Reining remains an FEI discipline; Major award for Ingrid Klimke

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Reining is to remain as an FEI discipline, following a vote by horse sport’s governing body at its General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.

Sven Friesecke, Chair of the FEI Reining Committee, received extended applause when he thanked delegates for their support of the discipline and for their commitment to keeping Reining in the FEI stable.

The formal agreement with the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) will now be signed by the FEI following the vote, and the FEI will also reach out to the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) to agree on terms for cooperation. In order to ensure that the sport is moving forward in a sustainable way, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) have been in place for the next four years aimed at growing participation in the discipline.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos, with secretary-general Sabrina Ibanez at the FEI General Assembly.
FEI President Ingmar De Vos, with secretary-general Sabrina Ibanez at the FEI General Assembly. © FEI

A decision on the allocation of the Reining World Championships 2022, will be taken at the FEI Board’s teleconference next month, which will also decide on the location of the 2022 FEI Endurance Championships. The board will also discuss the rescheduling of the Pan-American Endurance Championships, which were due to be held in Chile but were postponed due to civil unrest in the country.

New board members welcomed

FEI President Ingmar De Vos welcomed the new members to the final in-person Board meeting of the FEI General Assembly.

After congratulating Jack Huang (TPE) as the new FEI Vice-President, De Vos welcomed two new Board members, Marina Sechina, the newly elected Chair of FEI Regional Group III, and Sami Al Duhami (KSA), the new Chair of FEI Regional Group VII, who was unable to attend the General Assembly.

Nayla Stössel (SUI), who was elected to the FEI Nominations Committee during the General Assembly, was elected as Chair of the Committee by the FEI Board.

The Board’s final decisions of the FEI General Assembly 2019 included the approval of rules for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Rules 2020 and the EEF Jumping Nations Cup Series and Rules 2020. Final approval of the Global Champions League Rules 2020 was postponed until the Board has further clarification in a number of areas.

There were 91 National Federations with Powers of Attorney on site attending the General Assembly at the Hyatt Regency Petrovsky Park Hotel in Moscow, and 29 proxies from National Federations not attending the session, meaning there were a total of 120 votes. The required quorum is 68.

Also in attendance were 10 associations with which the FEI has a Memorandum of Understanding, and more than 40 observers and media.

The Russian National Federation has more than 750 FEI athletes and 1000 horses registered, and in 2018 there were 143 FEI events held around the country.

Receiving the FEI Awards 2019 were, from left Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li and Yaofeng Li.
Receiving the FEI Awards 2019 were, from left Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li and Yaofeng Li. © FEI/Liz Gregg
Ingrid Klimke wins Best Athlete Award

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as the winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala in Moscow.

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place at the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders.

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding equestrian sport.

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

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