European Federations Move to Exert Greater Influence in International Horse Sports

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Ulf Helgstrand, president of the Danish Equestrian Federation.
Ulf Helgstrand, president of the Danish Equestrian Federation.

ANTWERP, Belgium, Sept. 28–Forty European equestrian federations have joined in creating the European Equestrian Forum aimed at gaining a “bigger European influence in the global equestrian sport.”

The decision to create the European EF was made in Antwerp, Belgium, where the 40 nations that have been divided by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) into two groups–Western and Eastern Europe–united in support of creating the new group.

The move may lead to the creation of a European Federation that could challenge the authority of the FEI over global horse sports.

Danish Equestrian Federation President Ulf Helgstrand called the decision an “historic moment.”

“This is an historic co-operation and the foundation for a European Equestrian Federation,” he said.

“EEF will pave the way for a bigger European involvement in the FEI because, despite the fact that the European countries stand for 80 per cent, of the world’s equestrian sport, we only have one third of influence in the sport at this point in time.

“The EEF will work at changing this.”

The FEI was originally created in 1921 with the first members Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

It now comprises 134 member national federations, which have equal votes in decision making.

The 10 nations with the largest number of FEI equestrian annual events are, in order: France, Germany, U.S.A., Italy, Australia, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium. Austria and Spain.

For the latest year that figures were available, 2005, there were 1,866 events with 1,050 or more than 56 per cent in the top 10 nations.