Future of World Equestrian Games to be Reviewed by FEI

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Nov. 2, 2018–The FEI–International Equestrian Federation–has pledged a review of the World Equestrian Games that could spell the end of the showcase of the combined championships of eight equestrian disciplines staged once very four years.

Ingmar de Vos, who is running unopposed for a second term as president of the global governing body, made the pledge in “A Roadmap for the Future” that he outlined ahead of the FEI General Assembly to be held in Bahrain later this month.

The WEG comprises championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage.

Two of the eight cities awarded the Games–Dublin, Ireland for 1998 and Bromont, Canada for 2018–had to abandon the events because of a lack of money. Rome took over the 1998 championships and Tryon, North Carolina the 2018 Games.

The first Games in Stockholm in 1990 did not include reining and para dressage and had a total of 421 participants.

Organized with less than two years to go, Tryon hosted all eight disciplines with 640 participants and included transporting more than 500 horses from Europe and elsewhere.

If the WEG is to be staged again on the four-year timetable, a new host would have considerably less time than the four years normally provided to make preparations for 2022.

“Although we have further strengthened the minimum eligibility criteria, we must recognize that due to the successful development of our sport in many regions it is more and more difficult to find organizers that are capable of organizing an event of such magnitude,” Ingmar said.

“It is also increasingly difficult for NFs (national federations) to send athletes in all the disciplines for which their athletes achieved the minimum eligibility requirements.

“We must have the courage to look at the future of our world championships and ask if the WEG is still the best format. Closely related to this is also the New Norm introduced by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to reduce costs for organizers and develop concepts that make it again feasible for organizers to bid to host world championships.

“Whereas we still would promote multi-disciplinary bids, we must ask ourselves if it is still realistic to impose a model integrating all our disciplines in one event. If we want to be successful we need to have a model that creates competition and can interest a lot of organizers rather than having to fight to find and motivate one organizer for WEG.”