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International Endurance Undergoes Extensive Review

The proceedings of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Endurance Forum, which took place in Paris, France, March 31-April 1, 2007 was held in an exemplary spirit of cooperation and constructive work with 70 delegates from 31 National Federations (NF) present. Placed under the motto "Consolidation, Cooperation, Creation", this event is the starting point of an in-depth review of this FEI discipline. The chairmen of the three working groups – Fred Barrelet, Switzerland, (Veterinary); Maurizio Stecco, Italy, (Judges); and John Robertson, Great Britain, (Technical Delegates) – presented summaries of the workshops. As a result of these summaries, the following specific areas, where change and improvement were necessary, were identified:

• qualification system;

• equitation training;

• public perception of the sport in terms of the dress and terminology used;

• horse log book;

• rest periods;

• suspension of riders and horses;

• protocol for abandonment; ride finish system;

• hold / presentation times; course design;

• star system for ride distances;

• availability of qualified officials;

• monitoring of the officials’ performances;

• re-evaluation of the low-level distances and the potential dangers linked to them;

• number of vet gates and their link to the going;

• weights; progressive closing of vet gates;

• establishment of regional championships and CEIOs;

• development of a comprehensive database;

• adequate technology;

• examination of a handicap system;

• progression through star-rating of rides on national and international level;

• education of officials;

• re-examination of the best condition award rules.

Almost half of these areas where reassessment was required were identified in all three presentations. On the basis of these recommendations and with the further contribution of the National Federations, a task force will be created; the goal of which will be to assist the FEI in producing new Rules of Endurance better suited to the changing circumstances and the massive growth the sport is experiencing.

The basis of the current FEI Rules for Endurance came into being over 20 years ago; indeed, Endurance became an FEI discipline in 1982. In the last five years, the sport has undergone dramatic growth: in 2006 the total number of Endurance events was 393 which is an increase of 480% compared to 2000. In terms of numbers, the Endurance is now the third FEI discipline after Jumping and Eventing. From a leisure activity enjoyed by amateurs on weekends, it has turned into highly competitive sport where breeders, owners, trainers and riders earn their living. Countries from new regions of the world presenting unusual climatic conditions have joined. There is a significant difference between the amateur and professional levels of the sport which is all the more apparent when facing challenging conditions.

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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