IJRC General Assembly

The IJRC General Assembly was held last Friday morning in Geneva. Speakers included the IJRC’s President Kevin Staut, Director Eleonora Ottaviani, and board members Henrik von Eckermann, Max Kühner, Steve Guerdat, François Mathy Jr and Rodrigo Pessoa, the Athlete Representative for the FEI Jumping Committee.

Following Kevin Staut’s opening speech on the overall work done by the Club and the many meetings attended by the Board, there was a presentation of the main topics addressed in the course of the year.


b IJRC President Kevin Staut, IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani, IJRC Vice president François Mathy JR

The following is a summary of the main subjects discussed:

1. Opening and Welcome – Appointment of the Chairman for the day

2. IJRC President’s Report

Kevin Staut emphasised:

  • the close relationship there is with institutions such as the FEI and the EEF and with many stakeholders like officials, grooms, owners club, dressage, organisers;
  • the many meetings attended by the Club in Lausanne and during shows such as Leipzig and Barcelona;
  • the Club attending on-line the FEI GA in Cape Town;
  • the IJRC’s cooperation as a member of many task forces on the jumping calendar addressing the Nations Cups.

3. Approval of the Geneva 2021 General Assembly Minutes

4. Accounts 31.12.2021 and their approval

5. Nations Cup status: Division 1 and EEF



Kevin Staut spoke of the value of Nations Cups and the importance of the two-round format, which is perfect and should remain the same not only in 2023 but also in the following years, as also underlined at the session for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Task Force Meeting at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (SUI) on October 25th, 2022. On that occasion both Kevin Staut and IJRC Board member Steve Guerdat made significant contributions to the discussion as members of the stakeholders panel.

Therefore, since the two-round format works extremely well in Division 1 Nations Cups, what needs to be done in order to find possible solutions is to make the series more attractive and this can be achieved by working on the calendar and the various legs.

The IJRC will provide all possible support to the FEI in order to achieve this goal by 2024.

The discussion also addressed the Longines EEF Series emphasising the series ‘success and confirming once again that jumps in these Nations Cups can be no higher than 1.45m since this series is a promotional league that must include nations of all levels. The question that remains to be addressed in coming EEF assemblies concerns deciding whether the Series should remain a Promotional League for teams jumping 1.45m or as a series for the preparation and growth of athletes aiming to compete in Division 1. 


n Quentin Simonet 2nd EEF Vice President

6. Information from the FEI GA in Cape Town:

 Olympics Rules Revision for Jumping, Anti-doping (Human & Equine)

The Club has worked for a long time and with ongoing commitment to formulate and present to the FEI changes to be made to regulations that have now been approved by the General Assembly.

These are some of the many issues to be studied in greater depth:

  • Equine Welfare: The Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission underlined the importance of social licence as well as the welfare and well-being of horses in sport.
  • Format (2024 Paris Olympic Games):

           The show jumping team competition will be held before the individual one.
           The three combinations per nation rule will remain unchanged.

  • Dates (Olympics Game in Paris)

            Thursday August 1st, 2024: Qualifier Nations Cup
            Friday August 2nd , 2024: Nations Cup final
            Monday and Tuesday (August 5th  – 6th , 2024): Individual final.

  • Results

           Athletes will be placed according to their penalties and time. 

  • Substitutions – Horse Inspections for 2024 Paris Olympic Games  To be eligible for the Team Final, a horse used to substitute another must have been presented and accepted at 1st Horse Inspection.


  • FEI Official (Art. 611 for 2024 Paris Olympic Games) There will be an additional Judge to comply with the Jumping Rules requirements for Olympic Games.



b Nick Skelton and Laura Kraut

  • Two other issues discussed concerned the article elimination number 241.4 on the FEI Jumping Rules 2023:

"The President of the Ground Jury (or in the absence of the President of the Ground Jury from the Ground Jury box, the Ground Jury Member designated by the President of the Ground Jury to take over the running of the Competition in their absence) may, in their sole discretion, ring the bell (or instruct another Ground Jury member to ring the bell) to eliminate an Athlete/Horse combination while a round is ongoing if the President of the Ground Jury (or their designee) decides that it would be contrary to the principles of horse welfare to allow the combination to continue the round. The decision to eliminate is final and not subject to appeal or protest."

There were many objections made to this rule:

Who is capable of judging and stopping a horse and rider? Who has the competence to train judges?

1) the possibility, as proposed by the IJRC, of having a champion top rider as the supervisor for chief stewards and judges to provide advice. This would create a decision-making panel so as not to entrust responsibility to just one individual. 

2) the importance of the educational process used for officials;

There is no question that the blood rule remains and horses with blood showing must be immediately retired from the competitions.

Furthermore, Nick Skelton proposed that changes should be made to the sentence “be contrary to the principles of horse welfare” and it should be replaced with “for the safety of horses and riders”.

There is no question that the "disqualifications" rule remains and horses with blood showing must be immediately disqualified from the competitions.

The entire subject is linked to ‘social license’ that is developing day after day.

7.MER (Minimum Eligibility Requirements)


This must ensure the capability of combinations to jump Olympic size courses in order to protect the welfare of horses that must never be endangered.

The MER must be obtained in Grands Prix, Nations Cups or World Cup outside competitions (example in Australia and they have to build in a certain way specified in the rules) with 3 results.

Maximum number of penalties:

- 4 at 1.55m

- 8 at 1.60 m

Special Qualifying Competitions will not be allowed nor will competitions with a height of 1.50.m

8. Entry fees: extra FEES

Equestrian Organisers have made an official request to increase entry fees for 1, 2, 3, 4* shows because costs have increased significantly in recent years.

In the initial agreement concerning CSI and CSIO Requirements, it had been established that entry fees should include all tax to be applied to horses and VAT, with the exception of MCP fees, and all additional fees were forbidden. In the course of the years some additional fees were added (Electricity, Manure removal, Parking, VAT from 10 to 19%).

It would be correct to apply entry fees in proportion to the number of riders competing and the prize money offered.

It is IJRC’s opinion that the entire equestrian sector should try and limit costs. A significant increase in fees would affect riders, especially younger and up and coming ones who deserve to be able to afford to compete in a sport that respects meritocracy.

9. Appointment of Athlete Representative for the FEI Athletes Commission and FEI Jumping Committee

Congratulations were presented to Rodrigo Pessoa as Athlete Representative and to Jessica Kürten as the New Chair of the FEI Athletes Committee.


x IJRC Board's members Rodrigo Pessoa, Max Kühner, Henrik von Eckermann

10. Miscellaneous

In closing the assembly Kevin Staut introduced the important words spoken by Max Kühner who has done a great job as far as contamination is concerned.

Kühner spoke of the meeting held in Leipzig between the FEI and the IJRC. The IJRC had expressed doubts regards to the FEI’s anti-doping system. In our sport there are far more substances considered as doping than in any other sport, with about 1,250 substances. This has caused riders enormous problems and they have been suspended for doping with all the consequences this entails resulting in their careers coming to an end. And yet many of these substances are used in everyday life, in cosmetics, food or drugs that have no effect of a horse’s performance or any other effects. The IJRC has taken the initiative and sent the list of these substances to an independent laboratory in London and they marked a lot of the substances. The Club has shared this information with the FEI and is awaiting a reply.

Finally, Jessica Kurten joined the meeting by phone, so as to enjoy a shared moment to celebrate her new position and exchange greetings with those present. Rodrigo Pessoa emphasised the importance the Athlete Representative has in supporting all riders, from all nations and all levels.  The Assembly ended with thanks expressed by Kevin Staut for the work done by the IJRC, both by the staff and board members, while Eleonora Ottaviani thanked all those present and reminded everyone of the appointment with the Sport Forum next April 25th and 26th 2023.  

Video and recording of the Assembly available via this link


Image © IJRC/F.Petroni