The FEI General Assembly is taking place this week in Moscow, Russia with 120 different nations in attendance. This morning the delegates approved the proposed changes to the FEI General Regulations, following a standalone vote on a rule requiring the use of protective headgear for all disciplines, with delegates voting strongly in favor of implementation on January 1, 2021. The changes to the General Regulations can be viewed here.
The helmet rule used to allow individual disciplines to choose their own head protection rules, but the new rule requires helmets for all FEI disciplines at all times while mounted. Failure to wear a helmet will result in a yellow card.
The original rule was proposed effective of January 1, 2020, but the Netherlands requested a one-year delay to prepare and allow helmet manufacturers to be ready to meet the demand.
While ASTM/SEI approved helmets have been required for all phases and while mounted at all times at USEF/USEA recognized events since 2011, the FEI rules superseded the USEF Rules for Eventing allowing riders to wear top hats in dressage. The wearing of top hats has been diminishing in use over the years but was still seen at major events especially among European riders.
Outgoing Chair of the FEI Medical Committee Dr. Peter Whitehead reiterated the need for riders to use only protective headgear in compliance with international testing standards.
The chair of the FEI Eventing Committee, David O’Connor, gave his report mid-morning and updated delegates on activities within the discipline in 2019, including a very successful Pan American Games in Lima, which will leave a valuable legacy for the sport in Peru and neighboring countries. He also highlighted the success of the Olympic format tests that had been held during the year in the build-up to Tokyo 2020.
O’Connor spoke about the FEI Eventing Risk Management plan and the work that had been done that has resulted in a reduction in the number of horse falls. He also advised delegates of the Eventing summit that will be held at Aintree next year (January 24-26).
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.