FEI Saddles Up For Presidential Election

(ATR) Four candidates are vying for the presidency of the International Equestrian Federation but the field is not yet finalized. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Hrh Prince Abdullah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia riding Davos competes in the 2nd Qualifier of Individual Jumping on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park on August 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Hrh Prince Abdullah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia riding Davos competes in the 2nd Qualifier of Individual Jumping on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

(ATR)Four candidates, all European, are in the mix so far to become president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

The group includes: French gold medalist Pierre Durand;Pierre Genecand, a Swiss businessman who signaled his intention to run for FEI president in April;Ulf Helgstrand, president of the Danish Equestrian Federation;John McEwen from Great Britain, an FEI senior vice-president.

In a statement released by FEI on Aug. 11, outgoing president Princess Haya said she would not seek a third term. Haya was first elected FEI president in 2006.

U.S. Equestrian Federation CEO Chris Welton says it is unclear how the race will shape up politically. The World Equestrian Games, currently underway in France, are occupying the minds of the equestrian world.

"We have not spent any time considering the political aspects" of the FEI presidential race, Welton tellsAround the Rings."I'm sure there's going to be some talk as we get into the Games over here."

When asked what he hopes the new FEI president brings to the table, Welton toldATR, "We want to make sure that equestrian is one of the fundamental sports on the Olympic program."

"Most importantly," Welton adds, "that equestrian is not in jeopardy of being removed from the Olympic program.

"The FEI and U.S. Equestrian Federation have a strong interest in broadening the sport, increasing awareness of our sport, and just raising its visibility."

While Welton suggested other candidates may enter, it does not appear there will be one from the United States."I would be surprised, but it could happen," he said.

The deadline for applications for the FEI presidency is Sept. 1.

FEI confirmed toAround the Ringsthat there are currently four candidates, but would not confirm the names of the nominees. The federationwill release a list of all candidates on Sept. 2.

The FEI plans to elect a new president on Dec. 14 in Baku, Azerbaijan during its general assembly.

Written byNicole Bennett

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