Rider Maternity Leave Minimum Cut to 3 Months from 6 After Controversy Over Jessica von Bredow-Werndl
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Dec. 8, 2022
The minimum maternity leave for dressage riders has been cut to three months from six while the maximum remains at 12 months in a decision by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced Thursday following controversy over world No. 1 Jessica von Bredow-Werndl.
Changes to the rule for dressage, jumping and driving came after many riders complained about the requirement imposed by the FEI in September that blocked Jessica from returning to competition in September after the birth of her second child before an absence of six months. The FEI insisted the rule required a minimum break of six months and a maximum of 12 to enable the riders to retain scores for world ranking points.
Dressage riders and drivers will need to give notice of four weeks to return to competition after three months while jumpers are required to provide notice of 10 weeks.
Provisions of a minimum of six months and maximum of 12 months for medical leave remain unchanged.
“The FEI has listened to the riders who have expressed the desire to have the option of returning to competition earlier than six months and the FEI Board is very much in favor of supporting athletes wishing to achieve the best possible balance between family life and a high level sports caree,” said FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez. “The Ranking Rules in all the FEI disciplines are living documents and we will keep on reviewing the maternity and medical leave provisions to make sure they remain relevant and fair.”