Ten fewer eventing riders will get the chance to represent their country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, following new proposals by the FEI over equestrian quota systems.
But in the proposals being presented at the FEI Sports Forum next month – which aim to bring the three equestrian disciplines into line regarding qualification – an extra 10 dressage riders would be called up, with four athletes per team plus a reserve.
A country’s eventing team would comprise of four riders plus a reserve, a decrease from the usual five team members.
FEI Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer Ingmar de Vos said the main goal of the proposals is to “harmonise our rules and by doing this to make them also easier to understand for a larger public”.
Despite the growth in equestrian sport, particularly in emerging nations, no increase to the quota of athletes and horses for Rio 2016 was on the cards for the IOC.
“When looking at all the different aspects we need to bear in mind the very clear message of the IOC that no increase of the all over quota for equestrian sport of 200 horses will be accepted,” de Vos said.
“Consequently any improvement needs to be addressed within this quota of 200 horses. With a sport that is (luckily) developing in all parts of the world this is not an easy exercise.”
He said the success of equestrian sport at the London Olympics put horse sport in a “somewhat more secure position” with regard to the Olympic Programme.
“However, we must remain vigilant and alert and we should not spare any effort to keep our sport as successful as possible in the Games. Furthermore, we must understand and accept that it will be impossible to make everybody happy. The success and respect for our sport and for the FEI will also depend on the capability of our community to stand together unified behind a proposal for the IOC, knowing that in this case the solution will be the best one possible, but not ideal,” de Vos said.