remaining 20 of the total 65 competitors will be selected based on FEI Olympic Rankings, which can be found here.

The complete qualification system can be viewed here.

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