The FEI Endurance World Championships that were postponed from September 2020 because of Covid-19 are scheduled to go ahead on May 22 in Pisa, Italy, despite a high-level request to reschedule following the European Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak.
Event organisers and the Italian National Federation cited the uncertain evolution of Covid-19 and the impact of EHV-1 in Europe in their request for another postponement. Two other dates had been proposed — July 10, 2021 and September 25, 2021 — but the FEI Endurance Calendar Task Force recommended to the FEI Board that the May 22 date be maintained, as it “would provide National Federations more opportunities to select their best and most fit combinations”.
The European outbreak of EHV-1 originated at a competition in Valencia, Spain, in February. The virus is responsible for the deaths of 17 horses in Germany, Belgium and Spain.
In an emergency board resolution by the FEI Board, the deadline for nominated entries has been extended from April 9 to April 21. It has also increased the number of nominated entries for horses and riders from 10 riders and 14 horses to 15 riders and 15 horses (i.e. 15 combinations).
In making the decision to retain the May 22 date, the Endurance Calendar Task Force said the other proposed dates would have an impact on the FEI Endurance Pan American Championship for Seniors and Young Riders (July 28-29), the FEI Endurance European Championship (September 6-11), and the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Horses (September 15-19).
The task force noted there were a total of 44 qualified federations, with 584 qualified combinations from all FEI Regional Groups for the Championship. “Moving the Championship to July or September 2021 would require National Federations to adapt their planned selection process and adjust their training programmes, as well as repercussions on available horsepower for the different Championships mentioned above.”
The championships will be based at the San Rossore racecourse estate, within the Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Park. The estate was once owned by the President of the Italian Republic and before that the Medici family. The six phases on four loops will take place on flat and shaded terrain.