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been required for all phases and while mounted at all times at USEF/USEA recognized events since 2011, the FEI rules superseded the USEF Rules for Eventing allowing riders to wear top hats in dressage.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).
Over the previous decade, the number of upper level event horses that remain at the highest levels of the sport for extended periods of time has anecdotally been dwindling. Also, it is rare to see horses return to represent the U.S. on international teams. This discussion features statistics provided by the USEA and EquiRatings to strengthen our understanding of this issue and perspectives from coaches, trainers, riders, grooms, and veterinary professionals on the possible reasons and solutions.
For 60 years the members of the USEA have been coming together to discuss the business of the Association and make important decisions to keep the sport of eventing thriving in America. The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention has turned into four days full of meetings and more, but the Annual Meeting remains the backbone.
The focus of this presentation is mindfulness practice, how it ties into the core principles of mindset, fitness, nutrition, and community, and how these topics foster optimal performance in and out of the saddle. As equestrians, we invest a lot of time and energy making sure that our horses are in their best shape to compete and in doing so we often sweep our own needs to the side.
Each year at the USEA Convention, the Rule Change Open Forum looks to the future to discuss changes to the USEF Rules for Eventing for the upcoming competition season. Convention attendees have the opportunity to hear which changes are coming down the pipeline and have their questions answered.