Athletes, it’s time to vote.

From the 15th of April to the 1st of June it is possible to contribute to the nomination of the athletes’ representative in the FEI Jumping Committee, as for all the other equestrian disciplines.

Presently the Jumping Committee is composed by its Chairman John Madden from the USA, the Organiser Ian Allison, from Canada, the chef d’equipe Marco Fursté, from Spain, the German judge Stephan Ellenbruch, the South Arabian Kamal Bahadan as Arabian riders’ representative, and finally, the German Max Kühner, riders’ representative and member of the IJRC. Kühner will end his mandate in November 2014 and needs a successor.

In show jumping five candidates aspire to become the one who can make the difference at the big table of decision making: the American riders Mario Deslauriers and Laura Kraut, the Norwegian Geir Gulliksen, the Brazilian Rodrigo Pessoa and the Mexican Nicolas Pizarro. Of course they all match the eligibility criteria: over eighteen, and with one of the last two senior FEI World Championships or Olympic Games in their palmares. They all have a clean anti-doping record with respect to both the equine anti-doping and control medication rules, and the anti-doping rules for human athletes, as requested. Furthermore each candidate has agreed to the terms included in the rules of conduct for the election campaign. Now the decision is up to you, athletes. Which one of them can really do something for our sport?

It is inside the Jumping Committee where all the technical issues (e.g. all jumping rules, high boots problem, stewarding, allocation of EU Championships, ranking, show evaluation etc.) are discussed. Only inside the Committee, riders have a chance to make their choral voice heard. For these reasons it’s so important that the athletes’ representative is aware of the sport system “know-how” and of the FEI’s mechanisms, both in Europe and overseas.

Thanks to his experience and to his personal skills the representative should be able to stand for the sport’s values negotiating, promoting, facing, understanding and efficiently communicating in an international context.

A requirement is that the athletes’ representative is a good English speaker and preferably should speak other languages. But above all, the ideal candidate should deal in total transparency with all the equestrian reality, from the IJRC, to the NARG and all other worldwide rider associations. In the last twenty years the IJRC has always appointed as riders’ representative someone who has previously been member of the board, to ensure an adequate standard, such as Franke Sloothaak, Markus Fuchs, Emile Hendrix, Rodrigo Pessoa, Otto Becker and Max Kühner.

Presently two out of five candidates are part of the IJRC board, the vice-president Rodrigo Pessoa and Geir Gulliksen. Laura Kraut is an experienced rider and well-prepared on the European frontline, being married to the British Nick Skelton. Deslauriers is without doubt a famous rider but not linked to the European scene and, as far as Pizarro is concerned, he is a coming up rider and the less experienced of all.

The voting platform is accessible on the FEI website. All the registered FEI athletes, aged over eighteen and included in the ranking list are encouraged to vote. The first ballot will end on the 1st of June, and from the 16th of June to the 16th of July a second and final ballot could take place. The result of the elections will be announced on the 17th of July.

Barbara Leoni