FEI Sports Forum 2018

The FEI Sports Forum 2018 opened this morning with a speech by the FEI President Ingmar De Vos followed by a welcome message from IMD Professor of leadership and organisational change Ina Toegel.

The President starting saying:  “Every year we use the Sports Forum platform to zoom in on specific topics so that we can make decisions as a community that will help drive our sport to new heights. And we are here once again to do just that. . . . I am really looking forward to all the discussions that will take place during this FEI Sports Forum. They guide us to develop the right strategies and to take the best decisions.”

Ina Toegel was next on stage and extended an IMD welcome to delegates, challenging them to interact with each other and to change their perceptions.


Accessibility to High Level Sport

Discussing the importance of being able to combine the pursuit of a career in equestrian sport and education, youth session moderator Catie Staszak (USA): “Educational institutions need to understand the requirements of equestrian athletes who are pursuing an education.” Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete Gemma Rose Jen Foo will have to miss the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 due to her studies.

Eventing athlete and law student Thaïs Méheust (FRA) “I don’t want to choose between my education and my athlete career - I want to do both. Education is the key for everything, team spirit and learning how to be better individuals and in sport. We cando both - we have to do both, to be a good athlete and a good citizen.”

Jumping athlete and mechanical engineering student Edouard Schmitz (SUI), has the advantage of the Swiss Olympic Talent Card: “This allows me to study in a flexible way and I train every day. I get great support from the Swiss Federation. This support is important. If you want to be competitive today, you need to stay in the sport, you can’t drop out for education and drop back in.”

Dressage athlete Juan Matute Guimón (ESP) explained the positive impact of online education: “All of my high school education has been online, I have managed to pursue my academic and sport goals. Now my higher education is online, it’s flexible and helps me to adapt to priorities around travel and sport. This means I don’t have to give up anything.”

Long Term Career Pathways

Vaulting athlete Jamie Hocking (AUS) underlined the need to harness profile opportunities in media and social media to help with the climb to the top, and in Vaulting where equestrian careers are considerably shorter than in other equestrian disciplines: “I have random people in my life now saying I am famous, thanks to the recent profile. We need advice on how to take advantage of this now in a digital age.”

Driving athlete Martin Hölle (HUN) spoke about the importance of mentors and meeting the world’s best equestrian athletes: “It’s my dream to meet Edward Gal.”


Catie Staszak (USA), multimedia sports journalist specialising in equine media

“I am infinitely excited to be hosting at the FEI Sports Forum. I look forward to helping our youth panellists share their messages on the opportunities and challenges ahead for themselves. Together, we can better our sport as we showcase our tremendous athletes—both human and equine—around the world.”

Athletes Panel:

Jumping: Edouard Schmitz (SUI)
Dressage: Juan Matute Guimón (ESP)
Para Dressage: Gemma Rose Jen Foo (SGP)
Eventing: Thaïs Méheust (FRA)
Driving: Martin Hölle (HUN)
Endurance: Paulina Berriel Tarán (URU)
Vaulting: James Hocking (AUS)
Reining: Tabitha Sternberg-Allen (GBR)

Guest Speakers:

Peter Bayer (AUT), FIA Secretary General for Motor Sport, will talk about some of the innovative initiatives the FIA have rolled out in order to assist career pathways for young athletes.

Carl Hedin (SWE), International Dressage Rider and CEO of Eques Management



Read more on the FEI official web site where each session of the FEI Sports Forum is live streamed and available on replay. They have created individual destinations for each session so that you can watch and have all the relevant documentation in the one location.

image: FEI