New Proposals for 2019 Endurance Rules

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The FEI recently sent to the National Federations the Proposals for 2019 modifications to the Endurance Rules.

NFs are invited to send their comments on the proposed changes to the FEI by 31 August 2018.

Let’s see, what changes will be effective in 2019.

First of all, the definition of Endurance Riding in Art. 800.1 is updated with additional wording:

Endurance Riding is a Competition to test the Athlete’s ability to safely manage the stamina and fitness of the Horse over an endurance course in a Competition against the track, the distance, the climate, the terrain and the clock without compromising the welfare of the horse.

This is very vague phrase – what exactly compromises or can compromise the welfare of horse? The equestrian sport itself can compromise the welfare of horse because it can result in lameness or poor metabolic condition, or even injury of horse.

WEIGHTS

Initially it was approved that minimum riding weight for Athletes must be reduced from 75 kg to 70 kg for all senior Championships as well as at senior 3*, 4* and 5* events.

There are many reasons for such crucial decision, including the welfare of horse and the fact that many riders (especially female riders) have average weight around 60 kg, so they need to add 15 kg in form of equipment. It very hard for rider to carry in and carry off so heavy equipment which can also harm the back of horse.

And now, Endurance Technical Committee (ETC) “feels there is no basis to have the modification from 75 to 70kg as approved last year” and “the ETC feels no need to reduce the weights to 70 Kg.

Who are these persons thinking “there is no basis”? Did any of them have ever carried a saddle with pad of 10-15 kg?

Look at the names of members of Endurance Technical Committee and you will see that no one of them has an underweight problem.

Scientific research proves that heavy pad adds the risk of improperly fitting the saddle leading to the pain in horse’s back and possible lameness.


Still think that “there is no basis” to reduce the weight?

CATEGORIES OF ENDURANCE RIDES

The global change of the rules in 2019 is the implementation of new star system for CEI events.

Now there will be five different star levels as follows:

  • CEI 5* – all rides of 160 km in one day with prize money over 50,000 CHF. Minimum of 5 different participating NFs. Dates of event shall be approved by FEI two years prior to the year in which the event is to take place.
  • CEI 4* – all rides of 160 km in one day (or 90-100 km per day over 2 days, or 70-80 km per day over 3 days or more) with prize money from 10,000 CHF up to 49,999 CHF.
  • CEI 3* – all rides of 140-160 km in one day (or 90-100 km per day over 2 days, or 70-80 km per day over 3 days or more) with prize money up to 9,999 CHF.
  • CEI 2* – all rides of 120-139 km in one day (or 70-89 km per day over 2 days).
  • CEI 1* – all rides of 80-119 km in one day.

The big question raised is the requirement of approving CEI 5* event two year prior the date. It means, if 5* are implementing in 2019, then first ever CEI 5* events can be held only in 2021.

Very stupid decision. It is hardly possible for any OC to find sponsors two years before the event.

How many events were organized by members of ETC? Do they have any experience of finding the sponsors for the endurance competition two years before the event?

AGE OF HORSES

Another major shift in the rules is increasing the age limit of horses.

Since 2019, there will be age requirements as follows:

  • CEI 1* – at least 6 years old to participate.
  • CEI 2* – at least 7 years old to participate.
  • CEI 3* – at least 8 years old to participate.
  • CEI 4* – at least 8 years old to participate.
  • Young Horse Championship – at least 8 years old to participate.
  • CEI 5* – at least 9 years old to participate.
  • CEIO and Championship – at least 9 years old to participate.

There is no intelligible explanation why increase the age to 9 years for championships. Technically it is the same 160 km distance that is available for 8-year-old horses. So what is the difference?

REST PERIOD

Initially it was proposed to add 7 extra days of rest period for horses with average speed of 20 km/h or above.
But now ETC proposes that the additional 7 days mandatory rest period will apply to all competing horses.

So, new rest periods will be as follows:

  • after 80 km – 19 days.
  • after 120 km – 26 days.
  • after 160 km – 40 days.

And don’t forget about additional extended rest period (in addition to the above-mentioned rest period for the completed distance) if horse was eliminated for lameness (a.k.a. Irregular Gait), as described in Art. 815.3.3 (14 days for first lameness and 21 days for second lameness).

So, for example, if horse completed the whole 160-km distance and was eliminated in Final Vet Gate for lameness, it receives mandatory rest period of 54 days.

INJURIES

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Two new type of Injuries are introduced to addition to existing ones, and now there will be 4 types of Injuries, as follows:

  • MI: Minor Injury (e.g. slight soreness, wound, etc.).
  • Medium Injury – for fractures, colic’s or other injuries (e.g. tendons) that can be operated or treated and the horse may return to competition.
  • Severe Injury – for fractures, colic’s or other injuries (e.g. tendons) that can be operated on or treated but where the Horse is not likely to return to competition.
  • CI: Catastrophic Injury – an injury which, in the opinion of the Veterinary Commission, requires immediate euthanasia or contributes to the death of a Horse in Competition howsoever caused.

QUALIFICATION PROCEDURE

Art. 816.4 will be changed – dispensation of art. 816.1.2 and 816.1.3 will be granted if athletes or horses have accumulated a minimum of 240 480 km in a 36 month period.

This rule about 480 km is the absurdity.

Let’s calculate how many km you need to complete to get the qualification for FEI 1* ride in the usual way:
Read Art. 816.1.1.1 Successfully complete 2 rides of distances between 40-79 km and 2 rides of between 80-90 km at speeds of 16 kph

So, you need to complete 40 + 40 + 80 + 80 = usually 240 km of qualification rides. That’s why previous version of article 816.1.4 about dispensation mentioned the same distance – 240 km was enough for 8 years old horses to get qualified for FEI 1* ride.

Now the FEI doubles this requirement. Horses and riders need to complete 480 km of 80km rides, i.e. now you need to finish 6 times instead of 3. Why? No explanation.

Moreover, this article 816.1.4 was introduced in 2017 as new article giving the possibility for experienced horses to not follow the normal novice qualifications requirements. It is a fast track qualifications with new conditions. And now, after only two years, this article has radically changes and ceases to be “fast track.”

It is impossible to adapt to such conditions if the rules are radically changed almost every year.

New article 816.2.4: Horses and Athletes, not necessary as a combination, must successfully complete two 2* events and one 3* event, or two 3* events before moving to the new 4* or 5* Event.

For riders this article means, that Endurance sport becomes more complicated and more expensive.

Riders are required to complete additional event and pay money for this additional competition, before moving on the next “premium” level with prize money.

816.3 4* Championships

There is yet another major change since 2019 regarding Young Horse Championships.

Before: distance of 120 km for horses of 7 years old.
After: distance of 160 km for horses of 8 years old.

816.3.2 Test Event

The FEI Endurance Technical Committee can, if needed, request a test event that will have to match the following requirements, if not stated in the Host Agreement, at least 6 months prior to the championship:
– The same distance as the Championship or as close as possible

This is very important article, because currently there is some problem with Test Events. While single Endurance Championships have test events with distance of 160 km, all recent WEGs conducted test events for 120 km.

The meaning of the test event is to check whether everything is prepared and ready for the Main Event. The track is the crucial element of the competition, so all loops of the Test Event must be as close to the Main Event as possible.

Instead of this simple rule, at Test Event for WEG we got an entirely different distance – hence, another set of loops.

Therefore, such 120-km Test Event cannot be counted to get qualification for Championship because the current Endurance rules Art. 816.3.16 clearly says:

So, athletes are required to find another event with distance of 160 km to complete it in combination with the nominated horse to get qualified for WEG.

We hope that the next WEG in 2022 will conduct the Test Event with distance of 160 km as per this new rule described in Art. 816.3.2.

OFFICIALS REQUIRED FOR COMPETITIONS

Tough times will become for organizers of competitions because they will be obliged to invite higher-star officials.

See how things are changed.

CEI 1* Ground Jury:
Before: President 2*
After: President 3* + Assistant to the GJ 1* + Members 2*

CEI 2* Ground Jury:
Before: President 3*
After: President 3* + Assistant to the GJ 1* + Members 2*

CEI 3* and 4* Ground Jury:
Before: President 4* + Foreign Judge 3*
After: President 4* + Foreign Judge 4* + Assistant to the GJ 1* + Members 3*

At the same time, the role of the Assistant to the GJ 1* is not explained anywhere.

Now, the required minimum of officials has increased, and the organizers will have to spend more money on inviting them.

Endurance becomes a sport for rich organizers who have a budget for a larger number of officials.

What do you think about all these proposals?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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