FEI wraps up general assembly with eye towards Paris 2024

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports held their annual meeting in Belgium and expressed gratitude for the members’ resilience during COVID-19 pandemic.

El jinete español Sergio Álvarez Moya a lomos de su caballo ‘Álamo’, en la Copa de Naciones de salto a caballo que tiene lugar este fin de semana en Barcelona. EFE/Lukasz Kowalski/Federación Ecuestre Internacional  SOLO USO EDITORIAL/SOLO DISPONIBLE PARA ILUSTRAR LA NOTICIA QUE ACOMPAÑA (CRÉDITO OBLIGATORIO)
El jinete español Sergio Álvarez Moya a lomos de su caballo ‘Álamo’, en la Copa de Naciones de salto a caballo que tiene lugar este fin de semana en Barcelona. EFE/Lukasz Kowalski/Federación Ecuestre Internacional SOLO USO EDITORIAL/SOLO DISPONIBLE PARA ILUSTRAR LA NOTICIA QUE ACOMPAÑA (CRÉDITO OBLIGATORIO)

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) concluded their four-day Hybrid General Assembly on Wednesday November 17 in Antwerp, Belgium with a renewed focus on community spirit.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos acknowledged the impact of the global pandemic but praised the equestrian community for overcoming the unique challenges of the past year.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Equestrian - Jumping - Team - Medal Ceremony - Equestrian Park - Tokyo, Japan - August 7, 2021. Gold medallists Henrik Von Eckermann of Sweden, Malin Baryard-Johnsson of Sweden and Peder Fredricson of Sweden celebrate. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Equestrian - Jumping - Team - Medal Ceremony - Equestrian Park - Tokyo, Japan - August 7, 2021. Gold medallists Henrik Von Eckermann of Sweden, Malin Baryard-Johnsson of Sweden and Peder Fredricson of Sweden celebrate. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

“This has been draining and overwhelming at times, but I’m proud and humbled by the strength of our community and our resilience in the face of adversity,” said De Vos. “We showed a positive and proactive community moving forward and embracing change.”

Over 230 delegates attended the assembly in Antwerp, with hundreds more participating virtually. A total of 117 of the 136 member National Federations were registered.

The FEI reviewed key moments from the Tokyo 2020 Games and provided in update on Paris 2024 preparations. Equestrian will revert to its traditional order of eventing, followed by dressage and jumping. Also, by a 70-to-30 vote, the national federations approved teams of three for Paris 2024, as opposed to teams of four. This will also be in effect for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris as well.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Equestrian - Dressage Team Test to Music - Grade II - Equestrian Park, Tokyo, Japan - August 28, 2021. Lee Pearson of Britain on his horse Breezer competes REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - Equestrian - Dressage Team Test to Music - Grade II - Equestrian Park, Tokyo, Japan - August 28, 2021. Lee Pearson of Britain on his horse Breezer competes REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Another key point raised during the general assembly was the importance of maintaining the sport’s social license to operate. De Vos stressed this must be the most important priority for the FEI.

“We must continue to educate the non-equestrian community about equestrian sport and our values, as there is a lot of misinformation which could threaten the integrity of our sport,” said De Vos.

Equestrian in some form as been a part of every Summer Olympics since 1912, and was first held at the 1900 Paris Summer Games.