Equestrian sport is currently in full activity few months away from the Rio Olympic Games and alongside with these events, the International Jumping Riders Club continues his activities.

Last April there was the Sport Forum, that more than ever in this Olympic year, touched delicates items attracting a lot of attention from organizers, riders, owners and all the people connected with the equestrian world, called to getting involved in the FEI’s decisions.

The International Jumping Riders Club attended the Sport Forum and expressed many times its member's opinion.

The first day of the Sport Forum, held in the beautiful location of the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, was focused on the Officials.

The International Jumping Riders Club headed by the IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani and by the Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat, underlined the importance that the Officials should have an equestrian background and a common sense that can give them the sensibility to apply the rules in the best possible way, in order to ensure horse welfare.

These qualities cannot be taught but they comes from a horsemanship experience and only a good judge, with a horse feeling, can transmit these values to the younger officials.

The IJRC suggested to have a panel composed by 1 veterinary, 1 rider and 1 judge that help the Officials to take big decisions, in particular when there is a lot of pressure; besides it is also important to introduce in case of minor violations a first step before the yellow card or disqualification.

The IJRC Club does not argue the fact that there must be a penalty, but it asks that an official is able to judge considering aggravating and mitigating of the cases, before take a decision, in respect of the principle of proportionality.

It is true that all the athletes should be treated in the same way, but it is also true, that it would be suitable to consider the consequences of a compromised rider image. Consequences, interpretation and application of the rules (the weighing of any sanction on the basis of the principle of proportionality; voluntary or accidental rule violation) are three principles that have to be remembered.

According to the Club’s opinion, if the law provides the disqualification or the suspension, the following 2 legal principles have to be considered:

1) SWITZERLAND CONSTITUTION. The judge has the right to impose the penalty he believes it is necessary, without being himself subjected to strict regulations.

2) THE PROPORTIONALITY PRINCIPLE.  For the Switzerland Constitution and the CAS sentences there is a difference between the voluntary or the incidental violations.

So these principles could be considered also by our Federation.

The second day of the Sport Forum touched many delicate subjects, like for example, the importance to communicate our sport outside, thanks to the modern technology, in order to increase that audience that allows to the Equestrianism to survive alongside with more famous sports such as Formula 1 or Football.

In this Olympic year, FEI is promoting a campaign called “Two Hearts”, and all the protagonists of the Equestrianism have to act creating a story which shows the value of our sport, because this campaign is flexible to be used by all National Federations as a global campaign.

Our sport has to survive and we all need to fight for the people’s attention.

The equitation needs to become very attractive, exciting and “simple” for the audience, and this is one of the main reason because the long discussion about the possibility to change the competition format started.

Change or be changed is the message behind the discussion.

Mrs Eleonora Ottaviani brought the voices of the riders majority, saying that the FEI decisions are considering too much a global picture and less the technical and sports conditions, although they are very important, underlining that the IJRC is always confident in the Sport Institutions, FEI and IOC.

The International Jumping Riders Club understood that the IOC is worried about our sport, but it didn’t explicitly asked to reduce the number of members in a team, so the IJRC is convinced that 4 riders in a team and the drop off are necessary for Jumping.

There will be a next step in September, when all the proposals will be deeply analized by the FEI.

It’s clear that there will be always some different points of view, but if the Institutions (FEI and NFs), Organisers, Owners and Riders will be sufficiently flexible, understanding each other and being able to give priority to the interest of sport, the IJRC is trusting and sure that it will be possible to reach interesting and useful solutions.