Despite the roaring success of all equestrian sports in the London 2012 Games, the FEI is bringing new equestrian quota systems to the IOC at the FEI Sports Forum next month which will result in ten fewer Eventing combinations being able to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. While all of the equestrian sports continue to grow, especially in emerging nations, there will be no increase to the quota of athletes and horses allowed for the Games.
According to the official document presented by the FEI, “When looking at all the different aspects we need to bear in mind the very clear message of the IOC that no increase of the all over quota for equestrian sport of 200 horses will be accepted. Consequently any improvement needs to be addressed within this quota of 200 horses. With a sport that is (luckily) developing in all parts of the world this is not an easy exercise.“
The plan is to create a singular type of composition of teams amongst all three disciplines, and therefore the number of riders for Eventing will go from 5 to 4 (with a reserve) and the number of Dressage riders will go from 3 to 4 (with a reserve). While we do lose ten riders from Eventing, we also have the introduction of reserve riders to our teams. According to the FEI, the new numbers will not influence the number of countries that can qualify and compete accordingly.
“Compared to the past, the success of Equestrian Sport at the London Olympics and Paralympics has put us in a somewhat more secure position with regard to our place in the Olympic Programme. However, we must remain vigilant and alert and we should not spare any effort to keep our sport as successful as possible in the Games. We must also accept that the IOC will not increase our quota which would of course have made the discussions at the Sports Forum much easier. Furthermore, we must understand and accept that it will be impossible to make everybody happy and that after an open discussion we have the responsibility to come to a conclusion. The success and respect for our sport and for the FEI will also depend on the capability of our community to stand together unified behind a proposal for the IOC, knowing that in this case the solution will be the best one possible, but not ideal.”
If you are interested in reading more about the quota system and the qualification system proposals, kindly follow the link below for the full FEI literature.