Delegates to next month’s FEI Sports Forum will consider four possibilities to rename the Eventing discipline.
Documentation for the forum lists the options – put forward by the Eventing Committee – as the Equestrian Triathlon, the Equi-triathlon, Equestrio, and Triquestrian.
The short-list was drawn up by the committee after considering proposals from FEI external consultants.
Renaming the historic discipline is controversial, with many followers believing the existing name is fit-for-purpose and well-recognised.
However, the FEI is pushing for a name change to improve understanding of the sport among new audiences.
Delegates to the forum will consider proposals targeted at the Olympic format in a bid to get more nations competing at the Games. The aim is also to get the three Eventing competition elements completed faster, which is part of the push to make the event more media-friendly.
The Eventing Committee considered a range of comments, submissions and proposals. It agreed to maintain the principles of the Eventing proposal presented at the General Assembly late last year, with a number of further specifications to be discussed at the sports forum.
It is proposed that the traditional order of tests be maintained, but there will be one cross-country test for both the team and individual competitions.
In line with Jumping and Dressage, participation will be limited to three riders per nation, with the deletion of the drop score for the team competition in order to address the main objective of a more open and inclusive competition.
Each team will be entitled to a reserve combination (or reserve horse).
This proposal is part of a more general strategical and coordinated approach for the long-term development of the discipline, with the following key points to be discussed in more detail during the forum’s Eventing rules session:
- A general update of the categorization and star level system;
- A positive scoring system (the athlete/team with the highest score wins);
- Changes to the dress code;
- Renaming of the discipline.
Specifically relating to the Olympics, the proposals include a five-minute four-star dressage test to be developed, with moves to get 65 combinations through in less than six hours. Options to meet the time limit include speeding up the entry and exit of horses in the arena and taking out the first salute.
It is proposed that the cross-country course will take 10 minutes and involve 45 efforts.
The Jumping tests for individuals and teams are to be completed within a day.
The individual final and also the qualifier for the teams event is to be divided into two sessions to have a shorter final of only the best 20 individuals. The technical level will be four-star, at 130cm, with 13-16 jumps.
The team final for the best six teams will involve a different technical level four-star course of 130cm, with 10-12 jumps.
To enhance the team element of the team final competition, all three members of each team will enter the arena together and individually start at a short interval one after the other.
This, according to the FEI, would allow easy and immediate comprehension of the team scores and placing.
Team chefs d’équipe will choose the starting order within their team at the end of the individual Jumping round.
Teams will start in reverse order of merit.
The course for the team final will be shorter and less demanding than that for the individual Jumping.
For the purpose of the team classification, combinations eliminated or retired on the cross country will be allowed to start the Jumping test after successfully passing the horse inspection.
Relevant penalties will be awarded according to which scoring system is chosen.
Two proposals are currently under discussion for a positive scoring system:
- The dressage percentage to represent directly (without coefficient) the positive score from where to eventually deduct current Cross Country and Jumping penalties. For the purpose of the Team competition a combination not completing the Cross Country Test will be awarded 80/100 penalties, a combination not passing the horse inspection or not completing the Jumping test will be awarded 40/50 penalties (to be discussed).
- Each test is valued from a maximum of 100 points and added together, and the final score is given by adding together the scores of the three tests. For the purpose of the Team competition any test non-completed will be awarded 0 points.
Discussing dress code, Eventing will fall in line with the code for the Olympic Dressage and Jumping competitions. However, for the cross country, all nations will use national colours for dress and saddle pads to clearly identify and differentiate the countries.
Colours and patterns must be registered in advance.
Forum documentation acknowledged the London meeting of movers and shakers from the Eventing world held recently in London in a bid to get consensus on changes to the sport.
“The Eventing community and the Eventing Committee received much appreciated feedback from the national federations involved,” the material said.
The Eventing Committee met early in March to consider current options. It also reviewed the overall situation from a wider perspective and, together with FEI President Ingmar De Vos, agreed on elements considered paramount for any equestrian sport to receive a positive reception from the IOC.
Among them was an acknowledgement of the possibility that any of the six equestrian events held at the Games may be dropped, while horse sports remained a core Olympic sport.
It was agreed that all efforts to increase the number of nations within the numbers quota were paramount.
Equestrian sport needed to evolve and a take new approach to develop the sport and the fan base. TV viewers were crucial to that success.