Who is to blame for the weight of 60 kg for Young Riders?
Well, the new Endurance Rules 2020 were approved by the vast majority of the delegates at the FEI General Assembly held in Moscow.
Tarek Taher, a member of the Endurance Temporary Committee, fell under a barrage of criticism in social media.
He made two posts on his Facebook profile and received a LOT of comments, mostly negative.
Many negative comments related to setting the minimum weight of 60 kg for Young Riders/Juniors.
Now it’s time to take a breath and figure out who should actually be blamed for the minimum weight for Young Riders/Juniors.
And oddly enough, this is not Tarek Taher or the Endurance Temporary Committee at all.
Let’s remember how the Rules modification process was developed.
The Endurance Temporary Committee created the First Draft of new rules, and on 8 July the FEI sent it to the National Federations for feedback.
Read the First Draft here: https://inside.fei.org/system/files/FEI%20Endurance%20Rules%20-%2008.07.2019%20%28final%20draft%29.pdf
On page 10, there is Article 805:
The Endurance Temporary Committee invented many controversial things in new rules, such as speed caps and many others, but the minimum weight for Young Riders/Juniors is not what they should be blamed for.
As you can clearly see from Article 805, the first version of the rules did not assume the minimum weight for Young Riders/Juniors.
So where did it come from?
After receiving the First Draft, the National Federations were given 6 weeks to review the Draft and to make comments and/or propose any changes in relation to the amendments.
The National Federations sent their comments back to the FEI.
Now they are published on the FEI website, and all the comments regarding the minimum weight can be found here: https://inside.fei.org/system/files/20_ANNEX_GA19_ENDURANCE%20NF%20B2.pdf
Let’s see the comments from the National Federations:
Austria: copied and pasted the comment of the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) – see below.
Minimum rider weight for all Young Riders and Juniors competitions
EEF WG position: 60 kg as the minimum weight.
Reasoning: After reviewing population studies made between 2000 and 2018 for children between 0 and 18 years old, based on 6743 subjects, the EEF Endurance Working Group has seen that the most typical weight for females at 16 to 18 years old is 58kg while for males it is 65 kg at 16 and 71 kg at 18. It is quite common in Endurance to see nowadays more and more athletes with much lower weight in this class of competition going as low as 35 kg in some cases, and as such, our proposal is to put a minimum weight of at least 60 kg in YR/Junior competitions which serves as a double function : firstly ensures that speed is lowered for horses, and secondly, it helps protect the health of athletes by ensuring there exists a manageable range where they know that reducing their weight further will have no impact on their performance.
So, as you see, the bureaucrats from the European Equestrian Federation, as well as from its member NFs such as Austria, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, proposed setting the minimum weight explaining it by protecting the health of athletes!!!
These bureaucrats seriously believe that juniors deliberately lose weight to win the competition!!!
Well, after receiving all these proposals from the National Federations, the Final Draft of the Endurance Rules was prepared.
The Final Draft published on the FEI website can be found here: https://inside.fei.org/system/files/20.1_ANNEX%20GA19_ENDURANCE%20RULES%20MARK-UP.pdf
And now you see that Article 805 on page 10 has the minimum weight of 60 kg for Young Riders/Juniors:
So, some bureaucrats from European NFs came up with an idea to protect young riders from intentional weight loss, then other bureaucrats (or even perhaps the same ones) went to Moscow and raised the red cards twice and rejected twice the amendments to remove the minimum weight at all or reduce it to 55 kg.
In this picture, you see the moment of voting on the proposed amendments to remove the minimum weight at all or reduce it to 55 kg for Young Riders/Juniors.
In the foreground, you see the delegates from Barbados (the lady in a black dress voting with two cards), from Belgium (the lady wearing a white blouse), from France (cute couple on the next row voting with two cards).