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There could be significant changes ahead for the sport of eventing after the FEI released a series of wide-ranging proposals regarding the future of the discipline.

The plans will be discussed at the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne on Monday (27 April). Any amendments would have to be agreed and ratified by the FEI general assembly in November 2016.

Summary of the eventing proposals

Olympic format

The FEI is considering making changes to fall into line with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 2020 Agenda to create “attractive, modern, TV- and spectator-friendly sports”.

The idea is designed to create a “new generation of fans” says the IOC, as well as increasing the number of nations represented in each sport at the games.

Proposals include:

  • Complete separation of team and individual competitions to be run concurrently
  • Athletes can only participate in one of the competitions
  • Complete separation of qualifications (teams compete at three-star, individuals at four-star)
  • Teams to complete three-star level cross-country with four-star level dressage and jumping tests
  • Teams will be up to three members with no drop score
  • Competitors from one team to ride one after the other in the three tests
  • Riders competing as individuals will face four-star tests in all three phases

New childrens’ competition

The possible future integration of pony competitions and the introduction of a childrens’ competition based only on athletes’ age and with no differentiation between horses and ponies could be developed.

Technical rules

There is a proposal to review some cross-country penalties. One idea is to change the amount of penalities for a first refusal to 10. Another is to award five penalties for knocking flags on skinny, narrow, corners fences.

Saddlery

The type of bit used for cross-counrty is also up for debate in relation to risk management and horse welfare.

“It is felt that strong bitting used by less experienced riders can affect the ability of the horse to focus on the fence and use his natural abilities to solve the jumping question,” reads the document.

Name change

Eventing may not even remain as eventing — the name of the sport could be change to equestrian triathlon, equestrathon or tri-equathlon

Indoor arena eventing

To review the possibility of integrating indoor competitions within the eventing framework

Horse & Hound will be reporting from the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne next week, so visit HorseandHound.co.uk to keep up to date with the latest developments