Global Eventing Seminar Sparks Dialogue on Future Olympic Formats and Risk Management
In a landmark virtual gathering, the global Eventing community came together on Saturday, January 20, for a three-hour online seminar. The seminar attracted over 280 participants from a total of 36 nations. The event delved into critical topics such as proposed modifications to the competition format for Eventing at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. However, Risk Management, Paris 2024 preparations, and issues surrounding horse welfare and social license to operate were looked at too..
FEI Eventing Committee Chair and Board Member, David O’Connor (USA), took the reins as the seminar’s moderator, commencing the event with a warm welcome. Participants were greeted by FEI President Ingmar De Vos via a pre-recorded video. President De Vos emphasized the seminar’s role as a platform for discussing key issues in Eventing. The focus also included topics surrounding safety enhancement and engagement with stakeholders.
President De Vos outlined the agenda, placing particular emphasis on proposed modifications to the Los Angeles 2028 Eventing Competition Format. He underscored the collaborative efforts between the FEI, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) to make Eventing more appealing to fans and new audiences while preserving its core essence.
Proposed Eventing Competition Format for LA28
Following the President’s speech, David O’Connor introduced proposed modifications to the Eventing Competition format for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. The proposal favoured a team competition in the short format (Dressage, Jumping, Cross Country) with team medals awarded after the Cross Country. The individual competition would remain in the long format, with the Jumping round held the day after the Cross Country.
This innovative proposal aims to enhance the sport’s appeal by emphasizing the unique attributes of the Cross Country phase, making Eventing more captivating for fans and increasing media value.
Feedback and Further Discussion
While the seminar provided an excellent starting point for dialogue, the FEI confirmed that the proposed format would be shared with National Federations and related associations for feedback in the coming weeks. With all International Federations required to submit their formats and proposals for LA28 to the IOC by March 1, 2024, participants were encouraged to actively engage in the dynamic feedback process.
Other items included an overview of preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and discussions on horse welfare and well-being. Other key topics included social license to operate, and key rule changes for 2024.
Risk Management Focus
The second part of the seminar focused on Risk Management, moderated by David O’Connor and Geoff Sinclair, Chair of the FEI Risk Management Steering Group. Presentations covered international statistics on horse and athlete falls and injuries from 2013-2023, EquiRatings® Horse Form Index (HFI), frangible devices, and fitness and training of athletes and horses.
Geoff Sinclair commended the FEI for its transparency and consistent efforts to improve the sport’s safety. The discussions also delved into future course design and changes to encourage accurate riding on Cross Country. Thoughts and topics also included the importance of rider training.
Expressing gratitude for participants’ attendance and the quality of discussions, David O’Connor concluded the seminar. The event proved to be thought-provoking, encouraging meaningful debate and the exchange of ideas among the global Eventing community.