European Equestrian Federation opposed Endurance Qualification proposal

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In September 2009, in Antwerp (BEL), the need to establish a European Equestrian Federation (EEF) was agreed, first as a “forum” and then as a “federation”. The foundation of the EEF in Antwerp was quickly followed by the formal agreement of the EEF’s statues; these were signed by the 28 NFs present in February 2010 at a meeting in Warendorf (GER).

Founded in 2010, EEF is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Forty-three of the FEI’s 133 national federations are also members of the EEF, which is focused on maximizing the potential and development of equestrian sport in Europe and globally.

At the FEI Sports Forum 2015, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Photo Credit: FEI/Germain Arias-Schreiber

European Equestrian Federation (EEF) sent out to the National Federations the minutes of the 2019 EEF Secretary Generals meeting that was held in Pezinok (SVK) on August 27.

The FEI rule changes that are proposed for 2020 have been discussed at length during the meeting, and a European standpoint on all important matters was formulated.

In the beginning of the year 2019, the EEF had established the Endurance Working Group in order to define principles, proposals and a vision for the future of the much discussed discipline.

By being active with very valuable contributions, the EEF Endurance Working Group’s work is recognized not only in Europe but also on a international scale as one of the leading voices.

This document is the follow up of a large consultation process of European Endurance stakeholders referring to the FEI 2020 Endurance rules proposal prepared by the FEI Endurance Temporary Committee.

02_2019 FEI Rules revision - EEF Endurance WG feedback

We publish excerpts from the document regarding Qualification from CEI 1* to Championship.

“As we already stated at previous steps of the consultation process, we are opposed to the proposed concept: completion rate, cap speed, CEI events qualification.
We do not support it as it if far from the conception of the endurance sport from european and many other stakeholders perspectives.”

“Endurance may be a real sport like it is practised in most cases, in the only possible way: fair, progressive from the access level to the highest standard (sport value must not be decrease), with a key combination of a an educate rider and a well trained horse. The sport must be fair, simple to understand/control, having in mind that the competition may be practiced in most parts of the world.”

The proposed system is excessive, complicated, non realistic. Even within the memo and the rules it is complicated to understand, so it would be very difficult/impossible to apply, not respected and so not fair and ineffective.

“It would place endurance in a counter productive situation, forcing the ones (large majority) who are currently respecting the rules to change due to incorrect behaviours of the few who are not respecting the rules… Again, to tackle the drifts we may first apply strongly the sport regulation (based on the current one + some updates) and apply stronger sanctions for any case of cheating/doping/corruption. Any other changes would be useless as the core of the problem may not be reached.”

Atmosphere of endurance during the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 on September 11, 2018 in Tryon, United States of America. (Photo by Pierre Costabadie/Icon Sport)

The number of kilometers asked for the qualification process of a horse is excessive and counter productive in term of horse welfare. The proposal of 3 CEI1* after the novice qualification is an example of the weaknesses of the proposal.

“We believe that Endurance is a competition and should remain a competitive sport. Horse discipline with the biggest amount of veterinary controls and in most cases high level of horse caring, which is where focus should be stressed on making sure Officials are properly trained and can work in conditions allowing them to be effective.”

Speed cap concept would be inadequate. It is not taking in account the location, terrain, weather which from one show to another may evolve critically. A same speed may be the winner’s speed by one hilly event and really low for a more flat one.

“As it is average speed cap it will not tackle the excessive speeds and horses stopping or walking just before to cross the line in order to decrease their speed datas.”

“It is also forgetting that with a worldwide approach most of CEI organizers do not have automatic timekeeping systems to help elaborate the result. It would marginalize the practice of Endurance in different areas with a negative effect either on development and on top sport.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Completion rate proposal, cannot be implemented at this stage.

“It does not differentiate the type of eliminations which would be required in case of potential use of this tool in the future. compulsory. Using athlete examples as Jean Philippe Frances or Alex Luque, any system like this that when applied would limit their participations even if they are respected athletes by their results and behaviors. By consequence we suggest to study more into details in the coming seasons how it could be positive asset, if it can be …”

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