British eventer Daisy Berkeley is among eight riders voted onto the FEI technical committee as a “voice for athletes”.
Representatives are expected to be “key ambassadors” for their respective discipline.
Others include Brazilian Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper Roderigo Pessoa and dressage rider Anna Paprocka-Campanella, who won over Britain’s Laura Tomlinson.
“They will play a vital role in the governance of equestrian sport, acting as a voice for all our athletes and actively shaping the FEI’s global development,” said FEI secretary general Ingmar De Vos.
Daisy told H&H she was “surprised and excited” to have been voted in.
“I want to make sure the sport progresses with a decent amount of rider input — we are after all the hub of the sport. I aim to be the mouthpiece of riders and voice the opinion of us all,” she added.
It was the first time in the 93-year history of the FEI that athletes were able to vote.
However, the number that did was remarkably low. In showjumping, out of 2,399 eligible only 31 voted. In eventing this was just 32 riders out of 3,271.
Mr De Vos admitted it was “disappointing”.
“It’s important that our athletes have a voice in the decision-making process, and they always have had, but this was the first time athletes had the opportunity to vote for their FEI Athlete Representatives in the most democratic way possible through direct elections”, he added.
“We used all possible channels to inform the athletes about these elections to obtain as high a rate of participation as possible, so it was disappointing that we did not have greater response. However, we understand that many of the athletes are now very focused on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games coming up later this month.”
Eventing — Daisy Berkeley (Britain)
Showjumping — Roderigo Pessoa (Brazil)
Dressage — Anna Paprocka-Campanella (Italy)
Driving — Bartolomiej Kwiatek (Poland)
Endurance — Valerie Kanavy (USA)
Vaulting — Lukas Klouda (Czech Republic)
Reining — Gennaro Lendi (Italy)
Para equestrian — Laurentia Tan (Singapore)
First published in Horse & Hound magazine on 31 July 2014