The World Bitless Association (WBA) will meet with the FEI for the first time this year.
The move follows a campaign by the WBA in 2019 against the ban on competitors using bitless bridles in the cross-country phase of FEI eventing competitions.
The invitation from FEI eventing director Catrin Norinder said they would like to discuss “our common drive to improve equine welfare standards and public perception of horse sport” and “have an exchange of views with you on these important topics”.
The invite is for members of the WBA to meet with the FEI in Switzerland later in 2020, once Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
A statement from the WBA said the invitation has been “warmly accepted as a valuble opportunity to help generate dialogue between the bitless community and the FEI”.
The WBA is asking for the equestrian community to share its views through a survey ahead of its meeting.
“The aims of the WBA are to improve welfare for horses through the promotion of evidence-based, benign, horse-friendly training, by helping to develop opportunities for competent balanced riding and by ensuring equal opportunities are established for all equestrians to compete, whether they choose to ride bitless or bitted,” added the statement.
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The ban on using bitless bridles for cross-country was passed among the eventing rule changes for 2020 at the FEI general assembly in Moscow in November.
Two national federations supported the WBA campaign — US Equestrian and British Equestrian.
No discussion points were raised on the subject at the general assembly and the changes to the 2020 FEI eventing rules were approved unanimously.
“WBA believe that the bitless community is a much-needed asset in the traditional equestrian community and should be viewed as being able to play an exciting and valuable role in shaping the future of horse sport,” added the WBA.
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