Monday, November 19, 2018

FEI World Equestrian Games™ tops discussion sessions before tomorrow’s FEI General Assembly

(FEI/Liz Gregg photo)

19 Nov 2018

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and the future of the Games were the subject of a well-attended session at the FEI General Assembly in Manama (BRN) today.

The independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU), which was tasked with investigating the issues surrounding the Endurance championships at the Games, presented its findings on the sequence of events that took place from approximately 12 hours prior to the start of competition that ultimately led to the false start on 12 September.

Andrew Smith from the ECIU also detailed the underlying reasons that affected preparations for the Endurance event, with the report’s findings based on information provided during interviews with multiple persons, including key people within the Organising Committee, the FEI and other witnesses.

The conclusions of the report show that there was no single reason that caused the false start but multiple issues: most importantly lack of communication between Officials – particularly the lack of radios – and also between the Organising Committee, National Federations and Athletes, delays to the preparation of the Vet Gate and the Endurance trail, and the decision to maintain a full schedule of events at Tryon International Equestrian Center that stretched an already under-resourced team required to deliver both these events and the Games.

The ECIU has also provided a second report to the FEI regarding allegations of misconduct. This will be reviewed by the FEI Legal team to assess whether further disciplinary proceedings will be brought before the FEI Tribunal. The final decisions on any such proceedings will be published by the FEI.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez then presented the overall conclusions, acknowledging that there were multiple factors that contributed, not just to the issues surrounding Endurance but which also impacted the overall delivery of the Games. The management structure of the Organising Committee, other construction projects and resources that were given priority over delivery of fields of play and other Games-related infrastructures, and communication of vital information in a timely manner were major contributory factors, she said.

However, “to be completely honest we, as a community, were fortunate that Tryon were courageous and willing to take on the enormous challenge to host the Games only 22 months prior to the event. Without them we would have had no WEG 2018.”

She informed delegates that the FEI invested close to CHF 1 million on the Endurance track alone, over and above other financial support provided by the FEI to the Organising Committee to ensure the Games happened. In-keeping with good financial oversight, the FEI had made financial provisions specifically to cover emergency situations specifically related to the Games.

Mrs Ibáñez highlighted the incredible sport over the 12-day Games and the tireless teamwork of all concerned: “the Organising Committee, the volunteers, Officials and FEI staff and the National Federations who, despite the frustrations, continued to work positively with both the Organising Committee and FEI to find solutions and provide the best possible environment for their athletes, horses and team staff.”

She also acknowledged that, despite the FEI’s commitment to support the Organising Committee, in particular during the latter stages of event preparations, the FEI had no realistic mechanism to push the Organising Committee to deliver on its promises other than threatening to cancel the Games, which was not an option due to the time and resources that National Federations and athletes had invested in preparing for the Games.

Prior to opening up the meeting to questions from the floor, the Secretary General talked through the plan to open up the bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, but with preference being given to multi-discipline bids, as detailed in the Bureau wrap-up report published on 17 November.

The Secretary General stressed: “This does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games and bids to host all-discipline Games will still be considered.”

FEI Director Games Operations Tim Hadaway had opened the session by presenting a report on the planning and delivery of the Tryon 2018 Games, highlighting both the positive and negative aspects of four key areas: sport, Games operations, commercial, communications & media operations.

Top sport (with the exception of Endurance) was the key success of the Games, along with superb broadcast coverage on NBC in the home market, including 57 hours of live coverage that resulted in a record audience for equestrian sport. However, lack of venue readiness and an under-resourced Organising Committee, both from a financial and personnel perspective, were major negatives that ultimately impacted the delivery of the Games.

Questions and comments during the 90-minute session from National Federation delegates from France, Chile, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Uruguay, Italy and Bahrain focused on weather and the suitability of Tryon for the Games, reimbursements to National Federations that sent Endurance athletes and horses to the Games, lack of communication, Officials, and lack of accountability.

The afternoon had kicked off with a session on the Dressage Judging Working Group, with the Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee Frank Kemperman and Bettina De Rham, FEI Director Dressage, Para Dressage, Vaulting and Reining presenting an update on the implementation of the working group’s 19 recommendations which will drive the future of the sport.

The final session of the afternoon focused on rules changes, with presentations on amendments to the FEI Statutes, discipline specific proposals for rule changes, and revisions to the Veterinary Regulations, the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations and the Olympic & Paralympic Regulations. There was also a presentation on the plans to continue with an additional pilot phase for the CSI Online Invitation System, which will be voted on separately from the rest of the Jumping rules at tomorrow’s General Assembly.

At the end of the rules session, the Legal Director reminded National Federations that the age limit will be replaced by a competency based evaluation system, as per the recommendation of the Officials Working Group. FEI Officials reaching the relevant age limit as of 2018 may apply to continue officiating providing they have been active for the past two years, their application is supported by their National Federation and they are in good-standing with the FEI. The FEI Secretary General, in consultation with the relevant Discipline Director and Chair of Technical Committee, will review applications on a case by case basis. FEI Officials who retired in 2017 or before may only re-apply once the competency-based assessment has been implemented.

During the morning meeting between the regional groups and the Bureau, the Secretary General informed delegates that the US-based Reining bodies – the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) – are in breach of the terms of their cooperation agreement with the FEI. In order to ensure the integrity of the discipline and maintain a level playing field for all athletes competing in FEI Reining, the agreement with these two bodies has now been terminated. Both the AQHA and NRHA have been informed that a binding commitment to implement the FEI rules on anti-doping, stewarding requirements and the age of competing horses are prerequisites for any future cooperation. The Secretary General advised delegates that FEI Reining events will continue, and invited National Federations to provide feedback to the FEI on how they see the future of the discipline at international level.

Tomorrow’s General Assembly starts at 09:00 local time. The full session will be livestreamed and you can follow the debates and voting on our blog.

All presentations from the FEI General Assembly will be available in due course.

The Timid Rider Sponsors The Gobi Desert Cup Best Sportsmanship Award

[Red Bank, New Jersey November 16, 2018] Heather Wallace, the Timid Rider, is a returning adult equestrian seeking to inspire and motivate others with confidence in and out of the saddle through her book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, her blog, and her social media.

She is proud to announce that The Timid Rider is the official sponsor of the Best Sportsmanship Awards for the 2019 Gobi Desert Cup, taking place August 27 - September 6, 2019, in Mongolia. Every day a rider will be chosen who motivates and supports others on their journey. At the closing Awards Ceremony, an award for overall Best Sportsmanship will be presented to the rider that showed exemplary sportsman-like behavior throughout the entirety of the race.

Heather joined the Gobi Desert Cup in 2018 as the Media Consultant to provide writing and photography. She loved every moment and is further inspired to help others pursue their passions and test their limits. During her time with the event, she challenged herself to sleep on the ground, take camp showers, eat exotic food, and even race a Mongolian horse in the Officials Race!

As a proud part of the official Gobi Desert Cup team, Heather is pleased to share each rider’s journey in the worldwide press as well as sponsor an award that is so important to her mission.

Video announcement.

About The Timid Rider
Heather Wallace is a returning adult equestrian struggling with confidence in the saddle. She left riding due to anxiety as a teenager and returned as an adult after having her first child with no less tension, but the determination to pursue her passion and time to herself. Follow Heather’s journey on The Timid Rider while she struggles to let passion be greater than her fear.

Heather has written for many publications including Holistic Horse Magazine, Sidelines Magazine, Endurance World, Sport Endurance Evo, and Equine Info Exchange. Her book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, was an Amazon best-selling book in three equestrian categories and the #1 Hot New Release in “Equestrian.”

About The Gobi Desert Cup
Co-founded in 2017 by FEI 3* Endurance Rider, Camille Champagne, the Gobi Desert Cup is a 480-kilometer multi-stage endurance race through the Gobi Desert, riding Mongolian horses every day for six days over 50 miles. This challenge is the only one of its kind to combine endurance while positively supporting Mongolian nomadic culture and their horses before, during, and after the event.

FEI's Ingmar De Vos - the irresistible rise of an expert administrator - Full Article

By David Owen Sunday, 18 November 2018

Often when I meet those who have scrambled to the top of international sport's greasy pole, I conclude that they are politicians first and administrators second.

After 90 minutes in company of Ingmar De Vos in his pleasant third-floor office in the Lausanne headquarters building gifted to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) by his predecessor as President, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, I am left with the strong sense that with the 55-year-old Belgian, it is the other way around. This is even though he began his career in mainstream politics.

This order of priorities equips him well, I think, for a period when sport in general and the Olympic Movement in particular is having to battle hard to cling onto the prominent and privileged role in society to which it ascended over a century or more. Suddenly glitz and hyperbole are out, better governance and a healthy awareness that sport is not the only thing are in.

Having established himself as an indispensable figure in equestrianism, to the point where his bid for a second term as FEI President at Tuesday's (November 20) General Assembly in Bahrain is unopposed, I would expect De Vos to emerge in coming years as an increasingly prominent voice in the conclaves and debates that will shape sport and Olympism's short-term future...

Read more here:

Australia: Busselton riders prepare for world's toughest horse race - Full Article

November 18 2018
Sophie Elliott

It is described as the longest and toughest horse race in the world, but that hasn’t stopped Amelia Park Farm manager Sarah Brown and horse breaker Jesse Byrne signing up for the 2019 Mongol Derby.

The duo are among just 40 riders chosen to compete in the 10 day race through the Mongolian Steppe.

The world’s greatest equine adventure race is based on Genghis Khan’s horse messenger system, which connected half the planet as the nerve system of the largest empire in human history. Race organisers have spent the last decade rebuilding the ancient network to stage the 1000 kilometre event.

Brown and Byrne will ride semi-wild horses, changing steeds every 40km as they navigate the stretch and live among the herders.

Byrne, who was born into the racing industry, admitted he was concerned about chaffing but looking forward to taking on the mental and physical challenge.

“There are not many ways to test yourself as a rider and as a person,” he said.

“I feel like if you can get through something like this, it will make any problems you face afterwards seem minor and that if you knuckle down, you can get through anything.

“We will be able to come home and feel like we’ve accomplished something...”

Read more here:

UAE: Two times double at Dubai races - Full Article
19th November 2018

Dubai International Endurance Village, Dubai, UAE. Wednesday 14 November and Friday 16 November 2018. Two races were scheduled; the first one a CEI2* 120km Endurance Qualifier, the second one two days later a CEN 120km Al Marmoom Endurance Cup.

Races during the week are always subject to some disappointment for the passionate riders who have a full time job or those going to college/university as this withholds them from participating, especially when it is a CEI2*. Nevertheless, the start list was big and impressive. Another hot topic was the weather with above normal temperatures which made it hard for horse and rider. For the CEI2* there were participants who didn’t take these conditions into consideration leading to a very high elimination rate of 201 horses on 326 entries...

Read more here:

Sunday, November 18, 2018

World Equestrian Games: Is this the end of the line? - Full Article

November 18, 2018

Horse sport’s world governing body has opened the door for separate world championship events in 2022, in favor of an FEI World Equestrian Games.

After two bidding rounds, no realistic bids had been submitted for the 2022 event, leading the FEI Bureau to open up bidding to individual world championships in all disciplines. It said preference would be given to multi-discipline bids, and that the world championships for Dressage and Para Dressage should be combined.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos stressed that the move did not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games, and bids to host the full seven-discipline Games for 2022 and 2026 will be considered...

Read more here:

FEI Drops World Equestrian Games for 2022, Seeking Bids for Individual World Championships - Full Article

November 17 2018

MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 17, 2018–The International Equestrian Federation disclosed Saturday it is dropping the requirement for a World Equestrian Games in 2022 and will accept bids for championships of individual disciplines. The FEI admitted that attempts to maintain for 2022 the combined championships held once every four years since 1990 “has not resulted in any realistic bids.”

Preference would be given to multi-discipline bids for 2022, the FEI said, while dressage and para-dressage should be combined.

The decision insisting on a single host for dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage did not come as a surprise after two of eight WEGs required venue changes–1998 and 2018–when organizers did not have funding and no organizer came forward for 2022.

Ingmar de Vos, the FEI president was quoted in a statement, as stressing that “this does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games and bids to host the full seven-discipline Games for 2022 and 2026 will be considered. However, he made it clear that securing world championships for 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines was crucial as these serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games...”

Read more here:

FEI World Equestrian Games™ tops discussion sessions before tomorrow’s FEI General Assembly

(FEI/Liz Gregg photo) 19 Nov 2018 The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and the future of the Games were the subje...