In yesterday’s historic vote, the FEI General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed format changes to the Olympic Games, including limiting nations to a three-member team. These changes will now go to the IOC Executive Board for final approval in 2017.
Of the 107 National Federations represented at the Assembly, only 11 voted against the proposal. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) voted in support of these changes.
"After careful assessment with much involvement from key stakeholders, we came to the conclusion that without the change in Olympic format, it was likely that one of our Olympic disciplines would be dropped from future Olympic Games. This would be unacceptable," said USEF President-Elect Murray Kessler. "The International Olympic Committee (IOC) challenged our International Federation to present format changes that would increase relevance among fans and broaden global participation or risk being eliminated. These changes do just that and while we resist change, this might even make the sport more exciting."
The most notable change is the limitation of nations to a team of three athletes. In the previous format, there were four competing athletes, which gave each team a drop score. In the newly approved format, each team will consist of three athletes with no drop score, but an active reserve can be substituted into competition at the beginning of any phase of competition. According to the FEI, “The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team.” They add that the exact penalty is yet to be decided, but will be finalized in the Olympic Regulations.
The USEF cited the following driving factors which ultimately drove the decision to vote "Yes" on the format changes:
These changes, along with other highlights from the General Assembly, will be reviewed at the USEF Annual Meeting, January 11-14, 2017 in Lexington, Ky.
The complete list of changes to eventing includes:
These changes have a few more steps before they are finalized. The proposals will go in front of the IOC Executive Board in February of 2017, the IOC Programme Commission will make their recommendations to the IOC Executive Board by May, before the IOC makes their decisions on events and quotas. Finally, the FEI General Assembly will meet again in November of 2017 in Motevideo to finalize the proposal.
In the early 2000s I took a group of students to watch the USEF Medal Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. In this particular year, judges George Morris and Kip Rosenthal also designed the course, which seemed deceptively simple on paper but proved to be quite challenging throughout the competition.
The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has awarded the 2020 Amanda Pirie Warrington Grant to Mia Farley, a current member of the United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian) Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program.
Have you ever wanted to look through the judge’s eyes and see what they see during the conformation portion of a USEA Young or Future Event Horse competition? Now is your chance! Using only a photo and information on age and breed, legendary horseman and prior FEH/YEH Championship judge Chris Ryan is sharing his insights into young horse conformation in our Conformation Critique article series.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors voted last night to mirror the dates decided by US Equestrian (USEF) for suspending recognizing competitions and educational activities. The USEA will extend its suspension of recognizing events under its direct jurisdiction through May 3, 2020. The suspension extends also to USEA recognized educational activities, Young Event Horse, Future Event Horse, and New Event Horse competitions.