Noelle Floyd Style Magazine interviewed the IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani

On this month's Noelle Floyd Style Magazine, there is an Interview of the IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani about different important issue.


An Open Letter

Eleonora Ottaviani

Agrowing sense of unease is shaking the equestrian world. A disagreement has occurred regarding the FEI’s proposals to reduce the number of riders admitted to the Olympics from four to three (per federation) and to cancel the Table C compe- tition at the World Equestrian Games. This was further aggravated by the debate surrounding new CSI entry requirements and entry fee harmonization.

It seems, from our perspective, that the voice of the athletes has not reached their National Federations, and therefore has not reached the FEI. “The athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Games. Their voice is very important in the IOC,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

As part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, Recommendation 18 regarding support to athletes reads:

—The IOC to put the athletes’ experience at the heart of the Olympic Games; —The IOC to further invest in supporting athletes on and off the eld of play.

It is hoped that beginning this year, the Jumping Committee of the FEI will have more direct cooperation with the International Jumping Riders Club. Thanks to an of cial memorandum of understanding, the IJRC is the of cial voice of the athletes within the FEI.

Using this relationship would perhaps be helpful to avoid reaching decisions that create confusion, and later force the FEI to retrace its steps, as we’ve seen with the readmission of the Table C speed class at the WEG. Undoubtedly, athletes should commit more, both with their federations and with their respective clubs (IJRC or NARG), or through the press, to make their voices stronger.

In addition to these reasons, several critical points have emerged. These points have been analyzed in a dossier presented by the IJRC called “ARGO Dossier” and set up with the cooperation of experts in sports politics. The aims of this dossier are to nd solutions and to try to re-establish balance and harmony in the international jumping world.

On March 20th, an important meeting between IJRC and the FEI took place in Lausanne, Switzerland, where we exposed the problems that NARG (which for us is a very important partner), suggested to us. The atmosphere was friendly and we hope that it was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration for the good of the sport.


In our view, harmonizing entry fees in two vastly different realities (Europe and USA) is not possible, for the following reasons:

—The fabric of European society is different from that of the USA: in Europe there is a breeding world, an agricultural and rural horse world;

—In Europe, the middle classes practice and are involved in our sport: we have numerous great champions and talents who, at least for now, come from middle- income families. Additionally, we don’t have many sponsors or customers who invest in and bear all the costs. In Europe most of the athletes pay their entry fees themselves.

—Equestrian sport started in Europe, and it took more than one hundred years to achieve this result. We need to protect our tradition, our middle class owners, our breeders and farmers that own young horses. We need to protect our coming up athletes and talents.

—In Europe we need to create a link between top sport, European development and breeding. With such an increase in cost we think we will create a big fracture. —We will be happy to support the NARG if they wish to change or improve the system in North America.

Concerning the fact that organizers have stated that they cannot survive without raising fees. According to the FEI statistics, there has been an increase in the number of both small and large competitions held around the world. In 2000, there were about seven CSI5 *, and today there are more than 90. The same increase in numbers can be seen in CSI 2 *, 3 *. So I do not think that anyone can talk about a crisis period. Instead, we have a lack of CSI4* competitions, an increase in which would bene t talented riders who, often for nancial reasons, do not have access to 5* events.

Nations Cup

The IJRC intends to support the Nations Cup, as it is a series that is certainly worth defending. The Nations Cup forms the essence of our sport, permitting the team chef and federations to build teams for championships and the Olympic Games.

Today the Nations Cup circuit is held at spacious, high-level show grounds. The high standards of these venues, with good working conditions, good jumps, and top-level of cials, are not always found in other events or show jumping series. The Nations Cup must be helped and defended, riders must nd the way to compete with the best horses, and the FEI must continue to seek common sponsors, supported by communication and marketing.

Organizers must guarantee ef ciency, continuity and improvement. Unfortunately, the prize money of Nations Cups is not in line with other 5* events. However, teams are not required to pay substantial fees to enroll their members in the series. It is the Nations Cup which permits show jumping to be an Olympic Sport, and we must give more ranking points to the Nations Cup in order to not penalize the riders who choose to take part in the Nations Cup circuits rather than events with bigger prize money.

– Eleonora Ottaviani Director, International Jumping Riders Club

(from the article in the Noelle Floyd Style Magazine)