Proposals to change endurance include tougher ride qualification standards, more technical courses, stricter rules over access to courses by support personnel and annual appraisals for officials.
The seven-page document released today to national federations by the FEI’s Endurance Strategic Planning Group outlines 37 proposals for change, with urgent feedback sought as the world governing body works to get a full set of measures in place by May 14.
The proposals stem from concern among several national federations over drug infractions in the Middle East and worrying fracture rates among horses.
Twelve proposals are outlined affecting structure and governance of the sport which are listed as immediate actions.
They include a requirement for the registration and ranking of trainers, a push to have them held responsible for infractions along with riders, the requirement to maintain medical and treatment logs for each endurance horse, the use of out-of-competition drug testing, plans to make course designs more technical to slow participants, plans for annual appraisals for endurance officials, much tighter rules around access to the course by support crews, increases in ride qualification standards, and rules to ensure only “competent” riders can compete at each competition level.
Under proposals listed under “Culture and Behaviour”, the planning group is pushing the need for a research and injuries surveillance system, the continuation of increased levels of dope testing, a formalised injury report programme, and the need for codes of conduct.
It proposes leadership programmes for national federations and officials, and wants national bodies to drive a culture change aimed at discouraging doping and improving welfare.
The planning group wants the response of national federations by December 20, with further debate on amendments and responses planned for the Endurance Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, in February.
“A great deal of work has been undertaken to develop each of the individual proposals for action,” the planning group’s chairman, Andrew Finding, said.
“Some will need immediate action and others can and should take longer to develop.”
Finding said the changes were necessary for the long-term sustainability of the sport.
“…success in implementing these proposals depends on the willingness of everyone involved in
the sport to be self disciplined and to take personal responsibility.”