IJRC in Bologna for Conference: ’The horse athlete: protection and prospects'

Bologna, ITA - The International Jumping Riders Club, through the speech of its director Eleonora Ottaviani, made an interesting contribution to the conference 'The horse athlete: protection and prospects' organised on Wednesday 31 January by the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE) with the University of Bologna and the patronage of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

Italy, with the FISE, represented in Bologna by President Marco Di Paola and Secretary General Simone Perillo, who also holds the position of Board Member of the European Equestrian Federation, is a country at the forefront in the legal recognition of the horse as a real athlete.

This is stated in Italian legislation and in particular in Article 22 of Legislative Decree no. 36/2021, which came into force in 2011. 36/2021, which came into force in September 2023.

A horse is defined as an 'athlete horse' when specific requirements are met: it has to be 'registered in the equine directory'; it has to be declared as 'not intended for food production'; and it has to be registered in the directory of athlete horses kept by the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation - FISE [member of the FEI - Federation Equestre Internationale] as shown in the identification document. At the core of the debate was Chapter II of the Legislative Decree, which conferred the prestigious recognition, requested by FISE, of the horse's role as an athlete, on a par with the women and men who participate in competitions with them.

«This law - says Ottaviani, - provides the opportunity to finally recognise the horse as subject, and no longer object, in our sport. The well-being and welfare of horses has long been an area of mutual collaboration between the IJRC and the FEI. Members of the Club are actively involved in all research commissions. The news of the enactment of this important law in Italy was greeted with enthusiasm by the members of the IJRC. For the first time, the words 'athletic horse' or 'athlete horse' have become a legal term». 

Eleonora Ottaviani, also presented two particularly appreciated video-contributions by Ludger Beerbaum and Jos Lansink, two key figures in our sport.

To watch Ludger Beerbaum’s video contributions CLICK HERE.

To watch Jos Lansink’s video contributions CLICK HERE.

Representatives of the Italian Ministry of Health, of the International Equestrian Federation (present Francisco Lima, Director Governance & Institutional Affairs, as well as numerous legal experts and Giulia Martinengo Marquet, international rider enrolled in the “Gruppo Sportivo Aeronautica Militare” also attended the conference

The topic presented in Bologna assumes an even greater importance, as it will be the basis for further legal developments - e.g. in the areas of horse transport and veterinary controls - at national and EU level.

Edited IJRC – Press Release FISE
Photo © FISE/Sergio Isler