FEI Proposes Updates to Rules for Upcoming Equine Contests

Newsdate: Sun, 7 July 2013 - 6:17 am
Location: LUSANNE, Switzerland

During a recent meeting, the bureau that makes proposals for modifications to FEI statutes and rules examined a number of proposals for modifications to the FEI Statutes made a number of recommendations for rule changes.

New FEI rules to make competitions safer and fairer

New FEI rules to make competitions safer and fairer

New proposals for FEI equine events including the Olympics are under review and will become effective January 1, 2014.

These proposals will be reviewed by the National Federations and will be submitted to the vote of the FEI General Assembly in November. If accepted by the General Assembly, they will come into effect on 1 January 2014.

The main proposals were:

1. STATUTES – Election of a Regional Group Chair

Following the approval of online elections for Group Chairs in 2012, it was proposed that the FEI Statutes should reflect this process.

Furthermore, if at any point there are two remaining candidates and none of the candidates obtains a two-thirds majority, the candidate which receives a simple majority should be the sole candidate presented to the General Assembly for election. This is in line with the process in place for the election of the FEI President.

2. General Regulations

Branded Armband and other partner branded items

A provision clarifying that the FEI may require that armbands or other branded items be worn by athletes at FEI Events, such as sponsor branded armbands for the athlete ranked as world number one on the official international rankings, was recommended.

In line with this new provision, there should be a corresponding sanction to deliver to an athlete for not complying with such rule and the suggestion is to give a Yellow Warning Card.

National Events with more than four National Federations or 15 foreign athletes

Under the current FEI rules, a national event (CN) which allows more than 15 foreign athletes or more than four National Federations (NFs) is considered to be an international event (CI). Organising fees are due for a CI of the relevant discipline and category, but the results of CNs considered as CIs do not count for any qualification or ranking purposes.

Given the risk that events with many NFs and international athletes may be organised and not entered in the FEI calendar in order to avoid the obligations outlined in the FEI General Regulations, it is suggested to include the following provisions:

1. CNs with more than four NFs or 15 foreign athletes are prohibited and cannot be allowed by an NF; and

2. If a CN takes place under such conditions, no ranking or qualification points will be earned and the NF can be fined up to an amount equivalent to the total prize-money paid out at such competition.

Person Responsible – minors

Given the unique and challenging circumstances that can sometimes surround minor athletes taking part in FEI events, it is suggested that some flexibility be allowed so that under “exceptional circumstances” a minor may be considered as not being the Person Responsible even if he or she is riding, driving, or vaulting the horse.

Horse nationality for the Olympic Games: deadline

It is proposed to amend Art. 139.4 which currently states that, “Horses entered for the Olympic Games must be the property of Owners of the same nationality as the Athlete by 31 December of the year preceding the Games (see Olympic Regulations)”.

The proposed new deadline is 15 January of the year of the Olympic Games. The reason is that the 31 December date is not practical since most National Federations and the FEI are typically closed on that day.

Protective headgear rule

It has been suggested that the protective headgear rule should be enforced upon arrival at the show ground.

Medical Committee recommendations

The Medical Committee recommends that the GRs include a new provisions regarding medical assistance at events, and in particular:

- on-site presence of at least one person trained in emergency medical care; and

- an appropriate medical emergency action plan for the evacuation and transport of injured athletes.

The Medical Committee also strongly recommends that if an athlete has a fall, an examination by a medical provider should be mandatory (in addition to any sport rules such as disqualification/elimination).


A wording specifying that Bureau members cannot officiate at world and continental championships, FEI World Cup™ Finals, FEI Nations Cup™ Finals, Olympic, Paralympic and Regional Games will be added.


Team disqualification due to positive test(s) for a prohibited substance

The FEI Bureau supports the extension of the Olympic rule related to the team disqualification due to positive test(s) for a prohibited substance to all the FEI disciplines. According to this rule, should an athlete and/or horse be disqualified for a positive test(s) for a prohibited substance, the athlete’s result will be annulled in all competitions and the entire team disqualified.

However, the team members who do not test positive will be able to continue as individuals, if qualified.

This rule, if approved by the General Assembly, will be applicable at the Olympic Games for the Olympic disciplines, the FEI World Equestrian Games™, Senior FEI Championships, and Regional Games.


The Bureau approved the following items:

• Rules and qualification system for the 2015 Pan-American Games, which will be added as Annex I to the Rules for Jumping Championships and Olympic Games.
• Rules and qualification system for the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games, which will be added as Annex II to the Rules for Jumping Championships and Olympic Games.


The Bureau approved the proposal to include all FEI Eventing technical delegates and judges in the list of FEI stewards as level 1. Guidelines for the implementation of this rule in regard to ensuring the education of the Officials will be reviewed by the FEI Headquarters.

The Bureau approved the joint proposal of the Eventing and Medical Committees to replace the current medical card by an updated information system at each event with medical details which would be verified by the on-site doctors. This decision was taken since the medical cards were often uncompleted or incorrect. A form for athletes to announce any serious health conditions confidentially to the event chief medical officer will be developed.


The Bureau approved the revised FEI World CupTM Driving Rules for the 2013-2014 season. They will be published on the FEI website here.


The Technical Committee chair updated the Bureau on the issues the discipline is currently facing. It was agreed that the Endurance Committee will work closely with the Veterinary Committee in order to develop a scientifically-based review of these issues; the review will assist the sport in identifying further steps that can be undertaken.

The Endurance Committee welcomes the FEI President’s initiative to hold an Endurance Round Table and is looking forward to the outcome.


The Bureau approved the revised FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Rules for the 2013-2014 season. For the first time a Pas-de-Deux will be introduced to this series. The approved rules will be published on the FEI website here.


The Bureau approved the introduction of the FEI World Reining Final Rules for 2013 which will be published on the FEI website here. The first Final will take place towards the end of the year and will be open to the best ranked athletes from each National Federation. Qualification will take place during the 2013 season.


The Technical Committee chair gave a brief update on FEI Veterinary matters, highlighting the fact that the new concepts in the 2013 Veterinary Regulations had been welcomed and were working well. He also outlined the proposed minor additions to the 2014 Regulations.

The Bureau were reminded that the 2012 Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Programme statistics were now available online (here) and showed the lowest ever levels of positives: 0.2% within the Medication Control Programme in Groups I and II and 1.8% in the rest of the world, but that greater levels of testing were needed as the number of events continued to increase.

A brief update was also given on the significant changes in the approach to the international movements of horses.

FEI European Reining Championship for Young Riders and Juniors, Manerbio (ITA), 8-15 September
FEI World Cup™ Driving and Vaulting Finals, Bordeaux (FRA), 8-9 February for Driving and 7-8 February for Vaulting
FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championship for Singles, Sandringham (GBR), 27-29 June
FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors, Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA), 1st or 2nd week of July
FEI European Vaulting Championship for Juniors, Kaposvar (HUN), 30 July – 3 August
FEI Central Asia Jumping Championship, Astana (KAZ), 2-5 July
FEI World Jumping Championship for Young Horses, Lanaken (BEL), 17-20 September
FEI European Dressage Championship for Young Riders, Juniors and Children, Vidauban (FRA), 2nd week of July
FEI Central Asia Dressage Championship, Almaty (KAZ), 11-14 June
FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors, Santo Domingo (CHI), 23-24 October
FEI World Eventing Championship for Young Horses, Le Lion D’Angers (FRA), third week of October
FEI European Eventing Championship for Young Riders, Strzegom (POL), 10-13 September or 24-27 September (exact date TBC).
FEI European Eventing Championship for Juniors, Bialy Bor (POL), 13-16 August or 20-23 August (exact date TBC).
FEI World Driving Championship for Ponies, Four in Hand, Pairs and Singles, Breda (NED), 2-6 September
FEI World Driving Championship for Pairs, Fábiánsebestyén (HUN), 27-30 August
2015 and 2016

The Bureau decided to postpone the allocation of the FEI European Ponies Championships in Jumping, Dressage and Eventing 2015 to Malmö (SWE) and FEI World Cup™ Jumping and the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals 2016 to Gothenburg (SWE) in view of the current Swedish Animal Welfare Laws in Relation to Competition with Horses.

This legislation prohibits certain treatments and approaches to supporting horses competing at FEI events which are permitted by the FEI Veterinary Regulations.

The FEI and the Swedish NF are in contact with the Swedish authorities who have acknowledged that their approach is at odds with the FEI Rules and Regulations and are undertaking a full review which is expected to produce new legislation for review during 2014.

The outcome of the process cannot be predicted at this time, but the FEI and the Swedish NF are involved in the consultation with the relevant Swedish authorities. The FEI is taking this matter very seriously and will work actively with the authorities and the NF to find a suitable solution.

The allocation of the FEI World Endurance Championship 2016 was also postponed until the Endurance Round Table which will be held later this month.

The Bureau was updated on the facts and figures of all the ongoing continental and regional multisport Games.

The FEI President highlighted the growing success of the FEI Solidarity programme which is being increasingly used by the National Federations. To date, some 40 NFs from South and Central America, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa have received help from FEI Solidarity for mid- to long-term projects. It is being provided in the form of financial and technical assistance as well as consultancy services. Numerous applications have been received for 2014 and they will be reviewed by the FEI Solidarity Department.

The Bureau was updated on the Memoranda of Understanding that are being discussed with the former FEI Associate Members. The process is currently being overseen by the FEI Executive Board and this will continue to be the case in the future.

The Bureau agreed on the proposed process for the on-line election of the members of the FEI Athletes Committee. The FEI was tasked to work on an electoral procedure ensuring that legal aspects were taken into account. The timeline and procedure will be presented to the Bureau for approval.

The Bureau approved the proposed timeline for the allocation of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018, as follows:
• 5 July 2013
Bidding process is re-opened and Expressions of Interest by NFs are requested
• 30 Sept 2013
Deadline to receive Expressions of Interest
• 31 March 2014
Deadline for candidates to submit a completed and signed Host Agreement
• Bureau Spring Meeting 2014
Evaluation of candidacies and announcement of the allocation by FEI Bureau

The Bureau supported the resolution, which will be proposed by the FEI President to the United Nations General Assembly in September, that an international day of the horse be established on 13 December in recognition of the importance of horses to the global economy, cultural heritage, and sport.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..