Radical New FEI Proposals Could Change the Sport of ‘Equestrio’ as We Know It

Photo by Eric Swinebroad. Photo by Eric Swinebroad.

With the FEI Sports Forum less than a month away, more details have emerged on the radical proposed changes to eventing’s Olympic and World Equestrian Games competition format, as well as significant general rule revisions for the sport that would go into effect in 2017. We’ve summarized the bulk of the changes in an easy-to-read format.

Olympics & World Equestrian Games

The FEI Eventing Committee, which is made up of Chair Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITL), Deputy Chairman Marcin Konarski (POL), Marilyn Payne (USA), Daisy Berkeley (GBR), Rüdiger Schwarz (GER) and Patricia Clifton (GBR), unanimously voted to recommend that the sport’s Olympic and World Equestrian Games format adopt the following changes:

  1. Limit the number of a riders to a maximum of three per nation and eliminate the drop score for the team competition “in order to address the main objective of a more open and inclusive competition.” Each nation would be allowed one reserve combination or reserve horse.
  2. Run dressage in one day with a new five-minute CCI4* test, which would shorten the duration of dressage to about six hours for the 65 athletes. Proposed ideas on how to shorten the test include speeding up the entry and exit of horses in the arena, eliminating collective marks and removing the first salute.
  3. Set the cross country course at 10 minutes in length with 45 jumping efforts.
  4. Divide the individual show jumping final into two sessions, one of which would serve as a qualifier for the team final. The shorter individual final (over a 1.30-meter course with 13-16 jumps) would only allow the 20 best individuals. The team final (over a 1.30-meter course with 10-12 jumps) would only allow the six best teamsScreen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.52.43 AM
  5. Require all three members of each team to enter the arena together for the team final and “individually start at a short interval one after the other.” Team Chef d’Equipes would choose the starting order of their team, with teams jumping in the reserve order of standings.
  6. Review the Olympic qualification system for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

Competition Levels & Formats

  1. Introduce a new international level with cross country set at 1.05 meters to “allow a smoother transition between national and international competitions in the developing countries.”
  2. Shift the star system up by one level, so the new 1.05-meter level would become the new one-star, the current one-star would become the new two-star, the current two-star would be the new three-star, and the current three-star would be the new four-star. Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.24.04 AM
  3. Rename the current CCI4* events as simply “Classics” and also introduce a short format “Classics.”
  4. Consider combining the new one-star and two-star levels into a unified competition format, while the new three-star and four-star would keep both the long and short format.

Qualifications for Athletes & Horses

Revise the current Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) as follows (click here to learn more about MERs):

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.29.53 AM

Dressage Tests & Positive Scoring

  1. Remove the dressage coefficient and implement positive scoring for tests “to help make the understanding of the sport more self-explanatory to a wider audience.” The FEI Eventing Committee is currently considering two separate proposals:
    • Proposal A: Dressage scores reflected as a percentage that directly represent the positive score without a coefficient. Cross country and jumping penalties would be deducted from the score, and the rider with the highest score would win.
    • Proposal B: Each phase would be given a maximum value of 100 points. The dressage score would be determined by the dressage percentage without a coefficient. Any cross country penalties would be deducted from a total possible 100 points, and any show jumping penalties would be deducted from 100. The final score would be determined by adding together the scores from the three phases, with the rider achieving the highest score winning.
  2. Introduce shorter dressage tests at all levels.

Rename the Sport

The FEI Eventing Committee is now considering the following four choices to rename the sport:

  • Equestrian Triathlon
  • Equi-triathlon
  • Equestrio
  • Triquestrian

There are additional proposed changes beyond what we’ve summarized above, but these are the highlights. Click here and here to read the full documents, which will be presented for further consideration at the FEI Sports Forum on April 4 and 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

What do you think of the proposed changes, EN? Share your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to vote in the poll below for which of the proposed name choices you think the FEI should nix from the list. (EN’s last reader poll on the topic saw “Tri-equathlon” emerge as the clear loser.)