FEI Unveils Latest Round of Proposed Changes to Eventing

Photo by Eric Swinebroad. Photo by Eric Swinebroad.

With the FEI Sports Forum in Switzerland now less than a week away, the FEI Eventing Committee has released the final proposal of suggested changes to the sport’s Olympic and World Equestrian Games competition format, as well as significant general rule revisions that would go into effect starting in 2017.

The FEI said the previous round of proposed changes — which EN outlined here: Radical New FEI Proposals Could Change the Sport of ‘Equestrio’ as We Know It — were intended to make the sport more accessible, attention-grabbing and viewer-friendly to a broader mainstream audience. However, the changes were met with a largely negative reaction from the eventing public.

The USEA and USEF issued tactful yet critical responses, which you can review here and here, respectively. The eventing public exercised less polite restraint, with more than 80 percent of EN readers voting not to change the name of the sport in our most recent poll.

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The FEI solicited further feedback from the public through forums on its website before releasing this most recent proposal. Read on for a summary of the changes, which will go forward for further discussion at the FEI Sports Forum next week.

Renaming the Discipline 

The FEI’s outside marketing consultants have suggested that a different name for eventing will “promote the understanding of the sport to new audiences” and make the sport more relatable to the general public. Additionally, the FEI believes a new name for eventing would open doors for additional marketing and sponsorship opportunities.

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Screenshot via FEI

The FEI Eventing Committee suggests the following name options:

  • Equestrian Triathlon
  • Equi-triathlon
  • Equestrio
  • Triquestrian

Revision:

  • Trihorseathon
  • Gymnastequestrathon
  • Supercalifragilisticequestrioalidocious

The FEI Eventing Committee is also proposing that the three phases be renamed to facilitate a better understanding for mainstream viewers who may not be familiar with the sport.

Revision: “Name the three phases Dressage Equidancing, Cross Country Horse Parkour, and Show Jumping Pick Up Sticks.”

Dressage Tests & Positive Scoring

“Shorter time for the Dressage Test (e.g. speed up entry and exit of horses in the arena, deletion of collective marks, taking out 1st salute, etc.)”

Revision: “Introduce team quadrille for dressage to expedite the first phase and make it more interesting to the general public.”

“A new scoring system, to help make the understanding of the sport more self-explanatory to a wider audience in line with the IOC Agenda 2020.”

Revision: “Implement a voting system in which spectators tweet or text to vote for who they think should win the dressage, further encouraging engagement from the public and attracting new fans.”

american-idol-voting

Screenshot via FEI

Competition Formats

“The traditional order of tests (Dressage – Cross Country – Jumping) held on consecutive days, allows retaining the essence of the discipline (equal importance of the 3 tests), ensuring best monitoring for horse welfare and reliability of immediate results.”

Revision: “In the interest of mainstream audience appeal, the Final Horse Inspection will become an additional phase with points added or deducted for style.”

EN interprets this to mean that the ground jury would likely find mainstream appeal in Laine Ashker’s jog style:

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But would likely deduct points for Phillip Dutton:

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Olympics & World Equestrian Games

“To enhance the ‘Team’ element of the Team Final competition, all three members of each team enter the arena together and individually start at a short interval one after the other. “

Revision: “Introduce an exciting relay-style baton pass for team show jumping to up the sport’s wild card factor.”

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Dress Code

“For the cross country test all nations will have to use national flag colours for dress and saddle paddle pads to clearly identify and differentiate the countries.”

Revision: “In addition to matching outfits in all phases, each rider must end the dressage test with a custom team salute, ideally something that distinguishes the nations.”

EN interprets this to mean that the Americans, for example, could release a bald eagle into the sky for their team salute.

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General Update of the Star Level System

“A lower level new 1 star level to be introduced, 1,2,3 star existing categories to be upgraded one level, use of the current Olympic format for Olympic and WEG, renaming the current CCI4* to “Classics” as a special category outside of the star system.”

Revision: “Change the star system to emojis in an effort to connect with a younger fan demographic.”

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Other Rule Changes

The FEI Eventing Committee is also proposing general rule change suggestions for 2017.

“Commentators: with experience in Eventing – brief to be prepared, video clips available for big screen to show the ‘real sport’ (outdoor, 3 disciplines etc).”

Revision: “Replace beloved and extremely competent FEI commentator John Kyle with 2014 Winter Olympic commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.”

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This latest round of changes will be presented at the FEI Sports Forum on April 4 and 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Click here and here to read the full documents of the proposed changes.

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Facebook comment from when EN initially posted about the FEI’s proposed changes.

Go Equestrio.

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