British Federation discusses the future of Eventing

British Equestrian Federation, on behalf of British Eventing (BE), has recently submitted a reply to an International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Proposal concerning the future of Eventing at the Olympic Games.

BE pulled together a wide range of Eventing experts, including competition organisers, riders and owners, to form a working group and lead discussion from a British standpoint. Drawing on a vast wealth of experience the group addressed proposed changes relating to format and presentation of the three phases of the Eventing competition, based on Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

The working group also embraced opportunities around engagement as the sport strives to uphold a forward-thinking approach to reaching and exciting new, and particularly younger, audiences to boost popularity and exposure worldwide.

To develop the response the BE working group met twice last year:

  • For a copy of the first consultation paper produced by the BE Olympic Agenda 2020 Working Group, click HERE.
  • The full BE Olympic Agenda 2020 Working Group report can be downloaded from the BE news item HERE.
  • The FEI Proposal – Olympic Formats is available in the FEI document HERE.

Three/four rider combinations per team:

Following the FEI suggestion to allow a maximum of three horse/rider combinations per nation with a reserve, BE proposes keeping a four rider team for each nation with no reserve rider. BE recommendation is for four combinations to compete in the first two phases (Dressage and Cross Country) and, if appropriate, all four to present for the second Horse Inspection.

Based on the current FEI rule whereby at the Olympic Games only a maximum of three riders can qualify for the second round of the show jumping phase (which decides the Individual medals), BE recommends that only three combinations should progress to the show jumping phase in the first instance. Nations would declare which three riders from each team would move forward to the final phase after the second Horse Inspection.

BE felt that this would lower the risk of teams not completing and remove the need for creating a complicated scoring system.

Name change:

Based on Eventing being part of the sport of ‘Equestrian’ at the Olympic Games along with the use of the word ‘Triathlon’ which is defined as ‘an athletic contest consisting of three different events’, BE felt the FEI’s proposed name change from Eventing to Equestrian Triathlon best described the sport and supports a future change of name.

Presentation and engagement:

In order to maintain the inclusion of Eventing in the Olympic programme high importance is being put on our sport to be easily understood and enjoyable for viewers in Rio 2016. Taking this into consideration BE agrees with the FEI’s recommendation to complete all of the dressage competition in one day, along with continuing the current format of one day for both the cross country and show jumping phases.

BE felt much more excitement could be provided by running the cross country in reverse order of dressage results, making the scheduling and reporting of ‘top contenders’ and medal hopefuls easier to broadcast and for consumers to follow. BE also agrees with the FEI suggestion of generating more excitement in the show jumping phase by having each nation’s team members in the arena at the same time along with the team competition being the final event – followed by the medal presentation.