Representatives of 76 nations will meet in Paris next year to discuss the future of endurance riding at an FEI forum. After the forum (31 March-1 April), a working group will be established to develop the ideas discussed into a five-year plan for consideration by the FEI.
An FEI spokesman said: “The last forum in 2003 was a great success. It brings people from participating countries together to discuss the sport.”
All FEI-registered endurance riders are being asked to contribute to the forum by completing an online questionnaire (www.horsesport.org).
Newly elected Endurance Great Britain (EGB) chairman John Yeoman told H&H that the working group is “long overdue”.
He said: “We need to decide where we want to go as a sport, especially if we want to be included in the Olympics.”
Mr Yeoman, whose wife, Christine, competed in endurance at the Aachen World Equestrian Games, said one of the big issues in the sport at present is race distances.
“There’s a strong case for reducing championship races from 160km [100 miles] to 120km [74.5 miles],” he said. “At present, completion rates are often only 40-50% and that makes it tougher for us to get Olympic status.”
An EGB spokesman said that the governing body is considering proposals to discuss at the forum, although Mr Yeoman was unable to comment on these.
Meanwhile, a trial run for the 2008 FEI World Endurance Championship in Malaysia has been hailed a success by vets.
Although there were some concerns about heat and humidity beforehand, 60% of the 23 horses presented at the start completed the full distance within the time allowed.