Fourth equestrian sport could join Olympics

  • The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) plans to propose a fourth equestrian discipline for inclusion in the Olympic Games.

    At the federation’s recent general assembly in London, Michael Stone, FEI sports director proposed reining and endurance as possible fourth disciplines. But the FEI needs to produce criteria that these sports must fulfil before can lobby the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    “The criteria will be in terms of universality, level of competition, number of competitors, number of events, TV interest and spectator interest — all the elements the IOC looks for,” explained Stone. “If a discipline hits the criteria, we’ll move on it as soon as possible.”

    Ian Williams, head of endurance at the FEI, said: “Endurance is now above dressage in numbers of competitions [worldwide].”

    A long-standing issue for the sport’s inclusion in the Games is a lack of spectator and media interest.

    But Williams added: “The Tour de France and the Paris-Dakar Rally get incredible TV coverage. But they’re not a million miles from endurance — competitors cover huge distances and are away from the crowds — so it’s a question of finding innovative ways of producing TV coverage.”

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (21 April, ’05)

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